Sign-up emails are a company’s first opportunity to persuade a consumer to pursue regular interaction with the company. There are innumerable ways to create an effective welcoming email, but there are even more ways in which transactional emails can be completely counterproductive. Here is a list of a few ways to optimize your initial contact email and promote customer relations.
1 – Initial Impressions: The very first thing people see on an email, regardless of their email client, is the subject heading and the sender. If either of these are less than welcoming, the customer’s impression will most certainly decline. For instance, if the sender is a “no-reply” email address, the customer receives an instant impression that this company wants to control communication. A customized email address provides the customer with a sense of assurance that any questions are only a click of “Reply” away instead of having to navigate a web of links and customer service forms. Make the address friendly and recognizable, allowing no room for mistaking the email as from someone else. Closely monitoring this email address will have benefits, as many subscribers will ask to unsubscribe this way or have other questions.
The second part is that the subject must be engaging and informative, yet leave a reason to open the email. The subject should be welcoming, especially as this new user email is the customer’s first contact from the company. Think of the effect of a simple “Please click to confirm your membership,” or “Welcome, New User! Please select your email preferences within” as opposed to “Click the link to confirm” or “You have signed up with Company Inc.” Email personalization, such as using your subscribers name, or other configurable details of their signup, would do much to garner a great first impression.
2 – Timing: Users want to be assured that their Internet interaction completed as intended. If an email confirming a subscription takes hours or even a day to return to the signee, interest and focus has already waned. If an email is almost immediately sent out after a consumer signs up, then two things are ensured: a) that the consumer is currently active online, with the following assumption that odds are good that he or she will be checking email around that point of time; and b) that the consumer will be able to pursue further interactions with the company after signing up, while interest is still held.
However, trying to send out an immediate response necessitates the following advisory – a balance must be struck between the efficiency of automation, which can alienate the recipient, and the time requirements of some personalization. However, with a proper registration form, the customer should provide enough material for an easily personalized welcome email that can still be automatically generated.
3 – Design: Transactional emails are clearly intended for a specific purpose, and their design should reflect that purpose. However, this purpose is seen as utilitarian, and all aesthetics or company promotional materials are left out, leaving only a cold, formal line of text with the details of an order confirmation, subscription verification, etc. Instead, reserve 70-80% of the email for the data, and leave the other 20-30% for eye candy and promotional materials. Consider implementing some HTML with the email instead of just text, and be sure to have alt-text for any essential information that image-blocking email clients may intercept.
4 – Reporting: How can you expect to improve your emails and customer relations through your emails if they aren’t thoroughly reported and analyzed? By tagging all links in a new user email for reporting, one would gain insight into what new clients would be most interested in among the emails’ content. Additionally, by implementing constant reporting, alterations for the sake of improving emails can be tracked in regards to how they perform. Perhaps a button is more enticing with a different label, perhaps one layout promotes higher conversions and clicks than another. This tip ties in with the promotional design, as statistics on what promotional content is most effective on a particular person can help tailor future emails to that reader’s interests. While the other tips serve the purpose of designing emails for the recipients, good reporting is in the sender’s best interest. Only by tying in web analytics to preliminary contact emails can a company immediately gain an understanding of how new customers respond to their welcome emails. Better reporting promotes better configurations and interactions with consumers, which in turn promotes more conversions.
5 – Whitelisting: There’s really no use to optimizing emails if they don’t get through the spam filter. On the other hand, if the emails aren’t optimized to begin with, there’s nothing to make the recipient want to add the sender to the trusted list. All of the above tips should help achieve this goal. If the reader opens the email because he or she has an idea of what is inside and knows that the sender can be replied to, if the email was quickly sent after registration, if the layout is user-friendly (which the reporting can help with), then a customer will be more inclined to accept further interaction. Add a brief message somewhere to inform your recipient of how to whitelist your company such as, “to ensure delivery to your inbox, please add email@example.com to your address book.” This message serves to increase the feeling of two-way communication and demonstrates concern for the reliability of such communication.