How to create an email welcome series

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You will learn

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.

Understand how contacts are added to a list

Before setting up a welcome series, you must connect it to a list of your choosing. After creating your account, an empty list titled “Newsletter” is pre-populated into your List & Segments tab. You can use this for your welcome series flow or create a new list.

Whichever list you choose should be the list new subscribers are added to when they sign up. There are four key ways new contacts can be added to a list to trigger a welcome series:

  1. By signing up through a signup form
  2. By signing up through a subscribe page
  3. By being manually added to a list
  4. Via the API

Pause your welcome series if you are importing a list

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 who was imported will be scheduled for the first message in the series, even if they subscribed months ago.

Follow these steps to import:

  1. Open your welcome series flow associated with your main list.
  2. In the top right of the flow builder, click Update Action Statuses.
  3. In the dropdown, select Manual.
  4. Click Update Statuses.
  5. Follow our guide on how to import contacts into a list.
  6. Repeat steps 1-2, then set your flow back to Live.

After the import is complete, you can manually send welcome messages to older contacts you imported.

  1. Open the flow builder for your welcome flow.
  2. Click on the first message.
  3. In the left sidebar, click View all Analytics.
  4. Click into the Recipient Activity tab.
  5. Click Needs Review.
  6. For any imported contacts you’d like to send welcome emails, click Send next to the email in the Needs Review list.
  7. Alternatively, you can click Cancel All to prevent these contacts from receiving the message.
  8. Repeat this step for any other messages in the flow.

You may 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. 

To verify if contacts who subscribe through your integration are being added to a list, and which list they are being added to, by following these steps:

  1. In the bottom left of the main Klaviyo navigation, click the name of your account.
  2. Click Integrations.
  3. Click on the name of your ecommerce integration.
  4. In the integration settings, if you're able to sync contacts to a particular list with your integration, make sure your main list is selected. See this example for Shopify:
    Integration settings page for Shopify showing the dropdown for selecting a list to sync subscribers.
  5. Additionally, if you have any live Klaviyo signup forms, ensure these forms are also pointing to the same list.

Understand double vs. single opt-in lists

By default, every list in Klaviyo is double opt-in. This is to protect your deliverability and ensure contacts who are added to your lists have a valid email address or phone number. We recommend leaving this setting on for your main list.

The workflow for a double opt-in list is as follows:

  1. A contact signs up. 
  2. The contact receives a confirmation text or email.
  3. Once they confirm their subscription, they are brought to the opt-in confirmed page.
  4. The contact is added to the list.
  5. The contact triggers the welcome series.
  6. If the first welcome message is set to send immediately, they will receive the first message.

Learn how to enable single opt-in and more in our guide on the double opt-in process.

Use Klaviyo's standard welcome flow

When you create a Klaviyo account, you can easily add a pre-built welcome flow titled "Welcome Series" into your account. 

To set up this flow:

  1. Navigate to the Flows tab in your Klaviyo account.
  2. On the card for Welcome Series, click Get Started.
    Card for welcome series flow shown on the Flows tab.
    If you have no flows in your account, this will be the first card on the left when you view the Flows tab. If you already have a flow in your account, you can view the different cards for pre-built flows below the list of flows.
  3. In the Welcome Series Setup modal, select the list 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.
    Welcome series setup modal showing a dropdown to choose a list to trigger your welcome flow.
  4. Click Continue.

Before turning an email live within our pre-built welcome series, personalize the email templates with your own content and branding.

  1. Click on a message in the flow builder.
  2. In the left sidebar, click Edit.
    Edit buttom found in the left sidebar of the flow builder when clicking on a message.
  3. Change the subject and sender information for the message if necessary.
  4. Click Edit Email on the right.
  5. Use the email template editor to change the content of the message to match your branding. 
  6. Repeat these steps for the other messages in the flow.
    A full welcome series flow with 3 emails and time delays in between.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Email #2, after 3 days
    Two days after they sign up, encourage your subscribers to like or follow you on social media
  3. 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. 

Create an advanced welcome series flow

If you want a more advanced welcome flow:

  1. Navigate to the Flows tab.
  2. Click Create Flow in the top right to view the flows library.
  3. In the search bar, enter “welcome series” to view different variations of pre-built welcome series flows.

Towards the end of this guide there are some examples of ways to make your welcome series flow more advanced. See the advanced techniques section.

Build a welcome flow from scratch

It is possible to build your own welcome series by following these steps:

  1. Navigate to the Flows tab.
  2. Click Create Flow in the top right.
  3. Click Create From Scratch
  4. Name your flow.
  5. Click Create Flow.
  6. In the left sidebar, click List for the trigger.
  7. Choose your main subscriber list.
  8. Click Done.
  9. Drag an email action into your flow.
  10. Click the message and click Configure Content to begin editing it.
  11. Once you’ve edited the message to fit your brand, drag a time delay and additional messages as needed.

Every flow requires a trigger event and then supports optional flow filters which can add additional restrictions on who can receive the flow email.

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.

Note that someone can only receive messages in a list-triggered flow once. This means if someone subscribes, goes through your welcome flow, and then unsubscribes, they will not receive these messages again if they resubscribe later.

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 and how much time to configure between emails. For a standard welcome series, we recommend sending 3 emails over the course of a week with the following cadence used in our pre-built flow:

  1. Email #1, send immediately
  2. Email #2, after 3 days
  3. Email #3, after 4 days

Each audience is unique, and the best way to find what works for your business is to test and iterate. Klaviyo offers A/B testing features which allow you to branch your flow into different paths containing different time delays and messages if you’d like to test different strategies. Learn more in our article on how to A/B test flow branches.

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.

Here are some examples:

  • Share your brand’s story and mission
    You may have a story-focused welcome series aimed at introducing new subscribers to your brand’s mission rather than pushing your first sale. In this case, it is best practice to have a longer welcome series with personal anecdotes from your brand’s founder discussing why they started the company and what you’re looking to accomplish.
  • Offer promotions and coupons
    If you offer an incentive on your signup form, include this in the first email of your welcome series. 
  • Market your content
    If the main goal of your welcome series is to turn subscribers into customers, display your most eye-catching products. Use product blocks to showcase trending or best-selling products to maximize the chance that someone will see something they like and use their discount to make their first purchase.
  • Promote social media
    You can use your welcome series to promote your brand’s social media channels to build customer relationships and brand awareness.

From a design standpoint, because a welcome series is subscribers’ first interaction with your brand, take the time to ensure your email templates exemplify the tone and aesthetic you want to present. We have a number of pre-built email templates in the template library 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, make sure your content is concise and provides value, and any images or GIFs are high quality.

Advanced techniques

You can find several different types of welcome series in the flows library. These contain out-of-the-box best practices around discounting and targeting customers vs. non-customers.

Below are some ways you can modify your welcome series to target specific types of contacts.

Target subscribers who have never purchased before

Many businesses offer a discount on a subscriber's first purchase if they sign up to their newsletter list. 

  1. Drag a conditional split beneath the flow trigger. 
  2. Configure the conditional split to “Has Placed Order at least once over all time.” People who have never placed an order before will go down the NO path.
    Conditional split configured to 'Has Placed Order at least once over all time.'

Target subscribers who haven't purchased since signing up

If you don't want to offer a discount up front 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.

  1. Drag a conditional split beneath the flow trigger. 
  2. Configure the conditional split to “Has Placed Order at least once since starting this flow.”
    Conditional split configured to 'Has Placed Order at least once since starting this flow.'

Additional resources

Interested in other flows? Check out these additional resources:

Check out this blog post:

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