Contrary to popular opinion, email marketing is not dead. In fact, it’s actually one of the most robust traditional forms still standing. That is of course, only if you're using it correctly.
According to recent stats, the average person gets 100 emails per day. That's a lot of emails! On top of this, the latest internet and web statistics show that 68% of customers have much higher expectations for organizations’ digital capabilities following COVID-19. With this in mind, how can you make sure that your email marketing stands out from the rest?
It starts with the very first email. It is the founding pillar that sets the scene for your members and gives them a taste of what to expect from you.
- How Important is Email Marketing?
- Introduce your Organization
- Welcome to The Community
- Shares a Story
- Introduce the Boss
- Share Exclusive Resources
- Show Benefits & Solutions
- Ask Members to Stay Connected
- Express Gratitude
- Add a Personal Touch
- Add Steps for Smooth Onboarding
How Important is Email Marketing?
Gone are the days when you could just blast out a mass email and hope for the best.
These days, email marketing is all about connection and engagement, which means you need to put in the effort to cultivate a list of engaged members if you want to see real results.
And yes, the same applies if you’re a club, association, or any other organization that’s members-only. While you don’t necessarily have the same struggles as a cold email sender, your recipients have high expectations, which you’ll need to meet.
Thoughtful email marketing can grow a loyal, engaged community, and correspondingly high click-through traffic directed toward your memberships.
Not sure how to start? Or a little uncertain in deciding the best stepping stone that matches your company? Grab a coffee and enjoy a walk-through of some great welcome emails from a range of industries and organizations that will inspire you.
Read more: 8 Email Marketing Strategies to Engage Association Members
1. Introduce your Organization
Just because someone has become a member doesn’t mean they know everything about your organization. It's possible that they attended an event or donated as part of a P2P campaign without fully understanding your vision.
You can help them develop a strong connection with your organization by sending them a welcome email that introduces your nonprofit and its mission.
2. Welcome to The Community
Huckleberry welcomes their new subscriber to a 1 million+ strong community. In the realm of new, people tend to rely on a bit of a flock mentality. Knowing there are already 1 million subscribers interested in Huckleberry, they are reassured that they have landed somewhere worthwhile.
3. Shares a Story
What makes you more emotionally motivated? An email that simply promotes something or a story that you feel connected to.
If you answered the former, you’re not alone. Due to what’s known as the identifiable victim effect, we’re more likely to donate to a cause with a single, identifiable victim than we are to a large group with the same need.
One nonprofit that leverages storytelling is Save the Children, an organization that saves and improves children’s lives around the world.
Recently, the nonprofit shared the story of Waleed, an eight-year-old who suffered partial blindness as a result of an air strike.
If you are a nonprofit, this not only helps you engage your members instantly but also in achieving your goal (getting donations).
4. Introduce the Boss
Connecting with real people is more rewarding than connecting with brands. In addition, video has proven particularly effective at engaging viewers.
Read more: 15 Creative Video Ideas To Engage Your Association Members
Take advantage of the opportunity to have your CEO or executive director record a welcome message for new members. By putting a face to your mission, you will be able to attract new supporters to your organization.
5. Share Exclusive Resources
In most cases, new subscribers want to help you in some way. Return the favor by supplying them with relevant information resources. Blog posts, video links, profiles of other supporters, etc. are all great ways to show your impact and get new readers on board.
“Customers love being part of an exclusive community, as it fosters a connection between themselves and the brand but also like-minded individuals. Adding a great rewards system and unique experiences for your subscribers will foster a healthy tribe mentality that can establish extremely loyal customers.” - says Digital PR owner Lewis Schenk from Boost Media.
Have a solid community, and just need help keeping them interested? Follow up here with some buzzing ideas to boost engagement through social media, and stay at the top of everyone's mind.
6. Show Benefits & Solutions
Evernote wastes no time getting to the good stuff. Instead of tooting their own horn and boasting about their own awards, they focus on their customers. Their welcome email features member benefits, so the user can be reminded of their value.
