As I continue with my “Top 5 Tips For…” articles, I thought, what better topic to kick off the series than the Welcome Stream. When I began building my first Welcome Stream years ago, I first had to familiarize myself with the concept of the email journey and how to tell a story in just a few emails. Today, the streams are much more complex and may include conditional sends, real-time data, and high-level personalization. But we are nowhere near the end of the innovation train – there is so much more we can do to grab the users’ attention and turn them into brand ambassadors. Here are 5 tips for stepping up your Welcome Stream game.
1. Start with a cohesive experience
Congrats! You’ve convinced the user to sign up for your newsletter. You’ve shown them that you have something to offer that they want. As soon as the user provides their email address, you begin your journey towards building a trusting relationship with that customer. Users will subscribe to your newsletter from various avenues and for various reasons, and it is your job to give them more of what initially attracted them. Using dynamic content, scrape the main banner from your website and add it to your email, showcasing the same experience that attracted your customers to begin with. This has two great outcomes: 1. You are building a cohesive experience from your site to your emails. 2. This keeps your emails fresher longer. The scrape will continuously update itself and by using this method, you can buy time before you redo the stream.
2. Make sure your stream has offshoots
If you are already doing conditional streams, you rock! If not, we are here to help you rock it. You want to think about the different journeys your users have embarked on, and where you want them to go. For example, if they signed up for your newsletter in-store, you should consider sharing more store sales. If they signed up on your site, show them online offers. Be mindful of your goals; at times your main objective might be to get them to download your app instead of continuing to shop online – make sure your stream directs them to your chosen destination. You can also add different flow offshoots to your stream. If they complete a purchase, they might receive a different sequence than users who haven’t. If they haven’t completed another purchase in X days, you might want to send only these users a coupon, instead of sending offers to all customers.
3. Get more data
Everyone knows that knowledge is power. The more data, and therefore, knowledge you have, the stronger the connection between you and your users. The Welcome Stream is a great time to dedicate an email to customers who have not filled out their profile – this gives you an opportunity to get this information while developing your relationship with your customers. There are two ways you can collect data from emails: actively and passively.
Actively collecting data involves asking questions in your emails. Here, think carefully about the two most important profile questions you have – make them simple with multiple choice answers. Asking your user to fill in the text will result in a lower response rate and it’s harder to compile.
Passively collecting data is a bit sneakier. You might be tracking clicks to gain knowledge of what intrigues your users, or you might grab their location over time to understand their patterns and drive customers to the closest store. But remember, always be super careful of your users’ privacy, avoid violating GDPR, PII, and all those other scary, yet very important acronyms.
4. Get them to the store
If you have a brick-and-mortar location, you obviously want to get as many people as possible in the door. Our suggestion? Geo-target them. As mentioned above, the Welcome Stream is your first opportunity to begin building that relationship and teach them about your brand. This is also your chance to reveal your closest location– and take it to the next level by adding more useful data for your users, like opening hours, local events, and news that might be attractive to them.
5. Entice them
I am a big fan of Nir Eyal – the father of the hook theory. In short, his theory posits that for users to keep sticking with the brand, you want to create habits for them. You should create the possibility for them to make small investments and then reward their efforts, so that a habit is formed in how they interact with the company. It is vital that during the welcome process, you get users to make another purchase and habitually start using your brand. Remember, you are not looking to maximize the order value – you just want them to take out their credit card again. We suggest starting off light, reminding them of the cool items you offer, maybe showing a few sale items. Then, you can start adding a coupon or a discount. As you continue with the stream, you want to keep messaging them until either 1. it’s been too long and it’s time to give them a communication break, or 2. they make another purchase. Once they complete the transaction, you want to keep rewarding customers with further coupons and discounts, showing them the value of their loyalty to ensure they get to that next purchase. Get them into the cycle of thinking about your brand whenever they want to buy what you sell.
In Conclusion: Before you start building (or revamping) your stream, you should lay out your KPIs very clearly. Make sure your message is focused on getting those numbers higher. While it is important to say welcome, remember that the purpose of the Welcome Stream is to begin fostering trust with your users, and to initiate the journey toward a long-lasting relationship between consumers and your brand.