Not all welcome emails are created equal.
Sure, a little “howdy-hey!” with a desperate plea to follow you on social media might get a few clicks. But that’s like bringing a plastic T-ball bat to a big league game: it can technically hit the ball…
But why on earth would you use it when you could use a better bat instead—and make your welcome email a home run?
The point is, that first email to your subscribers has a lot of heavy lifting to do. Because your welcome email can determine whether or not your subscribers continue to open your future emails, too.
So today, I’m going to share a somewhat unconventional welcome email template that I’ve been using for the past year or two. It’s been working beautifully, and I hope it’ll serve you well, too.
But first, a mindset shift:
Your welcome email isn’t just to say “hello”
A great welcome email actually serves multiple purposes, such as:
- Developing a real, personal relationship with the reader
- Getting them used to opening your emails
- …and taking action in your emails
- Introducing them to your key messaging (making future sales easier)
- Priming them for your future emails
That’s a tall order for a single email!
But like with any copy, it’s vital to go into the writing process with the right goals in minds. So with that, let’s dive into the email template.
1) Start your welcome email with a clear subject line
Your subject line should:
- Make it clear that it’s a welcome email
- Be super conversational and human-sounding
- Be short (according to these stats: 16 characters ideal, 43 characters is pushing it, 60 characters absolute max)
And from there, you can let your imagination run wild. I like to ask myself two questions:
- How would you greet someone face-to-face?
- How would you write this subject line if you were writing to a friend?
I also am a big fan of using personalization in the email subject line. If your form collects their first name, many email providers allow you to input that name into the subject line using a merge tag that auto-fills when the email sends.
So come up with some options. A/B test them, if possible. But honestly, welcome emails naturally have very high open rates. People are excited! So do your due diligence and come up with some ideas, but don’t let this decision weigh you down.
2) Greet the reader by name
Still have that first name? Keep using it! This allows you to talk to the reader just like you would if it was a personal email you’re sending to a friend.
If you don’t have their first name, still address them in a personal way: “Hi, new friend!”
Or have some fun with it, if it fits your brand: “Welcome aboard, cadet!”
Just remember to keep it personal. Speak to one person. Using a plural “Hey, friendS!” makes the reader feel like they’re just a number. And no one wants that.
3) Remind them how they signed up
Fun fact about humans: They have busy inboxes and poor memories.
So from the get-go, let’s remind them why you’re emailing them.
- “You just received my free [lead magnet]—I hope it’s useful!”
- “Thanks for subscribing to the ______ Newsletter.”
- “It’s [your name] from [website]—welcome to the club/party/community!”
Tip: Whenever you can, make your email list feel exclusive. Using language like “club” or “party” or “community” makes it clear that your email list is special.
4) Tell them what they can expect from you
Okay, they made it onto your list. Now, we have to show them why that was an excellent decision and they should probably stick around.
I know, I know. Copywriting can feel like you’re constantly re-convincing people to stay here and keep reading. And that’s because that’s exactly what you’re doing. Remember: busy inboxes, poor memories.
So at this stage of the welcome email, you’re going to give them a little picture of what they can expect from you moving forward. But the key here is to focus on the benefits.
A common mistake I see a lot is folks making at this stage is outlining every kind of email they plan on sending:
- “From now on, you’ll get trainings, blog post updates, invitations to my webinars, and some promotional emails.”
But that doesn’t give the reader the information they’re looking for. Your reader wants to know, “What’s in it for me?” and “Why should I care?”
Instead, focus on the results or the benefits of your emails:
- “From now on, you’ll get access to exclusive trainings to move your business forward. You’ll also be the first to hear about new offers—and even about some that I don’t share publicly.”
Oooh, now that’s gonna grab more attention. Exclusive trainings? Moving my business forward? First to hear about secret offers? I’m in.
And if you can get more specific with the benefits of your work, even better.
For example, if you’re a dog trainer:
- “As a subscriber, you’re going to get my best training advice to turn your naughty pup into a well-behaved member of the family. You also get behind-the-scenes access to my training process, and you’ll be the first to hear when I have new client spots available.”
(Again: Notice all that language about exclusivity! “behind-the-scenes” and “first to hear”)
5) Introduce yourself like a human
All the proper expectations are set. Now, we can focus on developing that relationship.
And how do humans form relationships? By sharing about ourselves.
I know, talking about yourself in your marketing is one of the most-hated activities. But here’s a formula to do it well:
- Start with a line like “Hi, I’m _____” (just like you’d introduce yourself to a person face-to-face)
- Include a friendly photo of yourself (to complete the face-to-face effect)
- Share what you do in one sentence (such as, “I’m a ______ here to help you _____.)
- Tell a tiny story about why you do what you do
That story part can feel hard. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are two ideas to get you started:
Share 3-5 bullet points that show your journey to where you are today
This isn’t about detailing your work history. It’s pointing out the pivotal moments that highlight why you do what you do, and what makes you qualified to teach this stuff.
Right now, here’s what mine says:
I got my start in the advertising agency world, writing for the kinds of clients that make a career. Sure, it was exciting! But a few years in, I realized agency life wasn’t in my long-term vision. So I quit my job and…
👉 Started freelancing as a blog content writer. Made a lot of progress, but plateau’d. Threw in the towel after 8 months.
