How to write welcome emails

Presented live on Tuesday, Feb 7, 2017 – register for our next tutorials

New subscribers are a huge win for your business – unless you don’t engage them from the very first email. In this Tutorial Tuesday, Joanna walks you through a strategy for emailing new subscribers so they not only commit to you but also tell you more about who they are. That means you’ll be able to send them more relevant content going forward. And that’s good for basic email metrics, like open rates. It’s also good for your business: a subscriber that opens your emails is in a solid position to take action on your content.

Grab the ‘Email For New Subscribers’ Template

Joanna is writing in Airstory, the beautiful drag-and-drop document platform. 


Okay, hello everybody. Joanna here, from Copy Hackers. Thank you for joining us today. I’m just looking to see that people are still filing in. We’re just gonna get started, so feel free to settle in. Close down other tabs. It’s gonna be a relatively informal … I’m gonna say informal, because it’ll cover all things. It’s our first Tutorial Tuesday.

So fingers crossed all goes well, but this is all happening live, and I’m going to live write, as well. I mean, I’m gonna show you how I write things out. Only a smidgen of it will be me actually live writing, because it’s possibly the most boring thing ever to watch somebody write copy, because you stare at things and then you switch over to like, Amazon review [money 00:00:49], and things like that. But it’s going to be, I hope, pretty fun, and we’re going to try and make it move really swiftly.

Now I have five email templates I want to get through today. We’ve got a Kramer on here? That’s awesome. We have five email templates that we want to get through today. I’m absolutely gonna get through one of those within a 20 minute period, which it’s like, “Well, I thought there were five?” Well there are, and I’ll give you a high level view of those other four as well, but to really dig into each of them and show you examples will just take too long within twenty minutes. So if you have to drop off within 20 minutes, cool. I gotcha. There’s a recording that will go out afterward. If you can stick around then we’ll try to still very swiftly get through the other templates, but yeah, that’s what the situation is.

I’m seeing some cool chats coming in. This is awesome. Thanks guys. So that’s nice of you. I’m just going to look at some of these really quickly. People are coming in from all over. Trinidad, Florida, Jamaica. I didn’t even ask. People are just offering up where they are from, which is amazing. Chicago, Argentina, London. Wow, you guys. We better get down to actually doing some really good templates for you here. Okay awesome. We’ve got coffee, we’ve got everyone set up and ready to go. Cool.

We’ve also got Sarah and Lance here from Copy Hackers. If you have questions, they’ll be answering questions for you. If you have any technical challenges please do wait if there’s a blip and you suddenly can’t hear me, its probably only a blip because we have seriously insane wifi here. But it is crazy weather out there so Lord only knows if there will be a … some moose runs through the snow into a pole, I don’t know. We’re in Canada and it’s snowing. I have no idea. But we’ve got Sarah here, we’ve got Lance here fielding chats, this is being recorded, and I am going to dive right in. Feel free to chat as you go and if you have any questions as you go, Sara and Lance will try to take care of them. Otherwise, if it’s something that needs my immediate attention, they’ll interrupt me and I’ll stop rattling on.

We’re talking about emails today on this very first Tutorials Tuesday. We’re talking about emails and specifically about getting new subscriber to really buy into you, which is very important. There’s really two parts to that. One is, your newest subscribers are going to be your … They’re in the most seduceable moment that you’ll really have apart from somebody that’s just purchased from you. A seduceable moment is a moment that which you can ask somebody to do a favor for you or to do something and they’re more likely to do it because they’re in this phase.

We’ll call it a, “honeymoon period” in this case, where they are more willing to say, “yes” to you or more likely to say, “yes” to you.

New subscribers are a huge opportunity for us to actually start building up a new fan base of people that are going to love what we send them and open our emails. Getting people to open emails right out of the gate as soon as they start subscribing to you is huge. Without that, if they’re not opening your emails, if they only opt in for your lead magnet and then they never talk to you again, then really what was the point of having the lead magnet?

Great that you’re sharing wonderful information with them but your goal in putting out a terriffic lead magnet is to get subscribers to pay attention, and open their emails from you, and engage with you, and then when it comes time, to ask them to share your content or to refer you to other people or to buy from you. They’re more likely to because you’ve established a relationship. New subscribers. Huge opportunity. Huge opportunity.

