Editor’s note: To provide you with even more tips, best practices, and welcome email examples we’ve updated this article in May 2022.
Welcome emails are one of the most effective automated emails you can send. In fact, their average click-through rates are about three times higher than those of regular newsletters.
They work because they arrive right after someone has signed up for your newsletter – in the window of time when your new subscriber is most interested in your business and your emails.
But does that mean all welcome emails are equally powerful when it comes to converting? Absolutely not.
That’s why in this post, we’ve gathered the essentials – the best welcome email examples, ideas, and best practices to inspire your next campaign.
That said, let’s start with a little bit of theory.
Table Of Contents
- What exactly is a welcome email?
- Why welcome emails are so important
- Welcome email examples
- What to include in your welcome email
- Welcome email best practices
- Welcome email subject line ideas
- How to create a welcome email in GetResponse
What exactly is a welcome email?
A welcome email is the first message you send to a customer, usually after they sign up for your list or fill out a form on your website or app.
The goal of a welcome email is first to confirm the signup by your new audience member and, of course, to greet them and welcome them into your business, setting the groundwork for what your brand offers and what it represents.
Why welcome emails are so important
Welcome emails are incredibly important and can have a major impact no matter if you’re running a small blog or a multimillion-dollar business.
They set the tone and help you bond with your new audience. That’s why it’s important to, just like IRL, be genuine, human, approachable, and even funny if that’s your brand. To quote Michael Leszczynski, “In addition to driving engagement, welcome emails are great for setting expectations for your relationship with your new audience.”
People, including us, expect a welcome email in our inbox to confirm signup or purchase, it’s pretty much second nature at this point in our digital lives. (It can even be unsettling not to receive one and leave people wondering if a) they’ve given you a wrong email address or b) you’ve stolen their data and run.) Because of that, welcome emails record the highest open and click-through rates among any email communication.
GetResponse found that the average open rate of welcome emails is more than 68.59%. The average click-through rate is around 16.05%. So, 7 out of 10 new subscribers will open your message, and 1 in 5 will click through to your site and take the action on your CTA that you desire. That means this important email will boost your email deliverability and conversion rates as well.
Welcome email examples
So that’s some of the theory behind them. Now let’s look at what these messages look like. Here are 11 examples of killer welcome emails and why they’re so good. We’ve also included two examples of very weak welcome emails (#6), just for contrast.
Welcome email #1: Backcountry
Backcountry’s very long, but still awesome welcome email.
Okay, clearly there’s no concern about having too long a welcome email here. But it’s actually pretty light on copy – they’ve got more than two-thirds of the space here for images.
Every image echoes the purpose of this email. First, there’s the big happy smile right below the “Thank you” headline. Then there are a few photos showing some of the gear they sell in action.
That’s followed by a feature that sets them apart – the “gearheads” who are experts in their sport, standing by to help you get everything you need.
There’s also a cool promo for their app. This is an ideal thing to announce in a welcome message. I’m happy to report that when I researched this piece, I saw several apps being promoted in welcome emails.
Finally, there’s the call to be “goatworthy”. That’s Backcountry’s version of “be awesome.” This is another trend I noticed in welcome emails: a hashtag used to promote awareness of a larger cause.
This “goatworthy” section of the email reveals a lot about Backcountry’s culture. It shows their new subscriber that they’re not in this just to sell as much stuff as possible. That builds trust and might resonate particularly well with their audience.
Welcome email #2: Levo
Levo’s call to turn your career around.
This is a very simple welcome message that does some really smart stuff. First, the header image frames what they want you to do – sit down with your computer and complete your Levo profile and account information. Showing the photo of the Levo website visualizes that for us.
Next, they use the words “You” and “now.” Over and over. Almost every bullet in the email mentions “you.” And that’s another smart thing: using bullet points instead of paragraphs makes the copy appear easier to read. They’ve also added a huge (if visually toned-down) call-to-action button.
And don’t skip over that image of the signature. That makes the whole email seem more personal and heartfelt.
It’s just a simple image, but old-time direct marketing copywriters ALWAYS include a scanned image as the signature at the close of their sales letters. Why? It increases sales. In this case, it increases actions.
Welcome email #3: MavSocial
MavSocial’s concise welcome email.
There are a bunch of things I like about this. First, it’s got a short copy, so it doesn’t look like something you’ll have to slog through.
Some welcome emails go overboard with information and look like solid blocks of text. That’s not happening here – the paragraphs are super-short. The type is plenty large enough to read, and it’s easy to tell what’s a link and what’s not.
