Bootstrapping Business | Listening to Customers | Email List Building – Rytis Lauris EP 64

“If you’re solving problems larger than you charge for your service, someone’s going to pay.”

“It took us two years to understand what value we’re actually creating for our customers and for what our customers are willing to pay.”

“During the Coronavirus situation we’ve seen the trend that consumers are more willing to buy from online brands they already know.”

How to Monetize on Consumer Pain Points to Fund Your Business

Does the idea of relying on your customers to fund your business seem appealing than relying on investors? This method has existed for a while now, but it is not widely used for it is deemed risky.

In this episode of Page One Podcast, Luke Peters speaks with Rytis Lauris about his digital marketing company and how they’ve monetized their customer’s pain points. Rytis is the founder and CEO of Omnisend, a powerful marketing platform that allows brands to do way more than send email blasts. He failed on his first two businesses but then learned to use brutal time prioritization and management in both professional and personal to help manage his international company and turn it into a leading marketing automation platform.

Listen in to learn how you can convert your site’s visitor’s into subscribers and eventually to paying customers. You will also learn some tips on how to perfectly manage your professional time while finding personal time to enrich your mind.

Key Takeaways:

  • The idea of relying on customer funding rather than investor funding.
  • How to convert your site’s visitors into subscribers and then converting them into buying customers eventually.
  • The golden tips on how to personally and professionally manage your time as a leader.

Episode Timeline:

  • [3:52] Rytis defines Omnisend as a retention marketing platform for different channels to communicate with the existing audience.
  • [6:47] The positive and negative effects of Coronavirus on online businesses.
  • [7:48] Rytis describes the Omnisend team, the period they’ve been in business, and working semi-remote before Coronavirus.  
  • [10:00] The tools they use to process data and the methodology of using OKRs to set aspirational goals and objectives for the team.
  • [14:38] How to focus on customers and rely on them to fund your business by monetizing on their pain points rather than relying on investors.
  • [17:43] The strategy of marketing at the B to C business level and the eCommerce platform Rytis would recommend.
  • [21:34] Why you don’t need to hire in-house marketing or eCommerce expert.
  • [23:41] How to build a subscriber’s list before converting them into buying customers.
  • [27:57] Rytis shares three ways that he uses to manage both his professional and personal time.
  • [31:10] He talks about his reading habits and some professional books recommendations.

Relevant Links:

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Page One podcast, a podcast featuring a variety of guests and thought leaders on topics ranging from digital marketing, sales channel strategies, influencer marketing, best in class product launches, and all the details about how to accelerate sales.

Speaker 1: Now, here’s your host, Luke Peters.

Luke Peters: Thanks for joining us on the Page One podcast. I’m your host, Luke Peters of Newer Appliances and Retail Band Digital Strategy Agency. We’re now in a coronavirus world and I know it’s on everyone’s mind so I’m going to adapt the interviews and ensure that you the listeners are getting the most out of this podcast. You can expect us to get right to the point and provide valuable business insights and even a few questions around COVID-19.

Luke Peters: Before we get started, business owners. How are your digital sales performing? Hopefully well in this environment if you’re online. If not, do you wish you had someone there to create a custom strategic plan to help you grow your online sales and show you how to execute it with the team you have? THat’s what we do at Retail Band. If you want to learn more, find more at retailband.com.

Luke Peters: In this episode, you’re going to hear from Rytis Lauris on how he missed the mark on his first two startups before succeeding on his third business, Omnisend. Omnisend is a powerful marketing automation platform that allows brands to do way more than just send email blasts. You can also hear how he bootstrapped this business, and his lessons learned, hear how your brand can sell direct to consumer in a world where it seems everyone is focused on selling to Amazon and other marketplaces.

Luke Peters: Rytis is from Lithuania. He graduated with a political science degree, and has been in the marketing field for over 10 years. His first two startups missed the mark, but then he learned to use brutal time prioritization and time management, both personal and professional, to help manage his international company. He’s turning Omnisend into a leading marketing automation platform. He learned to increase his reading speed, so that he could dedicate one hour a day to reading one book a week. Rytis, thanks for joining us on the Page One podcast.

Rytis Lauris: Hey, Luke, thanks for inviting. Really great to be here and talk to all venture [inaudible 00:02:19] while listening to your show.

Luke Peters: Cool. We’re connecting right now, you’re in Lithuania. So that’s cool, all the way across the world.

Rytis Lauris: Yeah, that’s correct, that’s correct. [inaudible 00:02:28], although the company has been born in Europe, with [inaudible 00:02:33] and London the major locations. But yeah, the vast majority of our customers are actually coming from the United States. So I used to spend a lot of time, physically, there. Unfortunately, due to lockdown and travel restrictions, I stay more at home and home office. But yeah, definitely. It will not last forever. So looking forward to getting back to that part of the ocean.

Luke Peters: Great. For business owners who are not marketing experts, a quick little teaser. So what we’re going to talk about is a lot of you folks, a lot of brand owners may not be selling direct to consumer. It’s easier to sell on Amazon, it’s easier to sell on Wayfair, and in many cases, they have the audience. But I truly believe you got to own your customer, and you should have a direct to consumer channel. Rytis is an expert in that category. His platform helps business owners do just that. So we’re going to talk about that, and how you can profitably sell direct to consumer, at the same time, while you’re still growing your sales on these other platforms.

Luke Peters: Also, around that, we’ll talk about what are the advantages and reasons you’d want to think that way. Again, a lot of folks maybe are intimidated if they haven’t gone down that route, because there is a learning curve and they may not even have the right people on their team. So we’ll address all those topics. But we’re going to touch on a bunch of other things. Before we get started, Rytis, in simple terms, can you tell everybody what Omnisend does?

Rytis Lauris: Yeah, sure. So as you mentioned, Omnisend is a marketing automation platform built for helping online retailers. Those who own their brands, and [inaudible 00:04:03] Shopify is big commerce, [inaudible 00:04:06], other world. So basically we do synchronized data via online store. We do analyze it. We help you automate your marketing activities, and send relevant messages through email as a channel, through X messages, web certifications, and even synchronize with your Google and Facebook ads to run retargeting campaigns, or [inaudible 00:04:26]. So basically retention marketing through different channels to communicate with your existing audience.

Luke Peters: Great. So your customers would be people who might be stepping up from a very basic email platform, is that right? They’re just sending email blasts, now they want to do something more sophisticated and segment their audience, and then they step into your platform?

Rytis Lauris: Yeah, that’s correct. So that’s where we created most of our value. But our super easy to use user interface really allows everyone who just starts selling online start with Omnisend. So all the way to the very beginner, from the first time you need to start collecting subscriber’s data, we have rebuild popups, and then those capabilities to help you grow your subscriber’s list. We really are a [inaudible 00:05:10] segmentation, personalization, and then recommendation to us, which rebuild into Omnisend. So the very beginning beginner to, our sweet spot is somewhere up to like 20 million [inaudible 00:05:21].

Luke Peters: Okay. Cool. A lot of folks who are sophisticated will know exactly what Rytis is talking about. For those that don’t, it’s just think about your email blasts. You’re just sending the same message to every one of your customers. When you have an email marketing automation platform, it’s going to have all kinds of things behind the scenes, where it can understand and actually create personas and identities of customers and tie it to their email address later on, and segment and send unique messages, maybe they were searching a certain category of your products, they’re going to get a message focused on that, versus just a standard email. Right?

Rytis Lauris: Yeah, absolutely. I would say what is even more important, not you as a marketer or business owner building personas and then redefining by demographic data. But actually you listening to signals which your customers are sending. They send so many signals. What are they browsing? What are their past purchase history? What was the average shopping cart? What did they purchase last time? All those things. What were their satisfaction if you do online surveys and all those things? So mainly not you building personas, but listening to your customers, and based on their triggers and the signals they’re sending to you, automating your market.

Luke Peters: Okay, cool. We’ll get into that a little bit more later on. So before we do, let’s just talk about the business in general. How has it been during coronavirus for you? I’m guessing you guys are doing pretty well? Your service are probably in demand right now?

Rytis Lauris: Yeah, that’s correct. That’s correct. We will like it to be in this situation and this industry, serving online stores and serving online businesses. So they have a tendency to grow. Mainly what we see is we see that our existing customers, they have grown quite good. It’s not that easy for the beginners. It doesn’t matter if they are really new to it, eCommerce or commerce in general, or if they had previous [inaudible 00:07:12] only now coming to online world. So definitely they face challenges.

Rytis Lauris: During the coronavirus situation, at least we see the trends that consumers are more willing to buy from the brands they already knew from online first brands. So that’s a trend we see. So for our business, quite good. Although we had this challenge of, we’re becoming [inaudible 00:07:35] practices, all those things. It’s minor, comparing to being in airline or restaurants. Nothing [crosstalk 00:07:44]. Luke Peters: Were you guys already remote before this? How many team members do you have at the company?

Rytis Lauris: Yeah, so we are now 92. We were semi remote. But I think this lockdown and all these restrictions really helped us to accelerate us becoming fully remote organization. Which really helps us. Semi remote is not what works the best, I would say.

Luke Peters: 92, so you have a large organization. Congratulations. How long have you been building Omnisend for?

