It is getting harder and harder for small online retailers to compete. In a world dominated by Amazon, if you are competing on price, you’re in a race to the bottom and Amazon will win.

There must be something that sets you apart. Something that Amazon cannot replicate -  a unique selling proposition (USP).

Your USP must be unmistakable. Woven into your online store and communicated via every touch point with your prospects and customers.

One of your first areas of focus should be your method of turning an anonymous visitor into a lead, a lead into a known prospect and a known prospect into your customer.

You can do this through an automated New Welcome Series.

If you go to 10 small online retailer websites, I can almost guarantee that 70% of them will have nothing more than a hard-to-find “sign up for our newsletter” form. The other 30% will have a popup form.

Of the 30% with the popup form, two out of three will have just a single welcome email. That leaves one company out of ten with a multi-step Welcome Series.

With traffic being harder and harder to come by, you better be doing a better job at capturing leads on your website. It’s a low-hanging fruit.

Your New Lead Welcome Series should start with a popup that offers something of value in return for your visitor's first name and email address.

Depending on your market, the value you offer could be information. Or it could be a promotion.

Once you have your visitor's first name and email address, you should immediately send out an email and deliver the value you promised.

When I say “you should immediately send out an email,” I certainly do not mean you in the literal sense. You need to leverage a marketing automation engine like Infusionsoft that will do the heavy lifting for you.

Once you deliver your promised value, you should then send a series of emails over the next 30 days. Do not be afraid of sending too much email. Your prospect's interest will never be higher than within the first two weeks of initially opting in. Leverage that interest and send most of the emails within 14 days. Once 14 days are up, consider sending out more email less frequently.

So, you ask 'what should I send?' Here are a few ideas:

Welcome Email

A Welcome Email should introduce yourself. Yes you. As a person. You don’t see Amazon introducing Jeff Bezos and talking about why he started Amazon. Your prospect should relate with you. Make them realize there’s a real person behind the company. Someone that cares.

Top Products

Study your purchase history and find your most popular products. In particular, find out if there is one or a few products that first time customers most often buy. Highlight and link to them.

Promotional Offer

If you offered a discount code or value add offer in return for your prospect’s first name and email, be sure to remind them. A good rule of thumb is to mix in the promotional offer into every third email.

Social Proof

Your prospects should not take your word for it. Collect testimonials from your customers and highlight the best. There is nothing more powerful than social proof at turning prospects into customers. If you can, include your customer’s picture.

Social Media

If you’re active on any social media channels like Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, use your Welcome Series to entice your prospects to engage with you.

Category Email

Highlighting the various product categories on your website is a great way to show your prospect what you have to offer. Your marketing automation engine should be smart enough to track which categories your prospect clicks on and indicate their preferences for your future use.

More Education

If your product requires more education, don’t be afraid to educate through a long series of emails.

Update Your Preferences

If you have a preference center, be sure to highlight it. Your prospects can pick their desired email frequencies, note the categories of products they are interested in, and provide you with additional information that will help you deliver the right message at the right time.

Shipping and Return Policies

Remove any obstacles to purchases. If your company has good shipping and return policies, highlight them! This information just might be the tipping point to getting your prospect to buy!

FAQ Email

Do you have a list of frequently asked questions sent in by prospects and customers? Highlight them. A twist on this is a list of Questions You Should Ask.

The list of emails you can send can go on and on. Again, think about what makes you different. Think about what makes you stand out from Amazon. Your success depends on it.