This is a point at which we want to do two things. We want to get new subscribers to commit to us, say, “yes, I’m going to learn from you. I’m going to open your emails.” And two, we want them to tell us who they are. By that, I don’t mean, “Hi, I’m Joanna from Victoria BC Canada.”. I mean, essentially what their background is and why they tried to hear from you. When they can tell us more about themselves and we can tag them, and I’ll talk about it in just a second, when they can tell us more about themselves and we can tag them, then going forward, we’re better prepared to send them content emails that are more relevant to them.

Relevance is the #1 factor in getting somebody to open and email from you. If it’s not relevant, they’re far less likely to open and it’ll be a quality open. You can get someone to open by putting some crazy subject line up there but that’s not a good open. That’s just a metric that you’re measuring and saying, “Oh, I got all these opens”, but nobody actually cares or is doing anything because it wasn’t relevant. We want relevance so that’s why we want people to segment our list. This doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t have to be super crazy. It does work best if you are using an email marketing platform that allows you to tag people.

The five templates I’m going to show you today all include tagging. Tagging happens in solutions like Drip, Convert Kit, Active Campaign, InfusionSoft, those sorts of marketing solutions that are email platforms but build from marketing automation. If you’re using those, that’s great, if your clients are using those, these templates will be especially wonderful for that. We’re having a little bit of a discussion here in chat about seduceable moments and seduction so that the … Yeah, I said Tori, “seduceable moments” earlier on so I guess I just flew through that. I talk pretty quickly. It’s something that me and my family does. Let’s talk about actually getting into these emails. I’m going to share my screen so bear with me one moment please, while I share. Okay.

So, I will be informed by Sara and/or Lance if I’m not sharing my screen. Please Sara or Lance interrupt me if you cannot see Airstory’s interface on the screen right now. I’m not getting interrupted. I’m going to keep going. What we’re seeing here, I’m just going to close this up so you can focus in on the part that we really need to look at here, and that is the five email sequence. I’m gonna collapse it down a bit so you can see the reality of it. Where most of the [plybrids 00:07:30] are really talking about two emails that they’ll see. Imagine the experience. You sign up for your list. Your new subscriber signs up to get a lead magnet from you, an e-book, a free drip course, whatever that thing might be. They sign up for that from you and they opt-in. So, we have the double opt-in going on, they’ve received the lead magnet.

Now comes the part where we get them to commit to us. That’s the first part of this sequence. The first two emails in the sequence get them to commit to us. I’ll talk to you very briefly about what that means. The other three emails get them to “self segment”, which is really just clicking a link to say who they are. Commitment, self segmentation. Those are the two parts to it. Five emails within them but most people who actually act and take action on the emails that you send, those links that you’re sending out, most of those people will only see these two. You don’t have to worry, “Ahh I’m sending too many emails”. The other emails are for those who don’t take action. Who don’t click to say, “yes, I’m committing to you.”, or who don’t self segment.

I’m going to walk you through now, the five parts of this and then we’ll get into the examples and the templates themselves. You can see at a high level what we’re doing, what the strategy is, why this is important. It’s not like, “Here, go do this. Here’s this template, go use it randomly.”, but rather why we’re doing it this way. When you don’t get people to commit and you don’t segment them, your open rates are always, always, always lower.

We want people to say, “Yes, I’m going to learn from you, yes, I’m going to open your emails”, and to say who they are. We’ve seen once you segment, we’ve seen our open rates for the tagged group. For a segment of people, we’ve seen them between 40 and 49 percent on average. When you try to email your whole list, 30, 40, 50,000, even 2,000 people that are very different people, when you do that, they are of course, “The message isn’t relevant”, they are less likely to open.

So, this is how we have to do this. We’re all onboard with why we have to get people to segment. The part that might be confusing is, “Why do I need them to commit to me? What does that even mean?”. It’s important to know that somebody is going to open an email that is relevant to them, great, but they’re more likely to open the email that is relevant to them from someone they think can really help them. So, it’s getting them to buy into and say, “Yeah, I believe you can really help me.”.

That’s going to be so critical and that’s going to be in this commitment sequence. This commitment part of the sequence.

