As Founder and Chief EyeMail Officer of EyeMail Inc., Lisa Jones is a digital innovator and disruptor for marketing communications since 2004, has developed multiple patent-pending technologies within the digital video-in-email marketing space. EyeMail enables full video (up to 60 seconds) to play automatically inside the email.
Under her visionary leadership, Lisa has elevated EyeMail Inc. to become an international brand through expansion outside the United States into Canada, Mexico, Pakistan, Africa, India and the UK.
Lisa has been able to propel EyeMail Inc. forward through collaborations with Fortune 100 brands such as Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, WarnerMedia, PepsiCo and Porsche North America. EyeMail has received multiple awards & honors, include a Stevie Award for ‘Innovator of Year’ and Delta Air Lines ‘Catalyst of the Year’ award for her impact to digital email strategy, recognized as 1 of 10 businesswomen to admire in 2021 and most recently featured in Forbes Magazine.
Lisa is considered a trailblazer for women in technology. As a result, she is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences. Lisa is also a recognized industry thought leader, having made the Thinkers360 Top 10 list in multiple categories.
Before EyeMail, Lisa began her career at NASA. Before founding EyeMail Inc., Lisa served in the Office of Supplier Diversity at AT&T.
Lisa is a board member of the Technology Association of Georgia Diversity and Inclusion and volunteers at the local chapter of the Women in Technology Association for the ‘Girls STEAM’ program.
A native to Alabama, Lisa has an MBA from Alabama A&M, advanced certification from the Tuck Business School at Dartmouth and is currently attending Harvard Business School.
Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- Video in Email
- Why Now is the Time
- Women Entrepreneurship/Tech
- Compassionate Leadership
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio brought to you by onpay Atlanta’s new standard in payroll. Now here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:24] Lee Kantor here, another episode of Atlanta Business Radio, and this is going to be a fun one. But before we get started, it’s important to recognize our sponsor on pay. Without them, we couldn’t be sharing these important stories today in Atlanta Business Radio, we have Lisa Jones and she is with Eyemail. Welcome, Lisa.
Lisa S. Jones: [00:00:43] Thank you, it’s a pleasure to be here.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:45] Well, I am excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us a little bit about email. How are you serving folks?
Lisa S. Jones: [00:00:51] So email is focused on we all know what it’s like to receive the the amount, the endless amount of emails in the email inbox. So the question becomes how do we all stand out from the clutter? So email is built on the premise that we believe that your messages deserve to be seen, heard and felt. And as such, we’ve developed a patent pending marketing technology that enables video up to a full 60 seconds to automatically play an email and mobile to increase engagement.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:30] And what was the genesis of the idea? How did you figure this out?
Lisa S. Jones: [00:01:36] Interestingly enough, when you think about life, sometimes things will happen that will redefine your landscape. And for me, I had a background working at NASA and then I transitioned into the telecommunications area as a corporate executive and in one day my my life changed. I’m originally from Alabama, and my older sister called me one morning at eight twenty four a.m. and had advised me that our mother had passed away at home, alone at the age of sixty one. And I remember the impact that that one communication had on me and my life forward, so and I have to tell this story briefly, only because it’s so important in understanding how things in your life impact you to move forward. But basically when I when I go to my mother’s services, it seems really shortly like it was seven minutes at a time. And I remember thinking to myself, You know, is this what life comes down to? Is seven minutes like your life should be celebrated so as people were going back to their cars? I made a commitment at that moment in time and I said to my mother and prayer, when I come back to Atlanta, I want to start a company that’s going to be inspiring and global.
Lisa S. Jones: [00:02:51] That makes an impact that creates value. And when I came back to Atlanta. I thought about how one communication had that impact on my life, and I said, well, maybe I’ll start a communications business. And I started researching, you know, like how do we communicate verbally, non-verbally and writing, what else do we do? Said, Email well, who do we email? We email internal external. What was fascinating to me was one click, you’re anywhere in the world. And then I was like, I wouldn’t have to have inventory. So I signed up for one hundred and fifty. Different brands. Fortune 500, you could name general brands, non-profits, I signed up for one hundred and fifty email list and what I figured out in the process is that all of them had some commonalities. I did not feel inspired. I did not feel special. They were delivering a hyperlink or a lot of text where I wanted to delete the email or static graphic or a three second GIF. And I said, Wow, what if email could have a personality? What if email could be brought to life? And with that, I started email.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:06] And so the the genesis of the idea kind of is that you were trying to get more emotion and more feeling into an email so they stand out so that a message can really be felt, not just seen.
