Video content marketing cannot be overlooked as a tool to reach, communicate and engage with your customers. Videos play a key role in attracting and capturing attention, as well as delivering information in fun, easy-to-understand formats. It’s vital your energy utility implements video content marketing strategies across all campaigns, from billing to program promotions, smart home technologies and more.

Why your energy utility needs video content for marketing:

  1. Capture and hold customers’ attention
  2. Entertain and educate customers about complex topics
  3. Improve SEO (search engine optimization) metrics and boost conversions
  4. Encourage social media shares and engagement
  5. Build brand trust and loyalty

The Value of Video Content Marketing

It’s no secret that videos have become a common way to consume content, whether for entertainment or educational purposes. According to Statista, U.S. adults spend around 103 minutes every day watching digital videos on varying devices. That’s nearly two hours’ worth of video content consumed per day.

Not only do customers consume video on a number of devices, but they also consume content through every platform and channel available. From the rise of TikTok and Instagram Reels on smartphones to streaming apps on smart TVs, brands are vying for customer attention. YouTube is considered the second largest search engine next to Google and has over 2.3 billion monthly logged-in users. In addition, YouTubers upload 500 hours of video content to the platform every minute.

Why does this matter?

Just as consumers are inundated with emails and ads from brands around the world, they are also inundated with video content. That’s why your energy utility’s video content marketing needs to stand out. Videos need to be created with the customer in mind to help them solve a problem, answer a question or otherwise bring value to their daily lives.

Additionally, for energy utility marketers, video is an integral way to educate, engage and inspire residential and commercial customers at key touchpoints throughout the customer journey. In fact, 54% of consumers want to see more video content from brands and businesses they support.

Statistic showing the 54 percent of customers prefer video content marketing

Relationship-building emails that include a video can boost click-through rates by 200% to 300%. In addition, including videos in emails has the potential to reduce email unsubscribe rates by 26%.

According to Questline Digital’s Benchmarks Report, the top 10 most popular residential customer videos achieved an impressive nearly 100,000 combined page views. The types of video content marketing included content that helped customers save money, DIY solutions for energy-efficiency and informational videos on other energy equipment.

Chart listing the most popular types of video content marketing

5 Reasons to Use Video Content for Marketing

It behooves your energy utility to add video content into its marketing strategy to increase customer engagement and satisfaction. Read on for five specific reasons why video content adds value to a marketing strategy.

Chart listing five reasons video content marketing is effective

1. Capture and hold customers’ attention

Customers are bombarded by hundreds of marketing campaigns each day, but a video can cut through the clutter and capture attention in a unique and powerful way. Viewers report remembering 95% of a message when watching a video versus only 10% when reading it in text.

2. Entertain and educate customers about complex topics

Video marketing content is especially useful when needing to explain complex topics to utility customers, like demand response or beneficial electrification. Additionally, it is an easy way to make this educational content entertaining as well. Rather than writing a 500-word article on how beneficial electrification affects the grid, a video can more easily show this.

The visual elements of a video are also helpful tools to help customers understand how something works, like in the case of a new bill redesign. When PSEG Long Island introduced a new bill design to customers, it worked with Questline Digital to develop an engaging and educational video to help customers understand the changes to their monthly bills.

3. Improve SEO metrics and boost conversions

When it comes to SEO, videos can help improve your website’s standing in the eyes of Google. Search engines want to see content that engages viewers, and website landing pages with video will keep people on your page longer than text. In fact, consumers spend 88% more time browsing on websites that have videos.

4. Encourage social shares and engagement

Whether on social or a website, customers expect to see video content. In fact, consumers say that videos are their favorite type of content to see on social media. When customers love what they see, they will often share those videos with friends and family, expanding the reach of your utility’s audience.

Videos on social media also feature rich storytelling capabilities in an easy-to-digest format, making it well-suited for busy, on-the-go audiences. Make the visuals eye-catching and keep the video to one minute or less. Make sure you add captions to all your videos so that viewers don’t have to turn on the sound when watching.

5. Build brand trust and loyalty

From fun, animated videos to heartwarming feature stories, video content marketing can show off your company’s unique personality and brand voice. In turn, this helps build trust and loyalty among your customers.

Be authentic in your utility’s creation of video content. Consider a video marketing strategy that includes not just products or programs, but content that demonstrates the human side of your utility as well. Interview employees or show behind-the-scenes moments. These human-centric videos are a welcoming sight to customers and help balance your utility’s marketing strategy.

