I wrote about an interesting product called GoldMail a while back, which triggered some correspondence with Adam Piandes there. He kindly agreed to be interviewed for the blog, and here's the result.
GoldMail is a publishing tool that lets you quickly and easily create an audio-visual message. As an example, we say that GoldMail allows you to put your voice over Powerpoint because it resonates with the business user. But you can put you voice over any content – or combination of content - jpegs, PDF’s, screen shots, etc.
Once the slideshow is arranged in a compelling manner, it’s time to record your voice over the slides and then share the message, which you can do by posting it on your blog, sending it by e-mail or putting it on Facebook and other social media sites. It’s about conveying emotion, connecting with the viewer.
Combining audio (voice) with visuals touches upon two different learning styles and retention rates skyrocket versus just sending an e-mail or leaving a voicemail … it’s a simple process: Create, Record, Share.
You can view a quick two minute GoldMail I created for this interview here
Wow, I love that you were brave enough to put yourself out there for us like that. Thank you!
Can you give me a snapshot of the company’s history? Who started this thing and why?
The idea of GoldMail was “birthed” by Tom Hakel, our CEO and David Simpson, our president in 2006 as an audio-visual messaging platform. They were investors in a “more complicated” collaboration software project and discovered two things:
1) People are “over contacting and under connecting,” as live meetings were getting harder and harder to get; general business communications (i.e. email and phones) were not nearly as effective as in the past.
2) Most people don’t have much time to learn new software and they are not technically oriented – they just wanted simple tools that have an immediate impact.
From the on-set, GoldMail has been affiliated with a non-profit organization that runs summer school programs for middle school youth called Aim High. This organization is a shareholder of GoldMail, and this relationship is a big piece of who we are and what we represent. Also, the founders – at the outset -- wanted to create a tool that would help all non-profits spread their message. It’s cool for me because I feel connected to a great organization and because I’m a huge believer that we will have a long-term impact on fundraising efforts by non-profits everywhere, as we’ve already proven so in several instances.
I had no idea of the not-for-profit connection!
Adam, I know you see this as a product that anyone can use. Which may be true. But every product has a sweet-spot, a natural market of people who really appreciate the benefits and drive usage. What or who is the sweet spot for GoldMail? I’m guessing sales people working in B2B sales, but who is it really?
Yes, it’s true, GoldMail can be used by anyone who is looking to humanize their on-line communication and wants to easily send messages that people remember. B2B sales is a key area, and this has been one of the early sweet spots for us.
Sales people use GoldMail to get their value proposition across in a personal manner; it enables them to inject their personality and to connect with a prospect or client. It’s nice because a sales person can send out a GoldMail message and the recipient can listen to it as many times as they choose and then can share it with others.
Most of our conversations, at GoldMail, with partners/clients get started with a GoldMail message. I can send a GoldMail message to the recipient as a way to introduce myself and the partnership opportunity or to follow up from a previous conversation. The end goal is to get a meeting or to take a conversation another step further. The response has been great, as we’ve formed some great partnerships using this approach.
One of our partnerships is with Constant Contact. GoldMail now enables their customers to better connect with their recipients, whether it’s to drive sales, to send out a marketing campaign, for fundraising, send a celebratory message or advocacy. Regardless of the intent of the message, GoldMail adds the human element that is so important in establishing relationships and is missing in today’s on-line communication.
I use Constant Contact (as do many), and noticed that they had announced this feature. It seems like a natural fit. Anything else?
We also see a lot of people using GoldMail for internal communications. I create a two to three minute GoldMail message for my CEO at the end of the every week to give him an update on all of my happenings on the business development side. He receives a GoldMail message from all of our departments and in 15 to 20 minutes, he has a great understanding of what’s happening in the company.
Of course, he is involved in the company on a more intimate level, but these GoldMail updates save him a ton of time. On the flip side, he sends the company internal updates on GoldMail’s progress and provides our investors with updates as well.
I love getting a GoldMail message for company updates because it makes me feel included and I always have a general sense of “who’s doing what” but more importantly, “why” they’re doing it. I know that our investors love getting these messages as well.
I hadn't really thought about the internal communication angle, but it makes sense. I think we're all hungering for some human touch, and corporate communications can certainly use humanizing.
What about your raving fans -- what can you tell me about them? Any compelling anecdotes you can share?
We have fans from all walks of life. From the CMO at Accenture who uses GoldMail to add impact to his most important messages going to their broad management community and senior leaders to an area manager, working out of her home, for a well respected direct-selling company, who uses GoldMail to “increase sales by $2,000 in two days without picking up the phone.”
