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ASK ABEY ANYTHING About Internet Marketing!!

As a part of our ASK RODINHOODERS series, it’s awesome to have our in-house Internet Marketing God Abey John with us. Abey likes to call himself the Motor Mouth (if you’ve read any of his comments you’ll know why!!). Now Abey is not as scary as his online avatar seems to be; don’t misjudge him by his candidness or his “french”. He actually loves therodinhoods to bits and will go out of his way to help a fellow rodinhooder!

ps: He has a lot of Rodinhooder clients who are very happy with him!

And in real life (yeah, I’ve actually met Abey when I visited Pondicherry last year) he is a gentle guy who drives a mean machine. He actually took my seven year old on a motorbike ride through town!!

Abey’s ‘About Me’:  

“I am a sci-fi, star trek, enlightenment/liberation, rock-n-roll nut, and I suppose a repressed RTS gamer who accidentally stumbled into SEO, Google Adwords, Copywriting, Conversion Optimization, Email marketing, Remarketing and blah blah blah.  The whole ball of internet marketing wax.  Ooooh wow all these dials and numbers, you mean we just need to adjust the system for these dashboard thingie of metrics to rake in the moolah? #fuckyeah bring it on! Not as good as teleportation but then… we gotta take it as it comes.

I started my internet marketing stint after reading up on SEO and optimizing a site for it.  Six months later when I checked, the site was #1 in Google for their primary industry keyword.  That’s when the realization hit me: this shit actually works.  

The next realization followed close on its heels ‘coz even though the site was #1 it had very few enquiries: You need more than SEO to actually get leads and conversions.  

Which send me down the rabbit hole chase of all the rest.  Which effectively made me into a firehose of knowledge about internet marketing.

Which, to be frank, is perfectly useless to you unless you learn how to deploy it in the proper sequence based on your growth, your current fiscal objectives, your market “capture” objectives, and other “dirty factors” like the resources (money, time, talent) you have in your arsenal.


What you can ask me about 


Ask me anything – life, the universe, everything – but read this first.

Here’s a fact.  90% of all startups fail.  There are a gazillion reasons why startups fail.  I’ll try and help you eliminate marketing from that bucket list.

As an entrepreneur, marketing is critical to your success.  Alok will say no.  I agree.  🙂 It’s a zen thing.  

Let me explain.  

One of the greatest direct response marketers of all time, the late Sir Gary Halbert, asked the only question that actually matters.  “What do you need to sell?”.  And he gives the answer: “A hungry crowd” 

(FYI the “Sir” honorific is the direct response marketing community’s bestowal of knighthood on him, not the Queen of England. :))

Marketing is about finding your “hungry crowd”.  

Alok depends on the platform and organic discovery to bring him his hungry crowd.  He focuses on the masala and vada pav the hungry crowd is clamouring for: Addictive Game Play.  In the games market that’s the only thing that really matters.  

Gamers are ravenous beasts who will sniff out a new game and devour it.  You don’t need to market to them, you just need to send out whiffs of game play scent out into the interweb tubes.  They’ll find you.  In fact active paid marketing to them maybe counterproductive.  

Dark side of the gaming industry: The addiction with one game wears off after a while and then you need to feed them again.  Zynga after its stratospheric climb is now what?  They tried to clone farmville with facelifts calling it any number of different things.  But the game play essentially remained the same.  That particular gameplay addiction had worn off and you can’t fool gamers with graphic overlays and new reward labels and icons.

Explicitly or implicitly your marketing has to focus on three areas: 

Reach – how many people in your “hungry crowd” know about your product or service?  how many people in your “hungry crowd” recognize your brand?  What strategies, tactics, and methods will you use to reach?

Engagement  – how many people in your “hungry crowd” are interacting with your brand, product, service? What strategies, tactics, and methods will you use to get them to click, like, comment, share information about your brand’s product or service?

Conversion – howmany people in your “hungry crowd” are buying (including non-monetary “buys” like page impressions)  from you? 1% Conversion? WTF!  99% dont buy from you?  Don’t quote me industry averages!

Your job, as the chief honcho of your enterprise, is to build a marketing machine that will: Reach your hungry crowd consistently, pull them into a conversation with your brand consistently, and finally convince them that your solution will satisfy that growl in their belly.

Once you have that nailed then you can figure out the hows and wherefores – SEO, copywriting, UX facelifts, etc.  

In everything you need to keep asking the question: What’s the shortest path to the money with all this tamasha?  And you have to be brutally honest with the answer.  Sometimes the shortest path is an excruciatingly painful undertaking.  So, be ready to tighten your belt and plunge in and get dirty.

Ask me anything in the comments and I’ll give you a no bs answer.” 



As you can imagine, Abey is very much following this page!!

On twitter he’s @sunfever



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  1. 🙂 Am on board.  

  2. Sanjeev, the concept of watches as a mass consumer product is dead or dying.  

    Unless there is some big revival campaign, or some catastrophe that kills the internet, watches are more a collector or hobbyist item.  I assume you are talking about the traditional watches and not the new wearables that are picking up.

    In such a scenario you can:

    1) Focus on high end brands and build a loyal following.  These guys are still “hungry” for high quality, statement pieces that sets them apart from the crowd.  

    2) Get into the wearables market aggressively and get the products to market in India before anyone else.  

    Trying to build a sustainable business on traditional watches in a standard retail ecommerce format is a zero sum race to the bottom.  Your inventory carrying cost will wipe out everything unless you have some kind of drop ship or consignment arrange with the vendor.  Sorry but that’s my honest opinion given where we are today.  90% of people I meet dont have watches and all of them reach for the phone to look at the time.

    To the specific customer behaviours you highlighted here are my suggestions:

    a) Some buy it for gift purpose – put them on a newsletter devoted high end watches.

    b) Some buy it for personal use when they want to replace the old one after 1,2 or 5 years – try a subscription service where you can give a select model range of watches they wear for x months and then rotate.

    c) Some buy it when they see another variety of the product and cant resist themselves to buy and use one more – this behavior fits in with the “hunger”.

    A subscription plus news letter service should be the way to go.  You have to curate the “best watches from around the world” and build the trust with your audience as THE HOROLOGIST they will turn to when they want to feed their lust for watches. 🙂

  3. You are welcome.  It is a tough road but once you get the marketing machine rolling you should be able to make a decent income from it.  Watches are still hot as statement pieces and fashion accessories. 

  4. I like the thought of starting a “rental” service for watches at Rs. X a day. Just like Furlenco is doing for Furniture. There are plenty of people who would like to wear “Hublot” one day and “Tag Heuer” the other.

  5. yep that’s a really neat idea! rent-a-watch !!

  6. Hi Abey,

    Thanks a lot for the above pointers. I am too looking for that hungry crowd

    We are into the business of cleaning clothes – you can call us next gen Dhobis. We run by the brand name of AniClean

    We are present on Delhi NCR with 3 outlets, all self owned.

    Recently we started with our presence on Social space (Facebook and Twitter)

    The response is cold. Need some ideas on how to reach the hungry customer. Please share some insights



  7. Hi,

    Quick question for you

    What do you think is the Cost of Acquistion for a Taxi brand like TFS or Ola is?

    And what is it for an apparel e-commerce website ?

  8. Hi Utkarsh,

    Sorry for the delay in responding.  Have been a bit busy.

