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How a Bootstrapped SaaS Hit $250K ARR in its First Year – with Guillaume Moubeche [227]

227_ Guillaume Moubeche-new

How a Bootstrapped SaaS Hit $250K ARR in Its First Year

Guillaume Moubeche is the co-founder and CEO of Lemlist, an automated email outreach platform that uses personalized images to get more replies from cold emails.

Guillaume was running a B2B lead generation agency in Paris. He was sending out a lot of cold emails on behalf of his clients. He was getting results but felt he could be doing much better.

He knew that highly personalized emails got more replies. But it was really hard to do that at scale. And automated solutions did basic personalization like replacing the first name.

So he started looking around for an automated solution that would help him do advanced things like sending personalized images with each cold email. But he didn't find anything.

And that's when he realized there might be an opportunity for him to build a software product.

He partnered with a couple of developers and they built a very ugly beta' in about 2 weeks. And in that first month, they had about 100 people signup for the product.

The product did the job, but the editor almost impossible to use. His users told him they loved the idea, but the product lacked 90% of the features his competitors had.

Around the same time, he got an email from someone at Appsumo who had come across his product and told him that they were interested in doing a promotion in a couple of months.

It was a great opportunity, but they knew that they had to make the product much better and had some more features. And they didn't have much time to do all that.

A couple of months later, their product was promoted on Appsumo and in a couple of weeks they generated around $170,000 in sales and most people loved the product.

In this interview, you'll learn how they prioritized the features and development work to get the right product launched on Appsumo. And how generated positive buzz about their product.

We also talk about how they've used Product Hunt, Capterra, LinkedIn and Facebook groups to grow sales. It's a great episode, jam-packed with tons of great insights and ideas.

Transcript

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Omer Khan [0:10]
Welcome to another episode of The SaaS Podcast. I'm your host Omer Khan. And this is the show where I interview proven founders and industry experts who share their stories, strategies and insights to help you build, launch and grow your SaaS business. In this episode, I talked to Guillaume Moubeche, the founder and CEO of Lemlist, an automated email outreach platform that uses personalized images to get more replies from cold emails. Guillaume was running a B2B lead generation agency in Paris. He was sending out a lot of cold emails on behalf of his clients. And he was getting results but felt he could be doing much better. He knew that highly personalized emails got more replies, but it was really hard to do that at scale and automated solutions did basic personalization, like replacing the first name or company name. So he started looking around for an automated solution that would help him do advanced things, like sending personalized images with each cold email. But he couldn't find what he was looking for. And that's when he realized there might be an opportunity for him to build a software product. He partnered with a couple of developers, and they built what you own calls a very ugly beta in about two weeks. And in that first month, they had about 100 people sign up for the product. The product did the job. But the editor and the user interface was almost impossible to use. His users told him they love the idea, but the product lacked 90% of the features that his competitors had. Around the same time, he got an email from someone at app Sumo who had come across this product and told him that they were interested in doing a promotion in a couple of months. It was a great opportunity. But they knew that they had to make the product much better, and had to add more features. And they didn't have much time to do that. A couple of months later, their product was promoted on App Sumo. And in a couple of weeks, they generated around $170,000 in sales, and most people love the product. In this interview, you learn how they prioritize the features and development work to get the right product launched on App Sumo, and how they generated positive buzz about the product. We also talk about how they've used Product Hunt, cap Tara, LinkedIn, and Facebook groups to grow sales. It's a great episode jam-packed with tons of great insights and ideas. So I hope you enjoy it real quick before we get started. Firstly, don't forget to grab a free copy of the SaaS toolkit, which will tell you about the 21 essential tools that every SaaS business needs. You can download your copy By going to theSaaSpodcast.com. Secondly, enrollment for the SaaS Club Plus is now open. Plus, if you don't know is our online membership and community for new and early-stage SaaS founders. As a member, you get access to our growing content library, video masterclasses, a private community forum, live group coaching calls every two weeks, and you also get one to one coaching with me through private messaging. So if you need help launching and growing your SaaS business, and you want to connect with other founders around the world, join me inside plus, just go to SaaSclubplus.com. Okay, let's get on with the interview. Guillaume, welcome to the show.

Guillaume Moubeche [3:40]
Thanks for having me here.

Omer Khan [3:41]
So I always like to ask my guests what gets them out of bed what inspires and motivates them? So what is it for you? Is there a favorite quote that you can share with us?

Guillaume Moubeche [3:49]
Yeah, actually, I mean, my favorite quote used to be is “Just do it”. But after talking to you, it's now “Just fucking do it”.

Omer Khan [4:00]
JFDI

Guillaume Moubeche [4:01]
Exactly. I like that one.

Omer Khan [4:03]
Okay, so for people who aren't familiar with Lemlist, tell us about what does the product do? Who's it for? And what's the big problem that you're trying to solve?

Guillaume Moubeche [4:12]
Yeah, so essentially Lemlist is an email automation platform that allows you to get more replies to your email prospecting. It's essentially for most sales team in SMBs. And people trying to get more replies whether they're doing, you know, like, backlink outreach or sales outreach, or any type of outreach by email essentially.

Omer Khan [4:34]
Okay, so why does the world need another email outreach tool? I mean, the market is already full of, you know, a lot of products that do exactly what you're talking about. So, what was different about your idea that you felt that you could succeed in the market and there was a need for another product.

Guillaume Moubeche [4:55]
So essentially, like before actually started Lemlist. I had a B2B lead generation agency where I was running cold emailing for a lot of customers mainly like scale ups and enterprise. And when we were chatting with them, we realized that a lot of people are doing it the wrong way. They're not adding enough personalization to their outreach, and hence, their reply rate is really low. And we wanted to create basically a tool that will allow really advanced personalization to help people build better relationships and help people grow their business through cold emailing. So when I was checking, you know, at even all the content out there and all the type of tools out there, I couldn't find really any tool that would really push the personalization to a whole new level. And when I'm talking like personalization, I'm talking integrating video dynamic landing pages, dynamic images, and so on. And once we were actually doing some tests with with multiple customers, we actually had amazing results. So then, you know, I found out my two co founders and we're like, okay, let's started doing something. And we saw that other people started having like, really, really good results. And we built Lemlist from there.

Omer Khan [6:07]
You know, I think that the personalization thing is is really important because a lot of the times people are like, apart from just personalizing the name, they're not really doing anything else. Yeah, right. And even worse, I've seen emails where they personalize the name and the name is in a different font than the rest of the email. Right? You know, honestly, I, I could probably start a new podcast called like, how not to do cold email, and maybe pick an example that I get in my inbox or spam folder every week, and kind of analyze that. But so why did you believe that? You needed sort of that advanced personalization in there?

Guillaume Moubeche [6:47]
Yeah. So essentially, like when I was testing like, because, like our customers, when I had the agency, they were essentially like all using our current competitors. And I wanted to add, like, extra personalization, and I couldn't. So after building kind of our, our own tool, we realized that that could be something helping other people. And you know, like, I'm really against spam. I love automation. But I think that whenever you're doing email outreach, it's such a great way to to meet with people build relationship, get business opportunity, and so on that every time I see like a bad cold email, and we all receive so many, I'm like, Okay, let's help that person and try to bring them some reason and a more advanced like personalized tool with more example, because, for example, if you type like cold email templates on Google, you would probably found out one of the HubSpot cold email templates that 1 million people is already using right now. So it's all the same copy-pasting and they all look the same. So the first thing that you need to do whenever doing cold emailing is is stand out. And to stand out we we figured out that adding videos and images could really like help you out. Actually, we did the research at Lemlist because we have more than 10,000 users all over the world. And we've analyzed more than 15 millions of emails sent out across users. And we tested like the different level of personalization. So we've identified essentially five level of personalization from the simple first name up to advanced personalized video and personalized sentence for candidates. And we really saw the correlation between the number of positive replies you will receive based on the level of personalization you put in it,

Omer Khan [8:36]
got it. And when you talk about personalizing images, I think there's a good example on your homepage, where there's a picture of you in an email embedded an email and you've got holding up a piece of paper and it says brochure Tina from stripe. And then there's also like a stripe logo. Yeah, on that image as well.

Guillaume Moubeche [8:54]
Exactly. dynamically, we can essentially insert the logo of the company reaching out to the screenshot of their website, the first name, and all of this simply with the email address.

Omer Khan [9:06]
Got it? Okay. So okay, so you've got the idea. You see the opportunity. Your co founder, you've got two co founders.

Guillaume Moubeche [9:12]
Yeah. Two technical geniuses.

Omer Khan [9:15]
So how did the three of you, what did you do next? So you've got the idea. Did you start to say, Okay, well, I've already kind of been validating this with my lead generation agency, and there's definitely a need and we should jump into this or let's go and talk to customers, or let's start building the product. What did you guys do?

Guillaume Moubeche [9:34]
Yes. So as I said, like, they're really good at Tech. So once I sold my shares of the agencies, and then I was like, Okay, let's say they told me in two weeks, we can have like a very ugly beta, so start selling it. And essentially that's what I did. So with the beta I went to see like people and after like two weeks, I had like about 100 signups. So I was like, okay, we get something and they were like, really motivated. To go the extra mile and start building a really cool product from there. So what were you selling? So essentially, like was a beta I was selling the outcome, which was more replies to your outreach. And the way I was onboarding users was kind of really like spending time you know, like, in the I would say, like the discovery call and trying to understand their business well, and before giving them access, I would create a personalized campaign for them with also adding like personalization in with images and stuff like that. So when they're on the platforms that just have to basically upload some leads or prospects and and just send us messages and see see how it goes. So it was very risk-free for them. And for us, it was really rewarding. Also.

Omer Khan [10:47]
Got it and you were doing this all with this isn't an official term, very ugly beta.

Guillaume Moubeche [10:51]
Yeah. You can go like that are very ugly better.

Omer Khan [10:57]
Yeah, we have like MVP, but maybe VVUB Right. Right. So there wasn't like a lot happening in the product at that time, right? I mean, how much I mean, there might be tech geniuses, but like, How much were they able to accomplish in a couple of weeks? And and how did that live up to the promise that these people are going to get more replies to their outreach,

Guillaume Moubeche [11:20]
the thing is, like the basic functionality of creating an email sequence and adding a personalized image what there but editor was really impossible to use for the images you need to be like, a master in to have like a master's degree in image addition to be able to master it. So all of those things would have been really like turning down our customers, we knew it. So that's why I was actually like building everything for them before they actually onboard and then, you know, based on that, like, kind of plug and play solution, I would say,

Omer Khan [11:53]
got it. And how are you finding these people, this sort of first hundred people that you got to sign up

Guillaume Moubeche [11:58]
so there were like several several things. So one thing that worked pretty well to get a lot of users very quickly is to go into communities where you know that your target is. And for example, I knew a community where a lot of people are doing cold email outreach. And the things that I would do is post the screenshots of the number of replies I got from a specific template I used with a new approach, I would say, and then I would ask people to comment if they're interested to join the beta of the new software that allows you to get those results. So again, like selling on outcomes, rather than products. And then like I had, I think about 200 people commenting, interested, interested, interested interested, and I reached out to those people out of the 200 hundred decided to really like sign up and so 50% conversion rate, and that was pretty pretty good. Yeah,

Omer Khan [12:50]
And what were you charging them or was it just like a free?

Guillaume Moubeche [12:53]
No, no, no, no, no, no, no. To be honest, I would feel like really, really bad to charge them for my very ugly better but thank you I should have done it. But I don't know, I didn't feel like it's

Omer Khan [13:03]
Okay. And so you got these people to sign up? And how did that go? Was it a success? Was it a big failure when

Guillaume Moubeche [13:13]
some of them were okay to launch a campaign with with advanced personalization, but they were really like, unhappy with the user experience. So the retention was really poor, even though they kind of like the outcomes, so they got better results and things like that. But the thing is, like, the interface was, like, so bad, and the features were really not there yet. So everyone was like, yeah, it's super cool project. We love it. But guys, I mean, you're in a crowded market and you're lacking a 90% of the features of your competitors. So like, you need to catch up. Essentially, that was the message.

Omer Khan [13:48]
Okay. So a lot of founders would take that feedback and say, Great, that means we need to spend the next year getting those 90% of those features. So we have parity Before we do anything else, what did you guys do?

Guillaume Moubeche [14:02]
Actually, at that time, because we're making like a lot of noise with all the things kind of building like scarcity around the product, and only onboarding people we used to App Sumo decided to get in touch with us. And they essentially told us that they were interested in in launching our product on their platform in about like, two months or something like that. So we just decided to say yes, because we're like, fully bootstrapped. So with no external funding,

Omer Khan [14:30]
Okay, at what point did this conversation with App Sumo start after you had shipped the first version of the very ugly beta

Guillaume Moubeche [14:38]
Oh, like three days after I made my post on Facebook on the few communities. I got an email from Jeff and app Sumo were just like, hey, let's book a meeting. Like you have a sexy product. Let's talk about it. So I was like, All right.

Omer Khan [14:51]
Okay, so you guys are got like two months to get ready for this.

Guillaume Moubeche [14:54]
Yeah, exactly. And that was actually pretty nice. Because we're like, okay, we knew we'd go we know like on apps, you know, it's pretty like wild, I would say because you you're in front of millions of entrepreneurs and agencies, so you need to be prepared.

Omer Khan [15:07]
Okay, so how did you get ready for that? And what did you decide you were going to do with the product. So you were able to improve retention of people who signed up from from any apps or promotion.

Guillaume Moubeche [15:23]
So essentially, like, with all the gathered feedback, we had, we decided to implement pretty much everything we had. Just so we knew that we had like a product ready for people to use it. To implement, like the key features that people were were listing, essentially, like, when we divide features, we divide them with technical difficulty and marketing impact. So we decided that all the features that were with a high marketing impact and technically that they were pretty like easily done, we would implement them as quickly as possible with also decided to actually prepare. So features that we will not push until the launch. Because when you launch an app Sumo, most people know that you are an early stage startup and that you're going to grow and they want to help you grow like most users are, are investing in your product long term. So they're just happy to see that you're actually doing something. So we prepared a public roadmap where people could actually vote. And when we launched an App, Sumo, some of the features were already built, but we haven't like put them live yet. And during the launch, when lots of people were testing the product we were every day, we were pushing a new version with new updates. So people were getting crazy with that, because they were like, Oh, that's that's product is changing every day. It's amazing. The team behind it is great. Let's buy it basically.

Omer Khan [16:46]
Got it. So that was pretty spot. Right? And how did you come up with that idea? Because you hadn't done an App Sumo launch before? Yeah. So how do you come up with the idea in terms of Hey, let's just try to develop some additional features and then that will give us more of an opportunity to release these things over that period. And it does show that we're, you know, innovating fast updating the product, etc.

Guillaume Moubeche [17:10]
So essentially, like I went through all the deal pages of previews launched, and I realized, like kind of a pattern of people always asking for more. A lot of people were actually, you know, trying to know, the founder, I started basically to understand what was my target. And based on that, I realized that when people were making changes, or updated things during the deal, people were getting like a huge engagement. So I decided to do to think because what I figured out that was lacking in most deals, is that the founder was not showing himself kind of Yeah, it's a company owned by whatever name and then that's it. So I decided to actually make start making videos. So a lot of videos to connect at a larger scale with our potential audience explaining like, Hey, guys, we're like a French startup. Really looking to build the best email automation platform ever trust us, we will do it, but we need your help. So really trying to involve them getting them involved in the project. And then you know, like, from what I could learn from other founders who have launched an App Sumo like a, I kind of build my plan, man, and get ready for the launch essentially.

Omer Khan [18:19]
Okay, I love that. That's, that's a great lesson there. Because, you know, it wasn't like, you know, you had some secret insight about how to do a successful App Sumo launch that other people didn't know, like, you went through and you looked at previous launches, the comments on those pages, what people have been doing what look like what was kind of a successful launch versus not so successful. And, you know, the lesson here is like, do your homework, right. I mean, that's all you did.

Guillaume Moubeche [18:45]
Yeah, definitely. Definitely.

Omer Khan [18:46]
So how successful was was the app Sumo launch.

Guillaume Moubeche[18:49]
It was, it was pretty wild. So in two weeks, we had like, around like six or 7000 customers. So in terms of cash, it was something around like $170,000 in just two weeks. So it was a pretty good start, you know, like we were, were quite happy with it.

Omer Khan [19:12]
Wow. And then the App Sumo model usually is like you're giving them some sort of lifetime. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. So probably not the best thing in terms of recurring revenue, but great when you're starting out in terms of helping with cash flow.

Guillaume Moubeche [19:25]
Yeah, definitely. And actually, we didn't. I mean, we did it for the cash, obviously. But not only like the goal was mainly to gather as many feedback as possible. Because we are strong believer in the product. And I think so many user testing your product and be on your product all the time is just like pure gold, because you receive like, tons of feedback all the time, and it forces you to be the best all the time, you know,

Omer Khan [19:50]
Yeah. You also did a Product Hunt. Launch. Yeah. How did that go?

Guillaume Moubeche [19:57]
It went also really well. So we ended up like number one product of the day. And then number two, I think product of the week, which was sweet drives also a lot of traffic. It's a great way to see how the tech community is receiving your ideas and potentially product out of it XI actually, I think we closed around like 50 to 60 companies, as paying customers in this time in recurring revenue, which was like definitely great, pretty high conversion rates from product. And so we really like like this launch, actually.

Omer Khan [20:30]
And what were some important lessons that you learned from that product launch in terms of like, if you were doing this again? Or if you were advising somebody who's doing a Product Hunt launch? Like, what are some of the most important things they should be thinking about?

Guillaume Moubeche [20:47]
I think to be honest with launches, what I really value is the community. So on our end, we built like a really strong community around our products. So whenever we launch something, because we're providing our artists we're trying to prove value, you know, on a daily or weekly basis, when we ask a small favor to people, they were really willing to help us and really happy to help us. So the stronger your community is, basically, the easier your production will be because people will help you get the initial traction and initial boost. And if your product is great, and your idea is great, then the community on Product Hunt and for just like lift it up again.

Omer Khan [21:24]
And and what form was this community for you at the time when you did the product launch? Like, I know you had a Facebook group, but was Was that it? Or were you just using an email list in the early days?

Guillaume Moubeche [21:35]
Yeah, so we had we had actually both the Facebook group was with about like, I don't know, 800 to 1000 people, and the email list was much bigger. So it was we did both essentially like posting the community on Facebook. And at the same time, send a newsletter to to all of our users.

Omer Khan [21:53]
Okay, so the email list was basically everybody who had bought the product. So all your customers, everybody who's gone through the appsflyer Yeah, launch. People who signing up for the product to try it out whether they become a customer or not. Yeah, so you've got all those people. And then the Facebook community, how are you getting people into the Facebook group.

Guillaume Moubeche [22:12]
So everyone who signs up to Lemlist is actually receiving like an invite to join the community. So we know they're Lemlist choosers. And on top of that we sometimes do like, we ask people to invite friends, we believe that it's bringing value to them to join the community. And that way, you know, it's growing like pretty well, organically. We haven't pushed it as much as I'd like to do it. Like we posts at least a few times per week. And then you have like a lot of user generated content, so people posting, but that's also one of the that would be one of the main focus in the I wouldn't say Q4, but maybe Q1 and as of Q1 of 2020. Yeah.

Omer Khan [22:51]
Okay. We're you also using Lemlist yourself to do cold email outreach and find customers that way?

Guillaume Moubeche [22:58]
Yeah, definitely. Actually. So I've got so funny story with that. Because essentially, like, you know, we basically like, try everything we do, because we love testing new things and different outreach approaches, everything we do, we try to publish it and share it with our customers. And sometimes when I do outreach and get people, you know, like coming on calls, and then they're like, yeah, I'm not sure like your videos working well, blah, blah, blah. And then I was like, What did I send you? And they're like, Yeah, true, you send me like a personalized video. So, you know, it's, it's these type of things where you can really like, prove the value of your product by using it. And also at the same time, I think on the, on the product side, it's super interesting, because I really liked the product we built. But I also hate it at the same time because I know all the little things that needs to be improved. And it's really a great way by using it. I definitely feel the pain of our users sometimes and always try to improve it.

Omer Khan [23:56]
So that's interesting about the video because when I looked at the homepage, I saw the thing about personalized images, but I didn't see anything about video. Is that like a recent feature?

Guillaume Moubeche [24:04]
Yeah, it's it's actually pretty recent. We're actually entirely redoing the website as we speak. So the new website should be live in, in couple of weeks.

Omer Khan [24:14]
Okay. And then in terms of like the outreach you were doing through Lemlist. How are you building the list? Like, who are you deciding that you're going to focus on?

Guillaume Moubeche [24:22]
Yes. So we actually test various verticals, I would say we have like five sub-verticals using our product. So we have like founders and startup owners, we have sales teams in SMBs and scale-ups. Then we have like, agencies, a lot of agencies are actually using Lemlist so is their lead generation agencies or SEO agencies, so for backlink outreach, and then we also have like recruiters and then inside sales. So based on the vertical I was doing, I would say like, very different type of outreach, showing the value for each audience. And trying to be the like, man, the personalization per vertical and also per person. So, customer profile.

Omer Khan [25:08]
So give me an example of let's just pick any vertical doesn't really matter. But yeah, one vertical. And then what would that maybe that first email look like in terms of the content personalization in terms of the text, and then maybe whether it was an image or a video or whatever.

Guillaume Moubeche [25:27]
So actually, something that works really well because again, like what we prone is really like the relationship building. I think in in B2B, it's key to build relationships, you know, to start establishing your business. And as an example, I would say, like, I did a campaign targeting head of growth of scale ups, where I've raised more than 50 million dollars or euros and essentially, my approach was to send like, really quick first sentence. So like, hey, first name, was checking your LinkedIn profile and said I would reach out with a quick video, then when they click on the dynamic image, so this image would be like, a frame with a play button, including, let's say their company logo, a screenshot of their website, and maybe their name. Once they would click on it, they would go to a dynamic landing page with a video, a personalized message, and Calendly integration so they can book a meeting with me. The video would say something, I was checking your profile on LinkedIn, really appreciate what you guys are doing. I think your growth must be amazing. My name is Guillaume, I grew my company from zero to 8000 plus customers in less than a year. I'd love to exchange about growth and what acquisition channel is working for you? Let's book a meeting and have a 15-minute chat. That's It's so pretty straightforward. Trying you know, like to to make it about relationship building about like sharing best practices and tips. And most people are actually especially like in scale ups, happy to share what has worked for them and also trying to find the ideas on what could work So first was really like successful campaign and I had like, actually, it was for lunch networking. So I was going to meet a lot of people for lunch. And essentially, I had like maybe like something around 30% positive reply rate on this campaign.

Omer Khan [27:17]
Nice. And then was it turning at some point into a pitch? Like once the reply is like, okay, hey, you know, you kind of turning into a sales conversation, or was it…

Guillaume Moubeche [27:26]
No initial like, it's it's never I never do that into sales conversation. I don't try to be like too pushy. So I'm just trying to understand if they're a good fit, so I'm trying to understand which acquisition channel they're working on. And eventually they've looked at what we're doing. And they've seen the value of Lemlist by just you know, like the the first outreach. So some of them are really straightforward and are like, okay, I like what you're doing. I want to try it. So okay, you know, you're like fair, and others are more like, you know, discussing what has been working for them, in outreach what has not been working and, and some time you know like they already have their process in place they're using like another tool and they have like some key factors or key features that they really need and that we like off and then I'm like it's okay you know, it's fine. You can't You can't please everyone and you shouldn't try to be hard selling. It's better you know, to get insights on your target and try to understand better like, what their needs, what they want, rather than just trying to be too pushy and salesy

Omer Khan [28:28]
okay No, I really like that. I think that's that's another podcast show what not to do after a prospect replies to a cold email. Okay, now I know you also used Capterra as one sort of channel marketing channel. And like any if people aren't familiar with Capterra is basically a site where you you can find you know, listings of different products and some reviews and things like that. And you can list your product in there for free. They have a paid advertising Offering which is kind of basically like Google AdWords in terms of his pay per click your bidding for placement and and basically it's not an ad it's just in terms of the rank in terms of the order where they'll show your product in the listings and then you have reviews from people so I know that a lot of people have had some success with well not a lot of people I know several people who've had some success with cap Tara and using the paid advertising as a way to acquire customers. You didn't do the advertising piece but it still worked for you. So tell us a little bit about how you approached Capterra?

Guillaume Moubeche [29:40]
Yes. So actually Capterra approached us because we started having like, quite a lot of five star reviews. And then they asked us like a we the way we do things is like we can do a partnership where you will email your list and ask them to leave a review and we can give them Amazon coupon Review if they do it. So it's like an incentive for our users to basically give a review. We have like, I think more than 250, like five star reviews and something. And after that, you know, they ask you like, now that you have so much review, you're probably want to show it to pretty much everyone. So you should definitely do CPC, you know, start advertising on our platform. And the thing I was not very confident with using Capterra is the way they categorize the software. So for example, they would put us in the email marketing type of software and we're actually much more of a sales automation platform. And they don't really make the difference between those. So essentially, like they would ask us to compete and bet against like, MailChimp, Aweber, Autopilot and things like that when all those tools are amazing, but for newsletter and marketing automation, where our tool is really focused on sales automation, so it's a different targets. So that was the first thing and the second thing is we preferred actually like growing, you know, and not spend a lot of on ads and CPC. Just because you know, we are, I think already like a really good growth without using those channels for now. And we actually use Capterra in a different way. And we used it as a social proof on our website. So whenever people you know, are wondering, the use case, or whatever our customers think about us, we just like show them the Capterra page, and they have plenty of reviews there to to watch.

Omer Khan [31:29]
Yeah, I think the Capterra thing is interesting, especially what you said about the categorization, because I was looking at that recently, actually, from a conversation I was having with somebody. And that was the one thing that struck me was like, if you do the advertising route, you can't choose which category you show up and you show up in the category that you're in. Yeah, definitely. And if you're a product that's charging, say $50 a month for, you know, your product, and you're categorized with other products that may be charge $5,000 a month, and they're also advertising and bidding, then you probably can have a little bit of a hard time getting a decent ranking there. Right?

Guillaume Moubeche [32:11]
Yeah, you're going to lose for sure.

Guillaume Moubeche [32:14]
Yeah, I mean, I don't anyway, that's probably a separate conversation in terms of how to make the best use of that. But how did you get all those reviews yet? So I think because of the community for us, and the way we always try to provide as much value as possible, whenever we ask something to our users, we don't often as things, but when we do, they tend to be like, really happy to help. So every time we add something, it worked really well maybe actually, like, now that you're saying that, you know, maybe I should ask more, more often for favors, you know, to our users.

Omer Khan [32:46]
Okay, the other thing in terms of growth I want to talk about was LinkedIn. And you were telling me a little bit before we started recording, you were telling me about what you've been doing on LinkedIn, and what sort of us and response, you get to your post. So tell us a little bit about that. Like, what happens? how active are you? What kind of responses are you getting to your posts on LinkedIn.

