Your welcome email is full of opportunity

Five things to make sure you include in it and how it helps your readers come back for more

Welcome emails are like treasure maps. You can leave readers to fend for themselves or you can illuminate their path forward.

It’s become common to send welcome emails, but most of them are pretty lackluster. They’re hastily written and then forgotten about for years.

What a missed opportunity! Your newest reader wants to know what you have to offer right now. Make a loyal fan out of them faster by handing them a clear map.

This week, we’re breaking down a welcome email that meets this moment well.

If it inspires you to fix up your welcome email, reply and show me! I’d love to see the before and after.

📣 Want to grow your paid readership? Join us for our Scaling Paid Subs mind meld. Next session is Monday, July 1 at 2:30pm Eastern and it’s free. RSVP here.

Use your welcome email to start a habit

Sponsorship expert Justin Moore sends this welcome email to his newest subscribers:

Why it works

  • Nails reader mindset: The subject line and the “two main ways” section are reader-centric. Justin thought about why the reader is joining the list and what they want out of it. He makes that explicit and reinforces that they’re in the right place.

  • Sets exciting expectations: He plants the seeds of what readers will receive in an enticing way. This makes it less likely someone will say “why is Justin emailing me so much” and more likely they’re looking forward to seeing “Tool Tuesday” show up in their inbox.

  • Highlights one action to take now: Justin tells the reader to go watch one particular video (the one from the subject line). This gets the reader even more aware of who Justin is and it fast tracks trust so they’re more likely to stick around longer.

Two other things Justin is doing that are common for welcome emails:

  • Ask for a reply: Towards the top he’s soliciting a reply from the reader. As he explains, he’s doing this to make it more likely email service providers don’t put his emails in spam (also called email deliverability). This is kind of a weak way to do that but it works. I much prefer the suggestion I share below.

  • Make an offer: At the bottom, Justin includes a couple ways to work with him. It’s good to make this available in every issue though you should decide (or test) whether it’s the main call to action of the welcome email. I lean towards no because it’s more of a moment to get them invested and tee up the upgrade ask a few weeks later.

How to do it yourself

📨 Set up a welcome email automation and trigger it to send right away when someone joins your publication website or email list.
(Instructions for Substack, Instructions for Beehiiv, Instructions for Ghost)

  1. Make the subject line clickworthy (write something in your publication’s voice that they’d want to open)

  2. Start the email by welcoming them and reinforcing what they just joined (share your mission, backstory or purpose)

  3. Very quickly move on to set exciting expectations (tell them about your coverage, when to expect what and why it’s interesting)

  4. Choose one clear action for them to take (this can be a popular story, a podcast episode or it can be a transactional ask like a survey or a paid subscription)

  5. If you want to get to know your readers, close with a question that’s easy for them to reply to like “How’d you find us?” or “What city do you call home?” It should be something they know the answer to and don’t have to think about.

📆 Set a calendar reminder to revisit your welcome email in 3 months. A lot changes in that time and you’ll want to make sure this stays up to date.

Our takeaway

Your welcome email is a chance to get your reader building a habit around your publication. Use it to show them around and get them coming back for more.

You don’t have to stop there. You can add onto this first email and take them through a sequence of emails to get them reading, responding, bookmarking, sharing and of course…paying for it! We’ll cover that another time.

An invitation

I’m a growth marketer and I love getting my own hands on the data. If you want to run a test together on your welcome email, please reply to this email. I work on a sliding scale from very cheap (for teams) to free (for solo writers) if you let me publish the results here.

📓 Dive deeper on welcome emails