Robert: Welcome to the Ecommerce Marketing podcast. Today’s guest is Andrea Loubier. She’s the CEO of Mailbird and she’s going to be sharing with us some of the current marketing strategies she is using to grow Mailbird. Welcome to the Ecommerce Marketing podcast,
Andrea: How are you doing?
Andrea: Hi, good, thank you very much for having me!
Robert: If you can please tell us what Mailbird is and…yeah, just briefly explain what Mailbird is.
Andrea: Sure. So Mailbird is what we’re calling the best email client for Windows. And it’s not just what we’re calling it, but also IT World, PC World, and numerous other media have named Mailbird the best email client for Windows. And for those of you who don’t know what an email client is—anything like Outlook. It’s like a software that you actually download to your computer to manage all email. What makes Mailbird special and different is that it’s the first email of its kind for Windows only that connects all your favorite email, calendar, tasks, and messaging apps into one. Because as you know, many people today are using various different apps and tools to manage business and communicate online. So, yeah, that’s Mailbird. It’s the best email client for Windows that’s actually much more than just an email client.
Robert: Okay, and with Mailbird, you guys—I know you’re just about three years old?
Andrea: Yes, that’s correct.
Robert: But you have seen a lot of growth in the past three years.
Robert: Okay, and some of the strategies we’re going to be discussing, are content marketing, social engagement, paid advertising, and your partnership core. So, to start off, if you can just tell us how you use content marketing to promote Mailbird and get customers?
Andrea: Sure, yes. So with content marketing, especially when most of your marketing channels are done online, with the content marketing, that’s kind of like the biggest thing that’s worked for us in terms of helping people find us. So, on our website, we use key words that people would actually look for when they’re actually looking for what Mailbird offers, so a lot of times, people will say “an alternative to Outlook.” And so we might right a blog post, for example, that talks about how Mailbird is the next alternative to Outlook. And that’s just a way that helps people find us, so we try to really engage with them a lot also online on different social channels. So there, we’re also building up authority in the sense of we understand email. We understand communication and collaboration needs that we have today. So content marketing has been very, very big for us. We’re very active on our blog, and also online on social channels, as well as commenting on relevant articles that have been published about us.
Robert: Okay, so with the content marketing strategy, do you guys—other than the keys words—what are the tips that you use to help people find you?
Andrea: Uh, so we kind of look at the traffic and keywords. Like Google Analytics is obviously a great source, many people use it all over the world. So that gives us a lot of really great information on how people stumble upon our website. If you search for “best email client for Windows,” Mailbird will come in the top three search results on Google. So tips on getting there, part of it is just time and building that authority. So content marketing is great, but it’s not a fast process. Also, not necessarily just the content that we create, but anytime there is a news aggregate like…we’ll safe Lifehacker or TechCrunch, these are huge tech blogs that receive a lot of traffic every day from people all over the world. When they actually write a story about Mailbird, that’s content too, right?
Andrea: They have a lot of presence online and a lot of influence. So that usually has been one of the most successful strategies for us, getting a lot of people to notice Mailbird. So that’s where it starts. And then from there, it kind of snowballs. But that’s not the only thing that we do, obviously, to acquire new users.
Robert: And do you do—do you approached these aggregators to have them feature you?
Andrea: Sometimes they contact us and sometimes we reach out to them. And it’s usually when we have some big news to share about our business, about our software, a really interesting story or innovative thing that we’re doing with email that’s very different, then we’ll be the first to reach out to them just to share the news with them and they decide whether or not they want to cover it.
Robert: And is that an easy process, approaching them? Do you have something down because…it seems like trying to get some of these major publishers to feature you, it seems like you have to go through a lot of hoops to get them to do that.
