Seeing your email list grow is a great feeling. You’ve put in hard work to get quality leads and now they’ll stick around and buy your products or services, right? Not necessarily!

Once you’ve got a captive audience, you need to make them want to stay on your email marketing list. A great way to do that is to create a multi-part gauntlet welcome series to help new leads familiarize themselves with your company and to set expectations for future communications.

Every business is different and depending on how often you send emails, you might do a one-part series or a five-part series… or something in between! Regardless of how many emails your gauntlet encompasses, there are some problems you may encounter and some solutions that will help make it successful.

Problem: Waiting too long to communicate with new leads.
Solution: Send an email immediately when someone subscribes.
If you don’t make contact with new leads immediately, they may forget about you. This could even lead to them marking your emails as spam when they receive the first one days or even weeks later. You should have an automatically triggered email queued up to send to the new lead immediately after they sign up, day or night. The first email sets the tone and expectation for all future communications, so craft it carefully. It should include information about whitelisting as well as details on how frequently mailings will occur.

Problem: Sending generic emails.
Solution: Inject personality into your copy.
While these emails should be automatically triggered, they shouldn’t only include basic, sometimes dry information. Your new leads won’t remember you if you don’t engage them right away. Beyond the basic information mentioned above, the first email should introduce the main person (or people) that the reader will be hearing from. This is a great place to explain how the writer, publisher or business owner got into the field and what they have to offer.

Problem: Assuming the new lead already knows about your products or services.
Solution: Send an email specifically dedicated to explaining what you do and how it can benefit your new leads.
Just because someone signed up with your company doesn’t mean they know who you are or what you do. In fact, the reason they signed up is likely because they’re trying to figure that out. Include a history of your business and some of your mission statement. This is always a good place to mention any awards your business has be honored with throughout the years. This mailing should strike a nice balance between informing and marketing … think of it as an advertorial.

Problem: Underestimating the power of free.
Solution: Give away more reports or whitepapers.
You may have enticed a new lead with a special report or whitepaper that you should have sent them right away when they subscribed. But you probably have a lot of other great content that they haven’t seen. After you’ve communicated with your new leads a few times, send them an email containing a few special reports or whitepapers. The best ones are both timeless and timely. For example, if you’re in the financial industry, pull out a pre-written report about what to do during bear markets when the stock market drops.

Problem: Forgetting to ask new leads what they think.
Solution: Send a survey to new leads.
It’s easy to get caught up in sending new leads information about your company without ever thinking to ask them what they think or want to know. Engage them early and often. Create a specially crafted survey tailored just to new leads. Ask them what they think of your company so far, whether they would recommend you to a friend and relevant demographic information. Data from this survey can provide great insights when paired with data from surveys for existing subscribers, such a pinpointing when people are leaving the list and why.

Problem: Not selling enough.
Solution: Market early and often throughout the gauntlet series.
It’s important not to hit new leads over the head with a sales pitch the moment you start sending mail to them, but it’s equally important not to wait too long either. Most people are looking for a solution to a pressing need, so make sure that you provide it. Start with your most basic or popular product or service and move on from there. Each email should include an advertisement for something your company does. Seeing these messages  from the beginning will make subscribers more likely to buy in the future because they will have come to expect them.

Creating a gauntlet welcome series will help you retain and nurture new leads on your email marketing lists. And following these recommendations will enable you to create long-lasting, profitable relationships with your customers.