How to Use Welcome Emails to Increase Sales for Your Ecommerce Business [The Tea Edition]
Updated: May 7, 2020
So, you want more people to buy your tea over the competitor’s tea.
I feel you. Tea is a hot business (ha).
That’s why you need to start giving your ideal buyer every reason possible to choose your products over the competitors as soon as you have permission. She clicked the subscribe button. Now she’s waiting on an email.
What do you send?
To answer this question, I wanted to use five ecommerce tea brands that do an incredible job of welcoming new email subscribers. Step by step, I go over every element they got right in their email and why. After that, I’ll talk about what they can test to see if they can improve their conversion rates.
Here are five questions that these welcome emails should answer:
+ You promised me something (usually a discount). Where is it and how do I use it?
+ How are you different from your competition?
+ How will you help me reach my goal?
+ What can I look forward to reading in future emails?
+ What do I do next?
Before answering all these questions though, make sure to welcome your new subscriber and thank her for signing up. It's no small feat that she took the time to click on your website, sign up to get your emails, open your email in her crowded inbox, and read it to the end.
When you’re done reading this article, you should have an idea of how you want to outline or improve your welcome email (or welcome series). If you need help, you can download a free guide that I made for you, which includes a checklist and template to create your own welcome email:
(After you sign up to get this guide, you'll know exactly what to write for your next welcome email. When you’re done, all you have to do is copy + paste into your email marketing software.)
Now, let’s go through the welcome emails for five ecommerce tea brands:
Suki Tea Makers
With a customer experience rating of 4.8/5 and plastic-free packaging, Suki Tea has a lot going for them. When I saw the “plastic-free packaging” I immediately needed to sign up.
Here’s how Suki Tea greeted me:
Double opt-in confirmation? Check.
Within a few minutes of me subscribing? Check.
Showing me what I can look forward to and reminding me why I subscribed? Check!
This is exactly how you want to arrive in your new subscriber’s inbox. Your company is fresh in her head so your emails should be the first ones she gets right after subscribing. They should also reinforce why your reader subscribed.
Why is this important?
Your reader is busy. While you only see her as a basket of letters making up an email address, you have to remember that she's a human being with hopes and dreams. While she’s looking at your tea website, she might also have seven other tabs open of different ecommerce tea businesses.
Maybe she's looking at what kind of tea to order on her break so that she can wind down after a long day. If she has five minutes left until she needs to go back to work you better use those five minutes to inform her that your business is going to be the one that’s there for her. It better be your business that’s the last one on her mind before she goes back to work, back to cooking, back to driving, or whatever busy task she needs to get back to.
Suki Tea Makers does a great job of using those five minutes well.
The only thing I would want to test is the “From” name for the confirmation emails. When people scan their emails, they look at the sender first, then the subject line. This is because we’ve become accustomed to scanning emails in an F-shaped pattern, especially on desktops. That means the first email your subscriber sees should come from a sender that is most familiar to her.
Will it be the name of a person from the company? Or the company itself?
Probably the latter.
So when you're working on your confirmation email in your ESP, make sure that the sender is your company name. After your subscriber has been acquainted with your company in her inbox, you can go more personal. For your welcome email, you can test “[First Name] from [Company Name]”.
Now...let’s get into the welcome email:
This is an incredible and quick way to reinforce the fact that you’re offering a discount without hindering the fact that you want to introduce what your company is all about.
Instructions on how to use my discount code? Yes, please. You can’t assume that every subscriber you have already knows how to do online shopping. Assume it’s difficult for every subscriber. That way, it’ll be easier for you to create clear, helpful, and direct copy that tells your reader exactly what to do next. Suki Tea makes it especially clear by explaining that the discount code is valid even if you already made a purchase and that you can use it on your next purchase.
A welcome email is the perfect place to talk about your vision and how your reader is a big part of that vision. Many companies leave out the reader and simply focus on themselves. Not Suki Tea Makers.
Showing your readers about how they can reach out is a great way to start building trust. Like Suki Tea, you need to make it clear how to reach you, not just that subscribers can reach you.
Many e-commerce emails bury their CTA at the end of the email. What if your subscriber is ready to buy now? Suki Tea does a great job of CTA placement throughout the entirety of the welcome email, giving you multiple choices for what to do next. All of them lead to either the checkout or learning more about what Suki has to offer.
→ What do you do?
→ Why do you do it?
→ Why do you believe it works?
These are all questions that Suki Tea Makers answer in this section. It shows the reader exactly how they’re different from the competition. That’s important for an industry like tea. Tea drinkers like myself don’t just drink tea for the hell of it. We want to know that what we’re drinking is healthy, free of pesticides, and is helping the environment rather than ruining it.
7. If subscribers want to know more about their practices, Suki gives them an out with the big CTA button below. You might think that this is a bad choice because it’s leading the subscriber to somewhere other than the shopping cart but that’s not true. The more you answer your subscribers’ questions, the fewer objections they’ll have going to the shopping cart and buying your products.
