You’ve enabled Sales to close the deal—congratulations! But Marketing’s role doesn’t end there. Now you’ve got to meet, greet, and keep that customer for life. A great way to start is with an automated Welcome Program for new customers.
In my experience, this kind of welcome program leads to faster adoption of the new product or service within the customer base, greater incremental revenue from that customer, and increased customer loyalty — resulting in longer retention.
Let me give you an example. A large data company did a great job selling its services, for which users logged into an online system, but lacked any onboarding touch-points for establishing relationships with new customers.
- No formal communication to new users occurred. In fact, many new users didn’t even know when their access was granted, resulting in Support calls and delayed adoption.
- Helpful product collateral and training documents were not readily accessible. Hard to find and confusing, they created user frustration and dissatisfaction with the service.
- Most importantly, because the main service products of the company are transaction-based, transactional revenue opportunities were being lost as licensed users did not know they had access to the system and were not using it.
To address these issues, a formal Welcome nurture program was established, leveraging the company’s marketing automation system. This new automated program would:
- Proactively communicate to ALL new users
- Engage new users via email with product tips, guides, and training options to educate and encourage faster product adoption
- Offer a Welcome landing page: a central hub that provides tools needed to get started, and helps to shorten the new user product usage cycle
- Send reminder emails to get users to access the services, to help increase transactions
- Ultimately, improve customer satisfaction and build loyalty in order to retain customers
Building the Program
A series of personalized emails were created and sent to new users every 1-2 weeks over a two-month period, to drive them to tip sheets, training materials and related “getting started” documents, which were both linked directly from some of the emails and also available on a Welcome page. The process and assets that were built included:
- Auto-generated New User File
- Daily sync to auto-upload New User File to MA system via sFTP
- MA system program to add new users and run campaign
- 3 Welcome emails
- Welcome landing page
- Training collateral
- Product FAQs
The program was set up to:
- Send the first welcome email
- After one week, check to see if new user clicked through to landing page or documentation
- Send a second welcome email if the user did not click through
- Recheck a week later if user clicked through
- Sends final welcome email if no click-through
Using the batch signature feature of the MA system, each email appears to be coming directly from the account sales rep, providing the personal touch often lacking in marketing emails.
Weekly reports were designed for the Sales, Marketing, and Operations teams providing:
- Overall email and landing page metrics
- Stats by sender (sales rep) and customer
- 22% of new users opened the emails
- 15% clicked a link in the email – to Welcome page, FAQ or training content
- Time to first login improved by 8.4 days
- Transactional usage across all products increased 29%, driving up revenue
Anecdotal results indicate that the program has other indirect benefits as well, including:
- Requests for additional user licenses, due to greater user satisfaction and more awareness
- Greater use of available online training, resulting in more product usage and transactions
- Requests for custom and onsite training, stemming from the success of online training
Overall, feedback suggests that the increase in automated, personalized touch-points from Sales helps improve account penetration.
Best Practices to Leverage for Your Own Welcome Program
- Timely delivery: Send welcome email within 24 hours of user activation
- Sender’s name: Should be account sales rep or employee who is the primary point of contact for the customer
- Branding: Emails should be created using recognized brand. Since not all email clients display sender names, having clear branding in the sender address is vital (ex. John Bokelmann, DemandGen)
- Subject line: Should echo the content by using the word “welcome” or some form of “thanks”
- Images: Design your welcome emails so that they are still legible if images are blocked
- Deliverability: Include preference management and “add to your address book”
- Test – Measure – Optimize
As they say, you only have one chance to create a first impression. When you engage new customers effectively from the start, you’re establishing an excellent foundation for satisfaction, trust, and loyalty that also offers a great base for cross-selling and upselling. Welcome programs done right create a positive first impression that can set the tone for your customer relationships for years to come.
If you’d like to kick start an automated new Welcome Program, and if you need support in doing that, drop us a note!
John Bokelmann leads the Managed Services team that supports DemandGen clients in digital marketing campaign development, production, and deployment. He provides strategic marketing operations leadership, develops and implements optimized workflow processes, and reinforces marketing best practices for both B2B and B2C clients.