I’m Karthi Easwaramoorthy, co-founder and CEO of TicketGoose.com. An online bus ticketing e-commerce company, I built it from ground up by raising 5M USD from investors who mostly live in America. It quickly became a success and crossed the 100+ crore turnover mark in no time. As CEO of TicketGoose.com, I’m responsible for all the decisions on strategy, product, technology, digital marketing and investor relationships.
Before co – founding TicketGoose.com, I worked at TIBCO Software Inc, USA, and Sun Microsystems, USA, as a software engineer. Prior to Sun Microsystems, I was a software consultant in Oracle Corporation, USA, which is located in Redwood City, California. Before going to America in 1997, I worked for Hewlett Packard, Bangalore, as a software consultant. I’ve lived and worked in California for 15 years. During my time in the United States, I successfully launched a regional language FM radio station at the Stanford University Campus, California, which later became the best known radio station for the Indian community living in the Bay Area, California.
I am also one among the founders and chairman of the non-profit organisation IndiaTEAM.org, which operates out of California, USA. This organisation was established in the year 2000. Since then, it has aided thousands of government schools in various states of India, as well as helping students pursue higher education. Every year, IndiaTEAM.org conducts one of the biggest volleyball events in California to raise funds, while also having regular donors. In India, we formed the “TEAM Green” chapter as part of IndiaTEAM.org to build self-sustaining forests based on the Miyawaki concept.
It is while building TicketGoose.com that I grew a serious passion for marketing, especially for digital marketing to build brand and traffic to websites, mobile apps and YouTube organically. Digital marketing means knowing how to use search engines such as general search engine Google, video search engine YouTube and image search engine Pinterest to build organic visits to digital properties like websites, mobile apps, mobile websites, etc. These search giants can make or break your business. So, ranking your site on these platforms is absolutely critical for your business to thrive. Social media plays a major role in reaching out to target audiences, engaging them, building referral traffic and eventually converting them into loyal customers. Another very important area of digital marketing is to use social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram to build a solid community around your product, service or content to build the brand. Branding helps to distinguish you from the crowded market.
This book intends to teach you how to use search and social media to build a brand for your product, service or content. The third important area of digital marketing is how to use communication tools like email and SMS to build your brand and sell your products.
The fourth area of digital marketing is how to use messaging services like Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp to build your brand and sell. The fifth area of digital marketing is how to use every growing streaming server and OTT platform like Hotstar, Amazon Prime, etc., for your business. The sixth area of digital marketing is how to use affiliate networks to promote your products, services or content. The seventh area of digital marketing is to use influencers to build your brand for you. This is just like using celebrities in traditional marketing media such as newspapers, radio and TV to build brand credibility. In this book, we’ll also look at what an affiliate network is and how to use it to your advantage.
Having built TicketGoose.com and having handled product development to strategy to marketing and digital marketing to investment to engineering to customer support, I was fortunate to be involved in every functional group of the company. Having run TicketGoose.com for 10 years as a member of the board of directors, President and CEO, I thought of sharing my views on innovation to marketing to perseverance to build the company. I am extremely proud to say that I handled digital/online marketing, ranging from SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), SEM (Search Engine Marketing), SMM (Social Media Marketing), and Google Analytics, ad campaigns, affiliate marketing and content creation in our company to build the brand and sell our bus tickets online. As I am passionate about training and mentoring people on startups, digital marketing and sales process setup, I decided to put together this book to help potential entrepreneurs and existing businesspeople to take their company to the next level.
While I was building TicketGoose.com, I encountered several challenges on the marketing front because, well, it was a startup. I burned my fingers in terms of money and time by outsourcing to mediocre digital marketing agencies. As they were largely unable to achieve what I sought from them, I decided to take a bold step, learn on my own, and take up the entire responsibility of digital marketing on my shoulders, so that I could succeed as an entrepreneur. Everything that I learned along this journey is what I am sharing here in this book. It is not theory from existing publications nor theoretical research off the internet, but rather a practical hands-on, step-by-step approach based on my own learning and experience that you will find here.
I have another passion, and that is to speak and share my experiences with fellow entrepreneurs, student communities and aspiring entrepreneurs. While touring and talking to various such enthusiastic people, I found many who actively need guidance and mentorship, though they have that fire in the belly that is undoubtedly necessary to succeed. Based on my interactions with many of these people, I was inspired to write this book that answers most of their frequently asked questions.
A gentleman I met at one such seminar asked me a rather interesting question; he wanted to know the difference between entrepreneurs and businesspeople. He further mentioned that he wasn’t really sure if he was an entrepreneur or businessman. Here’s what I told him:
If a person inherits a business from their parents or continues a business started by someone else, they are called a businessman/woman. It means that the business model is a proven one in generating revenue for the company and the business person does not need to break their head on ways and means to generate revenue! Textiles, oil and construction are typically in this category of companies.