8. At this point, your subscriber might not know about everything you have to offer. This is a great place to teach her. Suki Tea does this well by explaining that they not only have teas but everything you could need to enjoy your tea experience. This is a great element to include in your welcome email because subscribers might eventually need those products but not know that you offer them. Now they know that you do and they’ll go to your company first for those products because 1) you mentioned you have them 2) if a subscriber is going to get tea and they need a related tea product, they might as well buy from you.
9. For a drink like tea, people will often ask, “What are you most known for?” It’s the easiest place for a new buyer to start if they want to get a sample.
10. At this point, a subscriber is probably wondering about how to elevate her tea experience. Suki Tea shows exactly how by introducing a few of their complementary products that a subscriber might’ve been wondering about after Suki told her that they offer them.
11. If you’re a tea lover but you want to expand your knowledge, Suki Tea offers resources on learning more about it. This makes a subscriber more excited and more invested in continuing their journey with the product.
While this email might look a little long with so many graphics, it answers key subscriber questions. It also does a great job of addressing first objections a potential customer would have before buying tea from Suki.
What Could Suki Tea Makers Test?
It would be great to see how this same email would do as a plain-text email. While the images are beautiful, they might take a long time to load on certain internet connections.
It would also be great to see this welcome email turned into a welcome series. Every email could address an objection that the reader has before buying from Suki. For example:
→ Is there a first-time discount?
→ How do you make your tea? How can I trust you?
→ What else do you offer?
→ What’s your best-selling tea?
→ How can I reach you if I have any problems ordering?
And so on...
That way, Suki Tea Makers is top of mind from the beginning.
Overall though, they do an incredible job of answering the most important subscriber questions in their welcome email.
Republic of Tea
The Republic of Tea has been a key player in the tea market since the early 1990s. They offer 300+ teas, including Kosher Certified teas and Certified Organic teas. They're revered for their sustainability practices, having introduced unbleached products, 100% recyclable steel tins, and recycled packing material from its tea paper.
They've had a long time to perfect their marketing processes so let's take a look at how they crafted their welcome email:
Clear and direct subject line that tells me what to expect in the email.
This tiny line of email copy reeled me into the Republic of Tea's tribe. Creating "tribes" of customers is one of the most effective ways to build lifelong customers who buy based on values and beliefs rather than haphazard discounts. By calling me "loyal", they're already reinforcing the idea that I'll only be going to them for my tea needs. By calling me a "citizen", they've made it sound exclusive. Who wouldn't want to be part of this club?
In the first block of marketing copy, they were able to 1) welcome me 2) thank me 3) tell me a little bit about what else they have to offer 4) show me how they're different from other tea brands with their whimsical language. Impressive.
Look at this block of copy. LOOK AT IT. Now, open up your nostrils and breathe it in before I tell you why I'm considering a monogamous relationship with these emails.
At the beginning of the email, you were invited into an exclusive community with shared values and beliefs. The subheading uses that sense of community to teach you about the products that others like you enjoy most.
Then, they handle an important objection: Are there teas for any time? Of course, there are.
Finally, they tell you to pick "your new favorite", not just "your next tea". They're instilling the idea that the next tea you get is going to be the one you love more than the teas you're used to drinking. If that's not incredible marketing copy, I don't know what is.
5. Oh cool, I get rewarded for being a loyal citizen! I thought I already was a loyal citizen, though?
6. This is awesome. I get to learn more about what to look forward to, learn more about how to be a great tribe member, and achieve my health goals in the process.
What Could Republic of Tea Test?
People are always looking to get something. You can help them realize they'll get something when they open the welcome email by making the subject line:
"Welcome to the Republic of Tea: here's what you get..."
Also, since the Republic of Tea already calls their subscribers loyal citizens at the beginning, I would test out a different CTA for the loyalty program. Something like, "Get referred for being a loyal citizen" would be a great option.
Overall, they answered all the questions that an email subscriber would have when opening up their welcome email in a concise manner.
Tenzo Tea started in 2016. It’s a small but mighty company. They make that clear instantly with a lead magnet that they offer when you sign up to their email list through their pop-up. Their messaging is simple, clear, and to the point.
Let's check out how they do it in this welcome email:
In the subject line alone, Tenzo manages to achieve two crucial things: 1) the welcome 2) the promise to get their steamy guide. Conciseness ftw.
When I was talking about Suki Tea Makers, I mentioned that the first thing your subscriber should see when they get an email from you is what they'd recognize most: your company name. But Tenzo takes it up a notch.
→ I'm able to recognize what company is sending me the email because Tenzo is in the "From" section.
→ Then, I'm able to attach a face to the email. Then, I can attach the name of a person to the company. Look, IT'S A REAL LIVE HUMAN. And, guess what? His name is Steve. With this, I'm able to make a one-on-one connection...
