We’re pretty partial to our email newsletter (they’re, let’s say, unique). But every once in a while, we stumble upon a really awesome and well done email campaign that we have to share. And that’s what we found this morning while rifling through our emails on the train.

August 21, 2012

Today I have a FreshBooks announcement to share with you. But first, a story almost 10 years in the making…

In January 2003 I was running a four person design agency. I was using Microsoft Word to create our firm’s invoices and I was pulling out my hair because Word simply wasn’t built to create good looking invoices efficiently or report on my business. One day I accidentally saved over an old invoice, and something in me snapped – I knew there had to be a better way. Over the next two weeks I coded up a solution for my clients, and eventually we turned that side project into what is now FreshBooks.

The road hasn’t been easy. It took over 16 months to bring a product to market. When we launched no one cared and 24 months after starting we had only 10 paying customers and revenues of $99 per month. We moved into my parents’ basement for 3.5 years. But despite all the evidence pointing to our failure, we carried on. Why? We loved our customers, our company and working together, and we’d discovered a passion to serve others.

Since those humble beginnings, over 5 million people have used FreshBooks to send and receive, print or pay invoices. Today FreshBooks has paying customers in over 120 countries. We are a rapidly growing 90 person company. We help everyone from the most fragile of businesses (many of them one person, first time owners) to the most vibrant businesses, collect billions of dollars. Today if we look at just North America alone, no one except QuickBooks Online has more online paying subscribers than FreshBooks, making FreshBooks the #1 cloud accounting specialist for small business owners. But wait, isn’t FreshBooks the leader in “online invoicing”? What’s “cloud accounting”?

Indeed, when we began FreshBooks was built around the concept of invoicing. But not everyone is aware that for the last 4 years, we’ve offered expense-tracking capabilities. Additionally, we offer a Profit and Loss statement and other “accounting” style reports, as well as the ability to track time and send estimates to customers. What’s been very interesting to us is that, over the last 24 months, you – our cherished customers – have started describing FreshBooks as your “accounting system”, instead of just what you use for billing.

So here’s the news: from this day forward, FreshBooks is Cloud Accounting. We’ve taken notice of what you are saying and we’re changing the way we talk about ourselves so it is more consistent with how you talk about FreshBooks. We’ve also taken notice of how your needs have changed. And while we have a culture of “show, not tell” at FreshBooks, I will share that our transition to “cloud” will deliver against some of your emerging needs and reinforce the “accounting” component of our evolution.

From a content marketing perspective, this is brilliant because it’s not really marketing – at least in the traditional sense. It’s just honest communication between a company and their customer. As a FreshBooks customer, this gives me insight into their company, brand and management – it also makes me want to stick around because it’s clear that their customers’ needs and concerns are a top priority.

So many companies fail to send out honest communication like this to their customers and it’s really refreshing to see a company doing it right. A hundred bucks says that FreshBooks will be around for a long time.


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