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Welcome emails - first impressions count
Are your welcome emails doing their job properly and in a timely manner? The findings of a recent study by the Email Experience Council suggest that more attention to detail is needed if email marketers are to create a good first impression.
Fewer than three-quarters of online retailers send out welcome e-mails to customers who have signed up for a newsletter or other email program, according to the Email Experience Council’s (EEC) second annual “Retail Welcome Email Benchmark Study”. At 72 percent, that figure is up on 2006’s 66 percent, but when you consider that welcome emails have much higher opening rates than regular email communications, it’s an opportunity that 28 percent of online retailers are missing out on.
“Welcome emails should set the tone of the program and the expectations of the recipient from an aesthetics and content standpoint,” said Kara Trivunovic, director of strategic services at Premiere Global Services Inc., in a recent release. “It is said that you never get a second chance to make a first impression—and that adage holds true to the email channel as well. Properly executed welcome messages actually create anticipation in the recipient for the next message.”
Other areas of welcome email practice were examined including:-
- Whitelisting – Over 60 percent of welcome emails requested the subscriber whitelist them by adding them to their address book, up from 49 percent last year.
- Recommend-a-friend – Just 7 percent of welcome emails included a "recommend-a-friend” call to action or link, and only 2 percent contained refer-a-friend links.
- CAN-SPAM – the number of emails that were CAN-SPAM compliant rose slightly from 52 percent to 58 percent, despite this not being a requirement of a welcome email.
- HTML vs Text – There was a 10 percent rise in the number of retailers sending out HTML welcome emails, to 79 percent.
- Shopping Links – nearly all, 98 percent, of welcome emails contained links to the retail site, up from 88 percent last year.
- Store locators – a slight rise in use from 31 percent to 33 percent.
And finally, Trivunovic advises that welcome emails should be sent out within ten minutes of subscription. “If it is not delivered within 10 minutes of the subscription conversion, the opportunity is likely lost," she said. "Strike while the iron is hot and the brand is top of mind.”
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