Testimonial videos are another great way to not only promote a product or service, but to continue showing the human side of your utility. By showing reviews from real-life customers, others will get to know your utility as a trusted source.

Types of Video Content Marketing

Before your utility can jump into video content marketing, it first needs to decide on the purpose and direction of the video. When choosing the type of video content marketing, consider:

  • Goals: What is your utility trying to accomplish with this video? To educate or entertain customers, or to explain a program or service?
  • Audience: Who is your utility trying to reach with this video? Does it include a range of residential and business customers or one or the other?
  • Metrics: What key performance indicators does your utility want to track? Video views or shares?
Chart listing different types of video content marketing

When these questions are answered, it’s time to choose a video format.

Explainer videos

These types of video content marketing help customers more easily understand how your product or service works and why they should purchase or enroll. Many utilities will host explainer videos on their website landing pages or feature them on a homepage of a website.

Key attributes of a good explainer video:

  • Short in length, roughly 1 to 2 minutes long
  • Includes a strong call-to-action (CTA) that clearly states what a customer should do after watching
  • Focuses on a specific challenge and how to overcome it

Educational or how-to videos

Instructional videos help teach something new to your audience. Whether it’s a new industry term you want customers to know or it’s a DIY video about energy efficiency, these types of videos provide value by:

  • Encouraging continual learning for customers
  • Bringing customers “into the fold” so they understand more about the industry
  • Provide customers with the confidence to complete energy-efficient tasks on their own

Animated videos

Animated videos can be a good format for topics that are difficult to grasp and need strong visuals and direction to clearly explain the concept.

Animation can be less expensive and more flexible compared to live-action videos. If changes need to be made, a designer or animator can easily make the changes in the file versus needing to reshoot live video scenes.

Other benefits of animated videos include:

  • Easy to demonstrate abstract concepts
  • Any idea can be brought to life even if it doesn’t exist in the real world
  • Has a longer shelf life and is easier to make edits or updates

Live-action videos

Live-action videos simply mean that the video includes real people versus computer-generated or animated characters. Some benefits of live-action videos include:

  • Captures real human emotion and reactions
  • Live footage can create an immersive setting for viewers
  • Camera and environmental effects, like the sun’s shadow, can more easily be created in real-time versus in animation

Case study and testimonial videos

These types of videos feature real-life, satisfied customers or employees discussing the positive experiences they had with your utility or the products or services that have brought value to their daily lives.

Great testimonial videos often:

  • Tell a story from a first-hand perspective
  • Are authentic and feature real customers or employees
  • Focus on the “why” or the solution that was provided

Product or service overview videos

Often, the best way to promote a program or service to customers is to show them the value it provides. In fact, consumers are four times more likely to watch a video about a product than to read about it. A good product/service overview video should:

  • Easily explain a product’s key features and benefits
  • Highlight the main components of a product customers should know about
  • Provide a clear CTA of what customers should do after watching the video

Video Content Connects with Energy Customers

Video content marketing is a critical way to engage with customers. Survey results show that 25% of consumers lose interest in a company if they don’t use videos. Don’t let this be your utility. Include different types of video content marketing to achieve both program enrollments and increase customer satisfaction.

Learn how a video content marketing strategy from Questline Digital will help your energy utility build engagement and inspire customers to take action.

Relevant communication isn’t just a preference for consumers — it’s an expectation. Your customers want to see messages that speak to their needs and interests, and they don’t want to be bothered with messages that don’t.

For energy utilities, relevant communications are best achieved by employing customer segmentation. This tactic remains the best way to cut through digital clutter and deliver content that matters to each customer.

What is Utility Customer Segmentation?

At its core, segmentation is a marketing strategy used to identify and connect with target customers. It is a way to organize your customers into approachable groups, or segments, and deliver relevant messages based on the interests or needs shared by members of each segment.

Customer segmentation is not to be confused with personalization. Whereas segmentation sends different messages to specified groups, personalization sends a unique message to each individual customer.