    Your ‘hungry crowd’ has one additional wrinkle that is impossible to plan for: time.  Their hunger is event driven.  Unless they are a cleaning fanatic they are not going to engage with any kind of ‘laundry’ content so your social media efforts are not going to see much traction.  🙂

    What you need is reach (and branding).  People should remember that AniClean is the place to go get their laundry and dry cleaning done professionally. 

    This can be achieved in a number of ways.  First though you need to clean up your site.  Here are a few pointers.

    1. We are in a service economy.  Does your hungry crowd want self service or to be treated like royalty.  Your competitor is the street corner dhobi.  

    2. You havent mentioned the actual pricing anywhere.  Have a pricing page with a contact form where they can request pickup.

    3. Your membership scheme sounds very promising and very vague.  Make it crisp and clear listing out pricing and benefits.  Membership billing is difficult to set up in a simple way in India.  You may want to consider a discount card or something.  

    4. On your services page, explain each service in at least 100 words. Nice icons but you still need to tell them what you are doing for them.  

    5. Make it easy to order a pickup from any page.  

    6. And oh yes, make it mobile/tablet responsive.  It is no longer optional.  

    How to reach and convert:  Buyer behavior in your market is typically that they will be very finicky at first and then they’ll slip into a routine once they find your service is top notch.  Customer Lifetime Value and Customer Repeat Rate in your business both are typically very high so you can spend more on acquiring the customer.  

    How much you spend on acquiring the customer will depend on your appetite for risk in the absence of data: e.g.  Have a landing page that offers them Rs. X worth of wash for getting your Discount Card at Rs. Y.  Where X is at least Rs. 2Y.  OR  Gives them a discount coupon.

    The key factor that you want to capture with the offer is their contact details.  You can use it to engage with them.  However, considering that laundry is one of those invisible services market your engagement should be tangential, unobtrusive.  You just want them to remember you when they think of laundry next.  

    Ways to engage once you have their contact details:  I was thinking an SMS/WhatsApp laundry joke every week.  They should look forward to your joke.  Maybe create a page on the site where you post the jokes as well.  

    Conversion: There is nothing you can do.  🙂 They know who you are now, how good you are, you just have to sit back and wait for them to start placing orders when they have dirty clothes.  

    Use SMS/WhatsApp to send transaction confirmation messages, pickup, wash, dispatch.  Make it easy for them to hit reply and request a pickup.  For example, if they send a blank sms from their registered phone, they will get registered for a pickup.

    The fastest way to reach would be FB Ads or Adwords.  Narrow your coverage to the best geo location coverage you can get that centers around your shops or the areas you service.  Run display and branding ads that drive them to the landing page and get them to signup for the offer.  

    Everyone who doesn’t signup stalk them with remarketing ads for the next 540 days (or whatever is the maximum number of days permitted).  At some point on the time space continuum an event horizon will pop up (I watch too much Star Trek! :)) where they require professional cleaning.  Your ad branding will drive top of mind recall.  

    Offline sure shot low tech approach: Drop paper leaflets at every building colony at every door in a 2 KM radius around your shops.  Do this consistently twice a month for the next year.  The low tech leaflet will also achieve the same thing.

    If you will, your goal is to become ‘invisible’.  That is, your customers no longer think or weigh choices when it comes to laundry, there is only one default service provider for that.  

    You have the advantage many businesses don’t have – customers are for a life time, i.e. the actual living life time of the customer and in some cases many generations of the same customers family.  

    As long as you are sure about customer retention (professional service, excellent customer service standards, other bells and whistles, etc) then I wouldn’t worry too much with your upfront customer acquisition cost.  You have a lifetime to recover that.  🙂

  9. Hey Chirag,

    Short answer – for hard numbers google is your best friend.  🙂

    Cost of Acquisition is a subset of lifetime customer value.  Especially so in the apparel business because of the competition.  You should not hope to have a CoA that makes profit on the first sale if you are talking general apparel.  You need to have a repeat buying marketing program in place to make your numbers.  

    If you are talking a specific niche within apparel, then you may have a chance provided there is a sufficiently large enough market for that.

    On a relative scale, cost of acquisition (aka cost of sales) is typically between 15-20% of sales.  But this can vary widely depending on factors like your company’s growth stage, market competition, etc.

  10. abey – you never fail to amaze….!

  11. Abey, I am in a similar boat as Aniclean. I am in the idea phase for a cell phone service business. Its totally need based and its local. The marketing part is where I am a little stuck. Me and my brother have come up with some ideas. I would love your feedback on it. Here goes.

    1. Build a local audience on Facebook by running some local ads.
    2. Engage audience by sharing content thats already popular and being shared. (Listicles, posters, memes). Goal is to increase facebook audience organically by using share worthy content.
    3. Publish offers for customer lock in. If they have X rs coupon, its more likely they will choose me when the need arises. These coupons will be distributed via Facebook offers and also via pamphlests. Will use missed calls to genrate leads and capture relevant data on the phone by calling the customer. Will also have a online form to fill for more tech friendly users.
    4. Keep potential customers engaged via SMS, whatsapp etc with offers, jokes, news etc.
    5. Creating a blog with click bait and share worthy content or curate content. This is a long term strategy for driving awareness and generaring inbound leads.

    What else do you think can be done?
    Do you see any holes in this strategy?

    I would love to hear your opinion on this one.

    PS: dont have a website ready yet.

  12. Yuvraj, unlike AniClean you have a big disadvantage.  Customer loyalty is not a given in the phone service business so LTV is going to be low and you need to work harder at establishing your brand in your audience’s mind.  You also have to watch your customer acquisition cost.  

    What you need is footfall.  If they walk in once then it is unlikely they will walk out without buying from you.  

    So the challenge is: Let people in your locality know that you are the phone repair expert they should turn to.

    We’re a consumer culture now and most people change phones often.  And phone service shops are plenty.  How will you stand out from the rest?

    Having an FB page with content related to phone repair and maintenance is a good move.  As with AniClean you don’t and they don’t know when they are going to need you.  Unlike AniClean though people will be more interested in learning about phone care tips.  So the FB page will help with top of mind recall if you position yourself as a phone repair expert sharing free tips and advice.  However, this will only reach a subset of people who are interested in fiddling around with their phone settings and stuff.  You will need to figure out a mix of content that will appeal to a wide audience range.  App reviews, website reviews.  When its exam time – talk about exam related sites and apps. etc.

    You don’t need offers, coupons or anything.  When my phone is broke all I want to know is that it can be fixed and working in no time.  I will rail and rant at the injustice of having to pay 40% of phone cost for a cracked screen but finally I will meekly pay.  

    Your challenge is getting people in your locality to like your page.  And that’s going to be hard online.  Ad geo-location targeting is still not all that great in India.  You will have to play around with it for a while to see what works. 

    If there is a local paper or local TV you should talk to the editor and get them to write about your FB page and how you are there to help everyone in the area with their phone problems.  They just have to post on your page and you will help them immediately.  

    You should also distribute leaflets to every house.  An ad about your shop on one side along with a replica of your facebook page showing tips on the other side.  I would say do it once or twice a month.

    Find out the local newspapers in your area.  Wrangle a deal with the editor where you contribute one phone related article every issue in exchange for ad space.

    The SMS idea is good too.  But you have to be careful of DND and other related spam issues.  Be very careful.  DoT is getting tighter.

    I would always recommend a website.  You have to own your leads and customer data.  Drive people to your page, capture their contact details and have a low frequency contact schedule where you share tips and advice about phone care and maintenance.

    Your core challenge is to get people in your area to register your shop in their minds as the phone repair experts.  You can do that with something called In Your Face Marketing if you have the appetite.  

    Basically you hold a big tamasha where everyone knows you repair phones.  Like, I heard of this car dealer in NY I think, who would get on local TV and destroy a brand new car and then tell the audience, he is specially crashing prices and making brand new cars so dirt cheap that they can buy it and smash it up.  🙂 

    If you decide to go that route I have an idea.  Do a whacko video and then work to make it go viral.  The video should involve your store, some popular hero character from Indian Cinema, and a smashed up phone or something.  (Gabbar Singh down on his luck has fallen on hard times and is caught robbing Mrs. Sharma phone.  She beats the crap out of him and in the process breaks the phone.  your shop saves the day.  Mrs. Sharma is happy. Gabbar Singh is happy to escape Mrs. Sharma’s wrath. :))It should be outrageous and funny at the same time.  Have you seen the Dollar Shave Club video ad and the Old Spice Man?  Don’t worry too much about production values.  Just browse through youtube hits to get an idea.  You then get local bragging rights and hopefully some press coverage to go with it.  Which in turn will lead to top of mind recall.  

    “inbound leads” is inapplicable in your case.  You are a point solution provider.  Your potential customer only exists in a space when their phone has a problem, secondly your coverage area is limited.  What you have to gear yourself for is inbound sale.

    Have a page where they can book a phone pickup for repair. Have a mobile card processor so that your customer can swipe and pay without leaving his house.  

    What you need to focus on understanding is ‘what your hungry customer wants when their phone needs to be fixed’.  Put yourself in their shoes.  For example business executive will want a standby phone – so you can offer a premium membership card or something which will guarantee them x benefits including a standby phone.  

    As a phone services business you need to take a good hard look at the question ‘why should anyone come to you vs going to the hazaar other phone service shops’.  You have to identify differentiators that are real, that will move the needle on sales and customer retention.  

  13. 🙂 ty

  14. Thats some great advice right there. Let me clarify some things about what I wrote earlier.

    When I meant local, I meant local to a whole city, not locality.

    The service is not in a retail store.

    There will be pick ups and delivery for each repair (USP 1).

    Unlike local vendors, you will get warranty on repairs done (USP 2).

    A standby phone idea is something I already thought of, the specifics have to be worked on to prevent fraud. Its also a great USP and a revenue and loyalty driver like Amazon Prime and Flipkart One. Maybe Amazon Prime did not make money, but sure hell worked for customer loyalty.

    The coupon idea is relevant, especially because there are other options available to the customer. The idea is to give a coupon away for free for a repair that MIGHT happen. But if you do need a repair then my service will pick up your phone, repair it, deliver it back to you with an awesome turnaround, offer warranty on the repair and also (possibly) offer a temporary replacement phone. And you happen to have a coupon that will save you money. That offer is hard to beat. Since repairs typically have a decent ticket value, the cost of coupons will not turn unit profitability negative.
    Facebook ads make it cheap and effective to run ads like ‘people in Indore with age of 15-30 using an iPhone 6’. Since the audience is narrowed down and low, the ad costs will be low as well. Also, a tailor made ad specific to your device will perform better than generic for all ads. Atleast thats what I think.

    Another idea that might work is borrowed from Freecharge’s playbook. Tie up with a coupon company and distribute coupons worth x on every reapir.

    Website and a landing page is coming. Its just not ready yet. 🙂

    The viral video is good, I’ll work on it.

    To generate press, we had another idea. The idea was to use the concept of Tweet to Pay in the real world. The concept goes something like this. Set up a kiosk in a busy area with a youth crowd, like a mall on movie release. The offer would be tweet about us, fb share us, or Instagram us in exchange for a free scratch guard. Offer takers will take a selfie with us and share it and we’ll put a new screen guard on their phones.

    Clarifying in the USP part a little now. The goal of the business is to do what online shopping did to the shopping experience in general, making it easily accessible, quick with a wide variety of choice. Thats the blue ocean I am trying to create.

    Hope that clarifies.

    Appreciate the time you have me, hit me with more if think is relevant.

  15. Oh good, I thought you were limited to a local area.

    City wide: Have a branding ad running on FB at a fixed daily budget.  Should attempt to reach the entire city’s FB population once per day.  I would recommend billboards at key locations in the city too.  Also set up remarketing.

    Coupons: The primary gimmick that coupons serve is to incentivize the customer into taking action when there is a sea of choices.  Answer this question: When their phone breaks down, who else is there as a viable option with the level of service that you provide?  You are giving away money when you don’t need to.  How many coupons have you collected that you’ve never cashed in?  If at the moment their phone breaks down you offer them a coupon then thats a different story.  Coupons as part of a ad blitz is okay but not as a sales incentive in your line of biz.  

    Screen guard/coupon distribution gimmick is okay, will build some brand recognition.  But again not needed.  You want to catch the customer with the broken phone.  The feel good pulse will be forgotten in a few days.  

    You have some good ideas but your pitching to the wrong hungry crowd.  The hunger for your service only exists in this ephemeral twilight zone when their phone is broken down.  Zero in all the emotional upheavels that your prospect will go through because of the phone breakdown, the terror of loss of communication, the intense need to find out whats happening on FB and being cut off from it, etc.  Turn that emotional loss into benefits with your service.  Then, as with AniClean sit back and wait.  Let the customer with the broken find you. You cannot incentivize sales when the primary requirement for a sale is out of both you and your customer’s hands.

    Your marketing job is simply to communicate: If you have a broken phone come to us because of x,y,z benefits and the awesome shawsome red carpet treatment we give you alongwith the peace of mind, pro service, warranty… and a trip to disney land.  🙂 

    That’s it.  

    Do you chose hospitals based on coupons and discounts? The phone has become a life line and when cut off the emotional upheaval is similar to a hospital visit.  Zoom in on that.

    Let the customer’s own emotional churn work for you.

  16. Should google adword campaign be outsourced or it should be done inhouse.

    My site is am one man army doing the startup.

    I have limited funds.Is there any skill which a SEM vendor adds to the campaign.

  17. Vikas, adwords is a money sucking beast that needs to be handled carefully.  However, the only vendor I can recommend is Yatin Mulay.  I personally know he was responsible for a 500% improvement in one adwords account.  

    If you are tight on funds and want to do it on your own use the “go narrow” strategy.  i.e. start with exact match keywords, send them to a page that echoes the keywords and ad copy.  Make sure you are measuring ROAS and not just ROI.  Retain those that convert with greater than 1 ROAS, dump those that don’t.  

    I will ask Yatin to chime in too.  

  18. Apologies for the late response. You advise is crisp and I have taken it with both hands open

    Already started working on my new website. I will definitely share it with you once it’s ready.

    Also working on s/w development for instore handling and customer POS. Have included the points you have mentioned of maintain membership accounts.

    Hopefully I will share the developments very soon.

    Tons of thanks 🙂

  19. ( Abey, thanks for the shout out) @Vikas, unless you know adwords fairly well to an extend you can attain campaign profitability & then scale up, it should be outsourced to a professional who specializes in it.

    You have two options: Option 1: You can go to site like Google certified partners directory  and hire someone who can meet your business needs.  (disclosure: even though i’m one of the vendor there, i’m not accepting any new projects for next 6 months since i’m booked thro’ 2015)

    Option 2: Learn yourself thro’ adwords help center/youtube channes/bootcamps/online training etc ( here opportunity cost is involved since you’ve to overcome a learning curve )

    Given the fact that you’ve limited funds, I agree with Abey when he says to have a “narrow to broad” strategy .  ( normally it’s the other way round )

    Start with +modified +broad +match middle to bottom of the funnel TG, get the cash flow humming by targeting all the popular travel routes and then move to the top of the funnel, broader TG along with investment in top of the mind branding efforts.

    Unless you can pass on the value of every transaction to adwords, you can’t calculate ROAS easily ( it’s easier in ecommerce sites )

    At the same time, since each route can give you different revenue a standard fixed CPA would also be a sub-optimal metric to guage the campaign profitability.

    What you can do in your case is calculate your RPC ( Revenue Per Click ). For example: let’s say you drive 1,000 people to your website out of which 2% convert (20 sales) and the total revenue from it is let’s say 40,000 ( at an Avg Order Value of 2000). In this case your RPC would be 40000/1000 = 40.

    As long as your Revenue Per Click (RPC) is greater than your Cost Per Click (CPC) and you can maintain your conversion rate & AOV, you can scale infinitely. All the very best.

  20. My site is an online intercity taxi service.

    I want to outsource content and SEO without compromising on UI .Pls suggest a vendor.

    Vikas Shah


  21. Look forward to it and all the best! 🙂

  22. Vikas, thats too broad a requirement to give you any useful advice.  Besides I don’t think content or SEO will do it for you.  You right now have 4 pages in the index.  Content and SEO in your case would require a shit load of work with no guarantee of returns.  You should have a facebook fan page or something and give out coupons. But even that doesn’t fit your demographic. Besides getting social traffic will chakki pis your energy and almost all of them will not be in the ‘buy’ zone.

    Here’s what I suggest.  

    Have a landing page for each destination and drive adwords traffic to it.  You don’t need to change the UI just preselect the destination and create a separate page or even the same page with some query parameter gymnastics to auto populate the to field.

    Then send traffic to that page thro’ adwords with exact match.  For example for Agra your sweet spot is the keyword ‘delhi to agra by car‘.  Bid on that single keyword to the max so that you are #1 and establish your cost of acquisition.  Likewise for each destination.

    Make sure that the page title, headline, and other text all match up or explain in more detail the keyword phrase you are targetting.  Effectively a person who lands on the page needs to only select the car, enter their contact details and they are done.  I assume payment is to the driver.  

    Also have a chat app that pops on every visitor and finds out from them what they want and guides them through the process.  As you learn about what the customer is looking for you can modify the page to include those elements so that you have to provide less customer support.

    One thing I observed when I looked just now is that no where is it clear that this is an intercity service.  You need to sell that aspect along with things like professionalism, driver honesty, transparent pricing, and all the other issues that matter to commuters when they are picking up a intercity taxi.  

  23. Thanks for your advice.

    Abey can you refer a person who can do it for me please

    Vikas Shah


  24. Vikas, like I told you, the only person I’d recommend is Yatin.  In the words of a Adwords Guru, running an adwords campaign is like flying a 747 with one arm tied behind your back and blindfolded.  🙂

    Given that reality you will be hard pressed to find a good guy.  So… your only viable alternative is to roll up your sleeves and plunge in.  🙂

    Also at a strategic level as the head honcho of your gig you need to get a marketing education.  Everything is the same, you don’t have a competitive advantage.  Ola will roll out intercity cabs and you are toast.  How are you going to beat that?  

    My adwords advice was going with the marketing theorem ‘find the shortest route to the money’.  

    Given your situation and now that I’ve had some time to digest it, I think the first thing you need to do, is make yourself the preferred choice for intercity transport.  The domain name is short, neat, and easily memorable.  

    The question is how do you make yourself the preferred choice?  That’s where you need to get into the gut of your customer profile.  Your “hungry crowd”.  What do they want?  Are you serving it?

    For example – on the top of my list for intercity cabs is ‘safety’.  My family wants to go on a holiday to Jaipur, can I put them in a JeeTaxi and be assured they will arrive safely?  

    On the site it would be some kind of “security verified” sticker.  And on the back end it would be a formal process that you insist all your drivers have to go through.  “Peace of mind” is a big selling point especially in transport.  

    Like that there are other “intercity hungers” that you need to address.  Talk to your customer, put up a chat app on the site.  Drive traffic to your site with whatever adwords “crap” you can manage based on the above guidelines after doing a reading of the material.  Talk to the customer with the chat app.  Understand their needs, echo them on your page, make sure your actual services are backed up with what you state on the page.

    The bottom line is when they reach their destination and someone asks them how they got home from say the airport.  They should say I used a JeeTaxi.  Not ‘woh internet say mila’.  

    For a thorough marketing and adwords education I recommend you start with  He has the bible on adwords strategy plus he is a total marketing sharpshooter.

    Pick up a Adwords for Dummies book and that should give you enough gyan about the configuration options to stay safe.  

    You should only outsource marketing when you have crystal clear clarity with the vendor about deliverables.  You have to deliver the strategy around which each campaign has to be built.  Anything less than that is, well, to put it mildly, is a waste of time.  If we get to meet and have a few drinks I’ll give you a more graphic explanation.  🙂

  25. Okay just had a look at Perry’s site.  He’s given it a make over and has set up a marketing maze to snare the visitor.  🙂  

    The USP course is ideal to help you build the foundation of your marketing machine.  You get that at the end of the 60 second marketing assessment.  

    Other than that go here for adwords: and here’s their cheatsheet

  26. Hey Abey – I am a fellow Ask Rodinhooder and wanted to seek your help on something… 

    I am launching a product to help people manage their Work, Tasks, Projects etc. It is a SAAS product focussed towards teams – SME or Large organisations 

    I am looking at boutique agencies or freelancers (based in Mumbai or Pune) who can take over our SEO and SEM. I have a lot of experience working with mid size / large agencies and want to work with a smaller one or a freelancer for a better focus. 

    Can you recommend someone? Do let me know if you need more information. 

  27. Rudra, I typically avoid making recommendations for a vendor.  Here’s why:


    – 99% are doing it wrong.  

    SEO is marketing.  The goal is to build an audience who engages with your brand in a way that Google can detect.  Keywords and backlinks take a backseat to this.  

    You first need to crack your audience attraction, engagement, and conversion strategy.  On the back of this you piggy back, keywords and backlinks.  SEO has to be baked into your marketing and it cannot be a discreet function that can be outsourced easily.  At most you should get a guy to do the on page stuff and internal links driven by a keyword set that you furnish.  

    He/she should be able to look at your page and tell you both the SEO angle as well as the marketing angle.  Google uses a metric known as dwell time, at least in general SEO watercooler talk thats the grapevine gossip.  

    So when they click through on the SERP link to your site and then bounce back to google that would erode your relevance for the specific query you’ve optimized your page for.  And your SEO huckster would be left scratching their balls and selling you some story about keyword density and the like.

    SEO in short – produce great content and engage people around it in a way google will be able to detect and then convert them.  

    At the numbers level it would be something like if you have a audience size of 1000, you would be able to engage 50 and convert 1.  

    I cannot honestly recommend anyone who does SEO this way.  So sorry about that.


    – paid traffic is another minefield.  You can blow stack of cash and end up with nothing.  And each paid traffic source is a specialty in itself.  So again recommendations are difficult.  BUT I can recommend two who I know, know what they are doing.

