Email Marketing

How to Write an Email Welcome Series

What's the first thing you want to say?


Anam Jalil


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You just met someone and the most you did was mumble a "hello" and then averted your eyes and didn't say much. That probably didn't give the best impression—or at least it isn't making you seem like the most confident person out there.

Let's replay that meeting and take a different course of action.

You met someone and you confidently went up to them with a smile and introduced yourself. Then, you asked them a little about them and went your own way.

However, the next time you met that person, you stopped to chat and gave them a few more details about who you are, what you do, and what you believe in.

This person probably has a fair idea now of what it would be like to have you in their life as a friend. Since you couldn't be too direct as that might also come off as creepy, you waited until the third or fourth meeting before you asked the person to hang out and get to know you a little better.

Taking the second course of action would probably earn you a friend (as long as you aren't literally creepy and you have some value to add to their life). The first course of action would leave you with nothing.

We have just introduced you to what a welcome series does - it introduces a brand that someone has just signed up for or is communicating with. It discusses what the brand is all about, its beliefs, values, and what the brand is offering prospects.

People who signed up for your newsletter, platform, or to avail of a discount are now your potential customers. You have taken them through the preliminary buyer's journey— from first contact to getting their email address. It's a feat!

Now that you have new subscribers, you need to start communicating with them. They are ready for their welcome message!

However, as email communication nowadays is short and to the point, you may need more than one email to tell your audience about your brand and get them through the onboarding process.

That means you need a welcome email sequence or a welcome series.

With all of this information, the following questions may be coming to mind:

  • What do you say in a welcome message to prevent totally turning your customers off, sounding corny, desperate, or just plain boring?

  • How do you make the most of a welcome email sequence? And why should you use welcome emails to your advantage?

  • Should you start badgering your prospects straight away with communication?

9Clouds mentions that research shows 74% of subscribers are most attentive toward a brand for 48 hours after they sign up. After this point, their interest tends to decline. During this period, they expect to hear from the brand.

So, when is the best time to send your welcome email? Immediately.

And then you need to follow up with the remaining emails in your welcome series.

In this article, we will discuss what a welcome series is, why it is important, and how to plan and write a welcome series for your brand.

What is a welcome email and a welcome email series?

As mentioned, new subscribers receive welcome emails once they sign up for a platform, or newsletter, or consent to email communications from a company. They are a means for first impressions, and we all know that the first impression is everlasting and can affect the performance of your future emails.

If you make a great first impression, subscribers are likely to open subsequent emails, and if you don't, they are likely to keep your messages floating in their Inboxes.

Subscribers are expecting to hear from you once they sign up for your platform, newsletter, or agree to email communications from you. The first email you send them to express appreciation and gratitude or to introduce your brand is the welcome email.

However, sometimes you have so much to say and plenty of helpful information to impart that you need a welcome email series rather than a single welcome email.

In fact, you may need, several email series to suit different segments of your target market.

A welcome email series is a sequence of emails that email subscribers get in the early stages of their connection with a brand. The series imparts valuable information that subscribers need to know when they perform different actions in their customer journey.

You can automate this process by using a reliable email marketing tool.

An automated welcome series instantly sends the subscriber an email when they perform the trigger action. For example, you may receive an email when you finish a purchase, when you click on an item, when you visit a blog, or when you begin using a certain feature.

However, that is not the only way to disperse a welcome series.

You can also use automation software to send automated emails over a period of time. For example, the first email in the welcome series may be sent immediately after signing up, the second one 3 days later, and so on. This sequence can be set without a particular trigger action.

But why do you need to send a welcome series? Let's go into detail.

Why should you send welcome emails?

We explained early on how you need to make your brand feel friendly, approachable, and accommodating by being like the confident, open person who rushes to meet someone new with a smile and starts to introduce themselves.

After a few meetings, you ask that new person out to coffee and baam! You have a new friend. In the same way, to get customers, you need to nurture your new subscribers and slowly move them toward becoming customers or repeat customers.

This is your time to tell them "Hey, this is what we are all about and what we can offer you!"

That's why you need to send a welcome email.

Let's look at some more reasons why a welcome email or welcome series is important.

open rates with welcome emails

Open rates are at their peak

While other email campaigns may have a tough time getting people to pay attention and emails may just end up "lounging" in the Inbox without anyone opening them, the welcome email series will probably have a different fate.

The welcome email series has on average an 86% higher open rate compared to other email campaigns. Welcome emails have, on average, an open rate of 50-60%.

audience loves welcome email series

The audience loves you and is very interested

It's the beginning of the relationship and your audience is hooked to you. Their interest is piqued as they have just signed up.

