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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

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BreezeTree Software

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host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Contacting previous buyers about new app

Okay, I've just released a new paid app and was wondering if it's okay (ie. not considered spam) for me to send an email to the buyers of my other apps, to tell them about it?  I've read in these very forums that it's easiest to sell to existing customers, so I'm itching to try it.  :)

My privacy policy doesn't say we'll never contact the buyer once we have their email, so it should be okay?  And I understand I'd have to have a way for them to easily unsubscribe to stay legal?

I'm thinking of keeping it short and sweet, like: "Hello, this is a short announcement of our new app, Product D, which is now available at www.website.com, which you may find useful.  Thank you.  If you no longer wish to be notified about new products, please reply with 'stop' in the subject."

PSB136 Send private email
Sunday, September 20, 2015
It's up to you.

What you mention is certainly a very common practice.

A lot of the time I have bought something and later get friendly reminders.

All these I consider spam.

However, the company that sends me one email a month I ignore.

There are others that send me 1 a day.

Those I click on their unsubscribe button.

If that button leads to a page that says "You have been unsubscribed." then I move on.

If that button leads to a page that says "To unsubscribe, please verify your email address by sending a message to customer service explaining exactly why you can't receive our helpful messages.", then I instead click the "report as spam" button which registers the email address with internet blacklist spam databases that ensure no one will ever see their emails again.
Scott Send private email
Sunday, September 20, 2015
To play it safest, mention new apps when informing those customers about updates to the apps they have already bought.

"We have updated Foo to version x.y with great new features A and B, download your free update here. And by the way, we have just released Bar 1.0 - a new app that helps you do C and D, here is your 25% coupon."
Dmitry Leskov Send private email
Monday, September 21, 2015
People who have already bought one thing from you are the most likely to buy something else from you.  Marketing to these people is a brilliant strategy. 

But you want to be careful how you go about it.  I would check out Jeff Walker's "Product Launch Formula" - he gives out a TON of free information that is fantastic.  But if you go to his page you'll notice that you need to "opt in" to his mailing list to get the free information.

If you do, he will send you some very valuable  free stuff.  Then later he will offer you a product at a price.  But there is no pressure to buy and he continues to send valuable free stuff regardless.

I am like Scott - I sign up for newsletters then never read them, or unsubscribe if they sent stuff too frequently.  But there are millions of people who actually read the stuff they sign up for.

SO - back to your specific question:
1. First of all, if you send individual emails and spread them out, it is not SPAM.  I see absolutely nothing wrong with sending an email like you described, but I would do what Dmitry suggested for even better results.

2. If you want to send out mass emails to these people over time, you need to get them to "opt in" to receiving your content or that IS SPAM.  There are many email list manager programs out there like Mail Chimp, Infusion Soft, Aweber, iContact, etc. that manage this for you and make sure you comply with SPAM laws.

3. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE.  What if 1 out of 100 of your emails does irritate someone?  So what.  They weren't spending any money with your anyhow.  And their irritation is not reasonable.  It's NOT as if you're emailing them all the time unsolicited. They weren't going to buy  anything from you anyhow, and the 99 other people probably expect, and definitely would like, to at least be informed if you have something to offer.

Another online marketing expert I think gives great information is Brendon Burchard.  You can get his free info from here:

And he does a nice video on overcoming doubt that might be helpful to you here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54sHYj6DRX4
Emily Jones Send private email
Monday, September 21, 2015
Hi PSB136,

You've been asking the same fundamental questions in several contexts lately.




Other consideration:
- Be friendly.
- Thank them for the business.
- Add value (e.g. tips on how to do 'X' more efficiently with your app)
- Include an unsubscribe link.

All the best -
Marcus from London Send private email
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Okay, I dipped my toes in the water and sent 5 emails out to see what happens.  Depending on their response, I may send out more to others.  Thanks for the encouragement, friends!  :)
PSB136 Send private email
Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Do you mean 5 emails, or 1 email to 5 people?

If only 5 people that's far too small a sample to conclude anything.

It doesn't matter if Scott thinks it's spam. It's what your customers think and if you're within the law that matters.

Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Send an individualized copy of the one email to ALL your clients.  Now, dammit! 

Include something of value in it for free.  Like an update to the software they have or a nice tip on something that might appeal to many of them, and just "let them know" what you have to offer that is new.

It may make you feel very exposed to send it to everyone, but remember, to each of them, it is just ONE email.  It's not like you're harassing them. 

What kind of person gets irate over ONE email?  A sad, bitter, LOSER, that's what kind.  The kind of loser who you should not be thinking about to begin with, let alone allowing your imaginary thoughts of what they might think or feel stop you from offering them a new, valuable software to all the other people who appreciate your hard work and genius.

