I used to be a pretty bitter copywriter.
I’m not proud of it but it’s the truth.
And when I’d see popular entrepreneurs whose copy was filled with typos, cliches, and generally read like dog poo to my critical writer’s eye…
I judged them.
I thought, “Psh. They’re never gonna sell anything with those emails. People need grammar, cadence, linguistic device!”
(I’ve since done a lot of work on my hugely-critical nature. And I now know those harsh judgments were a whole lot more about me than them. Cheers to #growth.)
And despite all that judgment…
Guess what the reality looked like?
The entrepreneurs whose copy I picked apart were raking in multi-six and seven-figure paydays. And even with allllll my English rulebooks, I wasn’t even coming close.
That’s when I realized…
You can’t hate the playa. You can’t even hate the game.
Because online business is a whole new baseball diamond. (Or, you know, whatever sports analogy makes sense in that context.)
You don’t need to be the world’s best writer to run a world-class business. And honestly, that’s a really beautiful thing.
Because it means that readers are more interested in cutting through to the heart of who someone is than whether or not they use the Oxford comma consistently.
I’ve heard from many of you that the thought of writing a welcome sequence for new email subscribers is hard. Daunting. Overwhelm-y.
Like there are so many pieces and you’re not sure what to do when…in what order…and what NOT to do.
And here’s the honest truth…
(Lean in close because I don’t want the whole internet to overhear this one.)
It’s not really that complicated.
After years of learning the proper way to write…and then learning the smart ways to break those rules…the thing I love most about copywriting now is that there’s no “right way” to do it.
Yes, there are better practices, proven persuasion strategies, and copywriting formulas to make it easier. But at the end of the day, you don’t need to be a capital-W Writer to create an insanely effective welcome sequence.
You can do it from right where you are, today.
Keep reading to learn the 5 key elements you absolutely must include for an effective welcome sequence. Without them, you won’t do important things like:
- connect emotionally with your reader
- encourage people to take action, or
- subtly convince subscribers that you’re the best person to help them with their problems
1.How to make them care
The most important thing you can do in ANY kind of copy you write for your business is to make a reader feel understood.
I can think Kim Kardashian is an objectively beautiful woman. (I do.) But unless I think her makeup products will work for ME (I don’t) I won’t buy them.
That’s where most business owners go wrong.
They’re so focused on talking about their products or their stories or all the details about their service that they forget the most important ingredient:
A reader just wants to feel understood.
Like they’re not alone.
If you can give a reader that in your welcome sequence, you’re going to have an interested subscriber for life.
So how do you show readers that you understand them in your welcome sequence?
By showing empathy.
And to do that, you simply share statements reflecting your reader’s reality back to them.
“You’re struggling to find genuine friends in your new town.”
“You didn’t know motherhood would feel like this.”
“You look at the cool, confident guy at the bar with women flocking around him and you think, ‘Why can’t that be me?’ “
It sounds so simple, but all you need to do to communicate a sense of empathy is to show your reader that you understand where they’re at. Prove that you get it by telling them things that ring true.
If I read copy that said,
“You devoured the Harry Potter books as a kid. It wasn’t just that the story captivated you, but it gave you a new world to escape into and characters you could count on when life around you felt hard or complicated. Even now, as an adult, a cozy familiarity seeps in every time you crack open one of those books.”
I’d be nodding my head going, “yes, yes, YES…tell me more” because that’s exactly true for me. I’d be so interested in paying attention to what this person said next.
…And getting long-term attention is the precise goal of your welcome sequence.
To make sure you do that, make sure your welcome sequence includes plenty of moments where the reader’s nodding along saying “yes” to your statements.
2. How to make them believe you
Here’s a funny reality about the way we make decisions…
We make decisions with our emotions. When I saw this glorious pair of ABLE bronze earrings recently, my heart wanted them immediately.
Then logic kicked in to decide whether that was a good decision.
I needed to read reviews. Think about what outfits I could wear the earrings with. Consider whether purchasing from an ethical company like ABLE was worth the extra expense.
Only when my logical brain was satisfied, in addition to my emotional brain, did I feel comfortable enough to take the next step and buy.
It’s the same for your readers. They connect first based on emotion, on feeling — which is why empathy is first on this list.
But logic comes closely behind. Unless readers feel like you’re legit, like you’re someone that actually knows what they’re talking about, they’re unlikely to continue paying attention.
That’s why you need to drop nibblets of authority throughout your welcome sequence.
The beauty of a welcome sequence is that you have plenty of opportunity to build your authority bit by bit…instead of sounding like a conceited braggart by trying to shove it all in at once.
You can share how many years of experience you have in Email 1. Mention a well-known client or project in Email 7. Drop your credentials or education in Email 3. Share a guest post or feature in Email 6.
By peppering in little bits at a time, your new subscriber will get all the need-to-know credibility builders by the end of your welcome sequence. And you’ll strongly appeal to a reader’s logical muscle…without ever sounding braggy.
Want to learn how to map out your welcome sequence?
Then you’ll want to check out my upcoming webinar: How to Create an Email Welcome Sequence that Turns Subscribers into Superfans…Even If You’re Not a “Writer”. You’ll learn how to map out your welcome sequence so it feels natural, builds your brand bit by bit, and leads new subscribers exactly where you want them to go (aka your offers!)
