Ditch your WELCOME email

Suresh Sambandam

October 8th, 2014 marketing processes  

And, still get 10X conversations with your prospects.

 

Lincoln Murphy is a legend in the SaaS world. He recently put out an email with the subject, “You don’t know me, can I get 30 mins?”. After reading it, I was inspired to write this post.

Sometime during July 2014, we started thinking about the poor use of welcome emails. These are sent by almost all SaaS companies, KiSSFLOW included. We rarely like to do the normal thing here, so we decided to try out an alternative welcome email.

We throttled a few days of our signups through an A/B test, and here are the results from that test:

Email Type # of Email # of Replies % Conv.
Welcome Email 582 16 2.74%
Alternative to Welcome Email 560 131 23.39%

 

Yes, you read it right – we had nearly a 10x jump in email conversations. That’s not just the open rate, it’s the conversations! That means prospects actually replying to us.

So how did we manage to pull this off?

1) We asked ourselves: Do our prospects need welcome emails?

Yes, this is a scary one. We questioned the very purpose of welcome emails. This is a typical example of the famous ‘angry monkey experiment’. Welcome emails have been sent for so long and by pretty much everyone, and yet no one thought about why they need to send the email in the first place. In the SaaS world, I sign up and play with the product. I don’t look into my inbox for a welcome email. In most cases, your prospects either understand your product or they don’t. If they don’t, you’ve pretty much lost them right there. An email titled ‘Welcome …..’ is not going to move that needle. Hence we decided to ditch the welcome email altogether and use that precious slot for something better.

2) The Subject Line

In our case, KiSSFLOW is a workflow/business process management software and often our prospects get mixed up understanding the difference between workflows and task management. We end up spending time with bad leads who are looking for task management solutions. This is just not a problem for us, the service providers – it is a problem for our potential customers who are evaluating the software too.

So, if we can make sure we have the right leads early on, we save ourselves and our potential customers a lot of time. The problem is genuine and our intention is to help the customer; so this is very much an attempt at fair play and not cheating with cheesy opening lines.

So this became our new subject line: 

KiSSFLOW is *not* for everyone!

Our hunch is that the subject line contributed heavily towards high open rates of the emails in the first place, and that led to the improvement in conversation rate.

 

3) Email Body

Let me first show you the actual email content first and then explain the nuances of the same.

===========================================

Hi XYZ,

Thanks for signing up!

Lots of software companies claim they can do anything and everything. We aren’t one of them.

KiSSFLOW is not a jack of all trades. We have mastered one thing: workflows.

Workflows are repetitive processes with predictable tasks involving two or more people. However, some people confuse workflows with task management, which KiSSFLOW doesn’t do as well as other software.

Within five minutes, I can assess if KiSSFLOW is the best fit for the problem you have, saving you lots of time on evaluation. 

I will call you in the next 30 minutes or would you prefer to do this over email?

Cheers,

===================================================

Thoughts:

  • We didn’t use a third party email tool. Our team sent sent a text-only email every 30 minutes using our Google Apps account. This works well for us because most of our customers also use Google Apps. Most SaaS providers automate their welcome emails through a third party tool, but Gmail throws these in the Updates folder. 
  • We didn’t track any open rates. For us, open rates are a vanity metric. The only thing that matters is replies and conversations.
  • To make sure we got to their primary inbox, we avoided HTML. Rather than using bold text, we used the asterisk (*) to highlight a word. 

 

That’s all folks.

P.S: Please feel free to shoot your questions across using the comment section below.