V-cast with Mailjet:How to scale to a world wide brand

Host: Richard Fallah, CEO at VBOUT.

Guest Speaker: Miles DePaul, Head of Marketing, North America at Mailjet and Kyle Beldoch,
Senior Customer Success Manager at Mailjet


In this episode of top marketer, we met with the marketing team of Mailjet, an email SMTP and SMS tool that initially started in France as a developer focused tool and then branched out to target enterprise clients.

Mailjet was able to scale, using a powerful content marketing strategy and a great SEO footprint. They targeted people at the problem-aware stage to discuss solutions for their problems, then from there, offer them relevant content. By the time the buyer is ready, they will engage with the team.

Mailjet was also able to scale using partner channels. The key to their success is that they focused on the area of strength and the things that made them best at what they do, then approach the partner with a clear value already in place.

Other channels that they used are events around thought leadership.

Mailjet recently raised a series B round and has become a worldwide brand with 20 people on the marketing team.

What’s Mailjet?

Mailjet is an email service provider for teams like Etsy, Toasts and ProductHunt. They work with brands, create, send and monitor marketing emails such as newsletters and promotional campaigns as well as transactional emails such as receipts or password resets.

It’s the tool that helps marketers create and design beautiful campaigns on both marketing and transactional side as well as build the engine, pipeline and infrastructure to be able to send millions of emails every hour.

So can you build your email, upload your lists and blast campaigns through your platform?

Yes. We also have an API that you can plug into your product, tool or service.

You do also have SMS, don’t you?

Yes. We focus on a transactional SMS, particularly password resets.

How many customers and brands do you currently work with?

We have a hundred thousand customers in total, across the world. They vary from mom and pop shops and small businesses, all the way up to some fortune 500 brands.

It depends on the marketer, IT team and what type of tool they’re looking for. As mentioned earlier, we have the marketing suite of tools for someone who’s not able to control it. If you’re an IT manager , we have a full suite of developer tools. If you need an SMTP relay for your tool, we can support that as well.

What’s your fundraising phase?

We’re headquartered in Paris and had a lot of growth in Europe. Couple of years ago, we got our series B and looked for growth across North America.

How many people are running the marketing team?

Globally speaking, we have about 20 people on the team dispersed across 6 different offices now and headquartered mainly in Paris. We also have footprints in Germany, Spain and lately in Netherlands, London, U.S and Canada.

Did you initially start as an API tool and then eventually, build it up to do it yourself?

Yes. We started as a tool for developers and it was just an API or SMTP relay, when we got that large series B funding. We really focused on the marketing suite of tools: building up a nice user interface, a drag-and-drop builder that’s fully responsive. It’s actually built on our own markup language or MJML to make sure that when your mail gets to the inbox, it renders correctly across different devices and email clients which is very important when you’re designing an email to look good, no matter where someone opens it, whether it’s a tablet or desktop.

On mobile, we’ve actually seen 55% or 60% being opened. Therefore, we have a mobile first-thought process with our drag and drop builder and then circling back to our core infrastructure, making sure that we can scale with large brands to send up to tens of millions of emails in an hour and produce statistics about these emails in real time.

So did you create the MJML language markup?

Yes. We have a lot of large brands across the world using MJML, even if they are not sending with MailJet.

Once the MJML markup is there, do you take care of the rest?

Yes. Before MJML, our email templates were a mess and but after that, it saved the brand a lot of time and money.

It is also fully open source. You can join the MJML slack room and ask Niko, our product owner, any questions.

What’s your competitive advantage?

For us, it’s certainly our infrastructure which is the ability for our users to send marketing and transactional email campaigns quickly and auto scale to their needs in a much faster way. So when it comes to our competitive edge with a lot of the other major ESPs, we’re right there or even exceeding them with our ability to meet a lot of the volume needs for the large brands that we work with.

In addition, it’s also about the fact that we were built from day one to be both a great marketing as well as transactional tool and all-in-one provider. As for Mailchimp, they have their own transactional tool that they built which is Mandrill, but the thing is that you have to make 2 accounts separately and you can’t share templates.

