Patreon sells product curation site Kit to Geniuslink – gpgmail


Patreon, the platform for independent content creators to operate membership businesses for their core fans, announced it is selling the assets of Kit.com to localized affiliate link service Geniuslink.

Founded in 2015, Kit is a social-shopping platform where influencers curate bundles of products (“kits”) they recommend. When their fans buy products they featured in a kit, the influencer earns an affiliate fee commission. Kit has 2.3 million monthly web visitors, according to SimilarWeb.

Among the most notable content creators on Kit, YouTuber Casey Neistat curated a kit featuring his favorite camera gear and author Tim Ferriss curated kits featuring his favorite podcasting equipment and the health products recommended by interviewees in his Tools of Titans book.

Screenshot of Kit.com’s profile site for Tim Ferriss

Patreon acquired Kit in June 2018 in what Patreon’s SVP Product Wyatt Jenkins described to me during my in-depth series on the company as “close to an acqui-hire,” adding that “although Kit is a good revenue source for a lot of creators — so it’s not a shut-down of Kit — we’re maintaining it but not iterating on it.” 

Kit had previously raised $2.5 million in venture capital from backers like Social Capital, #Angels, Precursor Ventures, Expa and Ellen Pao. While the Kit site remained active, the team behind it was reassigned to lead product development for Patreon’s merch offering

It is unsurprising that Patreon found a new home for the asset. While Kit is a tool for creators to monetize, it doesn’t enhance paid memberships for fans, and that’s Patreon’s exclusive focus right now. Even Patreon’s merch product is only for offering merch as a benefit for membership tiers, not for managing an e-commerce store with one-time transactions.

In a blog post today announcing the acquisition, Geniuslink wrote that “The first order of business for Geniuslink is to migrate Kit to the Geniuslink infrastructure and work to improve speed and reliability while our operations team dives into user support. We look forward to adding additional functionality for creators to monetize their kits in the coming months.”

Geniuslink launched in 2009, originally branded as GeoRiot. The bootstrapped company has 13 employees headquartered in Seattle.

Social commerce is a popular trend right now, with other social platforms testing e-commerce integrations for users (particularly influencers) to feature products. YouTube now has a built-in merch section for a creator to sell products under their videos, and Instagram lets influencers sell products directly in the app. These have the advantage of providing influencer-curated shopping experiences right where influencers and their fans already are.

Those features assume an influencer is selling their own products, however, or at least the products of a brand they’ve formally partnered with. For Kit and its affiliate link model, the focus is on influencers as trusted curators for their fans. The influencer can feature a much wider variety of products and do so immediately, without negotiating a deal with each brand. 

That’s also why the model likely doesn’t make sense for many popular influencers — they want more money for their endorsement of a product than a standard affiliate link fee, and recommending lots of products they don’t have formal deals to promote may undercut them in their negotiations with brands.

As Geniuslink adds more monetization features to Kit, perhaps it will make it a more lucrative business activity for small and large influencers alike. 


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Uber resists California gig worker bill – gpgmail


The Daily Crunch is gpgmail’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Uber plans to keep defending independent contractor model for drivers

Despite California lawmakers passing a bill designed to turn gig workers into regular employees, Uber has made it clear it plans to do whatever it takes to keep classifying its drivers as independent contractors.

“We will continue to advocate for a compromise agreement,” Uber Chief Legal Officer Tony West said. That agreement might include a guaranteed earnings minimum while on a trip, portable benefits and a “collective voice” for drivers.

2. Spotify acquires SoundBetter, a music production marketplace, for an undisclosed sum

This looks like another step for Spotify to diversify its business model.

3. Simbe raises a $26M Series A for its retail inventory robot

Simbe has been showcasing its inventory robot Tally since 2015. And earlier this year, U.S. supermarket chain Giant Eagle announced plans to begin a pilot program, deploying Tally in select stores.

4. Loot boxes in games are gambling and should be banned for kids, say UK MPs

U.K. MPs have called for the government to regulate the games industry’s use of loot boxes. They’re urging a blanket ban on the sale of loot boxes to players who are children, suggesting that kids should instead be able to earn in-game credits to unlock these boxes.