Rytis Lauris: Six years. Yeah, so we launched our product six years ago. For the first two years, actually, it was just trial and error. We had a pretty good initial traction, but we didn’t manage to monetize customers. So it took us two years to understand what value we are actually creating for our customers, and for what our customers are willing to pya. Where is the real value which can be monetized, and our customers are happily paying. So back six years, and four years as a proper business, and the initial years running a lot of experiments to find our product market.

Luke Peters: Quickly, what’s the breakdown on the team? So 92 in total. I’m sure you’ve got sales, you’ve got engineers, maybe you have some other departments. How does that roughly break down?

Rytis Lauris: So somewhere around one third is engineer product team. We have a really substantial and big customer support, and then the customer operations team. So we reinvest a lot in the customer experience. So we customer support, we have customer success managers, dedicated people for our larger customers to help them for their system to really succeed. So yeah, we have [inaudible 00:09:22] team, we have sales team. So I would say around one third engineering, one third of serving existing customers, and the rest is basically go to market, marketing, and a little bit, small, small administration.

Luke Peters: Okay, great. What business system do you use to tie everybody together? Is there a unified system that everything is going into, or that you’re communicating through, or even accounting, is it all tied into one system?

Rytis Lauris: Do you mean like technical? Or like methodology?

Luke Peters: I think just overall, in a lot of the business owners, they’re using an ERP that’s maybe-

Rytis Lauris: Yeah, I got it. I got your point. So we don’t have one unified tool to run the business. We have different tools. So [inaudible 00:10:06] for engineering purposes, HubSpot for ownership and sales, and all of the different marketing. Slack for communication. [inaudible 00:10:16], incredible tool for sharing emails, all that stuff. So different tools and set up. We use How as an internal data platform to unify the data and to share data points across different tool sets, and have one tool chain, and then exactly same data and visibility across the teams. [inaudible 00:10:38], we use [inaudible 00:10:40] as management pathology. It really works well for us. I would encourage every organization to start using it.

Luke Peters: OKR is great. We did them last year. We still kind of do it, we changed it a little bit this year, Hoshian planning, which is a little different with the X matrix, and it’s pretty cool. But loved OKR. Do you guys … How do you actually, especially when people are in different areas, what online tool do you use to unify those OKRs? Are you able to do that? Or do you use Excel?

Rytis Lauris: G Suite.

Luke Peters: Oh, G Suite, yeah.

Rytis Lauris: Yeah. That’s it. Google Sheets. It works. We kind of read a lot, and have tools there. But it seems like it works. It’s still going to use all the visibility, and no learning curve, basically.

Luke Peters: Now I want to hear, how many … So you have 92 people. How many of them have OKRs?

Rytis Lauris: Vast majority. So it’s like … In engineering, we have units, we have smaller teams in engineering. Five to 10 people. So they just have one team OKRs, not individual ones. We have facilitating roles, let’s say, [inaudible 00:11:54] studio, which really brings design, brings visuals for all the marketing departments. So they don’t have really personal G Suite, they just have [inaudible 00:12:05]. Not on a personal level. But the vast majority of people, I would say. SO eliminate engineering, so like 60 or something people have their individual ones.

Luke Peters: That’s great. Just for the audience, if you don’t know what OKR is, it stands for objective key result. They’re a little different than other typical goal setting tools. They’re more aspirational, I would say. You’re supposed to set, your objective is supposed to be really hard to meet. They’re all supposed to be bottoms up. So it’s supposed to come from the team, of course it can come from leadership down. But there is supposed to be a good balance, where it’s not just 100% leadership.

Luke Peters: For anybody listening, and you don’t have … Maybe you don’t like the goal setting that you’re using, you should check out OKRs. What I like about OKRs, probably Rytis, I can tell you’re very thoughtful and structured, is I like OKR because you come up with an objective, and then the goal is not enough. You got to list your key results. What does it look like? What does success look like down the road? It forces everybody to really think about, what are my next steps? What do I actually need to do tomorrow to get going on this thing?

Rytis Lauris: Absolutely, absolutely. We kind of have three main purposes for OKRs. First one is really to align organization. It’s one setting, OKRs, so different departments or different teams have to align. That’s the first one. The second is really to help us [inaudible 00:13:21], pick your OKR for that, focus on that, and you don’t distract yourself, both on the team and on the personal level. Then the third is really to start thinking more about outcomes versus [inaudible 00:13:32].

Rytis Lauris: So just if the initiative, the person’s initiative is not [inaudible 00:13:37]. Will it move the needle? So I have to come up with my objectives which could really move the leader for the entire organization. So what is that? What is a potential end result in the future if I succeed with that? So we have those three main goals for the OKRs. It works. At least, initial two. Maybe the third is still a challenge.

Luke Peters: Yeah. Well, look, a lot of companies, when they start, they’ll have goals, but they really don’t have that glue that holds them together. So OKRs are excellent at getting everybody, and forces you to check in, forces accountability. Big fan of it. I’m sure you’ve got a really interesting background, because you grew up in Lithuania, it sounds like you’ve had plenty of time living in other areas of Europe and maybe even the UK. Lot of business in Europe, in the US. In this latest business, you bootstrapped. So talk about that. What did you learn about bootstrapping Omnisend? What metrics or rules did you find worked for you?

Rytis Lauris: I would say probably the key lessons, which really helped to make Omnisend into a successful organization, was learned even the failed startup attempts, which you have mentioned, it’s the third that started it. But in the meantime was it more running a more traditional kind of businesses? Omnisend is spin up from digital marketing agencies. So failed with my startup attempt, running something more down to earth, let’s call it. Less ambitious, and just selling hours and services. Then trying the ambitious end goals. So the first lesson and the key lessons really are find the monetize that customers will pay. That’s probably the key lesson. If you are creating valid work, if you are solving problems larger than you charge for your service, someone is going to pay. That’s probably the first lesson.

Rytis Lauris: The second lesson is really [inaudible 00:15:32] theme. We tied it to [inaudible 00:15:37] basic, basic minimum viable product. MVP stands for minimum viable product. So launch the basic version, test on the market, and then see if there is anything in the market, improve it. Do it fast. We continue doing that in the features that we’re launching. If the customers are requesting for something, we just launch a basic version. If we see that there is attraction, we pull it. It works. Sometimes you come up with a great idea, but finally you find that nobody needs it. Running focus groups or searches, etc, etc, it’s really complicated. It’s not doable for a small business.

Rytis Lauris: So I would say those are the two. The third, which helped us a lot, so having, I would say, limited capital really helped us to find ways to build the business and to grow the business, and to run it. Really focus on our customer’s needs, because we knew if we fulfill their needs, they’re going to pay us. That’s how we are funded by our customers, not investors.

Luke Peters: That’s great. The key notes I took here is find and monetize customer pain point, easier said than done. So obviously you guys were successful there. But I think a lot of times people think about the product and not the customer. So you’re very customer centric. Launch your MVP, your minimum viable product. There is a lot of books, obviously Silicon Valley thinking in more … I guess it’s been around for 20, 30 years, but it still is a new concept to a lot of people. To just, you got to just get out there and launch something. You get the feedback from your customers, and then you can go back to the drawing board and improve and perfect it. So yeah, super interesting. Your feedback on bootstrapping a business.

Luke Peters: Why don’t we transition now into eCommerce? I know a lot of business owners, maybe the ROI hasn’t been there, maybe you guys don’t have the right team. So let’s transition and talk about that. Like I said in the intro, most brands, they’re selling on Amazon because it’s easy. They don’t have reoccurring business or long lifetime value because it’s a one and done type of sale, maybe a 10% reorder rate if they’re lucky. So how can companies change that model? Tell me what you see on the basics of D to C brands that are successful, what are they doing?

Rytis Lauris: That’s a really good question. I would concur, selling on any marketplace is selling on a marketplace, like physical one. You just rent a booth, have a guaranteed traffic. You don’t own this traffic because it belongs to the marketplace. So could it be longterm business? Maybe. But not that much. To build your own brand, and to launch your own store, in comparison, to launch a physical store, not rent a booth in a physical marketplace, it requires much more investment, much more time. But if you succeed, the upside is much better. Because you have a brand, you have loyal customers who are getting back to you, and the margins are much, much better as well. So that’s a different concept.

Rytis Lauris: So I would say if you are building something, which has unique angles, and the product is unique itself, you’re just selling what is hot in that specific moment. So launching your own store and starting your own brand, it’s worth doing that. Then the key difference is who owns the audience? If Amazon does, if Ebay does, you’re going to keep paying, and they’re going to keep marginalizing you, eating your margins, launching the same products if they see that there is a huge demand for what you are selling, etc. So you are going to just become [inaudible 00:19:11]. You’re not owning your audience. Actually, this is, from my point of view, this is the biggest value of the business, your relationship with the customer.

Rytis Lauris: So with tools like Omnisend, loyalty programs, user generated content, and surveys, satisfaction surveys, all those things really help to have relationships with customers, communicate with them, ask them for feedback, if they’re happy, etc. What is completely different, once you’re selling on your own D to C store, in many cases the first transaction or first conversion is ROI negative. You just lose money on that. That’s why it is so important, because getting customers from Google or Facebook, it’s so expensive. So that means that you have to invest a bit more, and the return is a bit delayed. So it’s a different [inaudible 00:20:02]. But, outside, as I said, it might be bad. So basically, the key difference, selling on Amazon, you don’t take care about marketing. Selling D to C, marketing, is [inaudible 00:20:12].

