How to Write an Email Welcome Sequence

I don't think I was five minutes into learning about online business. Before I started hearing how important it was to grow your list. It seemed like everyone was talking about how important it was to collect email addresses and how valuable of an asset a big list is. So naturally I got to work only to find out how difficult it is to quote, grow your list.

After I'd signed up, my husband, my school friends, and a few random people I'd met in Facebook groups. I hit a wall. It was literal years before I started seeing real progress. But do you know what made this even more frustrating? The people who did join my list didn't buy anything. So there I was working my tail off to grow my list, spending real money on my email marketing software.

And I'm not seeing any real returns. What was I doing wrong? Almost everything. It turned out and starting with the very first thing. The first impression people got after signing up for my newsletter because their first impression was random. They got whatever newsletter I happened to write that week, which more often than not was a pretty random place to start a conversation.

The correction of this mistake was to create an email welcome sequence, a series of emails that gets sent to each new subscriber right after they sign up. Think of it like an introduction to who you are, what your company does and how you can help them. 

But here's the catch. It can't be about you, who you are and what you do has to be about them, who they are, what they want and how you can help them get it.

If it's done right, this process can lead straight to a sale. Now, let's talk about how you can write an email welcome sequence that will make a great first impression and start building a strong relationship with your new subscribers and lead them to purchase your products.

Setting Up a Schedule

First, let's talk about the basic schedule to use for these emails. One of the most common questions that I get about email welcome sequences is how often should you send emails when people first sign up?

I would recommend a frequency of no less than about once a week. That's just because the internet is a kind of noisy place. We all know this and people have a lot of distractions. If you send emails less than about once a week, then a lot of people will quite possibly forget about who you are and what you do and you'll have to re-introduce yourself and start completely from scratch with each new email that you write.

Some people recommend sending emails as much as even once per day. I don't personally think that's necessary and that is not what I practice in my business, just because I don't like receiving that many emails. Too many emails is often the reason I unsubscribe and I like to do unto others as I would want them to do unto me! I email a couple times per week just to stay top of mind and to keep reminding people how I can help them and keep helping them via my emails, but not clutter up their email inbox with too many messages.

When you are doing your email welcome sequence, you're going to want to send your emails a little bit more frequently, because again, these people have just met you and you need to stay front of mind because they can very easily, very quickly forget who you are. Do not feel that you are annoying them when they might actually want your emails! If they have this context, if they know who you are and how you can help. Overall, when you're first emailing with your welcome sequence, I'd recommend emailing once per day for the first couple of days.

After that, you can slowly reduce the frequency down to whatever your normal email newsletter frequency is. For example, I normally email about twice per week. So with my email welcome sequence, I send the first three emails one day after the next. And then I skipped two days and send email number four, skip two days, then email number five.

You can adjust this based on whatever your preferences are for how frequently you're going to email. For example:

Day 1: Send Welcome Email #1

Day 2: Send Welcome Email #2

Day 4: Send Welcome Email #3

Day 7: Send Welcome Email #4

Day 10: Send Welcome Email #5

Day 14: Send Welcome Email #6

Day 18: Email #7

Day 21: Email #8

Day 28: Email #9

The main thing that's important is that you do send them a little more frequently at the beginning. So people don't forget who you are and that you set proper expectations. In emails, you tell your subscribers what they can expect next. You can say things that like, tomorrow I'll send you such and such, or next week I'll be talking about such and such, or from here on out, you can expect to get emails from me twice per week. By setting proper expectations, you will really help them to obviously know what to expect and then to enjoy that when people aren't sure what's going to happen next, then they can be dissatisfied with anything that happens next.

What To Say

What should you send to people when they first sign up for your list? I have mapped out a series of eight emails that you can send to people after they first signed up. This is going to guide people all the way from the very, very first impression, introducing yourself all the way to selling them one of your products.

What's really cool about this sequence is that not only does it onboard your new subscribers and give them a really thorough introduction to your brand, but it also primes them to buy. It sets them up with the right messaging so that they really understand what your product is and how it can help them and why they need it. It even goes on to pitch your product, so it ends up making you some money right away from these new subscribers and that can be really important for your businesses cashflow. 

