Recently, I’ve been receiving many startups sending out “personal emails” from the CEO or cofounder around 30 minutes after signing up. The idea is to engage the new user by showing them that there’s a real person behind the service that cares and to offer any help that they may need. There’s a great article on about this tactic as well as a few other emails that can be sent to improve retention. This technique is called “drip marketing” and there are a bunch of companies offering it as a service - the ones I can immediately think of are Vero and Intercom; and Mixpanel is moving into this space as well with their Notifications product. There are also a variety of open source packages available, I’m familiar with django-drip for Django and Dan Shipper’s Faucet for RoR.

The twist is that you actually need to respond to the people who reply to the email. There have been numerous times where I’d reply to this email without ever receiving a response. At least I understand that the email was most likely automated; I suspect most users wouldn’t be so understanding. I’m not sure why I need to point this out but if you do decide to send out these personal emails, make sure you’re actually going to respond to each reply. Otherwise you’re better off not sending that email in the first place.

Read more!