When a new subscriber joins your email list or signs up for your product/service, your welcome email series is the perfect way to welcome them.

You can use it to build trust, nurture an upsell, or ask questions and learn about your audience.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through:

  • What a welcome series is

  • Why you need a welcome email series

  • Content to include in your emails

  • How to set up your welcome series

By the end, you'll be able to start converting your email list into customers and turning happy customers into raving fans.

Let’s dive in.

What Exactly Is a Welcome Series?

A welcome series is a sequence of automated emails that someone receives after signing up for your email list, starting your free trial, or inquiring about your services.

In most cases, these welcome emails will be focused on helping your email subscriber be successful with your product or service, and highlighting why they should stick around.

Benefits of a Welcome Email Series

1. Build Trust and Loyalty In Your Brand

Subscribers who receive a welcome email are typically 33% more engaged with a brand than those who don’t.

By showing up in their inbox, your welcome email proves to subscribers that you’re there to help.

Here’s an example of why it’s so important:

You have a product with a free trial. If someone starts a free trial instead of paying immediately, it's because the trial users aren't sold on the value you can provide.

During the free trial phase, you need to add as much value as possible to your customers’ life, making the benefits of your product clear. 

But, your customers are busy. Using your product isn’t a priority. There’s a high risk that they forget about it and never come back.

To avoid that, you can use your welcome emails to highlight your product's most valuable features and show them the benefits they can expect.

If the feature is someone they care about, they’ll be happy to jump in and try it out. Over time, your welcome series will be nurturing these free trial users into happy customers.

For example, a welcome email for Beacon’s lead magnet software includes a video on how to make an ebook.

It’s a perfect way to help customers overcome the first obstacles in becoming successful users, and help them get the most value they can out of your product.

If they watch this video, they’ll trust Kevin as someone who is on their side, helping them achieve their goals. They’ll happily open and engage with future emails as they’ll expect helpful and interesting content.

2. Learn What Your Audience Cares About

An often overlooked benefit of welcome emails is that they give you a chance to learn from your customers (and potential customers).

You can use your welcome emails to:

  • Ask questions

  • Gather feedback

  • Learn what type of content your customers want to see from you next

These insights will help you improve and update your welcome series to maximize the value you’re providing.

You can ask people to reply directly or direct them to a survey.

Here’s what Zapier does to gather feedback:

As you can see, it doesn’t need to be complicated. If you want to provide extra motivation to your subscribers, you can incentivize feedback with a gift card.

Over time, your feedback request email will give you the inspiration and ideas you need to ensure your email content aligns with your email subscribers' goals.

3. Build a Database of Testimonials

As your welcome series is spread over the course of several weeks —  or months — there’s a good chance that the person you’re emailing turns into a happy customer.

At the end of your welcome series, you can add an email asking for a review or testimonial.

In Swpely’s welcome series, one of the final steps is a friendly ask to review their product in the Chrome store:

It’s a small ask, and your most engaged users and customers will be more than happy to leave one for you.

Your reviews will be a valuable marketing asset, and you'll be collecting them without needing to send any emails out manually.

To avoid sending emails to customers who aren’t using your product, you can create a new email segment specifically for customers who take a specific action, such as:

  • Took a certain number of important actions in your product

  • Renewed their subscription for 3 months in a row

  • Had 3 customer support tickets successfully resolved

This will ensure you don’t send emails asking for a review to disgruntled or inactive customers.

4. Focus on Benefits (Not Just Features)

Your welcome email series is the ideal place to mention your most useful features, as well as extra resources to help people get started. But, if that’s not generating engagement, you should try focusing on the benefits instead.

For example, Loom is a video recording tool. Rather than focusing on features such as 1080p recordings, or how much storage they provide, they change the angle to focus on end results.

In the example below, they highlight how their tool can help you with your talent acquisition process.

Recipients that resonate with the pain points around hiring will be instantly interested in trying it out because the benefits are more powerful than the features. 

If you run a service business, you could use this step to highlight results that you've generated for other people or businesses and how you transformed their results.

What Content Should be in Your Welcome Email?

There are no rules for what you should include in your welcome emails. It depends on your unique business and goals.

But, some common types of emails to include are:

The welcome email: Naturally, you’ll want to welcome people into your ecosystem. A common first email includes thanking your subscriber for joining and briefing them on what to expect in future emails from you, as well as how often you’ll be sending them.

Key benefits and features email: Another common email is one containing the lowdown on your most important features, key benefits, and links to useful resources. This email ensures your subscriber knows what they can expect if they keep using your product/service. 

Useful content: Your welcome series is the perfect place to send your subscribers your most useful and top-performing content. This could be in the form of videos, blog posts, or even an invitation to an exclusive webinar. If you're interested in incorporating short videos into your cold emails, there are many professional video editing app available online that can help you edit and create professional-looking videos without spending a lot of money.

Success stories: A great way to encourage subscribers to take action is by sending them a case study where someone in a similar situation saw success using your product or service. It’s a great way to build social proof and show them the value of becoming a paying customer if they aren’t already.

Ask for feedback: As mentioned above, use your welcome series to ask for feedback. Ask your customers what type of content they want to see from you, and let them know that they can reply to your email if they ever have questions.

It doesn’t matter if you’re creating an email series for a software company, agency, consulting business, or e-commerce store. The key is that you understand your audience and create emails that you know will resonate with them.

Once your emails are set up, they’ll run on autopilot and be sent to everyone who signs up to your product/service, so make sure you put in time and effort when creating them.

1. How Many Emails Should Be Included in Your Welcome Series? 

As a rule of thumb, six to eight emails is a good number for your welcome series.

After that many emails, someone should be relatively familiar with your product or service, so you can move them onto your regular newsletter, or other campaigns focused on helping your customers succeed.

