The Art of the Welcome Email: How to Impress Every New Contact from Day 1

When it comes to your business, I don’t have to tell you how important first impressions are. Chances are, you’ve already thought through the first impression that potential new customers get from the homepage of your website, your social media profiles, and your landing pages (not to mention your storefront, if you have one).

But what about the first impression of your email list?

As Return Path’s Tom Sather reported in Marketing Land last year, subscribers open welcome emails 42% more often than regular promotional emails. So you want to be sure to take advantage of the fresh eyes you have available to you.

But what exactly do you say beyond “hello”—especially if your new subscribers are coming from lots of different places on your site? How do you keep your welcome email relevant to all those people without being generic?

Those are fair questions. The answers I’ll give in this post rely on three tools:

  1. Automation: Rather than using a simple one-list-one-message approach, you can use automation to control the welcome email each person gets based on the specific place they opted in.
  2. Personalization: This goes way beyond inserting someone’s name in the subject line. You can use personalization to actually change the content new subscribers receive.
  3. Messaging: Finally, there’s the question of the words you use. I’ll be sharing some best practices we’ve observed here at Drip to help plan your welcome email content.

Here are four of my favorite ways to make a stellar first impression using personalized welcome emails.

1. Send a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Welcome Email to New Blog Subscribers

Subscribing to your blog updates is a pretty common top-of-the-funnel subscription action, and it’s probably the starting point for a lot of readers just starting to get to know your brand. While it’s awesome that you’re creating such great content that readers want to be notified when you’re updating the blog, you also don’t necessarily know much about those new subscribers.

Are they interested in certain topics or certain products you sell? Would they be interested in more content related to their industry? Do they want to set the frequency of emails they get from you?

You can use trigger links in your welcome email to find out more about your blog subscribers and ensure that they get what they’re looking for from your blog updates.

In Drip, this is as easy as adding any other hyperlink to your welcome email—you’ll just select a trigger link when you reach the Insert a Hyperlink screen:.

Insert Hyperlink

For instance, if I ran a food blog with two main focuses—recipes and cooking technique explanations—I might include a set of trigger links to determine which kinds of posts to send to new subscribers.

Trigger Links

I can send subscribers to a different landing page for each of these links, thanking them for making a selection and showcasing a couple of blog posts that are relevant to them. Meanwhile, the rule I’ve set up in Drip adds a tag that serves each subscriber only the most relevant content.

This obviously benefits subscribers, but it benefits me, too. I’ll retain more subscribers in the long run since people will never feel overwhelmed by irrelevant content. Plus, since these subscribers are now tagged, when I go to sell a cookbook or a Cooking Technique 101 course, I’ll know which of my subscribers to target for each offer.

2. Make Your Welcome Email Match the Lead Magnet Someone’s Downloaded

A lead who downloads a resource from your website has probably told you a bit more than their email address without even realizing it. After all, you know what they downloaded, and that information can help you identify what your lead may be interested in hearing more about.

Drip lets you use the Liquid template language to personalize your emails, so you can tailor a welcome email to every lead who downloads a resource from your site based on what they downloaded—without having to craft an entirely different email sequence for each of your downloads.


In this example, I would assign a tag when someone downloads one of the resources on my site and then send this welcome email, where only subscribers with each tag see the paragraph beneath the liquid tag.

So, for instance, if a new subscriber was tagged with “Bakery Guide”, they would see this email:

Liquid Result

Since they are now tagged with the “Bakery Guide” tag, I can continue to send them the content most relevant to them, much as I did with the liquid tags above.

3. Use Your Email Course Welcome Email to Connect Across Platforms

Once you get your email mini-course all set up, you might not want to think about writing yet another email, but don’t waste the opportunity to send a welcome email to strengthen the connection with these new subscribers.

Basically, your welcome email is the “syllabus day” of your email mini-course. It’s an opportunity to set expectations so that no subscriber is confused about the daily emails they’re getting from you or what’s come up next.

Plus, if they know what’s coming up, they’re more likely to get excited for it and keep opening your emails for the 5-day course.

Welcome mini-course

This welcome email from Benjamin Beck’s link building email course is a great example. It lets subscribers know when to expect an email, and a general idea of what kind of content to look forward to. It also tells them that they can expect the first email the next day, so they will be primed to watch for it in their inbox.

The other smart move here is adding a link to Benjamin’s Facebook community. When someone joins, they become that much more committed to the journey Benjamin is taking them on, and they’re connected on twice as many platforms.

You might not have a Facebook community for your product, but you probably have your own social media channels or a blog you’d like to promote. Consider using this technique to get more followers on your favorite non-email platform.

Then, take your welcome email to the next level by applying the same trigger link and tagging strategy above to your “connect with me” link. Now, you can include occasional reminders in future emails to follow you on Instagram to only the people who didn’t click your link. Or, add a P.S. to your next broadcast just for people in your Facebook group with a heads up about an interesting discussion they should see.

4. Send a Product-Specific Welcome Email to Thank New Customers

Really, “thank you” should be your default first words for any of these emails. After all, whenever someone joins your tribe or does something that directly benefits your business, you should let them know that you appreciate them.

But it’s especially important once a customer has invested money into your product or service. And if these customers aren’t already on your email list, you’ll definitely want to give them a warm, grateful welcome.

At Drip, we send all of our new subscribers an email encouraging them to sign up for an educational webinar that will help them use all of Drip’s features. We don’t want anyone signing up without the tools to jump right in and get started. If you have an ebook, video, or getting started guide, put that information in your welcome email to help your customers get started on the right foot with you.

Of course, we have it easy in one important respect: we only sell one product, and purchasers get every one of our features no matter what membership level they have. It’s easy to send helpful content when there’s no question about what someone’s just bought.

But you’re not out of luck even if you sell lots of very different products. Just use one of Drip’s ecommerce integrations to record which products new customers are buying.

For instance, if you use WooCommerce, every purchase will automatically update the customer’s contact record with the product ID. If you have specific welcome-email content you’d like to send new buyers of a specific product, you can create a rule to tag all those customers:

Ecommerce Rule

Then, you can use the same kind of Liquid conditionals we used above to add snippets of text referencing the specific product your new customer bought. Or you can use different product purchases to trigger an entirely different welcome email before funneling everyone into a common customer sequence—you can get as simple or sophisticated as you’d like while always including an element of personalization.

What’s in your welcome email? Leave your best welcome email tips in the comments!