Photo: Jason Tester via Flickr
It’s tough to make email marketing campaigns not look and feel like spam.But one startup has mastered the technique of a great email: Quora.
Q&A site Quora was founded by former Facebook CTO Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever. It’s like Yahoo Answers but the responses come from intelligent people.
Questions include, “What does it feel like to be a self-made millionaire at 25?” and “How do the Claw crane ‘arcade game’ machines work?“
Every week, I rabidly click on my weekly Quora email. As a notoriously over-eager email deleter, that says a lot. My colleagues agree Quora’s email is among the best they receive. Other Quora users have posted similar sentiments: “How can Quora’s Weekly Digest so consistently voice my secret inner thoughts?” One asked on the site.
Here’s how Quora has nailed the email marketing experience, and what everyone else is doing wrong.
- Quora sends weekly instead of daily emails. It’s hard to keep up with a daily email. But a weekly email is much easier to manage and therefore less annoying to receive. The delay also adds an element of longing to Quora’s emails. You’re excited for one to arrive, not dreading it’s arrival every morning.
- The subject line is always a catchy question. “Is a $100k salary too much for an angel/VC-backed startup co-founder?” The last one read. Who doesn’t want to know the answer to that? So I clicked and found out. Then I wrote a story about the answer.
- The emails contain interesting, high quality, and personal content. The technology behind Quora is amazing, and that’s reflected in the quality of the stories you’re sent in weekly emails. Content is curated by the preferences you pre-select on the site. I’ve never opened a Quora email and seen articles I’ve read before. It’s a great content discovery experience, and you’re bound to learn something interesting when you open the emails.
- It shows someone credible tied to every story featured. When you see a VC you’ve heard of answering a question about startup investments, or someone who’s lost a sister answering the question, “What it feels like to lose a sibling,” it makes you more curious about the answer.
- The design is simple and the content is easy to scan. Stories aren’t crammed into the emails. They aren’t suffocated with irrelevant pictures or screaming headlines. They’re quick, easy to consume bullet points.
Here’s what the last Quora email looked like. (Yours is probably different.) It arrived 7 days ago and I can’t wait to receive another.