Rather than focusing too heavily on the number of emails, your primary goal should be to ensure that your subscribers are receiving the value they want from you. It’s better to send fewer emails that are packed with valuable information than sending too many that don’t add enough value.

2. Does Your Subject Line Matter?

Your subject line should help your recipients understand what your email is going to contain.

If you’re tempted to test subject lines that are clearly misleading and clickbaity in order to get high open rates, it’s not a good idea.

At first, you will see high open rates. But as soon as your subscribers realize that you’re tricking them into opening your emails, they’ll lose all trust they had in you and your company. The result will be higher unsubscribe rates, and fewer conversions from your campaigns.

Keep your subject lines simple, clear, and honest.

4 Steps to Creating a Successful Welcome Email Series

So, now you know the why behind sending a welcome email series. Now, you need to know the how.

How can you set one up?

What tools do you need to create one?

Here’s how.

1. Adding Subscribers to Your Welcome Email

You don’t have time to manually add every new customer, subscriber, or prospect to your email list. 

The simple way to do this is by connecting a form on your website to your email automation software.

Let’s say you have a form on your website, like how we offer a cold email mini-course in our blog sidebar:

You can send anyone who completes this form to a campaign in QuickMail automatically.

It’s simple to set up. For example, if you’re using a solution like Typeform to collect your subscribers, you can set up a Zapier task to add these people to QuickMail when they enter their details.

There’s no coding required so anyone can set it up in minutes.

Your new subscribers will be automatically added to your chosen email campaign, without you needing to lift a finger.

You can create extra rules that remove your subscribers from campaigns if they take specific actions such as:

  • Replying to your emails

  • Join your webinar

  • Schedule an onboarding call with your team

Over time, you’ll be moving your subscribers smoothly through your welcome campaigns and helping them succeed with your email content.

2. Writing Your Welcome Emails in QuickMail

The contents of your emails will have the single most significant impact on your results. If your content resonates, you'll get great results. If it doesn't, you'll be back at square one.

To start writing your welcome emails, head to your Campaigns tab in QuickMail. Create your new campaign and give it an easily recognizable name.

Then, create your first campaign step. This will be the very first email your prospects receive, so make it a good one!

As you can see, you can also include custom attributes such as {{prospect.first_name}}. If you collect someone’s personal details in your sign up form, you can use attributes to personalize the emails they receive with details like:

  • Name

  • Company

  • Job title

Then, when your email copy is ready, you can hit “Create step”. Your email will be saved and is ready to start being sent to your new subscribers.

You can add text, images, videos, and any other type of content you'd like in your emails.

Now, whenever someone completes your form, they’ll be added to your campaign automatically and start receiving your first email in the sequence.

3. Adding Follow-Ups to Your Sequence

As we've discussed, your welcome email sequence needs to have multiple steps designed to nurture your subscribers.

If not, people will see your first email, then forget about you.

To add new steps to your campaign, first you’ll need to know how long you’re going to wait between your email steps.

Add a ‘Wait’ step, and decide on the length of your delay.

You can choose to wait any number of days between steps, and choose to include or exclude weekends from your sending schedule. 

After your Wait step, you can add another Email, and then repeat the process for every new email you send.

If you want to add extra personal touches such as connecting with your subscribers on LinkedIn or sending them an SMS, you can do that.

Instead of choosing to add an Email, choose the SMS option.

You can then automatically text your subscribers (assuming you collected their phone number in the original form) to generate extra engagement. While this won’t be a fit for every business, if you’re B2C, it could be a fit.

In general, four to eight welcome emails are enough for most welcome sequences.

After someone has gone through that sequence, you can move them onto your weekly newsletter or other relevant email campaigns that you’re running.

4. Tracking the Success of Your Welcome Campaigns

There are several key metrics you should be looking at to judge the success of your campaigns. They include:

Open Rate: The first metric to consider is your email open rate. The first step to ensuring a high open-rate is making sure subscribers trust your brand. If they don’t, they’ll ignore your emails. Aim for an open rate of 40% or above, and keep an eye on it. If it drops too low, your emails may start landing in the spam folder.

Click-Through Rate (CTR): As your welcome emails will include links to useful resources, you should monitor your CTR. If it’s high, the resources are resonating with your audience. If no one is clicking through, then there may be a misalignment between the content you’re sending and what your audience is looking for.

Reply Rate: You’ll be asking your audience for feedback at certain moments in your welcome sequence. To judge whether your call-to-action is generating the feedback you’re hoping for, measure your reply rate. If your audience is engaged and responding well, you should aim for at least a 20% reply rate.

Unsubscribe Rate: You might have an 80% open rate, but if all of those are opening just to hit unsubscribe, you have a problem. Measuring your unsubscribe rate is an essential part of good email marketing. You should expect an average unsubscribe rate of around 0.1-0.5% per email. If you start to notice an unusually high unsubscribe rate, it may be time to review your emails and update your content to make them more useful.

You can track all of these metrics in your QuickMail dashboard. 

You’ll also be notified if there are ever issues such as emails bouncing or people unsubscribing.

Turn Subscribers into Customers with a Welcome Series

A welcome email series is a powerful way to turn your email subscribers into customers.

Your sequence of emails allows you to:

  • Highlight the benefits of your product

  • Build rapport and trust with your audience

  • Understand what your subscribers care about

  • Collect reviews and testimonials

Over time, you can analyze your campaign performance to see what type of emails your audience engages with most and use those insights to optimize and improve your campaigns.

If you’re ready to start sending personalized welcome emails to your audience, you can try QuickMail with a free trial

You’ll be able to set up, send, and analyze your welcome series to discover what type of content your audience wants to engage with and how you can turn more email subscribers into customers.