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20 welcome emails that build trust for long-term engagement

· 23 min read · Automation,Email marketing · Mar 29, 2023
MailerLite CMO, Indre, enjoying the view.

Have you heard the saying "You never get a second chance at a first impression?" Well, that couldn't be more true than with welcome emails.

Welcome emails are the first step in building a long-lasting relationship with your subscribers. So roll out the red carpet and make your new subscribers feel at home on your email list!

In this post, we'll share welcome email best practices that create lasting first impressions.

Along the way, we’ll explain why they WOW new subscribers and show you some welcome email examples and welcome email subject lines that will inspire your own welcome email templates.

Let’s dive in!

A welcome email is the first email you send to new subscribers, customers or users. It's your chance to let them know more about you, your business and what they can expect after subscribing. Welcome emails are usually automated emails, so that as soon as your subscriber signs up, you can begin developing your relationship with them.

Engagement rates for welcome emails are eye-popping. On average, welcome emails get 4x the open rate and 5x the click rate compared to standard marketing emails. When someone subscribes to your newsletter, they expect to receive a welcome newsletter immediately. They’ll even visit their inboxes just to find it.

An authentic “thank you” and “welcome” builds trust between you and your subscriber, which lays the foundation for a long-term relationship and increases customer retention.

1. Build a relationship with personalization

A simple welcome email from Beam that starts with
Image credit: Beam

Using personalization in welcome emails can have a significant impact on the success of your email marketing campaigns. By using a recipient's name, location, or other relevant information, you can create a more engaging and memorable experience. This can help build a stronger connection between your brand and the subscriber.

👍  What’s good?

  • Beam welcomes new subscribers by name, establishing a human connection and making subscribers feel special, not like they’re just another number

  • The welcome email is simple with a clear CTA

👉  Tip: You can gather more information for personalization by adding custom fields to your signup forms or having multiple welcome sequences based on the page subscribers signed up on. You can also use an email preference center to allow subscribers to personalize their subscriptions with you.

2. Set expectations for your email campaigns 

1000 Email Ideas welcome email with a
Image credit: 1000 Email Ideas

If your email campaigns don’t deliver on your promise (i.e. providing valuable content), your subscriber will feel cheated and most likely unsubscribe immediately.

👍  What’s good?

  • 1000 Email Ideas includes a newsletter archive in their welcome email

  • New customers understand what they can expect from their future newsletters

👉  Tip: Your welcome email is like a first date. It’s your chance to build trust. When you establish how that relationship will play out the first time you interact, your new subscribers will be more receptive to your future emails. This will result in higher engagement and fewer spam complaints.

3. Keep it short and sweet

Short welcome email from Blinkist with a big graphic that says
Image credit: Blinkist

No one wants to read a novel-length message when they're just getting to know you. A brief and friendly greeting is much more likely to leave a positive impression. As they say, "Brevity is the soul of wit”—unless you're trying to explain quantum mechanics, in which case, good luck!

👍  What’s good?

  • Blinkist keeps their minimalist welcome email to the bare essentials: Hello, here’s what to expect from subscribing, here’s how to manage your subscription

  • The CTA drives readers back to the website where they’re more likely to convert

👉  Tip: While the rule of thumb is to keep your welcome email around 100 words, you can probably get away with 200 if you break up the text with images and offers.

4. Introduce your social media channels

CB2 furniture welcome email example orange chair on white background
Image credit: CB2

👍  What’s good?

  • CB2 explains what new members will enjoy from their email newsletters

  • The CTA focuses on getting their new customers on social media

  • Connecting with them online builds up social proof and, in turn, attracts new customers

👉  Tip: Instead of starting with the hard sell, deepen the relationship by inviting new subscribers to connect on social media. They’ll get to experience another side of your brand and learn more about your values.

Fostering a community of email subscribers and growing your email list is a process that requires more than one channel. The powerful synergy of email marketing and social proof helps build stronger relationships!

5. Use a video when you have a lot to say

Beardbrand welcome email example bearded gentlemen on a wallpaper background
Image credit: Beardbrand

👍  What’s good?

