Regular Email Updates Are Critical
In the post "The 3 Pillars of a Successful Relationship with Angel Investors" we learned why sending regular email updates to your investors, mentors, and advisors is critically important to the success of your business. The startup failure rate is very high and if people in your network don’t hear from you and your company on a regular basis, they’ll most likely assume that your venture has folded like thousands of others each year. Don’t be that entrepreneur! Instead, show persistence and keep sharing information, regardless of whether the news is good or bad. In either case, you might get support and advice that can make all the difference to your success.
Use Basic Email Templates
Now let's discuss how we can create and use basic email templates to simplify our work and make sure we keep the communication with our supporters going.
First of all, you might not need to use any fancy marketing automation and email platforms. A simple email will get the job done 95% of the time. In my practice, I’ve seen startups use both paid and free newsletter tools that might work well for larger companies, but not so much for a startup that maybe has two co-founders and not much graphics and charts to share. In some cases, the newsletters couldn’t open in my email client at all. What a waste of everyone’s time and effort. Instead, use plain text and add some structure to your message. Keep it simple and easy to read.
Start with the email subject line and keep it consistent every time. For example, if you replace the information in the brackets below, you’ll have something that will spike the interest of your investors or advisors every time they see a new message from you:
[Your Company Name] Update - [Month, Year]
They probably receive plenty of emails from other folks with random subject lines, but whenever you send them your updates, they’ll know what to expect. Remember to send this type of communications to your investors and advisors as a blind carbon copy (bcc), so that you keep the privacy of the recipients. You can opt to send the message to your own email address as the primary recipient and/or add one or two team members as secondary recipients via carbon copy (cc).
Here's A Sample Message
Having some consistency in the body of the message is highly recommended. Below is an example structure that you can use and modify to suit your needs:
We made some exciting progress in the months of January and February…
We've got a few things to share since our last company update:
Last month’s goals:
1/ Launch company page on LinkedIn: done
2/ Onboard 2 new interns: onboarded one person, waiting on the second to sign the agreement
Next month’s goals:
1/ Sign partnership agreement with …
2/ Speak with 2 regulatory advisors
3/ Onboard the second intern
Grow email list to 100 subscribers: currently at 57
Reach 20 sales per month: currently at 15
Challenges / Asks:
We are looking to hire a software developer to complete the work on our iOS app. Please let us know if there is someone in your network who has that kind of software expertise. We’d love to speak with them!
Be Consistent - Always!
If you consistently send email updates like the one above, you’ll be able to demonstrate the progress you are making and differentiate your business from the majority of other companies out there. Make sure you send updates about things that really matter to the success and growth of your company. Vanity metrics such as the number of visitors on your website, and saying that the number increased 100% since last month are not helpful, especially if last month you only had 1 visitor. Don’t waste your time or the time of your supporters with things like that. Focus on the important things (sales, pilots booked, new hires, etc.).
Consistency is key. Updating your supporters once every three months is highly recommended, but you can opt to communicate with them every month or every six months depending on your specific situation. Whatever you do, avoid going into radio silence mode. If you do, you risk missing out on opportunities and people might not take you seriously if you, all of a sudden, reach out to them and ask them for favors.
So go for it - communicate, stay on top of mind with your partners, and you might get some really helpful feedback and new doors open for you.