The Welcome Email

The welcome email is important. It is the beginning of the actual customer experience.

What you say in your welcome email can have a lot to do with your customer experience. If it’s informative (and assuming people read it), it’ll drastically cut down on the number of support requests. If it’s vague (or people don’t read it), you’ll find yourself answering the same questions over and over again. While these questions are easy to answer, a lot of them add up to be a very big expense.

If you feel that you can do a good job, then it may be worth it to have a vague welcome email (see question #11 (part two) of this interview with Paul English). However, if your goal is to cut down on the number of support requests, then it is a good idea to have a welcome email that people will read and get use of.

Here are the four things I think are important to consider when writing welcome emails:

Is the email well written and informative? If it isn’t well written and informative, it isn’t even worth reading. I would highly suggest hiring a professional writer to write your welcome email or at the very least, reading up on some copy writing techniques and tips. I suggest Copyblogger.

Is it the right length? Super long emails won’t get read, but short emails may not be that useful. You have to find the right blend between short and useful (see clarity below).

In emails, this is important. Actually, it’s crucial. Divide the content well, use bullets, use lists, etc. Big long blobs of text accomplish nothing because no one reads them. If I ge tan email that is nicely formatted with lists and short paragraphs, I’m a lot more likely to read it than if I get one giant paragraph or three really long paragraphs of text.

Clarity and action.
The email needs to make it clear about what the customer needs to do now, what they need to do tomorrow, and what they need to do next week. It should focus on what they need to do now and tell them how to find the information about what they need to do tomorrow and next week. Don’t send too much information or customers will find themselves overwhelmed.

Here is an interesting perspective on the welcome email. 37signals is obsessed with design, simplicity, and clarity. They are good principles to live by and as you can see from their welcome email, it works out. It’s short, provides useful links and information, and is to the point.

A quick little challenge: write a welcome email like normal (or use your existing one). Then, hand it to someone else (ideally the professional writer you have hired) and ask them to write the welcome email in half the number of words that you used.

What does your welcome email contain? Post yours in the comments and I’ll feature them with some critiques.

2 Responses to “The Welcome Email”

  1. Joe Rawlinson said:

    Jul 20, 07 at 8:19 pm

    In our Family Says service, we use a welcome email that is very much from the 37signals school of thought. We try to keep it simple and keep it short.

    I look forward to any feedback you may have.

    I’ve included a sample of our welcome email below. The pieces in [brackets] would, of course, be real in the actual email:

    Hi Doug –

    Thanks for signing up for a Family Says site. Your site is now ready.

    You can login with this info:

    User Name: Doug
    Password: [user’s password]

    Access your site here: [user’s site address]

    If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop us a line at [email address].


    Joe Rawlinson
    Family Says

  2. Service Untitled said:

    Jul 21, 07 at 11:53 am

    Hi Joe,

    Thanks! The critique will go up this week. 🙂