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Welcome emails to build engagement

Hello newsletter friends, It's Mark from Revue with your weekly newsletter update. Summer is over and
The week in
A weekly update for newsletter editors and audience managers, sent every Tuesday morning in the US, afternoon in Europe, and evening in Asia.
Hello newsletter friends,
It’s Mark from Revue with your weekly newsletter update.
Summer is over and it’s time to get back to thinking about how we can make our newsletters better. And the welcome email is a great way to start 🏁
So today I want to share some strategies and advice on how to use the welcome email to build engagement. Hope you enjoy it and do forward me your favorite welcome email(s) at mark@getrevue.co 💌
Starting off with a great welcome email
One of the key success factors of this newsletter is a personal welcome mail that I send to create engagement. It starts with a personal message to the new subscriber, ideally something about our shared interest in newsletters. And ends with a request for feedback that can easily be answered in 10 seconds.
About one in four or five people reply, which is not that many considering that people just signed up for the newsletter, are contacted personally, and can answer quickly. But the conversations and relationships that come out of these emails are often very interesting and rewarding and make it well worth it.
If this sounds like something that is only feasible for smaller B2B newsletters, here’s a great example of the team at KPCC-LAist answering thousands of emails personally, essentially becoming LA’s unofficial COVID-19 helpdesk. Engagement intern Caitlin Hernández shared the details for NiemanLab:
Since early March, our newsroom has received more than 3,300 pandemic-related questions from Angelenos and beyond. Nearly a third of questions have come from out of state, some from as far away as India and the UK. To date, we have personally answered more than 2,900 of those questions, leveraging the reporting our newsroom is already doing.
This might be pushing it a bit as their “volume-to-response ratio is unlike anything any other newsroom is taking on”, but creating good engagement requires some investments and usually starts with the welcome mail.
So what’s a good way to think about welcome emails? While I often talk about the importance of editorial newsletters not being marketing content, the welcome message might be something we can borrow from the marketers. Customer relationship platform Intercom, for example, has developed an extensive framework to set up users for long-term success.
Their framework has five rules for welcome emails:
- Extend a warm welcome. Greet customers by their first name and show genuine enthusiasm that they’ve signed up.
- Introduce yourself – don’t forget to show the real person behind your product.
- Build a connection from the start and show you’re keen to help.
- Provide the most impactful next steps for them to take.
- Answer the three most common questions customers have on the first day.
The first three points definitely also apply to editorial newsletters. And while the latter two are mostly designed to start selling a product or service, they are certainly good to keep in mind.
In fact, Cory Brown, who helps newsrooms develop email, has written a great article with three very similar keys for welcome emails for editorial newsletters.
1. Be human: Nobody likes being treated as a nameless, faceless record in a database.
2. Put the reader first: Each new subscriber gave you their email address. They probably also gave you their name. Show them they can trust you with that information.
3. Keep it brief: Don’t overwhelm your new subscriber. Hold a little back. Don’t be pushy. Allow your new subscriber time to get to know you.
The article has many instructive examples. There’s The New Tropic with a photo of the newsletter authors and a list of what to expect. Or Omaha Dines which explains that newsletter readers will receive weekly restaurant reviews each Tuesday, one day ahead of publication on the website.
Revue’s standard welcome message keeps that in mind but is just that - standard. With the above strategies and advice you should be able to go in and make it better.
The week in newsletters
Time for the most important newsletter articles of the week. Here they are ⏰
The Media Roundup guest issue
Resources For Newsletter Creators
Facebook Ads to Get More Subscribers
Thread about starting local newsletter
Emails, perfected for publishers* by Revue.
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Mark from Revue

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