From the moment the idea popped in my head to our 1st customer success, learn why bienavous.io landed on the internets, how we’ve been shipping it with a bunch of friends and what’s our plan for the future :)

Timothée Franc
Nov 13, 2017 · 6 min read
During its latest $38M fundraising announcement, every employee at iAdvize has been able to update their email signature banner in 1 click.

A 3-step product biography

1. From Problem to Idea.

2. From Idea to MVP.

3. From MVP to Proof of Concept (iAdvize success story).

😤 From Problem to Idea

Feeling like starting a side-project?

Stop looking for ideas.

Focus on problems you might face at your daily job.

On my end I had one issue with email signature banners updates.

It sounds common sense.

If you face a specific problem and don’t find any proper solution that suits your personal situation, it’s more likely you’ll succeed to “make something people want” (Paul Graham’s wisdom quote). Plus, you’ll know right away who needs it and why: people just like you facing the same issue.

That’s exactly the story behind bienavous.io.

So what was my problem?

If you work in marketing, you know how hard it can be to make your colleagues “do something for you”.

For 2 big reasons:

#1 People do not feel as much comfortable as you with technology or digital marketing in general.

#2 People have much more urgent things to do for the business.

Even if they know it’s important. That’s simply human.

We faced this problem at iAdvize with my growth marketing fellow, David Planchot, regarding email signature banner updates.

How can we make the 200+ iAdvize people easily update their email signature banners?

We used to send a Gmail-tuto, different tracked links and banners for each language or department. Look for yourself:

We had somewhat poor installation rates.
People were asking for help.
People wasted time.
Tracked links were not correctly set up.
We had no idea whether people did it or not.

So I started looking for solutions on the market.

Let’s cut this Googling story short: we’d rather kill a fly with a hammer :(

Complex.
Expensive.

All solutions I found were great ones for large companies, but that’s not what we were seeking at all.

Yet we really needed a tool to make it easy for the 200+ iAdvize people to update their banners with our upcoming 38M$ fundraising.

💡 From Idea to MVP

No solution I found meet my expectations.

How can I ship something fast to test my alternative idea ?

Email signature banners means email.

Email means email provider.

At iAdvize we run on Gmail so I checked the Gmail API to see if something much more simple was possible and pitched a friend (Samuel Berthe) who can code.

How? You don’t need any business plan, Keynote artwork or whatever.
Let’s do it with one punchline and a super rough mock-up made with Canva.
It took me literally 2 minutes.

“Hey Samuel! What about building a We Transfer for email signature banner updates? We need it with David at iAdvize.”

Lucky I am, he was in.

What we wanted is something functional as soon as possible to test out the value of this product.

We had tons of new features ideas daily but we forced ourselves to stick to the core feature: even my grandma should be able to update her email signature banner.

15 days later, we had our first MVP.

I was sick of releasing such a tool but at least we had something working :)

On the marketing side:

Upload your banner, add your link: share your installation link with anyone.

On the end-user side:

10 seconds. 3 clicks: easily done with no mistake.

💯 From MVP to Proof of Concept

Testing our idea very fast.

1. Does it work or not?

2. Are people happy or not?

3. Would people use it again or not?

Wow… It’s D-Day now.

iAdvize announces a new fundraising of 38M$ in Series C.

David prepares and shares one bienavous.io link for each country.

200+ people at iAdvize received that email.

Samuel and I had been working only for 15 days on bienavous.io and we had never experienced such a server load before.

Actually I think we were the only two people who had ever tested it out 😂

As you can guess, we were a little bit stressed out.

But it went super well!

Here are the results:

141 installations.

84 within 2 hours after email was sent.

16,4s per employee on average to update the banner.

Some spontaneous positive feedback as well from employees:

“Your tool for email signature banner is awesome”
“Bienavous” is so cool. Thanks!

Even the less geeky folks at iAdvize succeeded to update their banner.

Plus, we had some instant Return On Investment as we saved up about 4 hours in total for iAdvize people.

Let’s do the math:

16,4s on average with bienavous.io vs 3 minutes on average with the former crappy way-of-updating.

Time is money.

Mission accomplished!

What about now?

There are actually 4 main reasons that led us to maintain bienavous.io alive on the internets at a very affordable pricing.

  1. It seems people do want it.
    The tool received great adoption during this first test and could definitely help other businesses. The iAdvize success story just proves it.
  2. New communication channel?
    To me, this simple marketing weapon could help non-profits crowdsource their communication, especially during charity campaigns.
  3. “Make it easy for your colleagues to do something for you”.
    We have other ideas to improve and expand the bienavous.io value proposition in the future (and I’m pretty sure you have some as well, so please reach out to me on Twitter).
  4. Under-do competition while documenting our journey.
    We do have less features than other solutions on the market.
    But that’s alright. We’re proud of being both easy-to-use and that cheap. To be honest, none of us as marketers can spend anyway even 1 hour monthly on a more complicated product for email signature banners.
    We think simple problems deserve simple solutions and we don’t think we need a 1M seed round to grow this simple SaaS 🙂
    We also decided with Samuel to keep documenting publicly the bienavous.io journey on a regular basis (thanks to that kind of behind-the-scenes article you’re reading now). The two of us are indeed going to work’n’travel in 2018 and we’d love to help other people build simple products with minimal investment. Exciting challenge!

👉 These are the 4 reasons why we decided for the time being to grant Premium, unlimited access to bienavous.io for 100€ a year.

Premium means you can create as many links as you want for 2K installs.
10 free credits are available when you get started, for your own tests.

Voilà!

Oh no, 2 last things:

(1) “Bien à vous” means “Kind Regards” in French 🇫🇷

(2) If you enjoyed reading this story, or if you do like our little product, do not hesitate to clap clap clap 💛

And why not even clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap… ?

[Update April 2018] 🌴 A couple of months later, we now have a great bunch of customers and I’ll soon write a new story about how we went from 0 to 10.

Inside bienavous.io

From the very start, we decided to document our journey building and growing bienavous.io as a side-project. No bullshit here, only true behind-the-scenes remote life :)

Timothée Franc

Written by

Tech & social remote entrepreneur in South America. Formerly Growth @iAdvize. Side-projects (co-founder): bienavous.io, kapsuli.com & @Pitch2Kids.

Inside bienavous.io

From the very start, we decided to document our journey building and growing bienavous.io as a side-project. No bullshit here, only true behind-the-scenes remote life :)

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