Toilets, Toothpaste, and Don’t Open This Email: Matthew Smith, Founder of Really Good Emails

Posted on Jul 2, 2018

Episode: S01E07

Podcast Guest: Matthew Smith
Role: Founder
Company: Really Good Emails

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Over 280 billion emails are sent every single day.

Which makes it hard to get yours opened when you need it to be opened.

So I went to the person who clearly knows that makes an email good, Matthew Smith, a design and customer experience wiz show came up with Really Good Emails (RGE), possibly the best email resource in the world. And I trust him, because I open their emails every. Single Time.

Give it a listen to hear where emails are going in the future, how they nail their brand voice, and the internal process for creating emails.

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Episode Transcript

Eytan Buchman (TMM)

My name is Eytan Buchman, this is Two Minute Marketing, and I’m reading an email as I speak. I get about a 2 billion emails a day and I delete almost every single one. There is one email that I love to get – the updates from Really Good Emails, the go-to platform for, well, really good emails. So I got it’s founder, Matthew Smith, to talk a little but about the future of emails. My first question was how to contend with the promotion tab. Turns out, Matthew loves filters…and I got schooled.

Matthew Smith (Really Good Emails)

honestly I love AI filtering software. We should be filtering the stuff so that the marketplace feels the demands to service and actually provide value to our customers in our emails, not throw noise at them all the day, right?

Seth Godin says

“Why are you yelling at the people who are trying to block all the noise when you could be whispering deep truth to the people who are dying to hear what you have to say?”

That’s powerful and so we should be finding those people and if we find that we’re not then we’ve got a market-fit problem. I love that. That’s also one of the reasons my favorite metric for tracking emails opens per send; more opens means more value.

Eytan Buchman

This obligation to provide value is going to become even more important, particularly in the future of email that Matthew envisions:

Matthew Smith

For me email still hasn’t even reached it’s golden age….It’s getting there but really email has the opportunity to be a logged in state for shopping, right. “So, hey Matthew, you’ve been buying this toothpaste every month at relatively the same time. Did you want to add this to your cart or do you want to add this to your cart and ship?” You don’t have to go do anything else. That’s really freaking powerful and that’s around the corner.

Eytan Buchman

So how a simple email curation site set itself so far apart from the pack. For matthew, it came down to having a legit fun brand that and a killer team, all of whom do this as a side project.

Matthew Smith

So I just thought, well, this is a lack of transparency in the marketplace and I want to know what a really good email looks like and so I’m just going to start curating this from all the experience I’ve had on product and as a designer and working as Chief Creative, Creative Director, VP of Product, those kinds of things at several large start ups.

So I just started building that, and I think honestly what sets us apart is our attitude. It’s our brand. It’s our thought that, you know what, let’s just have fun. This is, it’s email. There’s a lot to not have fun about. It can be really nerdy. It can be really serious. And brands are like trying to test things all the time and it can be very data focused and, my experience is that most of the people doing email marketing are fantastic people, doing a job that a lot of other people don’t want to do.

And so my hope is just to create a site and a team and a brand that people love to hear from. And it just comes out of our own attitudes. Like our team, we’re goofballs. We have a lot of fun. And so we just, we built a brand and a product that resonates with that.

Then also, we just, we have more. More emails out there. And better examples. And we have some work to do to get to improve our curation and continue to keep the highest bar of quality.

Eytan Buchman

People have been wondering about who guards the guardians for ages. Me? I’m more curious who makes sure that email curation sites send great emails. So I asked Matthew about their email process.

Matthew Smith

So, it’s interesting, I’m a perfectionist and that’s been a problem in the past and so I’ve learned to let go of some of the precision that I’ve wanted and aim for the heart. A perfect email never sent is a failure, right? I’ve really focused on making sure that we’re constantly learning from our mistakes and not having to do those again.

But I think the most important thing for me is just that my team always understands what true north is. What the clarity is that they need to do their jobs.

And for our brand that’s making sure we’re constantly serving our customers and our readers. And that service is humor and it’s fun and it’s education and you can do that in every little moment right? Is the subject line doing a job for the reader? Is it engaging? Is it telling them what they need? Is it giving them a heads up into what’s inside the email? Honestly, is it telling them, “Oh that emails not for me.” That’s a good service right? So, it’s similar to a door on a bathroom that says occupied. I know that I don’t need to check to see if the door is open or not. It’s occupied. Somebody’s in there, stinking it up. I don’t want to go in. That’s an important part. A lot of people don’t think about email subject lines that way.

That’s a real interesting distinction and that’s always our brand. Is to try and make every sentence, every paragraph, every image, do something for the customer, and we don’t always get that right. We try and really make it something we enjoy doing and I think that ends up creating a valuable email for our customers.

Eytan Buchman

So, to bring it all back together, remember that while email pushes prospects to a service, it’s a service in and of itself. Challenge yourself. Are your emails serving you? Or are they serving your customers. If you’re listening to this on a friends radio, you can find Two Minute Marketing on iTunes, Google, and just about anywhere you get your podcast fix.