Luke Peters: Yeah. Tell me this, so when brands are doing this … First of all, let’s talk about this quickly, what is your favorite platform or suggested platform? I mean, Shopify is huge right now. But do you sometimes prefer, suggest folks go on a different platform other than Shopify? Or what do you think?

Rytis Lauris: Yeah, Shopify is great. Shopify has Shopify plus, which is for the larger brands. BigCommerce is a really good platform as well for, I would say, mid size, if you already have some established. But brick and mortar are all like Amazon kind of business, so you can check BigCommerce as well. They’re easy to launch [inaudible 00:20:51], equally as Shopify. It’s on the WordPress platform. Maybe you already have some content, maybe [inaudible 00:20:57]. So it’s easy to just plug in BigCommerce and top. [inaudible 00:21:01] is a great platform as well. But I would say for a bit later stages. So I would recommend one of those, Shopify, BigCommerce, or [inaudible 00:21:10] for in the beginning.

Luke Peters: Okay, great. What if folks don’t have the right internal team? I don’t know if you have a lot of experience or if you have any thought around this. I haven’t. I’m sure there is agencies that one can outsource their eCommerce through. I haven’t personally worked with any that just literally will run your eCommerce starting from scratch. Do you have any experience? Or do you think folks need to find that eCommerce manager internally and just hire the right person to get this started?

Rytis Lauris: Yeah, I would be a fan of hiring an internal team. It’s a core competence. If you’re selling on Amazon, you already are outsource marketing efforts to Amazon, in this stage. So if you make a decision to launch a D to C business, marketing is going to be a core competence. So definitely, it’s more having it in house and owning the thing, instead of out. There are some agencies who are doing that on behalf of you. But I know some successful cases. But I would say they are more outliers than a trend. So I would be a big advocate of hiring the right people to have them in house. Really, I [inaudible 00:22:21].

Luke Peters: Yeah. Interesting thing you said, if you’re selling to Amazon, you’re outsourcing your marketing, so think about that brands. It’s easy money now, but you’re not building your brand. If you’re not sure about hiring, I got a lot of friends, and they’re not experts in this area. I don’t know that they’d be able to hire quite the right person for that. Use your network. Everybody in business has got other friends that might actually run eCommerce businesses. Pay them to come in and sit in on an interview or two, or look over resumes. Get their help so that you can make the right decision, and probably get their help setting up KPIs, right? Or OKRs, in your case, so that … That’s the most important thing.

Luke Peters: This person comes in, now what do they have to do? Transitioning to that, Rytis, obviously your platform takes advantage of email, among other things, SMS, and a few other things. But for a company that is either starting out or maybe not successful that needs to be successful, we’re just talking about the D to C side, it could be a big company. But they’re not taking advantage of their D to C, and I’ve seen big, over 100 million plus companies ignoring D to C, by the way. Even if they’re getting a lot of traffic, and they just ignore it, because they just don’t have that competency or that interest, is growing the email list there, would you call that their number one KPI or item to track? Because that’s then how they’re going to find those repeat orders? Or is it something other than that?

Rytis Lauris: Yes, yes. Very good point. So growing … I would just define subscriber’s list, not an email list. Which what does that mean? Whatever channel your subscriber prefers, either it’s email, or text messages, or Facebook Messenger, or web certifications, so it’s all unified, let’s call it subscriber’s list. So basically yeah, definitely. The size of your subscriber’s list is one of the KPIs. The conversion rate into your subscriber from your visit, I would name as a second very important KPI. It’s really, what happens, on average, two to 3% of your traffic, D to C traffic, is actually being converted. Then it ends up as a transaction.

Rytis Lauris: So that means that 97% of your traffic, you just lose it. Although you paid for it. So what I would then do is just start converting a piece of this 97% traffic into subscribers. So 3%, let’s say, ends up as a conversion, then another 3%, you end up getting their contact details. That means that they give you a second chance to convert them a bit later. [inaudible 00:24:51] the chances for success a lot. F you give some incentives, if you run popup campaigns, a bit more aggressive campaigns, etc, so this conversion rate, your subscribers might go up 7%.

Rytis Lauris: I’ve seen campaigns go with 12% [inaudible 00:25:12] success. So I have never seen 10 or 12% conversion rate in transaction. But I’ve seen that rates in actually getting a second or third chance [inaudible 00:25:24]. So for starting, I would say this would be key metrics, first, conversion rate, dire conversion rate, the actual transaction, second conversion rate into subscriber, and of course, the size of the list.

