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How to Build a Welcome Series
4 min to read ✭ In this post, we'll walk you step by step through what you need to do to make a welcome series that effectively shares your mission, onboards subscribers, and warms them up to converting.
A welcome series is an ideal way to accomplish several goals at once: greet a new subscriber, provide them with valuable content to keep their attention, control the storytelling, and warm them up to converting in a valuable manner. Ready to get started?
Step 1: Preparation
Prior to taking any real action, take some time to think through the following questions:
- How are people entering your list? Through an onsite opt-in? Facebook lead ads? P2P activation? If you have multiple entry points, consider what you may need to do to ensure each entry point receives the appropriate communication.
- What is the ultimate goal of your email marketing? Is it donations? Volunteers? Something else? Though the welcome series is not meant to drive direct conversions, the ultimate goal should always be kept top of mind. If there are multiple primary goals (For instance – volunteering AND donations) consider allowing your users to decide what sort of offer they would LIKE to receive! More on this later.
- What is the story you’re trying to tell? Your welcome series is the perfect opportunity to craft your organization’s story and tell it at a pace you control. Don’t waste that opportunity!
- What value do you have to offer? The best way to train a user to continually open and read your emails is to provide relevant value.
Step 2: Outline Your Welcome Series
Before you write anything, create a welcome series outline or map. This is the skeleton that you will build your series from! Decide how many emails you would like in your welcome series and the topic/general content of each. Here are two basic outlines that you can follow when building your welcome series:
Storytelling Driven Welcome Series
- Welcome and thank you for subscribing email
- Storytelling Email – Part 1 – Share Mission and Organizational “Why”
- Storytelling Email – Part 2 – Share overall impact
- Storytelling Email – Part 3 – Share stories of individual people impacted by your organization’s work
- Storytelling Email – Part 4 – Share how donors/volunteers/etc. are a part of the story. Share what users can accomplish through your organization.
- Ask Email – Make a light ask either to directly contribute (donating, volunteering, etc.) or to clarify how they see themselves contributing in the future. (Hint: you can use their link click in this email as a trigger for a follow-up series. If you ask users if they would like to donate OR volunteer, set the trigger for the Donor and Volunteer transformation series to correspond with the corresponding link click in this email)
Value-Driven/Storytelling Welcome Series
- Welcome and thank you for subscribing email
- Storytelling email – Part 1 – Share Mission and Organizational “Why”
- Value Email – Provide some initial value – ex. Impact reports, downloadable story
- Storytelling Email – Part 2 – Share stories of individual people impacted by your organization’s work
- Value Email – Provide more tangible value – this is dependent on your organization, but good examples of this are as follows: budgeting worksheet by a financial health nonprofit, volunteering guide by a local community convener organization, steps to reduce your power bill by a local utility ratepayer advocacy nonprofit
- Ask Email – Make a light ask – either to directly contribute (donating, volunteering, etc.) or to clarify how they see themselves contributing in the future. (Hint: you can use their link click in this email as a trigger for a followup series. If you ask users if they would like to donate OR volunteer, set the trigger for the Donor and Volunteer transformation series to correspond with the corresponding link click in this email)
Step 3: Create Content for Your Welcome Series and Set the Send Cadence
Finally – the fun part! Based on the outline you created in the previous step, build out the content for your welcome series! A few tips and guidelines for content of welcome series emails:
- Use video when you can over text! Video content is far more engaged with than text content, and is better at getting a story across.
- Make sure your emails are branded and aesthetically pleasing! Nowadays with programs like Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign it’s easier than ever to make beautiful emails.
- When you choose or need to use text in your emails, try to limit your text to 150 words or less. The longer the email, the less likely a user is to read all the way through.
- If creating a text-heavy email, use as many images as appropriate to spice up and bring variety to your send!
- When considering how often you want to send these emails, think through how often your audience receives email normally – we don’t want to overload them, but also want to stay top of mind. A good rule of thumb is to send the welcome emails every 5-7 days!
Step 4: Check Once, Check Twice, Then Turn on the Welcome Series!
Once your content is drafted and built out in your email platform, there’s only one thing left to do – ensure it’s connected to the appropriate list/audience and turn it on! Once you’ve enabled, don’t forget to optimize your welcome series. If you’re not sure how to do that, keep an eye out for an upcoming blog post.