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email marketing Marketing

Sunsama’s brilliant welcome email series

An often underused tool, a welcome series of emails can be great for connecting with new customers, setting the tone of voice for the relationship, and create a positive on-boarding experience.

One example of a great welcome series is Sunsama. Sunsama is a “daily task manager for elite professionals”, and uses the welcome series creatively to explain how their tool will make your life easier and more effective. It accomplishes several things:

  • It delivers actually interesting content for the user
  • Connects the ideas and concepts to its product
  • Great tone of voice: Directly from the “founder and CEO”, but written in a very down-to-earth, friendly tone: “Even though this ends our formal correspondence, if you ever need anything, know that I’m here for you.
  • Delivers easy-to-apply tips for their tool

The welcome series consists of 10 emails, which could seem too much. However, by delivering great content and keeping it short, it does not matter that its long. The numbering of the emails in each subject (1/10, 2/10 etc) is also a great way of communicating that this is not something that will continue forever. Here it is:


Plan your day (1/10)

Good morning name,

It’s time to plan your work for today in Sunsama.

This custom workflow will walk you through picking out what you’re going to work on today, and help you focus your attention on the work that actually matters (and that you have time for).

I’ll check in with you each morning for the next two weeks and share this gentle reminder and a suggestion on how you can get the most out of your limited time each day. And please feel free to reply with thoughts, questions or a thumbs up to the ideas I’ll be sharing. My favorite e-mails in my inbox are responses (even short ones) to these e-mails 🙂

Have a great day today.

Ashutosh
Founder and CEO, Sunsama
I share thoughts on work on Twitter

P.S. We’ll send $25 in credit your way for each friend you send our way. Send and track your referrals from here.


Focus (2/10)

Good morning name,

It’s time to plan your work for today in Sunsama.

Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing ideas and writings that have reshaped how I think about my daily work and inspired many of the product decisions we made while designing Sunsama.

Here’s one from Sam Altman on How to Be Successful:

“Focus is a force multiplier on work.

Almost everyone I’ve ever met would be well-served by spending more time thinking about what to focus on. It is much more important to work on the right thing than it is to work many hours. Most people waste most of their time on stuff that doesn’t matter.

Once you have figured out what to do, be unstoppable about getting your small handful of priorities accomplished quickly. I have yet to meet a slow-moving person who is very successful.”

Your daily planning ritual in Sunsama is the force multiplier you’ll use every single day to make sure you work on what’s important. This is your chance each day to decide what work moves you forward and what is just bullshit.


Bullshit (3/10)

Good morning name,

It’s time to plan your work for today in Sunsama.

In Paul Graham’s essay “Life’s Too Short” he writes about pruning bullshit from his life.

“When I ask myself what I’ve found life is too short for, the word that pops into my head is “bullshit.” I realize that answer is somewhat tautological. It’s almost the definition of bullshit that it’s the stuff that life is too short for. And yet bullshit does have a distinctive character. There’s something fake about it. It’s the junk food of experience.

If you ask yourself what you spend your time on that’s bullshit, you probably already know the answer. Unnecessary meetings, pointless disputes, bureaucracy, posturing, dealing with other people’s mistakes, traffic jams, addictive but unrewarding pastimes.

Relentlessly prune bullshit, don’t wait to do things that matter, and savor the time you have. That’s what you do when life is short.”

During my daily planning ritual, I strive to prune bullshit from my task list and work day. In fact, the easiest way to accomplish this is to look at each task and ask yourself out loud: “is this bullshit?”. You’ll be surprised at how effective your internal bullshit detector is, as long as you take a moment to use it each day.”


Attention (4/10)

Good morning name,

It’s time to plan your work for today in Sunsama.

Cal Newport explains ‘attention residue’ and the true cost of those ‘quick checks’ of e-mail, messaging and social media in this essay.

“If, like most, you rarely go more than 10 – 15 minutes without a just check, you have effectively put yourself in a persistent state of self-imposed cognitive handicap. The flip side, of course, is to imagine the relative cognitive enhancement that would follow by minimizing this effect.

To put this another way: if you commit to long blocks without any interruption (not even the quickest of glances), you’ll be shocked by how much sharper and productive you feel.”

I use my daily planning ritual to jiu-jitsu my attention. With Sunsama open throughout the day, the task at the top is a gentle reminder of where I should be committing my attention. Once you know where your attention should be, it’s much easier to know when it has wandered and you kick off a virtuous cycle where you become more capable of avoiding the ‘quick check’. That’s why I try to direct my attention positively towards a goal instead of negatively away from distractions i.e. “I will focus my attention on the task at the top of my list” instead of “I will not check e-mail, slack, facebook, etc”.


