The dumbest thing customer.io has done to date

This post was originally sent as an email

Hello Friend,

Believe it or not, when John and I started Customer.io, we were scared to send you email. We thought: “We’ve got one shot at emailing you to check out our product. Let’s make it perfect”.

Not communicating with you is the dumbest thing we’ve done to date. Here’s what we learned from Ramit Sethi, New York Times bestselling author and probably the best “white hat” email marketer around:

After a month, most people don’t remember signing up. After 6 months, the entire list of people is cold. Dead. Gone. It’s basically as though the person never signed up. But what about when you have a live product that people can sign up for?

We spent months asking companies “what happens after people sign up for your product if they do nothing else?”. The most common answer?

Absolutely nothing. They spend 30 – 60 seconds on the site, and never hear from that site again. People are so afraid of email that they sit on their hands. They wait until the next “Monthly Newsletter” to write a boring, generic update. If your product is live, and you have people signing up but they never hear from you again except for newsletters, you’re making a big mistake.

Even if you aren’t afraid to email — what do you say?

The two most common strategies we’ve uncovered are education and personalization. A series of educational emails keep a product in the front of the user’s mind while teaching about the product. Then, there’s personalization — an email from the CEO just after signing up. Often this email is followed up a day later with someone checking in from the support team. When we’ve analyzed successful web apps, they’re almost always using one of these strategies.

You could be printing money. Why haven’t you built this yet?

“Even the dumbest possible implementation of [lifecycle emails] prints money in my experience” – Patrick McKenzie (patio11 on Hacker News).

We know this, and I’m guessing you knew this which is why you’re interested in our product. We’re working to release publicly in the next few months, and are adding more people to our private beta as soon as we can.

Even while you’re waiting, I can still help you.

While we get the product ready for broader use, we’re excited to share what we learn from you, our own testing, and from conversations with experts like Ramit Sethi and Patrick McKenzie. So let’s get started making us all experts:

Question: What’s your biggest fear about sending more email to your users?

Write me a few sentences explaining what your biggest fear is with sending more email to your users. I’ll compile what everyone says, anonymize it and share the feedback next time I write.

  • Colin