About this Experiment
The idea is to activate our new email subscribers by onboarding them through a series of emails. When a user subscribes to your service (or in my case, to my blog), they might not know where to start. To solve this problem, we are going to send them the information in a certain order and at a certain time. This process is called building a drip campaign. If we can make them do the important actions with the appropriate sequence, it will move them from one step to another. This will increase retention as they start using our service more intensively and develop a habit (so, you have to understand the whole funnel of what triggers make someone active).
To save us time, we will use Autopilot (you can do the same with Mailchimp Automation but it is more expensive and less user-friendly). I let you dive into their service to know more about every feature they offer (you can send SMS, Slack messages, Notifications and other interesting actions so that you engage them on the right channel). The main thing to remember is that no coding skills are required (building your customer journeys is as simple as drawing on a white board: see the picture below) and that it is completely automated.
Metrics and Tracking
Autopilot offers a built-in reporting system in their dashboard so we do not have anything to do other than looking at it. They let you access various metrics like the open rate, the click rate, the clicks per unique opens and the number of people who unsubscribed. In our case, we will mostly care about the click rate and the number of people who unsubscribed. To conclude this experiment as a success, we will have to reach a click rate above 15% and an unsubscribe rate below 3%. If this is the case, we will optimize our system and invest more time in it (read this essay about why should focus on something until it saturates).
So, did we succeed to reach a click rate above our objective?
The click rate and the unsubscribe rate are pretty good and the size of our sample (300) is high enough to affirm the performance (conclusion: this is definitely a retention weapon). We will keep this experiment running and when someone will give us his email address, he will be automatically added to our welcoming drip campaign. He will become more familiar with the content I write and it will be easier to make him do higher investments in the future (like sharing an article, asking him to upvote my content on a HackerNews-like website or simply make him buy a product).
Here are a few optimizations we can make to go further.
- We will capture as many emails as possible when new visitors drop on our content. We could implement exit-intent popups like SumoMe ListBuilder or simply WelcomeMat.
- We could optimize our opening rate by testing different titles, like adding an emoji at the end (which I did) or create more curiosity. But, we will always keep our emails short and in plain-text.
- We could use Mixpanel or Amplitude to analyze our cohorts and figure out more in depth what happens on our product with people who received this welcoming drip campaign.
- We could add that we are available to answer questions at the end of our emails to increase our response rate. This will enable us to build an even stronger relationship with our subscribers (resulting here, again, in a higher commitment in the future).
- Personalization in drip campaigns usually leads to huge improvements. People always tell to go niche and it is true. The product itself must be super niche but if you can get the marketing to be super niche too, you will basically have the same effect. So, don’t be afraid to ask for additional pieces of information if it helps to send better emails.
Feel free to add a comment to tell me what you think about this, ask me questions or to give us more optimization ideas.
Thanks to Nada Rifki for reading drafts of this experiment.
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