My name’s Arjun Saksena and I've worked in product management for over 12 years with companies like Adobe, Yahoo, Evernote, plus a few other startups.
People were constantly asking me about transitioning to product management. Offering personal, actionable advice quickly became a passion of mine.
I've been advising and teaching product management to folks for a while and a few months ago I decided to launch The Productify.
I work with leading-edge startups and take a real-life problem and work alongside a small group over a six week period to come up with a solution for whatever product challenge the company is facing. It's more application than theory. The whole concept is that you learn by solving an actual problem at an actual company.
There's nothing like this in the market. When I was teaching product management theory a lot of people came back to me and said they wanted to find a place where they can apply what they've learned, to learn by doing—currently there is no other solution like this.
A lot of people wanting to transition from different fields to product management need a place to gain confidence, to gain the skills they need, and that’s what my workshops offer.
Outreach made simpleWhen I started out I was using my own Gmail account, which was limited.
There are a lot of tools out there, but when I tried them out they weren't easy for me to use. I had never done email marketing before, and they made it seem complicated.
I hired a marketing consultant who recommended I look into Reply, so I signed up for the 14-day free trial.
Unlike the other tools, Reply seemed refreshingly simple. I got the hang of most of it in a few days. The support was really good, it wasn't confusing and it didn't have too many options up front.
It was just right for a person who was beginning something like myself. Autopilot HQ has too many options and concepts; I'm just trying to send an email, so why make it complicated? I like the fact that Reply caters to my persona, which is why it suits me for what I'm doing.
The in-app chat was very helpful and talked me through getting everything configured properly. From there it was easy to set up my campaigns.
I especially like the email quality check, which uses AI to analyze your email and work out your chances of getting a response, as well as giving you tip on how to improve. I try to get the best scores in every metric, though sometimes we do disagree!
Getting the word out with ReplyAs the owner of a small business, I have a lot of things to do. My priority is running these workshops, but an important part of my business is acquiring customers and getting the word out for my monthly workshops.
Reply makes the outreach easy for me, so it’s one less thing I have to worry about. I can set up a campaign weeks ahead of time and I don't have to worry about anything getting mixed up or the emails not being sent.
There are lots of templates to choose from, that help me get started easier, so I can focus on the exact tone versus having to copywrite the whole thing from scratch.
Importantly, it all shows up as going through my Gmail business email account, so the people who get my emails feel like I sent it to them directly. It doesn't send the messages out as HTML (which makes the emails look manufactured) which some of the other tools like Autopilot HQ do.
Reply is very straightforward, and the results look like I just wrote this casual, personal email. I now use it every two weeks to send out emails to thousands of prospects, informing them about the events, the workshops and meetups that I'm having. It helps me to drive engagement and acquisition to my sign up forms and workshops.
Reply also helps me to easily maintain my lists; it gives me an analysis of who's opted out and automatically takes them out of the list and any campaigns.
Finding new studentsI do most of my lead generation through LinkedIn. I connect with folks who I think fit the profile of a potential student in my workshop, someone that might benefit from what I’m offering. I reach out, I connect with them and that's how I get their emails.
For the content of emails, you want to tell a story that’s compelling. You’ve also got to be a little bit shameless when you’re trying to promote your own brand, which doesn't come naturally to most people. That's why I recommend using a good copywriter.
You need to know who you're talking to really well so that you can write the right copy. So I recommend personalizing your emails (like you can with Reply).
Initially, I tried group emails; I'd send the same message to 100 people saying “Hi everyone, this what I'm doing,” and I got very little response.
When I started individualizing the email, that made a big difference. The fact that it looks like it's written by me helps. I've had responses saying the copy has hit a personal note with them.
So you need to know who those people are and be a little shameless and promote yourself. If you're too modest, people ignore it. You want to cut through the clutter that’s in everybody's inbox and stand out.
Getting the resultsI’ve been getting great open rates, ranging from 30 to 90 percent depending on the campaign, with a click-through rate of 30 to 40 percent, resulting in a 2.5 percent sign up rate for the workshops.
As a result, in just the brief time since I started The Productify, I’ve been able to organize two cohorts and six monthly meetups, helping people with our workshops and setting them up for jobs in the product management space.
If you’d like to learn more about The Productify, you can find out more and join the waitlist for the next workshop here.
To find out how Reply can help you fill your sales funnel, check out all the features and sign up for your own 14-day trial.