Once a place reserved for posting shameless selfies, Instagram has rapidly shifted over the last few years to become the go-to place for brands to promote their products. Over five million global businesses look to Instagram to drive their product, with a fifth of them using paid advertisements on the platform to help spread their content.
Harnessing the growth potential Instagram holds for brands is Postie, an online marketing tool which integrates a brand’s Instagram content into email templates in a bid to create appealing EDMs.
Postie’s algorithm detects the ‘best’ content in a brand’s Instagram feed based on factors such as likes and comments, before automatically spacing it out across an email. The platform is the first product developed by Astronaut Lab, a startup which focuses on imagining and developing products for different markets.
The startup was founded by Peter Davis, who previously worked in the digital marketing space and was attracted to building his own startup after having helped build influence.co, a platform focused on connecting marketing ‘influencers’ to brands and agencies.
“I knew I wanted to start something in the tech space. Astronaut Lab is the studio through which we have a talented team of people collaborating around developing ideas into products that we can take to market, and then kill or spin-up based on the numbers and the numbers alone,” Davis explained.
Astronaut Lab’s first product, Postie serves as a conversion tool for brands who have posted content to Instagram and are looking to draw through clicks to their website, while also serving as an extra avenue through which brands can put their Instagram content in the face of customers who may not be social followers, but email subscribers.
“With Instagram’s reach algorithm, now only 20/25 percent of followers are seeing a brand’s content,” said Davis.
“Obviously Instagram also doesn’t drive direct traffic from posts, so with Postie we’re saying, for people who have seen your content already, this is the conversion tool, and for people who haven’t yet seen it, this is your second chance to get your content out in front of your customers.”
For a customer sifting through piles of content-heavy daily emails in their inbox, Davis added that the picture-esque, aesthetic nature of Postie email offers them a “low touch”, easily readable alternative.
“With Postie’s format, it doesn’t ask much of the consumer; here’s our best snaps, check them out and click if there’s something that grabs you,” he said.
Beginning development of Postie last year, key to the product’s identity was automation, which would serve as a way to greatly reduce the amount of time brands spend on putting together an EDM filled with Instagram content at the end of a busy day.
For many brands, posting content to Instagram alone can be a protracted task, involving delicate lighting setups, image editing and multiple takes to get the right shot.
“Brands put a lot of time and effort into making the output as appealing as possible, and continue to build connections and communities through [Instagram],” said Davis.
As such, the startup is targeting brands that are “time poor” and cannot spare the time requirement to organise regular email content using traditional marketing platforms. Currently, Postie serves kids accessory brands, restaurants, hairdressers and (completely unexpectedly) fashion brands.
It’s currently free for a brand to sign up to the platform, as Davis explained the business is in the process of building up a client base to discover what features they’d like to see in a premium model, and then introduce the paid version.
“Once we’ve worked this out and built it, we’ll likely have monthly charge to access pro features that scales based on database size,” he said.
Once signed up a brand connects their Instagram account, uploads their database of images, chooses a design template, then schedules when they want their EDMs sent. Postie then integrates the most relevant and recent Instagram content into the template two days before it’s scheduled to send, allowing the user a chance to make manual changes if they choose.
A brand can manually add in hyperlinks to their respective web pages, and can also move images around the template and add any necessary copywriting.
“They’re typically spending 15 minutes on editing their campaigns and then that’s it,” said Davis.
“[Meanwhile] we’re hearing from a lot of brands that they’re spending at least five hours on their Mailchimp campaigns, and it’s just tough to actually find the time to do it when you need to work out what you’re going to say, write it, find or create the images and then build it.”
Having bootstrapped establishing Astronaut Lab and Postie’s development, Davis said the business will aim to get 5,000 users from a range of industries utilising Postie on a regular basis as it works towards its paid model.