Nikki Wicks
Nov 4, 2014

Q&A: Simon Grabowski of email-marketing firm GetResponse

SINGAPORE - Email marketing can provide startups and small businesses with a platform to compete with large organisations, according to the founder and CEO of GetResponse.

Simon Grabowski: founder and CEO of GetResponse
Simon Grabowski: founder and CEO of GetResponse

Simon Grabowski launched GetResponse in 1997 from his father’s attic in Poland with a budget of $200. He set out to create an email marketing platform that could help small businesses “compete with companies of any size”. Now serving over 350,000 users in more than 183 countries the company boasts that, “the strategy worked so well that today even startups and solo entrepreneurships can establish an online presence that is equal or superior to that of established players in their industries”. Following the recent expansion of GetResponse in Asia, we caught up with its founder and CEO to find out more.

What’s the current state of email marketing? Is it still relevant to business, especially with more brands and businesses turning to digital and mobile marketing to reach out to consumers?

Yes, email still remains a key part in how businesses reach out to consumers, more so for small organisations who may not have the budget for digital and mobile marketing. Our numbers show that demand for email marketing is increasing, especially in the ASEAN markets. ASEAN is the fastest growing technology market in the world and still has a scarcity of regional email and online marketing solutions. 

What’s the business problem that GetResponse solves?

Email continues to serve as the primary mode of communication for businesses, although more and more people are accessing their email inboxes via their smartphones and tablets. More than 40 per cent of emails are deleted because of the incorrect display of content on mobile devices thus emails and landing pages need to be adapted for these devices. GetResponse offers various options to customise the usability and design of emails and landing pages to suit mobile devices, which would be helpful for Asian markets where people are spending more and more time accessing content on their mobile devices.

Why is GetResponse entering the Asia market and what are the plans for the region?

The rapid adoption of online marketing technologies coupled with the increasingly complex needs for SME online marketing makes it challenging to provide a customised solution for each company. As SMEs expand their business all over the world, they would need to utilise the same solutions as their competitors in the Western markets to remain competitive. Since our launch in ASEAN, we’re working to increase our presence in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. There are also plans to localise GetResponse and expand into more markets in ASEAN. This includes exploring options to set up offices and hire teams to provide local account management, sales support and marketing expertise in the region.

How much is GetResponse investing now to start up in Asia?

Since we’ve come a long way from our humble beginnings, our investments in ASEAN will be matched according to the needs of the market. These include hiring local teams of consultants, setting up office space and also being creating marketing and PR campaigns to increase our presence in the region.

What kind of response rate can users expect from GetResponse?

The response rate varies for each organisation since it is dependent on the content that is sent out to their consumer base and also whether markets incorporate their knowledge of engagement triggers and social trends into their campaigns. While emails can be a great tool to generate offers, the future of email marketing for SMEs also has to factor in other marketing strategies such as PPC (pay per click), landing pages and social media.

What are the essentials for a successfull email marketing campaign? How does that differ market to market?

Based on our experience in US, Europe and ASEAN, the essentials for an email campaign that would help to achieve high response rates are:

• Relevance of offer: Personalisation and mailing list segmentation of email content.
• Timeliness: Sending news out globally at the same time to ensure no news is delayed.
• Autoresponders: Content can be dynamic and customised to display offers matched to your subscribers’ preference.

Aren’t there a bunch of firms doing this in Asia already? What’s different about GetResponse?

As an international player in Europe and North America with 15 years of experience, we are a perfect partner to help SMEs expand their business globally. Additionally, we recognise that there is no “one-fits-all” solution and have prepared a wide variety of services for our clients which other email service providers lack. Some of the features are email automation; social media integration; landing page creator; industry template; stock photos and inbox previews which are also designed to be intuitive and easy to use. 


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