Which is exactly what email was originally meant for.
3. Steve sounds like he's speaking to me one-on-one. So personal and punny.
4. Hey, look at that. Those were the goals I was thinking of achieving. Steve gets me.
5. Looks like exactly what I was looking for. Thanks, Steve!
6. Now, Steve's giving me the thing that he'd promise he'd give me when I signed up. Yay!
7. Now I get the second thing that Tenzo promised to give me. Woohoo!
8. Looks like Steve's got humor. You wouldn't get that from any ol' company.
9. Look at that. I can contact Steve DIRECTLY and he'll deal with any of my problems. What an awesome way to show your subscriber that you'll be there for her whenever she needs you.
Personally, I love plain-text emails like these. You don’t have to wait for them to load, they feel more personal, and you can build one-on-one connections with subscribers that make them want to buy from you because you share similar beliefs rather than discounts.
What Could Tenzo Tea Test?
While I love the short plain-text approach, I think that Tenzo could show me what I can look forward to reading from them and how often. Steve could say, “I’ll be emailing you x times a week about x, y, and z. Sound good? You can email me directly if there’s a topic you want me to talk about.” That way, he’s more likely to get a reply and the ESP gods will look at him admirably with all the responses he’ll get.
Tenzo could also go deeper into how they’re different from their competitors by doing a welcome series. The first email could talk about how they saw a problem in the market, the next could be about the problems with what already existed, and the last could be about frequently asked questions from their customers. This would help to overcome email subscriber objections.
You’ve probably seen ‘em on your grocery store shelves. I know I have. It looks like they’ve rebranded as well to show off why they’re different and how they source ingredients that are just as great as other tea companies. I’m loving this revolution in the tea world.
As someone who drinks 3-5 cups of tea per day and starts to feel faint if I miss a cup, I can guarantee you that all of these tea companies are doing the right thing when it comes to sustainable agriculture. I wouldn’t drink as much tea as I do without being sure about where it comes from.
Now then—let’s get into this welcome email…
Once again, a perfect subject line. You always want to make sure you either welcome or thank your new email subscriber.
Now, they're giving me the thing that they promised. They're also telling me exactly how to use it, yay!
Alright, now here come the big bongos. Stash (can this be a human name? I'm diggin' it) tells me exactly why I made a great choice and what I can look forward to in my inbox now. And, hey--I'm in the club! Only subscribers like me get to know about their deals first. Looks like I made a great decision.
Now, they're telling me why they're different from their competition and how our values are in line. I can even learn more about them if I want when I click the button.
Now, they're getting into more about the benefits of choosing Stash over any other tea company. Upfront and honest.
One more piece of proof and--a way to learn more if I wanted. This proof point and the one above are quick ways to show how much you care about bringing quality products to the tea market.
YES, A NOTE ABOUT SHIPPING! This is one of the biggest objections customers have before placing an order. If your shipping is as much as the price of your product, people won't be happy. That's why you should include any news you can about shipping information from the get-go.
This last point is great for telling me exactly what I should do next, but it would be even more amazing if it was bigger.
What Could Stash Tea Test?
Another awesome welcome email. It was well laid-out and didn't heavily depend on graphics to get the points across.
The only thing I'd want to test out is the subject line. Rather than thanking the subscriber, I'd want to test out a subject line that focuses on what the subscriber would get after opening the email.
Like the other tea brands, Tea Forté prides itself on using recycled materials and certified organic teas. It’s been around for almost 20 years and with every passing year it looks like they keep getting awards. They’re also very design-driven in terms of their products. That’s why they’ve been featured in many hotels and restaurants.
Here’s their welcome email:
Again, straight forward subject line. They nailed this.
It's smart to talk about shipping right at the beginning so that takes out a major objection.
Now they go right into the good stuff. I get to find out why I should keep an eye on my inbox and how I'm a part of their club.
What should I do next? Good call, I'm going to use that discount code at checkout.
What's this? I get even more of a discount when I invite my friends? SUPER COOL!
Wow, this is a quick and easy way to answer any initial customer questions about ordering...even before the customer goes to the checkout page!
What Could Tea Forté Test?
They did a great job getting to their points quickly, however, I’m left to wonder about two important factors:
How are they different from the competition?
How can they help me reach my goals?
It would be great to see a section that answers each of these questions. They could even answer these questions in a welcome series.
How to Create a High-Converting Welcome Email for Your Tea Ecommerce Business
Your welcome email is an opportunity to make an unforgettable first impression. How do you want to be remembered after your reader closes it?
As “just another company ramming discounts” down a human jugular?
As “that company that they can’t wait to hear from again”?
All of these companies do a great job of presenting themselves as the latter company. If you need help creating welcome emails that’ll get read, get your company remembered, and will get your reader excited to choose your company over the competition, then you can grab my fill-in-the-blank welcome email template here: