Last month in the Digital Dining Room, the group’s mission was to create a welcome email that would help them get to know their subscribers on a deeper level.

Here’s how we got them there:

Step One: Brainstorm three questions they could ask a new subscriber that would cause the least amount of friction (so more people would be apt to respond). Many marketing “experts” will tell you to ask your new folks to share their biggest problem. While that kind of information would certainly be useful, it’s often not something that people really know themselves. That means they’d have to stop and think about the answer before responding (a notch in the space-time continuum of your reader’s day we call “friction”). The best questions to ask are those that people can: 1. Answer immediately; often without thinking; and 2. Want to answer because they see some benefit in it for them. My own welcome email looks like this: welcome email NOTE: Each email marketing vendor uses a slightly different structure for welcome or confirmation emails. Some call them exactly that : a confirmation email. Some call them autoresponders. For my PB&J list, I use Aweber, who calls this a  “Follow Up.” Don’t get bogged down by the naming convention. Just know that your vendor expects you to welcome someone to your list, and they’ve created a way for you to do it. The questions I ask in my welcome email are: 1. What part of the world do you live in? 2. What kind of business are you working on? 3. Can we connect on social media? That last question is phrased so that it’s a benefit to them. Many of my clients would love to have more followers, likes and so on. So if I say, I’ll follow you (instead of, please follow me), I have a much greater chance of connecting with them outside of the emails they’ll get from me. The bonus with this for me, is that I get to learn more about them (market research!) by taking a look at their website and various social media profiles. I get to “hear” their voice, their rants, the things they care about. It’s actually priceless to me when someone responds. Step Two: Write the email, get feedback on it (our group does feedback for each other, but you could just as easily show a trusted peer or colleague) and then implement. Put that copy in place and turn the sucker on. Step Three: Respond to those who reply! On average, only about 20% of those who subscribe will actually respond. So don’t be disappointed when your inbox isn’t flooded. The good thing is, this leaves you plenty of space to interact with those who do respond. Take a minute or two to follow through and send a short message back. Whatever’s appropriate, given what they’ve shared with you — don’t be weird or creepy (Did I just say that? Yes, I did). I’ve had exchanges that sometimes last 9 or 10 emails. And people are constantly amazed that I respond. Here’s a recent one:

Tea, you have no idea how elated I am to have stumbled upon your sites. I subscribe to (too) many writers sites and you are the ONLY one who has taken the time to get to know me, follow me, etc. That speaks volumes to me. Embarking on this new career at age 56 is daunting to say the least, but I’ve got balls. Many years ago, back in the 80s I was a copywriter. Now two some-odd decades later, the playing field has completely changed. Technology has everything to do with the changes and now the competition is much greater with online writing thrown into the mix. Having a real life, flesh and blood mentor is what I need. You can bet emails and newsletters from you will take priority over the others that hit my inbox. Thanx!

How fabulous would it be if you could amaze your new subscribers?

Do you think they’d be a lot more likely to open your future emails? Hint: Yes, yes they will. All of the folks in the DDR wrote really friendly welcome emails, but one member did a truly outstanding job. I’m happy to share it with you here: This is from Lisa Burger of StartUp! Technology Coaching: Lisa uses Mailchimp which requires a double opt-in for subscribers. Once someone adds themselves to her list by clicking the confirmation link that’s sent to them via email, they see this message: Lisa-confirm It’s a shorter message than the actual welcome email, and calls attention to the fact that a welcome email is on its way (with an invite to her private Facebook group). That email looks like this: Lisa Welcome email After a few months, if her responses are on the low side, I’d drop the what brought you here question and see if things pick up. (Friction) This isn’t an email-by-numbers system — things have to be constantly tested and tweaked. If you’d like to take a gander at how a few of the other DDR members implemented this project, visit their sites, sign up for their newsletters and see what grabs you: Optimal Development Coaching Inner Affluence Lee Drozak Travel Ready MD Yoga of Business How about you? Have you ever received a welcome email that really stood out to you? Did you respond to it? Let’s discuss what’s working in the comments below.