Unknown Speaker [33:10]
So essentially, I post between two to three times per week. And my post gets between, I would say 10,000 to 200,000 views. So it's a lot of agents. That's a lot on LinkedIn. It's, it's pretty cool. I do a lot of videos there, even though like LinkedIn is not pushing video, so your video get less rich, but I think it's more impactful and what we want to create really a lot of impact when we share like tips and tricks around acquisition, email outreach, cold email, and so on and so forth. And essentially, like the first step is really like to build your audience when you're on LinkedIn. So what we did is every person that signs up to Lemlist receive a personal invites from me on LinkedIn. So for those who are interested in maybe like replicating this essentially is we built a script. So with first name, last name and company name, you do advanced search on Google to find the LinkedIn profile. So you do essentially like first name and last name, and company name sites that linkedin.com and then you know, based on that you will find a profile and then you can automate the the adding using like, any tool such as Phantom buster, for example, to do that, and the response rate is actually great because every time someone signs up he receives potentially a message so I knows this person are interested in email outreach, sales, and growing their company. And based on that, you know, they are really reactive to the content I post. And that helps you know, getting like the the initial traction and then growing your audience with that.

Omer Khan [34:48]
So how many connections you have a LinkedIn and or followers.

Guillaume Moubeche [34:51]
It's around like 12,012 to 13,000

Omer Khan [34:55]
Followers or connections?

Guillaume Moubeche [34:56]
Connections, I would say, yeah, it's viral or less like it Very close.

Omer Khan [35:01]
Wow. Okay. And you mentioned something about like, a couple of hacks that you use. So I don't know how much of those secrets or what you're willing to share. But

Guillaume Moubeche [35:11]
No, no, that's that's something I can share like, a strategy is pretty straightforward is essentially like the way I see LinkedIn is a unit to provide as much value as possible. And then once you've done it, you can get a lot of traction out of it. So the idea is to post out of 10 posts, you would go with nine posts, only providing value and trying to engage with your audience. So with a simple question, for example, and then like the last post would be about something you've done. So for example, what we did is said like, we built the most extensive guide on how to find anyone's email address online. If you're interested in getting that guide, simply comment interested and by doing so people started commenting, and commenting and the more you see people commenting, the more people are actually commenting so it's like crazy like a virtual circle, I would say. And then it gets kind of viral and some of my posts got like, around like 200,000 Jews out of that. But the funny part about it is that that guide was not even, you know, in a lead magnet format, it was actually the first article you can find on our blog. So the next step was actually to message to all those people and send them the link to our blog. But just because, you know, we made it as something you know, you can get it for free, but you need just to comment and it was a bit like scars, you know, and very rare people were just, you know, like going after it and going for it. So was pretty great.

Omer Khan [36:37]
That's a nice little tip there. Okay, so it's been, like less than two years, since you launched the business. Where are you guys in terms of revenue right now.

Guillaume Moubeche [36:50]
So revenue right now we were around like 6 to 700K ARR. Okay. And growing at BT Been like 25 and 30% month over month. So we're recent to the million.

Omer Khan [37:06]
That's great. So if you sort of look back at the last two years, less than two years, right? I mean, we've talked about Okay, you, you, you saw the opportunity. You had your co-founders build the very ugly beta in a couple of weeks. But it still did the job, the most important thing. We've talked about all the different growth strategies and channels that use from App Sumo and Product Hunt, building the community, cold email outreach, etc, all of those things. And you guys have done really well in a very short space of time. But when you look back over that period, what's you know, a mistake or a big lesson that you learn that you wish you had done differently?

Guillaume Moubeche [37:50]
I would say that our biggest mistake was with the affiliates. So we because of the community and the traction we were getting, we were like okay, we can launch an affiliate program. And it's going to work on its own. So we started like, initially, it didn't work. So I decided to invest a bit more time in the affiliate program. And after a while, I started seeing quite a lot of traction from the affiliate. So I was like, That's amazing, you know, because I love this idea of affiliation. It's like people bring you customers, you make money, they make money, everyone's happy, you know? But actually, I went to when I was on holiday in Sri Lanka, I checked on Google Lemlist, and I realized that the first result was from you know, like, ads, so AdWords campaign, and we never ran AdWords campaign. So I was like, That's weird. So I clicked on the link. And then I realized that it was an affiliate link. And actually one of our affiliates was spending very few money, you know, on buying the Lemlist name, getting like stealing essentially our organic traffic towards our websites and getting like money out of it just by essentially like putting you know, you, when you buy your brand name, it doesn't cost anything, you know, because you're directing people to what they're looking for. And it's, it's very cheap. And this guy was having the exact same conversion rate as organic traffic. So it was like, I was like, all right, and I only noticed that after maybe like, four months or three months, and then I was like, seriously and to be honest, I was like, okay, he's smart. And then I was a bit like, annoyed. And when I dig into it, I realized that some users were actually using the affiliate program to kind of like get a 30% discount, because we were giving like 30% share revenue. And those guys were essentially like, connecting on a VPN, creating a new account, paying for that new account with the affiliate link. And just getting like that 30% paid back after a while, you know, and but it was actually like the same user we shouldn't choose a you know, an affiliate thing. So that was like, very Like, whenever big mistake, but you know, it's a great learning also, you know.

