Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Visitor Management for a PPC Campaign

I tried putting down the various steps and action items when we run the Adwords or a PPC campaign. What one needs to do at every stage and rectify the campaigns in case the desired results are not acheived. (Click the image to enlarge it).

I have also posted one more post related to visitor mangement for an eCommerce Website which can be viewed here - Customer Management Check List

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Google Adwords Vs Facebook Ads Vs LinkedIn Ads

I have been a big fan of Google Adwords and have been using it for a long time not only for my own business but, for my clients as well. And, it really worked well. It all depends on what type of products and/or services you are trying to promote on these platforms. The audience on these three platforms is slightly different and come on to Facebook or Google or LinkedIn with a different purpose. So, for one business Adwords works better and for some Facebook or for companies who are trying to find talent LinkedIn works as LinkedIn is a platform for professionals.

I have used all the three platforms and thought why not pen down my experiences.

Google Adwords

It is very easy and quick to set-up a campaign. Unlike Facebook Ads and LinkedIn Ads, it requires skill and experience to get the correct set of keywords and phrases that match your ads and business. You need to monitor the cost-per-click of each phrase and set it up as broad match or phrase match or exact match. In case you have experience in using the keywords tool then you can start. But, it takes time to optimize the campaign to get the desired ROI and to get better results.  

Keywords competition is high and you need to focus on the Quality Score to reduce the cost to attract the clicks. Optimizing the ads is the key here. This can be learnt only through experience.  

Another advantage of Adwords is people who click your ad are the people who are searching for your product or service. They searched for a certain term and were looking for it and they have landed on you webpage. Where as in Facebook and LinkedIn, the intention of the person was something else and they click the ad to come to your webpage. Thus, the conversion time to convert the visitor to a customer is longer on these platforms as compared to Adwords. 

You can target the ads as per the geographical area and set the time and schedule the display of ads. You also have the display ads where in the ads can be displayed across the Google network of ads. Thus, you reach a wider audience. 

The biggest advantage of Adwords is the analytics which Google provides. Google gives lot of data to analyze and fine-tune the campaigns and rectify the mistakes.

Facebook Ads 

It is very easy to setup and maintain. You can target the ads to specific demographic profile as Facebook has all the data with them - age, gender, profession, city, country, marital status...etc. So, you can really target your ads to the niche audience and not just geo specific. This helps in getting quality impressions and clicks.  

As stated above, the intent of the person to come on Facebook is different as compared to Google - thus, the CTR is low for the ads but, you get decent impressions. The clicks will increase the fan base thus, ready for direct future promotions on your Facebook page which is at no cost. The time to convert these visitors and/or likes into customers is longer and you need to build a strategy to keep them engaged and thus, converting them to customers. Facebook is a place of fun and leisure unlike Google and LinkedIn. Thus, the ads need to be designed in such a way that you are not just pushing the product or service for them to buy, but trying to engage them and increasing the fan base. Thus, it is difficult to measure the ROI here. The sales cycle is long and effort is required to engage and interact with the prospect.

Facebook ads can be used for more of brand recognition. A click is not necessary for this. As Facebook ads provide more impressions, people see the ad and can register the brand name. 


LinkedIn ads is frequented by professionals and in case you are looking at attracting right talent then this is the right place. Also, B2B ads are effective as compared to B2C.  

To setup and start the campaign will take some time, as the ads needs to be approved first by the LinkedIn staff. Here as well you can target the ads to the niche audience based on the demographic profile. LinkedIn charges as per impressions and clicks as well. Impression mode will burn out the budget faster we will hardly know if the ad was seen by the person or not. Thus, these are not that effective and economical. The CPC model will not be that effective as stated earlier it all depends on what you are trying to promote. You need to remember the intent of the visitor to LinkedIn and the type of audience that come here. 

Reporting tool is also not there. We can download a csv file and we need to do the sorting and filtering ourselves. 

To conclude, Adwords is better, if you know how it works and how to steer the campaign. In case you do not have that experience it will cost you. The conversion cycle is quick and you get warm leads. While Facebook, attracts more likes and fan base for you to keep them engage and interact. LinkedIn Ads can be more suitable to reach for senior executives. Lastly, it all depends on what product or service you are trying to promote.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Future and Challenges for eTailing Logistics in India

Over the last two decades, rising internet and mobile phone penetration has changed the way we communicate and do business. E-commerce is no more a novel concept in India. There has been no doubt about the growth prospects of e-commerce in India. According to the Gurgaon-based consultancy Technopak, the $2.3-billion (Rs 13,800 crore) Indian eCommerce sector will touch $32 billion (Rs 1.92 lakh crore) by 2020. But for this to happen, the logistics sector - the link between eCommerce stores and customers must keep pace with the rate of growth in eCommerce.

