How Nick Frost Drives Community Growth at DocSend With Email Marketing
DocSend is a startup that’s simplifying sharing and tracking of business-critical documents. Using DocSend, people create links which allows them to send documents from their inbox without having to add an attachment. Another feature DocSend offers is real-time notifications every time someone opens your document, and even tracks the amount of time spent on each page.
DocSend also allows users to manage link access by setting an expiration date, as well as giving users the power to update a document even after it has been shared.
It has become the go-to tool for founders to send pitch decks and understand how investors view them, as well as the ability to quickly update the deck in one place for all the links. I’ve been using DocSend for this exact purpose at AllFactors and it works great!
When it comes to marketing and community growth, DocSend has been using data to highlight best practices for founders to build better pitch decks. They create research reports and weekly updates on the fundraising market ecosystem. DocSend recently also started an initiative to connect founders with investors where founders can submit their pitch deck to the DocSend Fundraising Network for data-driven feedback and warm intros to VCs.
I sat down with Nick Frost, Community Growth Manager at DocSend to discuss how he’s building a thriving DocSend community and how he uses email marketing to enhance content reach and engagement.
Q: Tell me about your background, where did you get started with your marketing career?
A: Nick says that he’s always been passionate about people, telling stories, helping, and creating environments for people to thrive in. “It’s a driving factor for me” he says. “I’m self-thought with everything that I do and my passion for helping people and promoting others was the main thing that got me started”
A pivotal moment in Nick’s career was working at Mattermark. That’s where he saw the power of email marketing, especially the newsletters. Nick mentions that as the first marketing hire at Mattermark, he took a newsletter that was underutilized and essentially relaunched it. He grew it from roughly 5,000 subscribers to 110K subscribers over three years. He attributes the growth to consistently publishing content that people knew would be high quality.
Nick continued by saying that it was also important to build trust with the readers “when they open the email, they’re going to find at least one thing that they’re going to really enjoy”. Mattermark created awareness in the tech community through the newsletter and customers came to Mattermark because they trusted the newsletter.
Now similarly at DocSend, they are creating a lot of interesting content for the fundraising market based on their data, publishing quality information that readers can rely on.
Nick also mentioned as advice for founders and marketers “I think every company should do marketing with data, every company has a unique insight that they can share using data in their market”.
Q: What are some of the processes and best practices that you learned from doing email marketing at Mattermark and DocSend?
A: Nick says that when he joined Mattermark he sent newsletter emails on a daily basis. His team tested which times are best to send. At first they sent the email in early afternoon around 1-2pm, but then it became 5pm every day. They figured that people were just getting off work and wanted to get a sense of what happened that day which they might have missed.
The way Nick created the newsletter was to look through all of the best content from investors and founders that was published that day, and then curate it into one email and send it daily. They also had guest contributors and some submissions from the community.
In terms of the software tools they used to send emails, they started with MailChimp, then went to Sendgrid, and eventually moved to HubSpot when they became a more mature marketing team.
Nick says that at DocSend they also use HubSpot for sending newsletters and it’s working great. Their weekly general newsletter is sent to 10K subscribers, and they are adding 400 new subscribers every week just from organic traffic to the website. Then they have more personalized emails that they send, for example, their Fundraising Survey that gets sent to subscribers that are segmented within HubSpot as founders or investors.
Those email lists get segmented based on how users use the product and how users interact with marketing materials like downloading a report. Nick says that this way they send the right types of emails to the right segment because they know that the segmented audience is interested in this type of content.
Nick also mentioned that they have really good onboarding planning at DocSend, when site visitors sign up for a specific use case, they’ve made it so each use case has a specific onboarding flow. “It’s generally the same content educating you how to use the product, but there’s additional context that’s related to fundraising or sales or other use cases that you might sign up for”. Nick says.
Q: What tools and processes do you use for marketing in addition to HubSpot?
A: Nick began by saying his team uses Mutiny for site personalization according to visitors’ segments. “I think Mutiny is really useful on-page to help with segmentation from the top of the funnel. So if a user comes to our website, we’re going to try to understand what kind of user it might be and show different personalized content for each segment”
“When they sign up, they’ll be able to see the different email onboarding, for example, sales or fundraising. That’s all captured in HubSpot, and Salesforce. So all the segmentation is done in an automatic way from the beginning”.
Nick continues by explaining that onboarding email sequences send automatically. Then when they send the manual emails they have an email calendar as part of their team calendar.
For example, when they plan to do a fundraising survey email blast, they spread it out to three days, then when they do an NPS score outreach they plan those for different days, because they don’t want to bombard or overwhelm users.
When it comes to the general newsletter it’s scheduled to consistently go out on Thursdays at 8 am, which over time creates trust with readers by providing consistent quality content that users can expect to receive from the newsletter.
Q: How many people does it take to run a nicely organized, sophisticated email operation?
A: Nick explains that to run the emails, it takes two people to mainly run the bulk of organizing the workflows and the emails, as well as the automation part of it. Then a marketing operations person that helps with technical things within HubSpot and looks at Google Analytics. In addition, there is an internal growth marketing manager to create onboarding tracks, and run segmentation and personalization, for that she also uses the Mutiny tool on the site.
Q: Is there anything else that comes to mind for tips or insights that you want to share about how to do community growth?
A: Nick went on to say that it is important to be human in marketing. Building a community in marketing is creating relationships and connections with other people. For example, Nick says “in my emails, if there’s any way I can help people, even if it’s a newsletter to 10,000 people, I say respond to this email if there is any way I can help you or I would love your feedback on this, respond here”.
Being conversational is also very important Nick says, he went on to give an example: “I’ve been sending the newsletter every Thursday with the ‘from name’ Nick @ DocSend. And I just changed it to Nick Frost (DocSend), my open rate went up by 10%!!”.
He went on to advise that especially in the early stage of your company, you want people to feel like they can build a connection with the team that’s building it. So don’t be afraid to actually be a human, be someone that people can connect with.
I enjoyed the interview with Nick and learned a lot, definitely insights that I can implement in the AllFactors marketing processes.
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