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Yem Jam (Vol. 16)
Welcome to another Yem Jam, a summary of progress, learnings, and ideas as we build Yem.
March 1st marked Yem's first birthday. 🎂 🎉
We launched our first growth product three months ago. For those new to Yem or the newsletter, we help paid newsletters automate their email marketing. The goal of Yem's emails is to convert free subs to paid and prevent cancels. Nothing fancy, but we're seeing solid results — here’s where we are today:
Our customers include 38 paid newsletters with a combined 1.7M total subs (free + paid) and 80k paid subs.
On average, we're driving a ~7.6% lift in subscription revenue and, for earlier customers, maintaining that lift into months 3 & 4.
Positive feedback and word of mouth from existing customers remains our primary source of new customers. We’re seeing strong retention for existing customers.
Our current run rate is $50,000 in annual recurring revenue (ARR) and we're aiming for $100,000 ARR by the end of April.
We've continued to make improvements to the Yem app. As of this past week, the Yem app now integrates with Ghost, allowing us to launch a handful of Ghost paid newsletters (that have been patiently waiting - thank you!).
As we've developed the Yem app, we've learned that it's important not to create work for our customers. But we also want to give them control and the ability to personalize their emails. We try to thread this needle by:
providing templates for each email and tips to drive better performance
pre-populating parts of the emails using info from their publication
giving customers the ability to edit or turn on / off each email in the Yem app
To show some of the above, here's a video walkthrough of the Yem app:
From the last Jam, our focus early this year is to expand to support more platforms and free newsletters.
For platforms, Ghost was a nice step forward. But we have folks that have signed up for Yem from ConvertKit, Revue, and MailChimp. We've developed great relationships with these platforms and working to expand support.
We're a month into testing a suite of messages for free newsletters with a pilot customer. This includes user onboarding, a referral program, and re-engagement emails. The goal of these emails is to grow the email list, reduce the share of subs that are dormant, and to increase per-sub engagement. We're seeing promising signs, but not quite ready to productize and ship it to a broader audience.
Longer-term, reflecting on the past year, we've become more confident in our guiding vision:
The most influential "media companies" of the 21st century will be individual creators and small collectives. The challenge for these new media companies is no longer how to publish text, audio, images, or video. The hard part is building an audience and developing a reliable income.
It's unfair that Disney, Netflix, and The New York Times can invest billions of dollars into growth, while creators have far less resources. Yem's goal is to narrow that gap by building products that help creators grow their audience and increase their earnings.
With our progress so far, we've also become more confident we can solve these problems.
To close out, a quick programming note. Over the past year, we've learned a lot working with leading creators. We want to share our insights and will likely use this newsletter as a starting point — more to come soon.
Related to the above, I had an awesome time speaking with Nathan Barry on his podcast. Nathan is the founder and CEO of ConvertKit, a leading newsletter platform for creators ($29 million in annual revenue). We talked through my experience at Hulu, Crunchyroll, and HBO Max, and how we're using those learnings to help creators grow their audience and better monetize. Here are a few links if you want to check it out: Apple / Spotify / YouTube / Google.
Thank you for reading and for all your support. 🙏