At an e-tailing event in Gurgaon, the chief executive of a logistics company, while narrating his own experience, conveyed that during the festive season of Diwali, he was expecting the number of orders to double but, it went up by four to five times and led to a logjam.

Logistics startups are playing a critical role to help the logistics issue with the new e-tailers that are starting and help them during the peak seasons. There are various challenges for these logistics companies as the consumer behaviour in India is slightly different.

  1. Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities will emerge as extended market and thus, it will lead to have a wider network to cater to the customers here. It is necessary to develop a network of branches and delivery points that will be able to service the high-growth cities.
  2. Cash On Delivery need better cash handling capabilities. With higher volumes and customers looking for CoD, the companies not only have to effectively manage the cash but, handle it securely as it is not their money but, their clients. On top of that reconciliation issues and calculating the returns will add to the problems.
  3. Delivery staff will be on high demand. Online marketplaces, etailers and logistics firms all will chase delivery boys to reach customers. The industry may face multiple pressures like high attrition and rising salaries. In addition to this, the industry has to look at the honesty and integrity of these staff as they will handle the products to deliver and more and more cash.
  4. Reverse logistics is other big challenge to manage. It is not just the product that has to be carried back to the merchant but, cash as well if it is CoD.
  5. Special and precious products will be added like medicines, jewellery etc. which will also be a challenge to the logistic industry. Such products may increase the requirement of special treatment and adds complexity.
  6. Till now these logistics providers have tried to deliver locally by road. They also need to focus on other modes of transports like metro trains and other means to avoid traffic issues. While transporting from city to city there can be constraints for transportations through air as there may be container constraints and security issues.
  7. Above all the different tax structure in different states will add up to the problem.
To cope up with these small with difficult challenges etailers needs to look at niche market areas which can give them high volumes. It will be difficult to find such business but, if you can then you have it. Also, in case you have a high margin business then that is the icing on the cake. These focused and high margins business will focus on high returns.

Here are few logistics companies which you can depend on. I suggest, have talks with all of them and sign-up with at least three of them so that you are ready when the flood comes and the deliveries are on time. Keep in mind that the sales of startups is mostly through word-of-mouth and an unhappy customer will tell hundreds of others but, a happy customer will tell to very few people.

Ecom Express: Launched in Jan 2013, they are making about 85,000 shipments a day. Claims to cover 207 cities and 2240 pin codes.
GoJavas: Launched around 2013, and their first client was Jabong - the online fashion and lifestyle etailer. Today it serves 200 companies and claims that it delivers to 2300 pin codes and covers about 105 cities.
Delhivery: Was started in April 2011 by Sahil Barua and two others who worked at Bain and Company, a consulting firm. Claims to cover 175 cities, 3600 pin codes and does about a lakh shipments a day.
eKart: It helps Flipkart with the deliveries.
Holisol Logistics: Started in 2009, offers warehouse consulting solutions. A year ago it expanded to deliveries. It is a single vendor for logistics, warehousing and fulfillment services for seamless flow of information. The company has set up a one-lakh-sq-ft warehouse for Jabong and a 1.6-lakh-sq-ft warehouse for FabFurnish at Jamalpur and Bilaspur in Gurgaon, respectively. The firm offers delivery services for e-taliers like Jabong and Freecultr and offline sellers like Raymond and Biba Apparels.

There are other courier companies as well which took the eCommerce and etailing industry lightly earlier.

Dotzot: Launched by DTDC in June 2013 with a delivery network of 8000 plus pin codes and 2300 cities.
Gati E-connect is another one which has also joined this logistics service. They claim to reach 5120 direct pin codes  and reach to 15,400 remote pin codes enabling to reach your business to the remote places.

Cash on Delivery seems here to stay, and the problems of that last-mile of delivery, and unreliable third party couriers will take at least a decade to resolve. In the meantime, the businesses that make it will either have huge margins on each order to cover the cost of these difficulties. It is very much important for startups and etailiers that the service which these logistics partner provides needs to be the best one at the price they can afford.

Such logistics companies should build algorithms using not only RFM (Recency, Frequency and Monetary values) but need to consider the distance as well. The use of technology is very important where in the deliveries need to be automatically allocated depending on the above factors and algorithm.

