An Automated Email Gone Wrong


Welcome emails are now standard operating procedure when it comes to email automation. Imagine: A prospective customer subscribes to your email list while on your website. Moments later, they find in their inbox a warm welcome email, clearly laying out the valuable content that will now be regularly delivered. It’s the start of a beautiful relationship.

Welcome emails are not personable, but analytically sensible as well. According to our team at Rockhouse Partners, recipients have a near 50% chance of opening your welcome email. Plus, subscribers are far more prone to buy a ticket from the welcome email than from a future promotional email. This is why we create automated welcome emails for every client that we work with.

the recipient has a near 50% chance of opening your ‘welcome’ email

Now imagine a second, less than perfect scenario. You stumble on some names that you would like to add to your mailing list. You import them into your database without an afterthought about the welcome email and BOOM!—high rates of unsubscribes, high bounces and MailChimp issues an alarming warning that your list might be out of compliance. “What happened?” you ask yourself. “They subscribed, but don’t want to receive my emails?”

Being out of compliance is far more common than you would think. Actually, this blog post was spurred by a compliance warning recently issued to one of our clients. To avert any sort of compliance issue or sender complaint, our Rockhouse Partners team asks a few important questions before running any import:

  1. How broad is this list?
  2. How old is this list?
  3. What methods were used to collect these email addresses?
  4. When was the last time these subscribers received an email from you, if ever?
  5. What did these people think they were signing up for when they gave over their email address?

The answers to these questions helps decide if future emails will be appropriate for the people we’re thinking about importing. Will these people be authentically interested in our content? Or will it we be an annoyance, quickly and happily eliminated by use of the “unsubscribe” link?

The aforementioned client’s list was composes of customers collected over a three month period. For a large section of the list, the automated welcome email simply wasn’t applicable anymore. They didn’t understand why they were being newly added to a mailing list weeks or months after making a purchase, and they said “no thanks.”

What needed to have been done differently this situation? Rockhouse Partners normally advises that customers who are imported any later than one month after purchasing a ticket receive a welcome email that is customized to be more relevant to them. This email would remind the recipient of their first interaction with the sender and notify them of the valuable information they will receive as part of the recipient list.

Will these people be genuinely interested in our content? Or will we be intruders, promptly and happily eradicated by use of the “unsubscribe” link?

As a marketer, you will come to a point where you have to rethink importing a list of emails. Be prepared to ask yourself these five questions, and act in a way that will be optimal for your business and your email marketing strategy.

Rockhouse #ProTip

Regardless of the email marketing platform you use, ensure you’re sending automated welcome emails to subscribers who manually sign up for your email list. However, avoid sending the same automated email to subscribers that you import manually. This will leave room for you to send more customized welcome emails to people who are being imported under unique circumstances.

If you’re using MailChimp, our team at Rockhouse Partners’ highly recommended provider, this specification can be made under the automation trigger settings. Simply leave the box next to “Also trigger on list import” unchecked.

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