Chances are that you have acquired subscribers into your email list from a variety of different sources. Whether they came to you from search, display ads, social media or direct load, each is unique and should be treated and talked to differently. Based on the complexity and features of your website, some customers will require more education of the benefits and some will need very little. In the end, your goal is to on-board new subscribers so that they can fully interact with your website.
One way to introduce new subscribers to the value of being in your email list is to create a queued email series. You can send a group of emails over a period of time that will give your customers all of the information they need to know to successfully interact and engage with your brand. Before you begin designing a strategy on how to email new-to-file customers, determine what your overall goals are and how to determine whether your campaign is successful or not. Are you trying to sell something to the customer? Are you trying to give them a wealth of information about your website? Or are you trying to get more information from them?
To get started, divide your customers into similar groups based on their source and/or any other qualifying attribute. Some common other factors would be gender, geographic location and purchase behavior. Once you have separated your customers into segments, decide on a timing strategy. One obvious best practice would be to have a welcome email triggered immediately upon sign up. In this email, be sure to use creative that is precise and informational. The tone of the copy should match the tone of your website and use as much personalized information that you have for your customer. The content should reinforce the reason why the subscriber has been added to your email list and set the expectation for email frequency.
After the initial welcome email has been triggered, decide when to send the next email in your series. You can send follow up emails anywhere from one day to a week later, based on your normal email sends. For each consecutive email that you decide to send, ensure that each has a unique concept – or lesson – for your subscribers. There should be a distinct feature or benefit explained as well as a desired action that you want your customer to take. For example, have your customers fill out their brand and category preferences so that you can send them customized sale or clearance emails. Whatever the action is, be sure to carry it through as a theme and reason for why you are sending the email series.
If at all possible, try to suppress those customers who are in a welcome series from your regular emails until the email queue is complete. Keeping these customers ‘pure’ while they are being introduced to your brand, will ensure that they have been fully prepared – and possibly even excited – for your future emails. You may also choose to have another email queue available for those subscribers who have taken your desired action, and move them over once complete. Customers who have previously received a welcome series should probably also be suppressed from receiving any future welcome emails. They should already be familiar with your brand, and may find the series redundant.
If you use an Email Service Provider (ESP) to send your bulk emails, there are several available that can help make a queued email series simpler to create. Strongmail and Responsys both offer a program that uses visual flow charts that help you build out complex email lifecycle series as a flow chart. They make it easy to put rules, conditions and waiting periods between emails using visuals that any level marketer can handle.
It is important to keep a close eye on the email metrics of your welcome queued series. The open and click statistics indicate suggest that subscribers are interested in your email message, so the higher the better! Test subject lines and call to actions (CTAs) to keep the subscribers in your email list active and engaged. Also keep watch for fluctuations in your unsubscribe and complaint rates. Since the users who would be receiving your welcome series are new to your email list, be sure to honor their requests to opt out should they choose to do so. CAN-SPAM regulations give marketers a full 10 days to remove a subscriber from their email list. If you have the emails in your welcome series lined up in a tight frequency, it is in your best interest to have any unsubscribes processed in real time so you can avoid sending further emails to them. This will help reduce complaints and improve the overall delivery of your emails.
After a subscriber has received your entire email welcome series, you can expect them to be knowledgeable about your company or brand. Hopefully, they will have been excited enough about your email content to engage with the email and take the actions you needed them to. This should enhance their experience with your brand and will ultimately lead to an email list full of active, profitable customers.