This is one in a series of Anti-Churn Tactic articles detailing ways to reduce churn and improve customer retention. In this installment, we’ll talk about using drip email.

For this series, let’s assume we have an invoicing application named InvoiceViz and customers are signing up like mad because of our good price points and beautiful interface. But we’re finding that those users aren’t sticking around as long as we’d like so we want to keep them longer.

The first thing we should do is find out why they’re leaving and focus on any actionable feedback. That much goes without saying. But let’s say we’ve done that and now are left with otherwise happy users who just need a little prodding and support.

One good way to retain users is to prod them with email at just the right time.

Sending email at “just the right time” is often called “drip email.” Drip email is figuring out just the right time and just the right content to send an email based on the actual behavior of an individual user in an application.

One type of prod is helping with setup.

Sometimes users just need a little help getting started. Using application analytics and traffic patterns, we can identify users who are having a hard time getting started and send them some helpful email. One example might be this:

Hi there,

We noticed you signed up for InvoiceViz two weeks ago, but have not yet set up any customers. The success of our users is very important to us here at InvoiceViz, so we want to make sure you’re off to a great start.


Here is a sample video for setting up new customers in case you need it:


We have an extensive knowledge base with answers to most common questions here:


And, of course, should you ever want help from an actual human being please don’t hesitate to contact us at We love to help.

Looking forward to a long and productive relationship,


The InvoiceViz Team.

Another type of prod is congratulating users on passing milestones.

Everyone loves to be congratulated for a job well done. So, we can keep track of some vanity metric in our application and applaud our user when they cross it.

This one is hard to do without seeming like a stalker. As a rule of thumb, don’t send more than one or three of these over the lifetime of a customer or they’ll start to feel like you’re watching their every move. Here is an example:

Hi there,




We noticed that you’ve sent $10,000 worth of invoices to your customers. This is a big milestone. Research by The US Small Business Administration says businesses that pass this mark are 59% more likely to succeed in the long run. Time to breathe a sigh of relief and treat yourself to a beer.

When you’re back from your beer, you might want to check out some features we built for power users like you. For example, here’s a video on creating more than one invoice at the same time, which is great for end of month billing at busy firms like yours:


All the best,

The InvoiceViz Team.

We can also send periodic report cards vs. other users who are similar.

Being congratulated for doing a good job is great. But being congratulated for doing a better job than the next guy is even better. So, we can benchmark our users against each other and send them a report card to tell them how they are doing (make sure this is an opt-in thing!). The report card can be available to everyone as a screen in the application, but for users we know are above average we can call special attention to them with an email. But only send the report cards to users who are doing above average (nobody wants to be reminded they are doing badly)!

Hi there,


We thought we’d send you a sample of our benchmarking score card. In the last three months you’ve sent 12 invoices totaling $123,854. This compares to an average of 10 invoices and $99,567 for others in similar industries to you. Congratulations! Here are some more interesting tidbits for you:


  You Others Like You
Active Customers 4 5
Avg Invoice Size $12,543 $11,667
Avg Days to Payment 31 28
Avg Invoices Per Customer 4 6
Avg Customer Lifetime 126 days 234 days


If you’d like to receive this report card every month, please check the “send me a report card every month” option in your contact preferences here:


Otherwise, we’ll just send you this report card once or twice a year to remind you how great you’re doing.


All the best,

The InvoiceViz Team


PS. To opt out of benchmarking entirely, please click this link with our apologies:

If a user is doing badly vs. other users, send them tips for doing better.

Our same benchmarking logic can tell us which users are going badly vs other users. But, like I said, we don’t want to remind the user they’re doing badly directly. Instead, we’ll send them some tips “just because” to tell them how to do better. Let’s say, for example, we have an InvoiceViz user whose invoices are chronically paid 15 days late. We might send them the following email to help them out:

Hi there,


Some of our users have been asking about ways to improve payment times on their invoices. Since invoices are everything that we do, we’ve done a great deal of thinking about that topic so we thought we’d share some insight. Please check out our 7 Tips For Faster Invoice Payments blog post here:


If this is a topic of interest to you, you might want to also check out these resources:

The Nolo Law Center:
How to Get Your Customers To Pay Faster:
Recurring Revenue is Awesome:


All the best,

The InvoiceViz Team

If the app saves a user money or time, then remind them occasionally how much they’ve saved.

We don’t want to beat users over the head about it, but every once in a while it doesn’t hurt to toot your own horn. Once a user passes a significant threshold, don’t be afraid to remind them how much they’re benefiting from using the application. Here’s a possible example:

Hi there,


Remember the days when you used to generate invoices by hand? The average time to generate an invoice by hand is 14.5 minutes. What an agony! Compare that to an average of 1.2 minutes to generate an InvoiceViz invoice. Whew!

So far with InvoiceViz you’ve sent 143 invoices. That means you’ve had 1,901 extra minutes (31.6 hours!) to do whatever you like: play with your kids, advance your business, or even take a walk.


What are you going to do with your extra 13.3 minutes today?


All the best,

The InvoiceViz Team

Just don’t remind them too often or, again, you’ll sound like a stalker.

Mainly, we want to remind the user that we’re there providing value, without irritating them too much.

The key to these drip emails is to send them at exactly the right time. Just blanketing generic emails out to masses of users won’t be the least bit interesting. But sending the right user the right email at the right time will be. If we already have actual data on a user’s real life usage, then we should put that data to use by emailing at just the right time.

This means smart, algorithmic approaches to email instead of blanket email blasts.

The only way to send the right email at the right time is to write some code. You can write all the code yourself, or you can get a head start by using a platform. But at the end of the day, you’ll have to write at least a little bit of code. Did I mention that’s what we do here at Pollen?

Like this article? Read the next in the series about using gifts to reduce churn.