That brings me to the humble welcome email. It’s a deceptively powerful tool, and one that more writers should make the most of. Dan Oshinsky recently revisited the idea in the April edition of Not a Newsletter
If you’re sending a newsletter, don’t just use it as a broadcast tool. Hit reply, and start a real conversation with your readers.
Dan recently hit the admirable milestone of having 1,000 readers reply to his welcome message — and he makes a point of setting aside time every day to respond to his readers. This manual, low-tech process can lead to some of the most fruitful relationships and conversations:
Sure, it takes a little time — maybe 5 or 10 minutes a day — to reply to these emails. But I cannot tell how many loyal readers (and how many eventual clients!) I’ve gotten just from that simple email.
This quote really resonated with me — and I’m a little embarrassed to tell you why. While I read and reply to every single reply to The Week in Newsletters, it sometimes takes a week or so before I can get back to some of those messages. Sometimes it’s longer. That’s a missed opportunity to establish a timely relationship, and to discuss questions and comments while they’re front-of-mind for the reader.
From now on I’m scheduling time in my calendar every day to make sure I fulfil this commitment.
Examples of great welcome emails
Personal confessions aside, I wanted to provide some inspiration from newsletter writers already nailing their welcome emails — and to give some actionable bullet points that you should be able to take with you on your own newsletter journey.
Not all of these examples will necessarily resonate with how you want to run your newsletter — and it’s good to keep that welcome email short, so I’m not suggesting you throw all of these at the page at once. I’d urge you to check them out, and see what would work best for you.
- In his own welcome email, Dan reiterates that there’s a human on the other end of this thing. He says that he “actually” wants a reply, and will get back to you personally.
- He focuses on two questions that will help him serve his audience best. Limiting the questions to two also gives the request a completable feel, lowering the bar to engagement.