The Value Of Lifecycle Emails

April 1, 2013

Since the beginning of 2013, I've focused a lot of my development efforts on so-called "growth hacking". Whatever the connotations that term has, I have found some really good ideas reading the many blog posts and post-mortems that are floating around. We've seen solid growth at TalentSoup that's been directly related to our focus on bringing our users to the "ah-ha" moment, and clearly presenting our value prop in blog posts and other marketing content.

I've started to send out post-downgrade emails a day or two after a user downgrades from our Pro Webcomp Portfolio. For now I don't use a template, and they are not sent automatically. Some users downgrade after a month or two, others have had a Pro account for a year or more. I want each email to be different depending on how long the user has been a paying customer.

The content of the emails are simple: we saw that you downgraded, we're sorry to see you go, but thanks for being a Pro member, and here's a coupon for a free month if you ever decide to re-up. The point of the email is really just to express thanks and to put some humanity behind our company. Part of the ethos we've created at TalentSoup is that we're honest people running a legitimate business where we want our users to succeed by helping them land real work, and emails like that help reinforce the perception (which is true!). In our industry that kind of validation from our users is solid gold and we want to nurture and promote it.

Payback

I've only heard back from two users since I started sending these emails out. One was from a user on our site who let me know she downgraded because she's leaving the country for two years to work in the Peace Corps. The other was from a user I sent an email to earlier this morning. The recurring billing system we use sends out dunning emails when a user's credit card has expired, and if the user hasn't updated their billing information after 3 days, they're automatically downgraded. Apparently the user didn't realize his account has been downgraded (I am still investigating how he missed 3 dunning emails) and was eager to re-upgrade his account.

If I hadn't sent out that email to him this morning, how long would it have taken for him to realize his account had been downgraded? In that time, we would have missed out on revenue from a user who wanted to be a paying customer. At $5 a month, you might not see that lost money as a big deal, but I do. Developing a mentality where every dollar counts and every customer is important is how you grow a business. If your goal is to make, say $50,000 month, you have to make $500/month first, then $1,000, then $10,000, etc. Every dollar counts.