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3 Easy Steps to a Winning Welcome Series for New Email Subscribers Don't just lump new prospects in with your current customers. They need to be nurtured until they're familiar with your brand.

By Cynthia Price Edited by Dan Bova

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Fun fact: Triggered email messages average 70.5 percent higher open rates and 152 percent higher click-through rates than traditional bulk messages, according to Epsilon.

You might think that's a typo, but it's not. Email automation really is that effective -- and it's one of the easiest ways to take your marketing operations to the next level and make your life easier. In our experience, marketers who haven't yet embraced email automation are concerned it will be too time-consuming and too involved. But in reality, email automation can streamline many aspects of outreach -- you just need to know where to start.

Every journey begins with a first step -- and the road to strategic email automation starts with a welcome series.

We all love new subscribers. They're highly engaged, they want your content (which is all new to them) and they're statistically more likely to click and open your emails.

Related: These 7 Mistakes Can Make Your Marketing Automation Investment Worthless

But, here's the problem: The story you're telling your long-time subscribers through marketing emails may not make sense to these new contacts. That's why you need a welcome series -- it puts you in control of how your subscribers are introduced to your brand. In addition, it creates trust and helps you establish a relationship with your customer. First impressions are crucial, and sometimes, a single welcome email isn't enough to set the stage.

Here are three easy steps to mobilize a welcome series using email automation:

1. Customize your message.

First things first: Decide what you need to say. Consider the basics. If someone is new to your email list, what do they need to know about your brand?

If you sell a product or service, your series might look like this:

  • How does the product or service work?
  • How are we different from our competitors?
  • People rave about us (testimonials).
  • A special offer

For nonprofit organizations, a series might include:

  • Our history and mission
  • Stories of impact we've made
  • A calendar of the year's events
  • Exclusive perks for donors/members

Related: 8 Ways to Stop Boring Your Email Subscribers

2. Build a framework for those custom messages.

Once you know what you want to say, decide when you should say it. Create a schedule and a messaging plan. For example, you might send four to six messages every few days. Or consider offering new subscribers a daily tip or weekly "Top Five Tips" countdown.

Don't forget to keep in mind the length of your sales cycle, too. If your typical subscriber is most likely to buy in the first 48 hours, front load your series. If your sales cycle is longer, plan meaningful, periodic touch points over the course of a few weeks.

3. Treat your welcome series like orientation.

Have you ever walked into a theater after the movie has already started? That's often what it's like for new subscribers. The next email on your calendar might mention campaigns or promotions they aren't ready for yet, creating confusion or worse, frustration.

To make sure your new contacts are primed for your primary messages, put them on hold until they've cycled through the full welcome series. There are several ways to do this depending on your email service provider and list structure.

If it sounds easy -- it is. A welcome series is just one impact device you can deploy to nurture leads through email automation.

Related: 7 Ways to Know You're Sending Marketing Emails to People Who Might Read Them

Cynthia Price

Director of Marketing at Emma, Inc.

Cynthia Price is director of marketing at Emma, an email-marketing company. With an extensive background in sales and marketing, Cynthia represents Emma at conferences across the country, where she can be found geeking out about everything from subject lines to audience segmentation.

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