Lifecycle Marketing Fail

I got an email this morning from a service I signed up with on March 3rd. They were trying to move me from a free trial to be a paid user. It’s a service that’s tremendously useful for businesses. They’ve garnered a lot of attention from the press, and have a wonderful story. I want them to succeed.

Is this a good way build a relationship with a prospective customer?

Here are the emails they’ve sent:

  • March 3rd: Welcome to our product!
  • April: … (Nothing)
  • May: … (Nothing)
  • June 28th: Pay us money. No more free plans.

No! It’s not a good way to build a relationship. After almost 4 full months of me not logging in, I’m being asked to pony up a credit card or have my account canceled. What does the product do again?

With their current strategy, they gave themselves one shot to activate me a as a user. One chance to have everything go right. Why would you give yourself such poor odds?

What should they have done?

Here’s my response to their email:

I signed up on March 3rd to check out ______. This was the wrong timing for my company. I promptly forgot about you. This is the only communication I’ve received from you since then. Why haven’t you emailed me more?

At this point, I haven’t gotten any value out of your product and you’re writing a long email asking me to give something to you: my company’s money. Give something to me! Educate me. Share the knowledge I know you’re gaining talking with customers every day. I can’t tell you how much this email feels like a stranger walking up to me asking me for money.

Here’s what I’d recommend:
* Send 3 – 5 emails when a user signs up educating them about how to get value from the product.
* If they don’t log in for 30 days, send them an email asking them if they need help.
* Send an email to your entire user-base every week or two with amazing, interesting advice.

I like your story and I want you to be successful, and you may achieve success in spite of the radio silence. But, I guarantee you if you send those emails, you’ll have more paying customers getting tremendous value out of your product than if you don’t.