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Today we have selected the CEO and Founder of Masa Media to Take his Interview.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded or joined this company.
My name is Daniel Mester, I’m the founder and CEO of Masa Media.
I have been into SEO since 2011, been learning it on my own, and doing some random projects in my free time. Started my official journey in 2013 when I got my first job as a junior SEO account manager at one of the biggest companies here in Israel (the local Yelp equivalent if you wish).
I really enjoyed my time there and even got the opportunity to meet the women who later became my wife. After about 16 months, I felt like I was up for some new challenges, so I moved to a leading international betting company. I was curious to get familiar with the global market and the toughest niches out there.
Had a great time there, and learned a lot after about 6 months I felt like I could go my own route, and that is what I did. I started up my own website, promoted it organically, and started acquiring clients. Good friends and people along the way helped me out by recommending me to more clients, and from there we steadily grew to where we are today.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping? How are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?
We closed our physical office, which we anyway felt was unnecessary and limiting. My team and I started working remotely and honestly it was one of the best decisions we have made. Now we could hire the best people without geographic location being an issue. Plus it freed us from commute time and extra related costs.
At the bottom line: everyone became way more productive working remotely. As far as clients, some of them had to pause their campaigns due to their businesses being seriously affected by COVID-19. The rest actually bumped up their volume, and a lot of new leads were coming in. It seems that COVID-19 was a huge catalyst for businesses to build their online presence and utilize digital marketing as their main marketing channel.
How does your company innovate?
We strive to stay ahead of the curve in every possible aspect of our business. We constantly invest in R&D and look for ways to improve what we do. We were one of the first digital marketing agencies in Israel to offer our services on a month-to-month basis without long-term contracts. Over the years, we have built some proprietary tools and workflows that allow us to get the best results for every client we take on board.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
In the first years, we wanted to keep everybody happy and take on as many projects as we could. About 2-3 years into it, I realized my team, and I are working around the clock while the financial part wasn’t really justifying it. We also did things we weren’t the best at, which resulted in mediocre outcomes.
I decided to rearrange the whole business module so we can focus on what we enjoy doing and do well. We shifted from different services to focusing mainly on SEO. That meant learning to say “no” and sacrificing a lot of business for future growth.
Plus, we decided to focus on quality over quantity: instead of getting on a lot of small businesses with budgets and expectations that were set to failure, we decided to take on fewer clients but make sure everyone who comes on board has what it takes to succeed. We turned into a boutique agency that works with a limited amount of clines.
We focus on personal connection with the client, fast response to any issue, and our full attention to each project. The results are amazing, we currently work with some of the biggest brands in Israel and are taking on new global clients as well while maintaining about a 90% retention rate. The lesson for me was: to learn to say no, ask for what you deserve and focus solely on what you are really good at.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Like everyone else, we also started using Zoom as our main communication channel. Other than that, the crisis didn’t really change our workflow. As a manager, I think the most important thing was to stay calm and analyze the situation rationally. Pretty soon, it became clear that the sky wasn’t falling and covid-19 may actually present a huge opportunity for a business like ours, which is what ended up happening,
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
There are a lot of competitors out there, and there is plenty of work for everyone. I try to look to others for inspiration and constantly find ways to improve. We maintain a solid online presence (for example, as of today, we rank first for the search “SEO agency” in Israel) and make sure to keep our clients happy, which in turn leads to a word to mouth recommendations, and the circle goes on 🙂