GMass – a secret weapon for high open rates

How does a 70% open rate sound like? Pretty sexy right?

Would you like to achieve the same kind of result?

It’s pretty simple, you just send it through your personal email to hundreds of people.

Wait, dude, you’re not telling me to send it one by one, right?


time consuming

You don’t have to.

I have been using this neat little Gmail tool called GMass. GMass is a brainchild by Ajay Goel, the man behind Wordzen – a neat email editing service for Gmail.

Tell me straight – you usually open emails from domains right? Why?

I open them because I believe the email has been sent from a personal email address. In a way, I feel special. I wasn’t just one name of the hundreds of contacts on the email list. Someone took the time to craft the wording especially for me. I feel compelled to at least open that email.

If you’re an early stage startup this is a perfect tool to reach a lot of important contacts. On one way, you don’t have a budget to use expensive email marketing services. I like Mailchimp but I hate their design templates. No matter how I try to make them plain and default-looking, like they are coming from a gmail account, I’m never satisfied with the end design.

mailchimp design

This email will be extremely obvious that has been sent from Mailchimp


And that’s exactly why I chose to send massive emails to potential partners on behalf of my growing startup – Viar360. And I urge you to try it yourself. If you’re a startup in early stage you need to hustle.

Noah Kagan, a growth superstar has said that first 1000 users are acquired manually. One after another. Instead of writing 1000 emails, you can use GMass and break it up.

What can you do with GMass?

GMass sends mass email from your Gmail account. How appropriately named app right?

I love this tool for a number of reasons.

  1. Integration with Google Spreadsheets

    If you’re guarding your emails subscribers or cold lists like me, you might have it on a number of locations, but for sure you’re having it on a spreadsheet in your google drive. What GMass can do is to connect with your google sheet and take First Name and email directly from that database. Voila, you have a way to personalize your email already and you have the entire list at your disposal for mass emailing.



2. Batch email sending

Google engineers are smart people. If they will see unusual activity from your gmail account – like emailing hundreds of people at once, they will think you’re a spammer. This is unlikely to happen but they do control how many emails you send per day. But they will shut you down if people will start complaining.

However, with GMass you can break emailing to small batches and send them periodically. I usually send emails with batches of 20. Schedule it.

3. Auto Follow-up

This is my favorite feature of all. If your recipient didn’t open your email message, GMass can send a follow-up email. Simply, write another copy and schedule it to send after two days if you don’t get a reply. And another email if you don’t get a new reply.

Auto Follow-up is dope

Auto Follow-up is dope


4. Track Open Emails

Every campaign you sent will be tracked inside your Gmail account under GMass Reports. You can brag to your marketing manager or pat yourself on the back for all those high open rates you are getting.

5. Have emails sent as replies

This is another sweet feature I haven’t been using it, but the theory is absolutely coconuts. When your recipient answers your email, he or she can get a pre-composed reply back.

With Viar, we also supply business with branded virtual reality cardboards. For the last three months, we have been actively looking for affiliate partners.

I’ve come together with a list of potential leads.

Each one of them has been addressed from a personal Gmail account with call-to-action to reply if he or she is interested.

As a reply, I encouraged them to send me an idea on how we can be a good fit with a time interval I’ll be making the decision within next 48 hours.

This helped me in  two ways. First I got new ideas from potential partners and secondly, my email recipient has become more engaged and involved in my business. Viarbox is now having 80% of the profits from these partners. (By the way, let me know if you’re interested in becoming one.)

GMass has become my primal tool for outreach and if you also believe that personal emails are the way to go, go try it too.


What Stand-up Comedy Can Teach You About Growing Your Start-up

B.J. Novak, comedian and writer for The Office, models for cameras in the crowd with Shy Puppet, his quiet companion. The performance took place last Saturday in Mandel Hall.

I’m addicted listening to podcasts. Among many that I follow there are two that came to mind which has something relevant to the headline up top.

Both of them are from Tim Ferriss show and I’m pretty sure most of you are well acquainted with his podcast. He studies the world’s best actors, performers, writers and entrepreneurs to discover what makes them so successful.

First one is with the actor and producer BJ Novak – and last one with actor, Jaime Foxx. Both of them engaged and struggled with stand-up comedy at some point.

