Synup Focusing on Increasing Customer Engagement by Creating Brand Recall

One stays ahead of the competition and can easily be searched for by potential customers

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Ashwin Ramesh, founder and CEO, Synup.

Synup is a SaaS-based marketing technology (MarTech) startup based out of Bangalore. Synup offers a complete local marketing solution that makes it easy for businesses to manage their location data, presence, reputation and analytics.

It tracks thousands of business profiles and monitors millions of interactions to provide businesses with automated marketing as well as insights. It also manages and boosts local SEO efforts for agencies, enterprises and small businesses with multiple locations.

Synup’s founder Ashwin Ramesh is a serial entrepreneur having started his first business when he was still in high school. Excerpts from an interview:

BW CIO: How are Synup's MarTech tools amplifying growth and driving sales for small and medium businesses?

Ashwin Ramesh: The field of marketing technology is a nascent and emerging segment. A few years back, it was unheard of. When I started Synup, my objective was to provide business owners an easy way to make their businesses visible. This is where location data services come into play.

A store or restaurant cannot find new customers if their location data is inaccurate or incomplete. If the location is available online, it is also important to update it in case there the venue is closed, under renovation or moving to a new area. Such insights help the business owners retain their loyal customers. Another part of our service is listing these businesses in search directories. That doesn’t just include Google or review platforms, but also on all online directories related to their sector.

It ensures that one stays ahead of the competition and can easily be searched for by potential customers. We also look after customer ratings and reviews as it has become essential for any business to have a good star rating on all platforms.

Our service is currently available in the US. We have discovered that it is mostly small and medium businesses that struggle with the technology of marketing. We have about 60,000 business locations in the US who are using Synup currently. We have seen a lot of traction in verticals such as home services, restaurants and health and medical services.

The biggest challenge these businesses face is lack of visibility. Few years back, people were still using yellow pages. Today, they search online for restaurants, bank branches, gyms, pharmacies and technicians. If one is not present on the first page of an online search, it becomes very difficult for them to get new customers only through advertising or word of mouth.

The customers we are working with have seen new faces coming into their establishments solely based on online searches and testimonials on review sites, which we manage for them.

BW CIO: How have you increased customer engagement and satisfaction through online review management?

Ashwin Ramesh: One of our services is managing the reviews and increasing customer engagement by creating brand recall. Whenever we go to a new restaurant, we make the decision to review it online based on our experience. However, we lose out on a lot of such reviews because many customers forget to rate the restaurant. This is where we come in!

We ensure that if a customer has left the venue, they get a reminder to review the restaurant the same day. If they have a negative experience, the restaurant knows where the problem lies  immediately. We create their presence on review sites, business directories, search engines and social networks to increase their searchability and also manage their ratings on all these platforms.

BW CIO: Customer engagement in the US vs India: how does culture impact the success of marketing strategies in consumer-facing businesses?

Ashwin Ramesh: In the US, marketing is everywhere. There is no way to escape consumerism and branding, no matter how remotely one is situated. This has created a culture of acceptance for marketing tools and new-age ideas to brand businesses.

With a capitalistic economy, it is easy to target the right audience for any product. Consumers in the US are also more discerning when it comes to choosing their service providers which makes our job more challenging sometimes as we cater to several businesses in the same segments.

Synup has been well accepted in the US as a SaaS product. In India, we are now beginning to think the same way as Americans do. Indian consumers are less ostentatious than their American counterparts which calls for a change in the way marketeers function.

We are yet to make a foray into the Indian market, but when we do, we hope to change the way businesses market themselves through our services.

BW CIO: Who are Synup's current clients in the US and what are your plans for expansion into other markets?

Ashwin Ramesh: A majority of our customers are single-store mom and pop businesses. Our largest verticals are currently home services, restaurants, auto and healthcare. We have over 60,000 of these mom and pop businesses currently using us.

We are planning on expanding into other markets towards the beginning of next year. We will be starting out with Europe and hope to support all global markets including India by the end of 2018.

BW CIO: What are Synup's activities in India and plans for 2018?

Ashwin Ramesh: Currently, we have our entire team in India, but we do not provide our services here. We are currently planning to gain more momentum through our international expansion and then move to India. Our plan for 2018 is to strengthen our customer base in the US as well.

After receiving our Series A funding from Vertex Ventures and Prime Venture Partners, we plan on doubling our India headcount. With the new fundraise, we also plan on investing heavily in building publisher partnerships in markets outside of North America.



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