This post is sponsored by Epsilon.
New relationships are exciting. It is a time when you get to know someone and they get to know you. You learn about each other and determine how symbiotic the relationship can be, which takes time. So why is it that more than 90% of brands are sending only one welcome message?
Capitalising on the welcome messaging opportunities, at a time when the subscriber is highly engaged, is one of the continued, big misses by brands with their email programs today.
Here are some things to consider when evaluating the welcome experience for your customers:
Are you saying "Thank You"?
Subscribers to an email program are often times some of your best customers, but with the average consumer receiving 122 messages from brands on a daily basis, it is clear they have choices when sharing their email address. So when they do share it with you, it is important to show some gratitude and say "Thank You".
Is your first welcome message sent immediately?
We live in a world of “right now”, where we are all a little impatient and expect immediate gratification. But is that gratification met by sending welcome messages in batch at the end of the day (or even worse, the week)? Absolutely not. When a gesture is made, an immediate show of gratitude is proper manners in any situation, and your email program is no different. If you are not triggering your email program at the point of subscription, you need to be.
Are you cramming all your content in one complicated message?
Some programs and brands are more complicated than others, but everyone has the opportunity to set the customer relationship up for success, over time. Your email subscriber already knows your brand, but what can you share that they don’t know. Education is the key to a long-term, lucrative relationship but don’t try to do it in one message. All that content can be overwhelming and, quite frankly, ignored. So don’t throw everything in a single email communication, leverage a series to educate (and engage) over time.
Are you applying what you know?
New subscribers are sometimes a blank canvas. You don’t know much about them at the point of the initial welcome message, but it is important that you apply what you are learning to your welcome series at each touch. Understanding the circumstance surrounding subscription can tell you a lot about your new subscriber and how they interact with each of your messages in the series can tell you even more.
For example, did subscription occur via purchase, as a request for more information or through a sweepstakes? Each of these scenarios tells you something about the likelihood of continued engagement with your brand and what value propositions you should consider sharing. Each touch allows you to learn something more about your subscriber; reflect that in your next conversation.
Have you set proper expectations?
Your welcome series is a great place to share with the customer your intentions. Each touch of the welcome series should include some element of what the customer can expect from you moving forward. This can mean a lot of things, but at a minimum you should be establishing what the customer will be receiving from you, how often and when.
Are you really listening?
It is important to hear your customers, not just via surveys or customer service centers, but hearing their engagement with your brand via your email program is frequently an overlooked source of information. Every open (or not), every click (or not) and every purchase (or not) tells you something about your customer. Be sure to listen to those signals and apply what you heard to your next response in this dialogue. It tells customers you are invested in this relationship and you care about what they are implicitly saying (or not saying).
Did you just send another offer?
Not every relationship is discount driven, but by sending an offer in exchange for your email sets an expectation that a discount is your value proposition. Instead consider leveraging offers to reward behavior – not for every subscriber – but for those that engage with your email series, share information in progressive profiling over time or upgrade their relationship in some way as a result.
The key is that not everyone should get rewarded and the reward shouldn’t be expected – sometimes it isn’t even necessary at all. Think about how you are using offers in your welcome series today – and then reconsider. Are you really driving the behavior you desire?
There are a lot of moving pieces to a welcome series, requiring a lot of planning, consideration and preparation. All that effort is worth it, especially if it means getting your relationship off the ground the right way.
The writer is Kara Trivunovic, vice president of digital solutions at Epsilon.