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How I send a personalized message (incl. follow ups) to 100s of sign-ups with this $5 tool

Johannes

Johannes

Co-Founder

8 Minutes

July 1st, 2024

As Formbricks matures, I’m less involved in building the product and instead focus on selling it.

With hundreds of people signing up every week, we’re fortunate to have a good starting point.

Obviously, every sign-up is an opportunity: Someone found us, was intrigued enough to sign up and test the product. We want to leverage that. Not every sign-up will buy, but every sign-up can provide valuable feedback or insights.

However, without a good process, the follow-ups quickly occupied a good chunk of my workday…

How to Follow-Up: Delegate or Automate?

I ran into a bunch of problems:

  • The sign-ups piled up in our list of new users when I was working on other things.
  • Our product analytics tool doesn’t let me tick off/mark sign-ups in the people view.
  • I didn’t want to set up a custom Slack notifier for every sign-up because it would make Slack notifications redundant. But I also kept forgetting to follow up within 24h…
  • Each follow up took too long to be effective.

So in short: I struggled to reach out on time and personalized. And the leads went stale…

Since customer research and communication are key for a product development, I didn’t want to delegate.

And since personalized messages work much better, I didn’t want to fully automate. So I looked for a better process and tooling - and found Vocus.

The $5 Tool That Makes It All Possible

The new process I set out to design needed to tick the following boxes:

  1. Filter out personal email addresses from the sign-up list.
  2. Let me reach out within 24h after sign-up.
  3. Reach out with a personalized message.
  4. Auto-follow up twice (a lot of sales happen after the 2nd and 3rd follow-up).
Landing page of Vocus.io

Vocus is a simple tool that does exactly what I need (and a tiny bit more). And even the $5 plan is enough for now because it packs the two things I need: Email templates with placeholders (they call this Snippets) and automatic follow-ups 😍.

Setting up semi-automated follow-ups

Before we look at how to set up Vocus and Formbricks, here is the process in a nutshell:

The process of following up sign-ups with a personalized message

Alrighty, let’s dive into the details!

Setting Up Vocus.io

Create a Snippet to send out as the initial email:

setting up vocus snippets

It’s important to keep it short (I’m likely too wordy already) and generic enough so that you can always send it even without further personalization. Here is my current message:

Hey [[Name]],

from time to time I go through our sign-ups and reach out to interesting people like yourself :)

Looks really cool what you're working on at [[Company]].

Is there anything I can help you with?

Best, Johannes

Secondly, we set up the template for the follow-ups:

Setup follow ups on Vocus

Once you hit Save, you have to attach the Follow-Up to the Snippet we created above.

Once Vocus is set up, let's have a look at Formbricks.

Setting Up Formbricks

How and where you embed Formbricks for your Onboarding survey is out of scope for this article. The only important thing is that you do two things:

  1. Identify the user (possible for both link surveys as well as embedded surveys).
  2. Activate email notifications for the Onboarding survey.
Formbricks Notification Settings

Alright, we’re good to go!

The Process in Action

  1. When a user signs up for Formbricks, they are asked to fill out the Onboarding survey:
Formbricks Onboarding Survey made with Formbricks
  1. Because we set up both user identification and email notifications, I get an email as soon as someone signs up. Before the email hits my inbox, I filter out all personal sign-ups which are unlikely to buy an Enterprise plan from us:
Gmail filters to filter out personal emails
  1. The Formbricks email notification contains both the email of the new sign-up and the content of the Onboarding survey:
Gmail preview

I look at the domain and website to understand what the company is working on. For promising leads, I try to find the person on LinkedIn. Together with the info from the onboarding survey, I have enough to personalize my outreach message.

  1. I then draft an email to the user and type / into the body of the email. Vocus opens and lets me pick a template by typing the name of it. In this case, I have a “generic-onboarding-followup” template in both English and German:
Vocus snippet recall

Now Vocus asks me to fill in the placeholders I created in the template:

Vocus prefilling placeholders

It prefills the values in both the template and the follow-ups:

Vocus follow ups

I really like that I can update the text or just go with the default. It lets me personalize the messages, including follow-ups all in one step. 😍 I can set and forget (until people reply).

  1. After hitting “Save” to automatically send the follow-ups after 2 and 4 days, I can personalize my initial message. In my experience, it’s not super important what exactly you write. The main goal is to give the recipient the impression that the email is not automated:
Customizing follow ups

That’s It!

For me, this is the perfect balance of keeping control over personalization and automating away the tedious stuff (templating, follow-ups, mental load of having to think of doing a daily task in different tools).

It’s simple, cheap, and effective.

Have a look at both Vocus.io and the Formbricks Onboarding Survey.

Keep shipping 🚢