We’ve all heard how important it is to make a good first impression.
Show up late for a job interview? That’s a bad first impression. Eat a ton of garlic and forget to brush your teeth before a first date? Also a bad first impression.
It turns out that the “make a good first impression” principle holds true not only in face-to-face encounters but email interactions as well. The result? The right welcome email goes a long way to connect with potential business contacts or customers.
What is a welcome email?
A welcome email is the first impression a company makes with a new customer, blog subscriber, or newsletter subscriber via email. Welcome emails can deliver videos, special offers, a sign-up form, or just a friendly hello to establish a relationship with a new contact.
When you send a welcome email to a new blog reader, newsletter subscriber, or customer, you’re making a first impression on behalf of your brand. To help ensure you’re making the best first impression possible, we’ve rounded up some examples of standout welcome emails from brands big and small.
Pro Tip: Use HubSpot’s free email marketing software to easily create a high-quality welcome email sequence like the ones featured below.
As you’ll soon discover, each example below showcases different tactics and strategies for engaging new email subscribers. Let’s dive in.
The Components of an Impressive Welcome Email
What makes a great welcome email? While there’s no one-size-fits-all format, there are several key components that can help your email stand out from the crowd and connect with your intended audience. These include:
Compelling Subject Lines
The first step in making a great first impression? Make sure recipients actually open your emails. subject lines are critical — opt for short and to the point subjects that make it clear what you’re sending, who it’s from, and why it matters to potential customers.
While the main purpose of welcome emails is to introduce your brand, it’s also critical to add value by providing the next steps for interested customers. A good place to start is by offering links to the great content on your website that will give your customers more context if they’re curious about what you do and how you do it.
Personalization can help your welcome emails stand out from the pack. By providing customized introductory offers on products consumers may want — based on the information they’ve provided or data available on public, social platforms — welcome emails can help drive ongoing interest.
Clear Opt-Out Options
It’s also important to provide a clear way out if users aren’t interested. Make sure all your welcome emails contain “unsubscribe” options that allow customers to select how much (or how little) contact they want from you going forward. If there’s one thing that sours a budding business relationship, it’s incessant emails that aren’t easy to stop. Always give customers a way to opt-out.
10 Examples of Standout Welcome Emails
So what does a great welcome email look like? We’ve collected some standout welcome message series examples that include getting started messages, thank you emails, and offer templates to help you take customers through the welcome process from start to finish — and make a great impression along the way.
Type of welcome: Get Started
A welcome email is a perfect medium for introducing folks to the characteristics (and eccentricities) that make your brand unique.
For Virgin America, that means putting the “I love you” hand symbol front and center. This small gesture signals to the recipient that the folks at Virgin America care about their customers. The playful accompanying copy, “Welcome aboard,” and casual call-to-action, “Grab a seat,” also help to position Virgin America as a hip, fun-loving brand right off the bat.
Type of welcome: Get Started
Sometimes the tiniest of elements in a welcome email can speak volumes about a brand. And when it comes to Food52’s welcome email, their preview text at the top of the email, “We brought snacks,” definitely accomplishes this.
Also known as a pre-header or snippet text, the preview text is the copy that gets pulled in from the body of an email and displayed next to (or beneath) the subject line in someone’s inbox. So when you see Food52’s welcome email in your inbox, you get a taste of their brand’s personality before you even open it.
Food52’s welcome email also does a good job of building trust by putting a face (make that two faces) to their name. As soon as you open the email, you see a photograph and message from the company’s founders.
Type of welcome: Video
From the subject line to the conversational tone in the email body, the welcome email above keeps it friendly and simple so the focus stays on the introductory video inside.
Monday.com is a task management tool for teams and businesses, and the welcome email you get when you sign up makes you feel like the CEO, Roy Man, is talking directly to you. The email even personalizes the opening greeting by using the recipient’s first name — this is well known for increasing email click-through rates (especially if the name is in the subject line).
The more you can make your email sound like a one-on-one conversation between you and your subscriber, the better. If you have just so many details you need to inform your new customer of, follow Monday.com’s lead and embed them in a video, rather than spelling them all out in the email itself.
Type of welcome: Thank You
Let’s face it: We, the internet-using public, are constantly bombarded with prompts to sign up for and subscribe to all sorts of email communications. So as a brand, when someone takes the time to sift through all the chaos in order to intentionally sign up for your email communications, it’s a big deal.
In order to acknowledge how grateful they are to the folks who actually take the time to subscribe, Kate Spade uses a simple — but effective — tactic with their welcome emails: They say “Thank You” in big, bold lettering. And by placing that “Thank You” on an envelope, Kate Spade recreates the feeling of receiving an actual thank-you letter in the mail. (The 15% off discount code doesn’t hurt either.)
Type of welcome: Get Started
If there’s an ideal “attitude” that welcome emails should give off, Lyft has got it.
The company’s simple but vibrant welcome email, shown above, focuses entirely on the look and feel of the app, delivering a design that’s as warm and smooth as the lifts that Lyft wants to give you. At the same time, the email’s branded pink call-to-action draws your eyes toward the center of the page to “Take a Ride” — inviting language that doesn’t make you feel pressured as a new user.
Type of welcome: Offer
It might not be the most beautifully designed email on this list, but that doesn’t mean IKEA’s welcome email isn’t effective.