    Yatin Mulay – Fellow Rodinhooder for Adwords – I know personally of one account where there was a 500% improvement.  He is pretty busy but he may have a slot or two open.

    Fanny Nathaniel – For FB Ads 

  28. rudra – i’ll connect you to yatin.

  29. Asha -Can u help me with coordinates of Yatin

  30. Thanks a ton Abey… this was helpful…

  31. Yw.  All the best! 

  32. Dear Abey sir,

    My website is Renting artwork poster for home and offices. Consumer has to pay yearly subscription fee and they can swap artwork poster as and when they desire changing artwork

    Our product is Poster’s of Painting, Photography and Designs

    We have build the website using Magento tool.

    My question is On page optimization of our site specific to our product poster. Please guide us  how should we be go about doing on page optimization.

  33. John, right now all your pages have the same description.  If they are reproductions of original works of art call them by that name and add a suffix to show that its a poster.

    e.g. Mona Lisa – True to Life Glossy Poster

    This would go in the page title tag, give more details in the meta description tag, and also on the product title and the rest of the product description.  Bottom line: Make each page product unique.

    However, the question I have is whether there is a search market for your product.  Did you look in google keyword tool?

    In your case I don’t think your ‘hungry crowd’ exists on search.  You’ll need to use social media to attract a crowd and develop the hunger.  

    Its a good idea but will need some active marketing before you can gain traction.

    And are you shipping them in tubes? Why not as frames?  You can also tie up with actual artists and do some kind of revenue share deal with them and have actual paintings instead of just posters.  

    My two cents on the pricing: Rs. 6500 a year for glossy poster rental seems a bit much.  

  34. Dear Abey sir,

    Thank you very much for your feedback.

    The pricing is including frame and subscription fee for one year. The first print is sent along with frame, but the subsequent posters are sent using tube.

  35. I don’t agree with display ads it’s too early for you you will waste money, low % of people respond to display ads besides you are not that big to put money on display ad!

    SMS wapp is ok

    Twitter is not for you tell me what excitement you will create on twitter feed frankly I will ignore your twitter feed if I am your customer

    I think email campaign is good for you it will have targeted reach and captive audience, you can also better map the analytics on this campaign and better conversion too

    One thing you can do without fail is since you ARE A SERVICE ( & it is written in capital on your forehead)
    Try and find gaps in your service,delivery, pick up ,branding ( where your positioning of the service matters ie who are you a German laundry or just another affordable economy laundry service )whatever you can all the time and keep removing them . nothing better than a mouth publicity for you.

  36. Ashwin, the display ad is not for response but branding and is limited to the immediate geo-location of the outlets as best as Adwords is able to figure out.  

    That display is not useful to SMEs is a popular misconception. When done right it can be very effective. The one advantage with display – you get free branding impressions without paying a dime.  You just have to set a daily budget, make sure that the budget is consumed evenly during the day, and then for all intents and purposes forget about it.  

    Display then aids with top of mind recall WHEN the consumer is ready to make the buy.  

    Email I don’t agree with.  I don’t care how big a Fortune 500 dhobi you are.  There is no conceivable way I am going to consume laundry related content.  There is no persuasion gimmick that can be applied to accelerate the sale.  Unless I want the service – which in turn has a dependency on actual soiled clothes – no content is going to persuade me.  

    Hmmm.  Maybe email can be made to work.  One place where email can work is festival times.  E.g. A pre-Diwali email campaign could possibly be very effective.  Hmmm.  Maybe not pre-Diwali, since everyone gets new clothes, probably post-Diwali.

    Agreed about Service and Word of Mouth.  In fact that IS the bottomline factor that will make or break a business like laundry irrespective of how good you are with the marketing.   But Word of Mouth is slow.  The tactics recommended above are to accelerate word of mouth.

  37. You need to explain all that on your product pages.  However, I feel asking the end user to swap posters especially in a corporate/office setting is going to be a hardsell primarily due to the logistics involved.  And what if the poster tears while making the switch.  

    IMHO it will be easier if they could: take down the frame and put up another one without having to go through the pain of swapping posters.  You’d need to figure out some standardized packaging that can be reused, probably a specially designed wooden/plastic/sturdy-material crate where the end user just needs to take out the new frame from the box, slip in the old frame and inform the courier for a pickup.

  38. Dear Abey sir,

    Thank you very much for your feedback.

    Our frame build for easy swapping of poster, anyone can change the poster in a couple of minutes and with ease.

    The frame is made of wood and that makes the product sturdy, the product is safe from multiple handling.

    For corporates, we provide end to end service like  Fixing, curating artwork and swapping  art at agreed frequency like every month or every quarter. We take care of everything for corporate customers. We provide this service for only Mumbai, for other cities we are still figuring out how to do it.

    For Consumers, Swapping art is do it yourself, as I have mentioned, the frame is build for easy change. In the tube they have to put in the old poster, we send the printed slip of return address, they have to past it and give it to the courier.

    We try to make as easy as possible for the consumers.

    I believe we have given information on the product page, We will update it, so that customer understand better. Thanks for pointing it out.

  39. Okay.  That’s much clearer.  It is not at all clear on your product pages.  You need to have two subscription tracks then.  Also the messaging on the page has to be oriented towards signing up for your service.  “Want this awesome print hanging on your wall?  Want to change it when you get bored with it?” — Sign up Now.  

    That’s the call to action.  Present all the information about your service that will help them take a decision and then ask them to take action.  

    Also like I said, you do not have a “hungry crowd”, therefore for lasting success you need to cultivate an audience for that.  Run a blog and a social media fan page.  Blog should tell the stories behind the paintings.  For example take a Van Gogh repro and explain the story behind cutting off his ear.  Tell the story of how the price of the painting has been shooting up etc.  

    As I see it right now, you have two marketing problems you need to fix.

    1) Cultivating the hungry crowd

    2) Call to action oriented messaging across the site.  

    I wouldn’t bother too much about SEO (other than the on page stuff).  This checklist looks good.  

    I wouldn’t bother too much about paid traffic but if there are keywords in your segment with buy or information intent then go after those.  

    Look at display ads for brand building.  Don’t bother about conversion.  You just want them to remember you as that ‘arty farty site where you can get those awesome poster prints’.

    Right now you are only focussed on the art segment, go after other interest segments who would like posters of their favourite stars, bikes, movies, stories to adorn their walls.  You have an almost limitless topic scope once you have your hungry crowd and have established a +ve ROI on your conversion funnel.

  40. Hi Abey

    I am thoroughly impressed after reading some of your replies here. Really appreciate your detailed actionable tips to Rodinhooders.

    We are trying to build an online platform for Book lovers ,something like a better version of Goodreads. Here’s our website –

    We will be launching user profiles soon and would love to get some tips on :

    1) Community building

    2) Increasing sign-ups on the platform


  41. Dear Abey sir,

    Thank you very much for detailed suggestion. In fact I will make this suggestion as constitution of our marketing strategy and fundamental principle of our marketing.

    We also have in mind, campaign in facebook post feed, where we could narrow down our target segment like interest, age and Location and we could clearly mention call to action in the post. We believe this could lead to both conversion and brand building.

  42. Yep.  All the best!

  43. Hey Soumitra,  

    I somehow never jelled with Goodreads and have kind of dismissed the entire category of book reviews as kind of unworkable for the book reader.  

    The first step before anything else is – Who is your hungry crowd? What is their hunger? Can you define and articulate that?  