Happy know your thoughts and experience with the logistics partners. Feel free to share.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Amazon India - What a Deal OR Fake Deal!

All knows that Amazon India was up with a Sale on May 6, 7 and 8. This is not the first time that the eCommerce platforms are doing this. Flipkart too has done it earlier and I guess they burnt their hands with server issues, return payments, payment gateway issues and returns.

I orders a memory SD card on May 5. A day before the sale. And I was the victim. Amazon assured me that the delivery will be done on May 9. It is May 11 today and yet I am to receive it.

But, astonishing is the wrong updates and status entered on the order tracking page. The delivery person made attempt on May 7 and 8. But, as none was available they have to return back. But, FYI, I have provided my office address, which works 24 hours and 7 days a week. The security person was already informed. Then, how the delivery person missed this. Even, I was not called on my mobile to know my availability.

I contacted the support and they were unable to explain properly. They say due to network issues wrong status were entered. Surprised... that the network issue is since three days.

Posted it on the Facebook page as well.

Update - May 12, 2015

To my surprise, I received three different responses from three support folks. I have pasted their replies below and they are self-explanatory.

Reply #1

I’m really sorry that you’ve not received the order yet. This is definitely not what we want our valuable customers to experience. Please accept my sincere apology for the inconvenience.
I will surely help you on this.

As I have checked the order detail, I see the tracking status of order shows "Delivery attempted" due to courier networking issue.
So to my best, I have contacted the shipping team and ask them for order status. They have updated me that order was delayed due to technical issue we fail to deliver the order on 9 May 2015, we will deliver the order within 24-48 hours.
Please know that this situation was the result of a combination of technical and human errors, and that in no way did we intend for this to happen.

Be assured you will receive your order shortly without any further delay.

Please be assured that I'll do the best I can help you deliver your package at the earliest. I understand that my reply may not help you, but I hope you will understand the situation which was created by the courier team.

Its my humble request to give us the chance to deliver the product within 24-48 hours at your doorstep.

Notes: So, I learn that there are 'courier networking' issue as well. And, order is delayed (and not the delivery of the order) due to technical issue. WOW, technology is involved to deliver the product.

Reply #2

I'm sorry to hear your memory card didn't arrive by the estimated delivery date of Saturday 9 May 2015. Please wait a little longer, until Wednesday 13 May 2015 for your package to reach you. If your package doesn't arrive by Wednesday 13 May 2015, you can request a refund for this product.
I understand that this package is important to you. I've escalated this issue to Aramex and I've also requested the team to try delivering your package as soon as possible.

I have also requested them to call you on XXXXXXXX41 at the time of delivery. As an alternative to get this issue resolved you may contact Aramex at the below address:
Aramex India
No. 1 and 2, Ground Floor of Sai Teja Apartments,Mehdipatnam - 500028, Andhra Pradesh.
Phone (Customer Service):+91 (40) 33003300

I'll follow up with you to see if you've received the package after Wednesday 13 May 2015 and will issue a refund if you've still not received your order.

Notes: I did not order my memory card. I have my brains. And, now the delivery date is moved to May 13. And, still they do not know that we have a new state called Telangana.

Reply #3

I'm so sorry you haven't received the order for  Raspberry Pi 2 - MODB - 1GB - Quad core yet.
I've now sent a request to the courier asking them to deliver this package by tomorrow.

In addition to our large selection, one of the benefits we try very hard to offer our customers is convenience. I'm very sorry for the inconvenience you experienced in this case.

We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Notes: I did not order for Raspberry Pi 2 - MODB. Please do not deliver that to me. Copy and pasting is a very bad habit. Even if you do, do it carefully. The delivery date has changed to May 12 now. And, look at the usage of two contradictory statements. Lastly, I am not at all interested in seeing you again.

Latest and Last Update: The product was delivered to me on May 12, 2015 at about 7PM. At last!

Let me know if anyone of you have also had a similar experience with any of the online stores. Please do share. Such feedbacks will really help them to be aware and improve the customer service.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Flipkart and Myntra - Move to Mobile App

Wondering why Flipkart and Myntra are moving away from the mobile website (and desktop version later) to mobile app.

I guess the first reason to shutdown the mobile website is to reduce the cost involved in maintain both app and the mobile website. With the increase in the usage of more and more smartphones by the people. Research say shipments of smartphone increased by eight-fold in just 3 years 80 million sales in 2014 from 10 million in 2011.

