Welcome Email Series: Best Practices & Examples (2024 Guide)

Written by: Scott Cohen

Published on: 06-27-2024

Scott is the CEO at InboxArmy and has more than 20 years of experience in email marketing.

The heralded Welcome Email Series is the cornerstone of all successful email marketing strategies. This isn’t just a one-and-done email. If you aren’t utilizing a well-thought-out welcome email you are leaving money on the table.

Yes, this is your chance to offer a quick 10% off to get customers in the door—a huge driver for acquisition. But it’s also your shot to stand out from the crowd and connect with your subscribers.

In this article, we’ll discuss the different elements of a great welcome email sequence, from timing to design. We’ll also show you how some brands are flipping the script and creating unique experiences to inspire your emails.

What is a Welcome Email Series?

To start with the basics, an automated welcome email series is a sequence of emails sent to subscribers after they sign up on your website. The goal of this series is simple: nurture new subscribers and educate them about your business.

The main purpose is to start a line of communication with your new subscriber and begin the steps to building a relationship. Building this repertoire with your subscribers is key to successful email marketing. It is rare for someone to buy at first glance; they need to know why you’re the right choice.

This is where your welcome email comes in.

The information inside your welcome email series will be different depending on your business type. But a standard welcome series usually has a new subscriber discount element, educates readers on your product or service, and ultimately pushes readers to purchase by the end.

Do You Really Need A Welcome Series?

When someone subscribes to your email list, they are interested in your brand. This moment of interest is your window to engage them with an automated welcome. Miss this window, and your subscriber’s mind is already on the next thing.

A welcome series leverages your opportunity by starting a conversation with your new subscribers immediately. Through a series of well-crafted emails, you keep their interest sparked and from forgetting why they signed up in the first place.

And the stats back that up. Subscribers receiving a welcome series are more likely to engage with your emails.

According to Wordstream’s research, welcome emails are four times more likely to be opened and five times more likely to generate clicks than other marketing emails.

At the end of the day, you can opt not to have a welcome series. For some types of business, that just doesn’t make sense. However, for the large majority, shoppers expect the option to sign up and receive a welcome series—and discount—before they buy.

How to Structure Your Welcome Emails

The timings and number of emails can vary, but a good rule of thumb for an automated welcome series structure is to start with 4-6 emails.

Many business owners and marketers worry about sending too many emails too often. Don’t.

Everyone’s inboxes are full of actual emails, promotions, and spam. Some businesses will send welcome emails every day for a week, others will send one email every week. You need to find what works best for you and that fits within your email strategy.

At the beginning of your welcome series, your subscriber is likely unaware of much about your brand and sitting at the top of your marketing funnel. Because of this, the emails earlier in the series should clearly explain and take readers through your product or service.

The graphic below from CopyHackers is a great way to think about how to structure your email messaging. It helps visualize the types of messages that drive conversion for each step of your customer’s journey.

Within this series, your emails can be in different layouts and styles. But always remember to have a clear and concise call to action in every email.

In the next section, we’ll give you a general idea of emails you can include in your welcome series.

What Emails Should Appear in Your Welcome Email Sequence?

What Emails Should Appear in Your Welcome Email Sequence

Creating a compelling welcome email sequence can seem impossible. Here’s a streamlined, six-email sequence designed to be simple, impactful, and drive results, starting with the initial welcome email.

Each email in this sequence serves a specific purpose, guiding subscribers through a journey that familiarizes them with your brand, builds trust, and encourages engagement.

First Email: Welcome and Thank You

  • Timing: Send it immediately after signup or within 1 day, depending on your business.
  • Content: This is your first impression, so first greet subscribers and thank them for joining. You’ll also want to briefly introduce your brand and explain what they can expect from your emails. This email sets the tone, tells your story, appeals to your audience, and includes some details about your product or service. And don’t forget to include a clear CTA at the end, working towards whatever your welcome series goal is.
  • Goal: Create a positive first impression for your new subscribers and get them excited about reading more. For many brands, the goal of the first email is also to share a welcome promo code.

Second Email: Brand Story and Values

  • Timing: Send it 2-3 days after the first email.
  • Content: In email two, share more about the story behind your brand, mission, and core values. If you can, incorporate a personal story to highlight what makes your brand unique and why it matters to your audience. For brands with founders or CEOs (or a great mascot – looking at you, Duolingo), this can be their chance to speak ‘directly’ to readers.
  • Goal: Humanize your brand and align with the subscriber’s values. Buyers now-a-days want to know the brands they buy from are here for more than just making money.

