You’ve worked hard to pique their interest and get them to notice you. You’ve created a beautiful website, chatted with them on your social media platforms and sent them love letters in the mail. They’ve just made the first move in your professional courtship by subscribing to your email newsletter. How do you take the relationship to the next level?
A welcome message is like your first date. If your welcome letter is late, poorly groomed, or boring, you may never get a second chance. You want a long-term relationship with your prospects, not a one night stand. Your welcome message is your opportunity to elicit that warm fuzzy feeling that tells prospects that your company is a keeper. They will want to keep seeing you in their inbox for years to come.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here are ten tips on how to make your prospects fall in love with your firm from their very first welcome letter.
1. Welcome them with open arms
According to MarketingSherpa, your welcome email is likely to be the most opened and read email you ever send your prospects. Make it count! Your subject line should be concise, but inviting, and your introductory paragraph should thank them for subscribing to your e-newsletter and welcome them warmly to your marketing campaign. Remind them about any subscriber preferences that they are able to elect and provide different contact methods in case they want to get in touch with you. Keep your message light, friendly and personable. This is your first date, after all. It’s not the time or place for overt sales pitches. You want them to look forward to your next email, not dread it.
2. Dress to impress
Many email marketers are so strapped for time that they don’t think about dressing up their welcome emails. Don’t make the mistake of falling back onto default templates. If your welcome message is bland and boring, prospects might lose interest and dump you before the relationship has had a chance to heat up. Dress your welcome letter up with all the bells and whistles that your brand flaunts. Don’t be shy about including a photo of yourself or your team. Make your first (email) impression count! Try different designs on for size and test them to see which one(s) are the most effective. You want to deliver quality content with impeccable style.
3. Introduce yourself with personality
When customizing and personalizing your welcome message, infuse a little personality into your content. Remember that you are wooing a prospective client or customer – people like to deal with other people. Make sure that your welcome email oozes an appropriate amount of personality and life so that your prospects recognize that they are communicating with another human being and not just an automated computer program. Write your welcoming note from you to them. Personalize it with great detail. Again, the default template will likely not offer the same pizzazz that you, as a real life professional person, will.
4. Be a friend with benefits
You don’t have to be in an exclusive relationship with each and every prospect in order to provide them with benefits. Surprise your new subscribers with gifts in your welcome message. Delight them with your knowledge and resources. Give them something that they can take away from your email beyond a sense of growing anticipation about working with your firm. Whether you have a whitepaper or a tidbit of free advice, titillate them with something of value.
5. Give them ways to get to know you better
First dates tend to provoke anxiety, even if you’ve already checked your companion out online. One of the best ways to reduce that anxiety, other than the first four tips listed above, is to offer additional ways to learn more about you. Include links in your welcome letter that route your prospects to your best solutions on your website. Preferably, your system will enable you to customize those links to match the preferences and areas of interest that your prospects set when they subscribed. If not, remember that you’re trying to impress them and direct them to your most appealing and unique service and product offerings.
6. Ask them out again
Since your new subscribers have requested this dalliance by opting in to your email newsletter’s mailing list, it is not out of bounds to ask them to continue to see you on a regular basis by requesting that they white list your sending domain. If they are serious about the relationship, they won’t want to miss your next email. Add a post script after your signature, requesting that they approve you as a sender and add you to their address book. If you’re super courteous, you might even include a link to a service that does it for them or at least shows them how to do it based on whatever email program they use.
7. Let them know you won’t kiss and tell
8. Set expectations for your relationship
Some relationships fail because one partner is too high maintenance for the other to handle. Setting the expectations early on (and establishing two-way communication) about the frequency of your email newsletters can help mitigate those problems before they begin. If you don’t have a preference center where your subscribers can choose their own frequency, give them a way of letting you know when enough is enough (hopefully before they decide to break up altogether).
9. Make it easy to separate if things don’t work out
Not only it is essential to include an unsubscribe link for CAN-SPAM compliance, but it’s important that your prospects know they don’t have to be tied to you forever if they change their minds or just don’t want to sustain the relationship anymore. Let them know up front that it’s ok (and easy) for them to separate their inboxes from your emails, any time they want to break off ties, no strings attached. And then honor that request promptly.
10. Wine and dine them
New relationships can take a little extra effort. There’s no better way to captivate and charm new prospects than by reminding them that you are still thinking about them after that first “date”. Follow up after your first welcome email with a second and possibly third message that reinforces your connection, enhances your brand, shows them that you care about them and begins to build that long-term relationship that you long for. Of course, you don’t want to smother them with emails. You may, however, want to ask for their feedback on what they would like to read about in your newsletter, or give them another gift (perhaps an article on a topic that they have shown interest in) without prompting, prodding or nagging. Avoid sales pitches in your post-welcome drip campaign as well. The relationship is just beginning to take shape and grow. Continue to nurture them with great content in your newsletter.
Despite its proven effectiveness in helping to establish a lasting bond with prospective clients and customers, the welcome message is one of the most under-utilized and ignored marketing tools in a professional service firm’s email marketing plan.
If you haven’t given much thought to your welcome message, you are likely missing out on opportunities to establish fruitful connections and relationships that will remain loyal for years to come. Consider giving your welcome letter an overhaul from the dating perspective. There is a reason why professional service providers like CPAs and lawyers send “engagement letters” to new clients. The professional-client relationship is very much a long-term courtship.
Don’t turn your prospects off before the dance has even begun!