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Drip email works ;) I'm sure they tested every email here and having them in a sequence like this leads to higher conversions and engagement, even if it annoys a minority of users. Solid read and analysis though.
Actually, in the comments (I believe written by David Rusenko, the CEO), they say they are testing "more aggressive" emails with a small group of people. So, maybe they haven't quite figured it out... :P
I find it very interesting the change of tone on the 3rd day, making the email from Richard look like a manual one.
Any data out there comparing engagement of short, manual emails vs. newsletter-type ones?
So our data shows that shorter emails with fewer calls to action are more effective. In essence, spammers get it right by sending you an email with basically just one link... :)
While the frequency is a little high, this seems like a pretty good email campaign to me. They probably have data that says if you don't your site published in the first week, you're a goner.
On one hand, I'm definitely not opposed to risking pissing off a few customers if it leads to higher conversions with the people who matter.
At the same time, you probably don't want people to feel attacked. That's just bad juju that can create a negative brand.
This is a great example of what happens when people rely only on conversion data to make business decisions. Anyone can tell you pestering a customer every day will hurt your brand's reputation. You turn one person off, then they tell their friends to never use your software, then those people tell their friends they haven't heard great things, and all of a sudden you've lost a ton of business. Meanwhile, none of this is immediately measurable but it's still happening. Look at what the data is telling you, sure, but also weigh what's best for the longevity of your brand. Once you've lost someone's respect, it's hard to get it back.
I agree with @AmyZiari here. I think the biggest problem is that people are moving the metrics on things which are easily measured. So short term conversion rate is going up but how many people are getting ticked off and never coming back. Longterm measures are difficult and because of that you can do short term good things that have longterm damaging effects (think of No Documentation Loans in real estate. Having said that - it's totally worth experimenting to figure out if there are some optimizations to be made.
If the frequency was a little bit lower I would say there's no problem with this..but I also think that after a certain length of time or amount of emails in a drip campaign like this, if you get no engagement, you have to try something else because your initial concept is obviously not working.
One thing I like to do in our campaigns is after 2 weeks or 5-7 emails, if there's been no engagement just ask the question "Why aren't you using the product?". It can be an email requesting a response, or a one question survey sent via email.
It's really simple, but the responses to that question can tell you a lot about who's using your product and how they're using it (e.g. the collaborator use-case mentioned in this post). And people like the author of this post are usually happy to respond.
For example, we've seen through these surveys that very small businesses find our product (flashpanel.com) overwhelming, but we've made the decision that we're ok with that because we are targeting enterprise IT teams.
Agree - it's a great way to get more clarity on how to improve your messaging, understand who your core users are, etc.
The one problem that I find is that it's tough to peel away all of the self-reporting bias and actually get to the real 'problems'.
Did anyone there stop and think about if they personally would like these emails? A little empathy for a customer can go a long way.
Cool analysis! NB: Weebly posted a response yesterday that this high frequency was part of an ongoing test. That said, I would be surprised if the higher email volume didn't convert better. Many people appreciate and seek out regular external motivation to accomplish goals. Otherwise, we wouldn't have programs like Weight Watchers, Team in Training, etc. Andres doesn't need or want constant reminders to complete a task that's in his best interest. But he's probably not in the majority of the target market for these emails.
One solution would be to allow users like Andres to choose how often they hear from Weebly without unsubscribing.
Having worked on all sides of this (Product Manager for DIY website building tool, Product Marketer sending email campaigns, frustrated user with an overflowing inbox), I feel for Weebly and Andres.
Drip campaigns are extremely effective and providing daily motivation to users undoubtedly gets more engagement (albeit annoyed engagement). Getting users to actually publish a site can be a long, drawn out process. Users attach so many emotions to their public facing storefront, portfolio, etc and want it to be perfect before they publish. Sometimes they need the extra push. It does seem that Weebly (admittedly) went a little overboard.
