How to Publish and Sell by Email – an Interview with Ben Lerer of Thrillist

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    I told you about an interesting interview with the Bonobos founder last week on a site called Grovo. Well, Grovo’s next interview with a founder of a successful Internet company is now available and it’s another good one.

    This week’s interview is with Ben Lerer, the co-founder and CEO of Thrillist, a daily email city guide with over three million subscribers. Thrillist also owns JackThreads, a members-only online retailer, and Thrillist Rewards, a ‘localised commerce business’.

    It’s interesting to hear Ben’s perspective on his large, email-centric businesses.

    A few key points for me were:

    • For Thrillist, the daily emails are the full content; for JackThreads they’re about merchandising – showing people a curated set of products that they will hopefully go and buy on the site.
    • Currently, everyone gets the same emails. Over the next year, they’re planning to start personalising the JackThreads emails so the stuff you’re shown will tend to be more of the things you’ve indicated an interest in (I’m assuming this’ll be based on actions like clicks and purchases.)
    • Ben sees fast iteration as key. Over time they’ve become better at the try / monitor effectiveness / make changes cycle.
    • Building a brand online is about: knowing who your audience is, being consistent, and being authentic. They use an honest, slightly irreverent tone.
    • Over time, they’ve moved away from building ‘what Ben wants’ to letting the data drive things.
    • Having this kind of data-driven approach is important.
    • With the e-commerce business, the numbers are very specific (sales, profits, etc.); with the publishing business, they’re fuzzier.

    The interview is here.

    I’ve enjoyed this interview series so far, so I’ll be continue to follow it. If there’s an interview I think is particularly good, I’ll share my thoughts about it with you here.

     

     

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