5. How Kobalt is simplifying the killer complexities of the music industry

The second part of our in-depth look at Kobalt focuses on the complex way royalties flow through the industry, and how Kobalt is restructuring that process. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

6. Yelp adds predictive wait times and a new way for restaurants to share updates

With Yelp Connect, restaurants will be able to post updates about things like recent additions to the menu, happy hour specials and upcoming events. These updates are then shown on the Yelp homepage, in a weekly email and on the restaurant’s profile page.

7. 5 reasons to attend Disrupt SF this October 2-4

If you haven’t bought a ticket to Disrupt yet, you’re probably a bad person who’s making bad decisions.


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SmileDirectClub makes its debut on the public market – gpgmail


SmileDirectClub rang the opening bell earlier today, marking its first day of trading as a public company. The teeth-straightening company is now trading on the Nasdaq under the symbol “SDC.”

Already, the stock is trading down 11% at $20.36 per share.

SmileDirectClub kicked off its IPO hoping to raise up to $1.3 billion at an offering price of $23 per share, with an expected market cap of around $10 billion. The company originally intended to set its price between $19 and $22 per share.

“We are focused on long term shareholder value – the next 12, 24, 36 months and beyond,” SmileDirectClub CFO Kyle Wailes said in a statement to gpgmail. “Today’s IPO allows us to reinvest in innovation in product, process, international growth and customer experience. We are just getting started but our commitment to our mission, our 5,500+ team members, our customers and now our shareholders is stronger than ever.”

The company plans to use money raised from the IPO for international expansion and developing new dental products. SmileDirectClub filed to go public back in August amid concerns from national dental associations.

Prior to this, SmileDirectClub reached a $3.2 billion valuation following a $380 million funding round last October. Investors from Clayton, Dubilier & Rice led the round, which featured participation from Kleiner Perkins and Spark Capital. This funding came on top of Invisalign maker Align Technology’s $46.7 million investment in SmileDirectClub in 2016, and another $12.8 million investment in 2017 to own a total of 19% of the company.

In 2018, SmileDirectClub’s revenues came in at $432.2 million, a significant uptick from just $147 million the year prior.

The company ships invisible aligners directly to customers, and licensed dental professionals (either orthodontists or general dentists) remotely monitor the progress of the patient. Before shipping the aligners, patients either take their dental impressions at home and send them to SmileDirectClub or visit one of the company’s “SmileShops” to be scanned in person.

SmileDirectClub says it costs 60% less than other types of teeth-straightening treatments, with the length of treatments ranging from four to 14 months. Upfront, SmileDirectClub costs $1,895, with the average treatment lasting six months.

Though, members of the American Association of Orthodontists have taken issue with SmileDirectClub, previously asserting that SmileDirectClub violates the law because its methods of allowing people to skip in-person visits and X-rays is “illegal and creates medical risks.” The organization has also filed complaints against SmileDirectClub in 36 states, alleging violations of statutes and regulations governing the practice of dentistry. Those complaints were filed with the regulatory boards that oversee dentistry practices and with the attorneys general of each state.

SmileDirectClub explicitly calls out those issues in its S-1 as potential risk factors. Here’s a key nugget:

A number of dental and orthodontic professionals believe that clear aligners are appropriate for only a limited percentage of their patients. National and state dental associations have issued statements discouraging use of orthodontics using a teledentistry platform. Increased market acceptance of our remote clear aligner treatment may depend, in part, upon the recommendations of dental and orthodontic professionals and associations, as well as other factors including effectiveness, safety, ease of use, reliability, aesthetics, and price compared to competing products.

Furthermore, our ability to conduct business in each state is dependent, in part, upon that particular state’s treatment of remote healthcare and that state dental board’s regulation of the practice of dentistry, each which are subject to changing political, regulatory, and other influences. There is a risk that state authorities may find that our contractual relationships with our doctors violate laws and regulations prohibiting the corporate practice of dentistry, which generally bar the practice of dentistry by entities. Two state dental boards have established new rules or interpreted existing rules in a manner that purports to limit or restrict our ability to conduct our business as currently conducted.

Additionally, as the S-1 notes, a national dental association recently filed a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration claiming that SmileDirectClub’s manufacturing violates “prescription only” requirements. While no regulations or laws have been passed that would affect SmileDirectClub to date, it’s a possible scenario that would greatly impact the company’s core business.