    For community building (reach) and signup (conversion) here are a few suggestions:

    1) Your blog seems to be on the right track as far as content mix goes.

    2) Step up the article flow.  At least one article a day.  When doing the title and headlines look up the google keyword planner and find the one with the highest search volume for your topic and weave that into headlines

    3) Post multiple times a day to social media (reshare older posts) do the twitter engagement thing around books, find influencers, feature them on your blog, ask them to write for you, or reproduce their existing content wrapped in some commentary of your own.  Make sure you are sharing to social media from your blog only.  Don’t post directly to social media.  The idea is to get them to your site.

    4) Put all visitors into different remarketing buckets based on genre or some other categorisation scheme that you feel is appropriate.  Remarket to the audience and give them more reasons to come back to your blog.

    5) Give more prominence to your article writers and get them to interact on social media.

    Community building is about engagement.  Think of engagement in concentric circles.  At the center you have the core, rabid, bibliophiles who are sold on the vivilio platform.  Find out what they want and ‘feed their hunger’.

    Around this circle you have the specific genre lovers.  These will only engage with you within the scope of their genre.  

    And then you have the outer circle of the general public who will flow with the tide of whats trending.

    You engage with each segment within the context of their “hunger” and push them to take action.  

    Since your current monetization strategy is affiliate income you need to work your engagement to eventually ‘pull’ in the general public and send them to the buy page since the bibliophiles and genre lovers won’t be large enough to make the moolah flow.  Which means you’ll need to focus on bestsellers and whatever is the current flavor of the month.  

    Use FB promoted posts.  Set a fixed budget per day and have it promote the latest FB post.  Run it for a year at least.  Make sure all your paid posts send traffic to your site and not to the FB fan page unless you have a explicit call to action/conversion plan.

    I guess that should do for now. 🙂 Do let me know how ti goes.

  44. Hi Abey

    Thanks a lot for such detailed response. We think there is a good chunk of internet users who are still looking for a simpler version of Goodreads with cleaner UI and better usability.

    Our hungry crowd are the people who read 2-3 books a month and are compulsive book buyers.They keep on scouring the internet to discover their next read and are active on sites like Goodread, Bookriot, Buzzfeed Books.

    1 and 2. We are trying our best to ramp up our content creation to 2  articles per day and are actively  recruiting freelance writers for it. Point taken regarding the Search volume  for keywords in the headlines. Also do you think including long tail keywords in the body of the article would help in Search engine ranking?

    3. That’s a great tip and we are already working on it. 
    4. I haven’t started yet on remarketing but I wish to in sometime. Any tip as to which platform (FB or Adsense) makes more sense for a product like ours?
    5. Agreed, we need to push harder on this.

    The concentric circles analogy is just bang on. Also we have done some promoted posts earlier but the Cost-per-click was coming in the range of Rs. 8, which I feel is on the higher side. Will need to target better on this.

    Thanks again for all the super valuable suggestions. Will definitely get back with some progress.

  45. Long tail – ignore it.  Its vapor SEO.  No longer exists in a way in which you can use it to leverage organic reach.  Focus on the “head” keywords the tail will follow.  

    For remarketing – as many networks as you can sink your teeth into.  Also, remarketing is on adwords.  Adsense is for monetizing your pages.

    At the moment don’t bother about CPC as long as you can bear the burn.  The objective is to gather the audience.  The Rs. 8 you spend now for that one Like will take a few years to pay back.  But you need to spend that Rs. 8 now.  Don’t narrow the targeting, broaden it.  Your reality is that you are nipping at Goodreads heels and that’s the Amazon of book reviews.  In relative terms Rs. 8 is dirt cheap.  As the online ad market heats up the price is only going to go up.  

    Don’t get too flustered by cost.  Its all relative.  You are yet to reach an audience level from which you can even half predict some kind of ROI numbers.  Everything you spend right now is burn.  Your focus: slam on the gas, build the audience, drive “insane” engagement. Then figure out what the conversion is.  Once you have mapped that funnel then you can focus on optimizing it for profit.  

  46. Hello Abey

    I am new here. So starting with the first question on my mind. I have opened a footwear retail shop in Jaipur, registered my brand, created a facebook page and started promoting it. But is it really possible to get people into my shop through social promotion through facebook? If yes how ?

    Hope to get good guidance here.



  47. Rakesh, for new customers in short term, FB will be very difficult.  The fan page however gives you an opportunity to engage with existing and potential customers and will provide a steady stream of sales over years.   

    Understand the scenario you operate it.  Retailing is a big challenge considering the fact that India is migrating to online shopping in faster numbers.  I have housekeeping staff ordering jackets from myntra with COD.

    I’d suggest you also have online stores on all the marketplaces – Amazon, FlipKart, Snapdeals etc.  You can use something like unicommerce to consolidate inventory, order tracking, and fulfillment.  Don’t go for an online hosting site first.  Get your feet wet and understand the online market before plunging in.  But this is second priority and I am assuming you don’t already have an online presence.

    For your retail outlet the only metric you need to care about is footfall.  If x people walk into your store, how many will buy?  Focus on x and build on it gradually step by step.  

    Whether you use social media to do this or have a tonga walla riding around jaipur with a model wearing your shoes and showing off your store name, location, phone number, on a huge billboard, the goal is the same.  Get the footfall into the store.  

    In your case, not only should you use social media, this should be backed up with offline ads as well.  

    The question then is how to get people to make the conscious decision to visit your store.  To come up with useful suggestions I’ll need to know your hungry crowd.  

    1) Where’s your store located? Upmarket? Mall? Shopping street? Residential area?

    2) What kind of shoes do you carry? Kids? Adults? Partywear? 

    3) Why should they come to your store compared to other retail stores and going online? This question is the one that you will have most trouble with.  “Superior customer service” and “Cheapest prices” are not acceptable answers.  

    4) What is the pain the shoe buying customer is facing that is not being addressed by retail stores?  Likewise what is the pain for the customer online? 

    5) Is there an untapped need you can cash into? For example, custom shoes made by hand? There is a guy on rodinhoods from Pakistan who does this. Maybe you can collaborate with him?

    All of the above questions should be backed by facts esp #3, 4, 5.  Don’t hazard a guess.  You should be able to remember at least 3 specific incidents to support your claim.  

    The job of marketing is to close the sale before they enter the store.  Physical stores have one big advantage compared to online, once you get them in it is unlikely they will leave without buying.  

    So all your focus has to be on getting them into your store.  Maybe you could run a city wide campaign for old shoes, informing them to come with their old shoes, get X% off in exchange.  

    This is an old gimmick.  The new twist would be that you are going to refurbish the old shoes and give them to needy people along with Rs. xx (this will show your sincerity).  Have a tie up with a reputed charity and handover the shoes to them.  Make sure they regularly send you info on the people who wear the shoes along with pics.  Post that to your FB wall with a short write up.  The emotional bonding with your fans will ensure long term loyalty to your store.  

    When they visit the store make sure you get their name, phone number, email at least.  Invite them to join your FB page and get an additional Y% off/free socks/some benefit that is virtual but is meaningful.  Regularly send follow up SMS and email along with FB updates on deals, offers, new arrivals, specials etc.  

