Imagine you’re out in the world, kicking ass and taking names, i.e. drinking coffee and working hard in your favourite cafe. A woman sits down at the table next to yours and you’re instantly drawn to her.
She smiles over at you and makes a friendly comment about something you’re working on at your cramped table—a small suggestion that could save you a ton of time and a lot of struggle.
The two of you get talking, and it’s like she just gets you. You’re dying to get her advice on a whole range of topics.
Your new friend invites you a party later the same night, and you’re excited to continue your conversation there…
But when you finally get to the location she gave you, there’s no sign of your new BFF.
A stranger answers the door and retreats back into the crowd without even asking your name. You wander around the place, but you’re not sure what’s going on, where you belong, or what on Earth happened to the nice woman with the interesting ideas.
You drink a flat beer in the corner, and let yourself out.
A week later, a stranger knocks on your door. You don’t answer, but from behind the curtain in your front room, it looks like it could be the woman from the cafe (though you barely remember what she looks like anymore).
With a shrug, you remember your disappointment the last time you tried to see her.
Anyway, you have a new friend coming by.
So the door stays closed.
It may seem like a stretch, but if you’re not sending a Welcome Sequence to your new subscribers, you’re the “strange woman” in this scenario.
Your subscribers must have felt a connection to your offer to trade you their email in the first place. They want to hear from you.
Their inboxes are the house party—and it’s a rager. So they’re looking for familiar faces and flat-out ignoring anyone who doesn’t belong. It’s a busy place, and they won’t stick around long to find you…
So when you do show up, days or weeks later, it’s entirely likely that they will have moved on… or found someone else who followed up.
When it comes to the importance of a Welcome Sequence, you don’t have to take my (or my anecdote’s) word for it.
Because there are truckloads of statistics that confirm the fact that your Welcome Email Sequence has the potential to be the most profitable sequence you ever send.
For example, 74% of people expect to receive a welcome email soon after signing up for your list.
Haven’t got that automated?
If you’re sending out a newsletter every week, people who sign up the day after that goes out won’t hear a word from you for those 6 days in between.
That gives them 6 whole days to check out what your competitors have to offer and see if there’s a spark when they sign up for that list.
Welcome emails have an average open rate of almost 58% (compared to only 14.4% for other emails).
That open rate jumps to 88% when the welcome email is sent in real-time, i.e. its sent based on your new subscriber’s actions, rather than sent in bulk as a weekly broadcast. (See the Experian Welcome Email Report here).
And not only do Welcome Emails get crazy-high open rates…
The average click rate for welcome emails is 14.4% compared to 2.7% for other promotional emails, and those extra clicks translate into the 8x more revenue generated.
In the words of the inimitable Laura Belgray:
If you’re not using a newbie sequence [a.k.a. Welcome Sequence] when people sign up, you’re leaving money on the table and subscribers on the floor.
So how do YOU cash in on the power of the Welcome Email?
And how can you put together a Welcome Sequence that will help you turn your subscribers into raving fans and paying clients?
This is the juicy part…
Here’s what Your (Profitable) Welcome Sequence needs to do:
If you’ve got an online business, then this one will come as no surprise. The basis of content marketing is providing your prospects with valuable content upfront so that you can build a relationship with them before pitching your paid services.
The free value that you deliver sets a benchmark for the kind of content that they can expect from you, so don’t cut corners on your freebie just because it’s free.
If you’re starting off with a single Welcome Sequence, which is what I recommend, then your freebie should be broad enough to attract leads who will be interested in the range of services that you offer.
Your freebie isn’t the only value bomb you’re going to be dropping in this sequence.
Like all of the content you produce, the rest of the emails in your Welcome Sequence should entertain, educate, and empower your prospects to help themselves, too. (Shoutout to Amy Porterfield for the “3E framework”).
All of the emails in your sequence – even the ones that contain a pitch – should ultimately add value to your prospects’ lives.
Validate the shift
BEFORE they signed up for your list, your prospect was struggling. Something wasn’t right in their world, which is why they went looking for a solution… a solution that your freebie offers them a taste of.
This means that AFTER signing up, your prospect’s reality has shifted.
And it’s up to you to point that out.
By landing on your page, signing up for your list, and downloading that freebie, your prospect has already taken a step – however small it may be – towards a different way of doing things. A way that does NOT include the struggle and frustration of the old way.
If your Welcome Sequence can validate the significance of the micro-steps they’ve already taken, you’re encouraging your prospect to continue to act in accordance with the NEW way of doing things.
One that includes asking an expert for help. An expert like you.
Segment your list
Your readers only want content that is relevant to them.
I repeat: Your readers only want content that is relevant to them.
Relevance is the #1 factor that determines whether people will actually read what you write.
So it follows that the more you know about your readers, the better you can tailor your content to their specific needs.
Concretely, this means that you should take the opportunity to segment your new subscribers at the beginning of your Welcome Sequence.
Offer your subscribers the chance to self-identify as one of three main groups. They’ll click on a link and be added to a specific tag within your email service provider. (I use ConvertKit).
I ask new subscribers to self-identify as either service providers, course creators, or copywriters (we like to lurk on each other’s lists) because that will impact which of my content is most relevant to them, and which offers I’ll make to them later on.
But you can ask your prospects to tell you:
....whether they consider themselves Beginners, Intermediate, or Advanced.
...whether they’re interested in Done-For-You services, Done-With-You opportunities, or DIY.