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Pandora debuts a desktop app for Windows – gpgmail


Pandora today is launching a desktop app for Windows users following its debut of a native Mac app earlier this year. On Mac, Pandora offers a variety of features for desktop users, like on-screen notifications, keyboard controls, a way to select listening “modes” and more. It didn’t, however, include support for streaming podcasts. The new Windows app includes a similar feature set.

Update: The Windows Store app description mentions that at higher tiers you can stream podcasts. Pandora tells us this is not actually true of the app itself, however. It plans to support podcasts in the future, it says. We’ve removed references to podcast support from this article.  

Above: Pandora’s Windows 10 app — note references to playing podcasts! 

Like its Mac counterpart, Pandora’s Windows app can be used by both free users and paid subscribers alike.

The free users will have access to Pandora’s ad-supported stations, while Pandora Plus subscribers get ad-free stations, unlimited skips, personalized stations and up to four offline stations. Pandora Premium subscribers, meanwhile, get the same, plus the ability to make and share playlists, play albums and songs on-demand and take advantage of unlimited offline listening.

Also like the Mac app, the Windows version supports keyboard controls for doing things like playing, pausing, replaying, shuffling, thumbs up and down, etc. And it supports the Pandora Modes feature, which lets you refine your personalized stations by asking Pandora to focus more on certain types of songs — like crowd favorites, the discovery of new artists, deep cuts, songs from a select artist only, new releases and more.

Desktop users often prefer to use a native app instead of leaving a service open in a browser tab as it allows them a more seamless and integrated experience. That said, Pandora’s Mac version didn’t have the best reviews from Apple users.

Still, Pandora’s rollout of native desktop apps helps the SiriusXM-owned company better compete with rivals like Apple Music and Spotify, both of which have long offered desktop applications. In Apple’s case, it actually built so much into iTunes that the company decided to finally break it up into parts with the next version of macOS. Pandora doesn’t have the same problem, because it doesn’t include a user library or marketplace.

Windows users can download the Pandora app from the Microsoft Store starting today.

The app works on Windows 10. (Pandora also supports streaming to Xbox via the Microsoft Store app.)


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AppleCare+ Is Now Billed Monthly by Default and Costs More That Way


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As its iPhone sales have fallen, Apple has begun focusing on alternative sources of revenue, like its lucrative Services division. Much of the company’s presentation for the iPhone 11 was spent demonstrating games and projects related to Apple TV. Apple wants to be a major media provider and it’s hoping you’ll reward it with lots of content purchases.

One change to AppleCare+ flew a bit under the radar. Up until now, AppleCare was a 24-to-36-month extended warranty available from Apple on various iDevices like MacBooks, iPhones and iPads. The company has typically billed a single flat rate for the service interval, though many repairs still cost money, even if you’ve purchased AppleCare+.

Now, Apple is making a change to the program. The good news is, you’ll be able (in theory) to buy AppleCare+ for a longer period of time. The bad news is, it’s going to cost you more by default even for the period of time that the program normally covers if you choose to pay by the month.

AppleCare-Pricing-Watch-XR

Image credit: 9to5Mac

The screenshot above by 9to5Mac shows pricing for AppleCare+ for the Apple Watch Series 5 and the iPhone XR. Paying month-to-month (you’ll be re-upped automatically) is essentially a subscription, even if Apple isn’t calling it that. But if you do the math, you’ll see that the month-to-month program costs significantly more. Over two years, you’ll pay $95.76 instead of $80 for AppleCare+ if you slap it on the Apple Watch. As for the iPhone XR, the two-year fee comes out to $191.76, up from $150. That’s roughly 1.2x more over the same period of time. The up-front pricing on the iPhone 11 is $149, while up-front cost on the iPhone 11 Pro is $199.

Apple’s legal document states:

For Monthly Plans, your Plan Term is one (1) month. Your Plan will automatically renew each month unless cancelled as set forth in the “Cancellation” Section 9 below, including in the event that Apple is no longer able to service your Covered Equipment due to the unavailability of service parts, in which case Apple will provide you with thirty (30) days’ prior written notice of cancellation, or as otherwise required by law.

There’s no more option to buy a fixed-term service plan and then pay for it at a monthly reduced rate. Instead, you can pay for 24 months of coverage upfront at one price or simply go on the month-to-month program. While the end result of this is that people will be able to have AppleCare+ for longer periods of time on the same device, it’ll also mean paying Apple more money for the privilege of doing so.