Omer Khan [40:05]
So do you still have the affiliate program? Or did you shut it down?

Guillaume Moubeche [40:07]
We do it but in a different way. So now we really like select our full-year our affiliates, and we we do it based more like on trust. So we're going to give them access to, let's say a link or whatever or exist say like we can bring you bigger deals. So let's say teams of I don't know 15 to 30, then you know, we can start talking with them.

Omer Khan [40:30]
Got it. Okay. All right. I think we should wrap up covered a lot of stuff here and our time. So I'm going to go into the lightning round. Yeah. And I'm going to ask you seven quickfire questions? You're ready?

Guillaume Moubeche [40:41]
Awesome. Yeah, let's go.

Omer Khan [40:43]
Okay. What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?

Guillaume Moubeche [40:47]
I think it's Be patient. You know, like running a business is a marathon, not a sprint. And that's so true.

Omer Khan [40:54]
What book would you recommend to our audience and why?

Guillaume Moubeche [40:56]
I really love the “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely just because you know, it's a it's a great book to to understand how people think. And even though people think you know that they they make decision based on their own choice sometime it's not the case.

Omer Khan [41:12]
What's one attribute or characteristic in your mind of a successful founder?

Guillaume Moubeche [41:15]
I think grit and kindness I think being like your understanding like the person you work with being kind is, is most often you know, and value in business, but I still think it's really important.

Omer Khan [41:28]
What's your favorite personal productivity tool or habit?

Guillaume Moubeche [41:31]
I love Notion like seriously, Notion is such a great tool you know, to build your growth experiments manage your To Do's and have overall check on the team. It helps you save so much time.

Omer Khan [41:44]
What's a new crazy business idea you'd love to pursue if you had the extra time?

Guillaume Moubeche [41:48]
If I had the extra time I'll probably create something for analytics. I think like the the current analytics platforms don't answer the need. Most people have like Google Analytics is for example, amazing tool. But it's over complicated for most people. And most people get lost with Google Analytics when you could have actually like very simple dashboard for everyone. And, yeah.

Omer Khan [42:13]
What's an interesting or fun fact about you that most people don't know,

Guillaume Moubeche [42:16]
I actually got scammed in China by like Chinese Mafia, and I actually scammed them back and make money out of it, so….

Omer Khan [42:24]
What?

Guillaume Moubeche [42:25]
Yeah, that was another story.

Omer Khan [42:29]
Yeah, you and I will have to have an offline conversation about that. Yeah. Finally, what is one of your most important passions outside of your work?

Guillaume Moubeche [42:37]
I love spending time with my family, my nephew, my girlfriend, my friends. And that's and I love sports also. So yeah, love it.

Omer Khan [42:45]
Awesome. Great. Now, if people want to find out more about Lemlist to try the product, they can go to lemlist.com. And if people want to get in touch with you, what's the best way for them to do that?

Guillaume Moubeche [42:57]
They can either reach out to guillaume[at]lemlist.com. So most people wouldn't know how to write my name. So you can just otherwise connect on LinkedIn with me and search for CEO of Lemlist. That's the easiest. Okay?

Omer Khan [43:11]
And if you want to know Guillaume is G-U-I-L-L-A-U-M-E Thanks for write that down. Yes. Yeah. Okay, great, Guillaume, thank you. It's been a pleasure, great chatting with you, great guy, you know, really great digging into all of the really interesting stuff that you guys have been doing in a very short space of time. Congratulations on, on what you've managed to achieve in under two years. And I wish you guys all the best as you continue to work on and grow the business.

Guillaume Moubeche [43:39]
Thanks a lot. It was really a pleasure to be to be here. And thanks again. Yeah.

Omer Khan [43:43]
And just for people who are saying it's your mother's birthday today and you're at your parents. Yeah, at your parent's home. And yeah, it's time it's probably a little late now anyway, there in Paris, but it's time for you to get back to the celebration. So thanks for taking the time to do this. Thanks again all the best Cheers. All right, thanks for listening. I really hope you enjoyed the interview. You can get to the show notes as usual by going to theSaaSpodcast.com, where you'll find a summary of this episode and a link to all the resources we discussed. If you enjoyed the episode, then please subscribe to the podcast. And if you're in a good mood, consider leaving a rating and review to show your support for the show. Thanks for listening. Until next time, take care.

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The Show Notes

Omer Khan

Hi, I'm Omer, the founder of SaaS Club and host of The SaaS Podcast. I help early stage founders and entrepreneurs to build, launch and grow successful SaaS businesses. Join me on this journey.