#2 – How Extra.ai sends onboarding email

New tools are awesome,
New friends are even better.
Hello, Liam! :wave:

Extra.ai is a new social media tool that is currently in the works. You can sign up for a beta here. And if you do sign up, you will be privy to a really neat onboarding email campaign that serves to nurture a beta list until the product is ready.

I’ve been lucky enough to be part of the Extra.ai list for a few weeks now, and I’d love to share what they send. Here is what I received when I signed up for a beta of Extra.ai earlier this year.

How often Extra.ai sends email to new signups

The first 35 days

Total: Seven emails sent, counting the email confirmation. Mostly 1x per week, except for the last week

My best guess at Extra.ai’s onboarding strategy

Apart a few outliers (signup confirmation email, welcome email, and a one-off email here and there), most email from Extra arrived like clockwork: 10:00 a.m. Pacific every Monday morning.

The Monday theme was so strong in fact that my official welcome email arrived on a Monday, despite my signing up on a Saturday. It ended up being a neat way to get into a cadence. I would guess this is the way it works: You sign up and get a double opt-in email right away; then no matter the day you sign up, you get a welcome email the next Monday and then regular communication every Monday after.

The regular communication is a really nice touch: Weekly emails from the founder, letting him know what’s going on or sharing a social media thinkpiece with you. Good stuff!

Tool they use: Drip by LeadPages

Learnings

  • For new subscribers, Extra sends a new email every Monday morning
  • The emails are pure content (their homepage is basically content, too). Very little design. Lots of text.
  • Every email is from the founder, Liam Sarsfield. I got so used to seeing his name in my inbox that I forgot after awhile whether we’d ever met before (we haven’t). I recall his name almost as quickly — sometimes faster — than the name of his product.
  • The From Name is always “Liam Sarsfield,” and never mentions Extra.
  • Each email has a clear “this is why you subscribed” message at the top, plus an easy unsubscribe link.
  • For what it’s worth, they don’t call it a beta list; it’s an early access list.

3 onboarding email tips and takeaways from Extra

  1. Be consistent
  2. Longform is fine in an email, especially if it feels like you’re receiving a letter from a friend
  3. You can (and should) send emails before you have a product. Build a community while you’re building a product.

Here are all the onboarding emails (and beyond) that Extra.ai sends

If you’re curious about the content of the Extra.ai emails, here’s a breakdown of every email that I received during my first 35 days. Caveat: I’m sure tons has changed and will change with these initial Extra.ai emails, so your mileage may vary when you sign up and see for yourself. 😊

First email

Sent minutes after I signed up.

 

Subject: Please confirm your subscription
From: Liam Sarsfield, liam@extra.ai
Links:

  • Confirm subscription — https://www.extra.ai/alpha-list/confirmed

Second email

Sent three days after I signed up.

Subject: Hello!
From: Liam Sarsfield, liam@extra.ai
Links:

  • “Liam” — https://twitter.com/liamsarsfield?__s=utygjocarr5kbqzptrcc
  • “Extra” — https://www.extra.ai/
  • “Rust” — https://rust.facepunch.com/home/?__s=utygjocarr5kbqzptrcc
  • “Automating Toward Slime” — https://medium.com/extraai/automating-toward-slime

Third email

Sent 10 days after I signed up.

Subject: The business of reposting content 😷
From: Liam Sarsfield, liam@extra.ai
Links:

  • https://blog.bufferapp.com/the-case-for-reposting-content
  • “Extra” — https://www.extra.ai/

Fourth email

Sent 17 days after I signed up.

Subject: When is the best time to post?
From: Liam Sarsfield, liam@extra.ai
Links: (no links, except to Extra.ai in the email signature)

Fifth email

Sent 24 days after I signed up.

Subject: Introducing Matthew and Liam
From: Liam Sarsfield, liam@extra.ai
Links:

  • “MetaLab” — http://metalab.co/?__s=utygjocarr5kbqzptrcc
  • “Fluorescent” — http://fluorescent.co/?__s=utygjocarr5kbqzptrcc
  • “Literistic” — https://www.literistic.com/?__s=utygjocarr5kbqzptrcc
  • “Toronto, Ontario” — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto
  • “First Nations” — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Nations
  • “OneFeather” — https://onefeather.ca/
  • “Victoria, B.C.” — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria,_British_Columbia

Sixth email

Sent 27 days after I signed up.

Subject: Anil Dash’s “Humane Tech”
From: Liam Sarsfield, liam@extra.ai
Links:

  • http://onbeing.org/programs/anil-dash-techs-moral-reckoning/
  • “Human Tech” — https://medium.com/humane-tech

Seventh email

Sent 32 days after I signed up.

Subject: Behind-The-Scenes: Designing Extra
From: Liam Sarsfield, liam@extra.ai
Links:

  • “Sketch” — https://www.sketchapp.com/
  • “The Iterative Process: Designing a Scheduling Component for Extra” — https://medium.com/extraai/the-iterative-process-designing-a-scheduling-component-for-extra-74e4aa70b19a

Worth noting: subject lines

I wanted to share this more complete list of the emails I received from Extra, just to give a taste of how these subject lines feel altogether. They’re conversational, approachable, human, genuine. I liked them a lot!

It’s an interesting mix, right? There’s the education set of “The business of reposting content” and “When is the best time to post?” and then the relationship-building “Introducing…” and “Behind-The-Scenes.”

Overall, I found it to be a fabulous balance of education, relationship, and product marketing.

Nice work, Liam and team!

Your thoughts

If you have some thoughts or questions about Extra’s email flow, I’d love to hear them.

  • What do you think of going longform with your welcome emails?
  • Do you prefer emails from a founder or emails from a marketer?

Eager to hear from you!

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