Whether it was virtual reality five years ago or TikTok today, marketers love a shiny new object. Meanwhile, email marketing is as reliable as it’s ever been, averaging a 145% ROI, according to 2018 research from the Association of National Advertisers and the Data & Marketing Association. At the same time, email is where consumers most want to hear from brands, making it the perfect channel for retailers looking to increase revenue.

That quest should start with welcome emails. Customers are most engaged when a brand is new to them, so a strong onboarding series is crucial. Here are five tactics retailers can use to increase revenue by turning their digital welcome mats into red carpets.


Build a foundation

What makes your brand unique? What are your values and key differentiators? While you’re onboarding new customers, everything from word choice to images should answer that question, highlighting what makes your brand special. At the same time, it’s a good idea to set expectations by explaining your policies or how different services (or membership tiers, if you’re a subscription-based retailer) work. 

It’s a crucial step, especially if you market niche or out-of-the-ordinary products or services. The email below, from Fracture, introduces new customers to its unique photo-on-glass products and takes plenty of time to explain the process and reassure customers who need more persuading. The personal message from the CEO adds to the welcome feeling.

Hello from the Fracture Team

Fracture welcome email


Personalize, personalize, personalize

Using a recipient’s first name in a subject line increases the chances an email is opened, so imagine the power of more advanced personalized marketing tactics. During onboarding there are countless options, though source and interest are particularly effective. If someone searched for jeans and then clicked on an ad that brought them to your site, that tells you something about them. Leverage that information to personalize your welcome series.

This welcome email from Bryan Anthonys starts off right by adding the customer’s name, Sara, to the subject line. Although it has no interior personalization, it does score points with us for explaining where the company name comes from and making the value proposition easy to understand.

Bryan Anthonys: Welcome To Bryan Anthonys, Sara

Bryan Anthonys welcome email 237x1024


Encourage high-value behavior

Not only are new customers the most engaged; they’re also the most impressionable. Determine what high-value behaviors your best shoppers have in common and incorporate them into your welcome series. 

For example, say those customers who download your app ultimately become three times as valuable as non-users. Center one of the messages in your welcome stream on the benefits of your app and incentivize downloads, perhaps with a time-bound discount.

Ulta puts its mobile app front and center in its welcome series, starting with the subject line and moving on to a clearly defined list of benefits. “Download our app” is not as compelling as “Track everything in our app!” This message doesn’t miss a trick — including the reminder to turn on push notifications, which many app promotions overlook.

Ulta Beauty: Psst—track everything in our app! 📲

Ulta welcome email 241x1024

Link your loyalty program

Joining a brand’s loyalty membership is a universally high-value behavior. According to Accenture research, loyalty program members generate an average of 12 to 18% more revenue than non-members each year. Make sure your new customers know you have a loyalty program and how signing up for it will benefit them, whether you offer member exclusive events and promotions, free shipping or extra points for every purchase.

Although Nordstrom’s loyalty program, the Nordy Club, doesn’t get top billing in this welcome email, it gets the largest share of message real estate with a shopper-friendly invitation and clearly defined list of benefits.

Nordstrom: Hi! Welcome to Nordstrom.

Nordstrom welcome email 218x1024


Highlight items known to activate

Some onboarding series are for new customers; others are for new subscribers who haven’t yet made their first purchase. For subscribers with no purchase history brands may obviously not know enough about them to make the best possible product recommendations. However, they do know their more-established customers. Which items have historically been catalysts for conversions? Ensure those best sellers are a part of your welcome series.

Thrive Market introduces bestselling items to new customers and highlights a generous one-day-only discount next to each popular product. At the bottom of the email it also lists categories that are currently trending on its website and encourages new readers to explore products that are not on sale but are high in demand.

EXTRA 25% off Artisana Organics 🙌

Thrive Market 2020 01 29 1711 wednesday EXTRA 25 off Artisana Organics  54x300


Welcome emails are merely the first triggers throughout the customer lifecycle. To learn about the rest, and how they can drive ROI, check out Sailthru’s Guide to Increasing Revenue with Email.

Mike O’Brien is a content marketer for Sailthru, a leading platform for email personalization and cross-channel digital marketing.

Editorial Image by ELLE RITTER from Pixabay

Post tags   Email Marketing Strategy