In interpersonal relations, first impressions are pretty much everything. Although email marketing provides a virtual exchange, the rules are no different. You only have one chance to sweep your consumers off their feet during your welcoming endeavor. If you miss your shot, you’ll most likely be doomed to banishment in the spam folder; if you wow them thoroughly, this might just be the beginning of a sustainable business relationship. In this case, as in most cases, laziness and wishful thinking will be your downfall, as consumers will smell it from several miles away, even through their computer screens. Your welcoming campaign should be a subtle blast of alluring content, and your brand should remain in the minds of your readers well after they skim through your initial message.

Set your Expectations

When opening an email from a new contact, readers want to know precisely what’s coming their way. Tell your customers precisely what they can expect from you, when it should be coming, and at what frequency. Be clear, and make sure your consumers know exactly what they’re getting into. List all of the things that they will be experiencing from you during their time as a subscriber. Of course, this includes informing them that you will be periodically sending them promotions via email.

Make sure your Message is Customized

According to Cynthia Price of Entrepreneur: “First things first: Decide what you need to say. Consider the basics. If someone is new to your email list, what do they need to know about your brand?” While drawing inspiration from successful companies is a great way to start, it won’t ultimately benefit you if your messages are cookie-cutter versions of your references, with the product names and price tags changed to fit your services. Explain to your customers exactly how your products or services work, and what separates you from your competitors. Include testimonials from past consumers, and throw in a special offer at the end of the welcome message to cement your readers to your brand.”

Make Small Commitments

It’s one thing for you to make the right moves on your end of the exchange, but having your customers make small commitments to your brand on their side bodes well for the future of your relationship. “The first microcommitment is to ask them to whitelist your email address. Create and link to a page on your website that gives clear Whitelisting instructions,” writes Ryan Deiss of LinkedIn. “Second, ask them to connect with you elsewhere. This is where you can increase engagement with your new subscriber on social media.”

Avoid the Spam Folder

“The perfect welcome email not only creates new prospects that are indoctrinated to you and your business…” writes Deiss. “It also ensures that future content and promotional emails get delivered.” Avoiding the spam folder is perhaps the most important part of the indoctrination process. You’ve done your job well if you’ve adhered to all the key components of a solid welcome message, but your finely-crafted email won’t do anyone any good if it gets banished to the spam folder. Email clients and internet service providers determine which folder to direct your emails based on your customer’s engagement. If their actions include clicking, opening, favoriting, and replying to an email, your email has a much better chance of appearing in their primary folder in the future. Keep in mind that open rates are increased by opening-loops; whitelisting goes a long way toward increasing deliverability; and social media engagement boosts click-through rates.

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