No need to mention that the beers and pizza were plenty and high quality as usual. More importantly, so were the evening’s takeaways on how to use emails and push notifications to grow you digital start-up.

Nordic Growth Hackers #4 focused on trying to engage users with a direct piece of communication. What to say? When? What technologies work? A lot of questions were waiting in the full crowd that occupied every seat and then some at Founder’s House on October 1st 2015.

CEO of SimpleSite and initiator of the NGH, Morten Elk, explained why mails & notifications really matter when hacking growth – and he admitted that SimpleSite is really looking forward to letting insights from this very targeted session help them (us) become better at mails & notifications.
Watch Morten’s keynote here: Welcome keynote NGH #4

Friday Happy Hour is Vivino’s prime push time

First speaker on stage was Christos Iosifidis, Senior Product Manager of the successful wine scanning app Vivino.
Christos explained how Vivino works with onboarding and, later, waking the dormant users, if they fall asleep -well, not from too much wine, but simply stopped using the app to scan their wines.
Vivino follows a strict process for communicating with the users during the onboarding period. It’s divided into 6 main steps during the first ten days, where it’s important for long term success that the user scans a wine, invites a friend – and more.

Vivino is about making people scan the wines they drink, and a successful strategy is to send push notifications around the time when people go to grab a drink Friday afternoons. Emails don’t work at that time, a push notification on the phone does.
Gain more insight into Vivino’s onboarding and re-activation strategies in Christos’ presentation here:
Using push notifications and email to onboard new Vivino users – and to wake the dormant users.

The best B2B sales channel is…

Karsten Deppert of Motiomera, an exercise app for businesses, found that email is better than any other channel for sales.

Karsten sent out thousands of emails, both completely cold (which is legal in Sweden under certain circumstances) and to existing users. And then luckily for us he performed a lot of A/B-testing and shared it with us tonight.
A few highlights when testing headlines in the email:

  • A price in the headline works well
  • A discount is more important than the price itself
  • Questions work better than just providing information.

The best sender credentials are the sender’s first name and the company name – i.e. “Karsten – Motiomera”. That works better than full name or just company name.
See all of Karsten’s tips in his presentation here:
B2B sales email: A look into a toolbox of loads of small tweaks & testing.

Psychological learnings from 1.5m mails per day

Steffen Frølund of Bownty shared how the Hawthorne effect creates noise when measuring effects of changes in Bownty’s emails. Bownty sends emails to users with offerings based on the user’s preferences and location, meaning highly individualized emails.

It was Bownty’s experienced that almost every change in their emails had a positive effect, but then gradually faded back to status quo after a period of time (which highlights the importance of constantly measuring and revising old experiments, see our previous blog post on a failed video experiment with a positive outcome:

The psychology behind the Hawthorne effect is that the newness of anything increases attention. My takeaway is basically, that with recurring contact with users you should make changes now and then, simply to heighten users attention.
Get all of Steffen’s insights in his presentation here:
Psychology in email marketing: Every change created improvement – but not for long. Why?

Which tools to user for email?

The discussion panel brought up questions on which systems to use – and the answer is “it depends”. If your business is built on sending emails like Bownty, you don’t just jump around switching system every year.

  • Mixpanel is a very popular tool.
  • Mailchimp cannot support individual emails like the ones Bownty sends.
  • Sendgrid (and most bulk email systems) helps avoid spam filters.

An important aspect is what Steffen Frølund calls “Sunsetting”: If the user has a very low engagement ratio, it’s better to remove the recipient from the list, because a low engagement ratio may cause spam filters to categorize your emails as spam.

Christian Stautz

Growth hacker at SimpleSite



Are you talking to me? Personas help Billetto target users

Billetto, the ticket service for everyone, is working on automating a lot of the communication with users, some of which use the service only once a year.

One of their measures is to describe user segments with “personas” – stereotypes that help communicate to segments of users.

Billetto also differentiates their onboarding process based on where the user comes from. It makes a huge difference whether people signed up after searching for a “Mojito recipe” or “Sell tickets online”, so in the onboarding process they are addressed differently.

Another key takeaway for general communication is, that language matters: Newsletters in English sent to Danes converted 30% less for Billetto’s B2B mails. Use mother tongue whenever possible!

Get all of Anders’ insights in his presentation here:
Psychology in email marketing: Every change created improvement – but not for long. Why?

Talk to your users – literally

ChurchDesk is a church management system. Without divine intervention they managed to reach more than 10,000 users in Europe. CEO Christian Steffensen gave a humorous talk on how they gathered a lot of crucial information for their business.

A way to get insights into users’ needs, Christian wrote an email to 5000 users and asked them to book a conversation. That resulted in three weeks of talking to customers providing a huge amount of qualitative data that helped define what ChurchDesk is and what it should be, and why customers buy the service.

Christian highly recommends this approach to everyone, but it can seem a bit overwhelming since digital startups are often focused on automating and communicating digitally.

As a reward ChurchDesk build a close relationship with their users, even receiving postcards with holiday greetings!

Christian recommends simple plain text emails. It gives a more personal feel to the communication and calls for personal responses from users.

And finally, Christian made it clear they are setting up macros to automate some of that unscalable stuff. Phew…!

Watch Christian’s picture-loaded presentation here: Scaling with unscalable data: Churchdesk’s discovering users’ needs through open questions


Phone your unsubscribers

Chris “Kubby” Kubbernus, a digital marketing veteran, now heading Norriq’s communication, brought us all the way from Canada (8 years ago) to today’s Copenhagen startup scene.
From 80% open rates on emails back then until today’s flooded inboxes where you have to fight The Battle for The Inbox.

Long term winners of that battle must have a human tone of voice, and it’s great to be a tease: Don’t show off everything when you catch people’s attention, instead pique their curiosity. People click on stuff they get curious about (click baiting is different discussion…)

Kubby advised founders to build a social following, which will help when fundraising, selling or hiring. Focus on one thing: An email newsletter OR a social media profile. And nail your segments: Find out what they want, need and care about – and deliver a piece of that every time.
A couple of tricks that work i.e. converting visitors to subscribers:

  • Automated lead generation cards sent to new Twitter followers.
  • Blackout popups on your website: They really convert, even though they’re annoying to the rest of us.

Another suggestion from Kubby is to call up your email unsubscribers and ask them: Why did you unsubscribe? This is probably beyond most techies’ comfort zones, but as Christian from ChurchDesk also said: You gain a lot of qualitative information when talking to users. But also on signups: “Why did you sign up?” Maybe a natural development when inboxes and social media are flooded. Back to talking directly to each other.

Get all of Kubby’s tips in his stylish presentation here: Battle for the Inbox: how to get there and stay there