Give your clients the option of considering your new software.  If they don't want it, they don't want it.  It's not like they're going to think about you or your email for 1 second after they delete or ignore it.

You miss all of the shots you don't take.

Let us know how it goes!
Emily Jones Send private email
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
+1 Emily
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
To clarify: I individually emailed just 5 different customers, so test the waters.  None have replied so far.  :(  I'll email the others later.
PSB136 Send private email
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
5 isn't a large enough sample size to tell you anything - whether none reply or all 5 reply.

If you could expect a 2% response rate (a number I just plucked form an article I read somewhere - how's that for statistical validity), you'd expect 2 replies for every 100 emails you send out.

Also in relation to your :(

Don't take it personal.

You're tying to build a profitable business relationship with them. You're not inviting them to dinner. If they don't want to come to the party, simply analyse why and aim for a better response next time. Kaizen baby!

All the best -
Marcus from London Send private email
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
The sad smiley was because those 5 were the ones that contacted me the most about the apps, asking for features and/or questions -- we had a good rapport.  So I kind of expected that they'd reply fast like they did in the past.  Maybe they're just checking the new app out... yeah, that's it.  :)

BTW, I know 5 is small, but I only have 17 sales in total.  Yeah, go ahead and laugh.  I only launched this year so it's a start.  Learning as I go.  Still working a day job to fall back on.
PSB136 Send private email
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
"So I kind of expected that they'd reply"

People speak in principle but act in interest.

Moral: Pay attention to what they do, not what they say.

Not laughing at all. Like Kung Fu Panda, we all start from zero.

Good Luck -
Marcus from London Send private email
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
17?  That's it?  Ha hahahahaha.  AH hahahahahaha.

OK.  Just kidding -- I said that to prove to you that once you get past the initial shock of it, you can survive the ridicule of anonymous strangers from internet-land just fine.  Funny - 17 is actually about what I assumed based on your previous postings.  And that is 17 more clients than 99.9999999999% of people.

ANYHOW - I came on here because I just had another idea for you.  You might ask them for their help.  Many people love to feel helpful, and when they help someone, they also feel a little bit invested in their success.

I am developing a new software and I'm going to start by asking my existing clients what they think of it, would it be useful to them, and if so, what they would expect to pay for it?  (Which reminded me of your current situation.)

You might ask your existing clients for their input on your new software and consider including something of value for free for their help in your email.  Like Marcus said - people act in their interest.  They probably like you just fine, but already have an agenda for the day, glanced at your email for now with the intent to look at it more closely later.

I do that all the time with sales letters - and I ignore 95% of them completely because I know that company will send another one soon enough and I'll act on it when the timing is right.

From their perspective there was probably nothing urgent about your email.  Now if you do ask people for their help, some of them - like the type of people who post in forums like this -- maybe even the Scott's of the world! -- will engage and want to help and be part of your new product.  Some won't, but I think some will.

For the 5 you already emailed, I'd give it a week or two and if you don't hear back from them, then try sending them a short, friendly email asking for their input/opinion on the new product.  (What features would they want? Who do they think would find it useful? What would prevent them from wanting/needing it? etc.)
Emily Jones Send private email
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Unsolicited emails are by definition spam.

Those who contest this are simply wrong.

Is it no surprise that those who contest this make their living from writing spam, spamming people, advocating for spamming, and other such unsavory activities which are the refuge of the talentless?
Scott Send private email
Thursday, September 24, 2015
The 5 people I emailed are existing customers, so it's a prior relationship as opposed to contacting someone out of the blue.  It's interesting that none have chosen to take the 'stop' (unsubscribe) offer, though; so maybe they were okay with the contact.  I'll hold off contacting anyone else for now.
PSB136 Send private email
Thursday, September 24, 2015
That is, hold off until I see the reaction from listing the app on more download sites.
PSB136 Send private email
Thursday, September 24, 2015
@Scott, are you saying that when my  mom emails me, that's SPAM?  Or only if it's business related?

I understand if someone starts a marketing campaign sending STRANGERS unsolicited emails, but if these are his CLIENTS who he already has a relationship with and who already email him and to whom he already responds, how is sending an individual email one time to each of them to notify them of his new product or send them some free information SPAM?

If someone gets my email from someone other than me then sends me an email, are you saying that is SPAM?
Emily Jones Send private email
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Scott has a way of twisting things to suit his own delusions.

I've no doubt whatsoever that when he's finally killed off this forum entirely he'll blame everyone but himself.

Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Monday, September 28, 2015

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