copywriting principles

5 Reasons You *Need* a Welcome Sequence for Your List

  1. 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.

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Use your welcome
sequence to remind
your reader:
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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

Why?

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!

Why?

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.

6 Must-Have Copy Elements for Every Page

6 Must-Have Copy Elements for Every Page

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…