July 13, 2022

Writing a great investor update email

As a founder, there’s an art to writing informative, inspiring, succinct and honest email updates for your investors and supporters


Elyse Ash

Emails. Folks tend to have love/hate relationships with them. But writing a monthly email update has become table stakes for founders. And for good reason.

Sending a monthly email progress report is a great opportunity to build trust and excitement with partners and people who have a vested interest in what you’re building. 

So rather than shouting your milestones into the social media void, sending a succinct, monthly email update to a curated list of people who actively want to hear how things are going can pay off further down the road. Especially when it’s time for you to start that next round of fundraising. By doing more work at the beginning of each month now, you can save a lot of time and good will later when you actually need help.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

What is a Monthly Investor Email?

It’s exactly what it sounds like: an email sent by a startup founder to a hand-selected list of investors, advisors, partners, and prospects who have expressed an interest in learning more about the company as it grows.

Why are These Emails Important?

Writing and sending these emails consistently demonstrates your commitment and reliability as a founder. It takes determination and a level of seriousness to write and send a monthly email update at the same time every month for years on end.

To Whom Should You Send It?

Before you even launch your company, start compiling an email list of friends, family members, past colleagues, coworkers, and bosses - basically anyone you think might be curious about what you’re building and who may want to help you, support you, or work with you one day.

Create a spreadsheet with these email addresses and BCC everyone when you send out your email updates.

Two male friends smile and hug one another at a networking event

When Should You Send Your Investor Updates?

Best practice is to send the progress email the same time every month. When I founded Fruitful Fertility, I chose to send my investor email updates on the 1st of every month at 8am CT. Usually I’d write the email the day (or a few days) before, then set it up via HubSpot to automatically send at 8am on the nose. This made it seem like I really had it all together (thank goodness for automation!)

What Info Should You Include in an Email Update?

It’s up to each founder to create a format that works for them and their company, but in general it’s helpful to include some of the following information:

  • 3-5 Key Metrics: No need to share your entire dashboard or bombard them. Just pick 3-5 numbers that really show progress (e.g. number of users, web traffic, number of sales calls, revenue, churn rate).
  • Progress Updates: A bullet pointed list of things you accomplished in the month.
  • Focus for Next Month: A bullet pointed list of priorities for you to focus on next month.
  • An Ask / Favor / Something You Need Help With: Whether it’s asking people for an intro to an accountant, taking a survey, or joining your current round of fundraising, it’s a good idea to add at least one ask to your email. Your network generally wants to help you and will be excited if you ask for something they can actually assist with.
An overhead photo of a woman, typing on a laptop

Tips for Writing a Great Email Update

  • Be succinct, but informative: Everyone on your list is super busy. Keep things high-level. Make each bullet point Tweet-sized (or shorter!) Write in a conversational tone.
  • Keep the format the same: Include the same pieces of information each month so it’s easy to keep track of your wins and your readers know what to expect.
  • Be honest, but optimistic: No one will believe you if every single bullet point in your email is a huge, glowing accomplishment. So keep yourself honest and accountable. But also remember to stay optimistic! You need these people to believe in you and your stewardship.
  • Keep your email list current: Take time to edit, curate and foster your email list. This means asking people for consent before you add them and removing folks if they are no longer interested in getting updates.
  • Be mindful of what you put in writing: Obviously you want to share exciting news, but remember that emails can be easily forwarded (left in printer tray for days on end) so don't include any sensitive or confidential information unless you're ok with it getting shared.
  • Use reminders and automations: Google Calendar, Hubspot, Asana. Use whichever tools you love and lean on to remind you when your emails should be going out the door.

An Example Monthly Email Update

Here’s an example of a real progress update I wrote when I was working on growing Fruitful Fertility.

An example of a monthly email update

With time and practice, these emails will get easier to write. In fact, you might even relish the opportunity to share your progress and receive some cheery replies (being a founder can be lonely!) And remember, your community and peers WANT to help you. Let them!

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Elyse Ash is a marketer, creative, writer, speaker, founder and loud laugher. In her free time she enjoys playing with her kiddos, going to new restaurants, reading and pretending she’s into yoga.