If you're a startup society member, then you know that we have this resource available, this PDF, it's a brand new resource that we just created. If you're listening right now and you aren't yet a member of startup society, then head to startupsociety.com so that you can get access to this PDF outline of the email welcome sequence. 

Email #1

This is the very first email someone gets after they sign up for your list. It was really important here that you do make a good first impression. but that doesn't mean you should make this email too long. You don't want to write your life story and remember these emails need to be about your subscriber and about how you can help your subscriber and not do much about you.

With this first email, we want to be positioning this information as for them. The main purpose that it serves is to make that introduction and to deliver. On your promise, because most likely when someone signed up for your email newsletter, they were signing up to get some specific thing. Maybe they just wanted weekly updates or weekly newsletter, but quite possibly, they wanted some sort of free download or a coupon code or registration for some sort of workshop that you're offering. Whatever that thing is that you offered them to get them to sign up you need to make sure that in your first email to them, you deliver that beyond delivering that free resource.

You'll also want to greet them and make that first impression, introduce yourself, and set that expectation for what's coming next. Tell them that they're going to receive emails at a certain frequency, how often that is and what they will be getting out of those emails. You need to sell the emails that are coming next so that they're looking forward to them and they don't unsubscribe, but they actually open them and get value out of them.

This first email should be pretty short and sweet, because again, we want to set that right expectation. If people think that your emails are really long, then they will be more hesitant to open them because they'll always feel like they don't have time to read them. By making a short first email, people will be more likely to open your future emails.

Email #2

Email number two that you will send on the second day after someone subscribes is a problem + solution email. For this email, I'd recommend a subject line with something along the lines of "Want to want to learn how to plant a garden?" "Want to learn how to grow your YouTube channel?" "Want to get your baby to sleep at night?"

If you can add their personal name into the subject line, this has really been shown to increase open rates and most email marketing softwares allow you to add in a specific piece of code, a little tiny snippet of code that will add in your subscribers. The email subject line might be something like "Want to get your baby to sleep through the night, Mary?" We are really connecting with that main pain point that got them to subscribe and has them interested in our brand and in our products.

This email is going to overall describe the problem that your subscriber is facing and the best way to do this is by sharing. You can share your own story of how you are facing this same problem, or you can share the story of a client or a customer, or you can even share someone else's story.

If you can relate it to yourself and your brand, that of course is ideal. You are going to need to share how they overcame that problem, but make sure that you keep this really focused on the what they did and not so much the how to get into the nitty gritty. You're not trying to write a complete guide! You're just trying to help your new subscriber feel seen and heard and that someone else has gone through the same problem and it's come out the other side.

One really great thing that you can add into this email is to bust a myth about how to solve the problem. You might talk about how you tried such and such that is a common solution or at least a popular solution, and it didn't work for you and why it didn't work for you, but what ended up working instead?

The second email is basically a story in which you help your subscriber feel like they are seen and heard, and that they're not the only person with the problem.

Email #3

 In email number three, you are going to talk about why people often fail. This is kind of playing off that theme that we started in email number two, where we talked about busting a myth. We're going to talk about a whole bunch of different myths and mistakes that people make when they're trying to solve that problem. For example, if you have a brand where you teach people how to grow a successful vegetable garden, then you might talk about several different mistakes people make when they're trying to start a vegetable garden or several different mistakes people make when they're trying to get their baby to sleep through the night or when they're trying to start their YouTube channel or start their online business or whatever it is that you help them with.

With this email and really with all of them that while yes, we have a sales motivation here, we do want to make sure that these emails are actually helpful and explaining mistakes and why these are mistakes really can be very valuable to people who are struggling with this issue right now.

You're going to explain why it's not their fault, that they're struggling with this issue because they're trying to follow common, popular advice, but that advice is broken and it isn't going to work for them. Then we explain why that advice is broken and why it doesn't work and then we're going to finally wrap this up by explaining what we've decided to do to help them solve the problem.

Basically, we saw this need, we saw these mistakes that people were making and we wanted to help people not make those mistakes. We wanted to help people get that outcome. So we ended up creating a program or a product. Now here, this should be the softest of softest pitches of your product.