- “Get your time back”
- “Keep it all in one place”
Most people’s inboxes are flooded with unread emails, so it can be recommended to get right to it. Especially if you have a lot to highlight.
“The average lifecycle of your emails hitting the “Primary” inbox isn’t long - as interest wanes, you can be relegated to “Promotions” and the dreaded “Spam”. It’s important to give value from the get-go to improve your open-rate and ultimately sustain your ability to stay in the coveted primary spot”, - says Chris Cox, Managing Director from Lead Lists.
7. Ask Members to Stay Connected
Engaging your new member at multiple touchpoints is crucial to audience engagement and participation. And it's hard to find an opportunity with more touchpoints than social media.
Read more: 7 Steps to Crafting Your Ideal Membership Welcome Package
Get your members connected on social media with a welcome email. They already recognize social links to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and more, so drop in those links and keep them updated.
8. Express Gratitude
Every new member deserves a thank you, no matter what membership tier they join. Let them know how much you appreciate their support.
Read more: Member Appreciation Ideas: Different Ways to Thank Your Members
Whenever possible, segment your list and express gratitude for whatever way your member supported you, even if it's just joining your association. Your members are what make your organization stronger.
You can use the following segmentation list to customize your thank-you emails (for new and current members):
- New members
- Premium content subscribers
- Attending events
9. Add a Personal Touch
What does personalization do to a standard email? Digital marketing findings highlight the significance; in fact, personalized emails can get 6x higher transaction rates, but only 30% of brands use them.
Tailoring the content so it’s a better fit for your members will naturally give you better results.
Headspace’s welcome email example is a great showcase of personable copy from head to toe. “Well done. By signing up, you’ve taken your first step towards a happier, healthier life.” They create a vulnerable yet open tone in their first email, which is suggestive of their ability to look after mental well-being.
Their welcome email is dressed fully in personable copy, including their call-to-action. Forgoing regular overused phrases such as “Download Now” or “Get the App”, their call-to-action reads “Start Meditating”. With the right words, you can help your user bypass the technical steps and get straight to the good stuff.
Just like your opening subject line, your closing is important too.
A website marketing conversion study showed that call-to-actions that are surrounded by more negative space and less clutter had an increase in conversion rate of 232%. The spacing in this example is a good reference for optimal conversion!
“Having one singular call-to-action, especially in small spaces, is recommended if you want to see the highest conversion rates, as you don’t distract your readers with other offers or pathways”, - adds CRO audit agency Conversionry Founder Raoul Doraiswany.
This rule not only applies to emails but is a great reminder for websites and also social media posts as well.
10. Add Steps for Smooth Onboarding
If you are an organization offering jam-packed full of membership benefits, you might want to consider using an informative welcome email template.
Helpful, actionable tips can help chip away at the daunting task ahead, and help members feel ready. This welcome email from Asana focuses on the 3 steps needed within something as simple as ‘create a task’. This removes the hurdle for beginners and helps them feel ready to explore their subscriptions.
This example can be used for your welcome emails with clear actions to join your premium community and get involved.
A welcome email that is highly targeted and personalized is much more likely to be well-received by your audience and even favorited with a star. Especially those with a welcome offer or insightful, actionable tips.
Top this up with personable copy that resonates with your dream customer and addresses their pain points, plus email marketing campaign software that does the heavy lifting, and you've got the perfect marketing strategy.
This combination of techniques will separate your emails from the impersonal sales-y promotional variety that quickly falls into spam quicksand. A difficult journey begins with the first step. Once you’ve nailed your welcome email and sent it out, feel free to return here for more email marketing strategies for your future campaigns.
Good luck - go forth and conquer the inbox!
Irwin Hau is the Founder of Sydney web design agency Chromatix & Melbourne copywriting agency Neon Bright, two Australian agencies focused on web conversion, one on web design and the other on copywriting. Commonly known in the industry as the “Website Whisperer”, he also manages Irwin Hau Digital Business Consultancy, which specializes in digital transformation and business efficiency, utilizing custom web technology and digital solutions.