I don’t know about you, but I get a lot of email newsletters. And however many you get, I’d bet you don’t read half of them. Filter, delete, repeat.
While it’s not really too much of a hardship for me and thee, it’s a bit of a pain for the companies that spend time and money sending out their news only to have it sat lying unread in an inbox or deleted unopened.
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However, not only are people reading fewer and fewer newsletters, traditional methods of getting your message out there aren’t tightly knitted together with today’s social take on tech either. And it’s easier to miss them than ever with services like Gmail now specifically filtering newsletters out of your main inbox.
We got frustrated by email newsletters. Open rates are dropping and they still look like they did in 1995, and most of all they completely ignore the social networks of the people around you, the people in your organisation.
We think everyone around you has fully developed social networks, but when a company announces news they don’t really use those networks.
Launching today, the first version will let users create their own Nouncy on the homepage without creating an account or logging in, although you’ll need to create a free account if you want to actually publish it. Still, that’s not much of a hardship – Nouncy is free for now, and for the foreseeable future until the team has pinned down exactly who they want to target first-and-foremost.
The process of creating your Nouncy is easy, and achieved using a simple online editor – “inspired by Medium, but it’s maybe even simpler”, Gallé tells us. Then all you need to do is invite your work network and publish it. The idea is that spreading the Nouncy can happen directly via employees, across social channels and in email bulletins. So Nouncy doesn’t want to kill email notifications altogether, just the long boring ones that no one reads.
Instead of static emails, you get parallax backgrounds, full screen slideshows and a responsive Web design that scales to any browser or device.
The key idea is that for an announcement to have any kind of substantial effect, there needs to be a lot of buzz around it in a short space of time. The company hopes that by leveraging people’s existing relationships on social networks – and combining it with traditional marketing techniques like email – it will be able to achieve this.
Email is just one channel, there are a lot of channels that people consume news through these days, and to get relevant on those other channels – whether that’s LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter – you have to get a group of people to talk about it in a short period of time, and that’s our goal. Without knowing it, a lot of people have these valuable networks but don’t use [them].
To really get people talking, it has to look good, it has to have a good narrative and take people through the story, and then get a group of people to talk about it.
In a future update, a company will be able to share a Nouncy with its employees and allow them to schedule status updates for social networks, then when the Nouncy is published all the social networks are updated automatically – an internal Buffer-like feature for announcements, essentially. Presumably, those employees will get a say in whether they want to announce the news via their own personal social channels.
Gallé says that Nouncy could also help shine a light on ‘Dark Social’ – the spread of news through channels like Google Chat, Direct Messages on Twitter and things like LinkedIn messages – too. “That’s all social interaction that’s not visible from the outside,” he tells us.
For now, however, Nouncy is still in experimentation mode and open to seeing which use cases best fit the platform. For example, when quizzed over whether Nouncy lends itself to more image-heavy bulletins than, say, a detailed tech announcement Gallé said there are plans to test a text-oriented template, but also plans to launch a video platform aimed at musicians and DJs.
We’re testing two templates right now, they’re both pretty image heavy but we want to add a text-based template pretty soon, but the idea is we want to show the advantages of web pages over email… But we’re moving towards templates that are simpler too, on one side. On the other, we want to add full screen video templates and audio templates for DJs who want to announce their new live set or bands that want to announce their new single.
That’s future-gazing for now, though. As of today, Nouncy is in open beta and ready for business. Gallé expects it to be used for things like announcing new features, monthly deals or perhaps even for recruitment – the most interesting job candidates often come from existing employees’ networks. In a few months, he says Nouncy will examine the use cases and decide what it wants to be best at. It’s admirable that Nouncy is not choosing to monetize via a traditional press release model, which would be the easiest route right now, but could dictate its future course and development.
To get to this point, Nouncy started work in the summer of 2013 and set about running a small private beta. It was the feedback from this that led the company to focus on trying to leverage the social aspect of announcements. To date, while the company is just getting going, it has managed to secure €100,000 of pre-seed funding from Vitulum Ventures, Floris Rost van Tonningen and Maarten Beucker Andreae.
Nouncy isn’t occupying a unique space by any means. There are plenty of online flyer-type platforms (Smore, for example) and social impact tools like Thunderclap, but Gallé hopes that by bringing email newsletters into the next generation and combining tools like these, Nouncy will prove a valuable tool, whoever the target audience ends up being.
And, naturally, what more fitting a way is there for Nouncy to announce its public beta than by creating its own Nouncy.
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