📂 How Basecamp launched a new email product

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Let's take a trip back in time...

It's June 2020, right in the middle of a global pandemic, and a bootstrapped software company launches a brand new email provider.

HEY by Basecamp.

twitter profile avatar
Jason Fried
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Twitter Logo
@jasonfried
Two years of work comes alive today. Couldn’t be more proud of our team. It wasn’t easy, but it was incredibly fun. And today we get to show the world what we’ve been working on. Email’s new heyday is here. HEY: hey.com
link visual
HEY
Email at its best, new from Basecamp.
hey.com
June 15th 2020
292
Retweets
2,654
Likes

They started by naming and shaming their enemy: Gmail. They really harp on the PRICE of free. You "pay" by giving up data, seeing ads, spying, and feature bloat designed to give everyone enough to hopefully not complain.

Here's an excerpt from their landing page:

hey.com

This is actually a part of the classic Basecamp playbook. They literally have a chapter in their book called Have an Enemy.

On Twitter, @DHH started heated debates on email privacy. And whether this was calculated or not, it drew a line in the sand with people rejoicing on one side and pissed off marketers and sales people on the other.

They named other enemies, too. Gmail, dirty privacy practices, and even tech darlings like Superhuman.

twitter profile avatar
DHH
Twitter Logo
Twitter Logo
@dhh
When we catch an email spy pixel in HEY, whether it's through an actual image, the CSS background-image trick, or with fake web font references, we call it out loud and clear. Like this: pic.twitter.com/tX2DsJnVLp
Video or Gif
twitter profile avatar
DHH
Twitter Logo
@dhh
Learned that some email spy-pixel pushers are hiding their bugs in CSS now. If you're working on email defense, be on the lookout for spy pixels in background-image. But have no fear, HEY is going to find, strip, and shame the senders all the same. hey.com
April 10th 2020
179
Retweets
1,273
Likes

One of my favorite pre-launch strategies they did was to collect signups by asking you to email them about your love/hate relationship with email. This has huge downstream benefits.

  • It gets you to make a memorable interaction with them.
  • They are collecting copywriting gold as it relates to introducing and agitating the problem pre-launch.
  • People are spoon-feeding them feature ideas.

Within just a few weeks of announcing HEY, over 100,000 people signed up (emailed their love/hate relationship with email).

—Corey

p.s. did you see that I launched my new course, Marketing Like A Media Company? Would love for you to check it out →

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