Why a Welcome Email is Important for Creators (and How To Not Suck At It)

Bryan Kim
Email Product Specialist
This 11-minute read dives into the surprising benefits of a welcome email, and instructions for setting up a highly-converting email welcome flow on Beacons.

We went through all of this advice live, including real examples, in our Welcome Email Webinar with Bryan—watch the full video here!

When it comes to email marketing, the welcome email might be the most important first thing to get right.

If you have email marketing ambitions but you’re not sure how to start, start with your welcome email.

If the welcome email ends up being the only email blast you ever send, that alone is worth the effort.

It’s just that important.

Here’s why: Your welcome email will be your most opened email ever, and by a lot. Studies show that welcome emails get anywhere from 100-400% higher opens and 500% higher clicks than the average newsletter email.  Email is already the best performing channel for “deep conversions”—which is a fancy way of saying you’re making a big ask, like to buy something or download something, etc.  So if you have a compelling offer or ask — like a discount code, a launch, or a link to your latest most important piece of content—put it in your welcome email!

A welcome email alone is not good enough to get high engagement. It needs to be instant. A real-time welcome email gets an 88% open rate on average. Delaying the welcome email by just a few hours drops that welcome email open rate to 53%. That’s a huge hit to take for not welcoming your new subscribes in real time.

Of course it makes sense that the welcome email should get so much attention: that’s when intention is highest!  Google built an entire trillion dollar business on monetizing just-in-time intent. You can make it work in your favor, too.

74% of new subscribers expect a real-time email. Say hi to your best fans and your most interested leads at the exact moment they most want you to. Don’t let the moment pass. That would be the equivalent of hiring a cashier who has a penchant for running away right when a customer wants to check out.

If you need one more reason to setup that welcome email, I saved the best for last:

Subscribers who receive welcome emails exhibit 33% more long-term engagement than those who don’t.

I’m a digital marketer, so trust me when I say that finding that kind of lift is like finding a four-leaf clover growing on a unicorn horn. You just don’t find simple conversion hacks like that anymore.

As Dwight from The Office says, "First impressions get locked in forever."

Conversely, if you’re not sending welcome emails, you’re dooming yourself to 25% less opens FOREVER.  Imagine that future you who’s toiling away at another awe-inspiring email blast. Don’t let future you’s masterpiece email go unopened because of a missing welcome email today. Future you is too smart, too industrious, and too good looking to deserve such a doomed fate.

So we are in agreement, welcome emails are crucial. Good. And yet…

Over 88% of Beacons creators who collect emails do not send a real-time welcome email.  

We get it. Welcome emails are hard.  You need some arcane technical know-how and a lot of motivation to tackle the “cross-platform real-time automation” setup required of welcome emails. The platforms where you blast emails don’t play nice with the platforms where your fans are signing up, like Beacons. And if you hear “Zapier” one more time from one more know-it-all digital marketing geek… they better duck, amirite? You’re a creator, you have more important things to make!

Well lucky for you, Beacons creator, we have a tool that lets you quickly and easily create free automated welcome emails! And if you’re already using another email marketing service, you can still export all your Beacons page signups there when you’re ready to do your next blast. But in the meantime, using Beacons’ free welcome email feature will ensure you don’t let the crucial first impression moment pass when you get a new subscriber.

Below we'll cover:

  1. Part 1: The Signup Form
  2. Part 2:The Welcome Email

Let's get into it.

Want 1:1 tips on setting up your welcome flow? Schedule a call to chat with an expert from our Email Marketing team!

Making a Beacons Welcome Email That Doesn’t Suck, Part 1: The Signup Form

An effective, highly-converting welcome flow actually starts with your signup form.  This is what it looks like in your Beacons creator account with default text:

The sigunup form to create a welcome flow in your Beacons account with default text.

The biggest mistake we see is that folks leave the default copy in there.  You really should tailor the copy to your audience and to yourself.

Would you propose marriage to your significant other with default transactional copy? Of course not. Similarly, asking for an email is a big step up in the creator-fan relationship. If your best fans/leads are not reading words that are unmistakably you or your brand, you probably already lost them.

