#1: YOU’RE SELLING YOUR OBSERVATION SKILLS:
→ How she feels about the tasks that she has to complete (e.g., thrilled that she’s finally migrated her email list from MailChimp to Active Campaign, bugging out when her booking software malfunctions, discouraged when a FB post falls flat, elated when her kid tells a friend “my mom is a CEO”)...
She’ll start to trust that you understand her problems (better than your competitors, who are still talking to her like she’s some two-dimensional avatar, instead of a living, breathing human who has to do the damn dishes every day, just like you).
2. YOU’RE SELLING HER ON HERSELF:
You know that your copy isn’t supposed to be all about you.
There’s no shame in it.
When you can coach your ideal client through the sales process…
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!
This guide is for you if you’re a service provider, consultant, coach or course creator who wants to have a great relationship with your list and start seeing sales as a result of the emails your send.
They let you establish your personhood
Your welcome sequence (that is, the series of emails that automatically get sent out to new subscribers to your list) is the email equivalent of your About page.
It’s a perfect time to tell your reader a bit more about yourself and why you do what you do.
And because you’re communicating with them through email rather than a static webpage, you can ask your readers for their stories, too.
What does this mean for your welcome sequence? Share things about yourself that you may have in common with them, like your favourite books, annoying quirks, or secret recipe for homemade tomato sauce. Hone in on the stories that will allow them to connect with what you do.
Sprinkle tidbits about yourself in with valuable content, and you’ll show your readers that you’re someone worth knowing, liking, and trusting. Want bonus points? Shoot a welcome video that you can include in your first email.
Finally, place a CTA at the bottom of your email asking readers to reply to a specific question. This lets you learn even more about them as individuals and about your audience as a whole.
Use your welcome
sequence to remind
there’s a person behind
everything they see.
2. They validate your readers’ interest in your biz
Maybe you have a killer freebie, or made such a mouthwatering offer that your reader just couldn’t resist. So they reader traded you their email address in order to get it. Even though they’ve been in business for five years, and you write about finding your first three clients.
Some people will sign up just to see what you’re about.
But once a new reader is on your list, that little unsubscribe link at the bottom of your emails gives them the opportunity to jump ship at any time.
What does this mean for your welcome sequence? That you should be YOU right from the very beginning. Give readers value from the moment you start showing up. And make it clear what they can expect to hear more of in the future.
Make your welcome sequence as representative as possible of the type of business you run and the type of relationships that you hope to have with your subscribers and your clients.
You WANT the people who aren’t a good fit for your personality, your products, or your services to get the hell off your list.
This way, you’ll know that the readers who stick around really are interested in what you have to say.
Those who don’t like itt
are politely asked to sashay away
3. They’re the perfect place to nurture your relationship with your readers
How many times have you gone from hearing about a company or product straight to looking it up online and typing in your credit card number?
Probably not that many.
Unless it’s a company that you already knew about, or one that was recommended to you by a very trusted source, odds are, you rarely pull out your wallet without getting to know the business a little bit before hand.
What does this mean for your welcome sequence? Especially online, where appearances can be deceiving and skepticism is high, it is crucial to nurture your relationship with your subscribers before / during / and after asking them to buy your products.
I was on Ramit Sethi’s list from 2010 to 2015 without buying a single product. But I read every email, followed every product launch, and was constantly mentioning my “Surrogate Asian Father” (his words) to my friends.
One day in 2015, sitting in a taxi on my way to work as an English trainer, I bought Zero to Launch directly from an email. A $2000 product. Sold to me not only by the sales page for that particular launch, but also by the years of valuable information that he’d been delivering to my inbox.
And one day, we’ll
show it with money.
4. They allow you to prevent sales to people who are not a good fit
I think it’s safe to say that everyone who works online has at least some idea of who their ideal customer is. And you probably also know that the copy on your site and in your email marketing should reflect both who you are and who you’re talking to.
In this way, the beauty of your welcome sequence is that it allows people who are not a good fit to work with you to weed themselves out using that handy little unsubscribe button. As above, the trick is to be true to who you are from the very first time you land in their inbox.
This point is similar to #2 in the sense that it’s about being your own brand of weird right from the get-go, but the difference is that, in your first or second emails, you’re validating your readers’ interest in hearing about your product or service.
As you continue sending them content, you’re validating whether or not they’re a match to work with YOU.
What does this mean for your welcome sequence? Be unapologetically you.
Use the language you use in real life.
Tell the stories you tell in real life.
Write your emails and blog posts in the same tone you use to communicate with your clients: whether that’s helpful or snarky, sweet or sarcastic.
Yes— your welcome sequence should give your reader the feeling that they know, like, and trust you.
But you don’t have to appeal to everybody.
They don’t like you? They can find someone who’s a better fit-- as can you. And you’re saved the trouble of an awkward consult call or disgruntled refund request.
In the words of T. Swift: “haters gonna hate hate
hate hate hate”
And you’re just gonna let them unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe.
5. They give you the chance to pitch an introductory product… and turn a reader into a buyer
As any copywriter worth their salt can tell you, one of the fundamental principles of persuasion is consistency.
Meaning that people like to act in ways that are consistent with their self-image.
First we define who we are, and then we live
up to that definition.
In his book, Influence, persuasion expert Robert Cialdini, Ph. D. gives the example of a group of homeowners who are asked to put up big, ugly, “Drive carefully,” signs up on their lawns (pg. 72-74).
These signs were deliberately obnoxious-looking:
“Although the request was normally and understandably refused by the great majority (83 percent) of other residents in the area, this particular group of people reacted quite favourable. A full 76 percent of them offered the use of their front yards.”
Because two weeks earlier, the same group of homeowners had been asked to make a commitment to driver safety.
They’d agreed to display a small, inoffensive sign in their windows that said “Be a safe driver.”
So when another researcher came by to pitch the big-ass ugly signs, they accepted them in the interest of maintaining their consistency.
Still more relevant to your welcome sequence: The same scientists found that when the first commitment that they asked of the homeowners was to sign a petition to “keep California beautiful”, more than half of them were still willing to tolerate the ugly “Drive carefully” sign on their lawns.
Even though it was so ugly that it was actively making California less beautiful!
Because accepting the first request had changed their views of themselves as people.
What does this mean for your welcome sequence? When someone signs up for your list, they’ve made the first small commitment to changing the way they do things in relation to your niche.
Validate them for it.
Tell them what that change says about them.
And when you pitch your introductory product, make it clear how that product fits their new self-image.
You’re helping your reader by allowing them see themselves as someone who is capable of change.
And you’re positioning yourself as someone who’s able to offer valuable support in the pursuit of their goal.
Which may come in handy when you launch a bigger product later.
Asking a copywriter if copy is important is like asking your barista if he has an opinion about light vs dark roasts. So it’s probably no surprise to read this here, but:
The words that you use on your site matter.
The order that you put them in matters.
The size, font, and spacing you choose matters.
But when it comes to your website copy, some aspects of copywriting matter more than others…