Next, people in rural places are more likely and more comfortable to use a app as compared to a website. More and more people opt for 2G or 3G for the mobile phones rather than for a desktop. Usage of internet for the mobile has increased. App ensures them that they are always connected with their customers and can push offers and notifications directly to the phone.

Additionally, advertising on apps is cheaper than the desktop version. This also helps to target the right advertisement to the right people as per the demographic which is easier through an app.

Moreover, the discount sales which they came up with, has seen that more sales happened from the mobile as compared to the desktop version. Myntra’s move to mobile-only was also due to high traffic through the app. Currently, Myntra draws as much as 80 percent of its traffic and 70 percent of sales from its mobile app.  Flipkart generates about 75% of its traffic from the mobile app. Both the shopping apps are among the 15 most-downloaded apps on Google's Android-backed phones in India. Flipkart, which claims to have 26 million registered users, has app downloads of more than 11 million while Myntra app downloads have exceeded six million so far.

It is a bold move to shut the website and have the app. The mobile internet speeds are not up to the mark and this may lead for payment failures. But, there are much more smartphones as compared to laptops and desktops across the country.

Lastly, people can use the app on the move and whenever and wherever they want. App is the latest trend and this will pave way for App Store Optimization (ASO) just like Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I am imagining that Play Store will come up with PPC ads for search as well :)

Friday, October 03, 2014

8 Tips for Better SEO for Startups

Startups are already bootstrapped and work on tight budgets. The co-founders work under immense pressure to get their idea to become a viable and profitable business. They focus more on product development and sales. Little or no focus is on website. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is more economical and time consuming. But, if perfectly done then, it will pay off in a long run.

Here are simple 8 tips which involves little or no investment but, a bit of effort for startups to promote their business online.

1. On-page Optimization: To start with the on-page optimization need to be done perfectly. Identify the right and perfect keywords. I would suggest to target more on long-tail keywords. This will help in 2-ways. One, the competition for long-tail is less and it will be easier to rank on top in search engines. Two, it will attract the right audience for you business and the conversions are easy and quick. On-page optimization the very first and important step for SEO. A mistake done here will consume lot of time to correct it. As you will be on the wrong track from the start. Note that the objective here is just not to rank on top in Google. But, the website should rank on top in Google for the right keywords and phrases.

Weston Bergmann, lead investor in BetaBlox, which is an equity-based business incubator for startup entrepreneurs in Kansas City, compares SEO to a marathon:

"The most important thing to note about SEO for early-stage ventures is it's a marathon, not a sprint. I see too many people getting frustrated by a lack of stellar results in the first couple months, when this just isn't possible. These fights are long-term ones, so buckle down and stick to the basics. Eventually you'll look back and see that you've built a monster."Search Engine Optimization Bible written by Jerri L. Ledford, is a very good book to know and learn the basics of SEO. This book offers readers about what they need to write a SEO plan and implement a successful SEO program. It also provides useful and easy tips on getting the website to the top on SERPs, The sidebars provide more information and additional resources on the topic which are very helpful to a rookie.

2. Mobilize, Localize and Socialize: If your business is focus on your local area, try to have the content more relevant to the local area. It is always better to be on all the Google properties like YouTube, Google+, Google Places... Have a mobile friendly website / webpage as well. 
3. Launch Blog and Keep Writing: I am sure this is the one which will be ignore by most of the startups as this is more time consuming. But, this step is the next step for effective SEO after the #1 above. Search engines want to see more of fresh and quality content. Make sure the topics, titles and the posts again include the right keywords as far as possible.

Secondly, it is not necessary that the co-founders should only write the articles and post it. You can assign and pick someone within the organization or have a freelancer to write.

Lastly, have an option to share the blog articles over the social media. As the more the articles are shared and viewed, the more help it will do for SEO. For more details refer my article 'Is Content Still King?'.
4. Social Media Marketing (SMM): The content / webpage which is more talked and discussed about in the social channels is of more help in SEO. Be it a blog post, video, image, website link or a post in the social channel. Having something viral in the media will boost the search engine rankings. This does not just mean that you make a few post daily and it is done. One needs to check the followers, respond to comments. Also, need to see the mentions of the name of the startup or the business and initiate the conversation. The mentions in the social media are the right signals for the business.

I understand, this eats away lot of the valuable time. But, keeping aside an hour of your daily time for this will be beneficial for a long run. I would suggest not to outsource this to any agency as I believe, you are the one who knows the business well and understand the customers. Thus, the timely interactions can be properly done by you and will be effective. An hour a day is what is required.

