In a marketplace that is highly competitive in nature, Sender.net (sender.net) was able to become an almost overnight success in the email marketing industry. Since its founding in 2012, Sender.net has gained more than 4,200 business accounts. That number continues to grow each month. Among the many keys to Sender.net's success is excellent customer service and a smart team of marketing and Internet experts.
Rimantas Griguola, Sender.net Business Development Executive
Sender.net's Business Development Executive, Rimantas Griguola, took the time to share some thoughts about how Sender.net became an overnight success. We also asked for a few tips to help our readers take their businesses to the next level.
Griguola started his career as a sales manager in a wholesale flower business. “Yes, you heard me right,” he said. “I was selling flowers for professional florists. Now, when I am working with digital products, highly related with digital marketing both within Sender.net brand and for our users, it is funny to remember that I had to learn over a few thousand names of different flowers.”
After five years in the wholesale flower business, Griguola moved to the startup industry. He became one of the salespeople in a seed-investment fund. This provided some solid experience with startups and new product development. He learned the best ways to introduce new products to the market.
Eventually, he ended up at Sender.net. Griguola is quite humble and thankful for the opportunities he has had over the years. “I feel superbly lucky because destiny gave me such opportunities.”
From Sales to Email Marketing
Before he entered the email marketing industry, Griguola was active in sales for over eight years. During the last two years of that time, he was working directly with B2B SaaS product. One thing that active sales taught him was that the biggest struggle was scaling.
Even though I had made great deals with the value exceeding 5 zeros zone in Euros, but I had a limitation of a couple of deals per month. As a salesperson you just aren’t able to handle more prospects at the same time. My initial idea was to look for a solution to scale it up without scaling the team, rather than automating processes.
Email marketing was one of the first tools he and the team turned to – in order to qualify the prospects to leads and find potential clients. He quickly learned that you could almost overnight schedule around 100 demo calls by sending about 1,000 emails with only a couple of clicks of a mouse.
“That simplicity hooked me. We used to have hundreds and hundreds of cold calls, which takes copious amounts of time, effort, patience, and training.”
That type of grueling work was actually quite costly because of the time involved. “And now, boom! Overnight results. It was amazing, because it used to take a few weeks or even months with a team of five people cold calling.”
Of course, Griguola points out that it did take time and some investment to set the email marketing up properly. But, he points out that once you see some results and do some basic math, you understand the power of using email marketing.
The Early Days of Sender.net
Sender.net started as a simple tool to meet the needs of clients. “Our founder used to work as a coder and a website creator and, after getting loads of same requests, he decided to create a tool that would fit his clients’ needs.”
Other solutions on the market were either not affordable or way too complicated. At the very beginning in 2012, Sender.net was a simple tool with only a few buttons, but had a powerful back-end. All of the new features and a more intuitive design came after the requests of the first few clients.
Griguola added, “That’s why the tool is so simple and user-friendly, yet retaining tools needed for effective email marketing – the communication between users and our developers.”
Over the next few years, Sender.net became one of the biggest software vendors in the local market mainly using the word-of-mouth.
In 2016, they decided that the local market had already been saturated and wasn't large enough for further growth. Sender.net decided to go global.
This was a game changer. For example, over the last year, we doubled the number of Sender.net users. We are still not one of the big players in the global market, but Sender.net never stops without a fight. It's just a matter of time and effort :)
The company is headquartered in Lithuania, Northern Europe and operates from there. However, Griguola strongly believes that the Internet is borderless. They serve clients from all over the world.
About 30% of their new users come from the U.S.A, a substantial number from Canada, South and Central America, South East Asia, Australia, as well as some from the Middle East and African countries.
“I believe that only humans create borders, not the Internet or technical things. Of course, there are sometimes struggles with communication and regulations. However, since most of our users know at least basic English, everything is possible and works out.”
Sender.net Focuses on Customers and Customers Make Them a Success
The number of businesses using Sender.net continues to grow. While the number was around 4,200 in September, Griguola points out that the number increases almost daily, and he looks forward to seeing those numbers rise consistently. “The growth cheers me up every morning when I come to the office.”
He credits this growth to what he calls a small secret that is a game changer in the email marketing industry.
The most important distinction among email marketing software is that Sender.net has its main focus on customers and users! Love your users and take a good care of them, and they will definitely love you back. In our case, we have a competitive advantage – the experience in the fields our customers are now from. So we do understand what they feel, what they're looking for, what's important to them, because we've been there ourselves.
The company is always open to feedback, though, and they keep their eyes and ears open. The company philosophy of focusing on the customer is seen in every part of the business, from the easy-to-use interface, to their helpful support, to reasonable pricing.
It's an ongoing customer first model.
Customer Focused Features
Speaking of features aimed at making the lives of business owners easier, the software has a heatmap feature that can help businesses improve their email marketing campaigns over time. Knowing where users click can be vital to increasing conversions from your newsletter.
Griguola shares his experience of how business owners typically build their marketing and communication strategies. They read about certain channels or keyword phrases working and try to effectively copy these methods. “The mistake is that the one-size-fits-all rule isn't always true. It's the same with call to action (CTA) buttons.”
With the Sender.net heatmap feature, the business owner gets an exact overview of which buttons were clicked the most and which were clicked the least. He shared a case study that illustrates this point nicely.
