Last month, I have spent quite some time researching about email patterns web apps commonly use. My goal was to find out the best practices so that we can increase the quality and quantity of emails we send to our users. Today, I am sharing results of my research.
Web apps commonly underutilize the power of emails. There is simply no better way to activate new users and engage existing users. Emails are extremely successful. Unfortunately, we have been ignoring this for a very long time. The engineer in me has been afraid of sending too many emails to our users. In the past years, we usually sent 3-4 emails to our users. That’s like once per quarter.
These days, people expect getting emails from products they love. If you are reading this post you probably need to send more emails to your users. I know I do. Here is your guide.
This one is pretty common. People expect to receive welcome emails for a service. Keep your welcome email clean and beautiful. SproutSocial has a great welcome email. Lauren Smith of Litmus has done a great teardown on this email.
2. Personal Welcome Email from Founder
Another common pattern is to send a secondary welcome email from the Founder. This email is usually sent a few hours later or the next day.
I have tried this in the past and it was so successful that it started taking me hours every day to reply to every user who wrote back. So, I had to disable it. I am still feeling guilty about not being able to send this email. ☺
3. Proactive Support Email
I don’t think I have seen this pattern somewhere else before. But, we are using it successfully at JotForm. We send it a day after the signup. It has the same problem as my founder email. The response rate is so high that we had to keep it turned off time to time. We enable it back when the support team catches up with the load.
4. New User Tutorials
I was very impressed with the tutorials Loggly sent when we signed up. They sent an email pretty much every day. Since I am really interested in understanding the product I glanced over every single email.
Emails contain high quality tutorials about various topics on Loggly. If you add up all the tutorials they have sent me it could become some book. I am impressed.
5. New Content Digests
If you constantly have fresh content, sending a digest email is a great way to get them to re-engage with your product.
6. Most Popular Posts
In a similar fashion, content sites can send a list of most popular content for the previous week/month.
Another common pattern is to send monthly newsletters.
I have to be honest I am not a big fan of newsletters. Send your announcements focused on a single topic at a time.
Newsletters are still good if you don’t have any big announcements. They are better than sending nothing.
8. New Feature Announcements
This one is my favorite. Send your announcements one topic at a time. You are sending an email because there is something important happening right now. You signal that there is something really important happening. So, they should stop and look up.
9. Celebrating a Milestone
Don’t miss the opportunities to celebrate with your users when your product reaches an important milestone. We sent one when we reached 1 million users and another one when our form templates gallery reached 5,000 templates.
10. Invitation to an Event
Organizing a webinar or an event is a good reason to email your users. This one is common on products with enterprise sales cycles.
11. Survey Users
You can either survey your users about your product or you can do an industry survey within your niche.
<shameless plug>If you need to create a survey today, JotForm is the best tool for the job. We have all kinds of ready to use survey templates and all kinds of cool widgets you can add up to your surveys.</shameless plug>
12. Share Survey Results
Once you complete the industry survey, here comes the fun part: Send them the results of your survey. People love sharing industry survey results with their friends and colleagues.
13. Run a Giveaway
People love sweepstakes and giveaways with prizes. For example, you can send free t-shirts to first 100 people who perform an action.
14. Run a Contest
Contest and competitions are great when you need to get your users to adopt a new program. When we were planning to launch an App Store for JotForm we decided to run a competition for developers.
15. Announce Results for the Competition
Once your competition ends you have another great reason to announce the results of your competition.
16. Suggest an Improvement to User
Look at the user data and send a user-tailored advice that is actually useful for your users.
17. Send Blog Posts as Email
If you write well you might consider sending your product blog posts as separate emails to your users.
You should probably send these to people who signed up for it instead of sending them to all users.
18. Time Limited Discounts
Offer users discounts but keep the discount duration short. Since some people will see your email a few days after you send it, the duration should be more than 3 days. A common pattern is to continue discount for 7 days.
19. Mentions, Follows and Friends
A common pattern in social web apps is to notify users about mentions and friends. If your product have social aspects it is a good way to get users to re-engage with your product.
20. Announce E-book or Infographic
Another common pattern is to produce a downloadable ebook or infographic on your niche and announce it to your users. This kind of email is very likely to be forwarded to friends and colleagues.
Send your invoices by email. It makes your customers’ life easier and also reminds your users about your product.
22. Seasonal Greetings
Celebrate holidays with your users. It is a nice thing to do and you get to remind your product to your users.
23. Customer Suggestions
Depending previous usage or browse history, recommend your users to take a look at similar items.
24. Reach Out to Abandoned Accounts
This is an incredibly cute email by Dropbox. I love the message, I love the branding. I am sure people feel guilty about not using Dropbox when they receive this email. ☺
25. Weekly/Monthly Usage Stats
Send usage numbers to your users for the last week/month. This is very useful for your users since they can spot problems and review the last month.
Don’t be afraid to send emails to your users like I did. This is really good time to start sending more emails:
- People expect emails from products they love.
- People forward emails received from products they love to their friends and colleagues.
- There are really good tools now to help you like Customer.io, MailChimp, Intercom, Knowtify.io and Vero .
Just take your time. Create great looking and useful emails and delight your users with them.