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First impressions matter: Welcome email examples to learn from

by Kate Lindemann  |  January 8, 2021

7 min. read
Customer reading a welcome email on a phone in a cafe.

First impressions are lasting impressions, and a welcome email is a fantastic opportunity for your brand to make a splash.

But how do you make sure that first impression is a good one? To jumpstart your brainstorming, we’ve collected some examples of welcome emails that make a statement and draw customers in.

What is a welcome email?

A welcome email is an inaugural email sent to new subscribers on a mailing list. It confirms a successful sign-up and sets the tone of the email relationship between brand and customer. Welcome emails can vary in format, from a simple ‘thanks for signing up’ to comprehensive collections of resources and tutorials.

Why welcome emails matter

Most emails you send your subscribers have a specific goal, like convincing customers to buy something, read a blog post or try out a new feature. For welcome emails, the purpose is a little more abstract, but no less important. You’re introducing yourself as a brand and starting your email relationship off on the right foot.

The welcome email is an especially powerful brand touchpoint, because new subscribers are at peak engagement. By joining your mailing list or purchasing a product, they’ve signaled they want to take the brand-customer relationship to the next level.

That means people are not only more likely to open and read the email, they’re also excited about what you have to say.

Young woman in a red shirt reading emails on her phone while lounging on a gray couch.

So let your brand’s personality shine through. Use colors and design elements to create memory pathways. Choose content that fits your most important marketing goals, and reward subscribers for signing up.

Welcome email examples

How do you distill the essence of your brand into a single email that also makes customers feel great about their decision to subscribe?

For some ideas and inspiration, let’s look at a few successful brands that pulled it off.

Lush welcomes subscribers to the family

Screenshot of a welcome email from Lush featuring photo of orange-hued Lush products.

This email from beauty brand Lush is a classic and straightforward welcome email. The image choice and color palate are warm and cozy, and show off enticing products. The copy makes customers feel embraced and included, with phrases like ‘We’re so happy to have you’ and ‘There’s always a place at our table.’

The brand reinforces this message of inclusivity with a strong subject line: You’re part of the family now.

Warby Parker sets priorities

Screenshot of welcome email from Warby Parker.

This welcome email from eyewear brand Warby Parker is a master class in using email design to show which part of the email is most important.

The headline, photograph and bright blue button give the welcome message top billing over other content items. The call to action links to the company’s product selection, putting subscribers’ priorities first: They care more about finding a stylish set of frames than learning about the brand.

With short snippets of text anchored by small illustrations, the other content takes a back seat. These short texts are easy to skim, and communicate key brand qualities Warby Parker wants customers to know about, like manufacturing know-how and charitable giving. It’s not terribly important for customers to click the links to learn more. Just knowing the content exists conveys a certain brand image.

Harry’s sweetens the pot

Screenshot of a welcome email from Harry's featuring photo of shaving products.

Men’s grooming company Harry’s knows that customers who sign up to a newsletter are pretty close to a purchase. They just need a little nudge to get them there.

Their welcome email provides that nudge, with a discount code and an easy-to-skim list of reasons to choose Harry’s.

With lots of white space and a format similar to the Warby Parker example above, the email is also visually appealing and easy to read.

Away gives customers a crash-course

Screenshot of an email from Away featuring tips for using the suitcase.

Luggage company Away wants new customers to love their suitcases. So they’ve turned their welcome email into a handy user’s guide, with tips, instructions and tutorials to help customers get to know their new bag.

Minimalist illustrations anchor the text, encouraging customers to read it, but also breaking it up to make it easier on the eyes.

Strava shows next steps

Screenshot of welcome email prompting subscribers to download the Strava app.

For exercise app Strava, enticing customers to create an account is only half the battle. Users won’t have a good experience if they don’t download the app too.

So the brand found a solution: Users who create an account on the website (instead of on the app), get a welcome email that encourages them to discover all the benefits the app has to offer. Finally, the email offers privacy reassurances, addressing a top concern of hesitant new customers.

