When someone knocks on your door (pre-COVID-19, anyway), the first thing you do is say their name and welcome them in. Are you doing the same in your welcome email when someone signs up to receive information from you?
Most email systems allow organizations to set autoresponders at specific steps along the audience journey. They’re great because you write a welcome email message once, and the system sends it out to every new subscriber without additional work from you.
But what should welcome emails say?
This is one of the less complicated emails you will write. The 5-step structure of a subscriber welcome email is:
- Welcome subscriber by name (make sure your software can do this accurately).
- Make a statement that immediately focuses on who you serve, not your organization.
- Briefly state what the subscriber will be receiving. Reassure them that you respect their privacy.
- Proffer your thanks, with the focus again not on the organization, but on the cause.
- Provide some kind of easy call to action: “In between newsletters, keep up on our Facebook [link] and Instagram [link] pages.” Don’t undo your sincerity by asking for money in your welcome.
Let’s look at an example I received today, then how I would edit it.
Original welcome email: The XXX Refugee Agency
Thank you for joining us
Thank you for subscribing to our email updates.
You will receive monthly updates about our work to protect refugees and those in need, plus the latest news from the field. We will also send you occasional emails alerting you to urgent emergencies and how you can help.
[photo of smiling mother holding child in street]
Thanks again for joining us.
Get involved right now
Donate [link] – Your gift will allow us to protect refugees and continue our life-saving work.
Visit our website [link] – Check out UNHCR’ s website to get the latest news on our work, and how you can get involved.
Follow us [social links] – Talk to us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch and rate our new films on our YouTube channel.
Now, here is what I wish they’d said (aka my edited version):
On behalf of Bekah and thousands of refugees like her, thank you for caring enough to subscribe.
You’ll receive monthly updates about work your support makes possible – protecting refugees like Bekah – plus the latest news from the field. You’ll also get occasional alerts about emergencies and how you can help.
We value your privacy and will protect any information you share with us.
Thanks again for being one of the many people who believes every human being deserves a life free from persecution and discrimination.
[positive photo of a refugee from the field] [photo of a staffer/volunteer in the field with 2-3 refugees] [positive photo of a refugee]
Find out about potential long-term damage to human rights from the COVID-19 pandemic. [link]
Why did I make the changes I did?
1. On behalf of Bekah and thousands of refugees like her, thank you for caring enough to subscribe.
People subscribe because their hearts have been touched. As soon as they hit the “subscribe” button, we immediately reaffirm their decision by again evoking an emotional response. In their head, they’re hearing one little girl say, “Thank you.” What could have more of an impact?
2. You’ll receive monthly updates about work your support makes possible – protecting refugees like Bekah – plus the latest news from the field. You’ll also get occasional alerts about emergencies and how you can help.
Donors make all things possible, so they’re front and center. We told them how often they will hear from us and why.
3. We value your privacy and will protect any information you share with us.
We protect our donors, too. We mean what we say about human rights.
4. Thanks again for being one of the many people who believe every human being deserves a life free from persecution and discrimination.
Not “thanks for supporting us” – because they aren’t supporting an organization. Donors support a belief, a cause, an issue. Show them you understand where the focus is.
5. Find out about potential long-term damage to human rights from the COVID-19 pandemic [more]
We can change out this last line to keep the message fresh and the donor current.