First Impressions Count – Building Brilliant Welcome Programmes

    Louise Nash | Account Director

    First impressions are incredibly important and in this crowded-inbox age, they’re more critical than ever.  How many times have you signed up to receive emails from a company who you’re considering spending money with, only receive nothing from them for a week?  It’s the digital equivalent of being left waiting around in a quiet pub because the barman’s disappeared - and nobody wants that!

    Don’t let this be you!  A Welcome Programme is simple to set up and, with proper planning, is guaranteed to reap you rewards in both the engagement of your email database and in your bottom line.

    But where do you start?  First, consider how many ways people can sign up to receive your marketing emails.  Focus not just on your website but on other channels too.  Do you have sign up pages on your social media accounts?  Are you collecting data offline, such as in call centres or perhaps in stores?  Gather all of this together, ensuring that permission is being collected at each point and then you have a solid foundation to start from.

    Next up, decide what you want to say.  This is your opportunity to introduce your brand and make these potential new customers understand what makes you so special.  You’ll need more than one email to get the message across, so split your content into a series of emails depending on how much you want to say.  You should aim to set expectations about what sort of emails customers can expect to receive and how often, as well as pointing out all of your brand USP’s.  Welcome emails are a great opportunity to build trust, so make sure you point readers towards any review or feedback sites you use.  You can also promote your social media accounts as another way for customers to keep in touch.  Put the Call-to-Action at the centre of each email; work out what you want a customer to do when they receive each one (whether it’s browse products or follow you on Facebook) and design your email around that.

    Now that you’ve got your content together, think back to your data sources.  Depending on where and how they signed up, different people will have varying needs and expectations from your emails.  Customers who’ve bought from you before (perhaps in store or over the phone, or even online but without opting in to emails) don’t need to know as much about you as people who’ve never purchased.  Consider recognising that they’ve purchased before, but skip some of the content or even remove some emails entirely for this segment.  Similarly, if a customer has signed up via Facebook, you don’t need to tell them about that channel but might want to promote Instagram or Twitter instead.  For those who’ve signed up in store or requested a brochure, make sure you recognise this in your first email – it will help prevent unsubscribes (as it jogs the memory) and provides a personal touch.

    Speaking of personalisation, consider what you know about these customers and how you can use it to personalise their welcome journey.  Greet them by name and tell them about the products they want to know about.  Chances are they were browsing your website before they signed up, so use this to your advantage and showcase products or categories that you know they’re interested in.  This is also a great time to learn more about your customers.  They’ve just signed up, so direct them to a preference centre so that you can learn more about them and personalise future content too.  Have you got store locations?  If so, include maps so that customers know where to find you if they want to visit in person.

    So there you have it.  Put these elements together you’ll have a fully personalised Welcome Programme that covers all sign up channels.  If it sounds daunting start small!  Focus on just one data source and channel and build a complete programme, then adapt from there for your other data segments.  By doing this your customers will be greeted properly by a friendly barman, rather than left wondering if they should have gone to the pub over the road instead…