Startup Radius interviewed SendPulse company, which is a provider of the email, text (sms) and push marketing automation tool. SendPulse is the SaaS company that grew from 0 to 500,000 registered users in less than 2 years (just wow!). Learn more how they are different from MailChimp, what marketing methods they use and how SendPulse helps users to deliver more messages and increase the open rate dramatically.
Can you tell us about what you are working on? What is SendPulse?
SendPulse is a marketing automation service. You may setup the rules to send email, text and webpush messages depending on some triggers on your side. The main difference with MailChimp, GetResponse and other services is the number of communication channels. SendPulse is the only service where you can mix channels and reach your customers all possible ways.
Another important thing of SendPulse is AI system which maximizes open rate. We analyze subscribers behavior in the past and predict the best time and channel when to send next messages. Test of real customers show the average 45% open rate increase. And it’s crucial for ecommerce sites where each extra visitor from email marketing increase the total revenue.
Why are you building this? Was there a particular source of inspiration or big idea?
Before SendPulse we were in the internet marketing agency business and discovered that there’s still enough space in the email marketing industry in some niches. Most of our customers were internet stores and they wanted to increase their conversions. We started thinking about some automation and finally we made our own service SendPulse. Then started getting more and more customers. It’s the long story short why SendPulse exists.
How big you are – traffic, users, anything else?
Well, we have more than 500,000 registered accounts and about 10,000 paying users. I would like to say about our revenues, but it’s 6-digit MRR moving towards $1 mln.
Who are your main competitors, and how good/bad they are?
SendPulse works in matured very competitive email marketing industry. We have hundreds of competitors around the world (not counting more local one who are active in their own countries only). The largest competitors are MailChimp and Constant Contact who dominate in the SMB market. Such companies as Marketo or Exact Target are not direct competitors because they serve large account, we focus of the medium sized companies.
Most of competitors focus on the delivery rate and all claim 99.9%. In reality, deliverability problem is solved. All ESPs deliver most of email into Inbox. But nobody cares “openability” and that’s why we are successful in switching customers to SendPulse. We have proven stats that after switching to us they get more people actually reading their marketing newsletters. And that leads to the bigger revenue.
Who uses SendPulse? What are your client types?
However, our best clients are ecommerce sites who care about open rates because it’s real money. For example, for media companies open rate is less important. We focus on small and medium business.
Our target countries are USA, UK, Brazil, Russia and Turkey where we have local offices and run all marketing and sales activities, provide local support and accept preferred types of payments (that’s very important for emerging markets).
Were there any early ‘growth hacks’ or tactics that have contributed to your current success?
Our main growth hack is our referral traffic. We insert a small signature into each outgoing email for free account. And the more people use SendPulse, the more new customers see our brand and switch to us.
Quora seeding still works fine for us and we have a dedicated person whose only job is to monitor Quora and Reddit posts and quickly respond. That brings traffic and customers.
Free coupons and free large account also work well to get first customers. In my belief startups need usage first. Revenue will follow soon.
What were some of the biggest challenges while building the product early on and how did you solve them?
The biggest challenge is to switch customers from existing vendors. Because in our established industry you can not be 10 times better or 10 times cheaper, and there is not fire at the door, customers aver very reluctant in changing existing providers. So it’s the big deal to find a way how to position your product the proper way and make the switch faster. And yes, we are still working on making this process better and faster.
Do you have integrations with other products on the market? How important these integrations are to your business?
Integrations are crucial for us. For example, MailChimp has 700+ integrations. We have 20 times more, but work very actively. Top priority is CRM and eCommerce systems, then landing page services, CMS systems and so on.
To attract third party developers, we’ve launched the plugin developer program – medium.com/@SendPulse/looking-for-partners-for-the-extensions-development-34c9b49d1168. Here we pay either a fixed cost or a part of revenue.
If you could give a marketing advice to other companies, what could it be based on your experience?
Do as many experiments as possible. You never know what your customers think and how they may use your product. Make all possible integration with everything around, because you use recognisable name to draw attention to your new startup.
What are the top 5-10 products/services you use in your company (marketing, development, business) and why do you like them?
We are active users of Adwords, Redmine, Gitlab, Telegram Messenger, Semrush, Joomla. For some reasons we don’t use any third-party CRM but made it ourselves for our own needs.