People often say that first impressions are everything. We know that this saying applies to face to face meetings, but what kind of initial impression are you giving new email subscribers?

Email marketing is one of the most profitable and engaging ways to grow your business. On average, companies see a 4,400% return on investment with this strategy. Countless people use email every day, so it only makes sense to find a way to reach people where they spend their time.

The only problem is getting people to engage with your messages. The average email rate across all industries is 22.86%, but you can do better than that. It all starts with a welcome email, which is typically sent out after a customer subscribes to your list from your website.

You have to make an excellent first impression at this point if you want to see a consistently higher open and click-through rates for future emails. Let’s take a look at 5 things you should keep in mind if you want to start your customers’ journey off on the right foot.

Start by Saying Thank You

First things first, don’t forget to thank the customer for subscribing to your list. In a world where businesses often spam their customers with constant messages, or worse, scammers try to take advantage of unsuspecting people, a thank you goes a long way.

You should thank the customer for subscribing at the top of your welcome email and let them know that you appreciate them. If they are willing to give you their email address and name, they trust your company and think your products or services can improve their lives.

A simple thank you shows new subscribers that you care about the people that see value in your brand. Now that you have their attention, it’s time to move on to the next phase.

Deliver on Your Promise

Now it’s time to deliver on your promise. Email subscriptions usually occur through a lead magnet, which is a piece of content provided to the user for subscribing. Some businesses create ebooks or infographics to get subscribers, and other brands offer limited time promotions for first-time customers.

If someone subscribed because they want a guide that you’re offering on-site, you should include what you promised in their welcome email. Again, this step is about building trust and showing potential customers that you intend to hold up to your end of the deal.

Imagine subscribing to a business email because you were told that a special promotion would arrive with your welcome email. How would you feel if you got the email, but the lead magnet you were promised isn’t attached? Odds are, you would feel betrayed and not open future emails from that brand. You may even consider unsubscribing on the spot.

You never want to put your customers in this position. Deliver on your promise, and it’s a safe bet that more subscribers will open the next email in your series.

Introduce Your Brand

Once you’ve thanked the customer and delivered your lead magnet, take a couple of sentences to talk about your brand. Explain who you are, what your team hopes to accomplish, and how you want to help the subscriber meet their goals.

Humanizing your brand will make it, so users don’t see you as a faceless company. Instead, they will start to feel like you’re a close friend dropping them an email to chat. When you meet someone for the first time, you introduce yourself and talk a little bit about what you like, right? The same theory applies when you’re looking at the relationship between brands and consumers.

Consumers want to learn more about companies, and a welcome email gives you the chance to get this information to new subscribers without actively seeking information on your website. In fact, a small introduction could encourage users to learn more about your brand, which only cements your position as a dependable friend instead of being thought of as just another random company.

Encourage Social Media Engagement

Next, it’s always a good idea to include links to your social media profiles on your welcome email. Most people follow companies on social media after they subscribe to their email list. By including your Facebook and Twitter links in your welcome email, you’re saving the user an additional step of tracking down your page when they have time.

You’ll want to include these links because social media engagement correlates directly to sales, website traffic, and even email engagement. The big reason for this is that users spend an average of 2 hours and 27 minutes on social media every day. All of your customers’ online decisions throughout the day eventually ends with them back on social media again.

When you ask people to follow you first, you’re taking the guesswork out of the process. They can quickly click the link, tap the follow button, and now you’re connected to that user through multiple channels.

Let Subscribers Know What to Expect Next

Finally, you should let subscribers know what to expect next. At this point, you’ve introduced yourself, thanked the person for subscribing, and delivered on your promise. If someone reads your email, they should have a good understanding of what will happen the next time you send an email.

You could let them know that they will get a few emails over the next few weeks and set more expectations. Explain how your future emails will help them, and why they should bother clicking-through.

On average, email click-through rates are seemingly low, at 3.71%. However, you can boost this number by consistently setting expectations and delivering on what you stated. If someone clicks through on your welcome email and gets what they wanted, they are much more likely to open the next email that lands in their inbox.

The more promises you fulfill, the better chance you have at building a robust email list full of customers who trust your brand. It all starts with your welcome email. Get this first message right, and you can look forward to seeing more customers opening your emails, engaging with your brand, and buying products from your business.