Episode 80: Roland Pokornyik – Email Design Systems, Building Products, Finding Your Channel & Niche!

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Today I’m joined by Roland Pokornyik, the founder of Chamaileon.io. Roland decided to become an entrepreneur at age 16 and has been on a journey building software products online ever since. While riding a train one day, he looked at his email.. and it dawned on him that they look pretty bad on mobile devices. And that’s when he decided to enter the ‘email builder’ market and develop his first product with friends back in 2012!

We dive into that journey a bit and then talk about his service and email building. He’s not actually an email service, but a platform for teams to take advantage of an Email Design System. We talk about the benefits of such a system. And his thoughts around email in general.

Through that we also talk a lot about the challenges of marketing such products. And how important it is to find a niche, focus on a narrow product and look for ‘your’ channel. Because it’s different for all of us! There isn’t a one size fits all solution and things have gotten much more competitive in recent years; so there are challenges around that and that’s why it’s so important to narrow your focus.

Great conversation with someone ‘building stuff on the web’. Dive in and get ready to be inspired!

Roland Pokornyik

Roland is a seasoned email marketer and CEO, Co-founder of Chamaileon.io – an email creation platform for teams. He regularly blogs and speaks about email design and related topics too. He's open to sharing his entrepreneurial challenges on bootstrapping a global SaaS product in a very competitive industry and scaling to a team of 20.

THE MEAT OF IT!

  • Intro
  • The journey – how he got started .. why email?
    • Deciding to become an Entrepreneur at the age of 16.
    • Has to be software on the internet ..
    • Built something with a friend..
      • Realized they didn’t stand a chance in their first market ..
    • Train trip → Checking emails..
      • They look bad on mobile devices.
    • Let’s do an Email builder (2012).. their first product. (EDMdesigner)
    • Chamaileon.io was their second product..
  • They are not an email service..
    • Create nice looking email templates. No code email builder.
    • They integrate with other services (eg, mailchimp)
    • They are an email design system – speeds up creation process.
    • Helps scale production.
  • What are ‘Design Systems’ for email?
    • Settings standards for all the elements of an email.
    • Headers/Footers .. all the components you reuse
    • Not separate from the brand and web design
    • Foundations .. about scale.
  • Who do they serve?
  • Text vs HTML – Deliverability
    • Primary inbox vs Promotions tab
    • Don’t need to worry about deliverability until you have a huge list
  • Image only vs proper HTML
    • performance improvement
  • There are a lot of businesses with 500k, 1 million+ subscribers.
  • He’s not in the business of deliverability.. but constructing emails.
    • What do they help people with?
    • No stats, tracking.. or a/b tests.
      • The email platform does that.
    • But they can create the different variations.
    • Why is their software useful..?
      • Creating new emails fast – large teams.
        • Building, approvals ..
    • 50% of email teams take 2 weeks on average to work on email projects. (bigger companies)
  • Differentiated to focus on smaller segment
    • The challenges .. marketing-wise.
    • Higher price point subscription.
  • Business – in the beginning, it was ‘guessing’
  • Their problem .. they aren’t industry specific.
    • Difficult to find a common place for their audience.. more distributed.
    • Content writing .. challenge.
    • SEO/Content marketing focus … experiencing with new channels.
    • Paid ads are expensive
      • Mailchimp does everything ..
      • Endless hole to spend money on..
    • Harder to rank for keywords in recent years
  • Creating a niche specific offering, new brand for the reasons above.
    • Emailhero .io
      • A service for publishers
    • Easier to market
  • ADVICE to someone starting out.
    • Find your niche.
  • Video marketing? Has he thought about that?
  • Choosing a channel
    • Luck and persistence – you can find your channel
  • Spending money to outsource / the investment you need to make
  • Creating new products – as marketing
    • Building systems using a white label solution.
    • Not doing something brand new.. reusing what you have.
  • White label plugins
    • Suite of tools to build other tools
  • The product is only a small fraction of your success
    • Need to sell those 20 products..
    • You need to choose one that will be your bread and butter
  • The LESSON from this episode
  • His offer to the audience.. to help ‘THE BUILDERS’
  • Changes in the software space.. the future
    • ‘No code’ building software
    • AI for everything – writes the software based on biz requirements
    • An agency that can evolve with the future ..
  • AI Building stuff for you..
    • You still have to find a channel :wink:
  • We’ll need to continue this conversation in the future.
    • He likes talking about the ‘future’. Has done deep research about it.. email heavy.
  • If someone wants to reach out to him.. where can you find him?
Matt Levenhagen
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