Case Study


StuDocu


How StuDocu’s switch to Customer.io helped them reach 40% open rates

Emails Sent

1.7MM

Business Type

B2C, EdTech

Member Since

Apr 2017

How do you manage to send highly personalized, relevant messages that get results to a vast user base that spans multiple time zones and languages around the globe? This was the challenge plaguing StuDocu when they went searching for a better messaging tool to replace one that just couldn’t keep up with their business’s demands—and they found the solution in Customer.io.

StuDocu helps hundreds of thousands of students around the world share their study materials—study guides, notes, assignments, and exam prep—and find relevant documents uploaded by other students. Effectively messaging to such a broad user base requires a clear vision for personalized, triggered emails and a powerful tool to deliver on that vision.

Why a personalized, triggered email experience makes all the difference

“When you are dealing with many languages and rules and segments and missions,” says co-founder Marnix Broer, “you need every email to be correct—you can’t send the wrong emails or the wrong languages, or you’ll lose your customer.”

This attention to the needs of their users has helped StuDocu develop an incredibly effective messaging strategy based on triggered emails that are highly relevant to the user. For example, Marnix notes, “People using our product respond very well to positive reinforcement. So we want to tell them when one of their documents is being appreciated by someone else. When we can send a message like that, the engagement is insane—open rates around 70%, and even click rates of 25%.”

“When you are dealing with many languages and rules and segments and missions,” says co-founder Marnix Broer, “you need every email to be correct—you can’t send the wrong emails or the wrong languages, or you’ll lose your customer.”

Powerful email strategy requires a flexible tool

StuDocu certainly has the right approach to email marketing, but their old platform just couldn’t support their strategy effectively. Marnix called out,”the amount and types of data we could export was so limited, it made our work impossible. So we had to duct tape a lot of stuff to even get the data we needed to see how our campaigns were doing.”

“That was the moment when we started looking for a different solution, when we realized we just could not use the properties we needed to send a good message.”

But the biggest downside to using their previous email provider was the lack of ability to leverage specific user properties and actions to send behavioral messages. “That was the moment when we started looking for a different solution,” says Marnix, “when we realized we just could not use the properties we needed to send a good message. What makes an email to our customer interesting is not the fact that they can view a document, but which document—that is what makes sense for our emails.” Without that level of detail in applying customer attributes, Marnix notes, “you can only send standardized emails, which makes no sense at all for us.”

StuDocu required access to specific data on every action taken by their customers Not every platform allows access to specific event attributes, or event data, for use in campaign messages and segmentation. StuDocu relies on Customer.io to do just that!

And to top it off, StuDocu’s previous provider stopped making sense for one simple reason, according to Marnix: “They just became way more expensive over time.”

How StuDocu uses Customer.io to get great engagement

With Customer.io, StuDocu has found a tool that helps them send powerful messages that support their personalized strategy and boost engagement. “We use Customer.io to send emails to new users after they’ve visited us, and then we can retrieve data to learn more about them,” says Marnix. This drives their retention-messaging strategy. “Based on user behavior,” says Marnix, “we send emails related to what a user does on the website. And then we can even send gamification emails that increase engagement even more.” One example is that if someone upvotes a document you’ve uploaded, you get an email letting you know, and it takes you to the profile of the person who upvoted you or even to the upvote review itself, further engaging the user with the platform.

StuDocu's workflow includes an a/b test to improve engagement with emails alerting customers of upvotes on their content StuDocu’s workflow includes an a/b test to improve engagement with emails alerting customers of upvotes on their content.

One clever example of how StuDocu uses Customer.io: sending messages that trigger customer behavior that benefits the user and solves a business challenge for the company at the same time. “A problem we had was that a user would upload single documents one at a time, “says Marnix, “which takes a lot more time and effort for us to process. We would much rather have them upload 100 documents at the same time.” So to encourage that desired behavior at a time when users would be receptive to it, StuDocu created a triggered campaign. “Once a user has sold one document, we send them a code that lets them get 30% more value for the next set of documents, but they can only use it once,” says Marnix. “This motivates people to upload 100 documents at a time, which is what we want—and this has worked very well and saved us a lot of time.” It’s an ideal example of how triggering messages based on user behavior can be used to motivate more user behavior that benefits both customer and company.

StuDocu’s strategy, combined with Customer.io’s power to help them execute it well, is really paying off with impressive engagement rates. “Our average open rate is around 40%, and our average click rate is well above 7%, even including transactional emails, which tend to be clicked way less,” says Marnix. “So that’s pretty high, and we’re very happy about it.”

“I never run into situations where I think something isn’t possible to do with Customer.io, I can always adjust everything just the way I want it, and what I want to do is always possible.”

When you have flexibility, the future is full of possibilities

“While implementing campaigns, I keep discovering new features in Customer.io,” says Marnix. “I keep going hey, wait, if this is possible, then I can also do this, and this…it goes on and on. So we keep improving our email cycles.” Having a messaging tool that can keep up with their business needs and strategy has opened the door for StuDocu to innovate to their heart’s content. “I never run into situations where I think something isn’t possible to do with Customer.io,” says Marnix. “I can always adjust everything just the way I want it, and what I want to do is always possible.”

That’s the power of implementing a smart, personalized messaging strategy with a tool that truly supports behavioral triggered campaigns—the possibilities are endless.

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