When was the last time you looked at your welcome message? When did you last test elements of it? Too often, e-mail marketers underutilize welcome messages. They're viewed as transactional, a way to confirm provided information. But they can (and should) be so much more.

A welcome message is the e-mail sent either just after opt-in (in a single opt-in scenario) or just after opt-in is confirmed (in a double opt-in scenario). It should include basic information about that transaction, including:

- The e-mail addressed used to opt in

- The recipient's password (if it was part of the opt-in)

- The e-mail newsletters or types of information the recipient opted in to receive

- A link to your Web site

- A method to unsubscribe or update the recipient's preferences

- An e-mail address to contact you if the recipient has questions

The welcome message is also a great marketing opportunity. These e-mail messages tend to have high open rates, probably because recipients are newly engaged and interested. Why not take advantage of that? Below, six tips to help make your welcome message live up to its full potential.

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