How & What To Send To New Email Subscribers

Welcome Series Email Campaign

How & What To Send To New Email Subscribers

Did you know email marketing generates 174% more conversions than social media, with 320% more revenue if you use automated emails instead on non-automated ones. (Campaign Monitor, 2016) Want to leverage email marketing but not sure which email automation tool is the best for your nonprofit? Let us try to simplify the process for you. If you are a nonprofit already using Salesforce for your CRM then Pardot is a great option for you. Not only is Pardot robust but it seamlessly integrates with Salesforce letting you access and use your entire CRM database.

Pardot is Salesforce’s marketing automation tool that helps organizations with lead generation and nurturing by tracking and measuring the effectiveness of their communications, gaining insights on user behavior, and then using all the above to personalize content across campaigns. And the best part about Pardot is that it is extremely easy to use.  

So where should you start? Start with the basics. Set up the first email of a Welcome Series campaign for your email subscribers. A welcome series is a key automation for email subscribers and nonprofit marketers. Individuals who newly join your list get the answers to some of the most important questions they’re likely to have about your work. At the same time, you learn as much as you can about these subscribers, which can inform how you connect with them moving forward.  

Need help setting one up? ECHO and Firefly Partners have you covered. This is the first of a two-blog series on email marketing and automation through Pardot to help your nonprofit communicate effectively with constituents and prospects as well as generate leads in no time. Here is how to set up an email campaign for a Welcome Series in Pardot:

Step 1: Add an Email Template 

When you start an email campaign you can either build a template in Pardot or use an existing template design. For first-time users, we recommend using an existing template design and modifying it to suit your content. On the Homepage, go to Menu > Marketing > Emails > Templates > Add Email Template. You will see the following pop-up: 

Basic Template Information popup

Step 2: Fill Out the Basic Template Information and Choose an Appropriate Layout

Fill out the Name of the Email (Thank You), folder (Email Templates) and campaign (Welcome Series). Since this is the first campaign you can just click on the choose buttons for folder and campaign and add folders with the appropriate names. Finally select all checkboxes in front of Available for except One-to-One emails since we are doing a campaign. 

This is the pop-up you will see next: 

Pardot- Layouts
Choose a Layout

Pardot lets you choose from a list of responsive and non-responsive email templates with different layout styles. Good templates to start with are Responsive Basic (text-focused) and Responsive Image Basic (a good balance of text and images).  

Step 3: Customize your template draft with the desired subject, images and content.  

Customizing Pardot templates is as easy as it gets. Each section has dummy text which gives you an idea about what text should go there. For reference, see below the responsive basic template before and after it was filled out: 

Pardot - Email Template Draft
Responsive Basic Template – Before
Pardot - Final Customized Email Template
Responsive Basic Template – After

The filled-out template on the right took less than 10 minutes to create. Really, it is that simple! 

Step 4: Choose Your Email List. 

Now this is where existing Salesforce users benefit the most! Pardot lets you pull contacts from your Salesforce database. You can create both dynamic lists (which automatically update in Pardot every time a contact or lead is added to it in Salesforce) and static lists (which stay as they are). You can also add contacts directly (like in the case of new email subscribers) directly into Pardot by integrating Pardot with your website. To pull a list from Salesforce you need to go to Menu > Segmentation > Rule > Add Segmentation Rule. To set a rule, just set the criteria/fields that you want to use to pull the list. Below is an example of pulling all email addresses with the CRM status of lead in Salesforce: 

Add Segmentation Rule

Once you have your email list, all you need to do is go to the Sending tab of your email draft and select the email list for the Send (List) drop down. Also, don’t forget to fill out the Sender’s name and email address. See image below: 

Email Template – Sending tab

Step 5: Send Test Email. 

Golden Rule of email marketing: Always send a test email to yourself before sending out an email to customers. This gives you a chance to fix any issues or errors. To do so go to the Testing tab of the email draft. You can either create a test list (when sending to multiple people) or send it to an individual email (see below). 

Sending Test Emails

Step 6: Send Email. 

This is it! Go back to the Sending tab, double check your “send” email list, sender’s name and sender’s email address as well as your subject. If everything looks great, then you are good to send your email out or schedule it to go out at a later date and time. 

Send or Schedule Email

That wasn’t difficult was it!? Now that you’ve grasped the technical part of how to create and send an email template in Pardot, it’s time to think about the content. We asked our friends at Firefly Partners to share their expert thoughts about five emails you should include in a welcome series

#1 Thank you 

The first message should be about thanking your subscribers for signing up and getting to know them. You want to understand why they joined and what they are most interested in. Directing them to a form that gives them the chance to answer a question supplies you with information and helps them feel more involved. It could be as simple as a single question asking what inspires them, or what kind of resources they need. If your organization has different email subscriber lists based on specific interests, you could use this first email as an opportunity for them to click through to your site and select the specific content they want.  

#2 Introduction 

The second email in your series is about them getting to know you. Essentially, it’s an introduction to your organization. You want to focus on mission-critical details that tell your nonprofit’s story. If you are engaged in a particularly relevant campaign or issue, this is a great time to mention that as well. We recommend avoiding a specific ask in this email, though you could offer subscribers a variety of links to different pages on your site where they can get more information. Doing so presents you with an opportunity to pay close attention to click throughs, which allows you to see what pages are most interesting to new subscribers.  

#3 CTA 

Up next is a message with a clear call-to-action. This could be anything from a request to share content on social media, to forward the email to a friend, to take legislative action, or to sign up for an event. The message is that there are many small ways to support your mission. The goal of this first ask is to get that initial level of engagement without scaring people away. In addition to the welcome series, make sure you have an autoresponder set up when the action is taken so participants get that all-important thank you.  

#4 Going Deeper 

Follow up this first small ask with another informational message, this time focused on stories. People want to know how you’re making a difference, the impact of your organization, and what part they play in the process. In the previous message you asked them to do something – now you want them to know why. If you do want to include an action, it could be small, like asking them to submit their own personal story via a web form. Just remember that the overall goal of a welcome series is to guide subscribers through a journey. You’re approaching a bigger ask, so it is completely fine to have no specific action in this message. 

#5 Gift 

At this point you know who they are, and they know what you do and why. That means it’s time to ask them for a donation. It’s a good idea to mention monthly recurring donations here, and to explain the benefits of a predictable stream of funding. Content-wise you can refer back to previous emails, reminding them of your programs, your impact, and your mission-critical campaigns. Just don’t let that content detract from the ask.  

One question we get often is about the right cadence for a welcome series. We always recommend A/B testing, but that can be a little challenging with a series, because there are so many variations. The time between two emails of a welcome series should not exceed 14 days. Five to seven days between each message keeps your organization front and center without being burdensome.  

Additionally, it’s worth remembering that unsubscribes are part of this process, so don’t let them get you down. If someone signs up and then removes themselves from your list, it means they’re not interested in further engagement. This is not a numbers game, it’s a relationship-building game. You should focus more on the connections you are making, and less on those who are opting out. 

Found this blog useful? Well, we have some more amazing email automation content coming your way! ECHO and Firefly are doing a second blog as a part of this email automation series which will talk about managing a fundraising drip campaign while using email journeys to encourage different types of donors to move up in their level of participation.



Firefly Partners is a women-owned, women-led digital marketing agency. We put our technology expertise to work for progressive nonprofits who are tackling today’s biggest social challenges. Creating a more just and equitable world takes persistence. As you bang the drum for change, progress, and equality, our team is here to help.