…or what they consider their biggest need right now.
Position yourself as an authority
Your prospects didn’t sign up for your list so that you two could “keep in touch”.
They traded their email for access to your brain because they believe (for now) that you have what it takes to make a difference in their lives.
So when you show up in their inbox, you’ve got to own that space.
You can do this by including a case study in one of your emails, where you present the results a client got from working with you.
You can do it by including a little bullet list of your most brag-worthy numbers, e.g. your business’ growth, your clients’ profit, your list size, social followers, etc.
And you can do this by pointing your reader to high-quality content you’ve created.
This point is NOT about putting yourself up on a pedestal so that you can tell your prospects what to do.
It IS about creating a level of trust in your expertise, so that when you pitch your offers to your list, your readers sit up and pay attention.
Share stories that go beyond your biz
Your subscribers may seek you out for hard facts and help, but they’ll stick around – and tell their friends – if they feel like there’s a genuine connection between you.
This applies to all your emails, but it’s especially true for your Welcome Sequence, where you want to get your new subscribers to buy into your brand.
Forget marketing-speak, forget best practices, forget implementation guides, and just get real with them:
Why do you do what you do? What do you love about your work? What lights you up about helping your audience and makes all of the screentime worth it?
I’m not saying you need to fill your readers in on what you dreamed last night, or how your barista keeps spelling your name wrong, even though it’s “Amy”.
Choose a few aspects of your life that you’re going to reference over and over, e.g. the trials of being a working mom, your addiction to reality TV, or even just ice cream...
And then let your subscribers get a feel for what it would be like to know you IRL.
Reframe their False Beliefs
One of the most powerful things you can do as an expert in any field is to help people better understand their problems.
Think of how closely you listen to your doctor when she’s explaining what’s been causing your painful symptoms.
When you can point to the beliefs that your subscribers currently have about what’s standing between them and success, as it relates to your offer…
And explain to them why it’s in fact those very false beliefs that have been holding them back from getting what they want...
You become uniquely qualified to show them a better way.
Reframing their false beliefs not only gives your reader clarity about the real reasons they haven’t succeeded so far – letting them off the hook so they can experience a huge sense of relief – it also positions your offer as the only solution that fulfills their new criteria.
For example, let’s say you’re a web designer who specializes in building beautiful Squarespace sites for service providers.
Your ideal clients might believe that 1) They don’t need a website to get clients, 2) They don’t need a designer with Squarespace, or 3) Their site’s branding = a logo and brand colours.
If you can identify a problem that’s associated with one of those beliefs…
Reflect the experience of the pain from that problem back to your reader…
Explain that it’s the belief, not them that’s the problem…
And give them a way to take action on their new belief…
(whether that’s through your content or an offer)
You’re now an expert in their eyes. And one who’s uniquely qualified to offer solutions in line with those new beliefs.
Make them an offer
You don’t run your own business just for the long lunches.
And you don’t send emails to your list just to stay “top of mind”.
For your Welcome Sequence to actually deliver on that 8x more revenue than other promotional emails, you need to let your readers know the different ways that they can work with you.
This could mean pointing them to your resource library where they can purchase one of your mini-products…
Or it could include a few emails pitching them your Signature Service.
How you choose to include your offer in your emails depends on your business model.
But no matter what kind of business you run, your prospects need to know:
What problem does your offer solve?
What is that problem costing them?
Why is your offer the best possible solution? (This goes back to those re-framed beliefs) and
Why do they need it now?
The email(s) in which you mention your offer are going to be the ones that are most specific to your biz…
But here are a few general tips on working your offer into your profitable Welcome Sequence:
The leads who sign up for your list are cooling down from the moment that freebie lands in their inbox.
So it’s up to you to build a relationship that warms them up to the point that they want to become a customer.
You’ve probably heard that it will cost you waaaay more to acquire a new customer than to sell more to an existing customer.
Pitching an introductory offer in your Welcome Sequence helps you turn subscribers into buyers early on in your relationship. Assuming you blow them away with the value you deliver (but of course), they’ll be more likely to buy from you again.
Finally, bear in mind that the number of emails it takes to make a sale will depend a lot on how high the price of your offer is. Don’t be afraid to pitch an introductory product in your first P.S. AND a high-end offer towards the end.
Just make sure that you’ve given your prospect the information they need (about their problem + what it’s costing them, and about YOU and how you can help them) to make an informed decision.
To sum up…
Your Welcome Sequence has the potential to be one of the most profitable email sequences in your business.
In order to help you capitalize on open rates that are 58% higher than those of other promotional emails, in this post, I’ve outlined the 7 things a profitable Welcome Sequence needs to do:
Validate the shift
Segment your list
Position you as an authority
Make an offer
Ready to start writing your own profitable Welcome Sequence?
I know that it can be completely overwhelming to figure out exactly what goes in which email, how many emails to send, and how frequently you should be showing up in your subscribers’ inbox during those first few days.
And most of the Welcome Sequence guides I’ve seen just give you a loose outline of what to write, without telling you what you’re trying to accomplish in each one.
I created my guide, “Your (Profitable) Welcome Sequence Roadmap”, to give you:
7 simple tips to maximize the impact of your emails
The exact emails you need to send + what goes in them (including recommended CTAs)
A sequence timeline so you know when your emails should go out (making automating this in your ESP so. much. easier)
And recommended subject lines to get your emails opened!