Murugavel wanted to share his experience and mentioned he will use 10 key points highlight what internet companies should focus on
- IDEA – must have a feel for it, he was running tamil community website and say matrimony page was gaining traction and that is why he started Bharat Matrimony. Do not start another me too!
- When to Launch – Get the basics right and have a functioning website to launch, do not wait for perfect product. Learn from customer feedback and improve. If you wait someone will launch before you
- Team – Get the team right. You as founder needs to show the future vision and have passion
- Usability – can your find what they want easily. Navigation should be clean and there should be consistency in website
- Stickiness – cost of acquiring customer is skyrocketing, so create reason for customer to come back, when a new profile that may match customer is available we send SMS with short URL
- User Engagement – in Bharat Matrimony website they have feature like in LinkedIn –> folks who looked at this prospect also looked the following one, these profiles are similar to profile you are looking at. They also built a feature to show highlight profiles that someone has already considered from ones that are new (some folks use the website for months!) This whole segment drew lots of chuckle from young guns sitting around.
- Online / offline strategy- In India transaction may take place online but commerce happens offline. Bharat Matrimony was pioneer is collecting from door stop, we also have physical location with 150 offices …
- Innovation – Incremental innovation can be value or process. we have Free members who browse and express interest but cannot contact profiles, only paid members can contact. Then we have premium service and target upper income segment that is 90K for 3 months and a relationship manager handles are matching and ground work.
- Technology – changing rapidly. its mind boggling how much we have changed and evolved. Technology changes keeps us on our toes, if we miss a beat competition might triumph us. Invest in Data-warehousing, this helped us when we had challenging time.
- Cash is oxygen of business. Being from a computer science not good in finance. We had a tough time in 2008 and made me learn a lot about cash flow and cash. We had opportunity to raise money in 2003-2004 but passed thinking we may not need it. We raised 8 million in 2006, timing was correct because most of my competition had raised ton of money, without this funding we could not have scaled this much.
- Marketing – Murugavel missed talking about this and when someone in audience asked him about this, he said early days marketing was usually through banner ads in other website and mentions in friendly websites. Focus on SEO Search Engine Optimization and SEM Search Engine Marketing. Look for top ten or even 3-4 keywords and figure out how within top ten for those keywords
To a Question “what happens after your customers find a match ? ” – Murugavel answered “Successful Marriage”. And added “we are one company who are happy to never see the customer back again i.e loose him/her” Then he said his “Nation needs good citizen, future citizen are result of good parenting, good parenting starts with successful and stable marriages, we do not care if matches are made thru our website, we want to contribute to successful marriages”.
To another question he said when we started we charged Rs.300 per year and now basic plan starts at 2900 for 3 months and there are more premium services.