Third Email: Exclusive Offer or Incentive

  • Timing: Send this email 2-3 days after the last one. With most EMS, you can set your emails so they are only delivered on weekdays, certain days, or times, which can be a huge help for a series like this, where you may find you have higher conversion on specific days.
  • Content: This email is a sales email through and through. Offer a special discount, a free trial, or exclusive content (like an ebook or webinar). That’s not to say that if you are offering a welcome discount, wait to mention it until email 3. Make sure your offer has been clearly stated and reiterated throughout the series.
  • Goal: Now that there’s been some background on your business, this email aims to get readers to purchase or engage with your product or service.

Fourth Email: Product or Service Highlights

  • Timing: Send 3-4 days after your third email. As you get further in the series without purchase, you can increase the time between emails.
  • Content: Here, you should showcase your top products or services. But how? Use compelling copy, high-resolution images, and customer testimonials. We recommend starting with highlighting any bestsellers or new arrivals.
  • Goal: Drive interest in your products/services. The goal here is to educate subscribers on why they should choose your specific products, and remind them what makes them so much better.

Fifth Email: Educational Content and Social Proof

  • Timing: Send this 3-4 days after your fourth email.
  • Content: You may think everyone knows about your industry, but they don’t. In this email, share content that educates your subscribers about that industry, your products, or services. This could be a how-to guide, tips and tricks, or an in-depth article. If you have a product with a higher price point or unclear use case, this email will be key to converting buyers later on. Be sure to include social proof, like user-generated content, customer reviews, or case studies.
  • Goal: Establish your authority and build trust with helpful, educational information

Sixth Email: Follow-Up and Feedback

  • Timing: Send this email 5-7 days after the fifth.
  • Content: As the final email in your series, check in with your subscribers to see how they’ve been enjoying your emails and products. Here, ask for feedback, suggestions, or reviews to better understand what they like, love, and can live without. You can include a CTA like completing a survey or revisiting your website. If you are offering a welcome discount, include a final reminder in this email and include an expiration date for said promo.
  • Goal: Show that you value their opinion and are committed to improving their experience.

Automating Your Welcome Email Flow

Unless you only get a handful of sales every week, manually sending your welcome emails is not feasible. Instead, you should use automated emails to manage your welcome email series. It’s also unnecessary with the great email marketing software available for various budgets and subscribers.

Selecting the right email automation tool is the first step in automating your welcome email flow. Popular options include Mailchimp, HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, and Klaviyo. When choosing a tool, consider the following factors:

  • Ease of Use: You know how tech-savvy you (or whoever uses the tool) are. So, ensure the tool has an interface you understand and user-friendly features if you’re a beginner.
  • Integration: Check if it integrates seamlessly with your existing CRM and other marketing tools. If not, you may need external platforms to get all your data in one place; ask yourself if that is something you can handle yourself.
  • Automation Capabilities: Look for automation features such as workflow customization, trigger options, and segmentation.
  • Analytics and Reporting: Ensure the tool provides detailed analytics to track the performance of your email campaigns and overarching strategy.

Once you’ve chosen your tool, the next step is to set up automation rules and trigger emails.

For any automation, the first thing you must do is select your trigger. For a welcome series, the trigger is typically when someone subscribes to your email list or completes a signup form.

Then map out the sequence of emails and define the timing for each one. For example:

  1. Email 1: Sent immediately after signup.
  2. Email 2: Sent two days after the first email.
  3. Email 3: Sent five days after the second email, and so on.

Finally, set conditions and actions based on subscriber behavior. For example, if a subscriber opens the first email but doesn’t click the link, you might want to send a different message than someone who does. Or maybe you want to update subscriber information, add tags for segmentation, or subscribe to a new list.

Another great way to utilize the data you have from your subscribers—in an automated manner—is to use personalization tokens in your emails. You can use the basic first name and birthday or go the extra mile and insert products related to browsing interests.

Testing and Iterating on Your Welcome Series

Your welcome series isn’t set it and forget it. Iterating and understanding what is—and isn’t—working is key to success in the customer journey. You might find that after turning on your first version, half of your emails just aren’t working. Don’t worry, it’s all part of the process.

You can continually improve your email series by monitoring key metrics, employing various testing methods, and making data-driven adjustments.

This ongoing process ensures that your welcome series remains engaging, relevant, and effective in building solid relationships with your subscribers.

So, what metrics should you be keeping your eyes on?