Luke Peters: Okay. I know the questions I’m going to ask you are going to vary from industry to industry. Even your 3% conversion rate, I got to be honest, even that’s very hard to achieve. It’s just going to depend. If a site has got a lot of organic traffic, that might have a super low conversion rate. A lot of paid traffic that’s highly focused around the right keyword or customer is going to have a higher conversion rate. So it depends on your traffic mix and so many things. But what have you seen or do you think there is a way to say, hey, you should get, of total sales, let’s make up and say a website is doing 100,000 a month, how much of that should come from your subscribers? Should it be 10%, 25%? I got friends who do so much, that’s why I’m asking this question.

Rytis Lauris: I would say 20 to 30% from your existing customers. Or directly from retention marketing campaign. Not even for … Not counting organic returning customers, but directly from email customers, [inaudible 00:26:39] rates. 20 to 30%, it’s healthy. That shows that you have a healthy subscriber’s list. You have, at the same time, you have a good diversity of different channels. Acquisition, retention channels.

Luke Peters: Yeah, that’s a great answer. Again, just for … Hopefully a lot of you guys understand exactly what we’re talking about. For those of you that that don’t, this would mean you’re running your direct to consumer channel, that 20 to 30% are coming from your emails, or your text messages, or your messenger messages. So it’s these are probably either past customers or folks that have signed up to one of your lists that haven’t yet bought.

Rytis Lauris: Exactly.

Luke Peters: I think companies that are not doing that high of a number are kind of like too reliant maybe eon paid advertisement at that point, right? They got to convert more of it to subscribers.

Rytis Lauris: Yeah. That means that you have not diversed your marketing efforts well. That means that for each transaction you pay more, you just invest more. So you lose your margin.

Luke Peters: Cool. Well, listen, hopefully that’s helpful to the audience. We did kind of a deep dive on a few items, there. But I want to also run into your time management. I love reading books myself, so I want to … I noted in the intro how your goal is to read a book a week. So a couple questions around that. I’m sure that for every CEO or professional executive, time management is so important. Why not just in general talk about what you’ve done to improve your time management?

Rytis Lauris: A lot. So planning helps a lot. Building a routine, I would say. I put in my calendar a block of time for some routine things, like replying to emails, reading emails. Or I block a time in advance for reading a contract, instead of just having a to-do list with check boxes. So it really helps to see how does your upcoming day look like. Second thing is really starting to limit yourself from the distractions. I have no email notifications, I have no messenger notifications, etc. I just read them, then I have a time of that and reply to them. Sometimes there are exceptions, if downtime, I go check my inboxes of all kinds, etc. So that’s the second thing which helped me.

Rytis Lauris: Then I would say the third thing, which is not only about time management, but just really picking priorities and focus. I’m a strong believer in focus in general. So I basically have so many things, again, getting back to OKRs. First time we a planning for OKRs, people came up with such long lists, like five objectives, five key results for each of them. It’s just not doable, physically. Although you’re going to spend 120% of your time, it will not happen, just because it’s undoable. But once you … It makes you prioritize in advance, what is actually the most important? What will make the biggest impact with the lowest effort? Once you prioritize it, once you pick in advance, you know where to focus. Again, it’s easier to manage time as well, because you are focusing on less things, and you have less contexts in your brain, which really takes a lot of time and energy from you if you are maintaining too much context. So those are things I would say.

Luke Peters: So the main thing I got out of there is blocking time on the calendar. That’s huge. I’ve read a few time management books. Instead of doing a to-do list, some of the other strategies. I mean, of course, OKR in itself is a time management. But some other authors will talk about MITs, your most important thing, which is totally than just a random task list, or blocking time. Is there any book or person you look up to for time management? Anywhere that you could direct the listeners to that you really learned a lot about your time management style from?

Rytis Lauris: Good question. I can’t recall now any specific. That was probably just topic on a [inaudible 00:30:35] went into a bit, two years ago. So there was no one super, super book, which I could draw on now. Sorry, but nothing I could recommend on this topic now. Luke Peters: Yeah. You know what, I’m the same way. It’s like I’ve read so many different things, Cal Newport, he’s a pretty interesting author right now. He really animalizes and cuts out all the social media. So I think there is a lot of different people talking about this concept, because people are … We’re all interrupted so often right now. Definitely turning off notifications, I think a lot of people do that. But we still probably check things too often. So even just responding to email only twice a day, and little topics like that-

Rytis Lauris: Yeah. It can be not that radical. Start with the [inaudible 00:31:18], not often. Close email tab, it helps a lot. Usually what happens, we have it constantly open, and we check every five minutes, three minutes. Nothing will change in one hour. Of course, if you are not a support agent. If you’re a support agent, you should be having your inbox always on. Luke Peters: That’s true. Depends on what you’re doing. So talk about reading. You’ve increased your reading speed. How did you do that? You just read up on how to read faster, and put your mind to it?