Lisa S. Jones: [00:04:20] Exactly, exactly. And do we really even see traditional email, we’ll read it if necessary, but when we think about email, do we really scroll all the way down in our newsletter to read every single detail of that newsletter? I would say not. What would you say, Lee?
Lee Kantor: [00:04:36] No, I agree. I mean, I think that especially in today’s world, they’re trying to entice you with some sort of clickbait subject line that gets you to at least open it. And then from there, you know, all bets are off when it comes to getting you to actually consume or engage with the email.
Lisa S. Jones: [00:04:55] Exactly. And I just read a study recently that says our our attention span as humans is less than a goldfish. They say our attention spans are like eight seconds at the most, right. So it’s like you have to captivate our attention quick or we’re on to the next. And that’s the whole premise of email is saying. As soon as you open up the email in your inbox, which is now an email, the the video is going to automatically play, but it’s playing on mute. It’s playing on mute for a reason because you don’t want a disruption or an interruption in the course of your day when you’re viewing on your mobile or your inbox. So it plays on mute, but you’re talking about high definition up to 60 seconds where you’re able to engage your audience with your message, your brand message or your communication.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:49] Now, you know, saying that you want to do video and email, I’m sure that other people had thought video and email, that wasn’t the first time that sentence was uttered. How did you kind of develop a technology that allows that to happen in a way that the email providers aren’t kind of flagging it, or it’s not so cumbersome for the user that they have to download something? The technology part isn’t as simple as, Hey, let’s just throw video in there.
Lisa S. Jones: [00:06:16] You’re so on point, because that is exactly right and thinking about the whole premise of video and email. In our case, I’m the founder and chief email officer. I started this journey back in 2004. So we’ve had several years of trial and error and growing and evolving and adopting. We are part of Microsoft’s Mentor Protege program, part of that. Was being able in the Microsoft Innovation Center to work with senior architects on our technical roadmap. And so we discussed all of these issues, like what we’re discussing now, like should it automatically play, should it play on mute, but also deliverability me having a corporate background, I used to receive tons of communications from various sources external to look at their media kit or to look at their information, and everyone would attach these large files. And it used to drive me nuts, and I said, When know when I made the transition, I knew that the email experience had to be special. I knew that it needed to be a very small payload in the inbox. So and working with Microsoft, we were able to develop the technology that supports the compression. A customer can set us up to three hundred meg of a video at MP for video in size, and we’re able to encode and compress that down to under on average, 15 kilobytes in size. And we have a patent pending on that technology. So to answer your question, we’re able to deliver in the inbox and mobile. We’re built agnostic so that we play in the sandbox with all of the wonderful email service providers. So if it’s MailChimp, if it’s Salesforce.com, Cheetah Mail, all of the all of the supporting amazing third party systems, we’re able to perform seamlessly.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:16] Now talk about the shift from being involved in corporate to being an entrepreneur. Was that a difficult transition? Because a lot of folks, you know, have dreams of being an entrepreneur, but when they’re working in corporate or for an enterprise, it’s a totally different ecosystem with a support network that’s kind of built into the enterprise. Whereas an entrepreneur, sometimes you are on an island and people don’t really understand what you’re going through, and it’s hard to find support around you. So I guess teaming up with Microsoft probably helped in that regard, but talk about that transition a little.
