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Not Just an Annual Tradition: The Role of Recap Emails in Product-Led Growth

Usha Vadapalli
January 12, 2023

Spotify has done it again. We had our year wrapped in December and loved it.

Spotify Wrapped is an iconic recap that gives us the chance to look back and reflect on something we’ve done all year - listen to music (and podcasts). It tells us a little bit about ourselves, and how things changed or did not change.

The popularity of similar recap emails like Peloton’s month in review and Uber’s In the rear-view in B2C inspired B2B marketers to put their own spin on it.

Recap Emails In B2B

Why are the recap emails so popular on both sides of the aisle?

For users, a good recap helps them reminisce and re-evaluate something that took place over time. Users stick to, modify, and re-think decisions easily when relevant information is available at a glance.

The benefits extend to businesses and product makers too.

Recap emails can be the ultimate tool to drive product engagement for a product-led growth (PLG) company. Reminding users of the value they are getting with the product is another touchpoint to improve retention and reduce churn.

In ENT-led SaaS companies, most companies do a quarterly business review, having a CSM bring forth data and insights about their usage and presenting them to the customer. It’s highly effective, but this heavy-handed approach is not feasible for most PLG companies due to the massive customer counts. Recap emails can be like “automated QBRs” as one Inflection customer put it.

There is more than one way to create a good user-centric PLG recap email that accelerates product-led GTM motion.

Time-In-Review

We’ve seen some amazing year-in-review emails over the years. Much like in B2C, these emails tend to recap the whole year, quarter, or month. The frequency depends on the type of business, product, and user. For example, an online user community might send a week-in-review email whereas a SaaS business might stick to a year-end round-up.

These emails can be an exciting round-up of how the customer’s product journey highlights from the past year, and more. Canva’s year-in-review email is a great example.

The round-up emails usually come with a share or invite option. Canva’s CTA in this email takes back the user to Canva and gives an option and steps to share their design personality with the online world.

These emails are not only great for generating buzz and going viral on social media; they are also great for building customer relationships, branding, and driving product engagement. Airtable posted an amazing recap of their year via their customers’ success stories in a video.

Announcement Recaps

One of the best ways to catch up with your customers, leads, and even lost opportunities with what your product has been up to is by announcement recap emails. Pack up all your org and product announcements into a nice little package to pique the audience’s interest.

Census rounds up their product highlights, business news, introduces their user community, and much more in a fun package.

The PLG recap emails need not be boring headlines. Announcement recaps can act as social testimony too. You can add new customers you acquired in the past year to build trust and appeal to leads on the fence.

You can use these emails to drive demo requests to the brand-new gated features or products. Pre-launch teaser announcement about a premium feature is bound to keep your audience hooked.

Product Value Recaps

Product value recaps are the most valuable emails a PLG company can send to their customers. A clear and digestible view of how your product helps the customer solve their problems is valuable for the customer as well as your business.

Grammarly insights emails every week is a prime example. Consistent, shows progress towards product usage milestones, helps in improving writing, and pitches the paid version with benefits. I can’t think of a better value-packed email.

These emails can create sticky users, re-engage inactive users, and support the CS team to upsell and cross-sell.

The frequency and the insights shared can vary depending on the PLG strategy (freemium, free trial, open-source) product, type of account (individual, team, enterprise), and also user role (team member, admin).

Adding more value to a PLG Recap email

Factors like consistency and readability are definitely important when figuring out the hows, whats, and whens of your next big PLG recap email campaign. But, there are 3 fundamental building blocks to any PLG recap email that decide the business value driven by them.

  1. Personalization

The popularity of recap emails got everyone doing a variant of Spotify Wrapped. Which is a great idea in theory. But, to cut through hundreds of such emails, you need to deliver value that appeals to your users. Personalization is the way to win.

Make the information delivered in a PLG recap email relevant to your customers. Personalize the insights, announcements, and round-ups based on the user’s activity in the product and their role. For example, sending the same insights to an individual contributor using your product for a personal project and an admin user who primarily coordinates cross-functional work between two teams is not impactful for one or both types of users.

Stack Moxie uses Inflection to deliver a personalized email digest of value metrics to their users based on a powerful combination of the users’ product activity and CRM data.

Driving product adoption and engagement at scale for PLG businesses can be automated for consistency with a growth platform like Inflection. This also saves a lot of manual effort. Get started here to see Inflection in action.

  1. Action Required

Personalizing PLG recap email definitely helps in adding valuable and relevant information for the customer for sure, but the campaign’s success depends on instigating action.

A summary of announcements, product news, and usage reports can easily become a boring newsletter-esque email that just delivers information to the customers. Use your recap emails wisely. Trigger an action from the user in the right direction.

Give your users a reason to get back into the product. Zapier is a great example of using curiosity to drive more product usage from weekly reports.

PLG recap emails are also a great way to bring back disengaged users and reactivate their product journey. Show how much the users are missing out, a.k.a create FOMO and nudge re-activation.

  1. Feedback loop

When you first create a PLG recap email, you might start off with a summary of product value metrics that are useful to any user. But be sure to deploy a feedback loop to understand how your customers’ perceived value is from your product. Customize and modify the visual insights your customers see based on the feedback.

This can help you understand the user’s perceived value. So, you can take the necessary steps to address the value gap (between perceived and experienced product value).

Recapping Why We Need PLG Recap Emails

When you are setting up the stage to enable a product to sell itself, you need a timely reminder that visualizes the value experienced by the customers. And, PLG recap emails are the perfect tool to display the value in an attractive package.

Recap emails in a product-led growth business can serve different purposes including but not limited to accelerating product adoption, driving product engagement, and supporting customer success. A clear goal-oriented personalized value delivery consistently determines the success of a PLG recap campaign.

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