Here’s some tips on writing good signup form prompts:

Be human and/or be you

“Stay up to date” sounds like a robot, because it is.  People don’t like giving their emails to robots. The main reason your best fans want to sign up for your newsletter is because it’s coming from you. So don’t be afraid to inject the copy with some personality, to use a little first person voice, throw in an inside joke, maybe a suggestive emoji. Or, bonus points: copy that makes a relevant offer (more on that below).

Just don’t do default!  Here are some examples for inspiration:

  • Title: “Harry’s Newsletter” Description: “Every Monday I share: 3 short examples, 2 copywriting tips, 1 favourite tweet. Marketers voted it the “#1 marketing newsletter”. 130k people enjoy it.”
  • Title: “Hola, I’m shaan" Description: “I write emails about my favorite frameworks, tools, & tactics that I use to grow my businesses. If you're a business nerd like me - drop your email below & join 30k other entrepreneurs.
  • Title: “GET FIRST DIBS” Description: “Sign up to get first dibs on secret shows, giveaways, VIP access and more.”
  • Title: “Join over 10,000 subscribers…” Description: “And get the recipes, tips, and recommendations from your favorite BBQ addict”
  • Title: “Sign up to our newsletter” Description: “Only our subscribers get the dank stuff”
  • Title: “You’ve Reached the Gates of Hell” Description: “Subscribe below to get an invite”
  • Title: “Let’s Be Friends” Description: “Subscribe to get once-a-month emails from me and my friends.”

Make an offer

A download. A discount code. A picture. A secret unlisted video link. A poem. Anything that your best fans would actually value AND can be delivered over a welcome email.

You’re going to have a small circle of fans who are hardcore and will subscribe no matter what copy you use; we’re not worried about them. There’s likely a much bigger circle of fans in your audience who are at least passively interested in joining, for whom the benefits of joining your newsletter is uncertain and abstract. A good offer or giveaway provides instant gratification; and instant gratification is your best weapon against signup hesitation.

One danger of giveaways is giving away something that appeals to the lowest common denominator, and not necessarily just to your fans.  For example, let’s say you are a musician. Offer an amazon gift card and you’re probably going to get a ton of subscribes from randos.  Those same folks will probably quickly unsubscribe or worse yet, not open future emails, because they weren’t fans to begin with.

Contrast that to, say, a private link to your latest demos or live recordings. Or a raffle to get a phone call from you. Only your best fans would even want something like that.

The best signup giveaways act as both the incentive and the filter.

So, having said all that, here are a few signup giveaways that strikes a good balance between honey trap and filter:

  • PDF, file or doc on your subject matter expertise. E.G. “12 Pro Tips on the best Credit Card Travel Bonus Hacks.”
  • Raffle Giveaways on access to you.  E.G. “One new signup per month will get a phone call from me.”
  • Deep Cut Content. Demos. Live recordings. “Secret” videos.
  • Memorabilia or Merch Giveaway. E.G. “All subscribers before <random future date> will be entered to win the iconic shades I wore in the latest video.”

Employ the after submission success message

That message your subscribers see once they submit their email. Very easy thing for a creator to overlook. Don’t.

The success message subscribers see after signing up can be edited in your Beacons welcome flow.

Getting subscribers to submit is half the battle. The moments after are a critical window of opportunity to shepherd them over to your welcome email.

You want your new subscriber to go to their inbox and open that welcome email or double opt-in. Or better yet, to rescue your welcome email from the purgatory of their spam inbox. Webmail service providers like Gmail take note of these engagement actions, especially upon the first send from your email address, and their machines filter appropriately. You don’t want to be on the naughty list of the Gmail gods, lest you have a thing for spam or promotions folder.

One simple open—and better yet, reply!—on your welcome email will give a huge boost to the visibility of your future emails, and there is no better moment than the seconds after they sign up to get them to actually do it.

As Eminem says, you only get one shot.

Here are some examples of good after-submission message:

  • Thanks for signing up! IMPORTANT! Check your spam, promotions, etc. for a welcome email from "[email protected]" and move it to your primary inbox. That way these emails don't get lost.
  • Welcome to my circle of trust! You trust me too right? Trust me, you’re going to want to go open the email I just sent you. Rescue me from your spam folder as needed. Reply to it! Add me to your contacts. Let’s go!
  • You’re almost in the inner circle! Confirm your subscription. You should have an email from me in your inbox — if not, check your spam folder. While you’re at it, feel free to send me a reply, because I do read them!
  • That thing I promised, that thing you want. The download link should be in your inbox right about…. now!  Go find my email, especially if it needs rescuing from your spam folder. We’ll be in touch soon…

Making a Beacons Subscriber Flow That Doesn’t Suck, Part 2: The Welcome Email

By now you should know that any real-time welcome email at all is better than none.

