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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.