The best part is how it walks you through how to set up your account and start using the social media management service. And because the email is so simple, it kinda feels like doing each of those tasks will be simple, too. That makes me more likely to take action. It also gets MavSocial what they want: more trial users actually using the software.
Welcome email #4: Refinery29
Refinery’s fab social media integration.
This onboarding email wins the prize for best enticements to follow a business on social media. Including some of their most alluring posts is far more persuasive than just showing a few text links or the social media icon. Also, note how they’re working the social proof angle near the bottom by touting how many followers they have on Facebook and Twitter. Smart.
One last cool thing about this email: Nice whitelisting instructions near the top.
Experian did a study about welcome emails not too long ago. They found that whitelisting instructions placed near the top of an email, rather than in the footer, work best. Instructions placed near the top get about 20% more subscribers to whitelist the sender.
Welcome email #5: Luzme
Luzme’s FAQ welcome email.
Lots of good stuff going on here. There’s personalization, plus a clear description of what the company does. There’s also a reminder of why I’m getting the email.
Because this is a SAAS (Software as a Service) company, it’s important that I understand what it does and how it works. This email explains that nicely.
What I like best is the list of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). That’s exactly the sort of thing a new user would want to know. But oddly enough, this is the first welcome email I can remember seeing that has a list of FAQs.
6. Two ad agencys’ welcome emails
These two emails define another “standard,” which is what welcome emails look like if you don’t take the time and effort to customize them.
I’ve changed the names to protect the innocent here. I don’t want to embarrass anyone. But these two welcome emails – both of them from well-regarded ad agencies – are embarrassing. If you could see these companies’ websites, you’d see the hip design and lots of talk about marketing successes.
And yet here are their welcome emails. Hey – it happens to the best of us.
Just to clarify, these are from two different companies. They only look identical because neither company chose an alternative template for their welcome email.
This one didn’t even get the personalized salutation right:
That’s not a great standard. But unfortunately, it is the standard practice for all too many companies. Don’t just send a default welcome email. Customize it with your own content like the other, better examples here. It only takes a few minutes.
7. Magic Spoon
Subject line: Welcome to the World of Magic Spoon
It’s straightforward, inviting, and lets you know a whole new world awaits you.
Why it’s so good
The greeting and image combination are damn near perfect. They thank you for signing up, they give a great tag line (“Strong move”), they illustrate that tagline with the image, and incorporate their product there as well.
And don’t miss that header, which features their logo, a comparison invite for “US VS THEM” to show they believe their product is better and are ready to tell you why, and a CTA, “TRY NOW”, all without being annoying or cumbersome.
The introduction lets you know what you’re getting: emails without any junk, just like the cereals. In a short sentence they let you know who they are, what they’re about, and what to expect. Then they prompt a question that encourages thought and engagement from the reader, “Are you ready to join the breakfast club?” This even invokes a memory for some people who remember and are fans of the movie The Breakfast Club.
After that, the present their offerings, give a code for a discount and tell you their special offer. Their social media presence – Instagram – follows with an invite to connect, and they finish the message with one more trust-worthy message, “Happiness 100% Guaranteed”.
What could have been better?
In general, left-justifying text performs better and is more readable to most audiences who read from left to right. There could be a little more explanation of their brand, their virtues, but they have chosen to represent that in images and to invite you to explore more through links and CTAs, giving them a boom-or-bust click-through rate.Habeab Kurdi, Copywriting Coordinator @ GetResponse
Subject line: Welcome to the Burrow family!
Why it’s so good
Across the board, Burrow present themselves as comfortable, and give you a vision of relaxing.
The message starts with a catchy tagline, “No interest in paying interest?” which presents an invitation, an offer, and a CTA all right away. Then they offer you a free sample as well as a tongue-in-cheek lighthearted gesture that it’s not just a swatch sample, but something you can keep using (bring in the less-waste crowd). The message closes out with an offer of help and a phone number, along with their social feeds.
There’s also a sleeping cat, which will win over most audiences on the web. Then they go straight for the CTA and a tagline that introduces who they are and what they’re all about. What do they do? Solve problems. Modern problems. Problems for your home. They are here to solve your problems.
The third part of the message is an invitation to enjoy yourself, to relax, and an invitation to a better life. That type of messaging dates back more than 80 years, that your product/offer/business is not just an improvement in and of itself, but it will actually make your entire life better. It’s “more than furniture.” And they do it so simply. Plus they feature tabs at the top that act as CTAs and resources at the same time.
