Why Really Good Emails Matter

ReallyGoodEmails_ScreenshotBy now, the startup world is familiar with Ryan Hoover’s ProductHunt and it’s upvote style of surfacing interesting startups.  ProductHunt (like Reddit, Digg & LaunchTicker for news, and numerous other services for other verticals) uses the power of the crowd to filter out the best startups of the day.  But ProductHunt’s “surfacing” feature is ephemeral – a startup is on top one day, gone the next, replaced by tomorrow’s hot news.

The upvoting feature has proven itself useful across the internet as a human powered search algorithm, helping to sort through the noise in a more efficient and results-oriented manner than any automated system can achieve.  And now this feature is being implemented in other areas of the web to help internet entrepreneurs and marketers do their jobs better.

While browsing the products on Assembly.com, a “ProductHunt”-style webservice called “Really Good Emails” (“RGE”) came into view recently.  Really Good Emails is a collection of the best-in-class emails that various companies actually use to interact with their customers.  Right now, Really Good Emails is more like Pinterest than ProductHunt and started as the personal collection of favorite emails of “Whale” – the product guru behind RGE – but the RGE product roadmap is clearly lined up like ProductHunt to help marketers find examples of email content, graphics, layouts, and methods that sell better, convert better, engage better, or simply make users feel better about a service they just signed up for.  RGE even appeared on ProductHunt in March 2014 before ProductHunt was hugely popular, and RGE received (as of this blog post) 115 upvotes.  If you like RGE, you too can vote it up and try to increase its exposure.

Email is THE original social network, but email as a functional tool has remained largely the same since it’s inception (with the exception of certain improvements such as rich text & HTML formatting,  Gmail’s conversation threading, or the concept of add-on A/B testing tools like Campaign Monitor, Optimizely, or GetResponse, among many).  The interesting thing about Really Good Emails is that it helps the Internet’s most common social network identify better email styling, and it kickstarts a startup’s A/B email testing efforts so that post-email metrics tools work better – now, it’s like the whole product universe is your own personal A/B test account from which you can draw upon others’ lessons about improved opens, responses, conversions, engagement, alerts, etc. without needing to wade through your own design testing.  Find a design you like and implement it into your email campaigns. And like ProductHunt’s easy access to the startup founders whose products are upvoted every day, Really Good Emails offers (sometimes) direct access to the email marketers who tested and then released these winning emails.  Even better, the product roadmap for the premium version of RGE includes samples of the underlying code that built the various emails, and the ability to exchange insights on each sample with other premium users.

Creating really good emails matters because email is ubiquitous.  It is the most popular form of communication in the world right now after text messaging.  Getting emails right is important to both businesses and to individuals, and to both the sender and the receiver.  Really Good Emails improves the likelihood that businesses will use accessible and effective email communications, and I like that.

Really Good Emails is built on the Assembly platform, which means that not only can you submit your own favorite examples of Good Emails, but you can also contribute development effort to RGE and earn a royalty on RGE’s income.  The same is true of all products built on Assembly, so RGE is a crowd-voting email-surfacing platform, built on a crowd-building application platform (full disclosure – I am building a product on Assembly called SaaSquatch, which is a management tool for a startup’s SaaS stack). If you’re a developer or a startup looking to benefit from tools like Really Good Emails, Assembly offers the ability to jump in and perform coding tasks to help build the services, in exchange for a calculated royalty of the revenue pie generated by the products you contribute to.  Talk about power of the crowd!

The only monthly goals that matter for pre-product B2B startups

Business Concept – then Customers – then Marketing Base – THEN Business Model

Keep in mind that the Customer always resides at the center of the pyramid.

Venture Capital Newsletter and VC Jobs

Before your B2B startup has a product available you’ll want a few – but not too many – metrics to help you steer the ship in the right direction.

Based on my experience at a couple of startups that I joined pre-product or founded here are the handful of metrics that I suggest you measure/goal.

Customer Development conversations

It doesn’t matter what your startup is building if customers don’t want it. 

Get out of the building and make sure you are talking to potential customers often. This is the only way you’ll get a deep understanding of your potential customers’ needs.

When you’re getting started a good pace is somewhere on the order of 1-2 conversations (new potential customers) per business day. Once you reach 25-50 conversations you should have a good sense of whether or not your product idea has legs.

Don’t cheat on this metric by counting conversations with potential partners or investors as…

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4 Suggested Steps to finding your Business Model

INITIATION

  • Who is your target customer?
  • What do you offer them?
  • How do you create the value proposition?
  • How do you earn revenue?

IDEATION   –   How does your model created during INITIATION stand up to 55 different business model innovations? (55 Models White Paper)

INTEGRATION   –   Check the consistency of the new business model discovered in IDEATION to ensure that it answers customers’ needs, has a compelling offering with unique value, and that earns enough money.

IMPLEMENTATION   –   Go check your hypotheses with actual potential customers.