Congratulations! You have a new customer! But don’t break out the champagne quite yet — this is only the beginning of the story.

Your Welcome email should carry a new user from the excitement of signing up or making their first purchase toward an increasingly positive experience with your product or service. An effective Welcome will seamlessly — and painlessly — move the customer from acquisition to activation. This is your only opportunity to make a positive first impression, the critical moment when a prospect becomes a customer. Your Welcome is also the moment when your customer is most likely to open, read, and click your emails. Five times more likely, to be precise.

Simply put, your Welcome emails are an opportunity you do not want to miss. These easy-to-implement strategies can help you make the most of that opportunity.

1. Include a Call-to-Action — But Only One

Your email should focus on a single, specific goal. You might be tempted to stuff a bunch of calls-to-action (CTAs) into your Welcome email — upsell or cross-sell offers, add-ons or recommendations — but take a lesson from Whirlpool. They increased their click-through-rate (CTR) by 42% simply by reducing the number of CTAs in their emails from four to one.

Aim for a clear CTA that stands out and encourages a simple action without asking too much. Your Welcome email is a bridge back to your site, not only to activation but also to further engagement. Keeping your CTA clear and low-risk will encourage your customer to take that next step.

2. If You Have the Data to Personalize, Use It!

There are many ways to collect email addresses —  events, lead generation campaigns, sign-up forms, social media, etc. — and somewhere along the way, you’ve probably also gathered a name, location, or more.

If you have the data, go beyond personalizing with just a first name. Segment your users based on whatever data points you have available in order to tailor your message more precisely. Just make sure to test to ensure you’re personalizing in ways that make sense for each individual customer.

3. It’s a Conversation — Make it Easy to Reply

Treat the Welcome email as an opportunity to connect with and learn from new users. This is your opportunity to speak directly to your customer, human-to-human, so be friendly and informal — let your brand personality shine.

But remember that this is a conversation, not a lecture — that means banishing the “do-not-reply.” If possible, sign the email from a real person, using both their name and email address. Maybe even a phone number. At the very least, make sure hitting ‘Reply’ will actually result in a response you’ll receive. It should be easy for your customer to respond — they might have questions or feedback and they shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to reach you.

4. Make Your Welcome Email Look Like Your Website

Brand consistency makes a positive — and lasting — impression. That means using HTML. When your Welcome emails mirror the look and feel of your site, you streamline the user’s path to activation.

Not only that, if your value proposition is difficult to express, HTML allows you to use graphics to create a memorable, visual representation.

5. Express Your Appreciation

You can have the most enticing CTA on the planet, built with the most beautifully rendered HTML, but you can still lose your customer simply by neglecting to thank them. Just as the sales clerk who fails to say, “Thank you,” can sour an otherwise great experience, so, too, can a Welcome email without an expression of gratitude. It should go without saying but I’m going to say it anyway — thank your customer.

The Last Word…

…belongs to your customers. These are the people who receive your Welcome email, people who have self-selected as being interested in what you have to offer. And in the age of GDPR marketing, your Welcome email is a prime opportunity to demonstrate your value to the customer, encouraging them to continue the conversation they started on your website.