Just because you got X number of visitors to your site does not necessarily mean that they all came prepared to buy. For example, I remember one case study where our clients were asking why they got X number of clicks, but close to zero new sign-ups. Once I looked into their campaign Click Heatmap, there were obvious signs that people were clicking not on the main call-to-action, but on the header logo and company name. This makes you come to an obvious conclusion that recipients that got this email did not know the company at all, they did not recognize the logo.
We decided to first of all introduce the company and only then ask for sign-ups – the results increased dramatically. This example illustrates well how important it is to track certain results and to have the focus not only on “how many” but also “why.” The heatmap feature gives you exact answers.
Another great example would be a certain travel agency. In one newsletter, they added several offers with next possible destinations. From the heatmap, you can see which of the destinations performs the best – seaside resorts with SPAs or Mountain Hiking holidays. Using the feature, they were able increase their sales by offering subscribers what they want the most. Wonderful tool!
Other features of Sender.net include the ability to grow your audience through customized subscription forms, segmenting your subscribers, and CMS integration with WordPress and Magento (this list is expanding).
The platform has a simple drag and drop editor so you can create stunning newsletters without any HTML knowledge at all. One really unique feature is that they also send push notifications to subscribers, allowing businesses to engage and re-engage with customers.
Sender.net Package Details
No Sender.net Branding
Free for up to 2,500 subscribers, 15,000 emails.
€9/mo for up to 5,000 subscribers, 60,000 emails per month
€30 send up to 10,000 emails.
Advice for Customers
I asked about a recent post on the Sender.net blog that talked about the dangers of buying subscriber lists. Griguola shared that buying subscribers to build your list is a sensitive topic these days. There have been some recent EU regulations and laws on privacy.
“That's why we decided to start speaking out about buying the lists,” he shared. “First, it is illegal in the majority of the world. Second, if you're sending to people who don't know you and you don't know them, you're basically spamming.” Griguola compares it to standing in the middle of a New York street and shouting loudly, trying to market his company that builds websites. “On one hand, I'd probably be heard by thousands of people walking around. But, on the other hand, does anybody care? Probably not. You're just making noise, which is irritating to most people.”
He points out that people whose information was purchased are not looking for your services, aren't interested in your products and likely don't even need them.
“Wouldn't it be more effective to have a 1-on-1 conversation with only let's say 100 people, instead of shouting at a 10,000 people audience, but none of them care?”
Griguola recommends having a conversation with your customers, finding their needs, and trying to fulfill them. He points out that if you're giving a customer what he is asking for, he will pay you, leave a tip, and maybe even recommend you to a friend.
Nowadays, there are so many scammers who sell non-valid databases, which means that you are throwing your money into the toilet. Even if they say you'll get let's say 50,000 email addresses, but out of them only 1-5% are genuine people that read their inbox. Furthermore, these people do not care about any of your offers, only get annoyed and associate your brand with unwanted emails. So why should you waste your time and money?”
He advises investing your money instead into proper email marketing software or taking some online training. He points out that you'll get much better results in the long run that by buying email lists and spamming them.
Advice for Business Owners
I always like to ask successful entrepreneurs about just what drives their success and what advice they'd offer to other business owners. Griguola was gracious enough to share some tips. One of the keys to Sender.net's success is its strong customer service model. Clients trust the brand and connect with them, making them loyal to the service.
Griguola pointed out that they ensure the quality of their service is the absolute best it would possibly be, since most of their growth is organic and inbound. They also do occasionally ask customers to leave a review and they ask for feedback so they can improve.
One unique thing they do is to teach users about best practices and offer case studies. “If you teach a new user how to deal with email marketing, they will begin to trust the brand and the people who are behind it. Which, once again, allows the word to spread and in the long term really is the most effective way to get the word out.”
Team Work Makes the Dream Work
They also have a strong company culture. This is one of the most important things they do as a company that allows them to work together to provide the best possible service to customers. If there are any misunderstandings within the team, Grigola points out, that it would be hard for the team to create anything sustainable and reliable.
Right now, the team is made up of only less than 10 people. They all work together in an open-space office, which allows free, non-formal communication. This also provides an opportunity to discuss common interests and to joke around together.
“We spend more time together with the team than with our families. So, in the long run, all of us colleagues have become best friends. After that, no stand-up meetings, official meetings, or reports are needed. We all know our responsibilities and duties, as well as each other's abilities, strengths and weaknesses. In my opinion, it's important to keep all communication as informal as possible. This allows everyone to feel free and open to sharing ideas.”
What I Learned
I enjoyed chatting with Rimantas Griguola of Sender.net. His tips about really focusing on building a team hit home for me as I've started to add a few key players to my own small business dealings to help me grow my business. I feel as though I learned something new, which is always exciting.
Here are the key things I picked up from our talk:
Email marketing is so much more than just building a giant list. The quality of the list is equally important.
You can learn how to send better emails over time by studying heatmaps and seeing where users are clicking and aren't clicking.
Customer service is the key to keeping customers and getting some word-of-mouth marketing going.
I was reminded that the Internet truly is a very global economy. You can do business with people all around the blog, which is exciting and gives you an opportunity to truly expand your business as much as you want.
About Lori Soard
Lori Soard has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 1996. She has a bachelor's in English Education and a PhD in Journalism. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines, online and she's had several books published. Since 1997, she has worked as a web designer and promoter for authors and small businesses. She even worked for a short time ranking websites for a popular search engine and studying in-depth SEO tactics for a number of clients. She enjoys hearing from her readers.