Threatening Puppies (kinda) Works

The results from our email interview experiment are in and, thank goodness, our customers saved the puppies.

* I didn’t get a chance to send follow-up emails for either of these emails.

Note these results include two new emails that weren’t detailed in the original blog post.  The “French Vanilla” email was the result of a friend telling me I had done everything wrong and that he could do a much better job:

French Vanilla

The Why? Email was inspired by my friend Adam Loving at Linksy who sent out an email to his customers asking for 2-3 words about their online marketing challenges:


Interesting stuff:

  1. Follow-up emails produced the most interviews.  Each person who didn’t reply to my first email got another email a couple days later repeating my request for their time.  Doing that more than doubled the number of interviews I got to do. Highly recommend FollowUpThen.
  2. Overall, the interview conversion rate was low.  7% on average, with the “winning” email converting at 12%.
  3. Sample size was probably too small to claim anything scientific, but “Rocky Road” generated “3x” the interviews “Vanilla” did.
  4. The “Why?” email performed well, but didn’t really let me dive as deep as I would have liked into my customer’s pain.
  5. Our readers are smarter than I am.  I thought “Chocolate” would win, but ya’ll were right:


Looks like this experiment provides two takeaways:

  1. Be sure to follow-up on requests for interviews.
  2. Being humorous/unique/edgy helps. Not a lot, but it helps.

Join the experiment – follow along via Email or RSS for updates on our next post: Customer Interviews using Mechanical Turk.

Customer Development Made Easy…

1 comment
  1. Now you have me super curious about whether these numbers scale! 7% sounds pretty good to me if all you have to do is increase the number of emails sent. Of course, 12% is even better. Thanks a ton for sharing the details of this interesting experiment.

    Was the follow-up email identical to the initial email or did it contain different text like “I haven’t heard back”?

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