Though new social media platforms, messaging apps and collaboration tools emerge each day, projections show that the original digital communication — email — is not going away anytime soon. The number of email users in the U.S. is projected to grow by more than 10 million from 2017 to 2020, and the number of emails to more than double in the same amount of time.
Our messaging is also getting more dynamic, with the percentage of emails containing GIFs doubling from 2015 to 2016.
Lisa Jones, a former corporate supply chain executive, realized that the trick to good communication at corporations was increasing that dynamic content as much as possible.
“How do we communicate? We can communicate verbally — but we always e-mail people. And all of the e-mails that were distributed to me about marketing communications were just a graphic or a link, and they didn’t inspire me to take action,” says Jones.
She set out to create a product that could transform email marketing by adding instant-play audio and video into the body of the email itself. She didn’t want to see large-file attachments or links out to another website, but a truly seamless experience.
“If I could I make email inspiring and compelling and drive a call to action, then I can have a product that can be adapted into any language anywhere in the world,” explains Jones.
After being turned down by a number of development agencies in the U.S., she found an international technical team that would work with her requirements. Her startup’s product would be coded in India and Pakistan, with video compression done out of Hong Kong and the Philippines.
After research and development, EyeMail was born.
Jones knew her product had legs, but it needed to get out into the digital world to be tested on real consumers. As part of the Greater Women’s Business Council in Georgia, Jones went to the organization’s president and offered to create an EyeMail campaign, for free, that she could distribute to all 700 Council members and their corporate-heavy board.
The campaign Jones created featured the president’s face and voice, calling the women to action with a click.
“When the campaign launched, the president called me two days later and said, ‘Lisa, it’s time to launch your product. Time Warner just called me asking what is this and how can we find out more about it?’” Time Warner became EyeMail’s first client.
Since then, Jones has grown her list of top clients to include Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Major League Baseball and a top advertising agency. She’s been able to prove that the product increases email open rates by more than 60 percent and generates 5-8 times higher click-through rates.
She’s also been racking up accolades. EyeMail was recently awarded Delta’s Catalyst of the Year in the company’s Star Awards that celebrate their top diverse suppliers. She also recently spoke at the Billion Dollar Roundtable, an invitation-only gathering of billion-dollar companies committed to supplier diversity. Jones spoke about creating a global team as a startup, as well as her strategy introducing a brand-new product to the market.
“Finding those advocates in these corporations, developing pilot programs, has been vital in our growth,” says Jones.
Currently EyeMail’s model is to create custom campaigns for clients, but Jones recognizes that isn’t as scalable. They are moving towards a DIY, SaaS-based platform where clients can log into a portal, upload their own videos and create campaigns. Likely they’ll charge by number of emails or number of impressions generated.
They may also expand into a B2C model where any consumer can create an EyeMail campaign, say to send to a friend or for a special event.
Her next steps include potentially going after outside funding (the company has been self-funded entirely thus far) and continuing to develop relationships with new corporations. She will also graduate from Atlanta Tech Village’s “It Takes A Village” Pre-Accelerator program this summer.