Lisa S. Jones: [00:08:52] Yeah. So the transition from the corporate mindset, it’s a whole mindset to it as well and transitioning to an entrepreneur. So for me again, the fact that I started in 04 and then I transitioned by, let’s say, oh, nine. So you’re talking all of these years in between of me having to work the corporate in the corporate capacity, which I did an exceptional job there. But then in the evening at six pm, it’s like changing hats. And then I would go straight into email mode as the chief email officer, and I would stay up until 3:00 a.m. every morning, including weekends for years. So it requires a certain amount of. Commitment and focus just to stay true to your dream. And of course, I had several people even in my family say, Lisa, what are you doing? You’re going to leave this fabulous corporate job. You’re like, you’re nuts or this won’t work, or why would you add video to email? Why do we need that? We don’t need that. That’s dumb. So I had all of this negative energy around me, and what I’ve learned is that you have to as an entrepreneur or business owner individual, you have to remove yourself from negative clutter and you have to zone in on your dream and on your passion to focus.
Lisa S. Jones: [00:10:19] So while I was still in corporate and I was thinking about my transition, I was thinking about everything that I needed to have in place. And the number one thing that I needed was, do I believe that I can achieve this? Do I believe that one day I could I could have a corporate customer? Is that possible? I believe that. Do I believe that this product is the right product? Absolutely. We’re looking at videos on YouTube and all of these other mediums. Why would we not want to look at video in an email? I mean, to me, if you’re reading email, that’s like watching a black and white. Silent movie or something, you wouldn’t watch a silent movie today, you might for entertainment, but in general, you would not. So why should we expect that in our inbox? And it’s the whole concept of elevating the experience to engage, engage your audience in the inbox, and that’s something special about that.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:12] Now do you see email evolving to, like you said, more of a conversation rather than this kind of kind of antiquated text only or text driven communication? So do you see people using email as a way for me to just appear on video and have a, you know, a chat with somebody, with my video, with me as a human being saying, hey, rather than typing, Hey, I’m saying, hey, and I’m trying to engage human to human rather than text to reader.
Lisa S. Jones: [00:11:52] What I see. In the adoption of of email is the following email. Is here to stay. It’s not going anywhere, it’s like a it’s a business imperative, it’s a personal imperative, and it’s chosen as 81 by 80 one percent is the preferred channel of communication. So email is here to stay. From the email landscape, email is when you want to send out something where you want your audience to immediately engage with. Now, how does that show up? That could be a customer communication. Maybe it’s a product launch or sales communication and things of that magnitude because you’re looking to engage. So some of our clients, for example, are Porsche North America. So if they’re looking, for example, to invite you to a special travel experience event, it’s a personal way to do that. Or if you’ve test driven a vehicle, it’s a personal way to connect on that front or the communication on the event side. Maybe you’re having an event and you want to invite your audience. It’s a way to you could have executive leadership on that communication with a call to action, to the invitation or on the reverse side when the event has ended. Having that personal communication with a call to action to the to the survey on the employee engagement side, it could be regarding training because when you think about internal, when we think about internal, we have to keep our internal stakeholders and employees engaged because they don’t want to have to read all. I mean, they’re inundated with all of the work they have already, right? So now you have to think how, how will we keep them focused on our mission and our goal? And so I would say that email is focused on when there are key communications that you’re you’re seeking to communicate with your target audience. We just launched recently for Super Bowl pre and post communications to millions, and so it’s about that engagement factor. Or with Microsoft, we launch to the 40 million. It’s thinking about key communications, where you’re seeking to reach an audience to engage them immediately with your message.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:11] So it’s kind of adding jazz hands to somebody’s email marketing that they’re already doing.
Lisa S. Jones: [00:14:16] Ah, I like that jazz hands. I need to write that one down, actually. Yeah. And it’s like adding the sizzle. It’s adding the sizzle and it’s like an appetizer. So we get the question. Well, Lisa, can our email be two minutes or four minutes, etc.? And the answer to that is, and I know you should think of like your like an appetizer like short and sweet, but it delivers and it makes you want more. So it’s the idea of delivering up to the 60 seconds. And then when the person chooses to engage sound and take that next step, then you can have your full communication if you choose. It could go on forever if you like it to if if that was your choice. But yes, it’s like a short, appetizing and jazz hands.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:04] So now in the evolution of the product and service, how have you as a leader kind of grown? Is there any tips or advice you can give other leaders out there when you to build a team like you have to handle this? Kind of. Because I, as I understand you’re not truly like really the technology expert, but you were able to find and gather technology experts to help you. Can you talk about some advice for others that are kind of in your shoes to grow an enterprise like you have?
