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Why it's important to make sure you know exactly what pain you're attempting to alleviate when you craft a series of onboarding emails. It's so easy to jump the gun, and start pushing all the features that you think are the most interesting parts of your product, without considering how deep into your product someone would have to be to appreciate them.

This post and associated guide are all about getting to the point where you can automate your onboarding including:
- Determining the pain points in adoption
- Developing resources to guide users past them
- Automating users' exposure to the appropriate resources
- And actually measuring if it's working.

  • LM

    Lincoln Murphy

    over 4 years ago #

    In the super-early days, don't waste time automating things... you'll just have to rebuild it when you learn that it doesn't work. You don't know what you don't know so be willing to have those interactions and do the manual (unscalable) things to get those learnings.

    That said, I don't believe in time-based "drip campaigns" for on-boarding anymore. I used to, but that was way back when you had to roll your own system to do triggered lifecycle messaging so it was often a non-starter.

    But with tools like Intercom, Vero, Autosend.io, etc. there's simply no excuse not to use triggered messages today.

    The reality is, to get people to take action, you need to provide the right call to action (CTA) at the right time. And in my experience, it's rare for that “time” to be the same for every user/customer. Users/customers will reach milestones in your app on a unique cadence. That's why, for me, drip campaigns aren't ideal.

    Ultimately, though... it's all about helping your customers achieve success with your product. While creating triggered messages around reaching success milestones is - IMHO - the best way, the key isn't the trigger or the message... it's that it's based around your customer achieving success with your product.

    So even if you - gulp - created a drip campaign, but were to focus in on helping your customer reach success milestones, you'll avoid a lot of the pitfalls or miscommunications many early vendors run into and could actually see a decent result.

    Triggered messages (and, in fact, an entire on-boarding process) built around success milestones is definitely the way to.

    • VV

      Visakan Veerasamy

      over 4 years ago #

      Agreed. For the first few users- for the first 100, at least, I'd start by sending out individual personal emails that are humble, genuine and super-honest.

      From there we'd learn all sorts of things that we might otherwise miss- and this would inform a better drip campaign later on.

    • BA

      billy attar

      over 4 years ago #

      Couldn't agree more with the statement "...it’s all about helping your customers achieve success with your product."

      Start-ups get so focused on their goals (i.e. conversions, click %, etc.) they forget that long-term success is created by making customers happy. Interactions need to feel as genuine and helpful as possible.

  • KB

    Kevin Bates

    over 4 years ago #

    True story.

    I built out a drip campaign that got me hate mail once, simply because I missed the mark and accidentally hit an emotional hot-button.

    Talk about learning that lesson the hard way! :)

    Great share!

  • RG

    Robert Graham

    over 4 years ago #

    Nice post. It's funny how many problems are solved by actually talking to customers.

  • TW

    Timothy Wu

    over 4 years ago #

    Commented in the post with this:

    [Great advice and couldn’t be better timed. We’re in the process right now of scaling the marketing automation machine back and bringing it back to basics.

    Email our customers. Talk to them directly, and get real feedback on how we can focus on our customers’ needs.

    Thanks for the post!]

  • AM

    Ammar Mian

    over 4 years ago #

    Couldn't agree more with this: " One of the most harmful things a founder can do is make assumptions about what users want from their product without testing and verifying those assumptions. "

    Another interesting thought re: drip campaigns/email marketing is that oftentimes whether someone even bothers to open the email or click-through depends in part on "cultural imprinting" - Kevin Simler explains it as the "mechanism whereby an ad, rather than trying to change our minds individually, instead changes the landscape of cultural meanings — which in turn changes how we are perceived by others when we use a product." As a "growth hack", pretty cool concept. As in, why do I skip over my daily email from Feedly but make sure to read through everything on Medium's daily digest? (a lot of other variables here, but in terms of branding to hack growth, Medium has been epic at making themselves become something bigger than just a well-design blog).

    Check out Simler's awesome piece here: http://www.meltingasphalt.com/ads-dont-work-that-way/

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