The Start of Something Good: The Welcome Email
Your initial welcome email is one of the most important emails a new member will receive from your association. Done right, it’ll set the stage for a successful, long-term relationship.
Trust is built on first impressions. You’ve probably heard British author Andrew Grant’s take on this: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” When a new member joins your association, what’s the first thing you do to “introduce” your organization them?
This is where an email welcome series comes into play – a series that is crucial to the relationship between your organization and a new dues-paying member. This is literally the start of something good!
Ready for some stats?
GetResponse: Welcome messages receive a 91 percent open rate and a 27 percent click-through rate.
Brightwave: Subscribers who receive a welcome email show more long-term engagement with a brand – 33% more, on average.
So why do only 57.7% of brands send welcome emails to their newly subscribed users. And for those that send the welcome email, are they crafting it right? Let’s examine…
Before getting into the do’s and don’ts of welcome emails, we should set a couple of ground rules. First, welcome emails should not be a “one-and-done” scenario. They should consist of a series of emails – ideally, 4-6 that are sent at an automated, weekly cadence. This assures that your association is staying in front of a new member and reminding them why they joined your organization.
Next, throw out the drably written welcome email with login credentials and account details. You know what I’m talking about:
Welcome to our association! Here is your account information. You’ll need this information for renewal purposes:
You can log in to the members only area of our website using these credentials:
We’re glad to have you on board!
When a member joins your association, they expect the organization to be excited to meet and help them. The welcome email above doesn’t convey that at all. It looks like it was written by a robot, auto-generated from a computer system that has no idea who this new member is (or cares to learn).
So, if you think your initial new member welcome email could use some updating, take a look at the following recommendations that are sure to get your new member excited about joining your association.
Let’s Get Personal
Right off the bat, it’s important that your subject line is personalized. In fact, recent studies show open rates increase by 26% when subject lines are personalized.
Personalization goes both ways – not just with your members, but with your organization. Make sure you include a real person’s name in the “Sender Name” field (your CEO, membership director, admin, etc.), and not just your association’s name. This gives the new member a name to associate with the organization. Or better yet, combine the two – something like this:
Regardless of how you choose to personalize, make sure to never use a noreply email address. A noreply address gives the impression that your organization can’t be bothered with responding to feedback – something you never want a member to feel.
Now, back to the subject line. Here’s a couple of personalized examples to think about:
EXAMPLE: Welcome [FIRSTNAME]! We’re glad you’re a member of [ASSOCIATION_NAME]
EXAMPLE: Welcome to [ASSOCIATION_NAME], [FIRSTNAME]! Here’s what to expect…
Reinforcement is Key
Have you ever purchased something and immediately thought “what did I just do?” Of course you have. And so have your members upon joining your association. Your initial welcome email should put their possible remorse to bed.
I’m sure you’ve heard the term FOMO. For those that haven’t, it means “fear of missing out,” a term coined by marketing strategist Dr. Dan Herman in 1996. Social media has definitely accelerated the sense of FOMO - the feeling that you are missing out on something fundamentally important that others are experiencing right now. And that’s what your welcome email should convey. Reinforce WHY they joined your association and the hundreds or thousands of members that support it.
EXAMPLE: Congrats! You just joined an exclusive group of 12,000 top industry professionals. Now, let’s get you connected with this great network of people!
“Nice to Meet You”
Believe it or not, many members join your association without fully knowing exactly who you are and what they’re getting out of membership. The welcome email is your chance to formally introduce your organization. Some things to consider:
Introduce/re-introduce your mission
Talk about key “wins” over the last 6 months and provide options on how a new member can get involved.
Discuss member value and include a quote from one of your engaged members
Let’s Talk Benefits
Again, this is your chance to reinforce the “why” someone joins your association. Keep it brief and keep the discussion broad (unless, of course, you have an arrangement with an affinity partner to highlight the heck out of their particular benefit).
So what’s next? Take advantage of some of our key member benefits, such as:
1. A virtual member networking event taking place on April 2 at 6:30 p.m.
2. Exclusive access to industry benchmarking reports.
3. Complimentary access to our association’s on-demand webinar series.
A Clear Path to “What’s Next”
When you join a gym, you’re given a tour of the facility, right? You see where the weights are racked, where the cardio equipment can be found, and where the lockers are located. Once you join, you find out you get free towels, two free personal training sessions, access to a eucalyptus sauna, and free childcare. Like the gyms, there are certain things that automatically come with membership. Instead of “surprising” a new member, get them excited about it in the welcome email. Try this:
EXAMPLE: As a new member, you’ll receive our award-winning magazine each month, full of content that will help you run your business.
EXAMPLE: We’ve already subscribed you to our weekly e-newsletter. Watch your inbox each Wednesday for the latest industry news and commentary.
EXAMPLE: Your local chapter holds a monthly networking event in your area. Be on the lookout for an invitation soon.
Finally, make sure your new member knows exactly where to go to provide feedback. Provide email addresses, phone numbers, and (if you have the functionality) a call to action to “chat.” Most likely, your new member will probably hold on to this initial email for future reference. Give her/him all the information they need to be an engaged member of your organization.
Remember, your initial welcome email is one of the most important emails a new member will receive from your association. It provides the information they need to be engaged, and reinforces the member’s decision to join. Done right, it’ll set the stage for a successful, long-term relationship.
Need help with your welcome series email and automation? Contact us today and let’s get started!