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To scale up any business, you need the right kind of marketing. One that puts your word out there, builds a recall value and helps in customer acquisition. With most brands focusing on digital marketing, the king of good times in this situation is Search Engine Optimization or SEO. While every other business alley today has an SEO company, that wasn’t the scenario a decade ago. However 14 years ago, entrepreneur Milind Mody foresaw the importance of digital and started eBrandz solutions.
I wanted to work from home, that’s how I started. Back then, not many in India knew about SEO, so I started working with global clients, catching hold of them at online forums,” said Mody.
SEO Over The Years
Over the years, the boom of digitization has changed the way companies reach out to their audience. The focus is now on targeting audiences through social media.
So naturally, SEO’s demand has only grown over the years. But Mody also said that while the numbers have grown, it’s not as easy as it was when they started. “It has become more competitive and difficult. Now, there’s a constant battle between search engines and marketers to strike the right balance - Guerrilla marketers want to spam the search engine but if their client is not the right fit for the search query, it creates a problem for the search engine,” said Mody.
A Diverse Offering For One Goal
Ever since he started eBrandz, Mody has been focusing on clients in the US. For a few years now, he has been working on a dashboard, where clients can log in and get all their details in one go and also get text alerts for their call-to-actions.
Over the years, Mody has invested $2 million on the platform. While the processes have evolved, client needs have not. “Everyone just wants to be number one. Bigger clients want unrealistic numbers, so a lot of time also goes in educating the client. When we had started, for the life of us we couldn’t explain what SEO is. We would just say, “Aap pehle page pe aa jaoge” (you will come on the first page). In the past 7 years, we have seen the change, and today everyone knows what SEO is.”
Not Just a Face in The Crowd
There has been an enormous surge in the number of companies that offer SEO, so staying relevant in the crowd became a bigger part of the goal. “Today, the challenge is that every Tom, Dick and Harry is offering SEO, so a lot of comparisons exist. So, convincing clients becomes a challenge. But our technology and platform sets us apart,” he said.
In order to stay afloat, they have also pivoted quite a few times. Having US clients helped because they could spot trends early and offer the same in India. In 2005, even when social media was not the enormous giant as it is today, they were one of the firsts to incorporate it and even created package plans around the same. But innovation for them didn’t stop there. “We are looking at demystifying marketing by adding automation.
AI has a big role to play in marketing. It will even have the blessing of the search engine as it’s an ad revenue model. “Whoever devises the best algorithm to predict consumer behaviour, will win,” he said. For Mody, it is extremely important to keep all stakeholders happy. “It started with just me and now we are over 350. But the idea is to keep everyone happy – the employees, the clients and even the management,” he said.
(This article was first published in the August issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)