“SpyderMate” is a suite of five powerful SEO analysis tools.
Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. ‘Forsberg’ regarding his flagship product ”SpyderMate”;
1. What is it exactly that you do and what “SpyderMate” is all about?
I am involved in the managing and guiding of all aspects of the software including budgeting, planning, designing, developing, marketing, and supporting.
SpyderMate is a suite of unique and powerful internet marketing tools structured to make managing any number of internet marketing campaigns easy.
2. When has “SpyderMate” been founded? And what stage is “SpyderMate” currently at?
Well, it officially launched in 2008 and has been moving forward ever since. We realized the growth potential it had and moved it from a free service to a paid product. If we had known it was to be a paid product, we would have had a completely different approach from the start, so we’ve been somewhat slow movers as a result of internal adjustments. In reality, I would say SpyderMate is just beyond its infancy and into its toddler years – the first steps have been taken and now it’s time to learn to run!
3. What is “SpyderMate”‘s business model and how does it work?
Its a SaaS product offering three subscription levels: basic, pro & agency. Basic is for small business, pro is for in-house SEOs and agency is for internet marketing & web development agencies or those with more demanding usage needs. We offer custom packages for those with particularly high usage needs as well.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
SpyderMate itself is owned and operated by MentorMate, LLC, a successful Minneapolis based software development company. We have the advantage of being able to pull in relevant skilled team members when appropriate, but not requiring full-time staff members to supplement our team. Our development team is based in Sofia, Bulgaria and the rest of the team works out of our headquarters in Minneapolis, MN.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
On the surface, we offer a significantly lower monthly rate than any of our competitors and that has been a strong pull for a lot of our current users. Our SERP Tracker is easily one of the best available on the web today and we are constantly working to make it even more sophisticated. Additionally, we just released a giant update to our software a few days ago that will really help boost our tools, features, and user interface. It is important to us to have software designed with the user in mind. Our parent company’s motto is “business needs first, from the user perspective” and that truly drives our focus. We get a lot of users telling us that our interface is one of the best in the industry and we are very proud of it.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has “SpyderMate” achieved so far?
Our growth has been steady and consistent. Since our recent launch we have seen a large influx of new customers, due to the massive nine month effort we just completed with the overhaul of our SERP Tracker. Last year we were featured on the list of the Top 100 web sites in PC Magazine. This year we already have a couple of confirmed awards that haven’t been announced yet and we plan to earn significantly more before year’s end.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is “SpyderMate”‘s competitive advantage over them?
Raven Tools & SEOMoz are a few that come to mind. SEOmoz is actually one of our data providers so I’m not sure they’d qualify as a direct competitor. Raven Tools, while offering SEO campaign management, has a different approach to their software than we do. They seem to be more focused on integration and reporting than building their own unique toolsets, like we do. They just shut down their SERP Tracker, which was one of the only ones out there that we felt was anywhere near the same level of quality as ours, so fortunately for us we can now assist their customers who have that need.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
SpyderMate originally began as a linkbaiting tactic for MentorMate to help increase our overall domain authority and visibility. Once we saw the success we had in generating our own web leads, we decided to benefit the community at large by enabling the SpyderMate tools as a software service to help anyone with their own web site’s organically-driven web traffic. Converting it from a free service to a paid product was quite the challenge. We have had to address complex issues with a plethora of third party services (with varying levels of API quality) as well as find an accurate way to crawl any given web site on the internet with a very high-level of accuracy. These challenges were rough, but we pulled through. Because we are internet marketers at heart and we use the tools ourselves, we are able to design them in a way that aligns with our core customer’s needs with relative ease.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
How difficult it truly is to build a web-based product such as SpyderMate. That SEO is not bogus and that snake oil salespeople and spammers are in reality a small percentage of the industry. That old marketing tactics are not what they used to be and you can measure almost anything these days, and should.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
We love what we do, we’re quite good at it and we care about making ourselves happy with our product, which ultimately ends up benefiting our customers. We have the drive to see this thing through to the end. We are passionate about doing just that, regardless of competition. We have our own needs to fill and we will make it happen.
11. If “SpyderMate” succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
We’ll build powerful new tools that assist heavily with social media, search marketing, mobile & web development as well as UI design efforts.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build “SpyderMate” based on?
Simply due to the unanticipated popularity of our initial free service offering.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
Love what you do, make small enhancements often, measure everything, keep it simple, save people time, don’t make people think, great support is critical, don’t reinvent the wheel, be transparent, delegate what you can, avoid perfectionism, trust your team, reward your team fairly, be loyal to your team, know the great people in your industry, learn to say no, understand when to say yes, be patient, be generous, share what you’ve learned, not everything has to be flawless & focus on what you know best.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
Scaling & effectively dealing with the myriad of drastic changes in the industry.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
Ease of use, actionable data that drives real results, time savings & the integration of the best data sources in one convenient location.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
Primarily inbound marketing of course, but also through the awards we have won and the conferences we have exhibited at (MobCon, PubCon, SES New York, etc.) as well as our free mobile apps in the Android and iOS app stores.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
Primarily small business owners, consultants, in house SEOs and web design/development agencies.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
They use our product because they love the simplicity of it and the results they are able to achieve utilizing it both for themselves and for their customers.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
“This tool gives a 30,000 foot SEO view of a given web site. It has been useful to turn a web site owner loose with this information as an introduction to SEO.”
“This is an essential component within our organization’s digital marketing tool belt providing invaluable information in a quick and meaningful way. It saves us a tremendous amount of time each month and well worth the investment many times over.”
“I run a boutique SEO firm and constantly need to help businesses understand why their site isn’t doing as well as they think it should. The best web-based tool I use is SpyderMate. The amount of information it compiles and the presentation is phenomenal.”
“SpyderMate’s UI is as good as any SEO platform in the marketplace today, and better than most!”
20. How are you going to scale?
By continuing to build great software while providing excellent, ongoing support to our customers.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
Additional Auditor sophistication (deeper crawls, remembering tag states, simultaneous crawls, spell checking and more).
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
Not anymore than we already have. We only support English, but our software is useful to English speakers in most countries.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
BIG. Lets leave it at that for now.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
We are constantly on the lookout for talented PHP developers interested in internet marketing, both in the United States and in Bulgaria.
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
We are funded by our parent company MentorMate and currently have no plans to seek external investment.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
Start something now, there’s never a good reason to wait. You’ll always be busy, that’s life.