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Email Marketing: The Weekly Inbox Volume 1

Steve Olenski
Master Principal Sales Architect

The Weekly Inbox is a collection of emails from across the retail, travel/hospitality and financial services industries that caught our eye for being clever, forward thinking, creative or just plain awesome.

Before I get to the first post I just want to take a second and welcome everyone to The Weekly Inbox! As mentioned this will be a collection of emails we received in our inbox from the previous week that piqued our curiosity for one reason or another.

This Week: Welcome Emails.

Since I am welcoming you to The Weekly Inbox what better place to start than with some Welcome Emails that caught my eye during this past week.

The Welcome Email is extremely important for brands for many reasons. Wacarra Yeomans, director of creative strategy at Responsys says Welcome Emails are essential in developing that much sought-after "R" word (hint: relationship) every brand wants with its customers.

"Welcome emails are so important because they set the tone of the relationship you'll be building with your new customer," she says. "It gives your brand a chance to introduce itself, share what makes it unique and establish the value the customer can expect to continue to receive from you in your digital communications."

Here are some Welcome Emails that made me sit up and take notice this past week.

Change the "Subject"

The subject line is indeed the first impression of a given brand when it comes to email marketing. Personalizing the email itself is important but personalizing a subject line is a great way to establish an immediate connection with the reader. Here's a few of the brands that personalized the subject line in their welcome emails.

Verizon Wireless

SL: Responsys, thank you for signing up, here's your first offer



SL: Responsys, Welcome to Your CVS.com!

Welcome Email  CVS 1

Now back in the day - whenever that was, personalizing a subject line an email was often associated with spammers trying to increase their open rates. Today, however, with spam filters blocking unwanted emails from even appearing in the In Box in the first place, brands are beginning to see the benefits of personalizing subject lines in their emails.

Two Is Better Than One?

The folks at GAP have decided that two Welcome Emails are better than one. On the day I signed up for their email program I received this:


Two days later I received this one - after not filling out their preference center query I presume else I would not have received this:


Clearly they want to get more data on you and in turn, theoretically deliver a more targeted approach hence the initial "soft" mention of their preference at the bottom of their first email followed by the pronounced, main attraction in their second email. There's the obligatory sales links in the second email as there is in the first, but clearly the whole idea behind their second Welcome Email is to get to you know you better. 

Personal, Local & Emoticons! 

While they did not personalize the subject line (Thank you for registerin​g with IKEA!) - IKEA does a great job at personalizing and localizing their welcome email and throwing in an emoticon for good measure - check the upper right corner for the emoticon.

And as for localizing, based on the zip code I used to create account (19154 in Philly) they included a link to the nearest IKEA location.

They even took it a step further as the sender in the email appeared as "IKEA South Philadelphia."


The N.A.S. Doctrine

I am a huge proponent of the Not Always Selling Doctrine - and not just because I coined the phrase. I am a firm believer in brands do not need to always be selling - especially in the content marketing-driven world we live in.

Zappos and Lululemon are two brands who don't see the need to include sales-driven copy in every single open space of a given email.


Notice the Zappos Family Core Value at the bottom?


Instead of just an icon/link to their blog, Lululemon puts it in a main area of their Welcome Email.

Last and Certainly Least

Here's a couple of Welcome Emails where there is room for improvement.


Yes, that was the entire Welcome Email I received from Bass Pro Shops. I kept thinking maybe something was loading properly, I was missing some images, something; anything. But alas, this was it.

Then there's Advance Auto Parts who delivered this to my In Box as their (presumably) Welcome Email:


Maybe, just maybe their "real" Welcome Email got lost, misplaced, the dog ate it; something. And no, it was not in the Spam folder, either. I checked.

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