In this week’s episode of Growth Interviews, we invite you to join our conversation with Sujan Patel, a data-driven marketer and entrepreneur, managing partner at Ramp Ventures, the creators of Mailshake, VoilaNorbert.com, rightinbox.com and more sales and marketing SaaS companies.
Sujan Patel has over 14 years of marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Salesforce, Mint, Intuit and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.
Between his consulting practice and his software companies, Sujan’s goal is to help entrepreneurs and marketers scale their businesses. He is an avid blogger and writes 6 blog posts a week for publications like Forbes, WSJ, Inc and Entrepreneur Magazine. As he describes himself, he is a hustler, a risk-taker and always pushing his limits “to be faster, better & stronger than he was yesterday, both professionally and personally”.
Welcome to Growth Interviews!
Welcome to Growth Interviews, the fun, stimulating and engaging series of conversations driven by digital business growth. Our mission is to provide valuable insights from the eCommerce arena, and each episode is a fascinating quest into the best-kept business secrets and money-making strategies of an insightful world-class expert.
In today’s episode, Simo Ahava has shared with us his insights on the high opportunities this year brings upon brand building, the power of using the basics to your advantage and not just jumping on the bandwagon and hoping for the best, e-commerce, customer retention and everyone’s favorite topic, machine learning.
Here are the biggest takeaways:
- How to start buying, growing and selling companies – 01:53
- E-commerce growth ideas and changes for 2020 – 04:13
- A duo pack: customer retention and conversion – 08:13
- A marketer’s best friend: machine learning and AI – 13:10
How to start buying, growing and selling companies
After creating his first website and discovering SEO with the help of his cousin, Neil Patel, Sujan began working for the Single Grain digital agency, helping numerous SaaS companies along the way and getting to understand this type of companies better. Soon after his first company sale, he started building Mailshake from the ground up, fueled by his desire to be an amazing entrepreneur and digital marketing expert who knew that investment takes time to bear fruit but it is invaluable.
The next step found him buying and growing companies, a process that involved making all kinds of mistakes an entrepreneur could think of. However, there wouldn’t be growth without falling a bit, right? Therefore, after learning from his mistakes along with his partners, Sujan managed to run SaaS companies incomparably better in time and now his objective focuses on buying one and two million dollar companies.
E-commerce growth ideas and changes for 2020
2020 is the perfect time to start working on building your brand. “Build up sustainable growth channels such as content, SEO, a community engaging with your customers, trying to have that relationship virtually, get them engaged, get them sharing content on the web.”
Sujan mentioned that the focus is on mobile and social media, most definitely. From the social media pool, he chose to speak about Instagram and its ability to help you leverage not only the organic posts, sharing and engagement but also the paid part. The explanation here revolves around the huge amount of time people spend on these kinds of platforms and never leaving while going through a whole checkout flow.
“There are always ways to kind of build a brand. Think about how you can build the brand so that you never have to do marketing. I think the best marketing is when you do something so well, you don’t have to do the marketing. You have to work for it.”
Asking Sujan what bothers him most in today’s e-commerce industry, he mentioned the addiction to using influencers “to launch their products and just banking on that as the core marketing. Look, it is a great strategy but like every marketing strategy tactic ever, it will die. Everything goes to the graveyard at some point and then sometimes it comes back.”
Although influencers, big or small, can have an impact maybe higher than expected, what is important here to note is the use of the basic tactics marketing has to offer: tested SEO, PPC, old fashioned email marketing, reducing friction and conversion mobile optimization. “Don’t forget about the basics because you can get Kim Kardashian to promote your product”, Sujan jokes.
A duo pack: customer retention and conversion
“Coming from the SaaS world, retention is the most important factor of a business, bigger than marketing because you can actually get net negative churn but people pay more people spending more money with you than losing. But in e-commerce, when you apply that, it’s really focusing on how do you get repeat business. How do you get that? Again, build that community.”
The first step in building a customer community implies creating the lifecycle marketing from your email list. People engage with your newsletter, download a coupon and share their experience over the course of maybe one year. The key is to consider what to do in order to keep people engaged time and time again with your brand, more than creating repeat purchases. What is important is to get the customer to think about the story and the brand rather than the purchased product.
Speaking about the follow up after buying an e-commerce business, the first thing mentioned by Sujan was website conversion. By using tools such as Omniconvert, he should be able to better understand the intentions of users spending their time on the website, how close they are to purchase, how to help them engage better with the emails they receive from the company.
“We’ve done probably about a dozen or so implementations of just some form of marketing or email marketing for an e-commerce site at Web Profits, our agency. What I’ve found in almost all the cases is that getting them an email and then dripping them to become a customer converts at a higher net rate than trying to get them to become a customer.”
The key point is to keep “dripping people with stuff”, remarket them over platforms such as Facebook by creating a custom audience, for instance, but, in Sujan’s opinion, focusing email on lifecycle marketing will help the brand, the community and engagement more than just a one-time sale.
A marketer’s best friend: machine learning and AI
Is has become the question of the day to find out how experts in the field feel about the power of machine learning and AI. Does it help marketers or will it steal away their jobs?
Sujan Patel is of the strong opinion that machine learning is going to become a marketer’s best friend. How so? Although it is not 100% able to “do the full job”, as many people claim, it can surely help marketers perform their job a lot better and make the proper decisions. This could range from choosing the best form of copy to how to customize the user experience by looking through a large amount of data to analyze trends and the direction towards where the company should be heading.
“[Machine learning] is not going to tell you where to go but it could tell you where things look like they’re going right now.”
In case you were wondering how to successfully buy, build and sell companies, here is your answer. Sujan Patel is a man of challenge and success, learning from his past mistakes and always searching for the next best mountain to conquer. This interview was a lesson to be learned and put in practice for the upcoming months, where brand building is an opportunity not to be missed.
We hope you enjoyed our interview with Sujan Patel!
For more valuable insights, make sure you come back to check out our next Growth Interviews as well.
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