BJ Novak stand-up comedy

BJ Novak performing

BJ majored in English literature on Harvard University. He knew how to write clever jokes. But after writing it, he started thinking he could just say them too. He decided to put himself out there. He booked a week of stand-up shows in advance. He did this to force himself to go through with them. Once something is set up-front it’s less likely to bail out.

His first shows weren’t that good. Actually he was pretty terrible at it. But after forcing himself to do those shows and working on the jokes, he managed to get 2 or 3  pity laughs out of 20 jokes from the crowd. Now he knew what was working. After a while, he got one that worked really well. That became his opener. Next good one became the closing joke.

When Jaime was starting his stand-up career, he already had a great personality. He looked good, dressed well and knew how to talked with people. But on two occasions he bombed BAD.

The first time, at the age of 21, he performed before an older crowd. But, his material wasn’t resonating with them. After 15 painful minutes on stage, he had to take a break. As if he wasn’t ashamed enough, the dishwasher who was working at the bar, took his apron off and replaced him on stage. He killed it. He used old-style jokes and audience loved it.

Jaime Foxx stand-up Comedy

Jaime Foxx

This was a huge revelation. Jaime started working on the jokes even harder. He came up with 40 minutes of material that supposed to target black audience. But he used it on the shows where most of the crowd were white people. He logged in the jokes that got laughs. Those were the winners.

Other times, when there were mostly black crowd, he used more high-brow, political jokes and checked which ones got laughs. Now he had a repertoire, he can use on every situation. Because it’s been tested on the field and on different audiences.

The second time he didn’t perform well, was because he got lazy. He had recognition from before and started paying more attention to his looks, then his material. He opened the show, but couldn’t get it warm. The next one up stage was a thin boy with a tank top and baggy jeans. He smashed it. People were peeing in their pants. That guy was Chris Tucker.

Now, what does that has to do with Start-ups? A lot, when you think about it.

1. First of all, you have to have the guts to go on stage. Show the people out there what you have. It will probably suck first time. It might be terrible, even. But maybe it was the presentation that sucked, not your service or product.

2. Have something good to offer. Work on your product. Keep making it better and better. Change something when it doesn’t work and try it again. Remove features to get to the core. Tell only the jokes that are working perfectly – remove the ones that are not.

3. Test the shit out of everything. Growth Hacking is speedy, scrappy and smart. There’s no time to be afraid and be self-conscious about it. Try SEO, Reddit, bugging reporters or hacking Craigslist. Something will work. You will prove it with those sexy spikes in your analytics data. Those are your winning jokes. Openers and closers, son!

And lastly, BJ said about Hollywood: “Everybody who gets a job in showbusiness, they have a story that’s not replicable”. What’s the story of your start-up. What makes you unique?

Activation – a measurable first experience on your website

The Second A in AARRR

So you have been able to attract people to your website? Awesome! How did you do it? Tell me all your secrets.

But now, we have to activate them. How do we do that? By giving them value, of course.

You’re selling swimming pools. Give them some sort of content, that will be super useful to them. Could it be “10min Swimming Pool maintenance” ebook? How about 1-day family try-out in one of your swimming pools? Give them as much value as you can. Serving your customers is always and forever a good choice.

Here is the place where you can use a bunch of A/B tests. Take leverage on them. Build landing pages and keep changing copy, imaging, headlines and see what works. Once you see what captures your clients, that’s what you can use.

Effective Frequency – The Key to Your Customer Growth

remarketing idea

How can you get people respond to marketing?

The ye olde rule of seven. The rule is one of the oldest concepts in marketing. Although it is old, it doesn’t mean that it is outdated. It is all about the frequency

More times a person is exposed to a message more likely is to person to buy. Hence the term effective frequency.

In other words – effective frequency is the number of times a person must be exposed to a brand or marketing message before taking action on it.

Find the sweet spot. Too little exposure won’t tickle their pickle. Too much exposure and you’ll be wasting pesos.

In general, smaller purchases need less exposure than big ones. It makes sense. You didn’t buy a car, after seeing a tv commercial for the first time. Well, except you’re from 1% and you bathe in it. You bought it, because you saw it many times, read the brochure, check the stats, google reliability value and talk to your peers and car dealer.

Most small business and start-ups spend their time and money trying to reach to the masses. Throw enough shit against the wall, and something will stick, right?

Would this be an effective strategy, though?  Well, it depends.

If they spend a lot of money with an ad that reaches a lot of people once, it would be a big mistake. But if they use multiple channels, the result will be much better.

