Yem Jam (Vol. 13)
Welcome to another Yem Jam, a summary of progress, learnings, and ideas as we build Yem. In this jam, we cover performance of our automated lifecycle product and next steps.
Let’s dive in!
💌 Automated lifecycle messaging for creators
Lifecycle messaging is often the most cost-effective channel to drive growth. In particular, email remains one of the best channels to create value. At Crunchyroll, we used email to onboard new users and convert free users to paid subscribers. We improved retention by increasing engagement, both in depth (hours watched) and diversity (series watched). We ran special promotions and contests, and deepened the relationship with our audience by featuring fan art and guest posts.
These lifecycle efforts were set-up like a machine, constantly running in the background. We ran tests and used data to improve existing messages and add new campaigns. This approach to user messaging is common these days, with some larger companies dialing up the sophistication (e.g. how Netflix measures lifecycle efforts).
When we started working with newsletter creators, lifecycle messaging was mostly absent. Setting up an effective series of messages takes a lot of time and mindshare. It takes even more effort to keep it running and improve performance over time. Further, some of the newsletter platforms offer limited or no tools to automate lifecycle efforts. (We experienced first-hand how difficult and cumbersome it is to run these as ongoing ad-hoc emails.)
There was a clear mismatch of what a larger company could do relative to an individual creator. To reduce this gap, we've built an automated lifecycle product for creators. It's always on and always improving. The initial product is tailored towards newsletters with paid subscriptions. The goal is to lift subscription revenue by converting free users to paid subs and preventing paid subs from canceling.
🍿 Is this thing working?
Through the first 26 days for our first customer, the automated lifecycle product has driven a lift of +$1,415 (+3%) in subscription revenue. We’ve added 10 paid subs (+$700) and saved 18 paid subs from cancelling (+$715). Below is a per-email breakdown of performance:
While the immediate lift in earnings is great, we’re creating even more value in future earnings. Hypothetically, let’s assume the customer lifetime value of each paid subscriber is $100. For the 28 paid subs we've saved or added, that's a lift of $2,800 in future earnings, nearly double the immediate lift in earnings.
🛣 What’s next?
Looking forward, we have two goals: 1) improving the product and 2) onboarding new customers.
On the product side, there’s a lot of room to elevate our impact. We recently launched tests to optimize existing lifecycle emails and add new campaigns. We've been working through various bugs and making the product more resilient. On the reporting side, we've put a lot of effort into making sure we're attributing value to Yem's efforts as accurately as possible. As much for us as our customers — we need to prove to ourselves that this product is driving real value.
Our goal is to lift our customer’s subscription revenue by +5% per month (vs. +3% at the moment). If we can do that on an ongoing basis, compounding will work in our favor. We'll be able to propel a creator earning $100k per year to $170k per year within 12 months (+$70% growth in ARR).
So far, we have focused most of our resources towards building the product. With the product delivering a solid impact, we want to shift attention to bringing on new customers. We recently integrated our second customer, paying attention to how to improve onboarding. We're aiming for 10 customers by mid-November to amplify our feedback loop and drive product improvements.
🕺 Building the team
We're looking for a full-stack engineer or product lead to help refine Yem’s initial product, test new ideas, and join the founding team. Interest in the creator space is a huge plus! We would likely start with project-based work and a 20+ hour a week commitment. If you or someone you know is interested, shoot me a note (firstname.lastname@example.org). Any help is much appreciated! 🙏
That’s it for now — let us know what you think. As always, thanks for your support!