The first email is called, “The Goodbye Welcome Email”. I’m sorry, I work in an office with two cats and they are both going nuts right now. Of course they are, because Lance is in San Francisco and unable to keep the cats under control. So, we have the goodbye welcome email. That is an email where you are essentially breaking people out of their pattern of what they expect to get from you. You are basically saying, “Lets end this.”, and that’s where you get the open. I’m going to show you what that looks like right away. The second chance email is coming back and saying, “For those people who didn’t click to say, “Yes, I commit to you.”, it’s coming back and quickly saying, “Quick reminder why you signed up for me. Now, I’d love you to listen to me going forward” and we’re going to phrase that appropriately for an email. That’s a second chance email.

If people still don’t commit to you, they don’t click the link that says, “Yes Joanna, Yes [Popper 00:11:11], yes whatever, I think you are the ones to teach me this.”, if they don’t do that then you can still send emails. We can get into that as we go. The goal here is to them to say, “yes”, because they’re more likely to become a fan if they’ve said, “Hey, I’m gonna be a fan.”

Then comes the segmentation emails. The world lies, which is tapping into this mindset, this way of thinking that we have that believes that people are basically … that the world was lying to you and this is stories throughout history have been told on this, and a lot of conspiracy theories. Then people buy into them because there’s a sense that, “Oh, people are lying to me. There’s something deeper going on.”

We don’t have to pit anybody against the world or actually say the world lied to you but, I’m gonna show you what that means. Then comes the “outsourcer email” and then the “you first” email. The “you first” email is all about making yourself vulnerable to your subscriber because, if they’ve got two emails before this and they haven’t taken action yet, there might be some bigger things that you have to do. You’ve seen the high level strategy, you’ve seen why we’re doing this, you understand, I hope, the importance of actually doing this.

Now let’s look at the emails themselves.

I’m going to click over here and I’m going to start by showing you the actual email that we have written for Copy Hackers. The ones we send out. If you’ve signed up recently for Copy Hackers, then you have probably have seen these emails and you might be tagged as “not committed” but a copywriter, let’s say, or something like that.

It depends, right? You might have seen these already. I’m going to walk you through them very quickly and then I’m going to show you the template. It’s like when you watch a cooking show and that they just started putting all the ingredients together and you’re like, “Well, what’s it going to look like in the end?”. We’re going to start with what the end goal is so what it’s going to look like in the end and that is the final email.

Then I will walk you through the templates that you can use for your own business. For your own sequence for new subscribers. Heads up. We have very colorful language at Copy Hackers that you might be familiar with. You’re gonna see in my interpretation of this template, I use that colorful language, which you’ll see on the screen. If you’re reading now, you’re already seeing it on the screen. You don’t have to use that. I’m not in any way, these templates aren’t here to tell you that you have to have a certain brand. I have used these templates, tested them with other organizations and in some cases, just testing them simply means, “okay, well what if we wrote this?” for buffer.

Or what if [sweet 00:13:59] wanted to use this email, or what if IBM wanted to use this email? Giant enterprises are less likely to but for the rest of us that are here to build a relationship, a real relationship with our subscribers, that’s where a template like this or an email based on a template is going to come in handy. Don’t be off put by the colorful language. It’s consistent with the Copy Hacker’s brand. It’s an important part of filtering people, which is what this commitment email is all about. Subject line for this first email is, “Ending it”.

They just said, “yes” to you, they just downloaded something from you, they’ve just double opted into your list and now the first email they get in the sequence is, “Ending it”. That is breaking expectation. That is breaking a pattern, it’s an interesting thing. It’s also a short subject line. Instead of having that 45-50 character wide or long subject line, you’ve got this one that kinda stands out in the inbox. Then we get into the actual body.

So, “Ending it”. When I open that, we have a cat, when I open that I get, “We only just met. I’m not ending things with you. In spite of what the subject line says, I have no interest in ending it with you but, I do want to put an end to something.

Rather, I want you to end something… I want you”, and I’m gonna pause there before we get into the colorful language just so you don’t have to really spend a lot of time on that. This is important phrasing here. This is you setting yourself up to have an actual one on one relationship with the person who is otherwise a stranger to you on the other end of your inbox. In their inbox. You could be worlds apart, they could be next door, you don’t know but, you’re here and you’re building a relationship.

