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First impressions matter, and your welcome email sequence is no different. It’s your first and best chance to build rapport with new contacts and show them how you can help them achieve their goals.

When an internet stranger has entrusted you with their email address (something they don’t give to just anyone!), it’s vital to make it worth their while.

Yet as content strategists, we often see business owners missing out on valuable opportunities to build trust between their brand and their new subscriber. Instead, they fall prey to common missteps in their welcome email strategy that could detract from the positive steps they’ve been taking toward building their platform.

We’ve rounded up five common pitfalls so you can uplevel your welcome email sequence, build a positive relationship with your new subscribers, and maybe even turn some contacts into clients, right from the get-go.

Pitfall #1: You send your new subscriber straight to regular campaign emails

A woman holds a cell phone and looks confused against an orange background

Imagine you walk into a party full of strangers.

They all seem to know each other, but the only person you recognize is the host. And she doesn’t even greet you, introduce her friends, or offer you a drink.

You might still have an okay time, but wouldn’t it feel way better if your host went out of her way to make you feel welcomed?

A welcome email sequence is kinda like that.

When you sign up to be on someone’s list and get sent straight into their regular campaign emails, it’s like walking into a party where you don’t really know anyone. Heck, you might not even know the host very well.

Instead of throwing your subscriber into your launch, newsletter, or campaign in media res, you can create a far more VIP, personalized, warm experience by  welcoming them with an introduction sequence made just for them. 

This onboarding email sequence gives you the chance to introduce yourself and your community, show them around, and help them out. The result? They’re way more likely to stick around for the after party.

You can get started in creating (or optimizing) a welcome email sequence for your new subscribers with our Lead Nurture Email Templates. The bundle includes a checklist, questionnaire, and fill-in-the-blank templates to guide you through the planning and drafting of each email.

Pitfall #2: The frequency of your welcome sequence email is out of whack

You go on a date. It’s fun. That night, you get a quick text: “Had a great time! Let’s get Italian next time.” Sweet, they had fun, too.

And then… the next day, you wake up to another text asking when you want to get together again, followed by another asking why you aren’t responding faster. It goes from cute to annoying (and a little creepy) real fast.

What are the chances you’re going on another date with them? Yeah, right.

You don’t want to be overbearing to your list, either. When you email too frequently right from the get-go, you can start to sound desperate (or, at best, super chatty).

On the flip-side, if you ghost them by emailing too infrequently, they may move on and you could miss your chance to establish a good connection. Think about it—if that same fun date was never heard from again, you might start to rethink how well it went. And if you run into them months later, you may even struggle to remember who they are.

There’s no hard and fast rule for the frequency of emails that’s too much or too little. It varies by industry and audience, so you’ll have to do some testing to find out what works for you. 

If you’re nervous about over-emailing, we recommend kicking off with a cadence of one email a week for your welcome sequence. If you already know your audience loves hearing from you, try something in the 3–5 day range.

Just don’t forget to look at your open rates to make sure people stay engaged!

Pitfall #3: You treat your subscriber like a number, not a person

A group of people smiling with hands outreached

Yes, you run a business, and there are a lot of recommendations out there for how to expand your audience, increase your conversions, and grow your profits . But the best piece of advice you’ll ever stumble across (in our humble opinion)? 

Treat your audience like the real, live people they are.

It’s so easy to get lost in the “shoulds,” to get tangled in different strategies, to obsess over your numbers, and to get frustrated by the action (or inaction) of your list. But when you take a step back and frame your efforts around relationship building, it takes on a different meaning.

Yes, you want to make money. Yes, you want to sell your product or service. But you also want to grow a community of people who trust you. When you write your emails—especially your welcome email sequence—don’t be afraid to be yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to break the mold a little bit.

The people on the other end will appreciate it.

Pitfall #4: You sound like the robot you aren’t

Let’s build on this theme of relationship building for a sec. Have you heard of the Turing Test for Artificial Intelligence? AI can pass the test if they can fool a human into thinking that they’re human too (think Westworld).

But no matter how hard robots may try to sound like us, at the end of the day, they aren’t humans. That’s why we’re confident AI will never be able to fully replace content creators.

AI software can be incredibly useful in aiding content creation, but it can’t take over the job—at least not well. To truly connect with your audience, you need to write from the heart using your own voice, stories, and words. Not only can they tell when you’re being genuine, but they’re far more likely to engage with your content and seek out your services if they like and trust you.

So, whether you’re creating a welcome email sequence from scratch or optimizing it so it’s as effective as it can be, be your incredible human self! Speak to your audience as if you’re writing to a friend. (Because they’re more likely to become one if you treat them as such from the get-go!)

And if you do use AI to help you get started, make sure you spend some dedicated time reviewing what it produces. Odds are, you’re going to want to make some significant adjustments.

Pitfall #5: You never actually sell anything

A woman sits in front of a computer with her face in her hands

I (Marie here!) have a background in nonprofit grant writing. It was my first job out of school, and I was so excited to have a job as a professional writer, I didn’t remember to ask about the particulars. A week into it, I realized I was basically a salesperson.

Even though I was asking people for money to support a good cause, it took me a few years to find a way to feel really good about it. But as uncomfortable as that process was, it made me a better entrepreneur.

Here’s what I discovered: Sales don’t have to be pushy. They don’t have to be uncomfortable or icky. When we think of making a sale as opening the door of opportunity for someone so they can make a well-informed choice about something they want or need, it makes it a lot easier to sell with confidence.

Because if you don’t open that door for your people? The ones who’ve generously given you their email address and who you’ve been working to build a relationship with? They won’t understand how you can help them. They won’t see your confidence. They won’t feel like they even have an opportunity to get to the best you have to offer.

So they won’t buy. Not because they can’t. Because they don’t know how. (Or what. Or why.)

Your solution? Open the door. Use your welcome email sequence to make an offer that makes sense for them. Be clear about the benefits. Show them how it could address a problem they’re legitimately having. And then reiterate the offer a few times so they’re sure to not miss it. 

Optimize Your Email Marketing Strategy

Whether you want help upleveling your welcome email sequence or creating a killer email marketing strategy, our Email Marketing Funnel Intensive can help. It’s your chance to sit down with an expert who can provide you with a detailed email marketing plan that outlines which content to create, how to adjust your messaging, and where you can optimize to turn more contacts into clients.

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