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How Airschool nurtures cold leads and retains customers with Streak

How Airschool nurtures cold leads and retains customers with Streak

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Airschool is a small, fully remote team scattered across Asia. They provide tools and a platform for individuals, called “experts,” to share and monetize their expertise on any subject by selling online courses.

After a successful launch on Product Hunt, the team at Airschool is focusing on sourcing, closing, and onboarding experts to create content on their platform. 

Acquiring quality leads for cold outreach

Since exposure is usually limited in the beginning of any company’s journey, one of our earliest (and so far most successful) strategies at Airschool was to adopt cold outreach.

Initially, our cold outreach involved unfiltered leads which didn’t always produce great results – our outreach was invasive and generic. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Once we spent more time targeting, segmenting, and reaching out to only the most relevant audiences, our ROI improved majorly. We had to spend more time in the beginning, but the result was that we were able to acquire more quality leads.

We also started sourcing each lead manually. This meant we had to find our target audience, thought leaders, where they “hang out” online. LinkedIn has an abundance of thought leaders, so every week or so we decide what types of leads we want to reach out to and proactively vet, filter down, and refresh our lists.

The advanced search on LinkedIn helps us greatly with finding our ideal leads because we’re usually considering factors like seniority, skills, location and sometimes even certain keywords. 

Once we’ve singled out some leads, we introduce ourselves and ask if they’d be interested in talking to us. 

Streak’s email tracking in Gmail shows us who has opened our emails and how many times each one has been opened, giving us a clear picture of who’s interested in our outreach. While this previously was an ‘unknown’ factor, now we get a better sense of who we should pursue more. This saves our small team a lot of valuable time. 

We use several email templates, but our favorite one has to be the following (it has a 56% response rate!) It’s short, plain and simple. 

Hi {first name}!

Your profile appeared at the top of the search results for senior managers in the {insert industry name}.

At Airschool, we’re in touch with professionals like yourself who have a lot of skills to teach and stories to tell to their communities. Online courses are great one-time investments, and I would love to tell you more about that. 

Let’s connect? 


If they respond, we take our communication from LinkedIn messages over to email, which is where we start building a relationship with them. 

Despite the process being time consuming, some of Airschool’s most valuable users have come from manual sourcing and outreach. We know our product and our intended audience, so even if they aren’t finding us yet, we can proactively approach them. This is how we’ve created a healthy funnel of leads for ourselves.

Building a relationship and moving leads through the Sales pipeline

Once we have their email, building a relationship requires time, effort, and most importantly, consistency. Our team reaches out to at least 100 individuals per week – that’s 400 prospects in a month. In order to keep track of our communication with each lead and where they are in the process, we track their status and emails in our Sales pipeline. This has enabled us to reach a success rate of 11% with our leads.

Streak's "groupbar" showing all of the stages in Airschool's Sales pipeline.

The pipeline tracks leads from our initial outreach, to joining the platform and onboarding, all the way until they successfully publish their own online course with Airschool. This requires reminders and following-up on our end, and that’s where Streak helps us a lot. 

Since our CRM is built right into our Gmail inbox, it’s easy for us to add data that we learn about our leads in each email. This helps us understand who our users are and where we stand with each one.

An example of this could be:

On June 10th a user, Alia, says she’ll have her course ready by July 18th. However, creating a course is hard work and users sometimes procrastinate. To make sure we’re tracking towards our goals, the Sales team creates a task to follow-up with Alia close to July 18th and remind her that we’re super excited to see her course. 

Streak tasks help us keep tabs on the user to ensure they’re on track and motivated about their course. In turn, we get to add the course to our platform, keep the conversation going, and Alia feels valued as a customer too. 

Nurturing existing customers to increase retention

Streak has been helpful in nurturing our leads, too. Once we have closed a specific customer, our job is not done. The lead is passed over to our marketing team.

Each user is assigned to a success manager, who regularly checks in to provide feedback and solutions for their current marketing activities. Success managers use Streak tasks to set reminders to regularly check in with clients and make sure their course is being sold. 

This has improved customer retention by 20% from a measly 3%. Our one-on-one conversations with users especially help us nurture our relationship with them and increase brand loyalty. 

As we scale, our goal is to continue providing our platform to the right kind of users. With an expanding list of leads, growing exposure, and more inbound, we’re laser focused on automating the process.

Having Mail Merge with automatic follow-up on our side will enable us to automate follow ups so we can close and retain more customers, allowing our teams to focus more and more on quality acquisition.  

About the Author: 

Sinwan Zahid
helps experts and creators build & launch successful online courses via

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