They are currently actively checking out your products and services and this is the time to grasp their attention. CampaignMonitor claims that welcome emails have a 42% higher read rate than average emails.

conversion rates are higher with the welcome email series

Conversion rates are higher

ShiftforShop mentions that a welcome series has a 196% higher clickthrough rate compared to other email marketing campaigns. Your audience is eager to see what is on the other side and are likely to click on links in your email.

They are also more likely to click on your CTA.

audience is more engaged with a welcome series

Your audience will be more engaged mentions that people who receive welcome emails are 33% more likely to be engaged with a brand compared to those that don't. It's just like that first smile, "hello", and handshake you do when you meet a new person. The warmer you are and the more you tell them about yourself, the more likely they are to approach you again.

Welcome emails or the welcome series explains:

  • The brand story

  • Brand values and beliefs

  • How to use a tool or platform

  • What subscribers/customers can access

  • What the brand offers

  • What the brand plans to offer in the future

Let's dive into how to create a welcome series and focus on things such as the email flow, the cadence of welcome emails, and how to write a welcome series that sets you apart from competitors.

Planning the welcome email series

Everything you do should begin with a plan, and it is important to plan your welcome series so you can cover everything you need to say in the few emails you have to say it.

When planning a welcome series, it is important for you to consider your customer lifecycle journey. Think of what happens when a customer signs up or creates an account on your platform, regardless of whether you are a SaaS or e-commerce business.

  • What is the next step? What are users likely to do next?

  • What information do they need to take the next step?

  • What do they need to know about us now?

  • How can we keep our email subscribers engaged?

  • How do I make this different from a typical welcome series?

Your email sequence should be logical, engaging, and impart valuable content. Typically, your welcome sequence will consist of 4-6 emails that are sent over the span of a few days to a few weeks - ensuring you don't overwhelm new subscribers but also keep them engaged and connected to the brand.

During the customer journey, the customer is at different levels of awareness and they need different types of information at these levels of awareness.

levels of awareness during the welcome series emails


The diagram above tells you how much you have to say at different levels of awareness and what you should be telling your prospects.

At the low awareness level, the prospect isn't totally convinced they have a pain, so they don't even know they need your solution. At this point, you can engage in a healthy amount of storytelling and explanation. Once the prospect starts to feel pain, you can start heavily communicating your value proposition—and so on.

Here is another diagram explaining the information prospects require at each stage of awareness. When a prospect is unaware of their pain, they need stories to be able to relate to the problem. They also need to know secrets on how to fix this problem.

As the prospect becomes aware of their problem, they need you to address their anxieties and start telling them the benefits of your solution.

When the prospect becomes aware of the solution, you need to emphasize on claims and proof to demonstrate that your product is the perfect fit as their solution.

When they become aware of your product, you need to offer them discounts and deals to push them towards purchasing—and the process continues.

what to say in a welcome series


Once you think about all of the things mentioned above and have an idea of the information you want to impart, follow these steps to plan the welcome series properly.

1. Define goals clearly:

What do you want your email series to do? Are you interested in building a connection with the subscriber? Leading them to their first purchase? Do you want to introduce them to a loyalty program? Is your motive to boost sales?

There may be several goals for your welcome email series and each email may have a different goal. Simply list everything you want to achieve with this email series so you have an idea of how you want to map out your welcome sequence.

This will help you understand how many emails you need in your series.

2. Chop up and segment the audience:

We don't mean you need to literally take a sledgehammer and chop up your audience. We aren't looking for anything that horrific.

What you actually have to do is divide your email list into groups so you can figure out how many welcome sequences you need.

Divide your email list on the basis of different factors such as demographics, behavior, which platform they signed up from (social media, Product Hunt, referral, etc), or the actions that they are taking.

For example, let's talk about Jack - he has a SaaS product that enables quick, no-code integrations with other applications and he has found that many people sign up for his platform but do not take the next step. The next step is to build a flow. If they don't build a flow, they don't become paying customers.

However, some of Jack's sign-ups do take the next step and build a flow. So, he wants to divide his welcome series between people who have just signed up and have not taken another action and those who are now new customers that have built their first flow.

Both of these groups require a separate email strategy and a different email flow as the goal of the welcome sequence is different for each group.

The goal for Group A - those who have not created their first flow - is to lead them towards the next step - and the goal for Group B - those that have taken the next step - is to engage them and explain how continuing to make flows can be beneficial.

Therefore, divide and conquer. Figure out how many different groups you have and how many welcome series you need.

Then, follow the next steps separately for each welcome series you are to create.

3. Draw the customer journey:

You now know how many welcome sequences you need based on the way you divide your email list. The next step is to draw out the customer journey.