Andrea: That is both true but also not in a sense. So, now we’re talking about media contacting so get that content written about us, right. So when it comes to media contacting, it’s a people business. So it’s all about building the relationships with people, and sometimes it takes longer that you anticipate, sometimes not. It just depends on the person, it depends on timing. There’s a lot of different variables, so it’s not necessarily easy, but you have to start somewhere and that’s what we did with Mailbird. We started with a blank Excel spreadsheet and we started looking for journalists that were writing about topics that were relevant to email, productivity—things that Mailbird is also focused on. So once we did that, we just basically reached out to them and pitched our story.
So the one thing for doing that is, you know, these journalists they get hundreds and thousands of emails every day of people pitching to them, so…there’s a lot of noise, we’ll say. So unless you—your initial contact to them is not direct, to the point, and doesn’t give them some great content to share, then it’ll just be buried under the pile of emails that are coming through. So a lot of what we try to make sure to do is to give them value for the content they would publish about it. They don’t care about our launch or discussing and features we have of the software, but if it’s something controversial like “Mailbird’s Taking Over All of the Outlook Users in the World” then that’s something that maybe they would be interested in writing about. But again, I want to stress that a lot of this has to do with timing, it has to do with relevant news that’s current, and also how you build the relationship. So those would be three key points. You have to start somewhere.
So it’s first finding the relevant people that would be interested in potentially writing about you. Like I wouldn’t write to CoverGirl magazine or something like “Hey, can you write a story about MailBird?” unless maybe I was taking the angle of like “let’s focus on female CEOs running tech companies” or tech startups, then that could be of interest, but you have to be a little more selective with who you go with I think.
Robert: Okay, yeah. You also mentioned you engaged your customers in the social network. So how do you engage them in those social networks? Are there tools you use or what’s the strategy there?
Andrea: Yeah, we’ve actually experimented with a lot of different tools. Some of which I’ll mention is…uh…Buffer, is one. TweetDeck is another. We also use Social Mention, which is basically a search website that searches all of different social channels and it gives you stuff from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn. It even gives you stuff that are independent blogs. Like people that maybe just found Mailbird and they write about us. If you search MailBird, all those search results come up. So there’s that. And otherwise, if you aren’t familiar with those tools, we encourage people to give them a test and see if it’s right for you.
But if not, there are also tools built in already to the current existing social channels that are out there. so, for example, Facebook: If you do decide to take the venture—if it makes sense for your business to create a business page for your business, a business Facebook page, then there are tools there where you can actually schedule all of your content like a week or even up to a month in advance. So that’s a really great strategy so you don’t have to sit and come up with something new every time. You can actually schedule them and schedule them for optimal times. So like on Facebook, most engagement we’ll see, just based on the data that we’ve gotten, most of our engaged users our people that are potential customers are on Facebook around 4p.m. US time. So usually what we’ll do is we’ll schedule posts around 4p.m. in the US just because it caters to the people that are most interested and engaged with us.
So yeah, there’s a lot of different tools out there for it, of course you just have to kind of test them out and pick the one that’s best for you.
Robert: Okay, so, once you already have these tools, you’ve already identified and filtered whatever search terms, keywords, that you need to make for those streams. How do you then engage the customer?
Andrea: So a lot of stuff—I mean, there’s a lot of information out there, if you do a quick search online for “How to engage your customers” or “get the most out of your social channel pages.” A lot of them, it just depends on your market or your segment or your vertical. So, since we are in the ICT, or Information Communications Technology, industry most of the stuff that we are connecting with customers or potential users on is productivity tips. It could be how to overcome email overload and so to get the engagement up there for social channels, like on Facebook, usually a visual like a photo that’s related to those topics we’ll post. Because it’s easy. There’s a lot of noise on Facebook and Twitter, for example, so it’s easy for someone to see a photo, it’s a quick engagement, right, if “I like it” or “I want to comment on it.” So we do that, and sometimes we ask questions.
