Jan 23, 2023 3 min read

Why Welcome Emails are Crucial for Building a Successful Newsletter and Why You Should Ask for Money Sooner Than You Think

Astronaut holding envelope in space

Usually, when a reader signs up for a newsletter, they confirm their email, then largely forget about the publication until the next time it publishes and the newsletter shows up in their inbox. At that point, they may have forgotten they signed up or forgotten why they were interested.

And they will be less likely to pay down the road.

With Outpost adding drip emails to your Ghost site, new subscribers get an automatic welcome flow (that is fully customizable to make it your own). That lets you welcome them to your world, ask them questions, and send links to your best work. You might have been around for years, but to them, you are new and unknown.

A welcome email flow is a warm way to establish a relationship with your new subscriber and make them feel valued, thanking your new reader for signing up, and giving you an opportunity to share more of your story and give them a sense of what they can expect to receive.

A welcome email flow can also include helpful information such as links to popular or relevant content and give you a chance to share something about you, your background, and mission.

Since Outpost lets you customize an entire welcome flow (which smartly stops if the subscriber upgrades to paid), you also don't have to pack everything into just one email: e.g. move us to Gmail's primary inbox, we have a paid tier, we do live events, we have a podcast, we have books! into just one welcome email.

You should also start asking for money as soon as possible, because people's willingness to pay declines after 30 days.

Here's what Brian Boyer, who worked on a number of local startup news sites while at Spirited Media, found from their data tracking:

So, once you’ve got somebody interested, you want to get them paying, fast. When someone signs up for our newsletter, we immediately kick off an automated series of emails (known in the industry as a “drip campaign”—maybe not a new idea for you, but it was new to me!) that, among other things, ask our new subscriber for their hard-earned cash.

Many people will tell you to slowly build up to the $$$ ask over a series of emails. First, you start by introducing yourselves, talk about the value you provide, the things you cover, etc., etc., and after several emails, you eventually start explicitly asking for money.

But we found the opposite to be true. The longer you wait, the less likely people are to click the link to donate. The first and second emails in our drip campaigns always performed the best—the highest open rates, the highest click rates, and the highest donation rates. So, yeah, we want to ask early and get folks to donate as quickly as possible.

And, crucially, for free subscribers, the welcome flow works alongside the new newsletters you are sending, giving you a chance to make the case people should become paying supporters while you are simultaneously showing them your value.

Every offer in Outpost welcome drip emails has a unique ID (even if amount is the same), so you can easily track which ones are converting.

Outpost has different welcome emails for free and paid readers. The welcome flow is just a small part of our autoresponder, which we call the Best Damn Autoresponder for Ghost. We also automatically send thank you notes, take care of legally required subscriber notifications for you, and handle sending emails to those who cancel or turned off auto-renewal.

Want to try our Autoresponder and drip emails for Ghost free ? There's no credit card required, and you can start using our Autoresponder and Tip Jar today.

To learn more about Outpost, visit our homepage, drop us a note at info@outpost.pub or just start your free, no credit-card-required 21-day free trial of Outpost.

Ryan Singel
Ryan Singel
Ryan Singel is the co-founder of Outpost. He's a former journalist for Wired, the co-founder of online recommendation company Contextly, and a Fellow at Stanford's Center for Internet and Society.
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