Simple, functional and hassle free online marketing — Minutemailer’s focus is empowering the small business
Sweden’s status as a hub for startup excellence is hardly a secret, boasting more ‘Unicorn’ companies than any other European capital. Indeed, it appears that technology and IT are areas that can capitalise on the country’s legacy of marrying good, simple design with pure human-centric functionality. It’s this simplistic approach to problem solving that feeds the startup Minutemailer — Sweden’s take on the online marketing platform.
Founded in 2014 by entrepreneur, Oskar Glauser Minutemailer draws its own parallel with the story of David and Goliath — where the part of David is played by the small business owner and Goliath takes the form of the global behemoth with a multi-million dollar marketing budget and a team of digitally-savvy marketeers.
With online marketing, and email marketing in particular, being some of the most powerful tools available to an entrepreneur, Glauser sat down and answered a few questions about Minutemailer, online marketing and what makes a good email.
Who are you?
I’m Oskar Glauser, founder of Minutemailer. I’m an Art Director by trade working from Stockholm, Sweden who balances this work with Minutemailer and its customers. Before Minutemailer I co-founded Videofyme, another startup — so I’ve a few years experience with this kind of thing. It’s interesting because art direction and running a startup demand a really high level of focus to small details, so they seem to fit each other really well. With Minutemailer though I think that the art direction has had a much greater impact in terms of the aesthetics of the templates we’ve developed.
What’s the background to Minutemailer?
When I first began to work as a freelancer I was using a normal email program to send bulk mails. Lots of Bcc’ing. Of course that was very time consuming so I did like everyone else and tried to find a service that I could use. There were lots of them but none were how I wanted them to be.
Why couldn’t I just login, drop my copy in, insert an image or two and send a nice mail?
It sounds a bit strange but there was nothing I could use like that; everything seemed to want me to code stuff, or pay extra because I’d suddenly gone over my contact limit (without warning)…
I thought; ’It can’t just be me who’s having these experiences?’
So I started working on Minutemailer, which took five months to get online, and since then we’ve been testing it through our current Swedish users, prior to the new international version we’re launching now.
Give us the elevator pitch then.
In terms of marketing, not everyone has a budget, or a design degree, let alone a technical education. With that in mind, Minutemailer is simplified online marketing for small companies who don’t have big resources or experience with web. An all-in-one tool for digital marketing.
And the Minutemailer vision?
Today, for everything that a big faceless global company offers, there’s a small company out there offering the same thing whether it’s a solution, service or product. But the small company’s offering is almost certainly crafted, packaged and delivered a level of love, passion and skill that those big companies could never match. And it’s these small companies striving to compete that we want to help. We want to give them the level playing field where online marketing is concerned. Show that you don’t have to have a huge budget, write code or know industry-specific abbreviations to really get yourself recognised.
In your mind, based on your own experiences, how is it for an entrepreneur today?
Today’s climate is great for an entrepreneur. The web has really given a lot of potential for someone with an idea. However, as with past generations, getting that idea out there is still tough. And there’s much greater emphasis on being skilled at all aspects of business. So you’ve got your day to day running of the business itself and your core service. But, surrounding that, you’ve also got accounts to balance, maybe staff to support, logistics and marketing, communications, PR…
How is Minutemailer going to help the modern entrepreneur?
We basically empower a small business in the way it markets and communicates itself — the design, the actual sending digitally and reporting back when you’ve sent something. We’ve focused on keeping functionality simple and accessible but still powerful. What I hope is that we can help people be better at marketing and cut the time they spend doing it. We want to really help people who’ve not had access to something like Minutemailer before, give them a little business upgrade.
Talk us through some of the key features of the platform.
There are templates for most kinds of communications a business might need: newsletters, email, press release, flyer, sale season, product launch and special feature focus. The user can customise them using a logical drag’n’drop interface to add text or image blocks. Templates can also be tweaked to feature branding colours and logos as you need them. Then we’ve integrated Social Media into the marketing mix, so you can send Tweets or update Facebook from the platform. Yet the user can also pre-schedule all these actions, which is great if you’re targeting different time zones or want to maintain momentum while on a trip. And there’s the calendar so you get a good overview of your forthcoming actions and can edit them if need be. Everything you send out is responsive and optimised for mobile reading too as standard — given that today we’re consuming so much information on the go.
Simplicity is a word that crops us lots when talking about Swedish startups and tech. Would you care to add your thoughts?
With regards to Minutemailer the whole premise is that the user can produce some great-looking online marketing that has an impact without going through lots of stages and steps. Sweden is a country that excels at bringing a sense of logic into solving function-related problems. Plus we’re really open to fostering new technology and are pushing the boundaries of things like interaction and service design. So there’s this sense that you don’t need to overcomplicate things for a user, it’s us that uses the technology not the other way around. We’re good at hiding the complicated stuff behind the scenes so a user can just get a job or task done without needless hassle.
Not to mention that it’s dark for half the year — our history is one of having to accomplish tasks in limited daylight. Get the job done well in less time and you can do other things while it’s still light. A strong parallel to Minutemailer I guess.
Why is online marketing important?
There’s plenty of research out there and statistics from multiple sources that states quite clearly that email is one of the most convertible forms of marketing there is today. It’s the original form of mass-digital communication and something that we can relate to the physical world. The closest thing we have to a letter. So, in general, we open our emails. And now with the phone, we open them when they arrive almost on instinct. And you’ll read them if the content is good. It’s easy to segment a digital mail and be strategic — even for someone not grounded in marketing, age, marital status, kids, sex… And, if you really think about it, it’s one of the only digital formats that fixes your attention. It’s not as easy to skip through them as you might when you scroll through your Facebook feed.
What makes good online marketing?
- For email, a strong subject line, around eight words max.
- Nice design to enhance the content.
- Stay simple, say what you want quickly.
- Content, try to engage with fresh, original material.
- A well thought-out call to action.