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Learn how to create a sequence of emails sent directly after someone subscribes to hear from your brand. This is a critical moment in the customer lifecycle because it's your opportunity to introduce new, interested prospects to your business and product offering. With a welcome series, you should capitalize on this display of interest.
Your email welcome series should be separate from your SMS welcome series flow, since subscribers may sign up to email and SMS at separate times and can only enter a single welcome flow once. An SMS welcome series is also recommended for using features such as virtual contact cards and coupons in SMS messages. Learn more in our article on creating an SMS welcome series.
A welcome series is a crucial automation, and Klaviyo provides a pre-built welcome series out-of-the-box. You will find an example welcome series flow listed in the Flows tab of your account. If you want a more advanced welcome flow, you can browse different ideas in our flows library.
How contacts are added to a list
Before setting up a welcome series, you will need to connect it to a list of your choosing. Whichever list you choose should be the list that new subscribers are added to when they sign up. There are four key ways that new contacts can be added to a list to trigger a welcome series:
- By signing up through a signup form
- By signing up through a Subscribe Page
- By being manually added to a list
- Via the API
If you have already set your welcome series live and want to import a list, you must first set the series to manual. If not, everyone that was imported will be queued for the first message in the series, even if they subscribed months ago. After the import is complete, wait a few hours before you go into the flow, select View all Analytics for the first message, and go to Needs Review. Then, delete any subscriber from your CSV file before setting the flow to live.
You will also want to ensure that contacts who subscribe through your ecommerce integration are being added to the correct list. For example, many Shopify themes have a default newsletter signup form in the footer. While this is not a Klaviyo form, contacts who sign up using this form can still be added to a list in Klaviyo.
You can verify if contacts who subscribe through your integration are being added to a list, and which list they are being added to, by clicking the Integrations tab and finding your ecommerce integration. In the integration settings, if you're able to sync contacts to a particular list with your integration, you will see this option here.
Additionally, if you have any live Klaviyo signup forms, you will want to ensure that these forms are also pointing to the same list.
Double vs. single opt-in lists
By default, every list in Klaviyo is double opt-in. This is to protect your deliverability and ensure that contacts who are added to your lists have valid email addresses or phone number and are going to engage with the messages you send them. To disable double opt-in, head to our section on enabling single opt-in in our guide to the double opt-in process.
The workflow for a double opt-in list requires customizing a number of opt-in related pages and is as follows:
- A contact signs up
- The contact will receive a confirmation text or email
- Once they confirm their subscription, they will be brought to the opt-in confirmed page
- The contact will be added to the list
- The contact will trigger the welcome series
- If the first welcome message is set to send immediately, they will receive the first message
Use Klaviyo's standard welcome flow
When you create a Klaviyo account, a pre-built welcome flow titled "Welcome Series" will automatically be populated in your account. When you click on this flow, you will be prompted to select the list that you would like your welcome series to be connected to. This should be the main list that new contacts are added to after signing up to hear from your brand.
Before turning an email live within our pre-built welcome series, you will need to personalize the email templates with your own content and branding.
A welcome series flow is a great way to introduce yourself after someone signs up to your newsletter list. The welcome series featured above contains three emails:
Email #1, send immediately
Introduce new subscribers to your brand and collect their email preferences. To send subscribers an email immediately after they opt-in, add an email directly after your flow's trigger with no Time Delay before it.
Email #2, after 3 days
Two days after they sign up, encourage your subscribers to like or follow you on social media
Email #3, after 4 days
Four days after someone signs up, showcase your best-selling products.
You can customize or change the goals of any of these emails based on your particular use case. You can also add more to this flow, such as splits and SMS messages.
Build a welcome flow from scratch
It is possible to build your own welcome series by navigating to your account's Flows tab and clicking Create Flow > Create from Scratch. Every flow requires a trigger event and then supports optional flow filters that can add additional restrictions on who can receive the flow email.
- For a welcome series, your trigger should be List
- Next, you will be prompted to select a list that triggers your flow — make sure the list you choose is the list your signup forms are connected to
- If you'd like all subscribers to get queued up for your welcome series, no trigger filters or flow filters are needed
- If you'd like to limit which subscribers receive emails from this flow, you can add filters as needed
For this welcome series example, we'll configure the flow to send to all new subscribers to our newsletter list, so no flow filters are needed.
Keep in mind that someone can only receive messages in a list-triggered flow once. This means if someone subscribes, went through your welcome flow, and then unsubscribes and resubscribes, they will not receive these messages again.
How to time your welcome series and how many emails to include
When building out your welcome series, you may wonder how many emails to include. This will depend a lot on what you have to say to your audience. A good rule of thumb is that your welcome series should span for about a week, give or take a few days, but this is something you can test to optimize. Each audience is unique, and the best way to find what works for your business is to test and iterate.
