Email Marketing  |  6 min read

Crafting Welcome Email Subject Lines that Actually Open the Door to Sales

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Kathryn Hawkins

A website visitor signs up for your mailing list. Congratulations—that’s the really hard part.

But now that you have them on board, it’s crucial to make sure that your next communication sets the right tone. You want your prospects to build a strong relationship with your brand from day one, so that means it’s your job to set a foundation of trust. Welcome emails have 4x the open rate and 5x the click-through rate of a standard email marketing campaign. And they can be some of the most lucrative communications you send: Welcome emails lead to more than three times the revenue of other email marketing communications.

So how do you make sure you’re rolling out the right digital welcome mat? It starts with the subject line. Follow these tips to create welcome emails that get clicks.

Stay out of the spam bin

First and foremost, you want to be confident that your message will actually make it to the recipient’s inbox and not get flagged as spam. That means you’ll need to watch your headlines carefully for spam triggers: words and phrases typically used in unwanted emails, such as “buy,” “act now,” “call now,” “no hidden cost,” and “no obligation” are likely to raise red flags. Check out Prospect.io’s complete list of words to avoid. Once you think you’ve got a spam-free candidate, send a test email out to a handful of friends or colleagues across different email providers to make sure you’re home-free.

Stick with something familiar

You don’t have much space in an email subject line, so many brands choose to play it safe and stick with the basics. “Welcome to [your brand]” ensures that the subscriber knows what the message is and who it’s from—serving as a simple orientation without getting too clever. Airbnb’s email line, for example, is simply, “Welcome to Airbnb.” There’s no need to get too clever here—you want your readers to feel comfortable. There’s plenty of time to play with your subject lines as you grow your relationship with your readers.

Engage them from day one

While many brands stick with a basic subject line in their first communications, others get a little more creative.

For instance, the marketing expert Ann Handley offers a weekly email that links to new content from her blog. Her subject line offers, “Welcome - and a question.”

So what’s the question? After a brief summary of what to expect in the emails, and how often you’ll receive them, Handley asks what you as the reader hope to learn from her. This offers an opportunity to start a genuine, 1-to-1 conversation, and provides her with the feedback that she needs to understand what her audience is truly looking for.

Embrace a theme

Other brands use the welcome email subject line as an opportunity to tie into a creative theme that represents them. For instance, Allbirds, an e-commerce shoe store that produces ultra-comfy shoes made from merino wool, came up with its brand name as a tie-in to the founder’s native New Zealand, which was described by an explorer as “all birds.” The brand’s welcome email subject line is “Welcome To The Flock”—tying into both the birds and sheep theme. (Yes, a group of sheep really is called a flock too!)

Be a real person

Consider using a person from your company (often either the founder or the head of marketing) to serve as the “face” of the brand in your email communications. So that the reader makes the connection with your brand, you might consider including a person's name with the company like ours, “Keap | Lauren Joyner."

Putting a face to a name helps, too—so be sure to include your rep’s smiling face in the email signature.

Test to perfection

If you’re not sure whether your welcome email subject line is hitting the right chord, there’s an easy way to find out—test it against some variations. Consider using a handful of different subject lines with new subscribers to determine which ones achieve the highest click-through rates. Do the same with the body copy, too, so that you’ll know which messages encourage click-throughs.

Related Article:

With marketing automation software, you can easily split up your subscribers into segments to test against a variety of different categories, including subject lines, personalized email sender v. brand, use of images, body copy, time of day, and others. Master the art of the welcome email, and your subscribers will be ready to follow you anywhere.

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