From the April 2009 issue of our newsletter, Let's Grow. For a FREE subscription, CLICK HERE

How to Reduce Opt-Outs, Increase Opens

Want to increase your email open rates and subscriber retention? Perhaps the easiest way - although frequently overlooked - is with a well-crafted welcome series.

What's a Welcome Series? Most email programs can automatically send a series of email messages at specified intervals to new subscribers. Welcome series typically consist of three to six letters sent over a one-to-two month period. The messages should focus onhelpful information and exclusive offers, not on hard selling.

Why You Should Have One. Establishing an email relationship within the first few days of sign-up sets the stage for future results. Not only will you make subscribers feel welcome, but you'll give them positive reinforcement for opening your emails, help them learn more about your site and your products and establish inbox recognition.

Your goal should be to increase future opens and click-throughs, and decrease opt-outs. And while generating immediate sales isn't your primary purpose, it may be a natural byproduct of encouraging subscribers to visit your website.

Tips for Effective Welcome Series. Here are a few suggestions for best results:

  • Immediately send a welcome letter that resells the benefits of the subscription. Let your readers know what types of emails they'll be receiving and how often, invite them to visit your website, and include phone and postal mail contact information.
  • Use additional emails to focus onhelpful features of your website, such as how-to videos, customer reviews, links to past newsletters, or a community forum.
  • It's also helpful to make a special offer - such as 10% off or free shipping on your next order - that's exclusive for new email signups. Advertise this early in the series, and include a cut-off time. Use a later email to remind subscribers that the offer is about to expire.
  • Include a sentence previewing the benefit of the next email in the welcome series.
  • Always give readers the opportunity to opt out.
  • Track results, and test different letters, a variety of offers, the number of letters in the series, and mailing at different intervals.

Once your welcome series is set up and fine-tuned, you'll be able to let it run for months, if not years. There's hardly an easier way to pave the way for future sales for a long, long time to come.


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