  1. Open Rate: This indicates the percentage of subscribers who opened your email. This tells you the effectiveness of your subject lines. If your open rates are low, test subject lines as your first experiment. Another factor could be the send time or date. Review your data to see any high or low trends on certain days.
  2. Click-Through Rate (CTR): This shows the percentage of subscribers who click on links within your emails. It measures the relevancy and appeal of your content. If your CTR is low, test different designs or formats and ensure your emails are mobile-friendly and optimized in dark mode.
  3. Conversion Rate: The percentage of subscribers who complete a desired action (e.g., making a purchase), showing you the effectiveness of your calls to action. If your conversion goal is a purchase, review the landing page you’re sending subscribers to. Heat mapping is a great way to map out tests on your pages, giving you the insights you need to understand why they aren’t ultimately converting.
  4. Bounce Rate: Percentage of emails that could not be delivered. Helps identify issues with your email list quality. If you are seeing large numbers of bounces in your email series you could have a spam issue and may want to test adding some email verification to your forms.
  5. Unsubscribe Rate: Percentage of subscribers who opt out after receiving your emails. Indicates potential issues with content or frequency. When you start seeing high unsubscribe rates

Now that you know the metrics, it’s experiment time! The tried and true method for all marketers is A/B testing, also known as split testing. It involves comparing two variations of an email to determine which one performs better.

Before starting an A/B test, define what you want to achieve. Then focus on testing one element at a time to isolate its impact.

With that done it’s time to test. Split your subscriber list into two random and equal groups. Ensure that each group is large enough to provide statistically significant results.

Send the two variations (A and B) to the respective groups simultaneously. This ensures that external factors like time of day or day of the week do not influence the results.

For example, you might send Version A with the subject line “Welcome to the Club” to Group 1, and Version B with the subject line “Exclusive Welcome Offer Inside” to Group 2. After running the test, measure the performance of each variation and implement the winner going forward.

Welcome Series Email Examples

What Emails Should Appear in Your Welcome Email Sequence

Yellow Bird Hot Sauce


This welcome email is fiery hot. Their email showcases the brand’s loud, unique design and copy. They effortlessly weave in language that aligns with their site and other channels while highlighting each of their products.

Don’t be afraid to push the envelope regarding design or copy. Standing out from the crowd is a good thing—but if that’s not part of your brand’s M.O., there are plenty of other styles to try.

All Plants

All Plants

This example is from another challenger brand, AllPlants. They hit all the key elements needed for a successful first email in your welcome series.

It starts with social proof from their Trustpilot widget front and center and a big testimonial block to remind readers how many people know and love the product.

The welcome offer is clearly stated in the first section, and a CTA button reiterates that offer. And they close it out with the unique selling points for their product.



Welcome series can often be thought of as just for ecom or product based business.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Marriott’s welcome email bathes the reader in their standard ‘luxe’ aspirational aesthetic while being accessible and offering a range of different-priced stays.

They highlight the benefits the reader will get with their membership and include a simple ‘navigation’ style header to login and access their account.

Huggies Diapers

Huggies-Welcome series

Huggies, while speaking directly to parents, goes a step farther with this email by incorporating a survey option.

It’s simple, with two options to help readers self-segment as either new parents or not.

This information—readily given by the reader—helps Huggies’ messaging hit the mark and enables them to segment their emails down the line.



Dice is another example of a service-based company hitting a home run with their welcome email.

They stray from the standard bold CTA buttons or links and have simple images with short text for their featured unique selling points.

No fuss, just simple and clear with what to expect at Dice.


Cava-Welcome Email series

Your welcome email doesn’t have to be over-designed or include glossy high-quality images. This example from Cava is not a welcome email per se but is an exciting example of melding plain text and simple drag-and-drop design.

This letter-style email speaks directly to the reader from their Chief Concept Officer, which can be written by your founder, CEO, or even mascot.



Starbucks’s loyalty program welcome email is an excellent example of short, sweet, and to-the-point communication. It clearly states what to expect from emails going forward and lists the main perks of the program with links to access them.

This proves you don’t have to overthink things and add extras to fill space. Sometimes, simple is best.

TL/DR: Top Tips to a Great Welcome Series

Tips for welcome series

Creating a welcome email series doesn’t have to be hard. Here are some of our top tips to ensure your welcome sequence is successful and resonates with your audience.

Personalize Your Emails

Email personalization goes beyond just including the subscriber’s name. Tailor the content based on their interests, behaviors, and preferences. Use data gathered from sign-up forms or initial interactions to customize the messaging. Segmenting your audience and delivering personalized content can significantly improve engagement rates.

