Welcome Page, Emails and Video Can Boost First-Year Retention

Share |

According to a new global study by GetResponse. welcome emails produce an 84.22% average open rate and 25.91% click-through rate throughout the world. Firms that don't send them are missing out on "a huge opportunity to connect with your customers when they're most receptive to hearing from you," writes Courtenay Worcester, director of U.S. marketing for GetResponse, in MarTech Advisor.  

Here are more tips for getting customer relationships started off right.

Design a benefits-friendly welcome page. From AAA Northeast's welcome page: "Here you can also sign up for email newsletters, gain access to exclusive free guides and check out the monthly events calendar for things to do in your area. Like the name says, Your AAA Magazine is YOURS. It's yours to use, interact with and to get in touch with the Northeast community. Enjoy!"

Put on a live webinar for onboarding. The International Coach Federation does this to introduce new members/subscribers to key benefits and services. (Barb Kaplowitz of Big Huge Ideas has also urged welcome videos—see below.) The ICF has found that this type of early engagement boosts first-year retention. "Videoconferencing helps our large organization feel smaller and more personal," says Don Whittle, director of member experience. "Our members value that personal touch, and it helps make our global community feel much more tangible." For new members who can't view the webinar live, ICF posts a video recording of the conversation to their website. ICF also uses the webinars as an opportunity to explain their credential to new members. That has led to a 39% increase in first-year members applying for the credential.

"You have to start with customer experience and work backwards to the technology," Steve Jobs told a large audience in 1997. "You can't start with the technology and figure out where you're going to sell out. I've made this mistake maybe more than anyone else in this room... And as we have tried to come up with a strategy and a vision for Apple, it started with, 'What incredible benefits can we give to the customer? Where can we take the customer?' Not let's start with sitting down with the engineers and figure out what awesome technology we have and how we're going to market that."

Welcome them in the channel they signed up with you, Kaplowitz advised. "Then you might want to encourage them to try another channel [that you're in]. "Welcome videos... put a face to your company. Use your staffers to create the welcome message. 'I'm Chris and I'm here to help you explore the profit opportunities in the education market.' That's more believable than a generic TV voice."

Send best practices tips, said Bill Haight, president, Magna Publications, Inc.. "Here's how other people are using this product." Use their name if you get permission. Also seek other volunteers there to promote your resources. Haight also urges you to refresh your confirmation and welcome letters often. "Have your very best copywriter go through them and personalize and brush them up." Add flair and excitement.

Make it easy for people to log in, said Kaplowitz. "92% of people fail to log in because they can't remember the passwords. Allow them to log in through a social media platform. It's about what's easier for them more than what's important to you."

Send a series of welcome emails. HCPro's Credentialing Resource Center ran a 10-email welcome series in support of a new website. The emails were triggered when someone purchased membership. The focus of the emails varied each week from "Need help navigating?" and "Visit our FAQ page" to "Access the CRC member forums" and "Take $100 off the upcoming CRC Symposium."

Find their problem and address that need immediately. According to a recent membership survey, the top reason for members not renewing is lack of engagement with the organization (38%). "The key is onboarding," Robert Skrob, head of Membership Services Inc., once told me. "Many have joined because of a particular problem [meaning] they've come for a need. You have to focus on that need immediately. That first point of contact is crucial... You want to become their trusted source."

Besides email welcomes to new members, companies send welcome kits, member surveys, membership cards/certificates, and invites to use the members-only website and online community; they also, yes, even make welcome phone calls. Some mail a type of business gift like a calendar or notecard. I still miss the annual calendar that RigData used to send me.

Ronn Are you subscribed to the SIPAlert Daily?
If not, you're missing out on daily strategies, tips, profiles and case studies that can build your audience and increase revenue. To sign up, please contact Nevena Jovanovic.

Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…