For a welcome email flow, you need to map out the initial customer journey, not necessarily all the steps in the whole customer lifecycle.

Sketch out the journey a customer embarks upon once they create an account on your platform and the desired actions that you want them to take initially.

Identify touchpoints, where new information is needed, and the type of interactions you want to have with your new subscribers at each of these stages. Let's look at the customer journey for a SaaS brand after the customer signs up.

welcome series customer journey

The customer is first in the welcome and onboarding stage, then moves on to the product exploration and training stage, during which they may also require support and assistance. They then move on to the evaluation and decision stage, after which they convert to a paid plan.

Drawing out the customer journey will help you identify where you need to communicate with new subscribers to move them on to the next stage. This is how you plan your email flow and what your email campaign needs to say.

4. List the emails in your welcome email series

Now that you know the different touchpoints in your customer journey and know what you want to say to your new subscribers, prepare a list of welcome emails in your welcome series.

It is ideal to send about 4-6 emails over a period of a few weeks. Try to refrain from including too much information in any one email, but also try to limit your welcome email series to 4-6 emails.

You can include additional information in blog posts or guides and point your subscribers toward the help center or these guides for more information.

Your welcome email sequence should flow naturally and provide your audience with all the required information pertaining to their customer stage. For example, your first email can be an email that, well, welcomes new subscribers and thanks them for signing up to your platform or online store.

Your next email can be a product-focused email that tells new subscribers more about the product/service they will now be using. If you have an online store, you can give a discount code in this email.

The email after that can provide social proof to strengthen your brand image with your new subscribers, and your email series can continue from there. Create a list for your welcome series emails and the main points you want each email to mention.

Here, we will be following this strategy:

welcome series flow

1. Initial email - Introduce your brand

2. Second email - Tell them the brand story or give them more product information

3. Third email - Upsell or give more product information

4. Fourth email - Highlight short-term and long-term benefits

Let's move on to writing the welcome email series.

Writing the welcome email series

Now, you are ready to write the welcome email series. Please note that there is various information that you can include in each of the emails.

However, here is a general idea of the types of information you can include in each email for a great email flow.

Initial welcome email - Tell them what you are about

We are now ready to write our cheery welcome email. You probably have gone through several welcome email examples and have found a variety of welcome emails - some short and to the point, others giving some information.

For example, this welcome email from Everlane.

headspace welcome email

It's to the point and simply says hello and invites the subscriber to start exploring. It is pretty straightforward and some fashion brands can pull this off. In a welcome email like this, they are slowly edging subscribers towards purchasing a product, but aren't hard selling.

Everlane simply says "Start exploring" to invite the audience to the next step.

However, if you are not a fashion brand and have a bit more to say, we suggest you take a different route with the initial welcome email.

If you want to create a solid welcome email series, your first email must be warm, welcoming, and impart valuable information to the new subscriber. This will get them intrigued enough to open future emails.

Remember that this email's performance sets the stage for how well the rest of your email sequence will be received.

Don't just email a hello and a welcome to 'XYZ' like many brands do, but send an email that properly introduces your subscribers to your brand. Give them a sneak peek into your brand story and then tell them what you would like them to do next.

Your welcome email should have just enough information to keep your subscriber excited about engaging with you.

To write a good welcome email you need to:

  • Begin with a greeting and thank them for signing up for your platform, newsletter, or service

  • Add a hook that is either a statistic, something related to your brand, or clearly mention your USP (competitive advantage) and what sets you apart. You can also try a bit of humor here.

  • Then, you can delve a bit into your brand story, but don't go into too much detail. Tell them what your brand stands for and what they can expect from you in the future.

  • Tell them where they need to go to learn more about your product/service and point them in the direction of the next step. You can include a CTA to a tutorial, onboarding demo, blog post, or ask them to set up a call with a sales rep. You can also simply ask them to log in to their account again.

Remember not to hard sell in the welcome email and keep it free from discount codes and other information that would give the subscriber the impression that you are trying to get them to convert immediately.

Some brands may be aiming to boost sales with their welcome series and may provide price and product information immediately - that's fine, if it is tastefully done. However, if you don't think you can pull this off, keep the welcome email simple and to the point. We'll explain this further in the article.

Again, let's go over the steps:

  1. Show gratitude and appreciation to the subscriber for signing up

  2. Hook them with humor, stats or tell them your USP

  3. Tell them what they can expect from you or talk about your brand story

  4. Show them the way to the next step

Ideally, the initial welcome email focuses on building a relationship with the subscriber rather than trying to convert them into a customer at first contact.