    Or there is also the high end option where you have no actual shoes on display.  Just leathers and shoe materials that the customer can pick and chose from and then decide on the style from a catalog.  This is a totally different market.  The customer will be suspicious if any of your items are priced low…

  48. Thank you Abey for your valuable inputs. Sorry for delayed reply. 

    I have sold with snapdeal in a different business. I already had plans to go online with snapdeal for Shoeholic. But I think unicommerce opens up new possibilities of more visibility + sales. Thanks for sharing that. I’m exited about it and have started working on it. 

    Along with social media I am planning to go for phamplets to be put in newspapers distributed in Surrounding areas. Exchanging old footwear for discounts concept has potential I believe. I will work on it. 

    Answering your questions:

    1) Where’s your store located? Upmarket? Mall? Shopping street? Residential area?

    We are located in a mall. We have a small shop and we’ll be shifting to a bigger one in the same mall next month.

    2) What kind of shoes do you carry? Kids? Adults? Partywear? 

    We are selling Wemen’s footwear only.Partywear as well as casual. We plan to add Men’s and Kid’s in later stages.

    3) Why should they come to your store compared to other retail stores and going online? This question is the one that you will have most trouble with.  “Superior customer service” and “Cheapest prices” are not acceptable answers.

    In wemen’s footwear presenting new designs everytime is the key. Durability is secondary. So our focus is on providing newest designs  everytime the customer enters our shop. Only around 20% of the designs are accepted by customers on regular basis. We also want to focus on creating a brand addiction in the long run. Though we are not a big brand now, I believe If brand image is made we can have loyal customers.

    4) What is the pain the shoe buying customer is facing that is not being addressed by retail stores?  Likewise what is the pain for the customer online? 

    If I put myself in my customer’s shoes, I want good footwear at the cheapest price possible. As a seller thats not good for me. So the challange to fetch decent price is to  make the customer feel that she’s getting the worth for the money she’s paying. Offline as well as online, I believe its important to make the customer trust us and give us their hard earned money with belief that they are getting its full worth.

    5) Is there an untapped need you can cash into? For example, custom shoes made by hand? There is a guy on rodinhoods from Pakistan who does this. Maybe you can collaborate with him?

    This concept in India is new. Good footwear is produced by manufacturers who have years of experience. They have experienced designers who decide on designs and color combinations. I believe this concept will take time to mature for Indian audience. Everyone wears shoes but not everyone can design it. So the market is limited. Still I am not very much aware of how it works and how technology makes it easier for a customer to customize the footwear. If you can connect me to the guy I will study it and see if we can work collaborate. 

    Sharing my fb page link –

    Thanks a ton again. 



  49. Hello Abey

    If I choose to put my money in online ads , what you suggest is best : Facebook ads ( as my target customer is very active there ) or Google ads ( to show up to relevant customer who is actually searching for those keywords )

    Also I have to consider the cost effectiveness of both.

    Also , do you suggest doing banner/pop up ads through Infolinks kinds to be a good idea for startups.

  50. Hi Abey

    I have been running an online store – The South Indian Store from the past 1 year and have been able to see some good improvement in terms of organic visits to my website.

    If you look at the progress, the graph is inclining at a very slow pace. I would like to know if this is expected? Or is there something I can do to boost the organic visits to my website? I have done some SEO work at a very low level including on page optimization and off page marketing / social media, etc.

    I have also started following some of the top SEO blogs like Quicksprout, backlinko, etc and the information available there is quite helpful. Just wanted to know if following these blogs and implementing the various tacts mentioned there will help me boost the organic traffic or is there anything particular that I should focus on as a food startup?

    Thanks in advance 🙂

  51. Thanks for this post. All of these questions are really good. One suggestion, Can we have this discussion thread in sorted by current date. Latest thread on top?

  52. when you say “thread” do you mean “comments” by date gunjan? 

    no, i’m sorry – on all of our DISCUSSION threads the comments are in chronological (datewise) order  – 1st (oldest) comment appears on the top (and thereby the reply). so now on the homepage when you see this post – you can click on the LAST REPLY which is by me. 

    you can easily go to the last page of any post to get the latest replies if that helps you 🙂

    in these ASK PAGES it doesn’t really matter as most of the times, the questions are independent of each other 🙂

  53. Thanks Asha, 

  54. Hi Roshini,

    Sorry for the looong delayed response.  I somehow missed the email alert from your post.  Now to answer your question:

    Facebook and Google are both relevant depending on your audience.  

    Facebook: great for branding and building audience numbers, does not easily translate into sales unless you have a solid content strategy and targeted ads depending on your audience demographics and psychographics.  

    Google Ads: Now Adwords is a 747 beast that needs to be broken up

    Search ads: You would do search ads if you know that your customer has an itch that you can fulfill as soon as they reach your page.  Bid on the terms that are most relevant to your target web page.  You have 3 kinds of keyword match types actually 4: modified broad, broad, phrase, exact.  You can read all about it here.  The strategy you adopt is you start with exact, find winners, and move them up to phrase and broad and modified broad.  That’s if you are on a tight budget.  If you have muchos VC dinero then do the opposite.  🙂

    Display Network: This is similar to what happens on Facebook but you have a wider reach and you can appear in context to whatever content the user is consuming.  So, while FB ads works more on the audience demographics, Display network can factor in both demographics and contextual relevance.

    Google Shopping Feed: This is mostly automated and mandatory if you have an ecommerce site.  Search for ‘optimize google shopping feed’ and there’ll be tons of gyan.

    Cost effectiveness is a hairy scary number that you have to nail down first.  🙂 

    What is the end goal? Do they buy something? Advertising is usually 10-15% of cost of product but since you are in start up mode then you should just stick that number on the ceiling and look at it wistfully.  🙂

    The only question is how much money do you have to blow on ads and do you have a working conversion funnel.  A working conversion funnel is a paradigm that says that if I put in x$ in marketing then I will at least get x+n returns over event horizon y.  Where n and y are highly debatable numbers and should be fudged according to your ground realities.  :))

    A working conversion funnel would look something like this:

    Relevant ads shown to your target audience

    –>Comes to relevant landing page that gets them to convert

    –>A pop up to those who want to exit giving them some incentive to maintain a relationship with you (Discounts, coupon code, free awesome shawsome newsletter, free awesome shawsome newsletter)

    –>Remarketing ads to stalk those who bounce off

    —>FB Custom audience ads to your newsletter list

    At the minimum you need a relevant ad that drives them to a page from where they will convert.  Your ability to convert them is a combination of many things including relevant copy, product/service, etc.  As long as the value of the sale is greater than or equal to ad cost as a start up you should go for it aiming for the 10-15% ideal over a period of time.  

    Not sure what you mean by infolinks.  Are you talking about those ad links that when you hover over them an ad pops up relevant to that keyword?  Personally I don’t like them but you should test.  And see if it converts.

    There are many sources of relevant profitable traffic but finding those is an art form.  As a startup sticking to Google and FB and maybe linkedin and twitter should be sufficient and if things go well you should create a position for a traffic ninja who can get you technically “unlimited” paid traffic that’s profitable.  

    Build an email list.  Keep them engaged with interesting content on a regular frequency.  More blah on that here.

    Hope that helps. Once again sorry about the delay.  

  55. To boost organic visits “go social da” 🙂 

    Have a facebook page and get every NRK to like it. 🙂

    Have a G+ page and get every mallu software coder to like it and engage with it  🙂

    G+ will get you faster google luv.  Have fun engaging content along with the boring health pieces and share them to social.  🙂

    I read earlier on another thread that you pay special attention to packaging to prevent breakage if I remember right.  Highlight that somewhere prominently.  

