Hello, my name is Gnanaprakash Rathinam, and I am the founder of Clearout, a versatile Email Finder and Email Verification tool. It enhances your reach by finding the email address of ideal prospects and guarantees maximum email deliverability by verifying the quality of email addresses.
I'm a software engineer with over 20 years of experience creating and inventing world-class software and apps. A significant portion of my experience is in early-stage startups, where we start from zero, build, and innovate while keeping user needs and new methodologies in mind.
Being a tech enthusiast, I knew I had to create a SaaS product to ease all-scale businesses and entrepreneurs' marketing and sales processes. When it comes to solving sales and marketing challenges with technology, I discovered that the current tools aren't cost-effective or user-friendly for non-techie users.
Putting all these threads together, I found my goal!
"Clearout is one such user-friendly tool that lets you".
"Capture Prospect Smartly & Reach Confidently"
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
The idea of Clearout came up to me after a few rough and stressful experiences.
Just do it (even if it isn’t perfect).
The initial idea was to integrate all digital marketing channels into one to help in intelligent decision-making. Soon enough, we dropped the idea realizing that the tool-in-progress may not be valuable and affordable to all sections of marketers & sellers.
For example - Small business owners would prefer email marketing instead of spending blindly on Facebook or Google Ads.
My team conducted further research and studies, concluding that our Saas product would strengthen Email marketing. Some people may not realize it, but emails have been used for marketing since the early 1990s and have the potential to generate a return on investment of up to 4400%, which is more than any other marketing platform!
Email is a cornerstone of any business and most people's everyday work communication. I also saw that the more effort and attention a company puts into email marketing, the better. Keeping this in mind, there are still methods to improve email data management, which is why I created Clearout.
I knew that one of the best uses of email technology was to ensure data quality. It is a valuable resource that must be treated as such. Those who pay attention to the quality of their email lists will have the most successful campaigns.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
The first product was Clearout Email Verifier.
After extensive research, I was confident that an actual strong market awaits the product.
But finding the appropriate personnel was the most challenging task. If there's one thing you should be picky about, it's who you work with. You might have the best office, product, and clients in the world, but without a cohesive team, you won't be able to move forward at the pace required to be effective.
After finalizing the team, I divided it into three groups working on a role. The groups were
- the product team, determined to offer the highest quality with ease of use
- The content and design team, working to communicate with the right messaging
- The sales and marketing team, generating awareness, bringing and nurturing the clients
We did not hire any third party for any task; from designing to the actual launch, all activities were carried out within the system with the limited team members.
Clearout is like a child to us, which we are raising, nurturing, and improving each day.
Describe the process of launching the business.
Product launch is the first step of any business, so it has to be planned carefully. We always start with the checklist and discuss the defined responsibility with the team & individual, starting from marketing, sales, and support. Doing so helps us to a large extent to minimize the risk or any hiccups.
Our initial launch had multiple iterations. Even though we know our competitive advantages, w.r.t other players, the first launch was a soft launch with only the closed group of users in the market. This helped us gather feedback quickly and act accordingly. The second iteration of the launch was more towards scaling and factors like concurrency, accuracy, and performance. Within a month, we opened up for the entire world, and that's how the Clearout journey started. Since then, it has been bootstrapped and self-sustained,
The problem just after the launch was dealing with the avalanche of requests for our service over the first several months. We knew that many businesses need email verification, but we did not initially anticipate such a significant number. It meant that we had to rev up our engines to provide the level of service that our consumers deserved.
Thankfully, we have overcome these obstacles and today have a strong workforce serving over 20,000 consumers worldwide.
Initial Website Home Page:
Improvised Website Page:
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
To attract and retain customers we work towards;
Standing Out In The Competition - We put in a lot of effort to get great accuracy; therefore, it was the most important factor in helping us stand apart. More than 98 percent of email validation accuracy is guaranteed by Clearout.
Giving Unmatchable Support - Another point of difference is our round-the-clock client service. It's a service we've provided since the beginning.
Check other reviews too:
Driving Organic Traffic - Writing regular blogs, link-building through guest blogging, using referral platforms like Quora can bring a good volume of organic traffic.
Driving Engagement Through Social Media - Join groups, share posts and create a community around your product.
Encouraging Referral/Word of Mouth- Referral from existing users can be a real game-changer, as they tend to bring in a lookalike audience who are interested in buying the service, offer them the option to sign up as an affiliate and it has a win-win situation for both.
Never use any of the above platforms like quora, guest blogging, etc., for direct promotion of your product. Knowledge and growth hacks are what the audience wants to know. Wrap your product in the sheet of knowledge; otherwise, the content can be ignored completely.
For example, the link shared below talks about email marketing campaigns and does not point towards email verification. The good engagement drove admirable traffic to the website.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Good...No wait...It’s Great!
Clearout is already counted amongst the top five email verification tools available in the market. Some renowned platforms have ranked us the best in terms of accuracy and bounce rate.
Though the pandemic caused some distraught in the activities, we have coped up and are looking forward to a brighter future.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
One helpful lesson about Saas products is that don’t push your product on the prospects; instead, be committed to educating the marketers and business owners.
There used to be many misconceptions regarding email lists, and many of them remain today. I wanted us to contribute to the public's understanding of it and to assist people in learning more about it, whether or not they were our clients. As a result, we provide a wealth of helpful material on our blog and other platforms.
Consequently, people come to us with their problems related to email marketing on broader terms, we analyze them on a larger scale and decide our next course of action, or you can say the next product update.
Creating ‘Clearout for Google Sheet’ is an example of such data-driven conversations with the users and prospects - Case Study.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Our entire solution is built on top of open-source tools but mostly customized for our needs. Websites run on Wordpress, WebServices run on Apache+NodeJS. Database on MongoDB, Redis.
Some more tools to keep us moving forward & be updated:
- Wordpress for the website
- An Internally developed complete CRM setup
- Linkedin, Facebook & Twitter for outreach & branding
- Moosend as an ESP support
- Google AdWords for advertising
- Google Analytics & Webmaster for all Datapoints
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Few resources I would refer to :
The McKinsey Podcast -One of the chapters of the McKinsey podcast on “How to future-proof your organization” has been a useful one.
Backlinko Link-Building Case Study is the ultimate guide to SEO hacks.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Turn your idea into an asset but take care of the following :
- Perform a detailed R&D to estimate the need for a product
- Solve a burning problem
- Start with a narrow focus first and expand
- Always be aware of your competitors’ moves
- Take your time and choose your team wisely
- Focus on employee morale
- Just do it (even if it isn’t perfect)
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Clearout is always open for the fresh minds of engineers, marketers, and sales personnel who want to help build a great platform and tools to solve problems that matter in the real world.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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