Here is a welcome email example from Six Things:

welcome series Six Things

Notice how the email welcomes the subscriber and then tells them about the brand. The email introduces the subscriber to what will follow in subsequent emails and then also gives the subscriber the option to ask questions if they have any.

The email flow is gentle, without applying any pressure on the subscriber to buy - but simply encouraging a relationship.

This welcome email from Headspace also does as we have specified.

Headspace welcome email

The Headspace email welcomes the audience, tells them what they will get by signing up, and what the app is for, and then tells them what they have access to. The email goes on to talk about what else users can have access to if they subscribe to it.

While exploring welcome email examples, we can't leave out The Body Shop. Let's look at The Body Shop's welcome email:

welcome email series Body Shop

This email is different from the ones above.

Notice how they welcome the subscriber with "Welcome to the tribe", enhancing the feeling of belonging for the recipient. The email is simple and includes a quote that ties in with the brand's values.

There are two CTAs. The first CTA gives the recipient a nudge to find out more about the brand and the second one allows the recipient to start shopping now. The banner also provides a discount code at the top.

Although we may have discouraged it at this stage, the way The Body Shop subtly includes a discount code in the banner on top isn't a form of hard selling. This is more of a friendly approach to reward the customer for signing up.

The email could have had only one CTA, "Shop Now" but as discussed, this may have put customers off as they haven't even established a relationship with the brand yet. However, if they have created an account, it is important to note that they may want to shop now.

In that case, Body Shop's two CTAs are perfect for letting the customer know that they don't necessarily have to buy right now and the brand is ready to put its hand out to begin a relationship. If the customer is ready to buy, there is a discount code as a "thank you" for signing up and a button leading them straight to the products.

The welcome email also has a Zeigarnak effect. The Zeigarnak effect is the notion that people tend to remember unfinished or interrupted things more than complete things. The email ends with a thought-provoking quote - sort of a cliffhanger.

When we discuss the second email, you will notice how the quote ties in with the brand story.

Second email - the brand story or product information

After you send the welcome email, you are ready to send the next email in the welcome series. This email goes deeper into the product/service and explains key processes. It shows the subscriber the way around the platform and lets them know what else they can do and what features they have access to.

If you are an online store, you may want to tell your subscribers about products that are popular, your shipping and handling processes, and offer discounts to encourage them to make their first purchase.

Again, you shouldn't be interested in hard selling at this point in time. Your email communications are more about establishing a relationship and slowly turning subscribers into customers by showing them what you can offer them.

Impressions matter at this stage (or at every stage, to be honest). However, your email performance at this stage is important as this is the time when you establish yourself as a brand that has something worthy to say. If readers start appreciating your email campaigns now, your future email marketing efforts may also be more effective.

Your second email needs to:

  • Go deeper into your product story

  • Explain processes, and features, or show popular products

  • Show subscribers around your platform and let them know what they have access to

  • Show them ways to get access to additional features, services, or avail discounts

  • Guide them to the next step in collaborating with your brand

Here is a welcome email series example from the Body Shop. It is the second email in the series and it explains the brand story to the customer while also inviting them to join the brand on social.

welcome series The Body Shop 2

What's imperative to note here is how The Body Shop smoothly creates an aura of "togetherness" and "belonging" with the language it uses in its emails. The power words "unite" and "Join us" give visitors a feeling of being part of the tribe rather than just "following" a brand on social media.

It is also important to note how this second email smoothly connects to the first one. The first one ends with a quote and uses words such as "tribe" and the second email smoothly transitions into more about the brand story. It also finds the next best way to connect with customers - social media.

The second email has a different CTA from the first email.

Instead of pushing customers to buy, they want to ensure that they are connected everywhere.

This next email is a text-only simple email from Semrush. It's the second email you receive when you make a new account.

It's a good addition to the email examples that we are reviewing because it perfectly illustrates how a particular user action results in an email giving them important information on what else they can do.

welcome email SemRush

As you can see, Semrush tells the user what else they can do with their free account. However, instead of a button directing them to go to a certain page, it adds hyperlinks to other features that the subscriber can use. A subtle way of telling them - here you go, if you need it.

Reiterating, in the second email in a welcome series, you need to explain more of your brand story, tell them what else they can do, and/or invite them to connect with you on another platform.

Let's move on to the third email in the welcome sequence.

Third email - More product information and upselling

Your welcome email has reached its mid-life - so this may be the time the crisis starts. The search for meaning. By the time you get to your third email in the welcome series, you may be struggling to figure out what to say.

Here are a few themes that the third email in your welcome series can have:

  • Give more product information or explain another feature

  • If the subscriber has already made a purchase, tell them about similar products that they can purchase.

