4 Must-Have Email Growth Hacks You Aren’t Using


Email is an often overlooked growth hacking tool. But if done right, you can see huge gains in user acquisition, user retention, and user engagement. These are all important to a growth hacker. Unfortunately, just shooting off any email won’t work. It has to be perfectly timed and super relevant users. The only way to do this, without spending hours a day manually emailing each user, is by using trigger-based emails.

Trigger whaat?!

Trigger-based emails are personalized emails that are sent to your users automatically, based on what they do in your app. For instance, when someone becomes a new user, you can set up an email to go out to them a few minutes after they join, welcoming them to your site.

But what does this have to do with growth hacking? EVERYTHING.

You can use these perfectly timed, personalized emails to get your users to do something. This could be referring other users, downloading the mobile version of your web app, or anything else clever you can think of.

So now that we understand the power of trigger-based emails, how do we use them?

Here’s four emails you can use set up in just a few minutes to start getting more users and retaining the ones you have.

1. Send an Email to Users that Haven’t Referred a User

There are all kind of tricks you can use to get your users to refer others. But the simplest has to be asking for the referral by email.

All you have to do is set up a rule to send an email to users that haven’t referred another others yet.

drip campaign rules

This email could be as simple as this:

email template

The reason this email works is because it’s personal and encourages your user to think of a friend to send it to.

It’s not just giving them a link and telling them to share it. You told them that this link is for one friend, which means they have to think a little about who they want to give it to.

You also welcomed them to email you for more. This gives you a chance to have a conversation with some of your top referrers and get feedback, but also makes it seem more personal.

They’d be a fool not to share this personally emailed deal with a friend ;)

2. Send an Email to Get Users to Upgrade Before Their Trial Ends

Getting trial users to become paying customers is the ultimate goal. But most SaaS businesses only convert 10% of their trial users to paying customers. If you want to improve your trial to paid conversions, you need to get people paying as fast as you can.

One thing to try is incentivizing the upgrade.

drip campaing rules

All you do is set up a rule that sends an email with an incentive to all your active trial users. This would be anyone using your trial actively for three days.

Why three days?

On average, users that actively use your trial for three days are 4 times more likely to convert into customers.

So you need to grab those customers now, before they become inactive or find your competitor.

Your email doesn’t have to be anything fancy, something as simple as this email could do the trick:

email template

In this email, you’re reminded the user how much value they get from using your tool.

You’ve also given them a promo code for their second month, which means they’ll probably be around for at least three months, and they have a short time to act.

They’ve already been actively using your tool for three days, they pretty much know if you they’re going to choose your app. Why not close the sale now?

3. Send an Email to Inactive Users

Most marketers, founders, and growth hackers focus on user acquisition. But the key to running a successful long term app business is actually user retention.

What’s scary is, the average churn rate for a SaaS company is 5% per month.

If you could reduce your churn by even 10% per month, you could see a huge difference.

So how can you increase user retention easily, with email?

drip campaign rule

Just set up a rule that sends an email to any user that’s been inactive for about three days.

This is enough time for them to be considered “inactive”, but not too far along where they don’t remember who you are.

The email could be something like this:

email template

At the very least, they’ll be curious enough to sign back in and try the new feature. Then you can begin re-engaging them.

Pretty neat, huh?

4. Send an Email to Users That Haven’t Invited Team Members

If you have a B2B app, one of the most important things you can do is ask your users to invite their teammates.

There are a few reasons why:

  • Sometimes the right person in the company doesn’t sign up for your service, but by allowing them to invite teammates, you’re more likely to get to them.
  • If your new user leaves the company, no one else in the company is using your app. By getting more users on board, the rest of the team can still use your app.
  • It’s just more people using your app. That means, it’s more people that can talk about your app and share it with others.

I know you could easily build an invite tool in your app or even purchase one to use. But sometimes, there’s no time to add it or people ignore the invite prompt and never actually get their teammates using the app.


To get your users to invite others by email, set up an email that automatically sends a reminder to users that haven’t invited a team mate.

The email can look something like this:

email template

This kind of email would inspire anyone to get their entire team using your app.

So there you have it, that’s four email growth hacks you aren’t using…yet. These are so simple to set up, take just a few minutes to get done, and are powerful ways to boost user retention, user acquisition, and user engagement. This helps you with everything you need for serious growth.


Guest post by Ashli

Ashli is the Co-Founder at Autosend. Autosend is a tool that helps web and mobile app businesses send email, SMS, and push notifications to their users, automatically based on what they do in your app.


  • joshuastatement

    Some great trigger inspiration, thanks! :)

    • jacek_blaut

      Glad you liked it!

  • http://www.SocialMediaRush.com/ Reginald Chan

    Great article! For me, I love the part especially with emails to inactive users. Great method to pull back readers.

    Something I just got to do real soon to increase my readership.

    Thanks for sharing guys!

    • Ashli

      Thanks for the kind words! Emailing inactive users can do wonders, and often times allows you to find out why someone may have been inactive in the first place.

  • Michael Lieberman

    Trigger based emails are definitely a great way to push people through the funnel and to grow your business. We’ve found that one of the issues holding companies back from taking advantage of this is that they struggle with how to collect user behaviours from their sites or applications – often because of the coding/technical overhead involved. That’s why we built Trialfire – to let marketers easily set up tracking on their sites or apps and use that in their email / engagement tools. Feel free to have a look at http://www.trialfire.com

  • http://about.me/trapolino Christina Trapolino

    These totally work when they’re done the right way.

    If I’m doing a free trial of your product, I will definitely forget that I’m on a free trial. If I like the features I’m getting access to but they’re going away, your reminder email prompts me to convert into a paying customer. If it doesn’t, email me again in 3 months. That’s not annoying — it’s smart.

    join.me got me to pay for a year of Pro this way just this morning!

  • Traction Digital

    Great triggers! We recently did a post on making better use of these real-time email gems, and we’ve added this link to that post, as these are great example of customer lifecycle & interaction based triggers. http://bit.ly/1t2gNS1

  • Walter the Tailor

    Some great ideas, here. Also lessons to be learned by ‘Brick and Mortar’ businesses.