    Have you used the adwords keyword tool to find out the actual volume of your keywords?  Try to find matching keywords with the highest volume for each of your product pages and use those.

    Your product page title could do with some improvements:

    Instead of Buy Banana chips online you could say Banana Chips – Fresh, Ready to Eat, Buy Online.  You need to give them an incentive to click through.  

    The meta descriptions is good: Freshly prepared 100% authentic Kerala Banana chips freshly prepared using pure coconut oil is now available online only at The South Indian Store.

  56. Hi Soumitra, 

    After reading this thread and an excellent answer by Abey, I visited your website, I am an avid reader, as you mentioned, I read 4-5 book a month ( become less due to my social media fixation, though I will sure catch up).

    I will be sharing more of my thoughts after a detailed visit to the website, but the first thing that caught my eyes is, you have logout link on Main navigation bar on top, when the user is not logged in then why ‘logout’ ? this link should only appear once the user is logged in.

    Best wishes.

  57. Hi Abey, 

    we are organising an event  and want to create a buzz around that time, the idea is to  have a “Spun Chair Challenge” where:

    You get your name in a drawing to win a $50 visa gift card, IF YOU:


    ·         Spin in our spun chair that  is on the event avenue

    ·         Take a picture,

    ·         Post/mention us on social media

    What’s the best way to track people sharing in the moment? Do we restrict this to one channel like facebook or twitter? Do yu suggest anything else?

    Thanks in Advance 

    We have this Spun Chair (see attached picture) that we thought we could use to have some fun & generate some buzz/new likes, etc on our social media at the same time.

    What we are wanting to do is have a “Spun Chair Challenge” where:

    You get your name in a drawing to win a $50 visa gift card, IF YOU:


    ·         Spin in our spun chair,

    ·         Take a picture,

    ·         Post/mention us on social media

  58. Gunjan, my apologies for the delay in responding.  To track social media sharing its best you use a third party tool like something from  Tracking social media shares can be tricky and as far as I am aware there is no easy way to do this.  However the tools market is constantly evolving and something may have had an appearance in the recent.

  59. Hello Abey,

    Not sure if you’re still following this thread but I am hoping you are! I am the Founder of Bawi Bride Kitchen, a Parsi food services company. We do catering, food walks, and also run a delivery service for Parsi food in the Andheri region (soon to move to a Mahim/Bandra locality instead). 

    Blog site:

    Catering website:

    We have been doing catering part-time for 2 years and full-time for another year and so far have been lucky to have relied on free organic marketing. However, we now wish to scale rapidly and become known as the go-to caterer for Parsi food (especially amongst non-Parsis staying between Dadar – Borivali as they are our primary target audience). For this I am willing to spend upto about ₹15000/month (I know its a small budget) on digital marketing but I really don’t know where to begin!

    Currently, our primary source of leads is my blog which shares a lot of Parsi recipes as well as my Twitter account through which we reach about 3500 followers. As its a specialty food, repeat orders are generally a bit low even though people enjoy the food so its important we continuously reach a newer audience. We also have an active FB page with 4000+ followers but I’ve found Twitter more effective than FB.

    Aside from this, I have a mailing list (blog subscribers) to whom I send a weekly marketing email as well a client database on Whats App of 500 odd people to whom we send specials 2 – 3 times a week. Both are completely permission based as I am very anti spamming. While these used to yield good results at the start for takeaway orders, this has reduced significantly in the last few months and I now need new sources for orders!

    I have tried FB advertising once for an event but got nothing out of it so just wondering what’s the best way to use this allotted marketing spend going forward to get actual conversions. 

    Look forward to hearing from you.

  60. Hi Prezen,

    When you say ‘scale rapidly’ what exactly do you mean?

    With a 15k monthly spend your best bet is go to offline.  Flyer inserts in newspapers is what I think would work best for you at this stage.  You’ll need to find the paper distributors in your target area and work out a deal with them.  For maximum impact they need to see your flyer (or ad) at least 25 times whether it is online or offline.  So I’d suggest having a ‘weekly special’ flyer going for the next 24 to 48 weeks.

    You could also try other offline options like posters in apartment complex noticeboards, supermarket noticeboards, etc.

    That said…

    For the specialty food business you will constantly need new faces.  This means you gotta constantly work on acquiring new members to your social media, whatsapp, and email lists.  And the tough part for you: within the geographic constraints targeting a specific area within Mumbai.

    You can try FB local awareness ads:  

    But a marketing truism is that it is easier and cheaper to market to existing customers than acquiring new ones.  Keeping that in mind, look at ways in which you can get existing customers to eat at your place once every quarter.   

    Online remarketing to those who’ve already visited your site is something you should implement irrespective of your budget.  If you set it up right you’ll get free branding and only pay for those who click through to your site.

    See: and

    Set the remarketing ad display frequency to once a day.  The idea here is to aid top of mind recall for the next time hunger pangs bite and they are looking for something “new”.  Both adwords and facebook remarketing services can track the user for a long time (180 days FB and 540 days adwords, at least that’s the last I checked).

    So… to sum up:

    1) go offline

    2) use fb local awareness ads

    3) use remarketing

    Hope this helps! 

  61. Hello Abey

    It’s a privilege to get such valuable insights from stalwarts like you. Thanks Rodinhoods

    Abey my query is that it’s been long that we have had our presence on social media. We have been doing blogs , working around keywords and hashtags , e-mailers , locking into targeted topics like parenting , humor , party planning , tips n tricks etc which go well along with our kids gifting product offerings. Have also tried paid posts with popular mommy bloggers and sponsorships yet things have no some how hit out quite strongly. I know the market I operate in , personalized kids products , is too crowded now , but still for the mulitchannel efforts that we are making ,the buzz should be created from some nook or corner. But I do not see that happening. Please help me to understand why we are not able to connect to our audience who are predominantly moms and who are active on social media very aggressively. Why are we not able to garner their attention.

    I have not tried offline marketing at all for the sheer cost involved and also because we do not want to restrict our services to local area only, so digital marketing is what i want to invest in. Paid FB ads we have done and will be doing insta ads in the coming month. Running contest too does not create too much engagement.

    You may check out

    You will get our social links there

    Please help us understand what we are not doing right or what might be that we can try including in our social media marketing plan.

  62. Dear Abey

    I have started a venture -online aggregator in inter city taxi services.

    I am thinking of putting content daily on the home page itself.

    The content would be curated from other sites.The content will not be restricted 

    to only travel related stuff but may on entrepreneurship, indian business news etc.

    My purpose for this is to have faster growing up in organic google search.

    Is it  advisable to have such stuff on home page.


    Vikas Shah


  63. Hi Abey,

    We are a technology company which has built a platform for usability feedback for mobile apps. Our target customers are Android Developers developing apps and enterprise customers who are servicing their customers via mobile apps. We help them by providing feedback on the apps usability from crowd users in the pre-launch/beta stage of the mobile app. Our feedback includes a complete recording of the users screen and activities the user was performing including the users thoughts which the user speaks while navigating through the app. The customers can then see these videos online on our portal on the cloud. 

    We want to reach out to all the mobile app developers in India and introduce our platform which can be use before any of their app launches. We are making our system self service so that developers can come online subscribe to our service and get feedback. Currently we are doing it offline.

    Can you please guide on the right approach to reach out to as many developers as possible and ways we could start generating traction.

    Thanks for your support



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