Here’s a trick question for you: “What’s the cheapest way to get a new user?”
If right now you’re thinking about the price differentials between Facebook Ads and Google Ads, you’re doing it wrong.
The cheapest way to get a new user is to fix that giant gaping hole in your bathtub that leaks users after they sign up and before they become valuable.
Remember: Your job doesn’t end when someone gives you their email address
Facebook and Google have built fantastic tools to help you understand how well your ads are driving clicks and even conversions to a sale. But most companies are about relationships, not transactions. And ad platforms just feel transactional and even a little sleazy.
But, people use them because they are easy to set up, easy to understand and easy to show results with. They just cost you.
In the early days of a company, it’s common for the CEO to email every new person who signs up at one time or another. They check to see if they need help and if they got stuck. The CEO might reach out if someone created an account but hasn’t done anything. As companies grow, this behavior stops.
A good rule of thumb is to do things that are not scalable first – like reaching out personally. But then what? It’s all too common that these highly personalized interactions stop as a company grows.
Automatic emails can let you scale the personal touch of those early emails to a great scale. Done right, they feel unique, personalized and not like a marketing email.
Want more? Here are some great user retention email examples from real companies
Here are some stats from email marketing reports:
The first step with creating automatic emails to retain customers is to figure out where the sticky points are. One great thing to do is to map out your signup / key flows in your product and identify how many people are stuck in those different parts of your product.
Once you have your users in clearly defined groups, it’s a little easier to think about how to target an email to that group when an issue occurs. For example: A “paid user” (group) “hasn’t been back to the site in 3 weeks” (trigger). I’d consider this user an “At risk user”. They are paying you but not using your product. They’ll probably cancel unless you establish the value of your product with them.
Your product is full of opportunities for highly targeted messaging to engage your users more.
I’m not going to lie to you. This is a hard problem to solve. Most companies spend months building tools for lifecycle emails if they do anything at all. But what happens as your product evolves. You have to go back in and spend more months to update all the lifecycle emails.
The ideal situation is to have a tool thats easy for a marketing / community manager to define business rules and update the email copy. They might want to test new emails and turn off poorly performing ones. They may want to tweak copy and test one version against another. You could build all this yourself. Or you could build just a few emails. Or you can use a third party.