Lisa S. Jones: [00:15:37] Absolutely. In my journey when I started, of course, keeping in mind that I came from the corporate black background, I’m on the business side, but I manage technical resources in my career at NASA and in the telecom industry as well. I would say to to any entrepreneur, it’s being open to come out of your comfort zone and to know that you can do anything even if you don’t have a background in tech. I mean, how can I explain as an African-American female who has started a technology company and I’m from Alabama now, someone else might say, Well, how is that possible? How does all of that happen? It happens because I had a firm belief in myself and the idea that I could I could assemble a team. So it starts with that inner belief that I am enough and that you are enough and that you have a great idea. And then the next step step three would be, how am I going to get out of my comfort zone? Where am I going to find these key developers and support team that I need? So you have to be relentless in that you have to commit to that right as part of your DNA. And so with that, the search begins. In my case, I went through initially nine different teams before I found the team where there was the right fit, the right connection, where they even told me, Lisa, listen, we don’t know if we can help you with this project or this problem you’re trying to solve to help your customers or to help your upcoming customers. But we’re willing to give it a shot. So you got to find someone who’s on board with your mission, who believes in you and your vision that’s willing to to ride with you on that journey.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:22] And that’s one of the hardest thing I think for entrepreneurs is to find your people, the people who believe what you believe and they really are willing to emotionally and invest and invest with their time and energy. And that’s you’ve got to be selective. You’ve got to wait for your pitch there. You don’t want to force fit a wrong person in that mix.
Lisa S. Jones: [00:17:46] Exactly. It has to be a natural alignment and you can’t rush that mix. We, as entrepreneurs and business owners, we want everything to be immediate and to happen like yesterday. But you have to be patient because you don’t want to pull the trigger too quick and not have the right team or the right energy or the right solution, et cetera. So it’s like pacing yourself for the race. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. And you know, initially, to be honest with you, Lee. Up until about four years ago, I did not I used to not mention the fact that I started email in 2004, and the reason I didn’t mention it is because I personally at the time, I felt like a failure. I felt like, Wow, Lisa, you can’t get it right. Why have you not gotten it right? You can’t tell anybody you started in 04. It’s freaking the year now. And I have several mentors, some of which are at Harvard, where I currently attend Harvard Business School. And over the years I’ve met so many great people and they say, Lisa. It’s important for people to know your journey, to know that it takes time, but that’s OK because it’s all about a journey anyway, and we all define success to our own standards. So embrace the fact that you have been able to withstand all of those years and you’re still here, you’re still smiling and you’re still excelling in the game with all of these corporate brands that are early adopters and market leaders using your technology.
Lee Kantor: [00:19:20] So what’s next for you and what can we do to help? What do you need more of?
Lisa S. Jones: [00:19:27] Thank you for that wonderful question. What what I what I mail needs more of are more. Early adopters and market leaders. That are seeking to engage and connect with their audiences where they live the most in their email and in their mobile devices. We tend to naturally align with forward thinking, progressive brands and non-profits that are focused on that connection that understands the importance of inspiring, inspiring others to take action. I saw lead, for example, all the time. I’ll see in writing, Oh, we need to drive our customers to action. I disagree with that one statement because it should be. We should inspire. Others to take action, not to drive them, and so to answer your question, I would say it would be most helpful to meet market leaders, early adopters who would love to learn more about video and email technology, which is email. And that would be the most helpful thing to spread the word.
Lee Kantor: [00:20:43] And if somebody wants to learn more, what’s the website?
Lisa S. Jones: [00:20:47] To learn more about email, the website is, of course, W WW W email Inc.com and that is spelled e y e m, a i, l i and C I would also leave love for anyone who would love to have dialog regarding email or video and email. Feel free also to personally reach out to me on LinkedIn. I’m under Lisa S Jones as well.
Lee Kantor: [00:21:16] Good stuff. Well, congratulations on all the success and thank you so much for sharing your story today.
Lisa S. Jones: [00:21:22] Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure.
Lee Kantor: [00:21:25] Well, you’re doing important work and we appreciate you. Thank you. All right, this is Lee Kantor, we’ll see you next time on Atlanta Business Radio.
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