If anything, we suspect this change is a nod to the fact that users often keep their devices for longer periods of time these days. Reports have suggested that Americans now only replace their iDevices closer to every three years, rather than every two. Converting customers to a small monthly fee for AppleCare+ gives Apple a steady monthly revenue stream that replaces some of the sales revenue it loses when it sells fewer iPhones. The fact that customers are being billed monthly would also help smooth revenue quarter-over-quarter — people only buy a new device every few years, but if they pay you $8 a month, that’s revenue you can count on. Multiply that by some millions of customers, and you’ve got a hefty chunk of reliable income. Apple, these days, is all about reliable income.

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Water Detected on Planet Inside the Habitable Zone for the First Time


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The astronomers who comb through data on planetary surveys looking for potentially habitable planets are searching for worlds with certain specific characteristics. We assume that any planet capable of supporting life has to exist within the habitable zone (also sometimes called the “Goldilocks zone”) of its host star. Too close to the star and you bake, too far away and you’ll freeze. Liquid water is considered another key component required for life as we know it to exist. (Ammonia-based life has been theorized, but not yet demonstrated to be able to exist).

Astronomers now believe they’ve detected liquid water in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting within the habitable zone of its parent star. The planet, K2-18b (aka EPIC 201912552 b) orbits its red-dwarf star every 33 days. The red dwarf K2-18 is roughly 111 light-years from Earth and is ~2.7 percent as luminous as our own sun. The habitable zones of red dwarves are close to the star for this reason, and the authors note that the equilibrium temperature on K2-18b could be quite similar to Earth’s. The equilibrium temperature of a planet is the temperature it would have if it were a black body heated only by its star. The presence of an atmosphere and associated greenhouse effect means the actual temperature on the planet can be quite different from the equilibrium temperature.

HabitableZones

The habitable zone of certain planets, Earth, and Mars for reference. K2-18b not shown above.

What the scientists are saying with this measurement is that Earth and this other planet start in roughly the same place, as far as their respective equilibrium temperatures are concerned (Earth is 257K, this K2-18b is 265K +/- 5K). The total amount of solar irradiation that Earth and K2-18b receive is approximately equal. The paper, which has not been peer-reviewed, notes that K2-18b is the least-massive planet to ever be detected with water vapor in its atmosphere.

“The water vapor detection was quite clear to us relatively early on,” lead author Björn Benneke, a professor at the Institute for Research on Exoplanets at the Université de Montréal, told Space.com in an interview. So he and his colleagues developed new analysis techniques to provide evidence that clouds made up of liquid water droplets likely exist on K2-18 b. “That’s in some ways the ‘holy grail’ of studying extrasolar planets … evidence of liquid water,” he said.

K2-12b probably isn’t habitable, at least not for humans. While the atmosphere contains water vapor, there’s evidence suggesting it’s quite thick, and that the planet may not have a surface in the first place.

While the study we’ve been discussing has not yet been peer-reviewed, Nature Astronomy has published the results of a different second study, which also confirms the presence of water vapor in K2-18b’s atmosphere. The lead scientist on the second study, Giovanna Tinetti, called these results “mind-blowing.”

“This is the first time that we have detected water on a planet in the habitable zone around a star where the temperature is potentially compatible with the presence of life,” she said.

We may not be flying off to explore K2-18b just yet — but now that we’ve found water vapor in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting inside a red dwarf’s habitable zone, we’re one step closer to finding a world that can work for creatures like ourselves. The James Webb Space Telescope, when it finally comes online, should be well-suited for exploring exoplanets like these.

Feature image by the ESA / UCL. 

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Gmail App’s Dark Theme Is Finally Rolling Out


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Google has been on a tear lately, updating all its mobile apps with the new Material Theming design style. In practice, that means a lot of blindingly bright apps. There is, unexpectedly, a method to Google’s madness. Moving to the new Material Theme is necessary to implement dark app themes. Gmail, one of the most popular Google apps, finally has a dark theme on Android, but not all phones have it right away. 

Gmail has been blinding smartphone users longer than most apps. As a largely text-based experience, there’s always been ample white space all through the inbox and emails themselves. Google made Gmail even brighter when it rolled out the big redesign a while back. The red accent colors were replaced with, you guessed it, more white. 