Example of criteria used to create customer segments for energy utilities

A segment can be defined as a group of customers that share identifiable characteristics that are unique from other customers. Such characteristics include:

  • Demographics: This includes characteristics such as age or income. Demographic data may be obtained from energy utility customer records or third-party databases.
  • Geography: Service territory, zip code or neighborhood. This is vital for outage and low-income communications.
  • Psychographics: What do your customers care about and what are they motivated by? When building preference centers or surveying interests, you can identify who is most likely to engage with specific topics. Some interests you might target include EV ownership, environmental concern or early adoption of new technologies.
  • Behaviors: Actions taken or not taken by customers. This includes program participation, purchases (electric vehicles, appliances), high energy use and content engagement or reading behavior.
  • Industry: Hospitals, schools, manufacturers, retailers and data centers all use energy differently. The programs, services and content promoted to business customers should shift based on their specific industry needs.

The Benefits of Customer Segmentation

According to Hubspot, the benefits of customer segmentation can be substantial — marketers who use segmented campaigns can see as much as a 760% increase in revenue.

Specific benefits of customer segmentation for energy utilities include:

  • Boost in engagement and performance: By targeting groups of customers rather than your entire list, products and services immediately become more relevant. This in turn increases customer engagement with your utility’s content and promotions. People are more likely to engage with communications that meet their needs and ignore those that don’t.
  • Better understanding of your customers: By evaluating customer behavior and pursuing segmentation, your utility will gain an understanding of what topics your customers care about. With this knowledge, you can better build future promotions to speak directly to their needs.
  • Increased loyalty: When customers feel understood and uniquely communicated with, they are more likely to be loyal to your utility and recommend its services or promotions to others.

Tips for Creating Utility Customer Segments

“You can’t create one ad or commercial that appeals to everybody, because different groups of buyers have different needs,” explains Robert Bly in his classic marketing book, The Copywriter’s Handbook. “Tailor both the content and the presentation of your information to the group of customers you’re selling to.”

Not sure where to start? Follow some of the utility customer segmentation tips below:

  • Start early. Customer onboarding is an ideal time to begin segmentation. Put your early customer touchpoints to work and gather data that can be used for future grouping. What actions do customers take, and not take, in your welcome emails? Use this information to build segments such as:
    • Mobile-friendly or tech-savvy: those who sign up for mobile alerts and payments
    • Hard to reach: those who take no action or make no indication of preferences
    • Digitally engaged: those who sign up for eNewsletters
  • Start small. You can ease into segmentation by looking at one journey or one demographic group. For example, you may want to promote mobile payments to customers younger than 40, instead of getting bogged down creating mobile payment promotions for all customers. Start with the “low hanging fruit” to make a big impact right away. Then expand.
  • Use internal and external data. While it’s important to use your own data — like what content customers click on, previous program participation or self-identified preferences — your utility doesn’t need to solely rely on this type of information.You can expand your segments with third-party data, such as credit information or vehicle ownership.
  • Segment only when relevant. Some messages don’t need to be segmented; your utility may be better served by sending the communication to the entire customer list. Or for that matter, two or three segments are often just as effective as six or eight segments. Don’t segment for segmentation’s sake.

Utility Customer Segmentation Examples

Example of customer interested used to create segmentation strategy for energy utility

The following examples of utility customer segmentation show how messaging strategies can address specific audiences to increase engagement and conversions:

  • Marketplace promotions: Specific products can be promoted to segments based on content engagement. If a customer reads your newsletter article about smart thermostats, send them an offer to buy the latest model on your marketplace. If a customer watches your videos about electric vehicles, add them to a segment that might be interested in EV smart chargers.
  • Small vs. large business: Residential and business customers have obvious differences. But so do large and small business owners. Communicate relevant messages according to employee count or facility size to increase engagement.
  • Homeowners vs. renters: Energy efficiency messaging and other program promotions can be targeted based on a customer’s ability to undertake home improvements. Renters may be interested in LED lightbulbs and smart power strips, but they probably aren’t going to buy a new furnace or upgrade their insulation; save those messages for homeowners.
  • Environmental vs. money-saving motivations: People with varying concerns respond to efficiency messages differently, even when the end result (reduced energy use) is the same. One segment of customers might be interested in paperless billing and appliance recycling because they want to save money, another segment might be more interested in reducing their carbon footprint.
  • Income-based messaging: Low-income program messages can be targeted to households that meet eligibility requirements or triggered by behavioral factors such as high bills or late payments.

Reach the Right Customers with Utility Customer Segmentation

Utility customer segmentation has the means to improve customer engagement, increase satisfaction, drive program results and boost conversions all by delivering relevant information to target audiences. The benefits of customer segmentation are clear.

