Until you’ve passed a thousand signups, the CEO should be personally emailing every new user. I’m going to cover:
- How to mess it up
- Common objections
- Goals, perks & benefits
The signup thank you note
It’s not a big message. Mine look like this:
Thanks for taking the time to check out STK. Give me a shout if you have any questions or if there’s anything else I can help with.
Founder | +44 7940435340 | @robfitz
The specifics (like the footer) are just my personal preference.
What I hope you’ll extract from the example is the casual tone and brevity.
How to mess this up
There are only two ways to mess this up and they’re both easy to avoid.
The first is to be demanding. I don’t even like to ask any questions at this point. Your users owe you nothing.
You’re just politely putting your hand up and saying:
Hey, here I am. You aren’t alone.
The second way to mess up is by forgetting common courtesy. They took the time to sign up, you can take the time to try to parse a first name out of their email address and send them a personal one line email.
Also, make sure you do it every day. Set up your website to show you a list of new signups at the beginning or end of each day.
I’ve seen some intros come through with a survey, which I [personally] find to be fairly disrespectful toward your new users’ time (aka my time). If it’s mass-mailed and arriving a week later, then we’re really not starting out on the right foot.
This is an easy list to make because I rattled it off to my investors practically every Friday for a year.
The number one objection and/or excuse is that you don’t want to annoy people. But there’s seriously nothing to worry about if you aren’t being demanding, respect their time by keeping it brief, and reach out both promptly and personally.
Also, since you’re sending the emails personally and every day, the maximum number of people you can offend is just a day’s worth of sign ups. It will only take a week or two to find a voice you’re comfortable with.
How this will help you
First, it ferrets out earlyvangelists. They’ll respond to your one line email with a book of suggestions and use cases. Treasure them.
Second, a non-negligible percent of your otherwise silent cancellations will get in touch with dealbreaker feature requests and support crises.
Third, your users with sales-potential will identify themselves by reaching out. If you email all your trial users, the ones who are seriously considering a purchase will jump at the chance to talk directly to the CEO or founder.
More than once, I’ve said hello to a user with an email like “email@example.com” and received a reply from “firstname.lastname@example.org” with a title like “VP of digital entertainment” in the footer.
Fourth, and arguably most importantly, it’s just polite. Someone took the time to read about and try your startup: that’s awesome!
You would never think to host a dinner party and then refuse to say hello to anyone who walked through the door. You’ve invited people into your website. Introduce yourself and make them feel welcome.
 Very few people will actually make unannounced calls to phone numbers in a footer, but I happily answer when they do: free customer development meeting. Also, relegating the title of “founder” or “ceo” to the footer saves you from having to waste a sentence in the body on awkward self-aggrandisement.
[Image] by Jon Ashcroft