The last part of the email tells you more about who they are, with their special offer big and bold right in the middle of the message. You see a repeat of their “Interest” line as well, showing how you can move, mix and match assets for different messages, as they have done with the sleeping cat image as well (in the second and third messages).
What could have been better?
They don’t necessarily greet you or welcome you with words, instead they rely on the images to do that. It’s bold and a little risky, as they are assuming you know about their brand and you are invested in furniture. It’s not a stretch being that the person signed up or consented to the messaging.Habeab Kurdi, Copywriting Coordinator @ GetResponse
Subject line: Thanks for signing up
Why it’s so good
Sometimes a simple, warm greeting is enough when you want to connect with your audience. Patagonia doesn’t go with a slogan or tagline to start, they just welcome you to their family, which is something everyone can relate to. They launch right into what to expect, and they touch on who they are with their mention of “in support of the wild places we love.” They also put some clickable links right at the top. The special offer of free shipping is there at the top but not too flashy or distracting, and they give you further trust by promising not to share your email, too.
The mission statement is strong and shows they know their audience, who they have defined as someone who supports sustainability and eco-friendly products. Instead of trying to make sure they connect to everyone, they make sure they connect with who they align with, and who aligns with them.
They finish the message with their guarantee, which is their way of saying “this is better than a discount, you can buy something and know it will be good, or we’ll make it right.”
You can see that throughout this message, they have clearly identified who their audience is, what their values are, what they want from a product, and what makes them feel like trusting the brand. These considerations are incredibly important for everyone when messaging their audience.
What could have been better?
Let’s look at that special offer again. It’s in a black bar that seems to almost be hidden. It fits their theme, but it isn’t especially alluring or something that will be noticed, and can be passed over easily.
They don’t tell much about their brand as far as their offerings or what they do best to introduce themselves to someone who may not know their brand, but they are banking on the fact that if you signed up for their emails, you know their products. That is not always the best method and especially if you are not one of the most visible brands in the world, you should include more about who you are. They are counting on the “Packs & Gear” tab to show what they offer, as well as the photo.Habeab Kurdi, Copywriting Coordinator @ GetResponse
Subject line: Welcome to the family.
Why it’s so good
Compared to the Patagonia example, this welcome email from MeUndies is more visually appealing and relies more on those elements to help tell the story and entice their audience.
They let you know who they are immediately though the slogan, “The World’s Most Comfortable Underwear” and they, just like Patagonia, welcome you to their world in the first sentence. Their model of telling you what problem they’re solving – giving people better underwear in the world – positions them as an authority who “gets you.” They further position themselves as different and better by saying “Change” a few times and using a conversational tone.
They tell you where to start, give you links on what they think are their best items to entire a click, and finish it up with a special discount and offer, but in doing so they are asking for a monthly commitment. If you have something extra special to offer, or an asset that is very valuable, you can put it behind another subscription tier or ask your audience for something in return when making them an offer. Here, the customer is offered savings, “up to $8 per pair” but only “on subscription plans.”
This is a great way to offer an upsell right away without seeming like you are asking for more money, and the CTA is very non-committal in “Learn More.”
Finally, another guarantee. As we know, people love guarantees in a world of uncertainty. MeUndies states simply that you can get your money back if you don’t like them. Then they have a way to contact them, learn more, and their social media channels.
What could have been better?
This email could be seen as a little sexually suggestive for some audiences, even if it’s not meant to be. They are offering underwear afterall, so people expect to see models in underwear showing the products. But it doesn’t necessarily show that their underwear is for everyone. And the only photos of a female are with a male. These aren’t necessarily bad, and most likely it fits in line with who MeUndies has identified as their audience, but they do risk losing some customers this way. Again, this is why it is so important to know your audience, and to know what they will expect from you.
But overall, it’s a great welcome email.Habeab Kurdi, Copywriting Coordinator @ GetResponse
Subject line: Welcome to Casper
Why it’s so good
The heading is very strong in going with their brand, and for people “dreaming” of better sleep. It really starts off in a great way, with great imagery that fits the tone. They welcome you into their community and make you feel comfortable, with a lighthearted joke about sleep as well. The CTA fits the brand as well.
Casper tells you what you’ll get immediately, and without using a lot of visuals the email is still visually striking in the blocks of color going from dark to a lighter yellow, then cascading into a light then dark blue. You can tell the difference in each section, and it’s visually pleasing and appealing.
Their special offers come in “first to know” as well as “early access”. Plus, they let you know you can get tips on sleeping better as well in their newsletter, plus free shipping. Then they give you that first tip to demonstrate what they mean. Lastly, they give you a discount of 20% with a CTA and offering a “bundle”, which means the brand is attempting to sell more and upsell the customer with a great package and offer.
