Email Integration Tips for Startup Founders

Choosing a customer engagement platform can be tricky. Getting it to work right for you can be even trickier. Since we know that startup founders have limited brain space to spend on planning their email integration, we’ve included some of our own CEO’s do’s and don’ts for email integration that he spoke about recently on the Userlist podcast.

Do: measure twice, cut once.

“As you’re setting up your campaigns and deciding how to import your data and what to do with the data model, you will save a lot of time if you plan right,” says Colin Nederkoorn, Customer.io’s CEO. “Make sure you understand your email tool. Do a lot of small tests. Then, once you’re ready to import all of your data, make sure you’ve got the right data model that will support all of the automations you’ll want to do.”

Take it from us: spending 1 hour on planning your integration right may save you 10 hours in the future. Don’t neglect it.

Do: build with future integrations in mind.

Facts are facts: the customer engagement platform (CEP) you chose today won’t be the one you’re using in five years. When you plan your integration, aim to make it as much as possible platform-agnostic. That way when you change platforms (or the platform changes something), you’ll be ready to adapt. Avoid tools that require you to use proprietary languages that aren’t reusable in other systems: while not a CEP, Looker’s LookML, we’re looking at you.

Also, don’t constrain your future self by limiting the kind of data you send in to our platform. It can be hard to know what event data you’ll want to use in the future, so we recommend that you err on the side of sending in more data than less (while respecting privacy constraints, of course).

Don’t: disrespect your customers’ privacy.

If you’re like us, you may get a lot of emails from people offering to sell you lists of potential companies to reach out to. Don’t give in. “The most valuable thing that you have is your relationship with your customers and your audience,” says Colin. “Don’t betray that trust. First party data is the best kind of data, not purchased data.”

“Remember, the expectation that consumers have with what companies do with their data has been frayed. Even if you’re a good company, you might get tarred with the same brush that people are using to talk about the information resellers. Nowadays, consumers are naturally reticent to provide data to companies, but that trust is key to having a good relationship with your audience and customers. Be a good actor. Collect your own first party data. Set expectations for what you’re doing with it. And then treat your customers and their data well.”

In summary, though email marketing can feel like an after-thought with all the other important tasks you’ve got as a start-up founder, taking the time to think it through will save you effort and make for better customer relationships.