你以为Email 已经OUT了?其实OUT的是你!

全世界第一封电子邮件(Email,简称电邮)于1965年被研发,到了1978年电邮有所突破,开始构建系统;直至1991年搭上互联网的东风,电邮才开始被广泛使用。

尤其在商业用途上,所有人的名片从原本只有电话号码,都纷纷加上了个电邮地址,电邮也逐渐成为营销工具之一。

但是到了2000年以后,社交媒体陆续崛起到全盘盛开,于是很多人说“电邮过时了”,因为电邮的开启率偏低 !

若从全球第一封电邮算起,已经“56岁”的电邮好像也正迈向退休阶段。

随着社媒提供更快速、便捷的用户体验,使人们都把更多时间花在社媒;眼球在哪里,商机就在哪里,近几年面子书及谷歌广告更是渗透全球。

当大家都认为电邮“时日无多”时,有一家公司,靠着它的电邮营销系统服务,一年赚了8亿美元。

它,就是许多中小型企业都非常熟悉的MailChimp。

扭转人生的一句话

MailChimp的创办人之一Ben Chestnut,自小热爱汽车,修读工业设计的他,最初的梦想是成为一位汽车设计师。

但在实习时期却遇到一位前辈,一语道破他在汽车设计方面的天份不足,还建议他可以去注意一个叫“网页设计”的新兴玩意。就这么一句话,扭转了Ben后来的人生际遇。

毕业后,Ben在Cox 媒体集团工作,负责跟MP3 相关的项目。2000年科网泡沫爆发后,Ben被解雇并获得一笔遣散费。

2001年,机缘巧合下,Ben与另一位创办人Mark Armstrong设立了一家公司叫Rocket Science Group,后来Dan Kurzius加入,三人一起经营公司,业务是帮企业设计网页。

Dan曾当过唱片骑师(DJ)及房地产仲介商,前期事业发展都不太顺遂,直到后来加入Rocket Science Group。但这个三剑侠组合没有持续太久,Mark后来因个人理由而退出。

尽管Rocket Science Group的网页设计业务经营得不错、订单不断,但并未有很大突破。

Ben与Dan的业务发展路线途,都常跑在美国几个重大危机前面,包括从科网泡沫到911事件,再到次贷风暴,一次又一次遭遇冲击,然后又转型。Rocket Science Group最初瞄准技术公司,向他们推销网页设计的服务,后来又转向航空与旅游类公司,再后来又转瞄向房地产公司。

从网页设计到电邮营销

在经营Rocket Science Group时,不擅长做营销的Ben与Dan,其实并不太喜欢与大企业交涉,因为太多繁文缛节;反之,两人跟小企业客户的来往,反而更有共鸣。

由于有小企业客户询问关于电邮营销的服务,于是Ben与Dan把原本废置的电邮贺卡功能进行调整及升级,成为电邮营销系统

到了2007年,Ben发现,“电邮营销系统”这个副业,一直在默默提供稳定经常性收人的,发展潜力更大。

Ben与Dan的原生家庭都是经营小生意,所以两人都有共同的志向,就是协助更多小型企业,一步步做大!

在他们眼中,电邮是有效又低成本的营销渠道,可以让更多小型企业主受惠。

于是,两人决定转换跑道,专注在B2B电邮营销系统,成立MailChimp。

本来两人把公司名字命名为ChimpMail,但由于已经被他人注册了,所以唯有把两个字掉转过来,变成MailChimp。

MailChimp的标志,是取自之前在线贺卡服务中里的一只黑猩猩图案。

小企业的营销好助手

MailChimp以小型企业为核心服务对象,因为他们自己也是小型企业主,非常理解小型企业的痛点在哪里,进而更能设计出符合此市场需求的产品。

比如说,MailChimp先让用戶免费使用,用户可以随时随着需求转变而增添新功能,而且收费门槛比较低。对用户来说,MailChimp更像隔壁邻居,有莫名亲切感,总是提供更贴近需求的营销功能。

在搞懂了用户想要什么后,MailChimp的电邮营销服务愈发往好的方面发展。

2009年,MailChimp正式推出付费制,以免费增值(Freemium)形式推出后,用户人数迅速爆增,从原本的8万5000人,猛翻至45万人。

所谓免费增值模式指的是MailChimp先提供一个免费发电邮的服务,最多可单次发送给1999个电邮账户,一旦达到2000 收件人数量,就会开始付费。

到了2014年,使用MailChimp系统发出的电邮,每月平均超过100亿封,平均每天共有3亿封电邮发出。

2014年也是MailChimp名声大振的年份,因为该公司以30 万美元赞助了美国最火的真实犯罪类播客(Podcast)节目《Serial》。

截至2017年,MailChimp几乎 每天都有1万4000名新用户加入!据互联网资料,MailChimp总用户数量达到40亿人,活跃用户为1100万人。

从把自己定位为“小企业的营销好助手”,并且专注服务用户及满足需求,用户人数越变越多之际,MailChimp的生意也越做越大!

