Dan Kang

Dear Startups

So you just created a startup, and you think it’s the best thing ever. Naturally, you want to tell everyone about it. Great! If your product is any good, I’ll probably sign up to check it out. These days, I see a lot of services going email-only for their sign-ups, which is perfectly fine. The problem happens when you start sending me email. Now, I don’t mind getting updates on your progress and finding out about the latest feature, but you’re actually frustrating your users when you get the important things wrong. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Tell me who you are.

    If I don’t know who you are within 3 seconds of looking at your email, you’re doing it wrong. Either get your email settings right and have your startup’s name in the From field of the email, or put it as the first thing in the subject. I shouldn’t have to read the entire thing just to find out who you are.

  2. Respect my notifications settings.

    Just today, I received an email from a startup for which I clearly indicated in my notification settings that I don’t want any notifications. Letting me control which emails I receive is a must, but it doesn’t mean anything if those settings aren’t taken into account when sending email. This really isn’t that hard.

  3. Always include an unsubscribe link in the footer of your email.

    Make it as easy as possible for your users to unsubscribe. Why would you want to do this? Because if you force your users to stay subscribed by making it too hard for them to unsubscribe, they’ll hate you. You’ll fill up their inboxes with updates they don’t care about, and everyone loses.

All in all, I like getting updates from startups. If I cared enough about your idea to sign up, I’ll care enough to stay up-to-date about your latest successes. Just don’t make your users hate you, and everyone will be happy.