We are always interested to learn about the different ways people are building sustainable, profitable businesses using no-code tools.
In this series we talk to founders and team members of companies to see how they have combined technologies together to create their own no-code stack. We bring you inspiration on how you can solve your own operations challenges, find new alternative tools and discover creative ways to combine code, low code and no-code tools to create your own business.
As often as we can, we’ll be sharing the no-code stack of a company or project, breaking it down into the component parts to show you behind the scenes and see how it’s all done!
This week we are chatting to Ajay Goel from GMass, an e-mail marketing tool for Gmail users.
Hey Ajay, welcome to the No-Code Stack series. Can you give us some background on GMass — what is it, what products / services do you offer and who is it for?
GMass is an email outreach tool that works inside your Gmail account. It provides mail merge functions and mass email and follow-up features. Technically it’s a Chrome extension, and that’s what allows it to work inside Gmail rather than in its own separate user interface.
So can you take us through the background to GMass — how did it start out, what was the first thing that was setup on the road to launching it?
GMass was actually a pivot from another Chrome extension I created for Gmail called Wordzen.
Wordzen was an email proofreading service. That product never got the traction I wanted, but some experimentation and research led me to create GMass out of Wordzen.
The first version of GMass actually looks a lot like the current version, but it feels entirely different. GMass is basically just a button that gets added to Gmail, so that button hasn’t changed much, but what the button can do has changed tremendously. Now you get full analytics on your email campaigns, you can send a sequence of follow-ups to your prospects, you can verify that all of your email addresses are valid before sending, and so much more.
Let's take a look at your current no-code stack for GMass today. Let’s break down the tools you use, what you use them for and how they all fit together.
Landing page / website builder
We use WordPress for both our landing page platform and our blog.
People keep telling me that Webflow is better, but the ecosystem of no-code tools that support and add functionality to WordPress feels limitless.
Want to add nicely-formatted HTML to a blog post? There’s a plugin for that. Want to have beautiful inset quotes? There’s a plugin for that. Want images to appear in a swipe-style gallery? There’s a plugin for that. By the way, these are all no-code WordPress plugins that we use.
Payment / billing platform
Like a lot of SaaS platforms, we use Stripe for our billing, although I’d love to carve out some time to research alternatives. They’re expensive!
I know a lot of people use Zapier to pull data from disparate systems together, but we are not using it internally for anything.
Soon, however, our customers will be able to use Zapier alongside GMass to get GMass to connect to thousands of other platforms.
Given that GMass is an email platform, we’re committed to using our own platform to send all of our emails to our customers.
It’s funny though, because we’re one of the few in our industry that have taken this approach. If you examine the email headers of messages sent from our competitors to their own customers, you’ll find that they’re using an email platform different from their own.
It’s shocking really. It would be like the owner of a pizzeria preferring someone else’s pizza to their own.
I use a combination of Apple Notes, Microsoft OneNote, Trello, and a lesser known Mac app called Day One to take notes, document our internal processes, and even monitor SEO changes to articles.
Project management tools
I’m old school when it comes to project management.
Besides a little bit of Trello, I take notes on where projects are, I write out steps that need to be done to complete a project, and then write “DONE” in parentheses next to each project item as they’re completed. I should really change this though!
CRM / customer records
We’ve developed a unique way to manage customer information and customer activity.
We log all events to a special Gmail account and use special Gmail labels. This may seem like an odd method until you realize that our entire software is built on top of Gmail, so this just gives us another way to benefit from it.
Anytime a staff member needs to know what a customer has been up to, they simply go to this special Gmail account and “search” for the customer’s email address. That pulls up a customer’s entire user profile and their activity history, including all prior campaigns sent via our service.
For our internal web analytics and SEO monitoring, we use Google Analytics and Ahrefs, two excellent no-code tools.
We use Zendesk as our support ticketing system.
It can be used as a completely no-code support platform, but I wanted some customizations with how tickets are submitted and routed to different support staff. So we did create a custom form and write a tiny bit of code using their API to get it to do what I wanted.
Are there any other tools that you use that are specific to the services that GMAss provides?
We use a bunch of email delivery platforms that we’ve integrated into GMass without needing code.
Most email delivery platforms let you integrate with them either with code, using their API, or without code, using an SMTP relay, so we’ve integrated with a bunch of platforms without code. That allows our users to send high-volume email campaigns that would normally exceed Gmail’s allowed limits.
Are there any parts of your business that you found required code snippets, low code, or custom coded tools or apps to support your business. Perhaps to deliver features that weren’t possible with no-code tools at the time?
There are tons. All of our content and publishing tools are no-code and some of our ancillary support tools are no-code too. However our payment platform and support system are low code.
Is there an integration, feature, or new no-code tool that could be created that would help to simplify tasks or reduce manual work within GMass?
Yes, one of the skills I teach all of my teammates is how to query our database system to pull customer and campaign information for technical support purposes. They all have to learn some SQL in order to do that.
It can make writing complex queries difficult when you aren’t a coder and don’t know how to look up what you need. A no-code way of pulling information from a database would be wonderful.
Thanks so much for sharing your no-code stack with us Ajay. We look forward to hearing more about GMass.
Keep a look out for our next No-Code Stack blog post coming soon!