The Value of a Founder Email Newsletter
Update emails can be key for early stage startups to engage supporters.
Why a founder update email is the most important email you send.
As an early stage entrepreneur, you’re busy. You know it’s important to stay in touch with supporters, future hires, potential investors, or other important business connections but how do you find the time?
You’ve probably also had many people offer to help and want to leverage that. But how and when do you ask for that help?
Enter: the update email!
Sharing regular updates about your business to a bcc email list of supporters and connections is a great way to:
- Stay top of mind
- Get others excited about what you’re building
- #Humblebrag on wins or news
- Request intros, advice, or other “asks” to further your business
- Build rapport with future investors
Here’s how it works:
1. After a positive meeting with someone you’d like to stay in touch with, ask if you can add that person to occasional updates you send.
2. Add them to your email newsletter spreadsheet or contact list.
3. Pick a cadence: quarterly or ad-hoc (e.g. 2-4x/year as you have meaningful news) is plenty.
3. Block time on your calendar several quarters ahead. Sending this email is important but not urgent so it’s easy to push off. Resist this urge! It will take discipline and planning but will be well worth the 1-2 hours.
4. Use bcc to send to recipients.
5. Open with an explanation and offer to opt out. Here are some examples:
If you are receiving this update it's because you are a friend, supporter, or just want updates. Not interested? Simply hit reply (to me) and let me know.
You’re receiving this update because you’re considered a friend of CompanyXYZ: a supporter, advisor, or someone who’s helped us. Just hit reply (to me) if you’d no longer prefer these updates.
6. Start with your mission statement. It’s a great way to frame the email, reiterate your vision, and build muscle memory for others to repeat it.
7. Content ideas include:
- Revenue & new deals
- Customer stories, quotes, or KPIs
- Learnings or iterations
- Product development
- Challenges or areas of improvement
- Media coverage
- New hires
8. Don’t forget the “asks.” A few examples:
- Intros to investors
- Referrals for a key role
- Customer leads or intros
- Advice on business challenges
9. Thank anyone who replies or follows up to help. If you don’t hear from folks, that’s okay! Your name in their inbox is valuable.
I personally take special notice of entrepreneurs who consistently send an update even if it’s a few times per year. They stand out with their focus and execution. Building a company is hard with many competing priorities. Sending an email update is an efficient way to stay in touch, build awareness, and nurture important relationships.
As your business matures or once you have a few people on your team, you may move to a weekly or 2x/monthly update to the team and investors. At some point, you’ll have an official company newsletter, social media updates, and press releases. You’ll reminisce about the “early days”.