At Sendwithus, we talk a lot about educating our users. We say that every customer should come away better at sending emails, not just through using our product, but in every interaction with any part of our service. Every blog post they read, every email they receive, every support ticket they submit, should serve – above all – their understanding of email.This isn’t just a content strategy or a play at “thought leadership,” it’s also how we passively validate leads.
Keeping one general principle front and center at every point of interaction helps small sales and marketing teams reinforce the appeal of their core product and find the leads that will have the most payoff.
Know what you’re about
One of my favorite examples of brands that do an excellent job of this is Good Eggs – every one of their emails is simple, clean, and beautiful, just like the core appeal of the food they sell.
If you don’t find that image appealing, there’s very little chance that you’ll be interested in the full range of offerings from Good Eggs, and that’s ok. And it’s not just their emails, every aspect of their app on web and mobile goes right back to the theme of beautiful food.
There’s no doubt that this is a service for people who want to really love their food. They’re not focusing on the convenience of delivery or price because those aren’t the point on which they really compete. If you want fast delivery or cheap food, there are other options, so they don’t even bring them up –they’re not InstaEggs, they’re Good Eggs.
Help Your Customers Pitch You
The most powerful referral you can ever hope for is a direct, personal referral from an existing user given outside the confines of some referral prompt or program. But this requires one really tough thing: your user has to be able to pitch your product. If you’ve ever asked your users to explain what you do, it has probably left you cringing as they got more wound up in how they might want to use your product than explaining what it’s for.
I’ve written a bit about Everlane before because they are a company that truly knows what they’re about: transparency. They talk about transparency constantly, usually in reference to their openness about their sourcing and manufacturing, but they also extend that into their customer relationships.
Going back to the idea of having your customers pitch for you, this is one of those things that makes it easy. What’s Everlane? It’s a clothing company. What makes it different? Transparency. If that matters to you, you will probably be willing to pay a small premium for it.
Everlane doesn’t want to mess around gathering up the bargain hunters or fashionistas just to waste resources trying to convert them. Instead they trace everything back to their core principle.
Maintain the metaphor
In much the same vein, Shopify’s upgrade notice at the end of your free trial does a good job of reinforcing the metaphor of a physical store by using “closed” and “re-opened” instead of something more account-y like “deactivated” or “suspended.” This pairs well with their light reassurance that everything is right where you left it and ready to go as soon as you upgrade.
Live up to your messaging
If you listen to any podcasts, you’ve probably heard ads for Squarespace that challenge you to “Build it Beautiful.” They build this idea into their signup flow, by leading you to the template gallery and picking one out before you even sign up.
Additionally, part of their onboarding flow is an email of “Tips from our designers” sent from the “Squarespace Design Team.” Again, there are cheaper, easier competitors, but Squarespace believes you deserve better than that. This extends into their help docs and support center, where the topics are largely design-focused and address the quirks that might prevent your site from being beautiful.
For comparison, here’s the headline from Weebly’s website:
They say “Easy” twice and put “Free” in the main call-to-action. They have a different audience and a different idea of which users are going to be the most successful on their platform. They communicate this in all the same ways that Squarespace leans on pretty design.
Obviously, you don’t want to come right out and say “Sure, we’re more expensive than our competitor, X”. But, by having something that ties together your goals, your customers, and your reason for existence, that something should be pulling the sled on most of your choices in marketing, design, product, and culture.
Imagine an interview at Squarespace or Good Eggs or Shopify – you’ll probably be expected to talk about their respective values in some fashion. That means they’re doing it right. If you can imagine an interview, you can imagine pitching them to a friend even – and this is super important – if you never fully activated as a user yourself.