When people say that “time is money,” what they usually mean is that they don’t have the time to interact in the way only humans can: with warmth, empathy, and attention.
There are few places that this adage is more applicable than in the startup world.
For the past five years, I’ve been building doopoll, a real-time survey tool which helps our users get three to four times the number of responses to their surveys versus our competitors — and, ultimately, to better understand their customers, employees, and stakeholders.
Because we’re in the survey tools market, a lot of our potential customers evaluate our product against companies like SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, or Slido.
One winning feature of doopoll, where we’ve consistently exceeded our users’ expectations as a survey tool, is our customer support and our ability to engage on a one-to-one basis with any and all of our users.
Recently, I was browsing Twitter and came across this tweet from Tom Osman, encouraging people to send personalized videos with Loom as an introduction and to welcome new users.
I decided to give it a go and record welcome video messages for new customers. Using Loom, I was able to record, upload, and share videos to each new user in under a minute.
The results were encouraging, and I’m happy to share the positive results on conversion I’ve seen from adding video to the user onboarding process, how I made a system for personalized welcome videos, and some of the ideas we’re testing to continue increasing conversion.
What impact does personalized video outreach have on conversion?
Our business model is freemium and focused on getting people to a key conversion event (specifically, getting 10 responses to a survey they’ve created). Ten responses is usually the point where a doopoll user finds the data they collected from their doopoll surveys valuable. Once users get to their 10-response limit, they upgrade to see additional responses they’ve received.
To test how effective the welcome videos created with Loom were, I compared user actions from two separate, seven-day periods:
One week where I sent normal, generic onboarding emails — which are entirely automated.
Another week where I sent a templated email plus a personal welcome video which I recorded with Loom.
When I included the Loom welcome video, we saw key results in both the number of users who hit the 10-response limit and in the number of users who converted to paid plans. More people sent more surveys, and did so at a faster rate, when I included the welcome Loom video:
Of all users in the test group who received a generic onboarding email, 6.45% hit the 10-response limit within their first seven days, versus 10.71% of people who hit the 10-response limit after receiving a personal welcome video (a 4.26% increase).
Of users who received a generic onboarding email, 3.23% chose a paid plan within their first seven days of using doopoll, versus 5.36% of users who converted to paid accounts after receiving a personal video welcome along with their email (a 2.13% increase).
The net takeaway: Including a personal video message welcome in the onboarding emails led to an increase of 2.13% more users converting to paid accounts — a significant impact for our business. This data tells us we should invest more time in personalized outreach with video and support for new users because we have concrete proof that this personal touch matters to them.
How I created a system for personalized outreach with video
Hopefully by now you’re convinced that taking the time to greet new users is a smart idea. I’m going to outline how we do this at doopoll.
1. Implement new user notifications
First, we created a Slackbot who notifies us of new user sign-ups and encourages one of the team members to reach out to them directly.
From there, I open up Loom on my MacBook. Because I produce a lot of audio and video content, I have a microphone and light set up all the time to enhance the production value — but it would work nicely without any additional equipment, too.
2. Record a first-contact Loom video message
It takes me around 30 seconds to record a video on Loom.
I welcome new users by name, adding an appropriate level of personality depending on the domain they used to sign up. As a general rule, I’d be more formal with a higher education or governmental user than I would with a user from a marketing firm. I also take note of where in the world a user is likely to be coming from (based on name and domain name) and then, if I speak their language, I film the video in that language.
In this first video, I ask them three questions:
What are you looking to do with doopoll?
How was your first experience with doopoll?
Where did you find us?
Related reading: How to Overcome Camera Anxiety
3. Include an email with the Loom video link
Before experimenting with video, I wrote each email individually. That was time consuming, adding about a minute to the process for every email. So I switched to a TextExpander shortcut and then added the Loom link manually:
Great to have you using doopoll. Pumped to have you on board.
I'm one of the cofounders at the company. I actually recorded you a personal video (genuinely, this isn't automated). Here's a link.
Three super quick questions for you:
Why did you sign up for doopoll?
How did you hear about us?
What was your first experience of using doopoll like?
4. Iterate when needed
During the period I ran the initial outreach experiment, I sent each one of those welcome emails manually and spent about 30 minutes doing a whole batch of signups at a time, several times a day.
This process quickly became unwieldy, and I occasionally missed new user sign-ups, so I switched to a more automated system for producing the videos and emails.
Currently, instead of having our Slackbot ping me every time a new user sign-up comes in, these activities auto-populate new signups in an Airtable database. Then, I go through and record a batch of welcome videos twice a day.
I also set up a SendGrid block in the Airtable base so that I can send a templated welcome email directly to new users. This cuts down on a huge amount of time spent manually generating emails each day, but when combined with the Loom video, it keeps the outreach personalized and relevant.
A new outreach experiment: personalized welcome pages
The system works pretty well as-is. But I found that I was still asking new users to answer my questions by replying to an email, which felt disingenuous because our product is a survey tool!
So now, rather than send people directly to Loom, we’re testing a personalized landing page on the doopoll site. We pass variables such as Loom video and first name directly into our website from Airtable and then link to the page in the welcome email.
This is proving to be even more effective as we get survey responses to the questions I’m asking in a more structured, convenient way.
Welcome to your new user onboarding process
I learned a lot through experimenting with adding video messages to my new user sign-up flow, including how to strike the right balance between manual and automated parts of the process. I even shared them in what became a lively Twitter conversation about my findings around the impact of video communication on the conversion rates of users to paying customers.
My main takeaways are to:
Keep new user onboarding personal for as long as you can with personalized Loom video welcomes.
Start with more manual processes so you learn what works and what doesn’t.
Once you determine what results in the best outcomes, automate as much of the process as possible.
Keep your filming setup on your desk and ready to go for ease of access.
Recording Loom videos is a habit for me now! And it not only keeps me engaged with our users, but it keeps our business growing — a win-win for everyone.