1. Paid userfox customers can now send unlimited newsletter and transactional emails

    In our endless quest to make userfox simpler to understand and easier to use, we've decided to make a significant change to our pricing.

    Regular and Premium customers can now send unlimited transactional or newsletter emails

    We're doing this because it is frustrating to have email across multiple platforms: so we offered transactional and newsletter functionality. But we were never sure how best to price this, ultimately we decided giving this away for free would give us more value than charging a nominal amount for it.

    I don't believe in competing on pricing — but I do believe on competing on simplicity of buying decisions.

  2. What's the most least thing you can do?

    I have a philosophy of helping new userfox customers do the most least thing when it comes to improving free to paid trial conversions.

    Sure you could spend weeks optimising and ensuring you have every edge case and persona of user handled, but a lot of the time you can extract, 60% or 70% of the value of email marketing just by spending a morning or day setting the solution up.

    That way you can — for lack of a better word — circle back on it when you either have more time, or you're now fully sold on the solution.

    Sure, some companies instantly want to do everything and are willing to spend multiple days doing this — but in a world where companies are constrained by technical time allocation, they're rare.

    Me to almost every company with a free trial:

    What I'd like to see you do is migrate your welcome email to userfox, and then send an additional 3 emails to users that are on trial state. I think you'll be impressed by the impact of this, and then we can ramp up from there.

    But I think this concept applies not just to using external products, but is also an important attitude to have inside your company. Maybe you're working on a new feature that is not core to your business: what is the least you can do to solve the problem?

    This is the attitude we applied when we made a "CRM for your users".

  3. Hear my voice in your head, and think of me kindly. The importance of product voice.

    It's 2AM. I just got an email from a customer:

    ... we decided to first decide on a particular 'voice' for all of our comms ...

    This reminded me that I had meant to blog about this topic, because like various nuanced aspects of marketing, Silicon Valley kind of sucks at this.

    What I mean by that is, a company writes a blog post, they send email, they tweet. But that is only the beginning of the battle for this kind of stuff. I read an excitable tweet from you, but then your welcome email is stoic, your blog has an air of professionalism but then has stupid internet memes intertwined, and so on. Please be consistent.

    Rewind

    One factoid of how userfox came to be in Y Combinator was that our application had a rather racist joke in it.

    I was the cheerleader, and in fact only person that thought this was anything other than an utterly horrendous idea. Everyone — said the same thing: they're going to think you are insane. I somewhat agreed, but I believed that if you could be remembered for being (allegedly) insane, that is much better than being simply forgotten.

    And make no mistake: you are forgettable!

    For as Path CEO, Dave Morin, said last week:

    The human condition is one where we have the capacity to forget things

    Forwards to userfox

    When you register for userfox, the first email is from the userfox fox. I won't spoil the surprise, but it's kind of playful with a few surprises in it for especially engaged readers. You should check it out by signing up for userfox.

    A few days pass, you get a few more emails from other people: myself, cursing the fox, my co-founder: offering integration assistance, the userfox fox pops up again once or twice, and so on. Hell, are you going to notice an email from a freaking Admiral?

    Our emails perform really well. We get a ridiculously high open rate, and tons of people reply to them with feedback, praise or suggesting we seek medical attention.

    I believe they perform well because they're disarming. Quirky. Interesting. Usually emails from companies are boring. I like to think our userfox emails are fun whilst still being valuable.

    In Defence of a Company Vision

    Your company voice is closely tied to your company vision. Most peoples visions are boring and confusing, "we're going to be the town square for every family in the United States", "we're going to make affiliate marketing as exhilarating as the Dyson Air Blade", "we're going to create a relational database that uses the CPU Cache" (ok, this one is actually kind of exciting.)

    But your company vision should also permeate through your company about how you behave and act. How you respond to support email, tweet and admit screw ups. The userfox vision? well, we want to be liked. In a valley where somehow "companies that care about design" closely correlates with "please please please think I am Steve Jobs" userfox likes to be the friendly co. With pixel perfect design.

    Every single post, page or ‹span› I deploy gets a flurry of emails from friends and our stereotypical German designer questioning if "spelunking" is really a good verb to describe email marketing.