Luckily, segmentation doesn’t have to be hard. By identifying customer needs, interests and motivations, your energy utility can send targeted communications that resonate with particular audiences.

Improve engagement and satisfaction with a utility customer segmentation strategy from Questline Digital.

Studies show that 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. But you can’t improve your utility’s customer experience if you don’t understand it from your customers’ perspective. That’s where customer journey mapping comes in.

Journey mapping is critical for understanding and solving customer pain points. This becomes even more important as customer experiences shift with changing technologies and preferences. Customer journey mapping lays the groundwork for greater engagement and sets your utility up for success and long-term customer satisfaction.

To better uncover and solve customer pain points, your energy utility can benefit from using the right customer journey mapping software. Consider the following tips and tools to assess and improve the customer experience at your energy utility.

What is Customer Journey Mapping?

Customer journey maps are visual workflows that outline the step-by-step experience a customer has with your brand, service or product. The workflow typically includes steps from both the customer’s and company’s point of view, but focuses on the cumulative experiences across multiple touchpoints and channels over time.

Customer journey map examples provide clearly defined start and stop points for the experience you want to highlight, inclusive of customers’ actions, emotions and behaviors.

Companies that do not incorporate experience mapping risk facing an array of negative consequences. According to McKinsey, failing to appreciate customer journey mapping can include consequences like:

  • Customer defection
  • Dramatically higher call volumes
  • Lost sales
  • Lower employee morale

In contrast, there are many benefits to customer journey mapping, including:

  • Strategize and plan for utility resources
  • Identify and solve for customer pain points
  • Improve overall customer satisfaction
  • Enhance sales and retention
  • Reduce end-to-end service cost
  • Identify operational inefficiencies within the utility
  • Strengthen employee satisfaction

Delivering an exceptional customer journey experience makes it more likely that customers repeat a purchase, spend more, make a recommendation to their friends and stay updated with your utility.

Chart showing the impact customer journey mapping has on customer satisfaction

“Almost 90% of those using customer journey mapping said their program is delivering a positive impact, the most common one being an increase in customer satisfaction,” according to Mike Weir, Chief Revenue Office at G2. “Lower churn, fewer customer complaints, and higher NPS [net promoter scores] were also among the top impacts.”

How Do You Create a Customer Journey Map?

Follow these steps when preparing to develop a journey map:

  • Identify the experiences you want to analyze
  • Identify the users in the experience
  • Cluster your users into distinct groups
  • Interview users from your groups to get direct input
  • Map out the steps, including actions, mediums, emotions and behaviors

It helps to start with your goals and ask yourself, “Whose journey am I mapping?” From there, you can create a customer persona and capture the highlights of the journey in easy-to-understand stages. Remember, you want to make the customer journey map actionable.

Customer Journey Mapping Software and Tools

There are so many utility customer journey mapping tools available that it can be overwhelming to choose which one to use. We’ve compiled a list of some of the top platforms to make it easy for you to decide.

“When choosing a software, it depends on how robust you want the journey map to be, and then how visually appealing you want it,” says Zach Hardison, Questline Digital’s Vice President of Solutions Innovation. “Make sure the software meets your needs and accomplishes your journey mapping goals. And don’t overcomplicate it — sometimes simple is better if creates an easy-to-understand and actionable process. Every customer experience is different — choose a software that fits with the experience that you’re mapping out.”

When choosing customer journey map software, consider:

  • Easy design functionality
  • Quick and simple editing
  • Sharing capabilities
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Integration with data

Five Tools to Create Your Customer Journey Map

1. Mural: A whiteboard tool with pre-built templates, capabilities for real-time collaboration and easy-to-use models for common cases and proven methods.

  • Price: Various subscriber options ranging from free to $18 per user per month depending on your needs.
Customer journey map example from Mural software

2. LucidChart: Simple cut-and-paste capabilities that allow teams to clarify complicated processes. This software is used by many Fortune 100 companies, including HP and NBC.

  • Price: Plans ranging from free to $13.50 per user per month.
Customer journey map example from Lucid Chart software

3. Microsoft Visio: Another simplified shapes tool, this flowchart and diagramming software provides premade templates, starter diagrams and stencils. It also allows for real-time collaboration and features integration with Microsoft for easy sharing.