Rytis Lauris: So there was a book, it’s called Rapid Reading. I’m very bad at names. But the name of the book was Rapid Reading. Basically it’s all about methodology. Having a good line, having a good angle of the book, and [inaudible 00:32:06], there are some exercises in the book. So I started then with exercises. My goal is really to read one page a minute, so that means 60 pages an hour. If it’s really professional book, sometimes it’s really difficult to keep this pace. Mainly because you just have 20 or 30 minutes at this speed, you would start getting tired. If it’s fiction, it’s much easier. Of course, it depends on how you feel in general.

Rytis Lauris: But yeah, what’s interesting, [inaudible 00:32:39] you kind of waste less time for commuting, you don’t meet your friends, etc. You had plenty of time to read books. But that was so difficult for me to do that in the long downtime that, as well as if you have a complete lockdown for a couple of months. So stayed at home for two months in their home. Just because of general mental, I don’t know, surroundings, not health, you just don’t feel having enough energy to focus on that. But that’s … Yeah, Rapid Reading, there are some exercises, that are skills you have to train. That’s the thing which I really like.

Luke Peters: Any books stand out that you think gave you a lot of value or anything surprising? I’m just curious, a title or two on some books that the audience might want to look at.

Rytis Lauris: Yeah, a couple of recent reads, so not recent. But in the past 12 months. So Marketing Warfare, this is for marketers. It’s a great book, classic book, for first time. It was written 20 years ago, and was a revised edition, revised recently. So classical tips. But still, if I were a marketer, I would recommend. For every starter, maybe not eCommerce, but if someone who is listening is thinking about launching a SAAS product, so I would recommend From Impossible to Inevitable, by Jason Lemkin and Aaron Ross. Then for every leader, I would recommend the Multipliers. So it’s about leadership, and how you as a leader should empower people, instead of telling them what to do. Yeah, so probably that’s … Different topics, marketing, leadership, and startups in general, which I would recommend. And Sales Acceleration [inaudible 00:34:51] is a great book as well.

Luke Peters: Okay, Sales Acceleration Formula. [inaudible 00:34:55] is that how you pronounce that?

Rytis Lauris: Multipliers.

Luke Peters: Okay, multipliers.

Rytis Lauris: Those who multiply things.

Luke Peters: Got it. Oh, multiplier. Sorry.

Rytis Lauris: Yeah, multipliers.

Luke Peters: Okay, cool. Then From Impossible to Inevitable, for startup and SAAS. Marketing Warfare for the marketers. Okay, cool. Love having a book list. We’ll put that in the show notes. Well, we’ve kind of touched on a lot of subjects today, from marketing, to bootstrapping, to direct to consumer sales, and even to time management. So hopefully covered a little bit of something for everybody that’s listening. Before I let you go, any other new ventures you’re looking on, besides Omnisend? Or are you just focused right on your core business right now?

Rytis Lauris: As I said previously, I’m a strong believer in focus. Although there [inaudible 00:35:52] up into my mind, my co founder’s mind. Keep ourselves away from them, and focusing on the core, which Omnisend is now, and I believe, going to be for five to 10 years.

Luke Peters: Well, you have a great business and a big team, and impressive growth just in, really, like four years that you guys have been pushing this business. So congratulations, Rytis, and how can listeners learn more or find more about you or your business?

Rytis Lauris: So Omnisend.com, it’s the company’s website. From social media is mentioned a bit, so I hate Facebook, being honest. So yeah, but LinkedIn, so people can find me and follow me on LinkedIn, and Twitter, I tweet a bit. But probably LinkedIn is my most preferred social media.

Luke Peters: Okay. Great. We’ll have that in the show notes.

Rytis Lauris: Yeah, perfect. Thanks.

Luke Peters: Okay. Well, listen, I want to thank you again, Rytis, for joining us on the Page One podcast, sponsored by Retail Band. For the audience, hope you guys all enjoyed the interview today. Truly appreciate your reviews on iTunes, and hope you join us for the next interview. Thanks and take care.

Luke Peters: Okay. Cut, cut, cut. So editor, please cut it at this time. This is the end of the interview, thanks. Cool. I thought that was pretty good, Rytis.

Rytis Lauris: Yeah, thank you. Thank you. That’s great. Being honest, [inaudible 00:37:21] some podcasts. Some of them are kind of no preparation and no questions in advance. Some of them, they send the questions in advance. What I liked, although you had all those questions prepared, but at the same time, you kept the free conversation. Yeah, sometimes people just stick to those questions which they kind of prepared too much, and we just kept the topic, and getting to that question, and there is no feeling of [inaudible 00:37:49]. So this, and this. In this case, it was a mix of both, which was great. Thank you.

