May 17, 2007

Welcome Email Ideas

Spotted this "welcome email" design from MailChimp user RealTruck.com

It’s a nice idea that’s not too hard to implement: when people subscribe to the RealTruck email newsletter, the welcome email contains a $10 off promo code:

Realtruck welcome email

How many of you actually took the time to customize your own welcome emails this way?

Do your welcome emails have nice gifts like this for your new subscribers, or do you just have the boilerplate, "welcome, this is the info we have on file, and click here to unsubscribe in the future, blah blah blah."

When I saw this welcome email, I got a little self-conscious of my own welcome emails for our MonkeyWrench newsletter. I went back to look at what I did, and boy was I embarrassed…

Here’s what my own welcome email looked like:

Monkeywrenchwelcomebefore

Yaaaawn.

I guess I was more excited about customizing my beautiful HTML email templates and signup forms, so the poor little welcome email got no love.

I used the example from Realtrucks as my inspiration, plus these ideas from Mark Brownlow to totally redesign my welcome email (click for full screen):

Monkeywrenchwelcomeafter

The main thing I added (besides some color!) was a link to past issues of our newsletter. MailChimp makes that really easy (details here). 

Then I got to thinking – one reason I kept my welcome email so plain (besides laziness and stupidity) is I thought that cramming too many images and links into a "transactional" email would get it blocked by more spam filters.

So I ran my welcome email through our Inbox Inspector tool. It made it through every single spam filter, except—you guessed it—Postini. Postini said that it looked like "make money fast" spam. Here’s my spam filter report:

Spamfilterreport

Hmm, Postini thinks this is "make money fast spam"? I looked at my copy and noticed this line:

Withoneclick

Maybe that is a little too spammy.

I removed that line, ran another Inbox Inspection, and it passed Postini!

I never would have known about Postini, let alone been able to get past it, without the Inbox Inspector. Unless, of course, I purchased my own Postini server for email testing. Big, big thank you to the geniuses at ReturnPath for coming up with this technology.

Do your welcome emails need some love? Are you missing out on the best opportunity to make a great first impression with your new subscribers? Do you know if your transactional emails make it past spam filters?