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Case Study: Automating Your Online Welcome Series

It’s a critical part of any DM 101 session: don’t forget to welcome your donors as soon as possible after the first contact.  But what about new subscribers to your email list – wouldn’t it be more efficient to create an automated welcome series that not only solidified initial contact but also secured a gift?
We recently worked with the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) to create an automated online welcome series that accomplished both of these objectives.  As the slide below illustrates, the 8-week series consisted of a welcome email, quiz, call to action, one-time ask, and sustainer ask for non-responses.


Results were impressive:

  • 52 new members (including 6 sustainers)
  • 17.56% average open rate
  • 6.21% average click through rate
  • New joins: $21.41 average gift; 0.17% response rate vs. other acquisition efforts (with the exception of year-end): $28.92 average gift and 0.04% response

Additionally, because we communicate with a new prospect within a week of acquiring their email address, our unsubscribe and bounce rates are consistently low.  But what about the challenges?

  • It’s crucial to lay out detailed logistics prior to implementation … make sure your data flow works in terms of who gets what messages when, whether and when welcome series recipients should be suppressed from other communications, etc.
  • It can be tricky to make changes (i.e. you may have to re-set all queries) so you’ll want to use evergreen copy and art as much as possible.
  • Because of the many moving parts and often smaller quantities with each send, it can be difficult to do head-to-head testing on the series.
  • Meticulous tracking is needed on opens, click throughs, responses, bounces and unsubscribes to ensure you know what’s working and what is not.

Nevertheless, this is definitely worth testing … so if you have any questions feel free to get in touch with me.

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