Dark themes have been a running joke among Android enthusiasts because of the way Google keeps teasing it. The last few Android betas have included a dark theme that didn’t make it to the final version. Finally, Android 10 (previously known only as Android Q) finally has a real dark theme. The Gmail rollout is only the latest example of Google apps picking up a dark theme that plugs into Android 10. 

The first version of Gmail that has a dark UI mode is 2019.08.18.267044774, but even having that version doesn’t guarantee you’ll have the dark theme. There’s also a server-side component that rolls out at Google’s behest. So far, a small number of users have the feature, but everyone should be able to flip to dark mode soon enough. 

Gmail’s Dark Theme, image via 9to5Google

Gmail’s dark theme uses a very dark gray rather than completely black, which can actually make reading white text straining. The inbox and most emails should use this same color scheme. One notable exception would be emails that include HTML. Those will probably still render with other colors, probably white. 

If you’re on Android 10 (almost no one is), you’ll be able to automatically flip to the dark theme when you enable the system-level toggle. In addition to that option, the Gmail app includes a manual light and dark toggle. So, even if you’re on an older version of Android, you can manually change Gmail to the dark them by digging into the settings. This is a step in the right direction, but plenty of Google apps still lack a dark theme. Even the newly white-themed Play Store is still lacking dark mode. 

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These Best-Selling and Top-Rated Gadgets Are All on Sale Now


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Fall is nearly here, and that means it’s almost time to eat way too much food with family and friends. It also means it’s time to save big on some of the coolest tech gadgets on the web, and we’ve got the best ones lined up for you right here.

1. Prima 1080p HD Pocket Projector

This tiny-yet-mighty projector lets you ditch the expensive flatscreen TVs for an even more cinematic experience, and you’ll be able to toss it in your bag and take it with you on the go.

  • MSRP: $799
  • SALE PRICE: $299.99
  • TODAY: $255 w/ coupon code SAVE15TODAY

2. ECOVACS DEEBOT 901 Robotic Vacuum-Cleaner

The Roomba is doubtlessly awesome, but it’s also absurdly expensive. This robot vac offers much of the same functionality for a fraction of the price.

  • MSRP: $499
  • SALE PRICE: $249
  • TODAY: $211.65 w/ coupon code SAVE15TODAY

3. Cowin E7 Active Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones

 

Complete with the latest noise-cancelling and Bluetooth technology, these headphones block out distractions and deliver a rich low-end for detailed listening.

  • MSRP: $69.99
  • SALE PRICE: $63.99
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4. Owlee Scroll Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

This Bluetooth-enabled speaker features 3D sound and passive bass radiators—enough to easily fuel any party.

  • MSRP: $119.99
  • SALE PRICE: $79.99
  • TODAY: $67.40 w/ coupon code SAVE15TODAY

5. Force1 U49WF Wi-Fi FPV Drone with HD Video Camera

Take stunning arial shots and videos using this WiFi FPV drone, which boasts a flying time of up to 25 minutes on a single charge.

  • MSRP: $149.99
  • SALE PRICE: $89
  • TODAY: $75.40 w/ coupon code SAVE15TODAY

6. VIZIO SB3821-C6 38″ 2.1 Soundbar System with Wireless Subwoofer (Certified Refurbished)

Featuring Bluetooth connectivity and elite Dolby audio technology, this certified refurbished soundbar system is the perfect compliment to any home theater or flat screen TV.

  • MSRP: $149.99
  • SALE PRICE: $99
  • TODAY: $84.15 w/ coupon code SAVE15TODAY

7. Nomad 3-Port Charging Hub

This charging hub allows you to quickly and easily charge up to three devices at once, and you’ll be able to take it with you on the go thanks to its minimalist design.

  • MSRP: $49.95
  • SALE PRICE: $19.99
  • TODAY: $17 w/ coupon code SAVE15TODAY

8. iPM World 360-Degree 1080p Wireless IP Security Camera

Offering panoramic views and complete encryption, this security camera allows you to keep an eye on everything from your belongings to your pets.

  • MSRP: $129.99
  • SALE PRICE: $44.99
  • TODAY: $38.25 w/ coupon code SAVE15TODAY

9. Nomad 1.5M Battery Lightning Cable

This super durable lightning cable doubles as a portable charger, and you’ll never have to worry about broken of frayed edges regardless of how much you use it.

  • MSRP: $49.95
  • SALE PRICE: $19.99
  • TODAY: $17 w/ coupon code SAVE15TODAY

10. Keezel 2.0 Online Protection Device with Lifetime Protection

This online protection device allows you to enjoy full privacy anywhere on Earth—giving you access to VPN servers around the globe.

