Getting in touch with people via their inbox helps you start conversations and build relationships. It’s a great way to get the ball rolling on letting people know about your newest app or product.
So here are a few tips on helping you build momentum for your latest and greatest creation using email before, during, and after launch:
Pre-Launch: Beloved Betas
Who will be using your app? Take an hour (it’ll save you weeks of indecision) and think about the type of person who will be using your app, how they’ll be using it, how it’ll improve their lives – or make their lives easier or more fun. Try to make the persona as real as possible: base it on someone you know and think of your app in terms of “What would this person do?” Let’s call that person “Jack”.
This will help you determine where Jack “hangs out” virtually (Reddit, Hacker News, Facebook, LinkedIn…) so that you can cross-promote on those channels in an effort to get as many ‘Jacks’ interested in your product. And signed up for updates.
The basic idea is that you while your app is still a prototype, held together by a couple of wireframes, you should start collecting email addresses. This will give you a group of people who think your app is cool enough when it’s only a couple of words, so they’ll probably be psyched if you ask them to test it out before it’s launched at large.
Provide regular feedbacks (monthly or weekly if you can): creating a relationship with your customers is what you’re looking for here, so make sure your contacts (or stakeholders) feel involved with your project.
Redditor TapesIt (Markus Kirjonen) did a write up of how Dropbox used two types of content to get people signed up for the Dropbox beta emails:
- Dropbox makes it super easy to share the fact people use Dropbox (and incentivize sharing by giving extra space if you send out an email to our friends)
- At the get-go, they showed people exactly why Dropbox was just right with an explainer video
They focused on Digg (with targeted Easter Eggs), where their “Typical user” tended to hang out and got over 75,000 people waiting to be told when they could first take a look at the app.
Are you ready to launch? (In the words of Jason Fried and David Heinmeier Hansson: “[You’re] probably [launching] sooner than you’re comfortable with”).
So when you’re finally ready to release the bare bones of your app into the wild, tell the people who signed up early on that your product is out. Make sure you email them before you send it to Reddit, Hacker News or Product Hunt – after all, your subscribers are your VIPs.
Once you launch, if you aim to monetize it, make it as easy as possible to get people to pay you.
Give people a good reason to give you the money, and explain – always in a way that would make sense to Jack, that would make him happy to give you his money or at least that presents an obvious value in paying for the app.
Post launch: Keep in touch
Ever bought something to suffer from buyer’s remorse immediately after? Of course you have – everyone does. The idea is that your product should be “At home good” – go above and beyond your user’s expectations after they bought the app. Be honest at the outset in regards to what you app can do, but amaze them by how well it does it when they get their hands on it.
Part of that is done by continuous improvement on your product – and again, keeping your users in the loop of it. By all means, talk about new and upcoming features but also to give them more information about what the company has in mind for the near future and ask your users questions about their experience with the product.
Again, the key here is to maintain frequency. Send MORE (not less) often. Temper the emails you send out by sending more intelligent emails: create groups based on who opens certain topics, certain emails; who opens more often, who clicks to get more information. Alternatively, use the group of people who tend to open less frequently to test different tones and topics. It’s a good way to test. Even if people open and read the email only to unsubscribe, you’re not losing any readers: you’re only losing people who realize they’ve outgrown your app.
Do it in style
The best advice we can give with regards to content is to keep your emails short, personal, focused on a single topic and linked to your website (even better: linked to a specific page on your website) if they want to get more information.
Here are three templates that are suited for launching your newest app:
The Blitz.ly template is suggested for people who have text-heavy emails. Note that you could choose to use a regular link rather than a button if you want the email to look more “traditional”.
By replacing the image on the “screen”, you can use Launch.it to showcase the app. The sample text included showcases a method of explaining how to approach your product with “Benefits” rather than “Features” in mind.
Tech features a gallery section as well as a customer testimonial section (remember those beta testers we spoke about?). This template features the most sections, so make sure you trim it down to the bare minimum before you send it out.
“It seems that perfection is attained, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away.”
Terre des Hommes – Antoine de Saint Exupéry
From our blog:
By venturing into the outside world:
SaaS Marketing Plan: 5 Ways to Get your App to Sell Itself – Sixteen Ventures
The Core Elements of the “No Fail” Launch – Jeff Walker
REWORK – Jason Fried & David Heinermeier Hansson
Debunking the 7 myths of email marketing – infographic – Alchemy Worx