Posted by Jay Wilkinson

Typically when someone signs up for an email newsletter, he gets an automatic email back from that business or organization saying, “Dear [name], thank for signing up for our newsletter, blah, blah, blah . . .”

This is called a welcome email. The biggest mistake you can make in your nonprofit email marketing efforts is this—sending out a weak welcome message. This may be the first email experience a prospect has with your organization, and it’s an opportunity to put your best foot forward. But for most organizations, it’s a missed opportunity.

What many nonprofits do is send a welcome message that’s focused solely on their organization:

“Dear Jay,

Thank you so much for signing up for our emails, we can’t wait to share what’s going on at our great organization. You’re going to love hearing about all the things we’re doing and what an awesome nonprofit we are . . .”

See my point? It’s basically gibberish to me that means nothing, has no relevance to my life and no substantive information that tells me something that I really want to know about the organization. And this is how 99% of auto-generated welcome emails sound.

If you want to differentiate your nonprofit and build a great list of people who will interact with you via email, start by creating a welcome letter that’s powerful, engaging and most importantly, relevant.

Tell me something about your organization that I didn’t already know. Give me interesting facts and information about who you’ve helped and why I should care. Don’t just say, “Thanks for signing up, we’re awesome.” That’s a huge missed opportunity and it could very well turn off the reader.

Create an engaging, interesting welcome message, and then be sure to update it every few months or even once a quarter. The key is to keep it interesting with current, relevant information—never allow it to go stale. If you make a great first impression with your welcome message, readers will be much more likely to interact and respond to future emails, which will put you on a good road to email marketing success.