Blogging Cage Interview Series (BCIS) is a series of aI wesome individuals who have done outstanding work in their life and proved that they are on the path to make this world a better place.
Subhash and I became friends somewhere around 2012.
Those were the days when we used to have the discussion around “make money online” and long discussions around SEO and all.
Soon we got busy in our businesses and stopped talking to each other.
But right after 3 years, i.e in 2015, he did such wila tremendous job that he was everywhere. People were appreciating his efforts, his work ethics and their work environment in the office.
The achievement he got just after starting his digital marketing company was tremendous.
$2 million in his first year.
This is something which made me say wowwwwwww.
He proved that nothing is impossible when you have a vision and work ethics.
He is running a company with name RiseMetric where they provide online marketing services to give a growth to any online business.
So I decided to have an interview with him so that we can inspire many individuals all across the world who are working day and night to achieve their dreams.
His story is interesting and very inspiring.
Let's read his inspiring story and get pumped to achieve our goals.
#1. What're your thoughts on starting a company with people having strong educational background vs a normal education guy? According to you what are the pros and cons of both?
Being a less than normal educated guy myself (Just 12th) who got a chance to work with guys from Stanford & LBS I think I can relate to this pretty well.
In my experience, education does play a significant role in how the business is being run and having someone with strong relevant education on your side gives you an edge. They will always have better communication, management and people skill which often can be a differentiator between you & your competition.
#2. Internet marketing is such a big industry. Everyone is master of something unique. What is that uniqueness in your company which help businesses to grow in their respective fields.
I believe the USP of our business is the excellent team we have and our belief in them. We choose to work with some of the best in the industry while giving them complete freedom of what they do. Instead of following a predefined template-based process, we give our team a goal to complete the task and the freedom to do it the way they see fit.
This not only helps us keep innovating in the things we do but also gives our team a satisfaction you can never find in template-based projects. And till date, they have never disappointed me 🙂
#3. You have some of the big Indian brands in your bucket. How did you find that and what was the exact procedure to convert them into your clients.
We were fortunate enough to have worked with some of the biggest startups from India. The first few were from our Partner’s (Suumit Shah) existing network. We made it our mission to grow them and were quite successful doing so.
They were happy with our work and referred us to others. The referrals started to came in and we were able to convert most of them.
Once we have the referral process to convert them into an account is a bit different than traditional sales cycle.
Here is how we go about it –
Upon receiving the referral (Verbal, Email Introduction) we set up a face to face meeting with them, Most of the time the decision maker is either the founder or one of the Co-founder. From our side as well it is the core people. In my experience, the way we can communicate and what we do can never be matched by a sales guy.
We ditched traditional Presentations where the sales guy bores you through half an hour sales pitch. We opted for verbal communication, making it more personal to the decision makers.
In the meeting, we talk about what they have been upto and the areas where they need help. We share our experience in those areas and show results/case studies, mostly live. We prefer it to be a live examples of our work (like Keyword ranks, Social Media engagements, traffic growth etc) rather than PDF case studies which are often biased and show selected data.
Based on the information gathered from them and researching the market/competition we come up with a brief, to the point proposal & commercials.
The proposal is discussed with them in person and after discussing the performance metrics/targets we close it. Sometimes there is slight negotiation and based on our relationship with them we deal with it.
The sales cycle is just the beginning, the actual effort goes into delivery and making sure their money counts.
#4. You are an awesome speaker also. How this specific skills help you to grow your brand?
I believe being a speaker is a mix of communication & presentation. The way you convey your ideas & strategies matters and having these skills have helped me not only in sales but also in delivery & retention.
While communicating, whether with a client or a fellow team member, I try to understand, not to give a response and I believe that makes a difference.
On a personal level, I was a speaker at few WordCamps (Mumbai) and delivered few webinars to a large audience. My presentation for one of the recent webinar was featured on Slideshare homepage so I guess I did well 🙂
Even from what I can see and have heard from people, You are also a great speaker and people admire you for that.
#5. Starting a company takes a lot of efforts, positive mindset, a working blueprint and business partners having the same goal. What was your process behind RiseMetric?