So the questions usually have great engagement because it gives—it’s basically asking people that are engaging with us on social channels to interact with us. So if we ask them a question, most likely you’ll get someone who responds. So that’s another way that we get engagement. Sometimes we’ll do promotional activities, you know, to give like the pro version of Mailbird at a discounted price. We also link up to any current news events and also seasonal things. So like Christmas, around or towards the end of Christmas, we did a Cyber Monday promo. Obviously Cyber Monday is like the big discounted online purchasing day. So yeah, different things. A lot of different things. Again, we try to align it with what’s current in news and to see what’s the hot topics and kind of piggy-back off of those to get the engagement up.
Robert: Okay. And in your social networks, do you do any paid advertising on some of those social networks?
Andrea: Absolutely. That’s something we’re always experimenting with. So Facebook advertising. It’s—the one thing I have to say about paid advertising is it is so, so easy to just dump—it almost can feel like you’re just dumping money into a big hole, so you have to be very strategic, I think, with paid advertising and a lot of testing. So you might think “Oh, I have great ad” and maybe it’s a visual banner ad on Facebook. And yeah, people are gonna love this but remembering every time someone clicks on it, if it’s not a good lead, that just costs you money. And ideally with ads, you want to convert people. So they see your ad, they click on it, and they go to your website and they actually download. So…like segmenting your audience is super important with paid advertising, obviously. So on Facebook, we would only want to show the ads to people who we know are using the Windows platform, since Mailbird is only for Windows. We may online what to show it to people that are using the English language because those are the highest converting customers. So stuff like that.
Robert: Okay, and other than the Facebook paid advertising, do you do any other advertising like Google ad words?
Andrea: Absolutely, yes. So we’ve actually experimented with LinkedIn advertising, which is quite expensive but potential worth it to try. We’ve tried Google ad words, obviously, as well. That’s the biggest one out there. We even tried it with Bing and Yahoo! advertisements and online ads. And why we chose that, again, is because the majority of people searching on Bing’s search engine are people that are on Windows. So you just kind of have to get the stuff out there. So there’s that, and finally, for those who may or may not be familiar with retargeting or also called remarketing. We also use Perfect Audience which is an amazing tool because what it does is it sees the people that have visited your website but have never actually downloaded or installed Mailbird. What Perfect Audience does is it reminds them about you. So they go to a website “Oh what’s this all about, okay, maybe not today. Maybe I’m not gonna download today.” But then, maybe you’re searching for something else later on and then you might see an ad in Google for example that just shows Mailbird.
So it’s kind of like a reminder and that is actually really interesting because it converts the most. And we’re at the point now where we actually make a little bit of money from those ads, the retargeting or remarketing ads. I think that’s one you definitely need to look into.
Robert: Okay and have you tried YouTube?
Andrea: Yes. So we do have a Mailbird YouTube channel, but we haven’t actually spent dedicated time to advertising on there as much, but I know there’s tons of content out there on how you can really leverage that. So yeah, definitely one to look into. Because, for us, it makes sense to have videos when you have software because they can be very educational for users that may not know enough about Mailbird. It’s a great platform to educate people about your software or your business. And potentially even, I think, engage with the team that’s working behind the business.
So—oh! One thing I wanted to share is that we have—we do this one month hackathons where our team is working really intently, usually for big launches, and what we did during one of our first hackathons together is we basically pushed a lot of images and videos of our team talking directly to the customers. So it removes any kind of wall between the product and the people behind it. Like it—I think that was really interesting because people can see the people that were working on the software. And I think that was like—that helped build a connection as well. So I think YouTube would be great for something like that. Just, you know, showing the people behind the produce. It also builds trust for yourself as well in the business.
Robert: And out of all those paid advertising platforms you mentioned, which one did you get the best results from?
Andrea: Uhm, definitely Perfect Audience, because that’s the retargeting one, but then second under that is Google ad words. But that of course has taken time. It didn’t just happen overnight. Like we tried a few, “Oh those didn’t work so well. Let’s try some other ones.” So it’s a lot of tweaking and testing until you can find one that converts the best.