Lastly, social channels and contact info. A truly solid welcome email example.
What could have been better?
They never actually state they primarily sell mattresses. The word mattress does not appear in the message. While they show who they are and talk about sleep, they are relying on the customer to 100% know who they are. A simple mention of mattress or something to that affect would help.Habeab Kurdi, Copywriting Coordinator @ GetResponse
Subject line: Welcome to our Community
Why it’s so good
For our final example, let’s look at a welcome email that has great elements, but maybe is just missing the mark a tiny bit. This message from Ooni gives you an amazing visual to start – if your company specializes in something that is visually appealing, it’s perfectly OK to let that do the speaking for you (picture, 1000 words, you know the saying 😉). And bookending the top visual with the visuals of their ovens at the bottom is great, however, the text is a bit too long.
The text is solid in that it strikes a tone and sticks with it, and it make the story personal by telling you why Ooni is so good, and why the founder has such passion for perfect pizza.
What could have been better?
As mentioned, the text is a bit long, or it appears so, because it’s just plain black text on a plain white background, which is not very appetizing. It could serve better by breaking up the text and having those oven examples moved up a bit. Also, adding a little color, like our Casper example, could help sell people’s minds on how great this tasty pizza can be in an Ooni oven.
This would have been better served with a little more info on how these ovens make great pizza, but the text only says that it does so without explanation. The item examples are good but could be a bit better with a shadow or color scheme behind them, too. Or some more imagery of pizza!Habeab Kurdi, Copywriting Coordinator @ GetResponse
What to include in your welcome email
As you just saw, there are many ways you could go about creating welcome emails.
Depending on your business (and your goals), you may choose to pack your message with different kind of information and visuals. Most companies choose to tell their new subscribers something like this:
- Welcome and thanks for signing up. Seems obvious, sure. But showing you appreciate your new subscriber means a lot. You are building a relationship with this reader, after all. You’re building trust and hoping to establish a pattern of them engaging with what you send. Why not start out with a thank you?
- Here’s your free gift. As you may know already, we’re big advocates of offering a “lead magnet” or some other kind of sign up incentive (here’s a useful list of lead magnet ideas). It gets subscribers, but also immediately sets your new subscriber up to expect good things from you. Your welcome email can be the delivery mechanism for that signup incentive.
- Here’s our best content. Pointing people to a welcome guide is the best at this stage. But if you don’t have that, just point them to a few “top of the funnel” type of introductory content. A list of your three or four all-time most popular posts is good, too.
- What do you want to know? I’m seeing more and more surveys in emails these days. Some days 2-3 of them show up. It’s good to see. Surveys are one of the best ways to find out what content your readers really want. The trick can be to get them to tell you. Leverage the good feelings and high engagement rates of your welcome email to get this information up front.
- Whitelisting instructions. Struggling with deliverability issues? Consider adding whitelist or “safe sender” instructions to your welcome email. Adding an image, or even an animated gif to explain how to whitelist your emails can help even more.
- Offer something for sale. As mentioned before, your new subscriber’s enthusiasm for your work is at a high when they first sign up. Why not take that opportunity to sell them something? Even a $7 introductory ebook could work. Actually, it might be exactly the kind of content they want at this stage.
Welcome email best practices
I mentioned in the opening that welcome emails work because of their timing. It’s critical they are sent as soon as your new subscriber has finished the opt-in process. Don’t “batch” them to arrive a few days, or even a few hours later. You’ll crush your results.
But that’s not all your welcome message could do. Here are other best practices prepared by Habeab Kurdi that’ll help you make a long-lasting impression on your new subscribers & customers:
1. Thank them: Let them know how much you value their time, and how much you appreciate their investment in you and your business.
2. Set the Tone: When anyone opens an email, they have expectations – consciously and subconsciously. So, let your reader know what to expect, what type of content they’ll get from you, how often you’ll send messages, and establish yourself as trustworthy and friendly.
3. Introduction: You know what happens when you assume… so don’t assume anyone receiving the message knows all about you already. Give them a quick rundown of you and your brand. (Unless your Nike, then they know who you are. But we’re guessing you’re not Nike. If you are though, awesome, thanks for reading our tips!) Encourage a little dialogue even by asking a question, asking for feedback even.
4. Make them feel special: This is where you present an offer, a discount, a limited time item, something that makes them feel like the effort of signing up, checking their email, opening this email, and reading this message are all worth their time. Everyone values their time, and everyone loves a great offer. Give them that tingly feeling.