Yes and not only that but also a passion to solve the problem and be ready to face the consequence which can be pretty challenging at times.
For us, we saw the problem and found the opportunity in it. We decided to take it on and help businesses grow with our expertise. The next challenge was to setup a team of enthusiastic people, as passionate as us to come together.
Things went right and just in 2 months we outgrew our office capacity and had to move to a bigger office.
Below is few glimpse of the current office.
#6. Making $2 million in just year was such an achievement which is awe-inspiring. Did you have any goal when you started the business, or you just got clients one after other and hit those big figures?
Goals we did had and it was pretty high considering what we were making at that time but to our surprise, we did almost double of that in the 1st 2 months itself.
We were into Digital Marketing since long, with our expertise and freedom to do what we wanted to do – we helped the clients grow exceptionally. That not only gave us money but also made us a strong force and had us believe in the team.
With this force, we launched in-house projects one after another and they went pretty well. Once you have high-value clients, a very strong team and successful projects – hitting these milestones were fun.
#7. As we were having a discussion about SEO, you told that you have your own PBN, having 1600+ blogs. How difficult or easy it is to manage so many blogs, and what are the tools to use to manage such a big network.
Well easy or difficult I will leave you to judge, but we were onto building an army. An army we could deploy anytime with precision and efficiency to take on the biggies. We decided to build them into a matter of 4 weeks which I still believe was pretty ambitious.
As you know a blog network has many components and the important ones are the Domain, Appearance, Content and hosting. We came up with a very different approach to build the network which is different than what we have seen on most blogs and tutorials.
The exact strategy I cannot explain publicly at this time for it to still remain effective however I can share that we didn’t use Expired domains or different web-hosts/domain registrars for each blog. We could never have had these things on that scale anyway.
For us, automation played a lot of part in building it and the one tool which helped me the most was – zennoposter. It is a web automation tool which did most of the work.
The content was written manually by a team of over 400 writers from across India and we used Copyscape to check the content for duplicates.
Not directly but we used Kontent machine (which you are also a great advocate of) to build content for tier 2 links and GSA to build tier 3 Links.
On another note, we use Moz, Ahrefs, Instapage and few other tools/web apps for our day to day stuff.
#8. Let’s move the discussion in another direction. You have your own PBN to boost backlinks for your sites. According to you how risky is it to have such a network, or is it a safe practice?
Taking calculated risks is part of being an entrepreneur. Calculated risk is the key here.
The moment you built your first backlink, you have already violated Google’s webmaster guidelines. Let it be a blog comment or guest post or web2.0. After that point, it's really about how far you are willing to go and is it worth it.
Here is the thing – The network wasn’t built for being used for clients.. We simply couldn’t even remotely risk domains/businesses worth Millions of Dollars with a blog network considering the de-indexing things we have all seen/read. The risk was way too high for us to consider it and even slight mistake could put not just the client but us too out of business.
So, was it worth the Risk?
We built it for ourselves on our in-house projects, and for us, the question was like this –
What do we have “Right now”? – Nothing.
What Will we lose if one of the projects is de-indexed? Nothing (500 rs Domain).
What will be the gain if it works? Dollaraaa
Shall we do it? Hell yeah. Let’s do It!
Was it worth the risk ? Well, You have the numbers 😉
So to conclude, If you are working on a client project or any high value own project (like your own brand/long term blog etc) ask yourself these questions and do the calculations. Most of the time the answer will be “NO” but still it’s up to you to decide.
If it’s a new project or you don’t mind getting it de-indexed you should do whatever it takes to rank it. You will usually have nothing to lose and a lot to gain including experience – which is expensive mind you.
#9. What’s your thoughts on the importance of content for any website? I mean people make affiliate sites with the thin content and still make hell lots of money vs working on a big website to generate revenue.
I think it comes down to a very basic question, whether you want to just make money by whatever means or build a strong brand & a long term business.
I have seen thin affiliate, spam sites making tons of money, and I have witnessed them getting off the SERP and then jumping from one thing to another.
I have also seen a few hard working guys building their blog bit by bit into one of the most talked about blogs in India. Anyone can make money but It takes years to build something worth talking and once you have that, money just follows.