Robert: Okay, and lastly, the strategy—another strategy that you work on is partners. So if you can just tell us how you work with partners and how they help you market Mailbird.
Andrea: Absolutely, yeah. So this is actually a recent marketing strategy that we dived into. So one of the great features in Mailbird—because we’re calling it this all-in-one communication hub—what that means is that email is kind of like the core of the product, but inside, we have apps that allow users to customize by adding tools that work well with their email directly in Mailbird. So some of the tools that we have are Asana, which our team uses quite intensively for task management. Another one is Evernote. A lot of people are very familiar with Evernote, as also a task management note taking tool. Dropbox for keeping all-important shared files within your team. So they’re available regardless of what machine or computer you’re on. So all of these tools are—they’re huge companies that have done really, really well and they’re tools that many—like, you know, thousands to millions of people are already using. Another big one is WhatsApp, which is huge, especially in Southeast Asia, in terms of market usage.
So what we do with these guys is once we integrated with them, we’ve been in very in-depth conversations with them on the integration and how they foresee it working with email in Mailbird. And when we actually launched, we did like a co-marketing initiative. That basically had just pushing a lot of content as we discussed earlier before, so like—so let’s say it’s WhatsApp in Mailbird. WhatsApp would write a blog post about the integration and all the features and benefits of WhatsApp in Mailbird. We would do the same thing. And then both of us would also share posts that educate users about how the integration works. So stuff like that.
But the main thing that I think benefits both the app partners and the end user, like people what would actually want to use Mailbird is special deals that they get when they, let’s say, go with Evernote. So Evernote has a pro, upgraded full-featured version, but they also have a premium based version. So if someone were to actually activate a pro version of Evernote directly from Mailbird, they may have the opportunity to get it at a better deal instead—because they’re getting it directly through Mailbird. So a lot of it’s negotiation and, I mean, it’s on a case-by-case business depending on the business that you’re working with, but the partners have been really great for us in kind of building presence in different segments out there.
Robert: Okay, so you definitely have—I guess, it’s something that’s needed. You need to diversify your different marketing strategies. And from all of this, what type of growth have you seen when you’ve combined all the strategies?
Andrea: Uhm, so, growth for us is an average of sixteen percent growing month over month. And what that is—that’s based on active users. So people that are actively using Mailbird, not just trying it and leaving. So we’re seeing about sixteen percent of people actually growing month over month with all these different initiatives. So that’s the one thing that I feel that I’ve learned over the last three years with marketing Mailbird and growing it and spreading the word, is that there’s—it’s not just one thing that’s necessarily gonna do it for you. There’s a lot of different strategies you can use, but you have to find the one that fits with your business best.
Robert: Okay, Andrea. Thanks for sharing all of this. How can people reach you if they wanted to reach you and find out more about Mailbird and just keep up with you?
Andrea: Yeah, absolutely, and if anyone is interested in Mailbird, we’re happy to kind of show you exactly what it’s about. But you can reach me via email, ideally, obviously, and you can reach me at [email protected] So [email protected] Otherwise, you can feel free to visit our website at www.getmailbird.com.
Robert: Didn’t you recently have a launch?
Andrea: We did, yes! We did actually. It was a huge launch. We had one of the biggest updates to the software since we started three years ago. So now we have the newest version, which is Mailbird 2.0. Has a really, really sharp design. Anyone that’s come over to us from out competitors, whether that be Thunderbird, Postbox, Outlook, M client, what have you, they’re very, very excited. So we’re seeing a lot of new users since we had this big launch. A lot more really great features that help you manage that information that comes through your inbox, and also all the really cool apps that are in there to help you do business as well. So yeah, that’s awesome. I definitely would love to get more feedback from people so would love to have some more people give it a shot. Because you can also get the pro version free for thirty days when you sign up.
Robert: Okay, thanks, Andrea. And thanks for sharing all those strategies, and hopefully the listeners use those strategies and also visit Mailbird.
Andrea: Yes, thank you so much!