Interview with Chris Riegger / VP of Digital Partnerships for Mad Mimi Email Marketing

Mad Mimi Email Marketing

1. We've recently had a number of UltraCart merchants talking about how great Mad Mimi is, so kudos to your team! Can you give me your 30-second elevator pitch about why UC users should be on Mad Mimi?

Sure thing. Mad Mimi makes it simple and enjoyable to create beautiful HTML emails. We offer an easy-to-use platform that helps you create, send, and track your email marketing campaigns, all from within the same intuitive interface. We also offer some of the best customer service in the industry, or anywhere for that matter.

I also think understanding our background will give you some insights into our philosophy.

Mad Mimi was founded in 2008 by Gary Levitt. At the time, Gary owned a music production company and was looking for a good email marketing solution. After an all-out search, he wasn't happy with anything he found.

There were a lot of options, but they were all pretty complicated and really hard to use. It wasn't long before Gary decided that there was a great need for a super-simple, yet powerful, email marketing solution. It's hard enough being a business owner and having to do everything: accounting, order management, sales, HR, etc. We feel that it shouldn't be painful to market your business.

2. So what do you do at Mad Mimi?

My title is VP of Digital Partnerships. In that role I lead all of our partnerships and integration efforts. So I am heavily invested in promoting our API. I'm amazed at what our API has allowed our partners and others to come up with to help our mutual customers. I also work directly with our founders to help advance our business strategy and continue enhancing Mad Mimi to make it even more powerful and relevant to our customers.

3. You've already made the case for Mad Mimi, but can you tell us why email is an important channel? With so many marketing options out there, what makes email marketing worthwhile?

This is my favorite topic. Email is an absolute must do for any business. It's fast, cheap and incredibly measurable, giving you info like who opened, clicked, and shared your email. With ecommerce, you already know your customers, so you can easily aggregate that customer list and use email marketing to let them know about sales, promotions, or other valuable information. We even sync with Google Analytics so that online sellers can see exactly how much revenue is being driven from each email that they send. Every business needs to communicate effectively with their customers both before and after the sale and any business that doesn't do that will struggle to grow.

In what other channel can you send a message directly to a consumer that they can view and then click through to anywhere you want them to go? And the better you target that message the more they feel you are communicating with them personally and take them to products, promotions, or events that will be relevant to them. Email is a great way to drive engagement.

4. From day one, Mad Mimi was simply an easy way to send email, how has the company evolved and how do you see Mad Mimi continuing to evolve?

At our core, we're still an email marketing company and continue to be totally email-focused. It's what we love and it's still incredibly relevant in the marketplace. As the email channel has evolved we have added things like social integrations, tools for bloggers, and other features that offer more ways for our customers to use email. Over the last year or more we've also built several proprietary integrations into other great tools like Salesforce, Batchbook, Facebook, etc. So, Mad Mimi also syncs with lots of other great services (like UltraCart!).

Going forward I see us continuing to build out Mad Mimi with more great features and possibly creating other new products as well.

5. Social media can be a great help to business, how has Mad Mimi charted its course in that realm?

It's been amazing to see the massive growth in social media over the last few years. We've built out a whole suite of social media tools for customers. For instance, with Mad Mimi you can add social icons to your email newsletters to drive more traffic to your Facebook page or your Pinterest board, you can add like/share buttons to your email campaign so that your audience can immediately share your promotion with friends. You can even set up a Mad Mimi signup form right on your Facebook Company Page.

The cool thing about social media and email marketing is that they work so well together. Email is a great way to drive engagement to social profiles. We see lots of customers using email to drive more traffic to a social promotion or event page, for instance. And while social platforms like Facebook are very popular, email is still the number one reason that adults go online (http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Search-and-email/Report.aspx).

6. Growth stats on mobile usage continue to blow up, can you tell me about mobile usage with Mad Mimi?

Clearly, more and more people are accessing the web via mobile and that means many more people are accessing their email over mobile as well.

We also live at a time when people expect to be able to consume the information they want, when they want to see it. With social platforms, mobile, news feeds, etc., you can follow who you want, when you want. Consumers don't want to be on the receiving end of an "email blast", but they are interested in receiving timely and relevant communication.

(Side Note - I hate the term "email blast." As marketers and professionals we have to get away from that term and embrace the fact that people expect us to know their interests.)

So, to your question - email needs to be optimized for mobile devices. We built the Mad Mimi composer with that in mind. We did the hard work of making it "mobile friendly" by thinking about things like pixel width, number of columns, etc. Therefore Mad Mimi email newsletters look great on any smartphone.

It's also incredibly important to be relevant to your audience through targeting and segmentation. If you have an event in Chicago, make sure you are not emailing an event reminder to folks in Florida. If I'm an online seller, my customers' purchasing data is super useful. If I am running a big sale on running clothes, I can target an email to customers who just bought some running shoes from me. You get the idea…timely and relevant.

As a side note - we are also re-working our mobile app as we speak to make it more robust, so be on the lookout for that later in 2013.

7. You guys are built for the SMB but you have some well-known brands that use Mad Mimi so it must not just be simple, but powerful too.

Thanks for teeing that one up for me. You're right, we have some great customers that happen to also be well known companies like AOL, AirCanada, and TimBuk2. Some big companies that use Mad Mimi gravitate to us, in part, because it just simply works. The security, deliverability, etc. is all there for them.

We also have great extensibility with our APIs so you can do much of what you can do within our app via API as well, like add/remove audience members, send transactional email, view mailing stats, and more. So many of our larger customers use our APIs to easily trigger an action without ever touching the system. Once you set that up it works for you 24 hours a day, which is nice when you're a busy business owner.

8. Making sure your product is easy to setup and use is one thing, but getting it to the end customer is entirely different. How do you navigate the difficult space that is "Deliverability"?

Its funny - we're at Question 8 and just now getting to the most important thing! Deliverability is the name of the game in the email space and we manage it very closely. We're an opt-in only sender and have very close working relationships with all of the major ISPs like Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. All of this hard work allows us (and our customers) to send emails safely and securely, knowing that their newsletters are getting to inboxes.

Sometimes folks ask us about buying lists and we try to help our customers understand that nurturing your own opt-in email list is the way to go. We also offer lots of tools like webforms and integrations to help them grow their audience list. Something as simple as putting a "subscribe to updates" form on your blog or online store can do wonders.

9. Any parting words for our readers?

Totally - don't ignore email, even if you feel you have no time for it. It's easy to set up and drives enough business to warrant the little bit of effort required. If you're feeling stumped or don't know how to get started, just reach out to the Mad Mimi team. We'd be glad to help!