What’s a welcome message?

You know what they say – it’s the first impression that matters. When you go out on a first date, when you prepare for a job interview, do you ever find yourself obsessing over how you’ll come across? Well, it’s the same exact thing for your digital product.

This is exactly why the welcome message is key. It represents the first touch point between your app and your user or, sometimes it might happen, with your brand. It’s that 5-second span when you look someone in the eye and shake his/her hand for a few seconds. For this reason, it is vital that you plan this and do your best to make a good impression.

What are the main objectives of a well-thought-out welcome message? Here are the top three:

  1. First off, it’s a way to greet and welcome your user and set the tone for your relationship. Even though it’s not that common, there is a chance your voice is different on your app when compared to the voice you use on other channels/platforms. If so, the welcome message is the right place to highlight your specific style.
  2. Secondly, you can use a welcome message to give your user a brief anticipation of what they will find inside your app. It can be a teaser, aimed at peaking interest and entice the user to keep exploring the app, or a way to create a connection and tell the user something about you, your brand and your why.
  3. Last but not least, it’s a tool you should take advantage of to introduce your users to the experience you have been building for them with your app. Right after the users starts the app and right before he starts the tutorial, he needs to understand what’s in it for him. Remember he is about to start using a new tool and that even the easiest one has a learning curve. The welcome message is the right moment to point out to your user why he should take the time and put the effort required to learn how to use your app and incorporate it in his routine.

Welcome messages do not have a standard format. You can actually use a variety of channels and tools, each with its pros and cons. When it comes to mobile apps, you can mainly use e-mails, push notifications and in-app messages.

Why is a welcome message so important?

Let’s start with a sprinkle of hard cold Data.

About 70% of users will delete your app within the first three days after downloading it.

One of the saddest things of all is that reducing this churn rate is pretty easy. You will never bring it down to a few percentage points, but you can do great things to shrink it down. It all starts with trying to walk in your users’ shoes.

If you try to apply this concept to welcome messages, what you need to do is pretty straightforward. You have been spending money and time to bring awareness to your potential audience, to gently nudge them toward your app. They’ve decided to surrender some of their privacy by downloading on their phone your solution; you are actually occupying a square on your user’s device. Most importantly, you are always in his/her pocket. Now it’s your time to shine: let him know why you’ve been waving your harms trying to get his attention so badly!

Yet, most app developers fail to take this step. They’ve been asking users to pay attention, to download the app, to open it up and then – they fall on their own face. How? They keep asking the user to take action, learn things, understand why the app exists and why they should use it – all these things with no effort on their part. Zero. Zip. Nada.

You’re starting to see where I’m going with this, huh? Well, it’s fairly simple. To get good results and reduce the initial drop-off, you need to take care of your users. The best possible way you have at your fingertip when it comes to mobile apps it’s a well-crafted welcome message.

There are no secret recipes to craft the perfect welcome message. I tried to come up with a few principles to plan and create a welcome message that entices the user and reduces the churn rate you usually experience with mobile apps. Let’s see how to make that happen.

How to create an effective welcome message

Again, let’s be clear: when a user downloads your app and opens it up for the first time, there’s a quite big chance he has no idea if and how your app might be useful to him. If you do not intervene, the user will find himself confused and bewildered; this sensation is exactly the one that pushes users to label your app as useless and delete it in a heartbeat.

How do you prevent this from happening? You should share your mission statement with him as soon as humanly possible. And I don’t mean the company mission statement, but the why and how behind your mobile app. The message should be short, clear and relevant. It should flawlessly describe what the user should expect from the experience and what he will get out of it if he sticks around.

Focus on him, not on you. I’ll write it again, read it carefully: focus on your user, not on you/your company/your brand. The user is not interested in you, he just wants to know what he will get from your app (but this is valid for any tool or product). Define your tone of voice and explain him what your app offers and how his life will change if he takes the time to learn to use it.

I guess you wanted a list, huh? Okay, here we go:

1. Pick ONE person

Don’t talk to the masses. You’re not addressing the nation. Pick one person you want to talk to and write/talk as if he was right in front of you. Write a clear, sincere and trustworthy message addressing him directly. What should he know about your app? How would he benefit from using it?

2. Keep it short and go to the heart of the question

When the user downloads your app and opens it up for the first time, you have a narrow window to convince him to keep using it. According to some studies, the time a user spends in deciding if an app is worthy of his time is between 3 and 5 seconds. It’s a pretty tight window, isn’t it? No time to waste!

3. Keep it simple

When it comes to vocabulary, choose easy to understand words. Avoid using jargon or including complicated concepts (remember the 3-5 seconds window?). Taking action should be a no-brainer for your user.

4. Focus on the user

Yes, I wrote it again. On purpose. Don’t talk about YOU, talk about your user. He downloaded the app because he thinks he can get something out of it. Reinforce his idea and let him know why your app will be useful.

5. Test it out

Experiment with different messages, different styles, designs, tone of voice. Monitor the results, optimize and keep testing to create the best welcome message for your audience.

6. Include a Call To Action

A call to action (a.k.a. CTA) is a clear and concise message which pushes the users to perform a certain action. Many people mistakenly think a CTA is just another way to call a button; even thought it’s the most common UI element used for CTAs, a CTA could even be simple text.

The most important component of the call to action is indeed the content: “Try it now”, “Read more”, “Get yours”, are just some of the most common call to actions you can see. You can find CTAs in ads, on billboards, on public transportation, in brick-and-mortar stores, so on and so forth.

Try to include a CTA in your welcome page, measure its effectiveness and experiment with it until you find the perfect one for you. And hey – a perfect CTA is not just the one that gets clicked the most, but the one that produces the best results. Always be clear on your objective and then pinpoint the correct KPIs you need to analyze to measure performance.

7. Employ a multi-channel strategy

If possible, try to reach out to your user on multiple channels to optimize the reach and increase your chances of success. For example, you could send a welcome message through a push notification and simultaneously send an email.

Since you are using different channels, you can find a way to personalize the experience and communicate many more strengths and values than the ones you can fit into a quick push notification.

How to send a welcome message through push notifications (with 5 examples!πŸ–)

1. Welcome your user with a personal touch
Pick your style and tone and reach out to your users with a customized welcome message.

2. Highlight the main features of your app
Tell your user in a nutshell what features they are going to find inside your app. You need to let them know because – lo and behold – most of them are not psychics.

3. Tell them why they should stick around
Inform your users of your app’s features and invite them to start exploring them now.

4. Send custom notifications
Customize your push notification to include info you collected on your user. Personalization is key to speed up the process of creating a relationship with your fans.

5. Invite them to take action
Dive right in and invite the user to take action. Do you have an online shop? Offer a discount code. Are you running a contest or a giveaways? Entice the user with the prizes and nudge him in the right direction