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Hey, Scott Austin here.
Email is arguably the most valuable marketing channel for a brand. You see, the average established brand is getting 1/4th to 1/3rd of its revenue through email. Now that's the average. Some brands are doing much better than that.
With emails, you get to spend a little more time in telling your story and building your brand than you do with other channels where your biggest hurdle is the short attention span on that channel.
And that's why many marketing pros will tell you that the most important flow in your email is your Welcome Series. The Welcome Series is a sequence of emails that are automatically sent to new subscribers or customers when they first join your mailing list or make a purchase. The purpose of these emails is to introduce the new subscriber to the brand and begin building a relationship.
The welcome series is crucial to your brand for several reasons:
- First Impressions Matter: The welcome series is often the first direct communication between a brand and a customer. It sets the tone for future interactions and can significantly influence the customer's perception of the brand.
- Engagement: Welcome emails typically have higher open and click-through rates compared to regular promotional emails. This makes them an excellent opportunity to engage customers.
- Customer Retention: A well-crafted welcome series can help to build a strong relationship with the customer, increasing the likelihood of purchasing and repeat purchases and fostering customer loyalty.
- Brand Awareness: The welcome series provides you an opportunity to tell your brand's story. This can help you to differentiate your brand from the competition and creating an enduring relationship with the customer.
Notice, that I did not put revenue generation in the list of benefits for the Welcome Series. While a good welcome series will generate revenue, I encourage you to focus on the welcome series as a brand building tool over a revenue tool. In these early days of the customer relationship, focusing on revenue may yield short-term sales but it can come at the cost of repeat sales that a positive brand impression would generate.
Now, as most of you know, I'm a big fan of using Klaviyo for email. It couples really well with Shopify and other apps that you may use in your Shopify store. So I'm going to be using Klaviyo terminology in this conversation. But the ideas apply to any platform. And if you don't yet have Klaviyo, you can support this podcast by using the affiliate link in the show notes.
Let's get back to the goals of the Welcome Series. A common scenario that will trigger a Welcome Series is if someone signs up for your list on your Shopify store. And the incentive in the sign-up is typically a message like 'get 15% off on your first purchase.' And that's a totally fine motivator for email sign-ups. In that situation, I'll have the email sign-up trigger two different flows. One flow is the one that delivers the discount code and any follow on messsaging. The other flow is the Welcome Series, which is used for brand and ttory telling.
Having two seperate flows started by the same trigger is a great way to be able to reuse the Welcome Series in different scenarios without having to recreate the flow and maintain seperate Welcome Series flows for different situations or triggers. So this way, you'll be able to create one Welcome Series flow and be able to use it in different situations including:
- Signing up for a discount code
- Joining a list without a discount code, where the reward maybe content instead.
- Registering for a warranty
- Purchasing on the website
- Starting a subscription
- Leaving a review
Because the Welcome Series can be triggered by these different events, we need to build a mechanism in Klaviyo so that a customer isn't sent the Welcome Series content multiple time. To do this, I make a custom property that I call 'Done Education'. This is my record that the customer has gone through the Welcome Series. When any of the triggers happen I check the Done Education custom property as a first step in the flow. If the Done Education property is false or unchecked for that customer, I have the flow set the property to true and run the customer through the Welcome Series.
The Welcome Series flow can be long. It's not uncommon for stores to have 52 emails in the Welcome Series spread over 52 weeks. That way, the customer can get regular reminders about the brand even if their lack of action on the site isn't triggering any other flows. Now you may not currently have enough content about your brand to create 52 educational emails. But if your store has been in operation for a while and you are creating content, then you probably already have some content that you can re-use. And you should re-use content whenever you can. For one thing, it speeds things up. And another reason is that re-use provides consistency which helps in brand building. So look at the pages, blog articles and videos that you've already created and ask yourself if that content would work in your Welcome Series. If you do that, you'll have a better Welcome Series than the blank one you started out with.
