Blue Apron's Derailment-Resistant Lifecycle Emails

by Janet Choi

Most users go off the rails from our best-laid plans. And if your lifecycle communication falls off a cliff into silence after signup or fails to strike a chord, the result is indefinite derailment, abandonment and churn.

So we try to get users to do what we want them to do, telling them to “do this” and “click that” and “let us know if you need help with the thing you don’t know or care about yet” — and that’s the problem. Our message is wholly based on what we want and assume. This is the crude railroading approach, as we explain in our post on lifecycle campaign lessons from Dungeons & Dragons. “Railroading”, in D&D, refers to the frowned-upon practice of trying to force players into a pre-written plot, when the fun of the game is in collectively creating the story. Many ineffective lifecycle emails take this approach, coming off as annoying and tonedeaf, because they’re not taking real account of the recipient’s needs.

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