Making Email Marketing More Personal
With Andy Mowat
Andy Mowat is on a mission to improve email, for everybody.
Andy is the CEO and Co-Founder of Gated – an easy, free service to help you reduce unsolicited email and support the nonprofit you love. Gated has been featured in TechCrunch, Protocol, PR Newswire, and Yahoo News. Gated was also listed prominently in Business Insider’s Most Promising Tech Startups of 2023. Gated, which is referred to as “noise-canceling headphones for email,” allows users to gatekeep their email inbox – by requiring senders to donate to their favorite nonprofit.
After beginning his career in Europe, speaking Czech and managing a finance team at Credit Suisse, Andy decided to dive into the world of email marketing. He built his career developing sales and marketing engines for leading technology companies like Upwork, Box, and Culture Amp. Today, Andy’s vision and expertise sets the tone for the entire Gated team – as they build a solution and a movement to fix email, for everyone.
Andy leads with a business brain, but sets his company apart with a heart for giving. He believes that Gated can change the world through the enduring power of email.
The inception of an idea
Andy Mowat has sent billions of emails. He admits to being a mass emailer – and causing a lot of pain. Andy and his team were observing a trend of lower and lower reply rates. People were burnt out, annoyed and overwhelmed by their spam-filled inboxes. Nothing felt personal anymore.
Andy was not just tired of being a spammer – he was sick of receiving spam, too. Tired of being part of the problem, Andy came up with a creative idea to stop the send. In a moment of inbox overwhelm, he shot out one more mass email. It said, “I don’t know you. But here’s my Venmo. If you spend ten cents and donate to my favorite nonprofit, I’ll guarantee that I’ll read your email.” It worked.
People donated ten cents and got through to him. But more often, people donated $5, $10 or even $20, and they weren’t upset about it. It was a social experiment gone right.
Andy had figured out that people needed a way to filter emails more effectively. Senders needed to take an action to get through to the recipient, proving that they were real people with a desire to connect. But the icing on top of the cake was the fact that they were giving back, making the world a more connected place and supporting causes people truly care about.
Changing behavior requires risk and curiosity
Andy is very adamant about the money going to charity. After all, he insists that the recipient keeping the money would “come across the wrong way”.
Asking senders politely to please support important causes creates just the right amount of social debt – requiring an action, creating space for connection and furthering the brand awareness of remarkable nonprofits. He credits this decision for the overwhelmingly positive response to Gated.
Not everyone is on board when they initially hear how Gated works. Andy shares that people often undergo a dramatic thought process when being asked for a donation – Disbelief, sometimes irritation, consideration, curiosity, and then genuine interest. Despite being asked for money, Andy finds that most recipients respond with excitement in the end. Most even end up signing up for Gated themselves.
Creative solutions for modern problems
One of the most important things about Gated? It works. Since founding the company, Andy has observed trends of behavior changing. Just as users were skeptical about Uber, DoorDash, Venmo and even Google, he believes that Gated will become a household name.
Gated increases reply rates. When replying, recipients are more thoughtful with their responses and more eager to connect. It’s a service that aims to help everybody – effectively fixing emails for both buyers and sellers.
“Our vision is to fundamentally rewire how marketing is done.”
“I believe email should be personal. It should be one-to-one. How do we create incentives for person-to-person communication? The idea is, if you send an email, you should want a reply.”
“I love helping. But in the past, I had always separated my business side from my giving side.”
“I honestly think Gated doesn’t work if we don’t have a nonprofit. If we’re like hey, pay me money to reach me – it just comes across wrong!”
“I started this to address the fundamental problem of digital noise, which is getting worse and worse. How do we solve this? And nonprofits became part of it.”
“This is a behavioral change model and it’s really interesting. There are a lot of really interesting behavior changes because of what we’re doing.”
“The only way to change the way the world behaves is to give it away for free to everybody.”
Links mentioned in this episode:
Sign up for Gated at https://www.gated.com/
Send Andy Mowat a personal email by donating to his favorite nonprofit! Connect with him at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a thoughtful response.
Send Andy a message on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/amowat/
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