Then you want to plan out your ideal Welcome Series and start building towards that ideal. Let's say that by rummaging around the site, you were able to pull together 4 emails. Well, we still need to build 48 emails if we want to get to 52. Or 6 more if we want to get to 10 emails. Either way, creating all of that content is not going to happen in a single day. It's going to take time. So I recommend mapping out what are the next 5 emails you want to add to your flow and creating that content. When that's done, come up with 5 more. And so on.
Now creating content is time consuming. So to help you out, I'm going to give you some ideas on what the content in these emails could be about. I'm start off with the more important ones in no particular order. Then I'll provide a list of the less important ones, also in no particular order. But as a store owner, its your job to determine the right prioritization of brand messaging and therefore content creation for your business.
So let's get started with twenty important email topics to possibly include in your Welcome Series. Remember, these are presented in no particular order as each business will have its own priorities.
- Origin story. Everybody loves a good origin story. So tell yours. What is the inspiration behind your brand and products. Your customers will probably find it more interesting than you think. And it will become one of the stories they retell when talking about your brand with their friends and family.
- About the mission. Does your company have a well-articulated mission. If not, it should. And I don't mean mean those BS missions that some stores have that don't say anything. Here's an example that I found by doing a quick Google search 'We believe business can be a force for good in the world, and we’re working hard to create a more vibrant future. We’re proud to be part of the B Corp movement, in which certified companies use the power of business to help solve social and environmental problems.' So that's garbage. Please make your mission more specific. And when you do have a well-articulated mission, it would make for a great Welcome Series email.
- Meet the founders/owners. People like to buy from people so introduce the founders and/or owners as real people. Let customers get to know a bit about these human beings. And if your store is women owned, veteran owned, or minority owned, highlight that here. One of my best practices is to have photos that include babies or dogs instead of corporate headshots.
- Meet the team. Same points as above. Just include the whole team. And if your business has employees who have been with the company for a long time, that's an impressive fact to call out.
- Press Coverage. Press coverage is great as much of the content is already created. You can screenshot the press article about you and include it in the email. And if you have lot's of press coverage, it can be spread out over multiple emails.
- Charitable giving. Let customers know whatever causes you support and how that support is given. Whether its time, money or product.
- Awards. Highlight the industry awards that you have been given. These could be for your products, your service, or your business. Industry awards help build customer trust as its external validation of your brand. And of course, multiple awards can be spread out over multiple emails.
- Professional product reviews. Now in this case, professional is in air quotes. And that's because you should highlight true professional reviews like from Wirecutter. But you should also highlight product reviews from less professional sources like YouTube influencers. And again, multiple reviews can be spaced out over multiple emails.
- How to use your store guide. Sometimes purchasing a product can be a bit complex. Maybe you offer personalized products that need to be configured. Maybe a product can be purchased ala carte or as a subscription. Maybe there a steps in the purchase proces that the customer has to walk through. Use your Welcome Series to highlight these as benefits. For example, promote a subscription as 'Get it delivered automatically to your door each month'. And provide detailed instructions on how to purchase a subscription in your store.
- Customer Reviews. These can be spread out over multiple emails. When I do that, I try to have a theme for the reviews in each email. For example have one email that focuses on fast shipping and another email that highlights customer support.
- Explanation of shipping, taxes and duties per country. If you are selling to more than one country, create an email for each country that explains how your store charges shipping, taxes and duties for that country. Add Conditional Splits that looks at the customer's Country property to send them the appropriate email.
- Join in on Social. Let you customer know which social channels they can interact with your brand on. And highlight how the content and interactions differ between channels.
- The story of how your company name and logo was designed. This is another origin story and more focussed than the broader brand origin story.
- A feature on the evolution of your brand over the years. One common and compelling way to do this is by showing a timeline with important brand milestones.
- Return Policy. If your Return Policy is a positive feature to your customers, then hightlight it. A compelling way is through customer testimonials.
- A spotlight on the sustainability practices of your brand. Green and the environment are very popular with most people. So highlight the efforts you are taking in this area.
- How products are sourced. If you are manufacturing your own products, talk about the ethical sourcing programs that you have in place, if any.
- If fast shipping is a differentiator for you, let your customers know. This is best done through customer testimonials.
