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Behind the Envelope: One Thing You Can Do to Make a Better Impression

Background with world map and connected envelope signs, internet concept

Welcome to Behind the Envelope, a series of posts exploring ways to get the most from GovDelivery. To date, we covered the GovDelivery Network, ways to increase your subscribers and auditing your subscription process. Today we want to draw your attention to the welcome message citizens receive when they subscribe to your topics. Have an idea on something you’d like us to cover? Drop us a line.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Growing up, you probably heard this more than you wanted to and now as an adult you know your parents were right. First impressions count. They count when meeting people and they count when a citizen subscribes to a topic.

One thing you can do now to make a better impression is improve your ‘Welcome New Subscriber’ message. When a citizen first subscribes to any of your topics, they receive a welcome message from your account. Confession time. Our standard, out-of-the-box version of the welcome message is pretty darn plain. It’s so plain, that if no changes are made to it, citizens receive a welcome message about as exciting as a limp handshake.

I know what you’re thinking, “Mike, it’s just a simple welcome message. Do people even pay attention to it?” Welcome messages are more important than most people give them credit for and often overlooked. Just think about it. There are a billion websites in the world and by if some miracle a citizen finds your site and then finds the subscription option and then decides “yes, I want the government to send emails to my overcrowded inbox” a citizen has proactively decided to engage with you. Take advantage of that and send them a more impressive welcome. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity.

Changing Your Welcome Message

Changing the welcome subscriber message in our system is relatively easy and the best part is that once you’ve upgraded the welcome message, it’s not something that needs a lot of attention. Something you can set and forget.

The welcome message is one of several transactional messages and can be found by starting at the Templates button on the left navigation. Once you’ve clicked on Templates, you’ll see Transactional Messages on the right side.

Templates_subscription pages

Clicking on Transactional messages will bring up a list of messages you can edit. Welcome New Subscriber can be found on the bottom.

Templates_transactional messages

Clicking on it will allow you to begin editing it.


Welcome messages can range fairly simple to the more complex, so don’t worry if you understand the value, but need some ides. Here are three examples we like:

  1. U.S. Department of the Interior
    Department of Interior
  2. Stearns County, MN
    Stearns County MN
  3. Michigan Economic Development Corporation

While varying from simple to more complex, each of these messages have a few things in common. First, they all say ‘thank you’. As dumb as I sound for pointing that out, don’t forget the whole reason for the message while you editing yours. Second, they all wisely mention available social channels. If a citizen is already in the mood to receive information from you, capitalize on that feeling and let them know others ways they can stay informed. Third, in the process of editing their welcome messages, each agency has moved their efforts one step further down the path of becoming a more mature and successful communication organization. Whether your update to the welcome message is simple or elaborate, make the time to edit your message. Welcome messages have good open and click rates because people are in the mood to engage with you. Take advantage of it!

Taking the Welcome Message to a Whole New Level

After you’ve improved your welcome new subscriber message, reach out to your Client Success Consultant and ask them about our Advanced Package for the Communications Cloud. The Advanced Package has a lot of cool functionality, one of the best being the ability to create an on-boarding campaign. A campaign is a series of emails sent to a subscriber over a period of time. Campaigns allow you to deepen your connection with a new subscriber. For example, think of a first message thanking the subscriber and encouraging them to follow your social channels while the second message provides an overview of programs and initiatives while the third message is an invitation to attend an event or volunteer.

Want to learn more about transactional messages and what you can do with them? Visit the transactional message page on our support site. As a reminder, our support site is always available to you while you’re in your account. Just look for the link in the upper right of your screen.