  • Beardbrand's welcome email is all about introducing new customers to the community

  • Rather than create a long welcome email newsletter explaining their values, they added a link to a video that covers all they want to say

6. Sell the experience and not the product

King Arthur Flour welcome email example hands kneading dough
Image credit: King Arthur Flour

👍  What’s good?

  • King Arthur Flour welcomes you into their community as a fellow baker

  • There’s not a single bag of flour in sight! Instead, they sell the raw emotion and satisfaction of creating something from scratch

👉  Tip: You don’t always have to feature your product prominently in your welcome email. Sometimes it’s better to focus on the benefits or experience of using your product or service. This way new subscribers may be curious to connect the dots and try it for themselves.

7. Make emails interactive 

Peloton best welcome email example fitness instructors on white background
Image credit: Peloton

👍  What’s good?

  • Peloton's first email immediately engages you with photos of their instructors

  • Their fitness wear reinforces the high-energy workouts that you signed up for, remember?

  • You're prompted to take a quiz to find your perfect coach—and start pedaling!

👉  Tip: In MailerLite, you can use the survey or quiz block to embed an interactive survey or quiz right into your newsletter.

8. Inject a sense of urgency 

Glassdoor welcome email example people discussing in front of a glass door
Image credit: Glassdoor

👍  What’s good?

  • Glassdoor cuts to the chase by highlighting clear actionable steps to help you find a job now

  • Their 3-step process leads your eye to a clear CTA button to contribute to their pool of employer and interview reviews

👉  Tip: When someone subscribes to an email list, they expect to receive a welcome email immediately. In fact, real-time welcome emails have significantly higher open, click and transaction rates than bulk welcomes.

The only way to send your new subscribers their welcome email in real-time is to create an automated email sequence. Although it sounds technical, automating emails with MailerLite is super easy. Get a huge head start by choosing a template from our automation template gallery.

9. Add your brand identity 

Nintendo welcome email example Super Mario
Image credit: Nintendo

👍  What’s good?

  • Super Mario makes this welcome email newsletter instantly recognizable!

  • The bundled perks are enough to warm the heart of any Nintendo fan

  • Nintendo’s use of colors, icons and tone of voice communicate their unique brand

👉  Tip: Your new subscribers are receiving dozens of emails every day. When you establish a distinct look in your first email, your subscribers will know exactly what to look for in future emails.

10. Show your uniqueness in your email marketing messages

PrettyLittleThing welcome email example unicorns on pink background
Image credit: PrettyLittleThing

👍  What’s good?

  • PrettyLitteThing immediately feels like your BFF with their sassy headline, pink unicorns and lingo

  • They nail the message perfectly by speaking in a way that appeals to their target audience

👉  Tip: Use colors, images and words in your welcome email design that your target audience can instantly identify with.

Create your first welcome email in minutes!

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11. Add an e-commerce storefront in your welcome emails

Ripples welcome email example girl floating in a pool
Image credit: Ripples

👍  What’s good?

  • Bring out the pina colada! 🍹 A lot is going on in this busy Ripples newsletter but their bright summer colors bring it all together nicely

  • The menu at the top of their welcome email seamlessly connects you with their online store landing page

12. Offer a welcome discount

Welcome email from Thought Sanctuary with an arch-shaped image of hands using essential oils on a forest green background.
Image credit: Thought Sanctuary

Offering a discount to new email subscribers is a clever way to incentivize them to make their first purchase. By providing a discount code in your welcome email, you're showing your appreciation for their interest in your brand and giving them an extra nudge to hit “Checkout”.

👍  What’s good?

  • Their special offers and discount code make you feel privileged to be part of their email list (and give you an extra incentive to press “Buy now” on your next order)

  • The CTA immediately after the discount code entices readers to use the discount code right away

13. Give your emails a distinct personality

Lovely Notes welcome email example cartoon purple background
Image credit: Lovely Notes

👍  What’s good?

  • Lovely Notes starts with a heartfelt note from the founders

  • New users are reminded about what they signed up for by cleverly including the product in the onboarding email

  • A whimsical welcome email design gives this effective welcome email a distinct personality

14. Offer preferences in the welcome email 

Groove welcome email example plain text email from ceo
Image credit: Groove

👍  What’s good?

