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Your biggest fears about sending more email

by Colin Nederkoorn

This post was originally sent as an email

Hello Again,

In my last email, I shared how foolish we were for not emailing you sooner. I received this response from Luke B. which helped me know I was on the right track:

My opinion of you guys changed completely today. I love the tone, style and content of this email and totally agree with the sentiments you are describing. You have totally won me back and also you have established your credibility and quality of your email content and I will now going forward read what you write.

Many more of you wrote me offering encouragement and sharing your fears. Thank you! You helped me overcome mine.

So what are your biggest fears about sending more emails to your users?

For Jason S. it’s “Having people unsubscribe”. Stacy I. said “Getting buried in the inbox and ignored”. Shawn A. said “Sending (another) email stating that we are delayed in launching”. For Chris A. it was “Having my emails blocked by spam filters.”

These are totally legitimate concerns. However, they’re outliers in the pattern I saw.

Overwhelmingly, people shared fears about sending irrelevant emails. Often using the words irrelevant or relevance when describing their fears.

So it’s somewhat counter-intuitive when i tell you that sending only monthly marketing blasts is actually the problem.  Sending one monthly marketing blast increases the likelihood that your emails aren’t relevant to your users. If you try writing an email for everybody, then you end up connecting with nobody. So what’s the alternative?

Write for your core audience. Focus on making them ridiculously happy

This will cause some people to unsubscribe. Guaranteed. But so will writing emails that lack personality. Don’t be scared if your emails don’t have universal appeal. It’s better to have 15 people who love you and 5 who unsubscribe than 20 who don’t care.

How do you identify your core audience?

The best way is to talk to your users. I have between 10 and 20 conversations a week with existing users and prospective users. From those conversations, I’ve learned our product appeals to engineering, product or marketing people. When I write to you, I imagine a combination of everyone I’ve spoken to. Some kind of super product focused CTO marketer who believes in the power of email to improve relationships with customers. When I write with that image in my head, I’m not confused about how to communicate. Mostly it’s because we speak the same language.

Make sure you test emails on real people before sending them out to everyone.

By the time you read this, it’s gone through at least 5 people who have proof-read it to make sure I don’t come across like a boring idiot. Last time, I knew it was good when my girlfriend said she read it all the way through. (I can’t even get her to pay attention when I’m showing her our product). 

So focus on writing for real people. Get people you trust to review your email for clarity and interest. If they come back and are ridiculously happy with the email, send it out to everyone. That’s what will make your email relevant.

This is my second newsletter email (ever). How am I doing?

Is there a topic you’d like me to cover? Let me know by replying to the email. Here are three of my ideas: 

  1. Mapping out the emails your app should send 
  2. Writing killer subject lines
  3. Email open rates (based on analysis of our own data)

Or, suggest something else.

Reply to this email, and paste the topic you want me to research and write about next. I’ll do the heavy lifting.

- Colin

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