Do not miss to read 'The Four Important Steps to Start Social Networking for Business'.

Also, one can answer related questions to their industry and business on Not only answer but, can ask relevant questions as well. Never know from where we can get traffic and customers. 
5. Startups Directories: There are many directories were the startup can be submitted. There are tons of them. But, I would suggest just pick the top few ones and submit your startup to them with a proper description and tags. Joining sites like and will help. There are other few directories like, Erli Bird, CSS Mania and more. Comprehensive list and experience of a startup is nicely given by RivalFox in the article 'Startup Directories: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly'
6. News Media: When your product is almost ready and you are ready to spread the news about the startup do take help of the news channel. The timing needs to be right. Just do not be too early to disclose the idea and attract competition. Like directories, we have many news websites which give news related to startups and most of them do it for free. Here as well just focus on few good ones like Mashable, Venturebeat, Startupbeat, YourStory,,, Alltop....
7. Guest Blogging: Apart from the news channels, there are other bloggers who are interested to write about startups. It is just not about startups, but bloggers who write about the industry related to your business will also help.

Weston Bergmann of BetaBlox opines about guest blogging and he had this to add:

"Recently I've heard a lot of people say that guest blogging is dead. Well it's not. What's dead is spammy and manipulative link building techniques. What's more important than ever is high-quality guest blogging and thought leadership. If you're sharing high quality and exclusive content you'll be rewarded, not punished. Also, guest blogging shouldn't be a one-and-done thing; aim to write for the same publication multiple times."
8. Analytics and Metrics: Do not forget to analyze the traffic stats and the sources of these traffic. See which traffic is being converted and focus on generating more traffic from these sources. Google Analytics is the best free tool available and to start with the numbers which it provides is apt. If the numbers are read and interpreted well then, it will save lot of efforts and cost to the startup. This step is always ignored by most of the businesses.
Whether it's for a startup or a new business, these simple 8 steps will help your SEO or digital marketing efforts to be more successful. Of course, once you launch a business the keywords and content your care about may change, but the game remains the same.

Work at a startup? Ask questions or share your own experiences in the comments!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Is Content Still KING?

You must have seen many blogs have sprang the web. Why? As the content is king. Is it really still the King? Just content can't be king. Search engines algorithms are smarter and it just does not depend on content. Writing new and quality content is passé  for search engines now. There are other major factors as well. It is better not to put all the focus on just content. Doing so your website can be content heavy, but may lose quality audience and conversions.

Currently, we are in a state of content overload – this infographic by DOMOSPHERE provides the amount of content published on the internet every day. YouTube users upload 48 hours of video, Facebook users share 684,478 pieces of content, Instagram users share 3,600 new photos, and Tumblr sees 27,778 new posts published. These are sites many people around the world use on a regular basis, and will continue to use in the future. Not to mention all the other web 2.0 sites that have enabled individuals – as well brands – to become publishers and post content.

Very little of it is relevant and brands are failing to cut through the flood as their content marketing fails to take into account the deeply personal and always changing contexts of each individual.


I would say now, the content which influence works. The content that is being shared works. The content that is being talked about works. Nowadays, people really do not get impressed or buy what the ads say. People are much and easily convinced by what their friends and relatives say and recommend. All medias are full of ads and seldom anyone takes it seriously. Influence by friends really works for conversions. And, the search engines do look at such shared and popular content over the web.

The next question will be we can write good content that can influence. But, how to spread that content. You need to engage with like minded people over the web who have synergy is what you write and will be interested in the content. Thus, one needs to build his or her network so that the content what is produced on regular basis is influenced, engaged and is shared among the community. One needs to gain the trust, name and fame among the community and this can only be built with quality content and it consumes time to gain the loyalty of the community.

So, the bottom line is the content what you produce needs to influence and garner attention of as many people as possible. This is only possible when you have a good network and customer relationship.

E-commerce based websites can use the demographic profile (like age, gender, location...) available of their audience or their prospects to garner more attention to the content. idio Inc provides Content Analytics. Content analytics is the process of structuring previously unstructured content, by extracting new information.  It is the process of measuring content.  The output – the measurements – is in the form of metadata that describes that content. This can include the topics, people, places, companies and concepts in the content, sentiment towards aspects of the content, and the language of that content. Content analytics helps to understand the customers' interests, use social media, identify trends among the customer base, re-use effective content and market content effectively.

Thus, building network and customer relationships helps not only to rank better in search engines but also, increasing the sales.