  • Tell the subscriber about your CSR or social projects. Talk about the causes or issues you believe in.

  • If the subscriber has a free account or has purchased a smaller plan, work towards gently nudging them in the direction of a more expensive plan.

  • Tell them an interesting story about how your service/product changed someone's life or at least, improved it.

  • If you haven't connected with them on other channels yet, connect now.

  • Provide social proof.

Your welcome email sequence is at the stage where you can start pitching your products/services to subscribers and telling them more about what you can offer them and how it is better than the competition.

If you have already done that in a previous email, work on establishing your brand identity at this stage and creating the type of brand image that you want. Talk about social endeavors, values, or stories of what set your brand apart.

This part of your welcome series is where you have to be engaging or your subscribers may lose touch with your email marketing mantra.

Let's dive into our welcome series email examples again and look at this great third email example.

welcome series birchbox

This email tells the audience what to expect from them in communication in the future and invites them to connect. It's a simple email with a few words that tells the audience the way forward.

Now, let's look at this third email in a series of emails by Writer's Digest.

welcome series email #3 Writer's Digest

In this email, Writer's Digest has started telling us more about Writer's Digest University and the courses it offers. The CTA is to click and see a schedule of upcoming courses. It also shows some of its programs below the fold to pique the recipient's interest.

This email is a classic example of how a brand or company starts to sell its products/services by the third interaction. Also note, they still are not hard selling, though they do give a discount code.

Their language and tone is explanatory instead of salesy and they are inviting the recipient to explore this particular offer by Writer's Digest.

Let's move on to the fourth email in the sequence.

Fourth email - Highlight both short- and long-term benefits

So now, we are ready to write the fourth email. This email is for people at the bottom of the funnel that have information about the product/solution and now want to know exactly how it will make their life better in the coming days.

In this email:

  • Talk to the prospect about the short-term benefits of using your product/solution/service

  • Tell them a story about how your product/service has changed things for someone

  • Demonstrate how your product/service works 

  • Provide social proof 

  • Explain the long-term benefits of using your product/solution/service

Basically, in this email, you will apply the concept of future pacing. Give your audience an image to look forward to. Describe an experience that they would really want to live. Associate your product, service, or solution to that image.

Let's look at this email by Writer's Digest:

welcome email #4 writer's digest

The email is outlining the purpose for which recipient has subscribed to WD and then tells them about how they can achieve that purpose in the short-term with the 9 writing opportunities highlighted in the email. WD then provides social proof and stories of other people who made a lot of money through writing in the long run.

This email is a perfect example of the type of email you can send at the end of your welcome sequence to convince your prospect to purchase something.

Fifth and sixth email - Sell urgently

If you are going to continue your welcome series to 6 emails, you can do so.

However, the 5th and 6th email should emphasize on creating urgency. You need to tell your subscriber that a particular offer is available for a short period of time, or if they start using your solution now, in the next few months, they will be in a far better position—but they have to act now.

To create urgency, you must:

  • Create scarcity (limited spots left, first 10 customers, while supplies last, etc)

  • Provide a discount with a deadline

  • Tell recipients about the amazing benefits that acting now can provide

If you add the fifth and sixth email, your welcome sequence is complete, and you can move on to creating other drip campaigns to sell your products/services.

Bottom line

Email marketing is one of the most lucrative channels of communication with potential customers and customers. However, to design great welcome emails and to automate the welcome series, you need a reliable email marketing service.

GoCustomer offers exceptional email marketing features including A/B testing, drag-and-drop editor, unlimited drip campaigns, and a never before offered AI writing assistant and email verification tool. It is a one-stop solution to all of your email marketing needs. Sign up now to start creating a high-conversion welcome series now.

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Table of Contents

    In a nutshell

    A welcome series is the best way to establish a relationship with your audience and at this stage your audience is most interested in what you have to say. You are likely to have a high open and click-through rate, so it is important to use this opportunity to establish a brand image and reputation.
    Your welcome series can include 4-6 emails. You can decide exactly how many you need according to how much information you are interested in imparting to your audience. Ensure all of your emails provide something unique and add value for the reader.
    Your second email should go deeper in your brand story, explain processes or features, ask the audience to connect in other ways like on social media, or tell them the next step in collaborating with your brand.
    Ideally, you should not be pushy and try to convert the subscriber immediately. During a welcome series, you are trying to build a relationship with your subscriber and are establishing a connection. Tell them more about the company and get to know more about them. You can start selling in the third or fourth email in the series but it advisable to not only include a salesy CTA in the first two emails.
    Another email can be sent after at least three days of sending the previous email. It can also be sent when the subscriber performs a certain action or trigger.
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