Bananatag discovers the marketing power of good press

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By Fiona Campbell

Corey Wagner, co-founder of Kelowna based tech startup Bananatag, accredits the company’s early success to a marketing campaign in which it used a public relations launch to put its own product to the test.

Launched in August 2012, Bananatag allows individuals to track opened email and clicked links on their daily emails, taking the guesswork out of how recipients are interacting with their email. Until recently, only marketers and salespeople using mass email services were able to track and see statistics. Bananatag has changed this by bringing the same capabilities to every day email users.

Along with opens and clicks, Bananatag also shows users the location of the recipient and the device the email was opened on. These in-depth metrics allow users to better interact and respond to their contacts. With extensions available for Outlook and Gmail, Bananatag makes email tracking simple and accessible to all.

“We knew people would love the product once they found out about it, but the challenge we faced was getting the word out,” said Corey. “As a lean startup, we couldn’t go out and spend thousands on ads.”

The Bananatag team created a list of industry specific bloggers and media contacts. Each contact was sent a personal “Bananatagged” email, which introduced Bananatag and its application.

“Using our software we could see immediately which emails had been opened and who had clicked on the link to check out our website,” Corey said.

“With this knowledge, we could track who was reading and who was ignoring our emails. After sending out follow up emails, again tracked, we could get more insight into who was interested. We moved on from those not engaged to focus on a more receptive audience and persevered with those who showed real interest.

“We found niche blogs with relatively lower traffic but highly targeted audiences that were very successful in getting us new users,” Corey added. “The more interested the reader is, the more likely they are to click through the blog and sign up for the service.”

Their real break came when Mashable included the software in the article 9 Gmail Plugins to Revive Your Productivity, just one month after Bananatag launched. The number of the company’s registered users increased by 10 times as a direct result of this coverage.

Mashable then featured Bananatag in 7 Chrome Extensions to Make You More Efficient and the startup was recently listed in the Techvibes’ Top 100 Canadian Startup Index.

“Mashable was big for us,” Corey said. “That one post generated a huge increase in users and led to widespread global media coverage. The article was reblogged several times in Europe and the Middle East, leading to spikes of users in these areas.

“We were surprised by the media attention that we received. This is one of the most exciting parts of being in a startup. A strong marketing campaign is so important, but sometimes timing and a little luck can play a big role.”

The Bananatag team has been astonished by the rate at which the software has been downloaded and how much it is being used.

“Our targets have been blown out of the water,” said Corey. “Tracking daily emails is still a very new concept for many people. In a few years though, we believe people will look back on this and not be able to imagine sending un-tracked emails.”

The next step is to launch Bananatag for Teams. The Teams feature will allow managers to link all staff email accounts and access team-wide analytics for sent emails, opens and clicked links.

“Teams is going to be revolutionary for sales managers because it will allow them to see how their staff are performing, what sales methods are working and how their clients are interacting with their company,” said Corey.

Fiona Campbell is the Marketing Manager at Accelerate Okanagan.


One Comment »
  • Scott Pielsticker

    February 01, 2013 7:25 am

    It’s great to see startups making Gmail more productive and efficient. We recently launch ContactMonkey, a smart email tracking tool that delivers actionable insight for people frustrated with not knowing what happens after they click on the “send” button. ContactMonkey has two key features:
    an always-on sidebar that displays the most recent emails opened, and an information box for each email that show activity details such as location, time opened and number of opens.

    Scott Pielsticker
    ContactMonkey CEO

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