How To Build Rock Solid Relationships With Your Startups Pre-Launch Subscribers

It’s 2016 and most startup founders understand the concept of the lean startup methodology. They all seek to build an MVP to test their assumptions and find product market fit. As part of that process startups invariably aim to build a list of pre-launch subscribers to market their product to pre and post launch.

Typically startups aim to do this by tapping their personal network, advertising across digital channels and by submitting their startup to sites that curate companies that are launching soon like BetaList or have a beta program in the works. As one of the startup founder said, using the example of my own startup, Task Pigeon, I first of all sought feedback from my own network, before submitting my site to BetaList. As a transparent startup I even shared the metrics of our campaign in a recent blog post. You can find one more detailed review.

What happens post user acquisition however is typically an area where startups fall short. If founders have done some entry level reading they have probably heard about the need to “keep in touch” with their subscribers and send out a blog post or two in the coming weeks. Unfortunately such a strategy is not going to lead to the best results. And in fact is wasting some of the time and effort you put into acquiring your subscribers in the first place.

To build rock solid relationships with your startups pre-launch subscribers there are a number of things you can do to stand out from the crowd and remain at the forefront of their mind.

Plan in advance

The critical component of all that follows is to plan in advance. From the moment you have someone join your waiting list you need to know what you are going to do and when. For my startup Task Pigeon the early part of our pre-launch phase is all about gaining additional insight from potential users to refine our product and messaging. To achieve this we utilise an automated email campaign through mailchimp.

Our first email is a welcome email. It seeks to introduce the user with the company and it’s founders. This is automatically sent the moment they confirm that they have registered to be notified of our beta. As a result it received 75% open rates and represents an ideal opportunity to tell your story.

welcome email

welcome email

You can build on this relationship in the days that follow by scheduling other emails as well. Depending on what your goals are this could be to seek feedback on the product, obtain additional user information that may be relevant to your product roadmap (i.e. do they use Android or iOS) or simply share insightful and relevant content from your blog.

Connect on Linkedin

Doing the above will put you on a good solid footing. However, to further build upon the relationship you have with your pre-launch subscribers and to uncover additional channels through which you can market to them there are a number of other things that can be done.

First of all you want to connect with your subscribers on Linkedin. Chances are however you only just got their email as part of the sign up phase, so how do you actually do this? To start with you want to export your list of email subscribers from your email campaign provider. For mailchimp this is a simple and straightforward process with the “Export List” button easily accessible.

Export Subscriber List

Export Subscriber List

After that you want to jump over to linkedin and select “My Network”, “Add Contacts”. From here you can click a button on the right hand side that says “Import File”. Linkedin will then do all the hardwork and match the emails you have with the emails people use in their Linkedin profile. Now don’t expect a 1 for 1 match here. Many people may use an alternate email for your pre-launch list than they do for Linkedin. In our case we managed to connect with about 50% of our audience.

Linkedin Screen Shot

Linkedin Screen Shot

As a result of this two minutes of work you now have an extra connection with your subscribers, and another way to market to them for free (i.e. Linkedin updates and messages).

Find on Twitter

Now that you have connected with these subscribers on Linkedin you also have their first name, last name and the company they work for. This provides you with two opportunities. First of all you can now more easily search for them on Twitter.

People in some industries have adopted Twitter more than others, but if your product is tech or media focused chances are a good percentage of the people you just connected with will also be on Twitter. You can either look through their profiles directly to see if they mention it or search by name and try and match profile pictures or locations to ensure you have the right person.

Here’s an example of one of my pre-launch subscribers I followed on Twitter. He seems to be pretty active which is good to see.

twitter profile of Stan Kobrin

twitter profile of Stan Kobrin

Once you connect with these people on Twitter I also make a file with their Twitter handle. You can now Tweet at them as well, and if they follow back also send direct messages via Twitter.

Leverage the companies they work for

Ok, we are now going to turn away from the actual subscriber and see how they may be able to help you and your startup in other ways. I hope when going through Linkedin you took note of any large or interesting companies your pre-launch subscribers worked for. Perhaps none stood out, but every now and then you will come across someone who works at a tech giant or other globally recognised brand. This can add value and social proof to what you are building!

You can now take this information and refine your landing page and messaging. To pull this off effectively you will need to identify between three and five well recognised companies amongst your subscriber base. You now update your landing page and state something to the effect of “join pre-launch subscribers from the likes of Company A, B and C” or “Employees from Company A, B and C have already joined our beta”.

In addition to this you may want to look at who they are connected to within their own company and try and connect with their colleagues through Linkedin as well. This is especially valuable if you are creating a B2B tool that will require buy-in from more than one user at an organisation.