Luke Peters: Yeah. No, that was … It’s fine, because normally, I really just like to … Half of it is me meeting new people. So I love to meet people. I want to make it conversational. Usually each question can turn into three or four more, right, if we just keep going. Yeah. That’s an impressive company, though. I know companies aren’t always judged on number of people, but still. 92 people, a third of those probably engineers, I mean, you got a great business that you’ve built. So congratulations.

Rytis Lauris: Thank you. Thank you.

Luke Peters: Cool. Not to put you on the spot, but can your product do … So I’m using a product called Zayas.

Rytis Lauris: Yeah, I know about them.

Luke Peters: Okay. So it’s more expensive, I think, I’ll have to look at how you’re priced out.

Rytis Lauris: It’s more expensive.

Luke Peters: It’s more expensive. So I usually, just as owner and leader of the company, I often do defer to my team though, because at the end of the day, they’re the ones that got to run these things. I don’t want to force them to do … I’ve just learned over time, it’s great, because otherwise … I’m not making all their decisions now. Luckily, I’ve got a great team, they can make the decisions. But does Omnisend do about everything that Zayas does? Or are they kind of like different packages in different feature sets?

Rytis Lauris: That’s a good question. I’m not sure about the size and complexity of their business. But I would define Zayas as being a really enterprise solution, while Omnisend being small to medium size business. As I said, sweet spot is up to 20 million in GME, like D to C sales. So that’s probably the definition. If you are below that threshold, so maybe it’s worth exploring Omnisend, and just saving money, because probably you are not using all the capabilities of Zayas. So yeah, being honest, Zayas is more customizable, more like you can [inaudible 00:40:03], enterprise level solutions, which is not achievable in Omnisend. Omnisend is a Jeep, Zayas is a tank.

Luke Peters: Okay.

Rytis Lauris: So it depends on what kind of [inaudible 00:40:21]. If you’re already at that level, we definitely will not replace. But it might be that you just have a solution which is just too pricey for you, and [inaudible 00:40:33] only 5% of it’s capacity.

Luke Peters: Yeah. I wouldn’t doubt. I’m digging into it. I’ve got a great guy running it, but I’m digging into it. We’re only doing, on our D to C, it’s not a big part of the business. So we’ll do about five million this year. So I don’t know [crosstalk 00:40:48] or is that-

Rytis Lauris: Yeah, generally, so five million is absolutely in our sweet spot. So I would assume that maybe Zayas is just you’re utilizing it at 5% of it’s capabilities. You should be paying way, way more than … I’m happy to introduce our account executive to show you guys, walk through our capabilities, what are your needs, what you utilize currently, can we cover that or not? On the other hand, I completely agree, if the guy does the KPIs, probably that’s okay. It doesn’t matter how much you invest in the tool, if it pays off. So maybe that’s it. I have exactly the same approach.

Luke Peters: Yeah. I’ll circle back. I’m digging into it. What I want to separate, I want to separate anything can send out email blasts, right? So the value of the tool, at least how I understand it, maybe I’m not understanding it correctly, but the value is how much revenue can the tool bring on segmented sales or audience sales besides just regular email blasts? More personalized sales.

Rytis Lauris: I do agree. I would say sales from automation, market automation. [inaudible 00:42:06] different tools have different names, but that’s exactly the same. So basically you listen to the signals, automate your marketing campaigns, and you sleep, the tool does the job. It’s where you actually communicating what the customer is willing to listen about, instead of just what you want to say. That’s actually the case in email blasts. It’s what you want to say, not what your customers want to hear.

Luke Peters: Cool. Listen, I’ll definitely circle back. I’ll talk to him and I’ll circle back. But enjoyed meeting you here, and glad we did this on Zoom.

Rytis Lauris: Okay. Cool. So thank you so much, really enjoyed talking to you. Yeah, happy to sell. I mean, we prefer selling on [inaudible 00:42:49]. So if we can be available for you, definitely more than happy to give you our service providers. But if no, maybe in one year, maybe some day in the future.

Luke Peters: Rytis, right now I’ve got a backlog of probably eight or so episodes. So yours would be slated in the two to three month window, just to give you a heads up. Okay?

Rytis Lauris: Okay. So let us know, and we will post on our social media channels.

Luke Peters: All right.

Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to the Page One podcast with Luke Peters. Did you enjoy this episode? Please help us out by leaving us a rating on iTunes. Want to double your online sales? Check out www.retailband.com. Don’t forget to join us next week with our next amazing guest.


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