Your first welcome message should be sent immediately after someone is added to a list, which means no time delay is necessary. However, your subsequent message will require time delays in between; otherwise, contacts will receive all of the SMS and emails simultaneously.
When building out your welcome series, it's best to decide how many messages you're going to send and over what total timeframe before you add time delays in. That way, you can make sure that the messages are appropriately spaced out. Be sure to allow at least a day between emails, and a few days for any SMS.
If you would like to test the timing or number of messages in your welcome series, you can do this using branching. Be sure to only test one variable at a time so that you can identify which has the biggest impact. To branch your welcome series by timing or number of emails or SMS, drag in a conditional split to the top of the flow, before the first message. Here, filter the split based on a random sample of 50%.
Then, clone the left branch of the flow, drag it over to the right, and alter the right side based on what you would like to test. Then, compare the conversion, open, and click rates of the two paths and decide which you would like to implement. If you delete the split, be sure to delete the path you no longer want to test along with it.
Content to include in your welcome series
Your welcome series is new subscribers’ first interaction with your brand, so it’s important to put your best foot forward. A welcome series can have a couple of different types of goals. Keep your goal in mind when creating the content for your welcome series flow.
For example, you may have a story-focused welcome series that is aimed at introducing new subscribers to your brand’s mission rather than pushing your first sale. In this case, you may want to have a longer welcome series that includes personal anecdotes from your brand’s founder discussing why they started the company and what you’re looking to accomplish.
On the other hand, if you offer an incentive on your signup form, you will want to be sure to include this in the first email or SMS of your welcome series. If the main goal of your welcome series is to turn subscribers into customers, display your most eye-catching products. In this case, you could include product blocks that showcase trending or bestselling products to maximize the chance that someone will see something they like and use their discount to make their first purchase.
From a design standpoint, because a welcome series is subscribers’ first interaction with your brand, take the time to ensure that your email templates and SMS messages exemplify the tone and aesthetic that you want to present. We have a number of predesigned email templates in the template library that you can use as a starting point, but it’s also important to make sure that your email design is consistent with the design on your website. As for your text messages, you want to make sure your content is concise and provides value, and any images or GIFs are high quality.
Take your welcome series to the next level
You can find several different types of welcome series in your Browse Ideas tab. These contain out-of-the-box best practices around discounting and targeting customers vs. non-customers. You may also consider using Klaviyo to send SMS messages to add a multichannel element to your welcome series.
Targeting your welcome series based on the gender of your recipients is also a popular and effective way to hone in on a more specific audience.
Another great way to target your audience is by collecting email preferences — i.e., ask recipients about the type of messages they would like to receive. Some may only want to know about product updates, or only want to receive emails or texts on a monthly basis. Others may want to receive daily emails (although this frequency is not recommended for texts). By collecting this information upfront, you can avoid bombarding subscribers with messages down the line as well as provide them with more relevant content.
Once you collect recipients' preferences, you can use this information to target the rest of the messages in your welcome series.
After you've created the content for each message in your series, the final step is setting the status of each SMS and email to live. Once live, all messages in your flow will send automatically based on what you've scheduled.
All flow filters and additional message filters will be applied right before each email sends to ensure the right people get your messages and all others are skipped.
Target based on gender
If you decide to target based on gender, you can use conditional splits to create different paths for each gender, along with a default path. The messages in each path should be tailored to male vs. female, with the default branch including products from both collections. The default branch is the branch where gender is not set. There may be a handful of reasons why someone might not have a gender property set on their profile — for example, they may sign up through an embedded footer that doesn't have a field to input gender, or you may not make gender a required field on your signup form.
While the general gist of the messages can be the same, you should feature men's vs. women's products, along with male vs. female imagery in the content.
If you collect gender information in the first email of a welcome series rather than on a signup form, you will want to drag the conditional splits below the first email, but otherwise the branches will be set up the same way.
Once recipients have completed your welcome series, you can use this gender and email preference information down the line when creating targeted campaigns.
Target subscribers who have never purchased before
Many businesses will offer a discount on a subscriber's first purchase if they sign up to their newsletter list. To do this, drag a conditional split beneath the trigger. The split should be based on Has Placed Order at least once over all time. People who have never placed an order before will go down the NO path.
Target subscribers who haven't purchased since signing up
If you don't want to offer a discount upfront in your welcome series, you can target people with a coupon code after giving them the opportunity to purchase in the first few messages of your welcome series. This will help you avoid giving out discounts unnecessarily.
Here, you can use the conditional split Has Placed Order at least once since starting this flow.
Interested in learning even more about welcome series? Check out these additional resources:
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