Custom Audiences on Facebook

Finally, there is one final network I recommend extending your follow up marketing efforts to and that is of course Facebook. Typically I save this strategy for closer to launch when you can get most bang for your marketing buck. With Facebook you can take that same email list and create a custom audience. Just like Linkedin I wouldn’t expect 1 for 1 perfection here, but hopefully you get exposure to 50%+ of your list.

facebook custom audience

facebook custom audience

You can now create ads that specifically target people you already know have an interest in your product. Even better, you can track people as they sign up or buy the live version of your product or service and remove them from this audience so your ad continues to get more and more refined and only targets those who are yet to convert.

In essence each of these strategies are designed to create multiple touch points with your subscribers. Merely reaching them on email will not be enough to sustain a relationship with everyone and each additional connection you can make significantly increases your chances of converting that pre-launch interest into a post-launch purchase.


Paul Towers is a 3x Entrepreneur and Founder of Task Pigeon, a web app that makes it simple to create, assign and manage the tasks you and your team work on each day. Paul also founded Startup Soda, a daily network of newsletters that highlight the best articles, blog posts and tactical resources from startup ecosystems around the world.

How Web Design Affects the Conversion

web design conversion

Web design conversion

The recipe for high conversion is simple as pie: the balance between the design and content. These two components are inextricably interlinked. Once you save on the design – no one pays attention to the content. But how web design affects the conversion and is it that hard to find the golden mean when balancing the visual and the text part website? Read my advice to get the answer.

Location of a Text

According to statistics, most of the visitors look only at the top of a web page, that is, above the so-called “fold line.” The term came from the printing industry. Even if you haven’t bought printing press for a long time, you should remember that in a storefront, newspapers are always in the folded state. Therefore, put the “profitable” content at the “visible” top of the page.

Also, I recommend you to include a form for mailing to the “first screen” and use a header to attract more attention.

  • Your landing page is a face of the company. If the first impression was worse than expected, you’re unlikely to get the second chance. So make the “face” of your brand clear and understandable to anyone.

On average, a landing page has about 8 seconds to attract the attention of a potential customer. Use this time to increase conversion: be fairly persistent and convincing as much as possible.

Keep the Reasonable Information on the Web Page

A laconic website in minimalist design is what you should strive for. The more space is at the web page designer to increase conversion, the better: a visitor can easily perceive all the information and make a target action. Don’t irritate visitors, and they will stay on the website longer.

layout of web pages

Layout of web pages

Website Navigation

The navigation menu of a website should attract attention and allow the visitor to navigate easily. Therefore, better don’t experiment:

  • When clicking on a logo – see beautiful logos at DesignContest – a visitor must get to the main page.
  • The menu has to be horizontal and placed on the top. If it is vertical, then on both left and right sides.

Moving away from the canons of navigation, you risk confusing the customer.

Font Affects Conversion

Pick a font and its size in accordance with the content objectives. Put the most important information in the title or, at least, present it in large size. The trick for getting new customers is that they must understand the basic information on your proposal when visiting the website for the first time.

Color and Brand Awareness

A well-chosen color scheme controls buyer’s emotions and affects the awareness of the brand by building an associative connection which identifies the brand (for example, a large truck in multicolored lights may cause association with Coca-Cola).

Brand recognition and awareness are the things perceived subconsciously and remaining in the mind of a customer forever (for a long time, at least).

color and brand awareness

Color and brand awareness

Visual Cues

Place online visual cues. Large images, bold fonts, and headers help the user to find relevant information.

Photos and Graphics

Images of children, cats animals, and attractive women increase conversion, so you can safely use them. Just do not overdo. By the way, do not use stock images. If the user knows that these images have been used somewhere, your will loses the uniqueness in his eyes.

Use the features of web browsing: direct the visitor’s view from the images to the important elements of the page. Lead forms, CTAs, arrows, and lines are the best instrument to catch the user’s attention.

The Design of Buttons

There’s no any secret in the design of buttons: color and text are the two main conversion catalysts.  A CTA button should stand out from the page design, but be part of it. For example, if your landing page is in pastel colors, then the CTA button must be blood-red or acid green.

Mobile Friendliness

Did you know that up to the date 60% of the sites are visited from mobile devices? A website should not only be beautiful and clear – it should also be convenient for all users.  Adapt your website to mobile users and the result will be pleasantly surprised.


The simpler the design – the better:

  • Minimum information to fill out a lead form
  • Clear and simple links.
  • Familiar methods of payment.
simplicity in web design

Simplicity in web design


Popular products and statistics of sales increase interest and loyalty. Remind visitors that the proposition is safe and profitable. Provide 100% money back in case a user is not satisfied with your services. Let regular customers leave positive feedback.

Make a one-time buyer your regular customer. Offer discounts and rewards, submit notifications about products similar to which have already been ordered.


Brian Jens is one of the Design Contests enthusiasts who successfully combine design and blogging. His works are always done on the basis of the comprehensive investigation, so they all are of great value. Feel free to contact Brian and share your ideas.