More and more businesses are seeing the value in making a good first impression with their email marketing efforts. New research from Campaigner, the email marketing brand of j2 Global Inc., found that nearly 40 percent of online retailers make sure the first email they send new subscribers is a "thank you for subscribing" message.
The quick introductory message appears to be paying off: Half of the businesses surveyed said 21 percent or more of new subscribers engage with such welcome emails, such as by opening the email, clicking thru to the website or forwarding it on to others.
Similarly to what happens with in-person interactions — when it takes just seconds to form a lasting impression — email marketing first impressions are also critical and time-sensitive, said EJ McGowan, general manager of Campaigner.
"Marketers who quickly deliver engaging welcome emails to new subscribers will see greater success in conversions while also building brand reputation," McGowan said in a statement.
The study found that most businesses don't wait long to send out welcome emails: More than 60 percent of those surveyed said their new subscribers receive their first message from the brand within 24 hours of signing up. [See Related Story: Best Email Marketing Software for Small Businesses]
As for the best time to send out a welcome email, most online businesses agree that the earlier, the better. The research showed that 35 percent of the businesses surveyed believe between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. is the ideal time to garner responses from new subscribers, while 25 percent think that between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. is best.
Businesses are using a variety of methods to entice customers to sign up for their emails. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed offer the latest news and content to their customers as incentives to subscribe, and 49 percent use standard promotions as an incentive.
Instead of just text, most businesses include pictures and videos as a way to grab recipients' attention. Specifically, 87 percent of marketers include images in their welcome emails, and 26 percent include videos.
Despite knowing the value of welcome emails, 60 percent of the businesses surveyed think they could be doing more to make their welcome emails even more useful.
"Transactional messages such as welcome emails provide unique opportunities for companies to get in front of interested contacts," McGowan said. "If marketers aren't already using them, now is the time to start."
The study was based on surveys of 150 online retailers from the Campaigner customer base.