Liviu Tanase is a serial entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of ZeroBounce. He started his first company at the age of 18 and since then, has founded several successful tech businesses.
In 2017, he launched ZeroBounce, an email validation and deliverability platform. Despite fierce competition, the company quickly became a top player in the industry. In 2020, it took no. 40 on the Inc. 5000 list and this year, it rose to no. 9 on the Inc. 5000 Florida list.
Liviu himself received prestigious recognition just recently when Forbes magazine included him in its Forbes Next 1000 list celebrating “entrepreneurial heroes.”
In this exclusive interview, he talks to Vizaca about launching his company, entrepreneurship and how email verification improves marketing and sales.
What about email motivated you to want to start a company in that industry?
Email is something that gets better and better. It exceeded what many thought its potential was.
Look at any business and most people’s daily work communication: email is a cornerstone. I also noticed that the more thought and attention a company placed on email marketing, the better they were doing.
With all of that in mind, there are still ways to improve email data management, and that’s the reason I started ZeroBounce.
I knew that one of the wisest uses of email technology was in ensuring the quality of the data. It’s a valuable resource and should be treated accordingly. Those who pay attention to email list quality will have the most effective campaigns.
What were some of the challenges you had to overcome in the first year?
The biggest challenge was finding the right people. If there’s ever something to be selective about, it’s who you will work with. You could have the best office, the best product and great clients, but without a team that fits, you won’t go in the direction you need to at the speed you need to be effective.
The other challenge was to respond to the overwhelming demand for our service in the first few months. We knew that many companies needed email verification, but did not expect that high of a volume at first. It meant we had to really speed up our engines to be able to offer our customers the service they deserve.
Thankfully, we overcame these challenges and now have a solid team that serves more than 125,000 customers worldwide.
There were several email validation companies on the market when you started ZeroBounce. How did you differentiate your product to help it stand out?
We worked very hard on achieving high accuracy, so that was the number one aspect that helped us differentiate. ZeroBounce guarantees an email validation accuracy of 98%.
Our 24/7 customer support is another differentiator. We have a team of 15 email specialists ready to answer any question and guide people on using our platform – 365 days a year. It’s something we’ve offered from the beginning.
Then, it’s the variety of tools you can find on ZeroBounce. We started with email verification but wanted to provide an in-depth check that does more than determining whether an email address is valid. There are certain nuances as to whether an email is good or bad. So, we added different features and tools to the platform to help verify emails and reach the inbox.
Having a product that was more fine-tuned and versatile meant each customer would get better use of the service. A one size fits all approach doesn’t suit the sheer variety of businesses that use email marketing.
Finally, one of the biggest ways I wanted ZeroBounce to be different was our commitment to educating email marketers and business owners. There are many misconceptions about email lists that existed and many persist to this day. I wanted us to contribute to the public’s knowledge about it and help people learn more, whether they are our customers or not. So we put out lots of good information on our blog and other platforms.
How many employees does ZeroBounce have now?
We have 35 employees across Europe and North America. It’s the best team I could have imagined.
How do you manage these remote teams?
This may come across as odd. The number one way to manage a remote team is to decide what each person is working on and then give them the space to do what they need to do.
I trust them because they’ve delivered again and again.
Communication is great, but always think about whether you’re actually communicating or if you’re interrupting instead. We’ve got good people at ZeroBounce and that makes all the difference when working remotely.
What drives you in business right now?
Knowing that our instincts have been right when a product we develop exceeds a user’s expectations. What drives me is then wondering how we can top that. Asking ourselves how can we not only meet the needs of email marketers but also, come up with technology that helps them, that nobody had even dreamed of yet.
What would you say to someone who’s still on the fence about starting an email newsletter?
Part of me wants to know if they have any plans to communicate with smoke signals. I’m only half-joking.
It’s never too late to start an email newsletter and it’s one of those things that fits all sizes of business. You could be very small or just getting started. Alternatively, I always hear about corporations that realize what they have been missing out on.
Not starting an email newsletter because you haven’t yet is like never learning to drive or deciding not to join a gym. It’s never too late to start. I’ve seen email newsletters that were game-changers. So, get it going!
What is the best way to grow an email list?
The best way to grow an email list is to send out superb emails. Imagine what it would be to send out emails that were of service to the subscribers. Now, try to think about how to top yourself.
The second thing? Make it easy for people to sign-up! It shouldn’t be like joining a secret society. Have your sign-up forms everywhere. Let people know that it exists by promoting it on social media, your website and in any physical locations you have.
Before you even get off the ground, you must respect and protect that valuable information you have. Being entrusted with someone’s email address isn’t something to take lightly. This is where email validation comes into play. It’s how you protect that valuable asset and furthermore, it shows your readers that you are serious.
If you don’t practice good email hygiene, your subscribers will eventually end up not seeing your emails. What kind of impression will that make? In some respects, it will be worse than a bad impression: you’ll simply be forgotten.
The last thing is this: the email newsletters that make a great impact are the ones created by people who wanted to do something really good. The uninspired and the half-hearted can be easy to spot. It’s just like anything in business – if you’re not trying, why do it?