  • MSRP: $239
  • SALE PRICE: $179
  • TODAY: $152.15 w/ coupon code SAVE15TODAY

Prices are subject to change. 




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ckbk pulls a ‘Spotify for recipes’ out of the beta oven – gpgmail


Cooking may be under sustained attack by a wave of on-demand food delivery startups, with names that can double as gluttonous calls to action (oh hey Just Eat!), but that hasn’t stopped London-based startup ckbk from pushing in the opposite direction — with a digital service that offers on-demand access to high quality recipes licensed from major publishers of best selling cookbooks.

Indeed, the ckbk platform serves up not just individual recipes but entire cookbooks for browsing in app form.

The ckbk platform, which launches out of beta today — after a Kickstarter campaign last year that raised just over $55k — is being touted by its creators as ‘Spotify for recipes’. Think ‘playlists’ of professionally programmed dishes to whip up in the kitchen.

At launch it offers access to a catalog of more than 350 cookbooks (80,000+ recipes) — a culinary library that’s slated to keep growing.

For $8.99/£8.99 per month the premium ckbk user gets to tuck in to unlimited access to this “curated collection of cookbooks” — with content selected using “recommendations from hundreds of chefs and food experts including Nigella Lawson and Yotam Ottolenghi”.

A freemium layer offers access gratis to three recipes per month.

Subscribers are essentially paying for someone else with (most likely) superior knowledge of cooking to sort the wheat from the chaff so you don’t have to do the legwork of figuring out what freebie Internet recipes are worth investing your time (and after it, teeth) in.

Not just any old recipes, editorially curated recipes is the ckbk promise.

Content partners at launch include “dozens” of major publishers — including Chronicle Books, Macmillan, Oxford University Press, Rodale, Simon & Schuster, Workman Publishing and Penguin Random House’s Rodale and Struik imprints.

Culinary content available via the platform is billed as spanning both contemporary authors like Molly Yeh and David Tanis, to award winning authorities and Michelin starred chefs, while also dipping into old  culinary classics, such as On Food & Cooking and the Oxford Companion to Food, and offering works penned by legendary French chef and restauranteur Escoffier.

Publishers participating in ckbk’s platform are being promised a new digital revenue stream (it’s not clear what the revenue share is) — sweetened with data in the form of “new insights into patterns of cookbook recipe usage” they can use to feed into future editorial output. So of course all ckbk users are having their foodie browsing extensively data-mined.

To push its ‘premium recipes’ proposition ckbk is trailing a bunch of forthcoming promotional partnerships with kitchenware brands, food-related ecommerce brands, food events, culinary schools and publishing channels — which it says will be launching in the next few months.

It also says recipes on the platform have been optimized for integration with connected kitchen appliances.

European company BSH (whose appliance brands include Bosch, Gaggenau, NEFF and Siemens) is named as the first strategic partner for ckbk. It will be offering premium membership of the service to UK buyers of its NEFF N90 connected oven.

A subset of ‘smart’ cookbook recipes on ckbk will automatically set the correct time and oven temperature via the N90’s Home Connect system — for anyone who can’t be bothered to twiddle the dials themselves.

ckbk adds that selected recipes will be further “optimized” to make the most of features and cooking modes of the smart oven. A tidbit which might make a seasoned chef raise an eyebrow and question whether that’s heading towards recipes for robots.

The licensing project has certainly been a slow burn. The company behind ckbk, 1000 Cookbooks, has been working on getting the concept to market since 2014, per Crunchbase.

It says it’s currently raising a $2M seed funding round — having previously raised a total of $750,000 in pre-seed funding via investors, the Techstars/BSH Future Home accelerator program, and its Kickstarter campaign.


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9 best email marketing services you need to convert a B2B client


We decided to offer up this blog topic in two ways because there are certain variables with business to business (B2B) marketing that exist that use marketing in different ways.

