If you subscribe to our emails, you know we don’t use email templates. And this too has to do with grabbing our audience’s attention.

We actually ditched highly designed html marketing emails a long time ago. Even before we stopped using lead forms to gate content.
And here’s why.

In a book called The Boron Letters, Gary Halbert explains that people tend to sort their mail into two piles: You’ve got your A pile and your B pile.

The B pile is where all those colorful flyers and ads end up. Basically anything that looks like it’s from a brand.

The A pile is a stack of handwritten white envelopes. The A pile is personal. You’ll know there’s a letter from your Aunt Mary because you recognize her handwriting and know that every year she sends you 20 bucks for your birthday.

You always start from the A pile. More importantly, you read all of those letters.

You might eventually get to the B pile or you might just throw it out. You weren’t expecting any of that stuff and you definitely wouldn’t be upset if some of the mail in your B pile got lost in the mail.

At Drift, we want all of our emails to end up in the A pile.

We want them to feel like it’s your Aunt Mary asking you out to lunch this weekend.

And that’s why we write our marketing emails just like we write any other email. We just open Gmail and start typing.

We don’t care about proper punctuation. Sometimes our subject lines are all lowercase. And you’ll never see us send an email with a pretty blue background, the Drift logo, a nice gradient and a big button that reads “click here to read more.”

When you get one of those emails with fancy colors, logos and gifs, something goes off in your brain and you instantly know that it’s an email from a brand. It’s pretty, but you know it’s an offer or a promotion.

And no matter what — whether you immediately delete the email or continue reading it, you’re biased because you know the email has marketing intentions. And 99% of the world hates being marketed to.

Instead, we send scrappy plain text emails with lots of questions — and we actually want people to respond. We care more about starting conversations than optimizing for open rates and click throughs.

For example, when you subscribe to our blog, you won’t get a traditional “your subscription has been confirmed” email.


Instead you’ll get an email from a real person. More specifically, Alex from our marketing team. Not from no-reply@drift.com.

And while she’s quick to confess that the email is automated, she also writes, “I’m a real person that would love to hear why you subscribed to our blog?”

That’s been an absolute game changer because we are creating a real connection with people.

These emails help us generate tons of feedback and allow us to start conversations.

Is it scalable? Hell no.

But we still do it.

Most marketing teams would debate whether or not to try that idea: Who would manage the conversations, how much time it would take away from that person and ultimately, how does it scale?

At Drift we just do it. We don’t think about scaling. We’ll try anything if we think it’ll help us grow.

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