- A feature on the partnerships or collaborations your brand has. These can be very powerful social proof.
- Share your marketing calendar. Let your customers know what your marketing calendar looks like. When are your big sales and promotions throughout the year so customers can plan for them.
So that's 20 email ideas. You should pick the ones that apply for your brand and add them to your Welcome Series flow as you get the content created. Now if you get through all of those, I have a list of 67 more ideas that you can browse through to keep building out your Welcome Series. I won't go into them here, but you'll see a link in the show notes to them.
So here's the summary of this episode:
- Email is a significant revenue driver. Implement it if you haven't done so already.
- The Welcome Series is one of your most important flows. Implement it if you haven't done so already.
- The Welcomes Series should focus on telling your brand story and not be focussed on sales.
- There's a never-ending list of content that you can create to tell your brand story. I've included 87 ideas here. Pick the right ones for your brand and implement them.
- Re-use the content you create across your marketing.
Thanks for listening.
Even More Welcome Series Email Ideas
Remember, these are presented in no particular order as each business will have its own priorities.
- Head to head comparisons between your products and a competitors.
- New Arrivals to your store.
- Best Selling Products in your store.
- A detailed history of your brand.
- The story of a customer who was significantly impacted by your brand.
- A feature on the diversity and inclusion initiatives of your brand.
- A spotlight on the training and development programs for your employees.
- The story of how your brand is contributing to the local community.
- The story of a major challenge your brand overcame.
- The story of a major milestone or achievement of your brand.
- The story of how your brand responded to a crisis or disaster.
- A feature on the research and development efforts of your brand.
- A spotlight on the customer service philosophy of your brand.
- The story of how your brand has adapted to changes in the industry.
- If you have closeout or outlet products, let customers know the process for getting these great deals.
- A feature on the quality assurance processes of your brand.
- Show the team having fun at work.
- A feature on the work-life balance initiatives for your employees.
- A spotlight on the customer feedback and how it has shaped your brand.
- The story of how your brand has expanded to new markets or regions.
- A feature on the team-building activities and events at your company.
- The story of how your employees are encouraged to innovate.
- A feature on the health and wellness initiatives for your employees.
- A spotlight on the lessons learned from failures or setbacks.
- A feature on the family-friendly policies of your company.
- A spotlight on the hobbies and interests of your employees.
- The story of a day in the life of an employee.
- A feature on the personal values of your employees.
- A spotlight on the lessons learned from successes.
- The story of how your brand is staying ahead of the competition.
- A feature on the personal growth stories of your founder or CEO.
- A spotlight on the customer loyalty programs of your brand.
- Talk about any patents that you own.
- A spotlight on the future plans and projects of your brand.
- A list of your most popular blog posts or resources.
- A request for the subscriber to update their preferences.
- A behind-the-scenes look at your brand.
- A feature on how your products are made.
- A tutorial or how-to guide related to your products.
- A challenge or contest for subscribers.
- A glossary of industry terms or jargon.
- A case study or success story.
- A free resource, such as a printable or e-book.
- A quiz or interactive content.
- A customer spotlight or interview.
- A sneak peek of a day in the life at your company.
- A list of your locations or stockists.
- A feature on the technology or innovation behind your products.
- A list of your customer service contact information.
- A feature on a celebrity or influencer who uses your products.
- A guide to navigating your industry.
- A list of your brand's commitments or promises to customers.
- A feature on a trend in your industry.
- An invitation to provide feedback or take a survey.
- A spotlight on your customer service team.
- An invitation to an exclusive subscriber-only event.
- A feature on a customer who has made a difference in their community.
- A guide to the different product categories you offer.
- A feature on how your brand is adapting to current events.
- A guide to the different payment options you offer.
- A list of your most frequently asked questions.
- A guide to the different sizes or variations of your products.
- A list of the different ways to use your most versatile product.
- A guide to the benefits of creating an account on your website.
- A spotlight on a product that's great for gifting.
- A feature on a product that's been recently updated or improved.
- A guide to the different ways to pair your products with other items.