You're just going to mention that you ended up creating this product and it really should just be part of this story of how you help people. Don't try to sell the product here. Don't ask them to buy it. Don't lead into the pitch right away. We're not to that point yet. Okay. We're just hinting at it.

Email #4

Email number four is the future pacing email. Future pacing talks about painting the picture of what the future could be like if this scenario or if that scenario happened. If they decide to buy your product, this is what will happen. If they decide to not buy your product, this is what will happen.

We don't want to be really pitching yet. Instead, we're going to talk about what's going to happen if they use the right solution to solve the problem or what's going to happen if they don't. We're going to focus this mostly on the positive, really, we're going to talk about reasons why they should start a vegetable garden, what they'll get out of it, what it is meant for us. A really good example of this is when I have a welcome sequence for people who are interested in starting a YouTube channel, I send them a similar series of emails.

When I get to this email, I talk about some of the different ways that YouTube has impacted my life. We always want to be thinking about, you know, what's in it for the subscriber, with each of these emails, what's in it for the subscriber, for me to brag about how amazing YouTube has made in my life. We need to position, this is inspiration.

You can do this too. You can start a YouTube channel. It contains your life. I want this for you. It has meant so much to me. It's meant this it's meant that it's meant this other thing, and it could do that for you too. I am all about spreading this message of YouTube and how amazing the platform is and how much, how big of an impact it can have on your business and overall on your life.

It's all about the subscriber. Don't talk about yourself. Talk about your subscriber. 

Email #5

At this point we're probably sending these emails spaced a couple days apart because we don't want to send too many emails and make this person unsubscribed because their inbox is getting too cluttered. So we've slowed down to this pace of sending an email every two or three days in email, number five, you're finally going to present your offer now. There's a lot of flexibility here and a lot of different ways you could do this. You could have a one day offer or two day ever, or a three-day offer or a seven day or a 14 day offer lots of different options.

I do find that a two or three day offer here is really the sweet spot, because if you have too short of an offer window where you have a sale, that's only going on for one day these people have only just met you and they might not be quite sure they want to buy yet. A one day sale might just be a little bit like too fast of an ask. They might not be ready to make a decision that fast, but on the other hand, we don't want to go too long, a seven or 14 day promotion period. You won't have given this new subscriber enough value and they won't be ready yet to hear you listen, to listen to you. Talk about how great your product is for seven or 14 days.

That's why I would say that a two or three day promotion window at this point, when this person has been subscribed for a week or two, and they've gotten about four or so emails from you that have given them a lot of value is a really good place to be. In email number five, you are going to announce your product, and you're going to briefly explain the problem that your product solves exactly who it's for and the result that it creates.

I really wants you to be as succinct with these things as possible. You can include some sort of story that is a success story, or a little bit of the story about why you decided to create this product or something like that. The story always draws humans in, but I don't want you to go over the top with expounding on the problem it solves or expounding on who it's for or expounding on the result that it creates, because overall, we want this email to still be fairly short so that we can make sure that we get to the point before they stop reading.

We want to be sure that they understand what this product is, who it's for that it's for them, how it can help them and that it is for sale and that we can actually ask them to buy. Now one important thing in this email, number five, where you're presenting the offer is that you answered that question. Why should people buy now? Not later. It's an important piece of information they need to walk away with is this sale is only three days long, or this sale is only two days long so that they know there's a deadline by which they need to make that decision. Finally, of course, you'll wrap this all up with a strong call to action, asking them to buy now to get the benefit.

Email #6

In email number six, that I would recommend probably sending on the second day of your promotion is the testimonial email. There's a few different ways you can do this one, but you'll basically want to tell them a story about some people who have gotten success with your product.

You can do this by sharing a series of different reviews and testimonials from people that are shorter, or you could just tell one story, that's more of a case study about how someone used your product to get a result, or you even can share your own story and how you were facing difficulties, how you tried different solutions, they didn't work for you. Then how you discovered the solution that you turned into this product that you now sell and how it worked for you. Just make sure that you do make this a very detailed, rich story that doesn't necessarily mean super long, but it does mean that you want to include the nuances and specific details.

