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BizReport : Email Marketing : August 02, 2010

Listrak: Your email welcome is killing you

When it comes to email marketing you may believe you've got the market covered. You stick to your once weekly/montly mailing promise, you don't include too many graphics, you've involved video and social sharing. But there is one biggie that too many email marketers are missing: the series welcome message.

by Kristina Knight

listrak.jpgWhat are 'series welcome messages'? A series of automated email messages welcoming a new customer to an email list, telling them what to expect and giving them an incentive (coupon, discount, etc.) to begin shopping right away.

A welcome message series should:

• Build the email relationship by explaining benefits and information
• Give the consumer information about your products and services
• Include website information
• Include a survey to get to know members better

According to marketing services provide Listrak only about 1% of retailers (members of the Interent Retailer 500) are including series welcome messages to new email list members. And those welcome messages? Have one of the highest click-thru rates of all email message options. Listrak's report, "Creating An E-Commerce Welcome Series to Increase Subscriber Engagement and Email ROI", found that only about half or retailers sent a welcome message. Other disturbing trends? Of those who did send a welcome message only 16% personalized it and only 40% sent a 'welcome to the list' discount special.

How many messages are too many or too few? That needs to be tested with each marketers, as does how often messages in the series should be sent. But there are a few rules to help create the content of the messages.

First, go social. Just as you would with a normal email message, marketers should include social features so that it is easier for a consumer to share information, 'fan' a branded social page or get more product information.

Second, engage the reader. Don't include a simple laundry list of products and services. Engage with the message content by using reviews, informative mini-essays about the products and services.

Third, include an offer. With welcome messages having the highest click-thru rates, including a special 'welcome discount' to members makes sense. It should get them into your store and shopping that much sooner.

Tags: email marketing, email messages, email welcome message, Listrak, welcome message series

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