This episode is part of our 2019 eCommerce MasterPlan Growth Series sponsored by Omnisend, the all-in-one marketing automation platform that empowers ecommerce marketers to boost sales with omnichannel tools.
Today we’re going SaaS – software as a service, that different stream of eCommerce I occasionally like to add to our podcast topics because it’s always good to take a look outside our own business model every now and again to find new ideas and inspiration.
My guest is Rytis Lauris, the CEO and co-founder of Omnisend, an eCommerce marketing automation service trusted by over 40,000 marketers. Last year they undertook a major roll of the dice to enable future growth – by rebranding the company.
Omnisend – marketing automation platform tailored for eCommerce.
About the Business
- Started in part as a digital marketing agency
- Focuses on eCommerce email marketing
- Emphasizes omnichannel marketing
- Data driven model
Before starting Omnisend, Rytis ran a digital marketing agency offering custom website development, Facebook ads and apps as well as doing email and digital marketing in general. During that time, some of his customers started eCommerce businesses, which is how Rytis learned the ins and outs of eCommerce marketing. The idea behind launching Omnisend was to bring a data driven marketing solution to small and medium sized eCommerce business.
Omnisend is data driven. It was the ability to track and measure results that made Rytis fall in love with eCommerce marketing in the first place. He jokes that even though attribution is a huge challenge for marketers, it is possible to track the data. The eCommerce niche was appealing to Rytis in part because every eCommerce business has a basic set of needs which have become more complicated in recent years. With so many channels, mapping eCommerce marketing pathways can be challenging for new and established businesses alike.
When the business launched, the market was much less crowded and Rytis built it up slowly. Initially, he continued serving clients in the digital marketing capacity but eventually transitioned to selling the Omnisend SaaS model exclusively.
Listen to learn how beta testing can be a great way to test your ideas.
Running Lean and Continually Testing
Rytis stresses that understanding your specific customers and their needs is the core of any business.
Being lean is crucial.
When rolling out new features, Omnisend launches new products as MVP, a basic beta version that allows the team to test and tweak before undergoing a full launch. Just like running a Kickstarter campaign, launching product with a beta model helps the team tweak it to best serve clients’ needs before pouring resources into it.
Before the business was launched as Omnisend, Rytus and his team were targeting small and mid-size businesses exclusively. Their platform was built on delivering a very easy to use email marketing tool. In fact, the key words they used most regularly were ‘easy’ and ‘use.’
Listen to learn when it might be a good idea to rebrand.
But some of the ways in which the business was structured and delivered caused limitations. Rytus saw that as their clients grew and became more sophisticated, they had to move to other platforms to better suit their needs. They also saw a big shift in the way people crossed channels. Ultimately, Rytus knew that the new vision of the business was to enable retail eCommerce customers to do omnichannel marketing that was effective and still easy to use. He emphasizes that it’s crucial to reach customers where they want to be reached and he wanted Omnisend to facilitate this. Rytus says they refocused on their ideal customers and aligned themselves with this fundamental shift which he predicts will be an essential component for their success over the next decade. But rebranding isn’t easy, there were days, Rytus admits, that were very hard.
If you are considering a name for a new business or toying with the idea of rebranding, Rytus offers some advice:
- It’s only worth it if you feel like your existing name is limiting your business.
- A name should reflect what your vision is.
- Incorporating words related to what your business does is important.
- Check to make sure you can find a domain.
- Find a name that is not registered as a trademark yet in the market you are doing business in (local, national, international etc.).
Rebranding and choosing a new name is a complex process, but implementing it is even more so. Rytus suggest to only change your name if you truly believe that your existing name is genuinely limiting your business. And there is no harm in testing your new name out.
Just like their other products, the Omnisend team used their existing customers to help select their final name. Renaming your company is a lot like migrating from one ecommerce platform to another, there are many moving parts and SEO is greatly impacted.
There is always legacy positioning, so it’s important to build on that. The challenge is to explain why and how the business has evolved and the rebrand has taken place. For Omnisend, finalizing the branding process took at least 6 months.
eCommerce Book Top Tip
- Ben Horowitz
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- Using SMS text messaging as a channel. While it has fallen out of popularity, the mobile phone is becoming a default tool, which makes it a great way to communicate with customers.
You can hear about all this on the podcast, for free – right now…
Tool Top Tip
Growth Top Tip
- Be passionate about what you’re doing and DO it. Try doing many different things. In regards to marketing, start doing omni-channel marketing earlier.