Online services must use "Bacn" (notifications by email) to turn triers into buyers. (Photo courtesy of Spara)
I just got an email from a startup called Pipedrive. It was striking because I sign up for a lot of online services, and rarely get an email from them beyond the "confirmation" notification.
Subject: Can we help?
Everytime someone signs up to Pipedrive and doesn't immediately fall in love with it, our technical lead Martin gets a little anxious. He refreshes the dashboard of our analytics widget every fifteen minutes and wants to give this user a call to ask whether everything is ok.
It's been 6 days since you signed up to try Pipedrive (thank you once again!) and Martin's analytics widget tells him you haven't used the software too much. Did we not live up to your expectations? Any technical issues? Would you like help with getting started? Please reply to this email with any questions, comments or concerns.
We recommend to add a couple of deals and try moving them forward along the sales pipeline to get a sense of how Pipedrive works. And how it could help you grow your sales, not just manage contacts.
Go to Pipedrive
We hope to hear from you soon!
The people at Pipedrive
PS. Martin says hi.
Let's take a look at what works and doesn't work for Pipedrive.
Pick your voice. I like that the Pipedrive folks put some of themselves into this email. The way it is written tells me something about the company. It tells me that this is not a Salesforce knockoff, and that it is targeted at a more casual business environment, probably small and medium-sized businesses.
To write effectively, you have to pick your audience, and Pipedrive does. I am in its target market, so it worked for me.
Convert Triers to Users
Pipedrive deal on AppSumo.
I went into the application and played with it after Robert Scoble interviewed the company and AppSumo featured it as one of its deals. The interview was a great tool for the first conversion that software as a service (SaaS) companies must accomplish: stranger to trier.
I received a couple of notification emails as part of that trial, but never got any "how-to" or "have you tried" emails that might have helped me take another step. This is crucial in driving the next conversion: trier to user.
The email above, which came six days after I signed up, may very well have brought me back to the site, especially because the copy makes me like the sender (and "Martin").
Send Something Soon
When you get people to sign up for a trial, the best time to ask them to return to the service is within 15 minutes of their sign-up. That's right. More than half of your triers will be cold within an hour, and will never return. After a day, you can expect something like 4 percent to return.
No matter how much we need your service, we move on pretty quickly if not prompted to act.
Pipedrive hit me with a well-done email immediately after I signed up. It didn't just say "Welcome." It offered three ways to engage with the service. This is smart.
The links are instrumented so that Pipedrive can track the success of this email.
Track Your Results
Finally, Pipedrive's marketing team isn't leaving anything to chance. It's attached a homing beacon to this email, specifically the "Go to Pipedrive" link. The link is tagged so that Google Analytics and Pipedrive know how many people are clicking through from this particular email and link. In other words, Pipedrive knows if this is working or not.
The company could have captured some better information if it had included:
utm_medium=email-html - Was this a text or an HTML email? This email was technically an "HTML as text" format. Very effective.
utm_source=link-text - Was this visit driven by a text link or image?
utm_term=Go+to+Pipedrive - Which link was clicked?
Download my company's link-tagging spreadsheet to properly format your links for Google Analytics.
What Could Be Improved
Some best practices for the trier to user and user to buyer conversions will help Pipedrive become a successful online service.
I almost didn't open this email due to the subject line: "Can we help?" A subject line that had some of the attitude of the email itself would have been opened more often, I believe.
For example, my favorite subject line of the week is "Today's forecast: Cloudy with a chance of profit," which promoted a video on cloud computing.
Tell Me Again What You Do?
This may sound stupid, but you have to remind me what you do, especially with service names getting more and more esoteric. InfluAds, Startup Riot, Zerofootprint, Explorence; you better tell me what you do, and why not repeat your value proposition as well?
Send Something More Often
Pipedrive would have more users if it had increased the frequency of the email. An email at one minute, one hour, one day, two days, four days, and six days would not have been a problem if:
It is valuable to have triers identify themselves as unqualified and leave your list. Those that might use the service should stay involved, and hopefully convert to a user and a buyer.
Use Landing Pages
When you click on one of Pipedrive's links, you are taken to a generic log-in page; simple, elegant. However, this breaks the "scent" from the email to the application. When I click "Customise" I should come to a page that summarizes all the things I can customize, and a log-in form.
Then I should be taken to the customization settings. Unfortunately for Pipedrive, it takes me to the dashboard, not to the customization page.
Go Ahead and Get the Grammar Right
Finally, I'd spend at least a little time on the grammar.
The problem with these notification emails is that they are delivered by the application, which means that an engineer is given responsibility for writing them. This is a mistake.
Please, don't let your IT guys write your emails. They are going to kill your service.
Online services have an advantage in the conversion game: visitors can try the service immediately. Email is the most important tool in the process of converting triers to users and users to buyers.
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With 15 years of online marketing experience, Brian has designed the digital strategy and marketing infrastructure for a number of businesses, including his own technology consulting company, Conversion Sciences. He built his company to transform the Internet from a giant digital-brochure stand to a place where people find the answers they seek. His clients use online strategies to engage their visitors and grow their businesses. Brian has created a series of Web strategy workshops and authors the Conversion Scientist blog. Brian works from Austin, Texas, a place where life and the Internet are hopelessly intertwined.