生存,是首要条件 

在Ben的理念里,由于公司从一开始经营都是小本生意,“如何生存下去”是最基本的经营守则,只有抱着这样的态度,经营者才会变得特别擅长赚钱。

也因为这个从早期就必须培养起来的技能,所以MailChimp一直都处于盈利状态。也因为这样的自负盈亏,使MailChimp一直都自食其力,从不依赖投资人的资金。

当他不屑要资金时,却有风险投资主动摸上门来,因为MailChimp 的竞争对手Constant Contact筹备上市,所以使MailChimp也引起注意。

但Ben却形容“完全被搞糊涂了”,风险投资希望MailChimp可以专注开发企业软体,因为这样会在更短时间内取得更高回报率!

这与两位创办人“服务小企业”的理念是背道而驰的,所以也拒绝了风险投资的献议。

截至2020年,MailChimp年度营业额达到8亿美元。

至今,该公司依然是未上市、自负盈亏但却一直处于盈利状态的科技公司,完全颠覆了硅谷科技企业的发展路线图。

据互联网资料,截至今年6月,Ben与Dan个人资产值各别达到30亿美元。

不加入风险投资圈子的玩法,MailChimp靠自己的实力建立电邮帝国,在一窝蜂社媒竞逐下,让电邮营销依然成为主要玩家!

MailChimp教会我们的事

  1. 电邮营销稳定且成长中:在美国,大部份小型企业在营销预算中,仍会拨出十份之一运用在电邮营销上。据估计,美国企业于 2017 年在电邮营销上花费28 亿美元。电邮不是崭新的事,但它并没有因为社媒的出现而被取代或者没落了,反而在历经56年以后,仍在稳定成长中 。
  2. 先免费后增值,让用户上瘾:与其把服务完全封锁保留给少数付费的人,MailChimp选择把产品公开让更多用户免费体验。当用户体验后又觉得有效果后,就自然而然愿意付费。
  3. 保持关注,化废为宝:从网页设计转型到电邮营销,靠的是创办人对市场趋势及用户反馈时刻保持关注。早期创建的在线贺卡系统失败了,却及时翻盘化废为宝,成为公司业务的新引擎。
  4. 以同理心服务:MailChimp以服务小型企业为核心,因为它们也是从小企业做起,更明白小企业主资源有限、却想把生意做大的困境。本着服务顾客的原则,当越来越多用户的生意做大,MailChimp的业务也同步一起做大。
  5. 坚持走符合自己理念的路:当MailChimp业务有起色之际,也有风险资本找上门,但是两位创办人深觉风险资本的作风,跟企业的核心价值并不符,所以选择继续以自己低调、缓慢但前进的步伐,一步步走出自己的康庄大道。

Just 15 days to go: the 2021/22 LaLiga Santander season inches closer and closer

The new Spanish football season kicks off on August 13th, with a host of thrilling and fascinating storylines from top to bottom of the table.

The wait for the new season of LaLiga Santander is almost over, with just a couple more weeks to go before the opening fixtures. The very first 2021/22 fixture in Spain’s top tier takes place on the night of Friday August 13th: Valencia vs Getafe, an encounter which has become a grudge match of sorts over the past few seasons, at 9pm CEST.

The opening night has produced some unforgettable moments in recent years. Who could forget Aritz Aduriz’s bicycle kick winner in stoppage time against FC Barcelona back in 2019? The stands were packed that night at San Mames, and there’s excitement across Spain and the world with fans set to return to Spanish stadiums for the new campaign.

A tantalising first fixture

Valencia vs Getafe is an explosive fixture to start the new season, with these two clubs having taken part in several fiery encounters in recent years. Those games were with José Bordalás as the Getafe coach, but he made the move to the coast to coach Los Che this summer and, given a quirk of the fixture list, will take on his former club in his first match with his new team. Getafe, meanwhile, have brought former boss Míchel back to their dugout, and have been very busy in the transfer market as the Azulones put together an exciting new squad.

Later on in the opening weekend, Real Madrid visit D. Alavés for an interesting Saturday night encounter. Champions Atlético de Madrid begin their title defence away at RC Celta on Sunday evening, while Barcelona get their campaign underway at home to Real Sociedad.

A summer of changes in the transfer market

As is the case every summer, LaLiga Santander clubs have turned to the transfer market to improve their squads. The coronavirus crisis has shaken up the market and Spanish clubs have acted responsibly in not forking out for players they can’t afford. Teams have still been able to get better through smart decisions, bargain buys, free transfers and creative loans, though.

One of the smart solutions was Sevilla’s swap with Tottenham, with the Andalusian club losing Bryan Gil but gaining Erik Lamela and a hefty fee in the bargain as they aim to take another step forward in 2021/22. Sevilla earned a record 77 points last year and will hope to form part of another four-team title race this term.

