Last updated June of 2019.
Welcome emails are one of the most important communications you’ll ever send to your recipients. Why? Because your welcome email is likely their first impression of your brand in their inbox. You have to make it count!
Your perfect welcome email should do 3 things:
- Remind email subscribers why they joined (and thank them!)
- Invite engagement (through an exclusive offer or other call to action)
- Set the tone for future email communications
Before I get into some welcome email examples of senders who are doing all 3 of these well, let’s start with a story of this playing out in real life.
My favorite store is back in my home state of New Jersey. Every time I walk in, I’m greeted at the door by one of the friendly, smiling owners who thanks me for coming in and asks me if I’d like a complimentary glass of champagne. She then leaves me to browse the shop at my own pace, while assuring me that she’s close by if I need any assistance.
New items are always strategically placed in front of the store, so I can’t miss them and a very hip Spotify playlist subtly streams in the background. The shop is unintimidating, easy to navigate, and welcoming.
Why am I telling you this? Because your welcome email should provide this exact same experience. While it doesn’t need to be accompanied by a free glass of bubbly (but how amazing would that be??), it should be friendly, instructive, and timely.
Just like my favorite store has me coming back time and again, your welcome email is your shot to win your subscriber’s loyalty.
Inspiring Welcome Email Examples
So let’s take a look at some welcome emails that are hitting all the right notes in encouraging their subscribers and earning their trust.
Meditation app, Headspace, excels at all 3 of the “musts” for a great welcome email, shared above. First, the tone of the email is congratulatory and inviting. The design is warm and perfectly mimics its website, and the email is short and sweet.
Plus, this email clearly answers my questions before I even have them. Use your welcome emails to reduce sign-up anxiety for your users by following Headspace’s lead and giving your users easy instructions on how to get started.
Finally, HeadSpace engages subscribers by employing a welcome series. The day after I received their welcome email and engaged with their app, I received a triggered second email that followed up on the action I took the day before. I felt immediately supported by their attention to my engagement and it helped me get right back into their app.
If you’re interested in creating your own welcome email series, sign up for early access to SendGrid’s email automation tool for a simple, effective method of reaching your new subscribers.
Nextdoor takes a straightforward, instructive, but effective approach to their welcome email that gets its recipients straight into the service. They outline 3, easy ways to get started in their app. Limited scroll works in their favor here, so even though they have 3 CTAs, I don’t feel too overwhelmed by my choices.
Nextdoor is also smart not to muddy their message with too many images. They use concise text and keep their tone welcoming.
Pro tip: Images aren’t always the answer! If you have incredible copy, don’t distract from it with unnecessary images. A picture might be worth 1,000 words, but the right words can take the place of an unnecessary picture.
This project management tool does two neat things with their welcome email. The first is the eye-catching gif that demonstrates completing tasks in their product. Incorporating gifs in your emails is a great way to help recipients visualize your products.
The second is that the email feels like an extension of the tool. With 3 quick descriptions of how you can use Asana, and 1 big, purple “Get Started” CTA, the email is reassuring to new users that the product is as easy to use as the email is to read.
Pro tip: Maintaining brand standards across your email experience helps increase loyalty and brand affinity.
My first email from Anthro Perks, Anthropologies’ customer points plan, cleverly lays out exactly what I should expect from this program, reminding me why I signed up. Free shipping, early access, and birthday discounts? Yes, please!
While the main CTAs are toward the bottom, the whole email is clickable. If you’re interested in viewing new arrivals, you can click that section of the email to be taken to the “just in” section of the website. This prevents you from losing recipients when they aren’t interested in reading the entire email.
Pro tip: Link the images in your email to make it easier for recipients to click through to your website.
Notice that in the both formatting of Wayfair’s email and the one for Anthropologie above, the email alternates the text and images from the left to right columns. This creates visual interest as your eye scans the email, bouncing back and forth.
The different images of the products help you visualize all that’s possible by shopping with Wayfair, reminding you of their offerings and inviting you to frequently engage with this welcome email.
Pro tip: Create visual interest in your emails with well-designed templates. Check out these free templates.
While I love Sephora, I promise I’m not biased in highlighting this excellent welcome email because it gets full marks for hitting all 3 welcome requirements.
The email opens with the greeting, “It’s nice to meet you,” and reminds you that you signed up to receive special offers, info about new arrivals, and so much more. With the enticing CTA of a free birthday gift, you engage further with the email. And, the next section highlights what these glamorous offerings include and when you’ll be receiving them.
REI checks all the boxes of a great welcome email, and goes a step further by letting recipients customize their email preferences from the get-go. Include a preference center as part of your email subscription in order to reach your recipients as often as they want to hear from you.
Pro tip: You can create email preference centers for email frequency, content, or a combination of the two. Learn about the different types of preference centers and decide what’s best for your email program.
8. Penguin Random House
Penguin Random House jumps right in by providing immediate value—in the form of awesome book recommendations.
By giving me lots of books to choose from, Penguin Random House learns what my interests are based on my click history. I also love their intriguing subject line “You’re gonna need a bigger bookshelf…” Encouraging and funny.
Medium, an online publishing platform, takes a hybrid approach by listing the benefits of subscribing to Medium and providing articles at the bottom of the email for subscribers to start exploring.
If there isn’t much involved in setting up an account or using the app, then it could be a good move to start providing your email content in your welcome email. This gives recipients a taste of the type of material they’ll be receiving as part of their subscription, and it’s a great way to collect data from new users.
Pro tip: Don’t bury the lead of your welcome email with too much exposition. Jump right in and provide value.
I love interior design app, Havenly’s, approach of including a direct, personal letter from their CEO as the main content of their message. There’s no better way to give insight into your brand than by hearing straight from the person who created it.
Pro tip: Get your subscribers invested by sharing a bit of your brand’s history. If they know where you’re coming from, they’ll be more likely to stay on the journey with you.
The sunglass brand, Knockaround, offers an incentive for signing up for its welcome email—a 15% discount.
This email also shares a little backstory about the brand, explaining where the name “knockaround” comes from and giving you a nugget of information to hold onto. While you read, the brightly colored images get you into the sunny frame of mind, setting the mood for this email.
As the first email to your recipients, the welcome email is a great place to set the stage for your brand with design, tone, and a little story about your company.
Takeaways for an effective welcome email campaign
- Keep your welcome emails on brand and a direct reflection of your website.
- Be inviting and encouraging with your recipients! Let them know you’re happy to be in their inbox.
- Limit your scroll and get to the point quickly. Share value fast and stick to one CTA when possible.
- Get your subscribers invested by sharing a bit of your brand’s history. Build a connection early to keep them coming back and to create brand advocacy.
- Images aren’t always the answer! If your copy is strong, don’t distract from it with unnecessary images.
- Don’t bury the lead of your welcome email with too much exposition. Jump right in and provide value in the form of information or discounts.
- Welcome emails are a great type of email campaign to automate. If you’re interested in learning how to send automated welcome emails with SendGrid, head over to our email marketing automation deep dive page.
Lastly, have fun with your welcome emails! Put your best foot forward and test new concepts to keep your new subscribers engaged and interested.
If you’re interested in learning how to pull your welcome email into your larger email marketing strategy, check out our 2019 A-Z of Email Marketing Guide.