Spotify goes bold with color

Email confirmation from Spotify with bright pink, purple, green and red colors.

Brands often need to send multiple emails to new subscribers. Embedding a welcome message in another email is one way to avoid overwhelming people with too many messages.

In this example, Spotify slips a warm welcome into an email asking new subscribers to verify their email address as part of a double opt-in process.

You wouldn’t want an opt-in link to get lost, so Spotify wisely doesn’t include any other messaging. However, they still get some brand-building benefits from the email: It’s dripping with distinctive design choices that will help with brand recognition down the line.

The New York Times masters multitasking

Screenshot of the New York Times' crossword subscription's welcome email.

You can also combine a welcome email with a purchase confirmation, as the New York Times does with their game subscription. Billing information is important, but not the most exciting email content. So the Times made its friendly welcome text the star of the email and tacked the account details on at the end.

They also had a bit of fun with the subject line: W-e-l-c-o-m-e to the Crossword. This subtle detail is sure to make new subscribers feel at home in a community of fellow word lovers.

LinkedIn Premium shows off benefits

Screenshot of a welcome email for LinkedIn Premium highlighting five LinkedIn Premium features.

The welcome email for LinkedIn Premium’s free trial is jam packed with features Premium status unlocks. By cramming all these benefits into a single email, LinkedIn is sending a clear message: You get a lot with Premium status.

Indeed, a welcome email is a great way to make sure new customers know their money was well spent. That’s all the more important for a free trial. If leads know about all the new features they’ve unlocked, they’ll try them out and want to keep them.

Instagram uses images strategically

Screenshot of a welcome email from Instagram with square photos.

This welcome email from Instagram shows new users some of the platform’s core features, so they can hit the ground running.

It also makes great use of subtle branding. The square images reference Instagram’s famous UX design. As a result, the email feels closely connected to the product.

The photo selection is also worth noting. Instagram has chosen images that look great, but aren’t so professional they set an unrealistically high standard. That way, new users will think ‘Hey, I could do that’ and be inspired to get started.

Airbnb stays on-message

Screenshot of an Airbnb welcome email with photo of children playing in an apartment.

This welcome email from Airbnb shows that sometimes, less is more. By keeping things simple, Airbnb narrows the focus to a core aspect of their brand: adventure that feels like home.

Airbnb offers vacation accommodations in private residences, so they’ve zeroed in on what sets them apart from corporate hotels. This is textbook brand differentiation. ‘Home’ and ‘adventure’ might seem like contradictions, but Airbnb combines them seamlessly.

Chipotle emphasizes intimacy

Chipotle welcome email featuring image of a foil-wrapped burrito.

While we know that emails from companies are different from personal messages, email marketing still feels incredibly intimate. We carry our phones with us wherever we go, and read emails on our couches, in our bedrooms, with our families.

It’s one of the biggest benefits of email marketing, and Chipotle doesn’t dance around it in their welcome email. The playful, humorous tone instantly conveys the brand’s personality, and seeing them articulate something we understand intuitively about email marketing creates a feeling of intimacy and trust.

Plus, who would say no to some alone time with a burrito?

Blinkist celebrates with subscribers

Blinkist welcome email featuring words "Thank you!" surrounded by confetti.

When customers get a welcome email, they’re at peak excitement about your brand. They’ve just signed up to your service, bought their first product or decided they like your brand enough to invite it into their inboxes.

Consider strengthening the relationship by sharing in their excitement, as Blinkist does in their welcome email. Confetti and an exclamation point set the celebratory tone, and a brief blurb of copy outlines key subscription benefits.

This email shows that while a welcome email can be complex and comprehensive, it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes, a small burst of joy is all you need to connect with a customer.

Find the right approach for your brand

With these examples in the back of your mind, you’re ready to create your own welcome email.

Before you roll up your sleeves and start writing and designing, start with your strategy. What should the email say about your brand? What do you want new customers to know?

If you don’t have a comprehensive brand strategy already, our branding guide is a great place to start. Once a roadmap to your brand’s personality and messaging is in place, the welcome email practically writes itself.