The number one email marketing metric we track is conversations — not clicks.

Sure, we also keep an eye on our open rates because obviously we want people to actually read the emails. But what we really want is for people to reply to us so we can have a conversation with them.

That’s why our marketing emails come from our real email addresses. You’ll never get an email from no-reply@drift.com or even marketing@drift.com — nope, you’ll get them from Alex, Sara, Janna, Dan, Cody, Chris or Dave.

In addition to having a real human being as a sender, every single one of our emails also has a PS — a little call to action at the very end, typically a question like: “One favor before I go: reply to this email and let me know why you signed up?”

Just saying hey Drift email

And you know what the crazy part is? People actually reply. In fact, the response rate to this email is something like 40%.

Drift-newsletter-feedback

Ann Hadley email

Personal email touch

We also make a point of replying to every single one of these emails. We try to be helpful and answer any questions we’re asked.

And while we know not everyone who replies is ready to buy, we do everything we can to leave a positive impression.

That way, down the line if and when they realize that they need a conversational marketing platform, they’ll know who to ask first.

But since this book is all about sharing our secrets, we’re gonna let you in on a pretty big one: We weren’t always great at email. In fact, when we were just getting started, we were honestly quite bad at it.

Too many questions email

As you can see from the example above, back then we couldn’t pick just one thing we wanted our new subscribers to do. We asked them to do a total of six different things: To tweet at us, to join our Slack group, to check out three different pieces of content and to reply to the email. All in one message.

It’s no wonder this email didn’t do all that much for us.

But what we learned from the underwhelming results and a few great benchmarks was this: In email marketing, you need to be very clear about what you want.

Why did you subscribe email

OkDork-Email

With examples like this as our guiding light, we were able to tweak the welcome email.

And over the course of the next 12 days, we received 75 direct replies from real people telling us how they found Drift, why they signed up and what they’re working on. Without even having to look at the stats, we knew that we were onto something.

So the real lesson in all of this is that email works much better when you’ve picked the one thing you want people to do.

For us, that one thing was — and still is — conversations. And so we only optimize for them.

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