👉 Took a job running marketing for an Inc. 500 Fastest-Growing Company. Learned AGAIN that the 9-5 life wasn’t for me (Oops.)
👉 Started my own business again, this time writing website copy. Fell in love with serving online business owners. Wanted to help more of you guys.
👉 Eventually stopped writing for clients so I could focus on teaching you how to write your own copy. Teach a man to fish, and all that.
(And that’s what I’m still doing today.)
Alternatively, write a short story about one pivotal moment
Instead of giving the full rundown, tell a tiny story about one moment that highlights why you do what you do.
Maybe you trained your first dog when you were 12 years old, and that’s why you love working with dogs as an adult.
Maybe you did your friend’s makeup for prom and totally made her night, and that feeling is why you love teaching makeup today.
Maybe your first business crashed and burned, but your second one took off, and now you’re a damn good business coach because you know both sides of the coin.
We love stories. Take us back to that moment, and explain how it somehow led to to where you are today. But whatever you do—keep! it! short!
And if the story itself doesn’t make it clear, be sure to include a line that shows you’re capable. We don’t want to leave your story just at “I did my friend’s makeup at prom… so I decided to start a business around it!” Position yourself as the expert:
- “After grueling away at my aesthetician license and perfecting the art of the subtle cat eye, I now serve clients professionally…”
- “And now, I’ve helped over X many dog owners…”
- “And now, I’m here to help you do the same.”
6) Tell them to take an action
Finally, the moment of truth. It’s time to ask the reader to take an action. And whether or not they actually take that action is an easy way to tell if the rest of your email is effective or not.
In a normal email, we want to keep it to just one call to action. Keep it focused. But in a welcome email, we can assume we have a bit more attention, and ask them to take a second action, too—if we’re super clear about it.
So, what action should they take?
There are some usual culprits. You could ask them to follow you on social media. Or if they’re using Gmail, you could ask them to move your email from the “Promotions” tab into “General.”
And those are good. The Gmail one is especially good.
But here’s where my advice is gonna get a little unconventional. Because my favorite call to action isn’t really scalable. As in, this is not set-it-and-forget-it.
But… What if you asked them to reply?
And then you promised to respond?
Sure—one day, your email list might be too big to have this kind of CTA. But for 99% of you reading this, this is going to be a game changer.
Because remember, our goal is to develop a personal relationship with our subscribers. What’s more personal than actually striking up a real conversation?
I’ve personally experimented with a few different reply-based calls to action over the years. At first, I wanted to use my question like a survey. I asked people to tell me why they signed up. When that didn’t get responses, I changed it to asking them to share their biggest business problem.
Neither request got any feedback. Because I was going in with a me-first mentality.
So eventually, I changed it to a much more human request:
“You know my story. Now, what’s yours?”
Then I ask them to reply and introduce themselves, with a promise that the email goes to my personal inbox.
It works. Because I’m just being a normal human. I’d ask basically the same thing if we were chatting in person.
Does everyone reply? Of course not! But some people do, and it’s been so darn lovely to actually strike up conversation, ask them about themselves, and start developing a real relationship. I end up giving a lot of free advice and coaching to my email responders.
And yeah, some of those people have even become clients. But that’s never been the core focus. It just happens naturally.
Your email list is part of your network. And a network is just relationships. So the more you treat your subscribers like the individuals they are, and the more you go in with a service-first mentality, the more people will want to engage with you.
It’s kind of as simple as that.
What do you send after your welcome email?
Okay, you just got my welcome email template. Honestly, you could have gotten it just by subscribing (again, this is the exact template I’m using personally right now), but I wanted to give you a bit behind-the-scenes into the reasoning behind each section 😉
But a welcome email is just the first step. Eventually you’ll want to set up a welcome email series to continue the nurturing process.
How you structure that series depends a lot on your business and your goals. But in general, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:
Keep it to one CTA per email
With each email, ask: “What action do I want them to take?” Then focus the email on that action.
Re-introduce and remind
Sorry, they’ve already forgotten you again. Better say it a few more times.
“Hey, it’s [your name] again!”
“Hello again from your friendly neighborhood [your title].”
Look for opportunities to segment
You can gather a lot of data about your subscribers in your welcome sequence through trigger links. Trigger links are available through most email providers, and they allow you to add a tag to people who click certain links.
So you can ask them outright: “Which one are you? Click the option that best describes you…” or you can just be strategic with the linkes you share and pay attention to what they click.
For example, if you’re a dog trainer, you could share an article about puppies, one about older dogs, and one about behavior problems. Then, with trigger links, you could tag your readers who click each link so you know what kind of content they might be interested in the future.
Here are some types of emails you could include in your welcome email series:
- A mini-training that gives them a quick win
- Your inspirational founding story
- Past blog posts they’d like
- A case study about a client you helped
- An offer email specifically for new subscribers (yep, you can sell in your welcome series!)
Go welcome your people
If you don’t have a welcome email yet, get writing! With this email template, I’ll bet you can get yours set up in 2 hours or less.
If you have questions, leave it in the comments. I’m here for ya.