  • Groove uses a simple text email format and the message feels like it was written just for you

  • New users are given a chance to pick the type of email content that they're interested in for the email series

15. Use ‘appropriate’ humor in your email marketing strategy

Videofruit welcome email example text email with funny GIF
Image credit: Videofruit

👍  What’s good?

  • Videofruit sends a simple text email that could easily be from a good friend

  • It doubles up as a confirmation email for something that was opted-in earlier

  • Bryan signs off with a funny GIF to showcase his company’s quirky personality

👉  Tip: Humor is an unexpected tactic. When done correctly it’ll put a smile on your readers’ faces!

16. Write inspirational subject lines

Memberful welcome email example email with emojis inspirational subject line
Image credit: Memberful

👍  What’s good?

  • Memberful sits in your inbox with a purposeful and simple subject line

  • The email’s helpful tone and voice speaks directly to you

  • They’re humble and even willing to suggest another solution for your needs!

👉  Tip: A controlled sprinkling of emojis helps to break the monotony of a welcome email.

17. Always be positive (avoid negative phrasing)

TradeGecko welcome email example bright green colours
Image credit: TradeGecko

👍  What’s good?

  • TradeGecko starts on a positive note from the get-go

  • New users are ushered along the onboarding process with dry wit and humor

👉  Tip: Consistent use of a single color in your welcome email reinforces your brand image.

18. Demonstrate how your product works 

Zapier welcome email example illustrations on white background
Image credit: Zapier

👍  What’s good?

  • Zapier uses helpful content marketing to guide their new subscribers in their welcome email

  • Their welcome series email contains a demonstration of their marketing automation platform, with actionable steps to get started

  • They maximize the email’s conversion rate by cleverly inserting a subtle CTA at the end

👉  Tip: Where possible, use your product to send the welcome email and you’ll instantly earn a lot of credibility for it.

19. Encourage readers to take specific actions

Chipotle welcome email containing an image of a burrito wrapped in foil, with a CTA button that reads
Image credit: Chipotle

Encouraging subscribers to take action with a clear call-to-action (CTA) in your welcome emails is key to driving engagement and conversions. Whether you want subscribers to check out your products or services, follow you on social media, or sign up for your online course, a well-crafted CTA is how you guide your subscribers toward the next step in their journey with your brand.

👍  What’s good?

  • Chipotle uses their welcome CTA to encourage subscribers to add their city to their preferences, giving them an opportunity to send even more targeted emails

  • On top of the clear main CTA, they also include 3 mini CTAs to view the menu, find a store or order now

👉  Tip: Get creative with your CTA text. Generic phrases like “Shop now” and “Learn more” are overused and predictable. You need to speak directly to your audience if you want them to take action. Learn how to craft a winning CTA in our guide on how to create a call-to-action that works.

20. Run A/B tests to perfect your strategy

A/B testing your welcome emails can be a game-changer for your business. By comparing the performance of two different versions of your email, you can optimize your messaging, layout, and calls to action to improve engagement and conversion rates.

We run A/B tests on all sorts of campaigns, not just our welcome emails. In this example, we wanted to test if we should be including graphics at the beginning of our newsletters, or whether a plain text email was the way forward.

A side-by-side of two versions of the same emails used in an A/B test. One contains an image of a man and the other does not.
MailerLite automation builder

After running this A/B test, we learned that newsletters with images at the beginning generated a much higher click rate than those without.

In MailerLite, it’s easy to include A/B tests throughout your welcome email sequence with our new feature for A/B split testing in automations.

A/B testing is like being a detective. You have to gather evidence, analyze it, and come up with a hypothesis about what works and what doesn't. And if you're lucky, you might even solve the case of what makes up the perfect welcome email series.

👉  Tip: A/B testing is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s important that you only test one element of your welcome email at a time, for example, your subject line or CTA. That way you get a clear insight into what changes directly affect your email metrics.

Checklist: What to include in a welcome email

Good emails are made up of the same basic anatomy. Use this cheat sheet of key takeaways when creating your own welcome email templates to ensure that all your welcome emails have the structure they need to set you up for success.