3. How to keep them interested
If you ask me, the #1 piece of bad advice out there in regards to welcome sequences is that the focus should be on sharing tips.
Now, I’m all for education — it’s generous, helpful, and a great way to tap into empathy and logic all at once.
But you know what else does those things? And is a lot more interesting than simply teaching something?
Think about your favorite TED talk…
I don’t know if you’re more of a Brene Brown or Simon Sinek or Dan Pink type. But no matter who your favorite speaker is, I bet the majority of that talk was story.
Yes, you learned lessons along the way. But those lessons were communicated underneath the wrapper of story.
They got your attention through story. They made you care through story.
And the reason it’s now your favorite TED talk is because it was actually fun and interesting and memorable to listen to…
Which is thanks to story, too!
So when you’re writing your welcome sequence, think about how you can tell meaningful stories in your emails. How you can teach through an example. How you can catch attention with an anecdote. How you can layer in a sense of empathy and show your credibility through stories.
It’ll make for a much more personal, interesting, and engaging welcome sequence if you can do that.
4. How to get them to act
There are two big reasons you want to include direct calls-to-action (CTAs) in your welcome sequence.
Let’s start with the technical one and get to the persuasion-focused reason in a minute…
Basically, when subscribers react to your email by DOING something, it tells inboxes that they want your emails there.
An inbox has one main job: to show you the emails you want to see…and hide the ones you don’t, either in the promotions tab or in spam folders.
There are all sorts of ways email providers decide who goes in the inbox. And I’ll be the first to admit I’m not an email deliverability expert.
But I do know that when you can get someone to act on your email (through replies, forwarding, or clicking links) that sends a clear message to the inbox that your stuff is valuable for them.
So if you want to show up in your subscribers’ inboxes — and you DO — then you want to give them lots of opportunities to interact with your emails.
Encouraging reader is action is also important from a persuasion standpoint.
There’s a persuasion psychology strategy called the Foot in the Door technique. It’s all about building up to a big ask through a series of smaller asks. Because, believe it or not, people can be trained to say “yes”!
If you train your readers to take action when they see your welcome emails, they’ll be much more likely to take action when they see your:
– webinar emails
– sales emails
– asks for referrals or testimonials
It’s really, really important that readers get in the habit early on that they should do something when they see your emails, not just passively consume them.
So you want to sprinkle in easy-to-do CTAs throughout your welcome sequence, as a way to train your readers. Make them so simple that there’s no reason NOT to. You’re very likely to see an increase in engagement throughout that subscriber’s life because you trained them to take action from the get-go.
5. How to stand out and be unforgettable
The final element you want in your welcome sequence is a layer of YOU.
Look, the #1 advantage small businesses have above big brands is their personal connection.
We may not have the budgets for the most beautiful brand or the swankiest graphics or the flashiest formatting. But we DO have the opportunity for genuine, personal connection.
You have the chance to feel like a real, three-dimensional person to your readers…because you ARE a real, three-dimensional person! All you have to do is show it.
Your welcome sequence should include deliberate tastes of you so you will stand out in a reader’s mind as a unique person, rather than a faceless business.
Humans are hardwired for connection. And we pay more attention to friends, family, and people we know than strangers. So use your welcome sequence to become a friend to your new reader, rather than a stranger who sends them marketing emails sometimes.
Layering in personal touches is a big part of what I teach inside Welcome Sequence Wonderful. But a quick way to do this is with my Brand Handful Method.
In a nutshell, choose 3-5 things that you love that represent who you are as a brand. And intentionally include those things in your welcome sequence.
Share examples, quotes, stories, anecdotes, references…lots of different things that relate to your Brand Handful.
And by the end of your welcome sequence, you’ll have subscribers saying, “Oh yeah, I know Lorelai! She’s the designer who loves coffee and small-town life,” instead of, “Lorelai? Oh, is that who’s been sending me these design emails?”
Unless you’re intentionally adding personality to your emails, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to connect with readers. So make sure your welcome sequence has plenty of elements that are utterly YOU so you’ll stand out and be memorable to your new subscribers.
Think of these 5 things as your welcome sequence checklist. There are so many other things you could include…but as long as you’ve got these 5 inside your welcome emails, you’ll be golden.
If those emails include typos or inconsistent Oxford comma usage, you’ll get no judgment from me.
You play your game, playa. On whatever baseball diamond feels right. 😉
Want to learn how to write your welcome sequence so it hits all 5 pieces above?
Join me for my brand new webinar: How to Create an Email Welcome Sequence that Turns Subscribers into Superfans…Even If You’re Not a “Writer”.
On this live training, you’ll learn:
– What to say in your emails to build real connection and become unforgettable in every new subscriber’s inbox
– 4 ways to make people *excited* to keep opening your emails (hint: it’s about so much more than subject line hacks)
– How to map out a smart, intentional welcome sequence so it feels natural and takes readers where you want them to go
– The right (and wrong) way to pitch and how to make new subscribers say “omg yes!”
– Easy tricks to add personality and make your words feel alive…even if everything you write sounds stiff and not-you right now
It’s completely free to join us! Just click below to sign up: