The right way to send automated emails to your users

2 min read
Smarter - Igniting Your Startup

Communication is key.

Sending emails sounds easy, but it’s not that simple. Getting messages in the user’s Inbox is actually something that requires some money these days.

If you didn’t read my article Sending Newsletters to Your Users, I’d suggest you start there first.

Sending automated emails, such as welcome emails or introduction emails, implies a few consideration you might need to take note of:

  • Deliverability. Send emails using dedicated services to ensure emails land in users’ Inbox and not in their Spam/Junk folder. Some of these are SendGrid and Amazon’s SES. Yes, they both cost money but it’s not a fortune.
  • A/B Testing. Emails are easily overlooked by users, and testing your subjects / emails is something you should be doing to increase your conversions, activation, on-boarding or whatever the purpose of these emails is.
  • Noreply senders. It’s just frustrating when you get an automated mail and you don’t know or don’t have someone to reply to about it. Maybe it’s a typo or some issue that you want to report. I’d stay away from these “[email protected]” addresses.
  • Responsiveness. Email clients are light-years behind what modern web browsers can do and render. There are numerous debates over how to create a responsive email, but one thing is clear: avoid columns at all costs. They will undoubtedly render poorly on some email client you never heard of.
  • Open rate. Email open rate is an important metric of awareness. This being said, it can be challenging to measure open rate as (1) users might not load images when they read your email and (2) Google’s Gmail prefetches images from emails and you might get your numbers wrong.
  • Call to action. You don’t send an email for the sake of it. Your emails should have a purpose. For the user to do something. Be sure to include a call-to-action in your email. And measure the click-through rate!
  • You can’t take it back. When you send an email, it’s sent. There’s no undo, no “we changed our mind”. Be sure what you send is proofread and correct. After a while, users might use the emails you sent them against you. “Hey, look what you said in the email you sent. Where’s that?”
  • Email collecting account. To have a copy of all the emails you sent, set up an account where you BCC all your sent emails to. Then, you can look back on what you sent and to whom, especially when users say they didn’t get your email, or you want to analyze some user emails flow.

Most startups, and more specifically Software-as-a-Service startups, rely on emails to work.

Treating emails lightly might break your chain of communication with your customers and you might not even be aware of it.

Always be on the lookout for problems in your emails. As communication is usually a problem within a company, so it can be between the company and its users or customers.

Interesting read?