  • A warm “welcome” subject line

  • A personalized greeting

  • A short, fun or witty introduction to your brand

  • A gift, discount or exclusive offer

  • Direct instructions on what to do next with a clear CTA

If welcome emails give the first impression of your brand, then the welcome email subject line is akin to that split second of eye contact before you reach out to shake hands. It can determine whether you’re met with a strong shake and a big smile, or a suspicious stiffness.

You want your personality to shine through, but at the same time, you want to be clear that the email is a welcome message to kick off something special.

So, how do you write an email subject line that WOWs like these examples of welcome emails?

Marketing emails with “welcome” in their subject line enjoy higher open rates and click-through rates.

We wondered about the effect of including “welcome” in the subject line of a welcome email newsletter. To satisfy our curiosity, we analyzed our data all the way back to 2017 or about 12,000 emails in all.

Unsurprisingly, email marketing campaigns that featured a “welcome” subject line enjoyed a median open rate 55% higher than those without. And their median CTR was almost 60% higher!

So, here’s a pro tip: put “welcome” in your subject line for a start.

Next, we analyzed several successful subject lines and noticed a common structure.

A welcome email subject line that WOWs has two parts – the welcome greeting + something special.

The "something special" part of the subject line can be anything that invites the reader’s interest. Perhaps, an incentive, a personal message or something that creates curiosity or urgency.

Subject line 1: Welcome to TULA! Enjoy 20% off your first purchase.

TULA uses an incentive to create interest. Offering a promotion or coupon is one of the most effective ways to improve open rates.

Subject line 2: Welcome to Holland & Barrett… Let’s get to know each other

Holland & Barrett follow up their welcome message with an invitation to share personal details. It’s unclear how they will do it, which is why you’ll open the email to see.

Subject line 3: Hi Dave, it's Thue from KISSmetrics

KISSmetrics combines its welcome message with a personal touch. This subject line uses both the sender and the recipient's real name.

Subject line 4: Welcome! How can I make Indie Hackers more helpful to You?

Indie Hackers wants to help you. By asking a question in the subject line, the reader will open the email if they want to answer it.

Subject line 5: Welcome to my inner circle. Here's where to start

Syed Balkhi
 of OptinMonster takes an inclusive approach with a promise of insider information and advice. He follows the welcome message with a CTA.

All of these subject lines do a good job of establishing a welcome message while adding something a little extra to describe the content in the email body. For more inspiration, check out our guide on How to write the best subject lines to boost open rates.

A single welcome email is a good start, but you don't have to stop there.

By creating a series of welcome emails, you can take subscribers on a journey, sharing valuable information and gradually moving them closer to a purchase decision.

You can use the welcome series to further educate subscribers about your products or services, offer more exclusive deals or discounts, deliver lead magnets, and showcase your brand personality. By doing so, you're not only making a great first impression, but you're also nurturing your subscribers, building trust with potential customers, and setting the stage for a long-term relationship.

Take a look at this welcome email automation example built from a workflow template in MailerLite.

A welcome email sequence in MailerLite, with multiple triggers and two condition steps.
Advanced welcome email automation template from MailerLite

This template allows you to go beyond a simple welcome email by inviting subscribers to choose their preferences and sending promotional emails to probe their interests out of them. People who use a template like this are going to have way more targeting power than people who send a single welcome email.

Whether you're a small business or a multinational enterprise, starting your subscriber journey with a warm welcome email is the first step to a great customer journey.

After seeing these welcome email examples, I bet you're motivated to start creating your own welcome email! And guess what? It's super easy with MailerLite.

Our drag & drop editors for newsletters and email automation templates make it simple to include these best email marketing practices in your campaigns.

Create your first welcome email!

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Editor's note: This article was originally published in July 2020, but has been revamped with new tips and fresh examples.

Jonas Fischer
Jonas Fischer
I'm Jonas, Content Manager at MailerLite. I’m not the 4th Jonas Brother, but I do write content (which is similar to being a teen heartthrob). After writing for a bunch of companies over the years, I discovered my professional passion—helping add some humanity to B2B marketing. Email is the perfect place to start!