First impressions are exceedingly important for starting a relationship off on the right foot. They set the tone for future interactions and create a perception that can be hard to change.

Customer relationships in business are no different -- and that's where the welcome email comes in.

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Welcome emails receive some of the highest levels of engagement from customers. In fact, according to an Experian study, welcome emails are opened four times more frequently than normal promotional emails. This increased engagement presents a unique opportunity to open up the communication channel and start building trust right from the start, which leads me to my next point.

Welcome emails aren't just sent to create a positive first impression for your customers. They also serve a higher purpose. So, what exactly are the goals of a welcome email?

  1. Acquaint new customers with your business
  2. Show them the value you bring to the table
  3. Set them up for success

The key here is the final two points. If you want your customers to get the most out of your welcome message -- and their entire relationship with your business -- you can't skip these steps. Luckily, if you include these four elements in your welcome email, you won't have to worry about any missed opportunities.

How to Write a Welcome Email for Your Customers

1. Restate your value proposition.

Although this may seem like an unnecessary step to take, it can actually provide some significant benefits.

The most obvious benefit is that it provides the customer with some reassurance that they made the right decision signing up. It's never a bad thing to remind customers why they created an account with you, and it clarifies exactly what they can expect to achieve with your product or service.

This also gives you the opportunity to clearly explain any ancillary services or features that you offer that could create more stickiness with your business. This is especially true if you have a complex solution with unique features that customers might not know about.

For example, let's consider Sekai Coffee, a fictional online coffee subscription company. Their main service might be sending a monthly selection of three, five, or seven (depending on your account level) different varieties of coffee from around the world according to your stated preferences. In addition to this curation service, they also might offer coffee brewing equipment rentals.

Here is what their value proposition statement might look like in their welcome email:

Notice how the focus is on their main service, but they also include a callout to the ancillary feature as well in case new users missed it before signing up. This would be a big value-add for those coffee lovers who can't afford an espresso machine and are stuck with a coffee maker from the 1980's.

2. Show next steps.

Now that you've reminded them why they signed up, get them fully set up with your product or service. Usually, there are steps that users must take after signing up to get the most out of the platform. Some examples include:

  • Completing their profile information
  • Setting preferences
  • Uploading necessary information (e.g. contacts into a CRM, profile picture for a social media profile, etc.)
  • Upgrading their account or completing an order

This is one of the most important steps to take in a welcome email, and there's a data-backed reason behind that. Former Facebook head of growth, Chamath Palihapitiya famously discovered that if you can get a user to acquire seven friends within 10 days, they were much more likely to see Facebook's "core value" and become a returning active user. This is known as an "a-ha moment," in which the customer understands how they benefit from using your product or service.

The goal is to get the user to this aha moment as quickly as possible so your product sticks and the customer achieves success as soon as possible. This will produce a better overall customer experience and ultimately help your business grow.

To get this done, first identify your business's "core value" and the obstacles or prerequisites customers must complete to receive this value. Then you can use your welcome email to guide new customers through these tasks.

Going back to our coffee company example, let's examine these elements in practice. This company's core value is providing curated coffee according to user preferences. So, what are the main obstacles to achieving this value? Users must specify their taste preferences. This would most likely be included in the account profile, so the welcome email should include a primary call-to-action that encourages the user to complete this necessary task.

Here is what that looks like in the email:

You can see that this CTA stands out from the rest of the text and is clearly the most important objective in the body of the email. That makes sense since the goal is to bring users to the aha moment as soon as possible.

3. Include helpful resources.

As mentioned in the previous step, you want the user to see the value immediately. But customer success doesn't stop there. Depending on the nature and complexity of your product, customers may need additional help. For example, customers might require guidance on troubleshooting, utilizing advanced features, or getting the most value out of your core features.

It's likely that you've already created help content addressing common questions from customers. Whether it's tutorial videos, an FAQ page, or helpful blog posts containing best practices, this help content is essential to customer success. Why not include it in your welcome email? This gives them the tools they need up front without forcing them to search for the information after a problem arises.

Going back to our coffee company example, we can demonstrate how this looks. Although a coffee subscription service isn't a very complex product with advanced features or potential troubleshooting issues, there is still a need for help resources. For example, users might want to know best practices for storing or brewing their coffee. It could also be helpful to teach them more about the different regional coffee varieties that they're receiving.

Here is what the help resources section of the Sekai welcome email looks like:

Note that the call-to-action buttons aren't quite as conspicuous. That is because you want to signal to the reader that the original CTA from our second point (completing the profile) is the main goal of the email. These articles are secondary, but they are still available if the reader is interested.

4. Provide customer service contact information.

The final step to setting your customers up for success is making sure that they know how to contact you. You can spend all the time in the world creating excellent help content, but you can't foresee every possible problem that will arise for your customers.

Even if you could, customers are only human, and not all of them will be willing to pore through your help resources to find the answer to their question. So it's best to be forthright with customers on how they can get in touch with you for additional help.

Adding this contact information to your welcome email is a great way to lay the foundation of trust needed for a building a relationship. It drives customer loyalty and reassures readers that you are available if they need you. Avoid sending customers on a treasure hunt just to find a way to ask you a simple question. This will lead to frustration and send them into the arms of your competitors.

In the example above, you can see that Sekai Coffee has included all of the different ways that customers can contact them for help. They also added a link to the help center just in case. This gives customers access to all of the avenues for solving potential problems. This maximizes the chance that the customer will find a solution, which is essential for ensuring ultimate customer success.

Welcome Email Templates for New Customers

Now that you've seen the breakdown of the different elements of an effective welcome email and why they're important, let's put them together to create a template you can use for your own business.

Here is what the structural wireframe you need to follow to create a welcome email that drives customer success:

  • Thank your customer for signing up
  • Restate your value proposition
  • Add a call-to-action in the body that shows them the next steps they need to take to get to the aha moment with your product or service
  • Add helpful resources (articles, videos, FAQs)
  • Include contact information

New Customer Welcome Email Template

To illustrate what this looks like together, here is the full welcome email from our fictional coffee subscription company:

Here's the template if you want to copy-paste it into your own email provider.

This template is an excellent example to follow, but you can certainly adapt certain elements of your welcome email to make it more relevant to your business. You can also take inspiration from other welcome email examples to find inspiration on how to improve your own.

New Customer Onboarding Email Template

Since onboarding emails are a different type of welcome email, we have a template for you to customize that illustrates those differences described above. Here's the template if you want to copy-paste it into your own email provider.

When making changes, always keep the primary goal of your welcome email in mind: setting your customers up for success. This might mean you'll have to try out different tactics to see what works best. For example, if you have a very complicated product, you might want to split up your welcome email into an onboarding workflow. Just be sure to monitor your customer success metrics and choose the process that works best for you and your customers.

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 Customer Onboarding Templates

Originally published Dec 19, 2018 5:23:00 PM, updated September 19 2019


Customer Onboarding