  • Price: Free trial version, with paid options ranging from $5 to $15 per user per month.
Customer journey map example from Microsoft Visio software

4. InDesign: Adobe is well known for its robust suite of design tools. There is a learning curve if you’ve never used Adobe products before, but the capabilities allow you to create beautiful designs.

  • Price: $34 per user per month, or $80 per month for all of Adobe Creative Cloud apps.
Customer journey map example from Adobe InDesign software

5. SuiteCX: A good mix of features and design elements for those who are seeking robust capabilities without a steep learning curve. It also provides a built-in journey mapping analytics platform to track your progress.

  • Price: Based on company size, ranging from $2,000 per month to $20,000 annually.
Customer journey map example from SuiteCX software

Integrate Customer Journey Mapping into Your Strategy

Customer journey mapping is a process that gives your utility the opportunity to create better, more seamless customer experiences that boost engagement and satisfaction. Take advantage of our insights into customer journey map software to build the foundation for a successful journey mapping process.

Remember: No process is perfect. It’s important to keep this in mind and take a step back before jumping into journey mapping. Your goal is to create the best experience you can, considering that as technology and customer preferences shift, the processes will continuously evolve.

As Annette Franz, CEO of CX Journey said, “Journey mapping is a creative process that allows you to understand — and then redesign — the customer experience. The output is not just a ‘pretty picture;’ once the map is developed, it is meant to be a catalyst for change.”

Learn how Questline Digital can help your utility kick off a customer journey mapping strategy to build engagement and customer satisfaction.

No matter the brand, first impressions with new customers are everything. That’s why a great welcome message is essential in every industry, from retail to hospitality and everything in between. For the energy utility industry, an effective welcome email design has the power to increase customer engagement, drive program promotion conversions and build long-lasting satisfaction.

According to Questline Digital’s 2022 Energy Utility Benchmarks Report, 60.2% of Welcome Series emails were opened by customers in the past year — the highest engagement rate in Benchmarks history. Welcome Series also experienced a high CTR of 11.9%. A great welcome message sets the stage for successful digital customer relationships and provides a valuable introduction to your energy utility.

Welcome Email Design Best Practices

Welcome emails are the first digital interactions customers have with your energy utility. Typically, these communications are saved by customers and make a great point of reference. Your welcome email design should give customers exactly what they want and need. Set the precedent for the value they will receive by opening and reading the email.

“This is the introduction of your energy utility — that’s why it’s vital to think long-term,” says Joe Pifher, Questline Digital’s Creative Director. “Keep your branding as evergreen as possible. Once you have a good formula for the content in your Welcome Series, there’s really no reason to change it.”

According to Pifher, a great welcome message should incorporate these best practices:

  • Include more detailed information than a standard email.
  • Divide topics into sections for easy reading.
  • Use icons to help customers find topics at a glance.
  • Stay as true to your utility’s brand as possible.

“As with any communication, keep your email clean and easy to read,” Pifher explains. “Bucket topics together so they are easy to find when customers are skimming the content. I also suggest using icons to help with a quick search.”

Pifher also recommends these basic principles for welcome email design:

Think about accessibility: To ensure ADA compliance, add alt tags to all images. In addition to tagging, use a Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) checker to make sure fonts and color contrast are readable for vision-impaired customers.

Use live text: If your hero image includes a headline, live text makes this copy visible if a customer has their “images” turned off. With live text, these customers aren’t missing important information.

Be mobile-ready: Mobile-optimized welcome email design is essential today. In fact, more than 63% of residential customers read emails from their energy utility on smartphones.

Be aware of dark mode: Many customers prefer dark mode, which helps reduce visual strain. Multiple surveys show that over 80% of consumers use dark mode on one or more applications.

To give your energy utility some inspiration, check out these welcome email samples for new customers from a wide variety of industries.

Welcome Email Design #1: Thrive Market

Thrive Market, an e-commerce retailer offering natural and organic food, begins its welcome email with a short letter from the co-founder and CEO. The letter speaks to the brand’s focus on health and sustainable living, which resonates with its target audience of eco-friendly consumers.

The welcome email design provides customers with a quick snapshot of resources to begin their journey with the e-commerce site, including an FAQ section, helpful health tips and recipes, and how to shop their exclusive products. Thrive Market also highlights their company’s efforts to make a positive impact on the planet, such as becoming a 100% carbon-neutral company.