Instead of going for the hard sell (e.g., “By stuff now!”), or explaining what it is they do (which is something IKEA probably assumes most people already know), IKEA uses its welcome email to turn folks onto its other, lesser-known programs and content channels. For example, there’s a call-to-action right at the top that explains the value of its member benefits program. There are also prompts to visit their design blog and to contribute to their collaborative “Share Space” site.
Of course, if you’re not interested in any of that stuff, IKEA’s welcome email also makes it easy for you to simply log in and start shopping (there’s a login field right up top).
Type of welcome: Offer
The Michaels approach to the welcome email borrows elements from both Kate Spade and Virgin America. In addition to expressing gratitude to the folks who took the time to sign up, Michaels uses its welcome email to showcase the brand. And the company does a great job: The lengthy email feels like one big arts and crafts project, complete with paint, yarn, and chalkboards.
Another standout feature of this welcome email is that Michaels makes it immediately clear what value its future email communications are going to provide. After thanking subscribers, there’s this nice bit of copy that sums it up:
“We’re going to send fun stuff like DIY tips and tricks, invites to in-store events, and exclusive deals and coupons.”
Type of welcome: Hello
Sphero’s welcome email might in fact be the cutest one we’ve seen recently — and it was sent from a galaxy far, far away.
If you purchase a Bluetooth-controlled BB-8, the friendly Droid from Star Wars, it was probably made by Sphero. And if it was, you’ll have an email similar to the one above waiting in your inbox when you activate your new rolling companion.
This email’s subject line is what qualifies it for this list — “A little Droid told us you wanted our emails.” By cleverly personifying the product, and being somewhat candid about its email marketing newsletters, Sphero develops a relationship with its recipients through the product you just bought from them.
Besides showing you how to use your new BB-8 Droid with your smartphone, all this welcome email wanted to do was say hi — just like BB-8 himself.
Type of welcome: Video
When you sign up for InVision’s free prototyping app, the welcome email makes it very clear what your next step should be: using the app.
To facilitate this action, InVision’s welcome email doesn’t simply list out what you need to do in order to get started. Instead, it shows you what you need to do with a series of quick videos. Given the visual, interactive nature of the product, this makes a lot of sense.
Type of welcome: Get Started
No fancy design work. No videos. No photos. The welcome email Drift sends out after signing up for their newsletter is a lesson in minimalism.
The email opens with a bit of candid commentary on the email itself. “Most people have really long welcome email sequences after you get on their email list,” Dave from Drift writes, before continuing: “Good news: we aren’t most people.” What follows is simply a bulleted list of the company’s most popular blog posts. And the only mention of the product comes in a brief postscript at the very end.
If you’re trying to craft a welcome email that’s non-interruptive, and that’s laser-focused on adding value vs. fluff, this is a great example to follow.
Bonus Example: HubSpot’s Welcome Email Templates
Need a little help getting your welcome email efforts off the ground? We’ve got you covered with welcome message templates to streamline the connection process. The example below is one of four templates offered in our free kit (which also includes 40+ customer email templates) and showcases a straightforward example of a great welcome email.
Simply fill in the details, tweak the text to reflect your brand voice, and start sending.
Download the kit now to start crafting the perfect series of welcome emails for new customers.
Now that you’ve seen some great examples of welcome emails, let’s dig into the process of writing a great email and catching customer attention.
How to Write a Welcome Email
- Write a catchy subject line
- Restate your value proposition
- Show the next onboarding steps
- Generate the “A-ha” moment
- Add helpful resources
- Provide customer service contact information
- Conclude with a call-to-action
1. Write a Catchy Subject Line
Research shows that while more than 90% of welcome emails are opened, just 23% are actually read. That means if your welcome email doesn’t catch the eye of your new customer, they may not know you sent it at all.
The best tool you can leverage to increase email open rates is the subject line. A catchy and actionable subject line can draw customers in and make them curious about your content.
When writing subject lines, be sure to include what your email is promoting and how it will benefit your customer. Remember to be concise because the reader will only be able to see a sentence or two in the preview. A good rule of thumb is that your subject line should provide enough information to peak the reader’s interest, but not enough so that they need to open your email for the full details.
2. 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.
3. Show the Next Onboarding 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. 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
4. Generate the “A-ha” Moment
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.
5. Add 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 upfront without forcing them to search for the information after a problem arises.
6. 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 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.
7. Conclude with a Call-to-Action
You should wrap up your welcome email with a call-to-action that entices customers to begin the onboarding process. After you’ve demonstrated your company’s value and explained how you’re going to help them achieve their goals, customers will be eager to get started. So, make things easier for them by providing a button at the end of the email that triggers the first step in the onboarding process.
Here’s one example of what this could look like.
Making a Great First Impression
Bottom line? Whether it’s in-person, over the phone, or by email, first impressions matter. Your welcome email is often the first chance a prospective customer or contact has to see what your brand is all about and if you don’t stick the landing, they’ll likely go somewhere else.
Luckily, writing a great welcome email is simple. It’s not easy, necessarily, but if you focus on what matters — compelling subject lines, great content, personalized offers, and always, always a way to opt-out, your first impression can help lay the groundwork for long-term relationships.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.