Take a look at successful companies. You see the same ads on the TV. Do you remember my previous post about retargeting ads stalking you on every step of your browser journey for the day. Smart companies will use as many channels as possible.

In 1920’s they came up with a rule of 7, which meant that a potential customer must be exposed to the ad at least seven times before taking an action.

Implementing the rule of 7

So what would be better? Reaching 70 customers 1 time or 10 customer 7 times? Inn marketing it’s better to go in depth instead of breadth. Reach fever people in a deeper way.

The trick is to find out, who your top customers are. Which 10 people will be the victims khm… targets of your sneaky, high-volume marketing campaign?

If you already have good customers, find out what your existing clients have in common. Be as specific as possible. Demographics, age, sex, occupancy…

If you’re fresh from the boat, start with narrowing  yoursearch. Focus on a specific group and test it out.

But first they have to meet one of the pre-requisites: they must have the means. This is crucial. Have you seen a plethora of blogs about frugality, how to save money courses or eating on the cheap. While most of them are an interesting read with even a great advice, the owners don’t see much revenue from it. Of course, the obvious trait of the reader is the unwillingness to spend the coin. That translates into your meagre earnings.

Take into consideration of your customer specific needs and image. What are their pain points? In best case scenario, you will address a specific narrow audience. It’s easier to come up with an image for i.e. senior RV buyers. Pop an image of a serene lake and a happy couple enjoying their free time.

But what if your product is general. One option is to differentiate. If everyone is selling office desks, sell the standing desk. Unfortunately, you might be late for this train, so let’s go to the next thing. You can choose an arbitrary focus. Instead of offering “standing desks” you can offer “standing desks for web developers”.


Presence in many places that share the same audience + customized message for that audience = Winning at marketing

Now, find them in lead them through the marketing funnel.


The first A in AARRR!!!

The primary model of Growth Hacking is AARRR which stand for:


Acquisition – Billy finds you on the internets.

Activation – Billy starts using your product (atta boy, Billy)

Retention – Billy keeps using your product. He must like it.

Referral – Billy loves it so much, he tells his friends.

Revenue – Billy is happy and gives you dollars. We are happy too.


These are the six fundamental steps every online business must go through to be successful. In a perfect scenario, your customer will go through each checkpoint and become a happy client. For every step, growth geek will test and measure how it performs.

Let’s cover acquisition part today. Acquiring customers is the first step. You have to make sure you are easy to find. There are buckets of techniques you can use. From guest-posting, podcasting, to paid ads. But I’ve always been frugal and I love cheap bootstrap way. Usually, fresh start-ups will start with them.

1) Imaginative Retargeting

As a Crossfit enthusiast, I’m guilty of desire to own new equipment. Whether its new lifters, belt, speed rope or another sweat shirt, there’s ever enough. So I check for knee sleeves on Amazon, click some products and after a while, move on to Facebook. I didn’t buy anything. But from some sort of sorcery, the knee sleeves appears on my Facebook sidebar. That is retargeting.

In short it works like this. You browsed on a website. The website drops a cookie, remembering you looked at knee sleeves. Anytime you go to a page that displays ads, it will check for that cookie and show you those knee sleeves.

Statistics shows, 96% of visitors do not buy on their first visit. It makes sense to add retargeting tags from day one.

AdRoll, Perfect Audience, Retargeta.

2) Influencer Outreach or in a more fun way – Audience Hijacking

Organic growth can be slow as molasses these days. How about we steal someone else’s audience to speed things up? First, think about who’s got a similar audience that you have. Now all we have to do is divert those peeps into our page. How to do that?

Alright, let’s think of an example. Ramit Sethi  is a well-known influencer in the financial world. I suggest you read his stuff – it’s amazing and he’s got a huge audience.

I could send a tweet to his account:

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 12.40.42 PM

Now what I did there. First I gave him credit. As busy as he is, he won’t reply to my tweet, but his team will retweet it. And now your link to your site is exposed to all of his 92,000+ followers. Pretty cool, eh?

3) Perfect Testimonials

Most of the successful companies have testimonials glued right on their homepage. They are usually accompanied with a picture of a smiling person, cheerfully smirking within. Their  product is making him massive success.

What you can do is – study the testimonial, copy the exact same tone the company used, and send it to them. Include a picture of yourself with a link to your website. Chances are, your testimonial will appear on a company website.

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Bonus Info:

Dave McClure – Startup Metrics for Pirates