Example of welcome email design Thrive

Takeaway for energy utilities: Based on this welcome email sample for new customers, the first email in your Welcome Series is a good spot for a short letter from your energy utility’s president. In your welcome email design, you could also include a message from a lineworker, giving the email a neighborly feel. Similar to Thrive Market’s approach, consider sharing helpful energy efficiency tips and promote your marketplace.

Welcome Email Design #2: Airbnb

Airbnb’s welcome message makes it easy for new customers to understand how the vacation rental company’s service works while providing imagery of enticing destinations and travel inspiration.

This great welcome message outlines what a customer can expect when booking a stay with Airbnb, including host verification, secure payments and cancellation policies. It also provides links where customers can learn more about the company and visit the Help Center.

Example of welcome email design Airbnb

Takeaway for energy utilities: Incorporate Airbnb’s educational approach into your welcome email design by providing customers with clear and easy-to-understand information about your energy utility’s programs and services.

Make it as easy as possible for your customers to enroll in My Account, paperless billing, outage text alerts and other essential services. Also, be open about what customers can expect from your energy utility, such as transparency and quick response during outages.

Welcome Email Design #3: Apple TV+

Apple sends out a welcome message to new Apple TV+ subscribers. This welcome email sample for new customers provides a brief overview of the streaming service and shares popular movies and series to encourage subscribers to start streaming. The email also promotes the Apple TV app, which makes it easy for subscribers to watch their favorite shows from any mobile device. The simple welcome email design features concise messaging, which resonates with today’s on-the-go consumers.

Example of welcome email design Apple

Takeaway for energy utilities: Energy utilities benefit from a clean welcome email design and straightforward messaging. Copy should be short and sweet while providing customers with a relevant overview of your energy utility. Instead of including too much copy in one email, provide a short description and link to your website for more information.

We see success with an average of four emails per Welcome Series campaign. This approach allows your energy utility to deliver information in smaller, targeted pieces over time, rather than one overly long email. Like Apple, your energy utility also has the ability to share recommendations, such as popular products from your energy utility’s marketplace.

Welcome Email Design #4: Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

In this welcome email sample for new customers, the beauty retailer Lush shares product recommendations, encouraging customers to shop online. The welcome message also explains how customers can interact with the brand through product tips and behind-the-scenes videos on social media. The welcome email design utilizes vibrant, colorful images that showcase the brand’s fun personality.

Example of welcome email design Lush

Takeaway for energy utilities: Energy utilities might not have as bold of an image as a beauty retailer like Lush, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from showing off your brand personality. For a great welcome message, consider sharing what makes your energy utility a cornerstone of the community, such as philanthropic efforts, employee volunteerism and other involvement.

To capture attention in your welcome email design, take advantage of eye-catching imagery, such as photography of people that reflect your service area’s demographics. Your energy utility could also incorporate actual photos of your lineworkers restoring power or employees volunteering in the community.

Welcome Email Design #5: The Glenlivet

The Glenlivet, a Scotch whisky distillery, takes a personalized approach to its welcome message. The eye-catching welcome email design is casual and conversational in tone, with the bold headline, “Hey There, Whisky Lover.” Perhaps most unique, customers have the opportunity to “create their own adventure” by choosing how they take their whisky. This fun quiz-style email directs them to an alcoholic beverage that is best suited to them.

Example of welcome email design Glenlivet

Takeaway for energy utilities: Energy utilities can increase engagement in their Welcome Series by personalizing the content to residential or business customers. You can further customize your welcome email design with segmented content for new customers and existing customers who recently moved within your service area.

When promoting energy efficiency programs, consider two different messages for homeowners and renters. These audiences have distinct needs when it comes to energy efficiency. For example, homeowners are more likely to make bigger investments, such as installing ENERGY STAR appliances and taking advantage of whole-house energy assessments. In comparison, renters are inclined to make smaller improvements like smart plugs, water-saving showerheads and LED light bulbs.

Look to These Welcome Email Samples for New Customers

A great welcome message gives your customers a glimpse into your energy utility — what programs and services they need to know about, as well as what makes your company an integral part of the community. As you can see in the above examples, the sky is the limit when it comes to saying “hello” to new and moving customers. What matters is finding a way to connect through creativity, personalization, concise messaging and clean welcome email design.

