Lessons in Marketing for Online Business Owners

online business marketing success
Online biz marketing success
My last post shed light on asap.co.in and librarywala.com, two online businesses based in India.

Here is a look at how these two ventures tasted marketing success…


The core of any marketing plan in case of “Any Surprise Any Place” is the surprise (an experience in delivering delight to both the giver and receiver transcending geographical barriers). The brand name “ASAP” is a clever adaptation of the more commonly used acronym for “as soon as possible”, not only is it easy to remember but has a fun element to it.

The product range on offer has something for everyone so people can have anything from a simple box of cookies or chocolates or as bizarre as live band, a clown or showering petals from a chopper. Personalization is the key here with products that can have the receiver’s name written on them. Ruchi Chopra the lady behind the venture is there to advise those seeking more “custom made” surprises.

As for “Librarywala”, “wala” in India is a term attached to any vendor. The name is an interesting blend of the English “Library” and Hindi “wala”. On offer… thousands of titles on a range of subjects.


All good things come at a price and so does ordering a surprise from ASAP. However, upwardly mobile Indians don’t seem to think price is of any consequence when it comes to surprises. Librarywala.com has a range of membership plans on offer starting at an affordable $4.

Physical Distribution

Both these ventures rely on tie ups with courier services to deliver their products to the customer; timely delivery being the key element.


ASAP has a number of festival/occasion related promotions which is of course to be expected. Besides that a newsletter which lands in the mail box of every customer and anyone who registers on their website apprises people about offers. The newsletter and website are good resources for many creative gift ideas even otherwise.

Librarywala on the other hand encourages members to refer other people and get discounts on their own membership rates via what they call a “high five”. Reminders to renew membership are sent via email (definitely less intrusive).

Key Lessons for aspiring online small business owners…

  • Business branding is crucial… get a name that gives you a competitive edge. Don’t forget to add that element of fun.
  • Concentrate on your product/service… it is really the essence of a good business plan.
  • Customers today look for personalization and flexibility on the part of the vendor.
  • Find your niche in the market and price accordingly. Don’t be afraid to charge for quality… there will be takers if the experience is worthwhile.
  • Choose a reliable delivery mechanism/partner this is crucial for an image that emanates efficiency.
  • Invest in a good, user friendly website that is regularly updated.
  • Involve customers in your promotional activities.
  • If possible have a newsletter to connect with customers.