It is entirely up to the person what they want to do and become who are their inspiration, either is fine as long as that is what they want.
And for the ones who just come into this for the glamor of few screenshots from the event spam blogs , trust me guys – Not worth it. Build something worth talking. 20-25 is too early stage to worry about making money. Do you really want to tell your kids you spam for a living? Don’t build just another blog, Build a brand people talk about 🙂
#10. RiseMetrics focus on SEO. What are the big shifts you have seen in SEO, and what is working in the market right now.
SEO is really an ever-changing landscape, things which worked 2 years back doesn’t work anymore, things which work today might not work tomorrow.
The problem with talking about what is working is, the more people talk about what is working the more people starts doing it and then it becomes ineffective. One thing which worked yesterday works today and will work is Backlinks.
Methods to acquire them will keep changing; one just has to be creative and find out ways to get links which no one is talking about.
The moment everyone starts talking about the brand new method, the countdown to its ineffectiveness starts.
Remember scraprbox? Xrummer? SeNuke? Magic Submitter? Link Wheel? Pyramid? Wiki Links? and other things we used to have?
In a bid to be the cool people started to talk talk and talk about it, some for just the sake of it and some for affiliate commissions. Now we know what happened to them.
Just like those, right now its Guest posts and as almost everyone is after – the great PBN links. Not long before these will go away and we will move on to something new. The objective will remain same, the methods will keep the change.
Few years ago, I used to run ClickBank affiliate sites and ranking for my affiliate keywords were very simple using SeNuke.
Create a multi tier large campaign with Contextual web2.0 links in the first tier and profile links along with bookmarks at 2nd. Blast those tiered links with Scrapebox (3rd tier) blog comments and trackbacks. Send those 1st tier links to indexing services and within few weeks of continuous spam, it would be in top 5. A few .edu wiki links was enough to get them in top 3.
Compare that to nowadays, most of the stuffs now just gets ignored. I cannot really tell what we do, but I can say that we don’t use these things –
- Article submissions
- Directory Submissions
- Profile links
- Social bookmarks,
- Blog comments
- Trackbacks and redirects.
We personally do a lot of content outreach along with few other similar stuffs.
#11. Mention some SEO tools which helped you to grow your business.
In no particular order, some of the tools we used, most of them are reporting and analysis tools rather than link building tools –
Ahrefs, Moz, Serplab, Majestic SEO, Copyscape, Kontent Machine (Tier 2 Content), GSA suite of apps.
#12. Ending the discussion by asking your suggestions to start any company, mindset to grow and have big clients in the bucket.
Actually, the word would be – starting any business rather than a company. When we say a company people make it complex, we can just start a business and then think about whether this is going to be one man show or a full-fledged company.
Every company I know was once just a guy thinking about it somewhere and stepping up to do it and then figured out the whether to be a company or operate individually.. Let's take your example, you are doing really well and you didn't have to start a company for that 🙂
This is about the WillPower. The willingness to do something different and the power of control to stick to it.
It just needs the right motivation and the mindset to do be different than what society asks him to be. Rest everything else falls in place.
Once you grow as an individual, there are some skills and experience you have gained which is effective in a lot of similar cases. Let’s say as an affiliate marketer, you or I have gained a lot of SEO skills and experience.
The process of SEO is almost same whether a local IT company wants to be on the 1st page for their local keywords or a national tour agency trying to rank on the first page for travel-related searches and so on.
We cannot start each of the business ourselves but for sure We can help (Consult) the existing businesses achieve their goals and in return gain some financial compensation. Now, this consulting can be either just the strategy or full execution based on the time we have in hand and the resources available at both sides..
Usually, it starts with strategy consulting and then later it makes sense to hire your own people to do the execution as well since it's easier to coordinate and the clients won’t have to go back and forth with different vendors.
Doing a good job at few of them usually results in more n more referrals and once we have some small fishes with great results, it's easier to approach bigger level clients. It’s a matter of personal preference whether you want to work with too many small clients or just a few bigger ones.
We chose to work with few but large ticket clients but the path to get there certainly go from small ones.