By saying, “I want you to”, it’s an assertive thing to say and it’s something we don’t often do in copywriting. In most cases, like on your website and in other emails, I’m often going to recommend that you lead with the word, “you”, and you have replaced any sentences that begin with “we” or “I”, with the word, “you”, because we want it to be “you” focused messaging.

Here we’re setting up a relationship and we are filtering people. We’re trying to filter people that we can say, “not all new subscribers are going to be a great fit. Some of them just wanted the lead magnets, they only like free things, they’re gonna go off, they just want to quickly solve a problem, they’re not here to be a long term subscriber. It’s somebody who’s even going to be a short term subscriber but actually engage and become a customer for you. We want to push things a little further like a person would in a one to one relationship.

We’re going to lead with, “I want you to do this”, asking something. It’s not even saying please. It’s saying, “I want you to do this” and now they’re involved in the conversation. [inaudible 00:17:01] I want you to do this, I want you to put an end to something. Now, the important part here in this email is all about them saying, “yes” to you, which often means that they’re saying “no” to something else. If someone’s signing up to get emails from you and they’re not signing up just to get coupons from you, they’re not just there for whatever freebie you might have, if they’re there to learn from you, if they’re there to get great information from you, which is what content marketing is all about, if you’re planning on sending your latest blog post to you new subscribers, then you need to make sure that they get that that blog post is gonna be kiss ass and they have to pay attention to it because no one is going to teach them what you’re going to teach them. But, others will try, that’s the thing.

We know in our space and we absolutely know with our friends and people that we work with, there’s always competition. There’s always somebody else who’s gonna say, “Oh, do it this way instead”, and some of those people will be a lot louder than you. They’ll have more money than you do to spend potentially, or they’ll just simply be more aggressive and out there. That can be a big problem because, you need people to believe that you’re the goto person and by “you”, I don’t just mean a small brand, like a one person shop, I mean, all brand needs to be …

If you’re gonna be the people that do fashion, then you don’t need somebody else coming in and saying, “Oh, here’s how you wear your hair this season.” It’s supposed to be you. You’re the person that they’re going to look to first and foremost. That’s what this email is all about. It’s saying like those guys, “You’re committing to me that you’re not gonna pay attention. You’re not gonna rank other information above ours.”

You put them through, you line by line in this email. You’re walking them through how other so called, “gurus”, etc., it doesn’t have to be gurus if that’s not a space that you’re in where people are like, “I’m a ninja”, “I’m a rockstar”, like those people might not exist in your world or they might and it’s worth paying attention and knowing that they’re your competition in the inbox. You need to be prioritized above them in inbox. That’s exactly what this is all about.

So, we go through, we walk them through. If you’re reading on the screen, fantastic. Good because I’m not going to read through every line in this session today but you’re going to go through and talk them through why you’re the expert. Why your brand is the one brand to listen to. You’re not picking a fight necessarily with the other brands but you are saying, “Look, remember why you signed up for us and here’s great evidence why you should stay signed up and listening to us.”. You go through and you tell them all of those important things and then you get to cause action.

That’s what’s highlighted here on the screen right now. Now you get to decide, “Yes, I’m committing to Copy Hackers as my copy teachers and mentors”, and they click that. If they click that, we’d love them to click that. When they click that, they get tagged. Okay, they’re committed, they’re now going to me into the next sequence in the self segmentation sequence. Or, “No, I like a variety of wild guesses. I’ll unsubscribe using the unsubscribe link below.”

You’re saying in this email that, if they’re not going to commit to you, that’s okay so, they should unsubscribe from you. This is very scary for businesses to do. Very rarely will someone actually unsubscribe, unless they actually should unsubscribe. We do want people who aren’t the good bits to move off of our list because they’re a distraction. We’re going to think we have certain people that are ready to buy from us and then we’ll be shocked when they don’t actually buy because they were never going to.

They were never really buying into you and thus they can’t buy your products because they don’t buy into you. We want them to commit. We want them to click that, we’ll land them on a page appropriate that says, “Hey, yay. You’ve committed.”, and put them through that landing page situation.