    Actionable Steps

    Enough rambling. Here is what you should do to transform your emails from a bunch of unconnected unrelated emails, into something that feels like it has a purpose.

    • Figure out who sends your emails? Who or what epitomises your vision and brand: VP of Marketing? CEO? Co-Founder?

    • Come up with a few key adjectives to describe their prose. Concise? Rambling? Explicit? Funny? Professional?

    • Write example copy to reflect this voice. How do these emails start? How do they end? How enthusiastic are they? Emoticons? EMOJIS?

    • Read the marketing emails and sequences you send. Do these match the above point? Usually the content is correct, you just need to ensure the tone and word usage is correct. A welcome email is still a welcome email, irrelevant of the voice.

    Brainstorm and iterate on these points, and you'll reap rewards.

    Why do this

    • Brand trust and recognition increases (no voice? no coherence? no recognition when you email your users.)

    • Illusion of grandeur. Having a sequence of emails with an obvious story and voice oozes thought. Nothing screams crappy like emails with different templates, copy, calls to action and tone.

    • Improved open rates. Once again, to reiterate, once you've created your voice, your emails will perform better because you can write more actionable copy.

    PS: Forward me your favourite emails on this topic! peter@userfox.com

  4. The Joel from Buffer feature.

    I had heard of Buffer from two really interesting twitter users in the space of a few weeks. The first, was Andrew Chen. And the second, was Hussein Kanji. My question to both of these users was the same: do you spend all day reading the internet and that is how you constantly tweet such interesting articles?

    Nope, they both used Buffer.

    Buffer lets you queue up social media postings and share them at predetermined times. You can queue 12 articles and have them sent out over a week. No brainer, right?

    So I signed up for Buffer and subsequently received a short and sweet welcome email from Joel. I think I replied "thanks for reaching out" or something. Lots of people have discussed this strategy — and this email in particular. In todays age of marketing automation creating this email is straight forward.

    Explaining how to send this email is obvious. But everyone has missed the other side of the story, and the reason why this email works: if you hit reply, Joel replies. This is why this email is powerful rather than sleazy. It isn't because this email is sent 27 minutes after you sign up or something.

    Imagine how you'd feel if you hit reply to this welcome email, and it went to no-reply@?

    You can send plain text emails from userfox, but we believe the trust and warm fuzzy feeling you get when you interact with Buffer should also be encouraged, so when you use our plain text feature — we ask that you ensure that the email goes to a human, and that you reply. You'll develop meaningful relationships, learn about your customers, and not risk breaking their trust by disappointing them when they realise you're a bot.

  5. Introducing userfox Newsletters

    A lot of companies send a monthly newsletter. You know, it discusses what the company has been working on recently, any interesting press coverage, and is generally a good way to remind your users that you're around.

    Today we're shipping our newsletter feature!

    The Killer userfox Newsletter Feature (s)

    We always like to launch these kinds of features — ones where typically you already have a solution, or a solution in mind — with a killer feature. A feature that convinces you to trust that we know what we are doing, one that is harder for other solutions to offer, and so on. At a high level, I think "can we build this feature 10x superior to existing solutions?" well...

    Can we make this feature 10x superior to existing solutions? (tweet this)

    1. You can send a newsletter to a segment of your users. Eg: only paid users. only expired users. only users that signed up two weeks ago. I think the benefit of this is obvious: a better targeted newsletter will result in better open rates.

    2. Send this email to all new users too. Suddenly you can write an email "announcing userfox newsletters" and send that to every one of your users, but that newsletter isn't just fire and forfeit — now you can ensure this content is recycled and sent to a user that signs up tomorrow, or next week, or next year. That newsletter can be automatically added to the welcome drip sequence. It's a really neat way of having more content at your disposal, without having to sit down and consciously write it.

    In fact, the email we sent to our users to announce this very feature — was sent by userfox — and uses the userfox newsletter — and any new users going forward, will receive this announcement 14 days after they sign up.

    This feature is free to use, and users on paid plans who have access to custom data - can send custom data powered (segmented) newsletters.