Defending champions Atlético de Madrid will, of course, aspire to defend their title and they have tweaked their squad as they aim to do so. Rodrigo de Paul was one of the best players at this summer’s Copa América with Argentina and will now bring his talents to LaLiga Santander. The new Atleti player is the most expensive signing by a Spanish club so far this summer and everyone at the Wanda Metropolitano is excited about what he can do.

As Barcelona and Real Madrid look to challenge Atleti, they have made some high-profile free agent signings. Memphis Depay has landed in Barcelona, scoring in his first friendly outing in a Barça shirt, as has the mercurial Sergio Agüero. The immensely talented David Alaba has also arrived at Real Madrid after leaving Bayern Munich and inherited the iconic number four shirt vacated by outgoing Los Blancos captain Sergio Ramos.

There have also been some big transfers in the striking department in LaLiga Santander, with Villarreal CF bringing in Boulaye Dia from Stade Reims, with Getafe signing Mexican prospect José Macías and with CA Osasuna making Croatian international and fan favourite Ante Budimir’s loan at the club permanent in addition to signing Kike García from Eibar. 

A full pre-season

The quality of football on show in LaLiga Santander in 2020/21 was tremendous, especially given that clubs hadn’t been able to enjoy the kind of pre-seasons they’re used to. The coronavirus lockdown bunched two seasons into each other, but there will have been a full 82 days between the final day of the last LaLiga Santander season and the first day of this new campaign.

Coaches have had a lengthy summer to work with their players and to fine tune little details. Several LaLiga Santander stars were away representing their countries this summer, but even most of those players have returned will multiple weeks to go before their first fixture of the new campaign.

Clubs have also organised pre-season friendlies this summer, with LaLiga Santander sides facing testing opposition such as Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan, Juventus and PSG. That means teams should be ready to hit the ground running from Matchday 1.

An all-new PUMA ball

With LaLiga Santander’s start just around the corner, the new footballs for the season have been presented. The primary white ball is called ACCELERATE, while the yellow and blue ADRENALINA match ball will be used in the most high-profile matches of the season.

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Villarreal rising star Yeremi Pino, the Europa League’s youngest ever champion

Yeremi ‘Yeremy’ Pino’s 2020/21 season was a rollercoaster. It started with a positive COVID-19 test, which saw him forced into isolation in the first month of the season, but the winger finished the campaign on a high by becoming the youngest ever winner of the Europa League. He lifted the huge trophy into the Gdańsk sky at the age of 18 years and 218 days, prising the long-standing record away from Robin van Persie.

Despite his youth, Yeremy was a key part of that Europa League run as Villarreal won their first ever major trophy, featuring in nine of the Yellow Submarine’s 14 matches. From coming off the bench to make his senior debut in a Europa League group game against Sivasspor to starting the final against Manchester United, the teenager had a European campaign to remember.

There was a goal in a match against Qarabağ, but Yeremy’s most important contribution came in the semi-final second leg away at Arsenal. Then, Samu Chukwueze suffered an injury just 30 minutes into the game and Unai Emery turned to Pino for what was going to be the most important hour of football of his life. He delivered. By breaking lines and keeping the ball, he helped relieve the pressure on Villarreal’s defence at decisive moments as they earned the goalless draw necessary to qualify for the final.

It’s fair to say that Yeremy became one of Emery’s most important players by the end of the 2020/21 campaign, even scoring against Real Madrid in the final LaLiga Santander match of the season. Had he not missed the start of that campaign with coronavirus, he could have become a starter even earlier.

Whether he starts or comes off the bench, Yeremy will always give every ounce of energy he has. His style of play is both urgent and smooth at the same time, with the winger even described as “a street footballer” by some of his former coaches. It was there that he first learned how to play, perfecting his craft on the streets of his native Las Palmas, in the Canary Islands, as a youngster.

After spending time in UD Las Palmas’ academy, Yeremy stood out at youth football tournaments and received various offers from top LaLiga Santander clubs to continue his footballing education in their schools. Villarreal’s proposal stood out and Pino moved to the mainland and the east coast club in 2017.

The attraction of Villarreal makes sense since the academy is one of the very best in Europe, with president Fernando Roig having identified the importance of developing homegrown talent from day one. “When Roig arrived at the club, the first thing he did was build a sporting complex as he was very clear in his mind that the base of the club had to be the academy,” methodology director Luis Arnau Pilar explained in an interview with LaLiga in 2021.

Yeremy was able to refine his skills at the club’s world-class facilities, reaching the point where a top coach like Emery could rely on him in huge knockout games. Such performances earned him minutes for Spain’s U21s in this summer’s European Under-21 Championship and a place on the 100-player list of nominees for this year’s prestigious Golden Boy award.

There is still more to come from Yeremy; he hasn’t reached his ceiling yet. For Emery and for all at Villarreal, the prospect of having the 18-year-old involved in first-team training from the very first round of the season is a tantalising one. He looks set to pick up where he left off and hit the ground running this season. Watch this space!

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