Two kinds of email lists in play

One list serves as hoarding of contacts. The list may generate contacts from the use of pop-ups from your website visitors or special event and trade show sign-up sheets. Does any of this sound familiar? These people share a common interest and wish to follow your company after learning more about you. Bear in mind that they may not be anywhere ready for direct interaction, let alone conversion. You may take the compliment just the same that they have a wish to keep your company on their radar. Your marketing team keeps these contacts up-to-date on the latest news, promotions, and enlightening content. This practice is maintained to string along your contacts’ interest until they are ready to act. If your company’s cost of goods and services are expensive, don’t expect conversions from this kind of email marketing. The journey is one of patience. Instead, the objective is to hold their interest enough to stay connected by making visits to your website for blogs and announcements on cue, thanks to email marketing. That way when they are ready for your product or service, they know exactly where to start.

The misconception is that the mass hoarded list is the end-all-be-all list of all email marketing. This assumption is mistaken because the next example is of greater importance.

The second list is made up of active contacts making their way through the funnel. These particular contacts, however, require targeted emails to their needs and business at a carefully timed frequency to guide them through the conversion funnel. Your sales team grooms this list through a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program. In the CRM, sales professionals track their contacts and engagements with their prospects and customers through the point of conversion and beyond for retention.

Which tools to use?

If your contact lists are small, you may be successful for a while keeping up with all marketing efforts through one program. As your list grows, you find yourself delegating the mass-marketing to another marketing team while Sales focuses on those concentrated in the sales funnel through the CRM. When you reach this volume, different programs may serve those distinct purposes of your contact lists.

Mass email marketing

This list is to benefit your mass-marketing efforts for those collected contacts along your path.

Constant Contact

This company is a favorite email service provider for businesses just getting their feet wet with email marketing. One exceptional quality that puts them above the rest is their fantastic customer support. You can get all the help you need from their live chat, emails, discussion forums, and a vast library of resources.

Sendinblue

We rate this as an excellent bulk email service for absolute beginners. Their intuitive drag and drop platform makes it easy for the most novice user to jump in and start creating right away. Sendinblue also offers short message service (SMS) marketing as a separate offer. One unique quality with Sendinblue is that there are no subscriptions. Pricing is based on the number of emails sent with no contact volume limits.

Drip

We like Drip for its email marketing automation for E-commerce business. Not only can you customize messages based on website visitor behaviors (cart abandonment, clicks, returning visitors, etc.), but you can implement more integrations such as text, social, and more, customized to your workflow.

AWeber

This brand is one of the more popular lead generation services because it’s easy, and it’s affordable. AWeber is also easily integrated with your WordPress website, opt-in builder, and landing page builder.

MailerLite

If you’re starting with email marketing and your budget is tight, MailerLite allows you to build your list for free until you grow to 1000 subscribers.

Mailchimp

While Mailchimp’s claim to fame is mass emailing and flexible integration, not as many of its subscribers utilizing its other marketing tools on the platform. Some significant updates have arrived in May, so if you’ve not taken a peek recently, visit their site today.

CRM and Sales tools

Keep in mind that these tools also have email marketing functionality so that they may work splendidly for email campaigns. These tools and their built-in features are distinctively useful for Sales teams, however a bit overkill in features for a Marketing team that would find more value in the mass email marketing tools.

Keap

If you’ve heard of Infusionsoft (also built by Keap) think of Keap of a simpler version of that tool. This all-in-one tool for CRM, sales, and marketing automation enable you to organize your client information and syncs with Gmail and Outlook to manage it all in one place. In addition to great-looking emails, Keap also features templates for proposals, estimates, invoices, and payments, to name a few.

AutoPilot

Just like the email marketing tools, AutoPilot is intuitive and easy to create with drag and drop platform for the email editor.

An added feature that your sales team will love is AutoPilot’s collaborative tools that enable your team to work together. The annotate & collaborate feature allows your team to mark up a customer journey and engage the group for feedback. Work is easily shared so everyone remains informed with each campaign.

GetResponse

Talk about versatility! GetResponse is about as close as you can get to an all-in-one solution. Along with marketing and automation, add CRM, landing pages and a webinar solution to boot! If you weren’t already impressed enough, the service is available in 20 different languages. There are over 500 built-in templates and direct integration with Shutterstock for creative options.

Each of these services includes a library of templates to choose from for your email creations, but your options don’t have to stop there on these and many other platforms. If you seek an original look that stands as a statement on its own and is perfectly in-sync with your specific branding, that’s where MailBakery is at your service. Have you got a design that you are ready to bring to life? Your first coding is free as a way that we can offer you a taste of our dazzling delights. What have you got to lose? Let’s get baking!