We’ve had so many incredible stories of how GoldMail has helped people communicate and improve their business; there’s one that sticks out for me.
One of our customers sent out a GoldMail message to notify their customers of some changes to their website. They received a bunch of requests for more information and one of these requests led to a conversation with a project manager that landed the company a $200mm project. They claimed that this never would have happened if they had not been using GoldMail to stay in touch with their longtime and new clients. Not bad for a $10/month investment.
A $200 million project, and they leveraged Goldmail. That's a pretty amazing story! I may have to rethink this ....
You and I chatted about a freemium model. And I see you have now launched this. Dare I say "What took you so
long?" What kind of impact is this having on usage right now? What do people
get for going from free to paid levels?
Ha! Yes, it has taken us a while to realize that people want things for free, hasn’t it! We sort of went about things in an atypical order to how you see things unfold these days. For a few years, we charged people for GoldMail by either a monthly or annual rate and in doing so, it forced us to learn more about our customers. We’ve been able to refine the product and get it to the point of where we are today. We have thousands of paying customers and recently launched our free version; we know that people will pay for our business version and for our enterprise version, which we’ll officially be launching in the coming weeks, so the upgrade path has been proven.
With the launch of the free version, the doors have opened for more partnership opportunities and the downloads have gone up significantly. As the word starts to get out on GoldMail and more and more people receive and see GoldMail messages, I believe the downloads will go up exponentially. GoldMail is unique in that it has proven to be an extremely useful business tool and also has a viral feel to it, as more often than not our customers come to us as a result of receiving and/or seeing a GoldMail message.
That makes sense to me -- that people would experience it, then be interested in trying it.
The upgrade from the free (personal) version to the business version gives the end user longer recording time, unlimited active messages, full branding capabilities, reporting and tracking on the back end, the ability to administer multiple accounts and 24/7 phone support. For our enterprise version (GoldMail Synergy), a company has the ability to preload templates into multiple GoldMail accounts. For example, a marketing team can create the images and scripts for their sales team and then upload and edit these templates into each sales person’s individual GoldMail account. This way, the sales person can login to GoldMail, select a template for their message, record their voice and send it off to a prospect or client.
Well, I can't say that I'm a big fan of scripts... but I know organizations often are. No doubt many sales people do not have your skill or finesse, Adam.
To wrap up, what do you think the future of this market looks like? What
will GoldMail be offering in a few years, and what will we all be doing with
e-mail (or whatever replaces it)?
Our goal when we started GoldMail was that “one day, everyone who communicates across the internet will use GoldMail.” Our focus is to provide people with a tool that is easy and non-threatening and enables the creation of a personal and powerful message in minutes. GoldMail gives people a wonderful publishing platform to express themselves and to stay connected to others.
I think we’re going to see a lot more GoldMail messages being created by people who have “something to say,” an idea to share and will use the tool as a means for creating interesting content.
I’ve always believed that GoldMail is the perfect tool for the blogging community. Firstly, when used selectively, a good blogger can insert a GoldMail to connect with their readers and to add a voice to the person behind the blog.
More and more bloggers are using video these days and video can be cool and a very useful tool, but I often find it difficult and not very appealing or engaging to watch a person talk into a camera. GoldMail differs in that it doesn’t “force” someone to get in front of a camera and it allows the recipient’s mind to effectively be stimulated and to retain information with the voice and visual combination. It also allows the creator of a GoldMail message to speak over graphs, pictures, data and other content that isn’t easy to share using a video camera. And, most of all, it’s very cost effective and very easy to use.
Getting in front of a camera is indeed a whole bigger level of commitment than just recording to slides.
We anticipate launching both a mobile version within the next few months, and GoldMail will add other requested features, but will always maintain the product’s simplicity and ease of use.
There are so many different means of collaborating with people these days; it will be very interesting to see what we’ll all be doing with e-mail. We’re excited because regardless of the platform people use to share information i.e. e-mails and social media, GoldMail will always enable people to communicate and “connect” with others with a personal touch.
Adam, this was great. Thank you for your time, and for telling us about the business. Personally, I'm getting so much sales-oriented e-mail that asks me to do all the work, that this could be a relief. I and the readers here will be interested to see how this evolves. Good luck with the business!
I’m not a regular blogger but thought it would be fun to demonstrate how GoldMail can be used in a blog. Thank you!
Adam provided a link to his blog, where he has embedded a Goldmail message. Click the image to see/hear it.