We don’t just land them into, I don’t know where else they would be. They would have to land somewhere, right? You put a landing page together for that. The whole point here is to build up to this place where they’re going to say, “yes”. If they don’t say, “yes”, then the next day, we send another email. This is a much shorter email but it reminds them why it is that they first signed up to hear from you and again, it leads to that called action where they’re saying, “Yeah, okay. I’m going to commit to you.”

From that point on, you can keep going forward if they still haven’t committed and send yet another email. That’s your choice. We don’t do that, we don’t feel it’s necessary to, we just put people who haven’t committed by that point into this “general” category and we understand there are people who haven’t said, “yes”. Okay.[crosstalk 00:21:47]

Lance: Hey Joanna.

Joanna Wiebe: Yes.

Lance: Hey, it’s Lance. Just a question from Lisa in the Q&A. A good question. “So, what do you do with the folks who don’t either click the yes link or hit unsubscribe? In other words, they’ve done nothing with this first email beyond opening it?

Joanna Wiebe: Those are the ones that you … When they first come into your list, they’re going to be tagged in whatever. They might come into your list and you call it, “general”, which is essentially what most people do. They call it, “general”, they call it, “newsletter”, they call it even, “unsegmented”. That’s a general dumping ground for all addresses that haven’t really been activated. Nobody has really done anything with them. You’re just simply not moving them off to a better space. You leave them where they are, knowing that they received these emails. They’re not going to get these anymore, they just stay there in that space. Then when it’s time for you to do …

Let’s say you’re going to and you have a bunch of different segments, plus you have that generic general little, I’m calling it, “a dumping ground”, it’s a terrible name for it but it’s like this bucket, and I called it bucket when I called it bucket list and it sounded weird in my head so I just dropped bucket list then it’s just a bucket of unsorted people who haven’t indicated that they want certain things from you. You don’t know anything about them yet, when you send out your newsletter or blog post, you might of course, send it to them as well and then do your best to tag people in that bucket when they do click.

So, if someone stays in that unsorted space and then you send them a newsletter about, in our case, let’s just say, “about freelance copyrighting” and they click and they tell us they’re a freelance copyrighter, now we can put them into a segmented space but they haven’t yet committed to that so problematic for us. but that’s what we’d do. Does that help answer her question? Lisa? I hope so. Yes? Okay. Awesome. All right, cool.

Then that takes us into, we’ve done those two commitment emails. Then we go into segmentation emails. We’ve got three in here. These are all based on reminding people again, saying, “cool, you’ve committed to us. That’s awesome.”, remind them that we’re in this together. You’re going to coach them to the success they want to achieve, they’ve said, “yes” to you and then you can of course start actually teaching them. That’s what we do in the fourth one. We start getting them where on how we’re going to help them by actually showing them a technique they might not have known about and then by the end, asking them to segment themselves so they can get more of that kind of information.

They can get more of that but it’ll tailored to what they’re really looking for. So we say, “Hey, here’s this great lesson. This one is a theme on, where the world lies.

Where you’re really kinda picking a fight with the best practice that’s out there and then by the end of it, they’re like, “Oh, I didn’t know”, you guys introduce them to information they feel good about having committed to you, they understand that you are the person to listen to, they know that you have at least one good technique that you’ve shown them so that maybe there are more where that came from. Then you get them to say, “Okay well, if I do want to get more of this, here’s who I am.”

In our case, we’ll have like three different segments that they want people to self segment into. So, we ask them to do that. That’s the end of that email, the first self segmentation email and then we move them into the appropriate tag when they actually self segment.

If they don’t click any of those, then we send another email the next day. Timing is critical. We’re not going to talk too much about timing in this because we’re already at the end of the scheduled time that I have in mind at least, I hope to stay in your calendar hopefully for longer, but we’re at the end of it essentially, so I’m not going to talk too much about timing but we do want to get this in their inbox early on, not waiting days, and days, and days, for them to actually come through and say something else to us, or actually open their email.

We want to send the next email to have them self segmented. The next day they get another one. 24 hours later they get another one. That’s where we get into more movements toward actually getting them to [inaudible 00:26:14] from say another past week.