Email has gotten pretty out of control, but there's hope...New tools like Unroll.me and inboxwhiz (plus the good ol' fashioned filters) make it pretty easy to get to the content that matters. I hope the CEO follows up with how the campaigns performed :-)
I can't agree with the folks who feel that this is a good email campaign. If you're sending eight emails in nine days, to someone who hasn't responded to any of them, I think you need to review your thinking about how to use email.
Even if your data suggests that someone who doesn't engage with the product in the first week is a loss, a barrage of email during that week likely isn't the best answer. And even if that's the case, read through the emails: there's an elephant in the room there.
They all pass marketing 101 in that they basically have a clear call to action or proposition for the user, right? "Come finish your site." "Get 33% off." But not a single one suggests *why* you might become an active user.
This campaign is focused on the *service's* needs -- "hey, come back to us because we pay a lot of attention to our MAU number" -- rather than on the *user's* needs -- "hey, you could be making that site you've been thinking about" or even "take a look at what other people have built with our service if you need inspiration."
While there are many different reasons users may [will] drop off right after registration, I consider three to be the big ones:
1. The service doesn't do what the user thought it did/needs it to do.
2. The user is busy/distracted, and hasn't gotten around to really trying out the service.
3. The user created their account, but they're not sure what to do with it now.
(And note that there's overlap between #2 and #3.)
Don't immediately worry about the #1 bucket.
For the #2 bucket, the email campaign shown here *could* work, but as others have noted it's a hard sell approach that comes with some risk. The phrase "holy fuck, get out of my inbox you needy freaks" comes to mind.
But the #3 bucket, or the people who are a hybrid of #2 and #3 don't get much of anything from this campaign. There's no inspiration provided, nothing to make it easier for you -- the user -- to take the next step, just constant nudging. It's clear that the service wants you to be active, but it seems equally clear that they either aren't interested in *helping* you become an active user or don't know how to help.
Most of the 8 emails would fail at least one of the 4 Us: Ultra-specific, Useful, Urgent & Unique. Useful (valuable) is the worst.
I think you totally nailed with the "what's in it for me?" question.
I love Jonathon Yule's comment about empathy. But, like Andrew, I've seen drip campaigns work, at least in a short-term metrics sense. But those Weebly emails were more like a flood.
It's not just volume that can make them backfire--quality matters. Too much copy in tech/startup land is fucking unbearable.
You can earn leeway with by writing well, and being funny--which means devoting real time and energy to writing, and not thinking editorial is something you can kick to an intern with no guidance. Groupon nailed this. From the beginning they hired excellent writers, including many from TV and comedy. They trained them, paid them well, wrote a long, detailed (and very funny) stylebook. I'm sure it contributed substantially to higher engagement and lower churn. I've never bought a Groupon in my life, but I got their emails for years just for the pleasure of reading them.
Not exactly subtle, but here's Groupon's old unsubscribe page:
Compare and contrast:
Sandi MacPherson (Quibb) asked you to comment on When a Startup Sends a Passive-Aggressive Email Every Day
I'm a big fan of personal emails, I've written about it before - http://quibb.com/links/people-send-the-best-welcome-emails-not-robots. It's getting a bit tough these days, but like Taylor Gould mentioned - you can learn a lot by actually 'talking' to people.
Me too. Honestly, it was Sandi's personal email that got me to come back to Quibb after registration.
I wrote about this topic several months ago: http://ryanhoover.me/post/32059440036/stop-using-noreply
It actually seems like Sandi is part of a trend on that front: in the past six months or so it's become increasingly common for me to see an email from a founder within a day or so of signing up for a new service.
Hrmm! I read this and thought to myself "this probably works really well for non-internet-goers." Even though the frequency is high, the subject lines are enticing of a good deal.
Most of their users probably appreciate feeling like they are getting a good deal... Weebly just needs to chill out on the frequency (what's their rate after the first week?).
Yes, great point Michael. I think that's the one thing that some of us have trouble with, i.e. putting ourselves in the shoes of 'normies' vs. our own bizarro tech-person ones.