Set Clear Expectations

In your first email, clearly outline what subscribers can expect from you. This includes the type of content they will receive, the frequency of emails, and any exclusive benefits they can look forward to.

This helps build trust and ensures subscribers know the value they will get from staying on your list.

Offer Immediate Value

Provide value right from the start. This could be in the form of a discount, an exclusive piece of content, or a useful resource related to your niche. ActiveCampaign suggests offering something for free in your second email to build goodwill and trust with your new subscribers.

Use a Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)

Each email in your welcome series should have a clear and compelling Call to Action (CTA). Whether you want subscribers to visit your website, follow you on social media, or make a purchase, make sure the next step is obvious and easy to follow.

According to the experts at ActiveCampaign, guiding your readers through a journey with specific actions in each email can improve engagement and conversions .

Incorporate Social Proof

Including testimonials, case studies, or user-generated content in your welcome emails can help build credibility and trust. Showcasing how others have benefited from your products or services can reassure new subscribers about their decision to engage with your brand.

Segment and Target Your Audience

Segmentation allows you to send more relevant emails based on subscribers’ specific interests or behaviors.

For example, if a subscriber clicks on a link related to a particular product category, follow up with more information or offers related to that category.

This approach, highlighted by both ActiveCampaign and other email marketing experts, ensures your emails are always relevant and timely.

Test and Iterate

Continuous testing and iteration are crucial for optimizing your welcome series. Conduct A/B tests on different elements such as subject lines, email content, and CTAs to see what works best. Use the insights from these tests to refine your emails and improve overall performance over time.

Automate Your Workflow

Automation ensures that your welcome series is timely and consistent. Use an email marketing platform to set up triggers and workflows that automatically send emails based on specific actions taken by subscribers. This saves time and ensures new subscribers receive a seamless and well-timed welcome experience.

Analyze Performance Metrics

Review your welcome email metrics, such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, regularly. These metrics provide valuable insights into how your emails are performing and where there is room for improvement. Adjust your strategy based on these insights to continually enhance the effectiveness of your welcome series.


How do I create a welcome series?

Creating a welcome series starts with selecting an email marketing platform that supports automation, such as Mailchimp or Klaviyo. Then, begin planning the sequence, which typically includes 4-6 emails to guide and nurture new email subscribers.

Personalize the content based on subscriber data to make each email more relevant. Use A/B testing to optimize subject lines, content, and calls-to-action for better performance. Regularly review and update your series to keep it fresh and effective

Why do I need an email welcome series?

An email welcome series helps establish the initial connection with your new subscribers. Plus, welcome emails typically have higher open and click-through rates than regular marketing emails, catching subscribers when their interest is at its peak. This first impression sets the tone for future interactions.

A well-structured welcome series can guide subscribers through your brand’s story, values, and offerings, gradually nurturing them toward purchasing or whatever your goal. It can also boost your long-term customer relationships, increasing the likelihood of conversions and repeat business.

By providing valuable content and exclusive offers early on, you lay a strong foundation for ongoing engagement with your emails.

How long should a welcome series email be?

The length of a welcome series email should balance providing enough information while maintaining the reader’s interest. Aim for emails to be around 150-300 words, keeping them short and sweet. To enhance readability, the content should be easy to skim, with clear headings, bullet points, and short paragraphs.

Quality and relevance of content are more important than word count. Ensure each email has a clear call-to-action and delivers value to the subscriber, whether through educational content, exclusive offers, or engaging stories.

What should my welcome series be about?

Your welcome series should aim to introduce subscribers to your brand and encourage engagement gradually. Share your brand story, mission, and values, helping to create a personal connection.

Follow this with an exclusive offer or discount to incentivize a first purchase. Highlight your key products or services using compelling descriptions and testimonials to build interest.

To provide value and establish your authority, include educational content in some of your emails, such as how-to guides or industry tips.

Don’t forget to incorporate social proof, like user-generated content or reviews, to build credibility.

About Author

Winner of the ANA Email Experience Council’s 2021 Stefan Pollard Email Marketer of the Year Award, Scott Cohen is a proven email marketing veteran with nearly 20 years of experience as both a brand-side marketer and an email marketing agency executive. He brings to our clients a unique blend of experience building and managing larger CRM and retention teams, sending millions of emails and SMS per week, and award-winning copywriting chops. For more information, follow him on Linkedin

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