A lot of us are like, “Well, we want to send out a mini-course” and this is kinda part of that mini-course, you’re just not calling it a mini-course. You’re taking the contents of your mini-course and you’re framing it in such a way where people don’t even necessarily realize they’re in a course because courses can be like, “I don’t really want to take that course, I’m busy”, they’re rather getting an email that happens to teach them as well. By the end of it, here again, asking them to opt-in up into a certain tag. Again, we’re always asking them in the sequence to tell us who they are and tag them accordingly. Once they’re tagged, they’re moved off that one list and into a tagged space.

Then we have the final email and this is a big one. This is the one where, if they haven’t yet committed to you, why not? One major assumption there is that a reason that one might not commit to you is because they don’t …

There’s reasons. I feel one of the big ones could be that they … why should they tell you … I’m sorry, not committed, this is segmentation. Sorry I’ve been so used to saying committed for the first 20 minutes of this session but, if they haven’t self segmented, why haven’t they told you who they are? Why haven’t they said who they are? It might be because they don’t know who you are.

They’re going to tell you about themselves but they don’t know anything about you? How is that fair? That’s weird. So, this is an email where for us, we say, “I’m going to get vulnerable.”

You don’t have to have that subject line at all, I’ll not show you the template right away but we get into it. Where we really say, “Here’s some real stuff about us, come back.”, and then some deeper stuff inside that can make them see that you’re a human on the other end of the inbox.

You’re somebody real and because you’ve made yourself real to them, they can take that lead to make themselves a little more real to you. That is the fifth email in the sequence. I’m gonna go back and look at, here are those high level again and I’m just going to show you the templates that are actually for these emails.

These are all in Airstory as you can see. You’ve seen the emails, you’ve seen the tutorials here. I’m going to show you the templates right now.

We do have these templates as their template of the week in Airstory so when you sign up for Airstory, if you sign up for a trial today, cool, you’ll get these templates emailed to you or you’ll get them by the set project with these templates right away after you sign up for that free trial. You don’t have to do that. If it’s easier for you, if you’re like, “I’m just going to copy your template”, hey, you can do that. We’ll have a new template next week. Maybe you’ll want to take that one instead.

Here are the templates. I’m just going to drag these in to help organize them up a bit. Just half a second here while I do that and then I’ll show you what the templates are. That is three … move that down to three, this is the part where I do things live. Sample, that is the template and five is here. Okay.

We’ve got all of those emails in there, I’m going to go over here, I’m going to merge all of them so we can immediately start writing in them. Here is the template. The opening you’ll see because we already went through is the same. This isn’t really much … This part isn’t template as much as it is, “Hey, just completely write this, take exactly that, like that, use that.”, and then from that point on, we want to get into everything in a curly bracket is part of the template.

You copy all of this, you use this verbatim and then you fill in these curly bracket spots with the appropriate things for your brand, for your products, for your, in this case, your competition let’s say.

You fill that in, you go through it and it’s just a line by line. Here, you can take a screen shot of it, if that’s easier for you or again, it’s the free template in Airstory this week. We go through, we always want to be agitating. That’s something that we didn’t really get to talk too much when we were looking at the examples, but as you can see, when we’re working through a lot of copyrighting templates, agitation is a big part of actually writing great copy.

Note that as you go through the template and compare these as you’re filling these in, compare them to the examples I already gave you. We have tested these against … Again, we said, “Okay, let’s pretend we’re unbound, and we’ll write this email now, and modify it and keep working through it.”, so it will work for non personal brands. It will work for people, for bigger brands that are like tech brands or whatever else.

You can do that if building a relationship is important to you, which I hope, I hope it is because your open rates will suffer if you don’t build that relationship. The second template in here as well, for the second chances, the shorter email the shorter one that’s all about, getting them to commit and then we get into the self segmentation one where we’ve got again, showing on the screen.

If it’s easier, you can just go ahead and take a screen shot of this template, and type it up yourself if you’re not going to use Airstory. I’m just going to scroll here so you can take another screen shot in case that’s what you’re doing right now. That really brings us definitely to the end of our session today. Do we have … We don’t really … Well, we have time for questions if you’re still on the line.

Are you empowered? Are you ready to start thinking through those initial emails that you have with new subscribers. To think through those differently and to write them differently. To segment people that maybe you weren’t segmenting before.

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