Starlink is a new service by SpaceX that hopes to provide reliable satellite internet access to the entire globe. It’s not only an exciting internet service alternative, but for many living in rural areas, it’s the only viable option for internet access. But they have a ways to go as it’s available to a limited number of customers in select areas. As of writing, Starlink has ~100,000 users with around 600,000 pre-orders.
That means ~500,000 customers are waiting for internet service. But they have no idea when service will come to them. Starlink currently only sends 5 total emails to pre-order customers. In my video, I’m going to give an overview of the project. Continue reading and see the newsletter and supplementary email suggestions I have for the Starlink team!
Here’s the visual breakdown of where Starlink communication falls short:
Elon Musk (& Starlink team), if you read this, first let me say I’m a huge fan. Second, please feel free to use my emails!
Why Improve Starlink’s Communication?
Let’s be clear— it’s well-known that the business of satellite internet is extremely expensive. Even with some of the best technology available for delivering satellites to orbit from SpaceX, Starlink will take time to become both reliable and profitable.
Due to SpaceX’s (and Elon Musk’s) well-deserved reputation, a wide variety of news sources cover the CEO and his company’s every move. This is why I believe Starlink is intentional in its lack of communication.
Rather than spend scarce resources in customer communication, it relies on quick tweets from Elon Musk and SpaceX to keep customers informed. This has resulted in not only customers voicing their frustration, but going as far as creating maps and spreadsheets to track order rollouts to get a sense of when they’ll be able to get service. So I’m going to share a newsletter Starlink could use to keep both pre-order and post-order customers up-to-date and engaged. At the end of the post, I’ll share an alternative method to allow the Starlink team to automate this process.
Filling in the Gaps
There are a few important goals to achieve with additional email communication to pre-order customers:
- Sharing product updates, such as planned satellite launches or product improvements
- Set expectations, such as delays or timelines
- Remind customers of the product value
- Asking for referrals to further expand the pre-order program
Let’s start at the beginning to get a holistic view of the customer journey.
It starts with entering your address to check availability.
Once you’ve entered your address, Starlink sets customer expectations by outlining the approximate timeline of when Starlink will become available. Here’s one example of a preorder shopping window:
This order page is clear that Starlink won’t be available until sometime in 2022. That means I’ll be waiting several months before receiving the product. I think we can all agree regular updates would be appreciated between now and that time.
Now that we’ve pre-ordered our high-tech “Dishy McFlat Face”, how will Starlink communicate?
Email #1: Pre-order Confirmation
This email is sent immediately from Starlink to pre-order customers. Since I’m not a pre-order customer myself, I don’t have a screenshot of the email to share.
With this email, it’s crucial that customers are notified that their order was received. Otherwise, it’s assumed that there’s a problem with the information provided by the customer or with the ordering process on Starlink’s end. This email includes all relevant order details, such as the customer’s personal information, pre-order total, future costs once signed up for the service, and expected delivery timeline.
Email #2: Newsletter Subscription Confirmation
Starlink does send this email as well to confirm you’re interested in receiving updates. This eliminates future confusion from customers when they do get updates about the product. Here’s what it says currently:
This is the end of Starlink emails until you’re one of the fortunate customers selected to get service. The following email is my own suggestion.
Email #3 (& Beyond): Product Updates
This is ideally a monthly email that goes out to customers waiting for pre-orders and is the primary communication missing from Starlink. It covers product updates, such as planned satellite launches or improvements, and communicates any change in product delivery.
For this example, I’ll communicate the latest Starlink news to customers as of writing, towards the end of September. I’ll note that I gathered this information from various news sources and a tweet from Elon Musk. In other words, none of this news was communicated directly from Starlink. Here you go:
My goal with this email is to show exciting progress without sharing anything (too) specific about future availability. It also asks for referrals in an email list with potentially half a million subscribers, which would help to further grow Starlink pre-orders.
Obviously, this email could also include even more insight not currently available to the public about planned availability in certain areas over the coming months that I’m unaware of.
Again, it’s crucial in my eyes these types of emails go out on a monthly basis, if not every quarter.
Email #4 (or 40): Order Confirmation
Once you’re fortunate enough to be selected to receive Starlink service, you’ll receive an email confirming your order:
This email already does a great job of communicating availability to customers and setting expectations.
Starlink also sends emails to provide shipping information and account setup that we won’t cover here.
Email #5: Post-Order Campaign
Once Starlink is updating customers on a regular basis, they should give customers the option to continue receiving monthly updates about Starlink. This will help nurture the Starlink community, where existing customers are kept updated and surveyed for feedback about the service. Again, these emails can be utilized to ask for referrals and further grow Starlink’s visibility. The copy here would be fairly straightforward:
This is a brief, non-intrusive email for existing customers, giving an opportunity to keep customers engaged in Starlink. From here, emails will look very similar to the product update emails. The primary value for readers would mainly be communicating improved internet speeds, but also a sense of ownership over the product’s journey.
Improving Communication Going Forward
As Starlink continues to expand globally, there’s an even more ideal scenario for Starlink communication. When Starlink has a projected timeline for orders to become available in a specific region, an automated email could go out sharing that date range. This way, Starlink customers can be kept up-to-date without requiring any direct interaction from the Starlink team. I’m sure this is how Starlink will communicate with customers in the future as they solidify their internal workflows for bringing new regions online. In the meantime, a few manual emails couldn’t hurt!
This concludes my suggestions on Starlink’s email communication. If you’re one of the many customers hoping for improved Starlink communication, feel free to tweet this article to Elon Musk and see if the team could utilize it. Or read a similar post about how my favorite board game, Terraforming Mars, qualifies me to work at SpaceX.