What? Email, for startups? Isn’t email really old school? Yes, it is, and in the best way.
If you’re trying to ramp up user adoption and extend your reach, you should look at email. Most internet users use it (no surprise there) and while people are reading emails, they tend to remain focused on the email itself, not skittering off as they do on Facebook, reddit and other social platforms. Yes, it’s true. When people read your emails they are paying attention. Here are a few surprising ways that you can use email to build user adoption for your startup.
Building user adoption for your startup
Create a landing page with a countdown. Let’s say you haven’t launched yet, but you still need potential users to get excited about your app, campaign or service. Setting up a landing page with a service like Unbounce is a snap. Or, if you’re using WordPress, check out the pre-built countdown themes available you can use to build anticipation. ThemeForest has some that I like. Now, once you have people on your landing page, what are you going to do with them?
Engage in lead generation, of course. To start, collect your early-adopter emails so that you can notify those people when you launch, perhaps offering them a special deal. Why? That list is gold. Those people have opted-in, they are already engaged, and all you have to do is talk to them.
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What to say in your email campaign
The classic onboarding campaign educates your future users about what to expect. You might have made a series of videos about your features and benefits, created a series of blogs with a how-to focus, or even curated an image series that you’ve posted to Pinterest or Tumblr. Think of all of that as a curriculum that your early users will later thank you for, because it will get them on the fast track to using your app or product. Email platforms like Emma and MailChimp can create a series of autoresponders to send out your curriculum on any schedule you choose. Of course you can send special announcements anytime, but keeping your early adopters in the loop is always a good idea so that you can stay in their sights.
Getting advanced with building your email list
Building your list is what you need to do, and by list I mean email subscriber list. There are a few easy ways to build your subscriber list. Write blogs and include an invitation to join the list at the bottom of the blog. Be sure your landing page has a list-signup as mentioned above. If you want to get advanced, try Twitter Lead Gen Cards. This is a feature that Twitter rolled out fairly recently that allows you to send a graphic into the feeds of Twitter users you designate, and then bring those who click to an email list sign up. MailChimp has this integration down in a few clicks. Twitter ads are as targetable – maybe more so – than Google AdWords – and the service is easy to use and cost-effective with tight targeting.
Getting more advanced by using transactional email
Email can do more than one-way communication. With transactional email you can interact with your user base in real time. What is transactional email? You’re probably getting some already. When Twitter informs you that you have a new follower, when Facebook tells you about a ‘like,’ when you receive a password reset, or an account balance update – those are all examples of transactional email.
Here are a few more:
- purchase receipts
- sign up thank yous
- support requests
- shopping cart abandonment
- automated calls to re-engage the app
MailChimp has an app called Mandrill that can help you interact automatically and in real time with your (growing!) user base. SendGrid is a robust, older platform that does the same thing. (Most people believe Mandrill is easier to use.)
Your startup can start using email to grow your user base today. Contact me if you have questions – glad to help.