When it comes to marketing your business, you know it's critical to establish an ongoing relationship with customers and prospects, especially when you're just starting out.

What's one of the first things you do? You build an email list.

You want to do this right, and do it organically. So, you add an email sign-up form to your website and your social networks. You also have a big ol' sign-up sheet at your store, events, and trade shows. And before long, the email addresses start coming in.

Now what?

You need to send them a welcome email, stat! Not to put the pressure on or anything, but that first email is like the all-important first impression on a hot date. You don't want to come off as desperate (so no hard sells here, please), but you definitely want to pique their interest.

Here are seven simple tweaks to take that welcome email from zero to hero:

1. Be Recognizable

The "from" line is one of the first things people see, even before your subject line. If the "from" line is anything other than your company name or the person your subscribers specifically opted-in to get emails from, they might get confused or annoyed and unsubscribe.

2. Remind Them

Because new subscribers may not remember signing up, your welcome email is a great opportunity to remind them how they got on your mailing list or when/where they signed up for your emails (e.g., at a specific event, on Facebook, etc.). This also will eliminate any suspicion that you got their address off a purchased list.

3. Have Some Fun

This is where you can really break from the monotony and be memorable, or start to become more than "just a business" to your subscribers. Unless you're in a super serious industry, injecting a little personality in your message will help you stand out from a sea of similar emails.

4. Be Consistent

Your emails should have a consistent look with the rest of your brand. Are your company colors red and gold? Don't design your welcome email with purple and black. Remember, the recipient might not recall who you are. Using consistent visual cues will help jog their memory.

5. Link to More Details About Your Company

The welcome email is a great opportunity to refer new subscribers back to pages on your website that can be helpful, like the FAQ section or your blog. They can easily access more background information about your company, product, or service. This is super important in the early days, when you're just beginning to establish a relationship with a customer or prospect.

6. Get Social

The best welcome letters also promote others ways your recipients can connect with you. Got a Facebook Page? Link to it. Same for Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube and any other social networks you may be on. Don't forget your blog, too.

7. Set Expectations

This really is just about making sure your subscribers know how often they'll hear from you and what you'll send them. It can be as simple as saying, "Once a week, you'll get an email from us jam-packed with (fill in the blank) ideas and inspiration."

Have you received any memorable welcome emails? Tell me what was cool about it in the comments below!

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