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Endurance is the parent company of web presence brands like Bluehost, ResellerClub, HostGator, BigRock
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How Endurance International Group is helping small businesses create a strong online presence

Endurance is the parent company of web presence brands like Bluehost, ResellerClub, HostGator, BigRock
  • Endurance International Group helps equip small businesses worldwide with products and technology to power their online web presence, email marketing, mobile business solutions.
  • It is the parent company of web presence brands like Bluehost, ResellerClub, HostGator, BigRock.
  • Mitika Kulshreshtha, Vice President - Marketing, Endurance APAC told us how the organization has been helping small and medium-sized businesses deal with these last few difficult months by strengthening their online presence.
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The months of lockdown, which impacted so many big businesses was even harsher to smaller businesses. With a complete lockdown, many micro, small and medium sized businesses struggled.

Many of these businesses had to shut shop temporarily, till the condition normalized. Owing to how hard the segment was hit, the government had announced a stimulus package too. Reports suggest that the Indian MSME sector employs over 11 crore workers and it contributes 29% to India’s GDP.

While the lockdown led to this massive impact on these businesses, it also made clear the fact that there was an immediate need for these players to strengthen their online presence. Since people weren’t venturing outside, or going to shop physically in shops, once the lockdown was lifted, there was a huge demand online. And over the past few months, organizations like the Endurance International Group have helped many small businesses to enhance their online presence.

We recently caught up with Mitika Kulshreshtha, Vice President - Marketing, Endurance APAC which is the parent company of web presence brands like Bluehost, ResellerClub, HostGator, BigRock. She walked us through all that they had done to help these small players weather the storm.

Excerpts:

Q) What role have you played in supporting MSMEs in the last few months?
With over 75 million small and medium businesses, India has the second largest base of MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Businesses) in the world. The growth and scale of MSMEs today depend on their ability to rapidly adopt technology and digitalization.

As the crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic has unfolded, the role of digital/tech has become abundantly clear in being able to help businesses, small or large, continue their operations. Ahead of International MSME Day that is celebrated in June every year, we released survey findings that we undertook with Indian MSMEs to understand their adoption of digital presence in response to COVID-19. According to the survey, 30% of MSMEs started a business website or enabled e-commerce functionality since the lockdown started owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The MSMEs who were able to offer e-commerce functionality saw a shift in their revenue contribution with e-commerce contributing nearly 50% to their total revenues. Preference for using digital is now ~1.9X more than traditional sales channels.

MSMEs often need assistance during their online journey which is where web professionals play a critical role. Our brands offer solutions and services for web developers/designers and small businesses to create an online presence, enable discovery online and grow through digital adoption. Endurance’s family includes Bluehost, HostGator, Reseller Club and BigRock in Asia Pacific.

Our marketing strategy focuses on helping our customers grow through world class products and services. For example, our brand Bluehost focuses on super optimizing experience for WordPress enthusiasts and developers. We are constantly improving services and infrastructure for ResellerClub that enables web professionals to get top-notch web hosting services and a global platform that provides web developers/designers ability to offer hosting, domains, productivity solutions through their own storefronts.

Q) How has Endurance reworked its own marketing to help small businesses stay afloat during these last few months?
We have made sure that our marketing is relevant and focuses on how we can help businesses during this time. For example, we offer collaboration and productivity solutions, which have been useful for business continuity. We also made sure, wherever possible, we are supporting our web developer/designer customers to get extended periods of grace time after expiry of subscription to our products to help them tide over working capital issues.

Our brands play a role in helping small businesses create their own web presence. Indian businesses will have a greater need for websites and online presence post COVID. One-third of the world’s websites are built on WordPress1. Bluehost has been one of the top trusted WordPress hosting brands recommended by WordPress.org for the past ten years. It provides a great platform for SMBs looking for a digital presence. Right after lockdown, we released a campaign, #unlock your potential with the intent of helping out businesses that were quickly responding to the change and trying to create online presence.

Recently, we launched a pan-India digital campaign for Bluehost celebrating the spirit of being a creator. Our campaign showcases how Bluehost is powering the creators through its optimized WordPress experience and features such as free content delivery network and caching that enable reliable speed and uptime along with automated security updates and free SSL that enable fail safe security which is crucial during these times.

Q) As a marketer, what has been your biggest learnings from the Covid-19 experience?
This is undoubtedly a challenging time for everyone. But, if one is willing to unlearn and be open-minded, a challenge could change into opportunity. All our teams, including business operations, support and engineering, are working remotely. All our marketing campaigns in the last 6 months have been conceptualized and executed by members sitting in different locations. It takes a team’s willingness and determination to adapt and technology to collaborate effectively. Businesses that look at being prepared to work in a remote or hybrid environment will build resilience for the future.

There is an increase in searches for ‘starting a business’ on Google in the last 6 months. For example, we have talked to Bluehost customers who lost their jobx during COVID and decided to start something of their own online. Consumers across age groups are adopting online e-commerce. We are likely to see a sustained shift to omni-channel commerce even post-COVID. Businesses, both small and large that have responded to this change are winning.

Lastly, consumers are showing a heightened sense of loyalty towards brands that they trust. Brands that will live up to the trust will continue to reap rewards later.

Q) Has there been a difference in the consumer problems you are solving this year in comparison to last year?
During this time, we have observed that more businesses are seeking help to create their web presence. According to Google search data, searches for website builder, website hosting increased by 1.5X times during this period. Searches for ‘starting a business’ and ‘e-commerce’ have also increased exponentially. Individuals and small businesses challenged by Covid are progressively looking at leveraging the Internet to connect with their customers. We are witnessing steady demand for our products and services during the lockdown. In fact, at Endurance we are focused on launching more products and solutions that would benefit both the MSMEs and the web developers/designers.

Q) What are your broad marketing plans for the rest of the year? What will your area of focus as a marketer be?
We will continue to work towards empowering MSMEs to get started and grow through their digital journey. For the web professionals’ community, we continue to offer tools and knowledge they need to address the needs of their customers.

Q) How has the year been, in terms of business impact?
During this challenging time, our brands continue to serve new as well as existing customers and work towards enhancing our purchase experience keeping in mind local nuances in India and rest of Asia. Our business in India has been steady, we have continued with our hiring plans and there have been no cuts, either of employees or in salaries.

Q) Where will the next phase of growth for Endurance come from?
The increasing trend in internet penetration, online commerce and cyber security will grow the adoption of services for online presence, digital discovery and productivity applications by MSMEs in India. With increasing digital influence on an estimated 75 million SMBs, this opportunity is very large for Endurance.

Our suite of products and solutions are perfect to capture this opportunity. We are in the business that empowers small businesses. Endurance, through its family of brands like Bluehost, HostGator, Reseller Club and BigRock, provides a platform for web professionals and small businesses to create online presence easily and help grow business.

Q) What's your advice to SMEs that are struggling to survive due to the impact of the pandemic?
2020 has been a challenging year, and despite constant change and increasing complexity, SMBs (small & micro businesses) continue to power on. According to a recent Google survey, over 50% of SMBs report a significant decrease in business due to COVID-19 outbreak. However, some of them found a way to survive. Around 30% shifted to completely contactless options to serve customers , 12% offered new products and services. Endurance survey2 suggested that those who were able to provide ecommerce functionality saw over 50% shift towards e-commerce revenues. Customers of SMBs are searching for products and services online. So, there is an opportunity for SMBs to be ready for the future, even post COVID, by adapting to this trend. On our brand Bluehost, we are seeing an increasing trend of small businesses setting up shop. We look forward to supporting SMBs that want to start or expand online.