35: Email marketing audits part 2: Confirm, welcome but don’t sell too early

Hey everyone, this is part 2 of 3 on marketing email audits. Whether you’re in-house or you’re consulting and want to offer email audits as a service, our hope is that you can level up your email game.

In the last episode, we covered research tips and questions you should ask yourself before the audit. In today’s episode, we’ll cover the actual audit and what to look for, tips and tactics. 

Next week, our last episode of the series will cover what email improvements to suggest and experiment with.

Alright JT, let’s get to it. There’s three crucial things I want to make sure we cover today as part of any email audit.

A theme that you’ll hear throughout today’s episode is timing your emails around your user’s journey, and not selling too early or to users that aren’t ready to buy. 

But let’s start with the confirmation email and the welcome email. 

Regardless of what you’re auditing, those will be part of the starting journey for all new users right?

Confirmation email

Depending on the scope of your audit you need to decide if you’re going to audit individual emails or more high level improvements. I prefer the former. I go email by email, not starting with the Welcome email but the confirmation email. That’s really the first email touch point. 

We want to maximise the chances that this email reaches the inbox. To do that we want to keep it short and simple with a single CTA, confirm your email. We don’t want too many images or text or links. 

We need this to land in the inbox and get through most spam filters.

Such a balance of beautiful design and impact versus sneaking past email filters. Too much HTML gets caught.

Welcome email

We had a full episode dedicated to really making this email stand out, and that’s the core goal of this email. 

Everyone expects it. Most companies have a huge fancy HTML template with heavy brand and a bunch of helpful resources and links to get started.

The danger with overloading users too soon

Something that lives rent free in my brain when I think email onboarding is Val Geisler’s dinner party strategy. When you host people over for a dinner party–be it a backyard BBQ or a fancy social event, the evening itself has many tracks. 

  • You welcome guests, 
  • Take their coats, introduce them to others
  • You take their drinks order and show them to a seat
  • there’s the appetizer round, 
  • a main course, 
  • side dishes, 
  • and dessert, 
  • and then you invite them back. 

If the Welcome email has 10+ links to tutorials and courses and help articles, it’s almost like your guest’s arrive to your house for the dinner party and before they can take their coats off you shove the main course sprinkled with dessert in their face.

I like this dinner guest analogy a lot. I think it’s also a lot about coordinating with product. Combined, you set the ambience. The smell of food, the setting, the dress code — email needs to blend in to the decorum. Seeing how the product<>email experience jive is a big opportunity.

Instead of overwhelming users with links, Welcome emails are great starting points to train users to open the next emails. This can be done with storytelling and standing out.

We should be training users to open our next email and pushing them to 1 specific moment of delight back in the product.

Consider a stronger CTA to push users to finish their onboarding. They could try “Add your first subscriber” or “build your first landing page” instead of “Log in”.

There’s an opportunity to tell the Convertkit story instead of just welcoming them to the family. Users starting an email tool are also trialing competitors. So they are getting similar emails.

Selling too early

Early in the journey we want to nudge users to complete steps in the product that nudge them to moments of delight and getting value from the product.

You don’t want to turn off users and start selling to everyone, especially not users that haven’t done much in the product yet.

The best way to get users to upgrade to a paid plan is to let them try the product and reach success. Instead of talking about the benefits of upgrading to a paid plan right away, we should be telling users how and why Convertkit is their best choice.

We want to be delighting the user and making sure they are accomplishing tasks in the product. Working on the user’s timeline rather than asking them to upgrade right away.

Mindlessly forcing people through a user journey is bad. The idea that you need to be everything to everyone is equally bad. Segmentation is key, behaviour based triggered emails are also key. That’s actually part 3/3 of our series.

We covered what to do before the audit in part 1, part 2 was the actual audit and the most important aspects of the first two emails in your sequence and part 3 next week is what you should be suggesting as part of improvements.

We’ll specifically be touching on segmentation and behaviour based triggered emails. Chat then.


Intro music by Wowa via Unminus
Cover art created with help via Undraw

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