Imagine having company over your house for the first time and making them let themselves in, find their way around, get their own food and never once interact with them. Rude, huh? That is what it’s like when someone signs up on your website and never hears from you again – until a few weeks or a month later, of course, when you’re blasting your entire database with some new campaign you are running.
New subscribers must be treated differently from the rest of your database, and they must be made to feel welcomed. In this day and age when our inboxes are flooded with special offers and last minute deals, it’s amazing that we receive any new subscriptions at all – making it that much more more important to treat your new followers like gold. How, you say? With a welcome campaign.
What is a welcome campaign? A welcome campaign usually starts with an auto-responder message, sent immediately after someone has signed up on your website. Its purpose is to (obviously) welcome the new subscriber to your company, confirm their interest, set expectations for future communications and keep in touch with useful, relevant, content. Welcome campaigns usually consist of anywhere from three to five separate emails and are most effective when all e-mails are delivered in a timeframe of 30-60 days.
The first message. To kickoff a welcome campaign, tailor (or setup if you don’t already have one) your auto-responder message to correspond with the source of the signup. For example, if you received a signup for your e-newsletter, acknowledge that in your first e-mail. The message should also confirm the subscription and prompt the user to add your e-mail address to their address book to ensure future deliverability.
Give a brief background on your company, its values and vision. Be sure to include some areas of interest or useful places for information on your website. Most importantly, set their expectations for future communications from your company. Will you be sending them new offers once a week, or will you be sending them a general newsletter once a month? Let the subscriber know upfront what type, and how much communication they should expect to see from you. This will help establish trust and build a relationship, and also cut down on your unsubscribes. If you are sophisticated in your marketing automation tactics, build a program that allows them to determine the frequency and type of e-mails they receive.
The second message. Most people expect an e-mail confirmation after they sign up on a website, so while it’s important to get the messaging of your first e-mail right, it is the second message that is critical to the success of your welcome campaign. This is the first “real” message they will receive from you after subscribing and it will set the tone for your future communication. It is generally best practice to send the second e-mail in your welcome campaign no sooner than three days after they signed up, and no later than one week.
Give your subscriber something in this second e-mail. Offer them a white paper, a discount, a free trial – doing so will not only help to foster a good relationship but it will also help you to further qualify them as a lead. Up until this point, all of your subscribers are not really “sales ready”, but if they click through your offer for a free trial you know they are ready for sales follow up.
Subsequent messages. Now that your welcome campaign has been started, there are two paths you can take. First, if you are tracking and can interpret behavioral data from your website, you can build subsequent messages to be tailored based on what the individual has viewed on your site, or clicked through in your first two e-mails. This path would involve segmenting your subscription list, and either building conditional formatting into your e-mails or relying on decision rules in your welcome program to tailor your messaging.
If you are not able to use behavioral data, use the subsequent messages in your welcome program as a way of gathering some additional data about your subscribers. Play around with different messages, highlight different products, offer a white paper versus a video. You will be able to determine based on what subscribers respond to where their interest lies.
So, as those subscribers are coming in, don’t just leave them to fend for themselves. Welcome them to your company, show them areas of interest on your website and set their expectations for future communication. Provide them with relevant, useful content as you build your relationship and pay attention to key behavior on your website and/or to the e-mails you send and tailor subsequent messages based on that behavior. Good luck, and happy marketing!
Kim Roman has spent the last 10 years in marketing, over half of which has been heavily focused on demand generation and marketing automation. Working with companies to refine their marketing strategies to streamline activities and maximize assets, Kim is always on the cutting edge of marketing technology. Currently the a Senior Marketing Automation Consultant for Astadia she works with a variety of clients to get them set up with marketing automation, improve upon their current MA processes, or work with on new, advanced ways to maximize their platform.