Build strong customer relationships from day one with a Welcome Series from Questline Digital.

Subject lines drive opens. Without opens, your customer communications and program promotions simply won’t make an impression or accomplish your goals. To ensure success and boost open rates, follow these email subject line best practices.

Tips For Building Successful Email Subject Lines

An effective email subject line will catch the attention of the recipient and inspire them to open the message to learn more. The most reliable ways to do this are to…

  1. Keep it short
  2. Don’t forget the preview text
  3. Don’t bury the lead
  4. Use actionable language and active verbs
  5. Incorporate recipient benefits and offers
  6. Try including numbers
  7. Match the message
  8. Use emojis sparingly
  9. Avoid all caps or special characters
  10. Test, test, test

1. Keep it short

How long should a subject line be in an email? Subject lines should be quick, clear and specific; the best length is 40 characters or fewer. Longer subject lines are often truncated because of mobile displays and screen settings. Your intended message could be unintelligible if you make it too long.

Try using the tool TestSubject to see how your email subject line and sender name look on the most popular mobile devices and email clients.

2. Don’t forget the preview text

While not technically a subject line, your preview text (also known as preheader text) is equally important and can help you grab attention and boost opens. Use it to convey additional information that expands on the subject line. Text length should range between 40 and 140 characters.

Screenshot example of sample subject lines

3. Don’t bury the lead

Put important words at the beginning of the subject line; catch the customer’s attention immediately. As mentioned above, subject lines are often clipped short on mobile devices. Don’t let the best part of your message go unseen.

4. Use action language

People are more likely to open emails when they see actionable, eye-catching words in the subject line. Check out this exhaustive list of action verbs for inspiration.

You can also leverage free online tools to test your subject lines. These tools analyze and offer suggestions for improvement, including possible action verbs.

5. Promote benefits

Speak directly to the customer’s interests or concerns: How would opening the email benefit them?Customers respond well to specific references to their situation; email subject lines with the words “you,” “your” and “about your” tend to perform well.

Screenshot example of sample subject lines

6. Include numbers

Include a promo code or dollar amount to catch attention. Subject lines such as “Save XX when you use promo code XXXXX” tend to improve open rates as well as CTOR.

Screenshot example of sample subject lines

7. Don’t use clickbait

Your subject line should match the contents of your email. Don’t try to trick recipients and boost opens only to disappoint them with your email message. This is a surefire way to be flagged for spam or lose subscribers.

8. Be careful with emojis

When should you use emojis in subject lines? Questline Digital’s data shows that most subject lines with emojis perform below the industry benchmark. While not always true, they should be used sparingly and with purpose.

9. Make it readable

Using unique text characters or different fonts may seem like it would help your message stand out. But using special Unicode characters makes subject lines unintelligible to users who rely on screen readers. This means your email is not accessible to all audiences.

Screenshot example of sample subject lines

10. Test, test, test

Email subject line best practices include A/B testing. This is when you send two versions of a subject line to a small sample group, measure open rate or CTOR performance, then deliver the “winning” subject line to the remaining mailing list. Through the consistent use of A/B testing over time, an energy utility can narrow down very specific best practices for customer segments. Some tips to keep in mind:

  • Is my sample size big enough? Typically, 500 to 1,000 recipients is an effective sample size and will deliver statistically meaningful results.
  • How long should the test run? More than50% of opens and clicks happen within the first 6 hours after email delivery. However, to eliminate seasonal and day-of-week variables, it’s best to test for one full week before determining a winner.
  • Is there a clear winner? Depending on the sample size, a good rule of thumb is to look for a 25% to 35% performance variance in order to declare a clear winner.

Sample Subject Lines for Energy Utilities

Let’s look at high-performing subject lines in action. We evaluated the top email sends for our energy utility clients and have compiled the best sample subject lines for your reference and inspiration.

Best subject line for promotion emails

Promotional emails, or those that sell products or promote programs, are often the hardest to get customers engaged with. People don’t typically enjoy being sold to. Your subject lines for promotion emails need to work hard to showcase benefits, inspire action and catch attention.

Chart listing best sample subject lines for email subject line best practices

Employing Email Subject Line Best Practices

Bookmark this blog and refer to our list of testing tools and sample subject lines the next time you’re building an email campaign. And remember to test, test, test!

Learn how Questline Digital’s engagement experts can boost the performance of your email marketing campaigns.