Burnout (5/10)

Good morning name,

It’s time to plan your work for today in Sunsama.

Working 12 hour days? Take a moment to reflect on Parkinson’s law:

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”

There is always more work to be done. If you don’t set constraints on how much time you’re going to spend working, your entire day will always be filled with work. When every day becomes consumed by work, you burn out. I learned this the hard way during the first two years I spent working on my startup.

I now use my daily planning ritual to set constraints on how I’m going to work each day. I try not to have more than 2-3 big tasks per day (and a handful of smaller items) so that I can go home before I feel exhausted.

When you say no to work that can’t be done during reasonable working hours you end up saying yes to the work that matters.


Perspective (6/10)

Good morning name,

It’s time to plan your work for today in Sunsama.

As you navigate the minutiae of your daily work, how do you keep the bigger picture of life in balance? Paul Graham answers this question by turning the top five regrets of the dying into these commandments he puts at the top of his todo list:

“Don’t ignore your dreams; don’t work too much; say what you think; cultivate friendships; be happy.”

I made a daily repeating task in Sunsama with the above quote. Each morning, I give myself time to read it and reflect before I start my daily planning ritual. Taking a second to reflect helps me maintain a healthy perspective on my work. There’s no right answer to what you’ll write at the top of your list. Hopefully, the quote above inspires you to craft a reminder that’s meaningful to you.

BTW – if you’re using Sunsama with teammates, make sure to tag this task into a private channel so it stays personal!


Rest (7/10)

Good morning name,

It’s time to plan your work for today in Sunsama.

We’ve spoken a lot about planning work. Today, I want to talk about the importance of carving out time to rejuvenate yourself with deliberate non-work.

My favorite part of the work week is when Travis (co-founder) and I start our Friday late because we start the day with a walk in the forest. I’ll admit the first time I did it, I felt guilty about working a shorter day as a result. What I quickly realized was that I got a lot more done on days I went on forest walks even with the limited hours.

We still hold on to antiquated ideas of productivity that come out of the industrial revolution. If you do cognitively demanding and creative work it should be obvious that your output is not directly a function of your hours worked and that deliberate non-work can help you work better.

As you go through your daily planning ritual today, my challenge to you is to block off an hour (during normal business hours) to do something that rejuvenates you. Here are my favorites if you need inspiration: walk in the woods, read a novel, call a loved one, play basketball or head to a cafe and sip on some coffee and long-form articles. Feel free to write me back with what you do, I’m always on the lookout for new ideas 🙂


Deep work (8/10)

Good morning name,

It’s time to plan your work for today in Sunsama.

Paul Graham observes that when you actually need to get work done you need uninterrupted chunks of time.

“When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That’s no problem for someone on the manager’s schedule. There’s always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the maker’s schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it.”

Whether you’re a maker or a manager when you want to get something done you need to carve out time. As you go through your daily planning ritual try and block off a few hours on your calendar for deep work. Make the most of this precious block of time by closing your e-mail, Slack and messaging.


Output (9/10)

Good morning name,

It’s time to plan your work for today in Sunsama.

Does this sound familiar to you: you go to work, work for a while until you’re mentally exhausted, look at the clock, see it’s only 3pm, but instead of just going home, you sit at your desk and ‘pretend work’ for another few hours?

You have been the victim of Goodhart’s law, which states:

“When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”

The problem is, instead of your performance being measured by your actual output at work, your performance is often measured by how many hours you appear to be working. This creates the perverse incentive for you to act like a work prisoner, unable to go home even though you’ve made good progress.

During my daily planning ritual I defend myself from this by planning my day and measuring my performance not by how long I want to work, but what output I want to achieve at the end of the day.

If I finish up my goals for the day by 3pm, I go home. Since my team also uses Sunsama, they can see my output for the day and know I’m heading home because I got a lot done.


Sustain (10/10)

Good morning name,

It’s time to plan your work for today in Sunsama.

From here on out, it’ll be up to you to follow your daily planning ritual. Now that you’ve taken the hardest first few steps, you have all the tools you need to sustain your practice.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past five years of building Sunsama, it’s how to sustain even when it feels like the winds of fate howl tirelessly against you. As long as you’re able to keep making progress bit by bit, day after day, you will always find yourself further than when you started, even (especially) when your ambitions seem far out of reach.

I hope you will continue your daily planning ritual to sustain the pursuit of your own ambitions, without becoming too tired or discouraged along the way.

Even though this ends our formal correspondence, if you ever need anything, know that I’m here for you.


Click here to visit Sunsama.com

By Eirik Nereng

A great guy