We get great suggestions, feedback, sales opportunities, etc. from replies to automated messages. We don't get many complaint emails, but when we do the author seems to think they're yelling into a void. People seem genuinely impressed when they get at thoughtful reply back and sometimes it changes their whole impression of us.
To this I'd also add: Always confirm email addresses. Every time someone signs up for an account, send a confirmation email with an easy means of notifying you that I'm not the person who signed up for the account. So few do this.
^ as above, multiple opportunities have come from simply being empathetic to the fact that someone was tired of your automated emails. Being a real human helps.
Welcome email? Great - tell them something that will help them to get setup.
Referral email? Great - tell them how they can win by referring you, and I mean really win.
Promotional email? Make sure that promo is worth their while.
And never take your audience's time for granted. You're trying to build a relationship.
Includes contributions from Ivan Kirigin (YesGraph), Noah Kagan (AppSumo), and more.
No matter how much you may/may not like receiving email, there are a lot of people out there who do. This guide should help you reach them, without annoying the others.
direct link to that section: https://www.sendwithus.com/resources/guide#ch3-survey
Can I use your product in the email? No? Then don't send me an onboarding email, do the onboarding in-product with overlays when I log into it for the first time. Google does this with some success for Gmail if I recall correctly, it has arrows pointing at different sections and everything, and you can click to dismiss them.
Bombarding the consumer with multiple onboarding emails may generate a high click rate, but if your target market has people that hate spam, it will instantly leave a bad taste in their mouth. It really sucks when I sign up for a new product I am peripherally interested in, and they clutter up my empty inbox with 5 enthusiastic emails, none of which has any content that I can actually use -- just links to the website.
Is there some inherent value to being "like a startup" or following "trends"?
That said, a huge caveat is that this all depends on your audience and what they're going to respond to.
I would posit that startups are more apt (than a larger company) to experiment with marketing, which is valuable.
I helped with the referrals bits, but the other sections taught me a lot too.
For Facebook, they’ve defined core retention behavior as the point when a user has added at least 15 friends to their account. In Alex Schultz’s Startup Class lecture he discloses that, for Facebook, someone that has 15 friends is likely to remain active on the service for a long time, so their retention strategies are all focused around promoting the behavior of adding friends.
To find your own core retention behavior, look for specific actions that are common to your ideal users, then promote that behavior in your retention strategies.
I'm not a marketing expert, but this seems like a classic example of "confusing causation and correlation" to me. So, in the example above, facebook has found that "user has > 15 friends" is a good indicator for "user is loyal". Fair enough. but instead of going "we have this awesome way of identifying loyal users, now let's find out what made them loyal in the first place", the guide assumes that the high friend count actually causes the loyality and advises to do everything to bump it up.
In Facebook's case, this probably works, because friend count might actually influence retention in some ways. (e.g., your news feed might become more active or more interesting, making you want to stay). But even then, you're kept completely in the dark what made those people sign up and add friends in the first place.
i think taking this as a general advice might actually be dangerous. In the best case, you keep a high retention rate but have no idea why; In the worst case, it might tempt you to build "features" that try to manipulate or even force the users into particular behaviors, only to inflate some metric. (see, e.g. Pinterest's "auto-following" routine: http://www.businessinsider.com/wait-a-minute-pinterests-sign... )
I've got a question about your starter/hacker plan... Up to 1,000 recipients/month means that I can do X sends up to 1,000 different emails? For instance, mandrill has 12,000 Free emails limit. Can I connect mandrill and use those 12k/month as long as I don't have more than 1k/users in your system?
You're absolutely correct about our hacker plan; up to 1,000 unique email recipients per month (it resets each month).
This might work for some types of businesses, I suppose. For others it would be a huge misstep.
Whether its origin is a startup or a giant corporation, any email can be made to sound like a poor marketing scam - just include run-on sentences like that one.
And once you are trained to spot a NPS question, yeah, it starts to rub you completely wrong. And you can tell when you are part of a email drip campaign more quickly, or when you go from being a automated plast to a warm lead or whatever.
re NPS, I do think it's useful to ask people who aren't 8's why they don't like you maybe more so than asking the 9-10s to engage more. I am also not sold of the NPS idea of only asking that 1 question - but surveys can often be constructed to only answer the known unknowns [sic] and can be misleading. Arbitrary comment boxes without leading questions I think are great.
Use it as a learning tool, not a selling tool. It is more interesting to try to make being awesome your selling tool.
Same goes for blog posts, if it's full of buzzwords with no details, and it's obviously marketing, if the buyer audience is actually technical users, those efforts are likely misapplied.
How to blogs are much more genuine.