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Chapter
4

Build your welcome email

Your welcome email is one of your subscribers’ first interactions with you. It’s like a first date or a job interview, so you need to make sure you start off making a great first impression. 

Substack newsletters are especially guilty of sending poor welcome emails, as writers often don't spend time to modify the default email seen below. This is a missed opportunity, as on average, welcome emails receive a higher open rate than regular emails, making them 86% more effective.

Use this welcome email template

Using the template within Substack and the guidelines laid out here, write your welcome email.

Subject line: _________________________________

Context about your newsletter—4-6 sentences here is plenty:

  • What is it?

  • How often can people expect it in their inboxes? 

  • Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine here:

Housekeeping section: This is suggested automatically by Substack, but it’s helpful to tell people how to whitelist you. Feel free to use Substack’s suggested language, or add your own.

Close out your welcome email, tell your readers where else to find you online, and thank them.

If you’re struggling, here’s a template you can use for inspiration:

Subject line: Fancy seeing you here

Thanks for joining me here/on/in [your newsletter name]!

You can expect to get [how many emails you’ll send] every week on [what you plan to write about]. I’m grateful you’re willing to spend five minutes of your precious time reading what I have to say, but I promise, you won’t regret it.

Important note:

If you can’t find this newsletter, or it didn’t appear in your inbox, check your Spam folder and mark this email address as ‘not spam’ (since it’s obviously not!). If this newsletter isn’t in your Spam folder, check the Promotions tab.

Also, share this with your friends if you think they’ll enjoy it. Click here to follow me on Twitter and Instagram and I’ll see ya later!

Here’s what my welcome email looks like:

Make a specific and unique subject line

A good subject line is specific and unique to your newsletter. It could include either a reference to the name of your newsletter or the type of person your subscriber is. Here are some good subject lines that hook the reader and stand out in their inbox:

  • You’re in 😎

  • Did we just become best friends?

  • It’s only getting better from here

Bad subject lines are overly simplistic and vague. They could have been from any newsletter. Avoid using these: 

  • You're on the list!

  • Thanks for subscribing

  • Thank you for subscribing

Thank your new subscribers

First, greet your subscriber with a warm welcome and thank them for subscribing! You can use a simple line of text, emojis, images or GIFs to do that. 

Set expectations

  • Type of content: Tell your subscribers a little bit about who you are and what type of content you’ll be sending..

  • Frequency: Let your subscribers know when they can expect your emails. Are you planning on emailing them weekly, daily, or monthly? Be upfront on the day(s) they should expect your newsletter in their inbox. If you’re not sure about this yet, don’t worry. We’ll help you decide how often to send this out later in the playbook.

  • Link to social channels: Increase engagement by linking to your social channels and encouraging subscribers to connect with you.

  • Make it easy to share: Instead of saying “Please tell a few friends if you like” in your welcome email, make it easy for your subscribers to share that they have subscribed to your newsletter by crafting pre-made snippets. Here's a template:

Just joined other (your newsletter's target audience) and subscribed to (your landing page / link to subscribe) by (@your twitter handle) Looking forward to reading (insert a blurb about your newsletter)

  • Get subscribers to whitelist you: Every newsletter writer tries to prevent their newsletter from landing inside Gmail's Promotions tab or the Spam folder of doom. By asking subscribers to whitelist your newsletter your future issues are more likely to appear in their primary inbox. Your deliverability will also improve, and this increases the probability that your issues get seen by your subscribers instead of getting buried in a pile of ads. 

  • Make sure they can unsubscribe: Ensure that you provide an option to unsubscribe in your welcome email. The last thing you want is for subscribers to be marking you as spam when they can’t find the unsubscribe button. If they mark your emails as spam, there’ll be negative impacts on your domain reputation and deliverability rates.

  • Keep welcome emails brief: Remember not to make your welcome emails too wordy! They shouldn’t read like an essay. Always respect your reader's time.

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