A local company here in Vernon asked if I could go for coffee. They are in a bind: they need to increase revenue dramatically, or they won't be able to pay their operational expenses. They had heard about my plans to publish my "Marketing Experiments for SaaS" series and wondered if I could give them some tips.
I reviewed their website and signup flow. Then, I asked myself: "What's one simple, high-leverage action they could take today to improve their marketing?"
The answer: send every user who signs up a simple email.
Here's the email I send to new Transistor users:
I heard Joanna Wiebe mention, "What's happening in your world that brought you here today?" during her MicroConf talk back in 2017.
It's a perfect line because it prompts the customer to talk about their context: what caused them to get pulled into your orbit?
Here are the kinds of responses I get to my Transistor welcome email:
"We decided to use Transistor because of your integration with Descript. Our company is in the X industry and wants a podcast to differentiate ourselves. Your platform seemed to offer the most value and ease of use."
"I'm switching to Transistor from a competitor because you allow us to create multiple podcasts on one payment plan."
"I found Transistor through a Google search while exploring podcast hosting options. After reviewing several, Transistor seemed best for me. Your Starter plans fit my budget, and Transistor's site felt more polished and user-friendly than the other options."
I'm getting dozens of these kinds of replies every week.
You can't get this information from "last click attribution" tracking. Even better, when you reply to these emails, you learn more about your customers' rationale for using your product.
With these conversations, your goal is to uncover the customer's underlying Job to be Done.
JTBD is a theory for understanding what motivates customers to buy your product: its premise is that people don't just buy products for functional purposes but also social and emotional reasons.
People make purchasing choices based on the functional, emotional, and social cues related to the progress they want to achieve.
As business owners, when we understand the underlying "jobs" customers are trying to accomplish, we can develop marketing strategies that speak to those needs.
For example, we can take this Job to be Done, "We want to use podcasting to differentiate ourselves in our industry," and focus on it in blog posts, landing pages, or advertising. It could also become a slogan: "Differentiate yourself from the competition: Start a branded podcast."
This approach is also useful for revealing consumer trends you might not know about.
For example, many companies start private podcasts in January and February. When we ask them, in these emails, what's motivating this demand, we learn that many CEOs get inspired over the holidays to start internal podcasts and push for the project when they get back to the office.
You'll get great testimonials when customers tell you in their own words why they signed up for your service.
Often, I'll reply to their emails and ask, "I love how you put that. Could we use this as a testimonial on our site?" and I'll send them a link to our reviews page.
Almost 95% of the time, they say "yes!"
I recommend that anyone doing SaaS marketing implement this step first. Having a steady drip of users telling you why they signed up (and how they heard about you) will inform every marketing task we take moving forward.
You'll understand your customers better. And in business, whoever understands the customers best has a competitive advantage.
The insights you gain from these emails will be applied to your marketing campaigns (and product direction).
I love this step ("Send an automatic welcome email for everyone who signs up") because you can use it regardless of stage.
Haven't launched yet? Only have a coming soon page? When people sign up for your waiting list, send them this email.
Been around for a while? Add this to email to your existing email onboarding campaign. (I use Userlist for this).
The key is that it should feel personal; send it from your personal email address and invite folks to respond!