5. Be helpful, be a resource: Give them some quick resources and/or content with some links to your blog, ebook, guides, videos, or any materials that would be cool, engaging, and helpful for your audience. It just needs to present value to the reader. This also gives you a chance to get clicks through to your website and get your new customer exploring other sides of you and your brand.
6. Have a goal: Given how high the click-through rate is for welcome emails and the potential reach and impact of your first messaging, setting a goal to take advantage of this unique situation is crucial. Take advantage of having your audience’s attention and share some of your most important USPs such as free shipping, global free returns, CSR, and even your favorite/most important links they wouldn’t necessarily know about.
7. Network: Of course, let them know where you’re posting your great videos, your special releases and offers. Give them clickable links to your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, wherever you’re networking, get them in that network too!
8. Adios! Pa! Au revoir! Bye, bye for now: Finally, sign off with your contact info, the place for customers to direct questions, and even introduce the rest of your team (or some of them if you’re a larger business). Put a face (or faces) to the brand and make it personal.
9. One more…automate: You can create automated welcome emails to send out when a new member to your list performs a certain action, such as registering or filling out that form on your site. That’s how those emails land in your inbox so quickly. Even better, automating lets you personalize the message. It’s true!
Use the information they’ve given you, and customize your greeting to welcome them by name. An automated message can automatically fill in their first name for you, so you don’t have to do it manually. And the message sends automatically as part of your email series, so you don’t have to check for new signups, then manually hit send. It’s all done for you!
And if you really want to go deeper, you can even have different versions of your welcome email that send automatically based on where your audience signs up, or if they make a purchase, you can customize it to their action, further personalizing the experience and the relationship they’ll have with your business!
Welcome email subject line ideas
Finally, let’s have a look at the welcome email subject lines.
Here’s what Habeab Kurdi suggests:
The most common subject lines don’t necessarily catch someone’ attention, but they’re common for a reason – they usually work. “Thank you for subscribing/signing up/registering” along with “Welcome to [brand name]” are the most common, but they tell the reader what this message is without much thought.
We’ve found that subject lines between 90 and 140 characters perform the best and are opened most often. More and more, subject lines are trending toward being even shorter than that – especially with the prominence of checking email on a smartphone or smaller device. We also found that some of the highest click-through rates actually came with subject lines that were between 220-249 characters. That could be because of brand’s using longer subject lines having more familiarity or comfortability with their audience, too. (Lettercount.com is a nifty tool to calculate character count quickly.)
It’s more about the content of the message rather than the length though, so don’t get too bogged down there. Remember the old idiom (updated by us): KISS, which means Keep It Simple Silly.
Furthermore, a current dilemma facing marketers and brands is the use of emojis. While we found only about 4% of messages used emojis, they were opened at a rate of 25% compared to messages with no emoji in the subject line (22%). Though they are a great way to help tell the story, make sure you don’t just use one to use one, because more and more nowadays people are viewing emojis as sometimes unprofessional, inappropriate, or as trying too hard.
Here’s what to keep in mind when using emoji:
- Use the emoji that make sense for your email
- Don’t go overboard
- Run an A/B test to check your results
Saying something like “Welcome” to start your message is pretty fail-safe, but it won’t make you stand out (not always a bad thing).
Here are some welcome email subject line ideas:
- Welcome to the club!
- Welcome to the world of [brand name]
- Welcome to the family!
- Welcome to [brand name] Ready for 20% off (or another offer)
- Welcome! We’re glad to have you on board
- Welcome to [brand name] – ready for your special offer?
- Welcome! Here’s 15% off to get you started
Some other options to consider:
- Thanks for signing up! We’re glad you’re here
- Thanks! How about a free gift?
- Here’s our best content
- All you need to know about [brand name]
- Take X% off your first order
- Building a better X
- We’re here for you!
Of course, if you can make it more about your brand, even better. For instance, the shoe company Allbirds says “Welcome to the Flock” as a play off of their name. Try signing up for the newsletters of brands you like, competitors, or ones that you think have great marketing, and see what kind of welcome email you get from them, and what type of subject line they used.
How to create a welcome email in GetResponse
Step 1. Sign up for a free account & log in.
Step 2. Click Autoresponders in the main menu & Create Autoresponder (beta), pick a template, and customize it to your liking.
(If you’d rather use Marketing Automation to send your welcome message instead, that’s also possible).
Step 3. Import your list & send your welcome email away!
There you have it! Now you’re set up for great success!
For more email design inspiration, check out these best email campaigns examples.