Yet Another Mail Merge
Romain Vialard's Yet Another Mail Merge attracts over 100,000 monthly users and generates $70,000/mo — all through organic growth methods. Read how.
Discuss this interview or ask questions of your own for Romain.
I just have to say Thanks to Romain for this awesome tool. We used it a ton in the early stages of our startup. The free limits are super generous and you get full access to all features. The referral program is great as well, and allows you to expand your quota.
It's such an easy product to use, I highly recommend it. It's one of those products that is so useful you don't mind paying the premium price. It's definitely worth it.
Just discovered Form Publisher from this interview and the credibility Romain built with YAMM tells me Form Publisher is going to be great. We are already brainstorming ideas of how to use it in our startup. It will be able to help us test some features out quickly without having to build it ourselves.
Agreed! Thanks Romain. You've also helped us and always had amazing support!
This is awesome. The main reason that I use Streak is because of their mail merge feature. Mail merge is really killer. If Streak gets annoying, I will switch to YAMM!
Great info, thanks for sharing. Do you see any major changes to your market coming down the pipe?
The mail merge use case represents the main category among all add-ons available for Google Sheets. We have seen more and more competitors entering the market but we continue to attract more users faster than the others.
Real major changes can mostly come from Google, if they introduce new features in Gmail, decide to change their APIs,... But up till now, all changes coming from Google have mostly been positive for us :)
What is the best way to figure out what types of add-on's have demand?
Where should one start when trying to figure out what use cases (with high demand) could be solved with an add-on?
You can start by trying to solve some problems users are having with the Google Docs editors (documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms).
Example of that are add-ons like one to remove duplicates in a spreadsheet, or automatically generate a table of content in a document.
You can check Google Help forums to see which features people are asking for. Of course, those basic needs also have more chances to be answered by Google directly at some point.
Google spreadsheets are also very useful to import / export data from another source so you could also try to build a connector with another popular SaaS application.
Makes sense. Thank you!
one to remove duplicates in a spreadsheet
one to remove duplicates in a spreadsheet
That's been solved by Power Tools (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/power-tools/dofhceeoedodcaheeoacmadcpegkjobi?hl=en). It's another great add on that I recommend. We had a ton of customer data with random formatting and Power Tools really helped up fix it all up.
Wow! Super inspiring. I am just starting out and really love learning the genesis and lessons learnt from people like you. Thank you for sharing your story Romain.
Hey Romain, many thanks for sharing your story here on IH. Inspired by your "I have started a little expirement..." article from 2014 as well as other data connection add-ons, I developed a Sheets add-on with my team over the last months. After a couple of iterations with the indeed helpful Google docs review team, we just received the following message today:
"Your add-on has been reviewed and is now approved for public use! AppStoreMetrix will now appear in the Google Docs
Add-ons store. "
Our first target group is analysts working with mobile app reports. We have some early validation with a couple of dozen users from the private beta and will now iterate further as well as try to monetize obviously.
I totally agree with you that the add-on store has a lot of potential. It is not that crowded yet and offers such a great opportunity to spice up Google Docs with all kinds of services from the web. I have already some ideas... but first I need to concentrate on the just launched one. :)
Congrats! And good idea, I know a few people who will definitely be interested by this add-on :)
Great interview. What I don't understand is the difference between Gsuite Marketplace and the Add-on store. It seems YAMM is in both, and in the interview you talk about the Add-on store. Can you help?
The add-on stores only include solutions tightly integrated in the Google Docs editors UI (documents, spreadsheets, slides, forms), meaning we can display information in a dialog box or a sidebar within Google Sheets for example. Most add-ons aren't available as stand alone web apps, they only live in Google Docs editors.
People can also install add-ons without leaving the editor (eg: they open a spreadsheet, click on the add-on menu, select and install an add-on, then start to use it without ever opening a new window).
The add-on stores are easy to find and many users are installing add-ons, so it's a very good marketplace on which to launch a new product.
The GSuite Marketplace mostly list web apps compatible with Google authentication and somehow integrated in G Suite (meaning they can connect to Gmail or Google Drive, but it's not mandatory).
YAMM is available on both marketplaces (add-on store & GSuite Marketplace) because some admins of G Suite domains are forbidding their users to install add-ons by themselves. As my add-on is available on the G Suite Marketplace, an admin can forbid people to install add-ons but at the same time decide to install YAMM on his domain (making it either available to everyone or to a specific population on his domain).
You can see that the number of users for YAMM is different on both marketplaces:
I prefer to rely on the add-on store count, which is incremented / decremented every time a single user install / uninstall the add-on on his Google account.
The G Suite Marketplace count is different: when an admin install an app for all users on his domain, all those users will be added to the count. So, if an admin of a big EDU domain install YAMM for everyone, my number of users on the G Suite Marketplace will get a big jump, even if nobody on the domain ends up using.
It's possible with Apps Script to detect if an active user of your add-on has installed from the add-on store or got access via an installation from the G Suite Marketplace.
Nearly all our active users have installed via the add-on store, not the G Suite Marketplace, even if our number of users on the G Suite Marketplace is bigger.
Hi Romain, thank you for the detailed explanation. That makes sense.
I tried to google "g suite marketplace vs add-on store" (and variations), but got no sensible results.
Hey! Thanks for the interview.
How do you implement a paid plan for an extension like this? Does the extension ping your server to verify the subscription?
Yes. We are using Paypal to process paiements. Through its IPN service, Paypal can send subscription notifications to your web service so you can record the transaction in your database.
I've written an article containing a small code sample of that:
We are using the Firebase Realtime Database service from Google as our main database, where we are storing user profiles, including subscriptions.