As a result, we focus on having an all-in-one platform for all our customers needs which allow brands to send both marketing and transactional campaigns at the same time.

And for those who want to use us, we don’t only empower them on the tool but also on the best practices in the email space.

What’s also exciting is our reseller model, which allows our customers to work closely with our brands to create a solution that works for their specific needs. It’s a white label solution where we come in and provide an email marketing tool within your own SaaS product or we work with agencies where we have a refined and detailed user controls, so you could be an agency that holds a master account and have all sorts of different clients under sub-accounts that allow you to own the brand, control it and contribute where necessary. Therefore we’re really focusing on offering much more customized solutions.

What about your acquisition channels?

There are lot but those that are fruitful for us are SEO in which we invested time in the early days and continue to do. So when it comes to our self service signups of which are those small business users that come in, signup and start sending immediately, always in our enterprise, a lot of them are driven by our content marketing and website team who make sure that we’re doing and ranking well when it comes to email marketing and transactional newsletters.

What are the main topics you feel is speaking directly to your persona?

The developer audience is definitely where we see a lot of interest because when you get into more advanced email needs, you need that developer to get on board and think about things like automation, segmentation, testing in a
more robust way and integrating with the rest of your product. We’re now working on a piece of content around how to integrate email to your app and that could be a small business launching an app.

For instance, we work with La Liga that launched their fantasy sports app and we’ve integrated our whole infrastructure within that. So it’s really telling that story about how you can use email in that entire journey in both marketing as well as enhancing the user experience around your product.

So do developers land on and go through the topics that you create for them, and then opt in to receive drip content?

Yes. They sign up for a newsletter and download a piece of content and then we target them with drip campaigns afterwards. We’re trying to move some content away from gating it.

We help prospects get interested in the product and once they research well about it, they contact the sales team or have a self-service conversation, asking some final questions before reaching the ultimate version that we’re looking for which is either signing up to the platform or requesting a demo. It’s all about driving them right to these two CTAs.

Are you using Chatbots to self qualify your leads

Yes. We launched our live chat in the last 6 months and then we’ve started to lead some efforts to make it a bit more of an automated process. This is the direction we’re heading because the main goal is to get a meeting booked as soon as possible and start having that conversation since we’re in a saturated market and we position ourselves as someone who will be providing that quick, one-to-one human experience instead of having to wait three days to receive back an email reply from the user after the initial one.

How do you approach partnership channels for acquiring new customers?

We work with Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform and there’s been one in Europe called 1&1 IONOS but I think the best comparable is GoDaddy. They all do different things and provide the backend of the email infrastructure for a brand and provide an email service among other services.

We work with these big players as a reseller or white label, as mentioned earlier or be part of Google or Microsoft Azure which led to drive quick signups but we were also trying to build that awareness and integrating with the right platforms where our customers are.

When you have a small customer base, what’s the best way to approach those big brands to start building integration with?

It’s the willingness to work. Instead of approaching these brands and asking for a partnership, put some chips on the table and make the conversation sounds more interesting and engaging to encourage such brands to invest with you. For example, say “Here’s the integration we perceive and here’s a customer or two we think might work for each one of us and give us a trial one. So let’s go from there.”

Instead of doing cold outreach, try to come up with an actual solution and bring value to these brands. A stronger approach than leaning out your strengths is to focus on one pillar that you think you could do well which complement what these big brands are working on.

Any other channels of acquisition that you’ve been able to win in or crack after trial and error?

The most channels that are driving us results are SEO, partners and events when we get out in front of a new market and people, and have a thought-leadership component alongside it, where we can evangelize something new in the email space.

We launched what we think is the industry-leading features when it comes to email teams and collaboration such as Google Docs for email creation, having multiple people on the platform at once; and that became a multiple channel campaign but around the fence, evangelizing this idea that email is a team sport which means helping you work more effectively.

Therefore, it’s kind of a brand-awareness campaign by telling the story in a different way within a saturated market, and this is what helped us differentiate from some of our competitors.