As I work with many of Sugar Market’s, becoming Sugar Market’s, clients on improving list quality, driving complaints down and improving the overall health of their email programs, one common theme is that many are missing a critical element to any great email strategy. That element is a custom welcome message or simply an individual confirmation message sent to newly added contacts. Implementing a welcome series will better enable your organization to engage in valuable conversations with prospects and customers.

A welcome message is key as you are able to connect with your contacts and set the foundation for your marketing relationship. You can tailor one, or a series of messages, to reinforce how you got to know this contact and map out how they expect to hear from you in the future. Providing a strong customer-centric journey starts with your first email contact.

Let’s say you attend a trade show that applies specifically to your industry and you have generated a large amount of leads. What will you do with them? Do you immediately send to these leads, or just add them to your database to be sent your regular message cycle? The first touch point you have with your recipient can make or break your ongoing relationship. Dropping your contact into your regular cycle of messages, without acknowledging the beginning of your relationship, does not set the stage for a long lasting commitment.

Even better, once you have sent the initial welcome message, go beyond the single welcome email and map out a series of initial emails specifically designed to address new contacts before they get thrown in with the rest. By doing this, you create a real connection with your subscribers so they will engage with you throughout the process.

First impressions are everything. If you are not sending a confirmation message, or a series of welcome messages, you may be missing out.

Compare your email strategy to dating, like a courtship. When someone shows interest in you and provides permission for you to send mail, to get to know you, don’t miss that opportunity to make that first impression. Once you have permission, take advantage of the opportunity to immediately connect. Don’t end up in the same place weeks later without any connection or relevancy. Don’t just send to the next scheduled message. Make your contact feel noticed, warm and fuzzy from the start.

Interested recipients are excited to hear from you. They are fresh, new and have recently decided to engage with your company. While they are still in the honeymoon phase, reinforce that commitment and set the foundation for a long relationship.

While this may seem like a lot of effort for each subscription source, it is an investment well worth your time. As we approach the New Year, make this your Email Marketing Resolution. Set those welcome messages for each acquisition source. If you are engaging your contacts early-on, and providing value, the more likely they will look to buy from you when ready.