Foundr Magazine publishes in-depth interviews with the world’s greatest entrepreneurs. Our articles highlight key takeaways from each month’s cover feature. We talked with Ronnie Teja, founder of Branzio watches, about his SEO strategy for ecommerce. To read more, subscribe to the magazine.
Is advertising spending sucking your business dry?
Ronnie Teja knows the feeling.
He is a self-taught digital marketer, entrepreneur, and founder of Branzio watches. In 2018, Teja lost $2 million because of a freeze on his advertising accounts. So, he quickly learned to divest his business and developed an SEO framework that, within two years, boosted website visitors from zero to two million per month.
“When people say ‘content is king,’ they are actually right,” Teja says.
30-30-30 Marketing Strategy
In 2018, Branzio was making six-digit monthly revenue and had 30-plus employees.
Then suddenly, on the same day, Google and Facebook banned Branzio’s advertising accounts.
Teja had a million and a half dollars in bills to pay with no funnel for future sales. So, he started divesting. And Teja shifted from paid to organic content and acquired brands with audiences that he could use as lead-generation tools.
“You have to have an A, B, C plan ready,” Teja says. “You should be able to shrink and grow your team as your business grows.”
Teja survived the “ban hammer” but ended the year with a $2 million loss. He rebuilt Branzio again, focusing on a balanced marketing strategy called 30-30-30.
“Thirty percent on social, thirty percent on SEO, thirty percent on paid, and you take the ten percent, and you invest whatever budget you have [left] into customer service,” Teja says. By having an equalized strategy, Branzio wasn’t reliant on paid advertising and could readjust when one channel was staggering.
Teja says crafting an SEO strategy depends on what you want out of it.
“SEO is anything you’re not going to do in a paid form,” Teja says.
“Consistency is key.”
If you want to start building an SEO strategy, Teja suggests looking at a “hero brand” as a benchmark for your content. For example, if you’re a watch brand, your hero might be Rolex.
“I would craft my SEO strategy similar to what they are doing,” Teja says. “But the main crux of it all is what is the look and feel, what’s the customer service, what’s the customer experience [you] want to give to your customers.”
Every niche is different, but Teja recommends a general framework for SEO content development is six to eight articles every week.
“If Rolex is [publishing] about a 1,000-word article, and they’re only doing two per week, I would bang out about four a week, and I would do 1,500-word articles,” Teja says. “You’re giving signals to Google that ‘I want to out-rank Rolex, I want to be more trusted than Rolex,’ and the only way Google is going to trust you is if you’re consistent.”
Most businesses give up on SEO strategy because they don’t see immediate results, but Teja says the growth will come if you’re patient.
“There are months where the SEO revenue of the company exceeds the paid,”
Teja says about the results of their strategy. After two years of consistent work, Branzio grew from zero to 2 million website visitors.
But he believes it doesn’t have to be complicated. If your business focuses on a niche, like watches, the questions people have are already known–meaning you can plan your content calendar for the entire year in just a couple of weeks.
Besides hiring a content writer and having keyword research tools like Semrush or Ahrefs, sourcing content ideas from places like Reddit will fuel demand with real-time content that can rank in Google.
“We have been spoiled looking at the instant return of ROAS,” Teja says. “What is your brand lift with other strategies?”
Surprisingly, Branzio has been experimenting with television advertisements in certain regions.
“Bless America for the late-night TV and the people that watch it,” Teja says. In the ads, they share promo codes just like a paid social ad or influencer.
“Always keep this mindset open for testing. Always keep this mindset open for looking at other things.”
Because of Apple’s iOS 14 software update in 2021 and ongoing data privacy gridlocks, the opportunity for two to three times ROAS has disappeared. That’s why Teja preaches the need for first-party data, which requires a longer-view approach to driving customer acquisition.
“Make them fall in love with your brand,” Teja says. “Your first-party data is more important because you actually own it.”
Ronnie Teja’s SEO Framework for Ecommerce Brands
- Hire a content writer.
- Discover search terms in your industry using SEO tools.
- Investigate topic ideas on Reddit and social media.
- Find a “hero” brand to benchmark.
- Write evergreen content that can be updated regularly.
- Consistently publish and be patient.