So instead of saying something like one day I discovered such and such say something like one day as I was sitting at my computer desk, you know, hitting my head against my hands, wondering why nothing was working, use that sort of language and try to, as much as you can show, instead of just tell, because that's really going to draw people into this story.

Email number six will be sent on the second day of your promotion. That's probably going to happen after your subscriber has been subscribed for, I'd say about 10 days at this point. And then on the last day, the third day of your promotion in the morning, you're going to send an email that the concept of this email is how it works.

Email #7

This is an email all about your product and your process. We're going to explain to the three process that people can use to get the result they're looking for. This process might be something like buy the product, put it to work, get the result. That's a really, really simplistic version.

Let me give you another kind of more practical version. For example, if I was teaching people how to start a YouTube channel that I might say, "Here's the three things you need to do to start your YouTube channel. First, you need to decide what your YouTube channel will be about. Then you need to decide what you will name your channel, and then third, you need to create your channel on YouTube."

Now you can see here that I'm not showing them how to do these things. I'm not even telling them how to do them. I'm just telling them exactly what they need to do to get their YouTube channel off the ground. And that provides a lot of clarity for them and helps them to really understand this process.

It makes my product more appealing because now they can see what they need to do and they can see how the product would actually help them. As humans, we are wired to believe that things will work if we can see how they work and that's what this email is going to do. So again, you want to share that with them, that three-step process for how your product will get them.

The result they're looking for this can be your three step methodology or three steps of how to use the product and even could be a short demo video of how the product works. That can be really powerful as well, especially if it's something that maybe is hard for them to visualize and understand.

Sometimes, if you're selling a digital product, they're not quite sure what they're buying. I mean, I remember the very first time when I ever had something pitched to me online, I was just starting to get into the online business world, just at the very, very beginning, just dabbling, just starting to learn and I stumbled across this sales page that was selling me some sort of digital product. It probably was an online course, but I really don't know because the sales page was touting all of these benefits to me, it was talking about my problem and I was really connecting with it on a lot of levels.

It was talking about the problem that I was facing and it was talking about the outcome that I wanted but I didn't buy the product because by the time I got to the end of that sales page and had read every word on it, I still had no idea what the product was. I was wondering, are they going to mail me a set of DVDs? Is this a book? Is it a PDF? Are they going to mail me a series of. Emails. Is this a workshop that I'm going to attend online?

I didn't even think of all those options, cause I didn't even know all those options existed, but I just had no idea what form the product was going to take and how it was going to work for me. In email number seven that you're sending on the morning of the last day of your promotion, really tell them what your product is and how it works.

Email #8

In email number eight, you're going to send it in the afternoon of that third, last day of your promotion and you'll use a subject line that is something like "Last chance to join your product, Mary." or "Last chance to get your product, Mary." You want to make sure that to keep this email short and sweet, because if you start out with a long rambly story, then they might not get to the point of the email, which is, this is their last chance to buy.

They need to make a decision now, right? So we want to make sure that you lead with this is your last chance, your last chance to buy the offers about to end. Then you want to really succinctly recap the benefits. So not so much the features, not so much what it is, not so much the testimonials or the story, but the benefits after using this product, how will their life be different? What results will they really see? And then it's a great idea to also briefly mention the features. 

Finally, you'll wrap this up with a strong call to action, asking for the sale. Now it is a really good idea to include one short testimonial in this email. Again, this is kind of this recap email where you're giving them the too long, didn't read version of all your other emails you've gotten to the end of the promotional series.

For some reason, this person still hasn't bought so you're trying to give them that really quick and dirty version so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not this product is right for them.

This brings us to the end of the welcome sequence. Now, as I said, if you want to see all of these emails laid out, written out with the descriptions of what should be inside of each of them and example subject lines for each of them, then head to startupsociety.com, where you can find out how to join start-ups society and get access to the PDF that goes along with today's episode.



  • How to create an email welcome sequence — a series of emails that gets sent to each new subscriber right after they sign up
  • The basic schedule to use for these emails
  • What to say in each of these emails
  • And answers to some common questions about email welcome sequences


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Sean McMullin