The difference between zero welcome email vs. average welcome email is a lot greater than the difference between an average welcome email vs. a great one. So the number one tip on how to set up a welcome email is: don’t overthink it, just get it done!

Having said that, for all you overthinking straight-A over-achievers, here’s a breakdown of a great real-life welcome email. It's from comedian Ashley Gavin.

Gavin, by the way, is really good at email and SMS marketing. She consistently sells out her tours because of it, despite little love from comedy industry gatekeepers. If you are a creator, I suggest following her just to peep game… and bonus, she’s really funny!

A welcome email from comedian Ashley Gavin with a headshot photo and personalized message.

What does she do that's so smart? If you'll indulge me, I'll break it down:

Subject line: straightforward and personalized

"❤️ Thanks From AshGavs ❤️" It's straightforward and to the point, but with a sprinkle of emoji customization.  You know within a split second that this is the welcome email you from someone you were expecting.

First person voice

At its core, a welcome email is a transactional email. But it doesn’t have to be dry and impersonal.

Right off the bat, the first line in Gavin’s email hits you over the head with the first person: “Hey! Look, it’s me!” She uses the word “you” a lot, which highlights that this one-to-one human interaction. The gratitude feels genuine. And lastly, it’s a little unhinged, a little surprising, and very thoughtful; especially the line about showing up to your work!

This is not default transactional copy. You can really feel she wrote this. It feels direct.

The “looking into your eyes” picture

Seeing a human face literally sets off a veritable electromagnetic storm in the human brain. It’s evocative, it’s primordially social, and dare I say, beautiful.

And if the subject line wasn’t obvious enough, its now stupidly obvious that this email is from someone you trust; even if you didn’t bother to read any words before, after, and around the face.

What’s more, her eyes are looking directly at you. Psych Studies have shown that people unconsciously comply when being “watched” by a pair of eyes… even if it’s a picture of a pair of eyes and the real person being “watched” is actually alone. Which is convenient, because you’re about to ask for one more thing…

Invitation to reply

Pay attention to this simple little CTA:

“Please keep in touch (you can email me directly)…”

This is the welcome email chef’s kiss right here.  Though AshGavs drops the invitation for a reply casually—almost as an afterthought—I can guarantee it’s very intentional. Getting a subscriber to reply has numerous tactical advantages for the sender:

  • The reply alone signals to Gmail’s AI that AshGavs is an important contact
  • A reply initiates a private 1-1 connection between subscriber and AshGavs.

This 1-1 connection has a few important implications of its own:

  • For the fan, the existence of this connection feels sacred and scarce, compared to the all-eyes-on-me interactions of social media.
  • The fan who had replied and established a 1-1 connection will see a blast arrive in their inbox “from:AshGavs”, and harbor a hint of possibility in their mind that that email is a direct 1-1 email from AshGavs. This kernel of subconscious possibility will almost certainly lead to a greater probability of an open.
  • AshGavs now has one very good signal/filter of her best fans. A subscription list alone is one concentric circle of her best fans; but subscribers who reply are an even smaller circle of her best-of-the-best fans. Someone as savvy as AshGavs will find a productive use for this information. And so can you!

Last words: Help your fans find more of your content

To my creators who have made it this far: I hope you find the above useful and that it moves you to setup a real-time welcome email.

Often an email marketing service like Mailchimp stands isolated from where your fans actually are.  No one on the internet is just loitering around a Mailchimp landing page for fun.

But, by definition, the folks who land on your Beacons profile are literally trying to get more of you. That’s where you should have your email signup. And now you can fire off a welcome email to those subscribes in real-time, for free! No technical knowledge required!

Once you’re done with your setup, tag us on our social (@beacons.ai on Instagram and TikTok) and we’ll give you some feedback.

Still from Moana: "You're welcome!"

Want 1:1 tips, advice, or just a personal tutorial on setting up your real-time welcome email flow? Schedule a call to chat with an expert from our Email Marketing team—seriously, that's what we're here for!

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