Martin Masin runs the creative web agency, Constructive Roots, that helps small businesses get noticed online in Coeur d’Alene, and he handpicked the city as the place for his business and his family.
Masin specializes in search engine optimization, or SEO: “In a nutshell, it’s about how well your website uses keywords on Google Search,” Masin explained.
Masin first saw the possibilities of optimizing SEO when he was commissioned to set up an enterprise level data solution called Channel Advisor on eBay. Masin, who is originally from Denver, was living in Texas back in 2009 and working for a national automotive dealership group. Not only were his sales for the business high, he also saw how the Google search engine was changing and used the gig as a learning experience.
“I realized I had to build this out and do this for myself,” said Masin.
He went online and studied SEO for a year, then launched his marketing company in 2010.
Later that year, he moved back to his hometown of Denver and began Constructive Roots. It was then that he found Shopify, an ecommerce company to partner with, and began monetizing his SEO expertise. In just a month’s time, he had become the leading SEO expert in the Denver metro area for the Shopify ecommerce platform.
Masin soon began to grow Constructive Roots and amassed clients not just from Denver but from across the nation and world, including Canada, Mexico, UK, Switzerland, Israel and New Zealand. But it’s his expertise with Shopify that’s helped his business grow.
Shopify is a fairly new tech company based in Canada that went public on the New York Stock Exchange in May 2015. Small and enterprise businesses use Shopify to gain exposure and use the Shopify’s ecommerce platform for pennies on the dollar as compared to other solutions.
“(Shopify) is a way to sell products online without any tech experience or having to hire a designer,” Masin explained. “It’s a standalone store, not a marketplace. You have your own domain; owners keep 97 percent of their profits. The only catch, however, is that store owners have to do their own marketing.” This is the piece of the market that Masin has capitalized on over the past five years.
He said that many business owners use Shopify as a way to build their presence online in
addition to selling on Amazon and other marketplaces. Masin first became a Shopify Expert back in 2013 and quickly became the leading Shopify SEO expert in Denver, Colorado. He started researching the most professional and cost-effective ways to establish an online store to help businesses profit from the platform. In that first month’s time, he was one of their top sellers and became their resident SEO expert. He quickly amassed more clients with the reviews he got from others.
“I haven’t had to do any marketing for our business since 2013 as our reviews, referrals and happy customers have been the core aspect to our business,” he said.
Small businesses never stop
In spite of his success, Masin never stops learning, especially in the field of technology.
“Google changes things every three to six months. It’s like a Rubik’s Cube. They are always changing their algorithms. They say it’s to improve their search results but 60 percent is to protect their ad space on the web,” he said. “SEO is not limited to Google. A lot of people don’t know that YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the U.S.”
Through Constructive Roots, Masin also offers webinars to help business owners to better understand SEO. He is also working on an SEO app with Shopify coming in February 2017 called Instant SEO. “This app is going to simplify SEO on Shopify for Shopify merchants,” Masin said.
The Information Age is for everyone
What Masin wants people to know is that technology is for everyone and it’s a part of everything we do. While it’s important to become educated in some aspect of technology, a full-blown university degree isn’t required, and Masin is proof of that.
“Much of (technology) is not as complicated as it seems. I would advise many high school graduates to get involved in technology at some level. Many people do not know that you don’t have to be a developer or a coder to be involved in the tech sector... After the recession, many high schoolers and college graduates found themselves unemployed. However, many people who have started big companies and tech startups don’t always have big name degrees,” he advised. “People think that you have to go to Silicon Valley, but there is a lot of innovation right here in Coeur d’Alene that people don’t realize such as xCraft, Wedding Nook and the Innovative Collective,” he said.
Masin is a big believer of the technology industry revitalizing the U.S. economy.
Companies like Google and Apple are relatively new as compared to companies like Exxon Mobile. However, tech companies are now rising higher up in the ranks as some of the largest corporations in the U.S.
Calling Coeur d’Alene home
From Denver he and his wife, Gillian, moved to San Jose and thought that was the place where they would settle down and grow their respective businesses (Gillian runs her own startup, RememberYourWine.com) and family. But it was a visit to his mother-in-law’s at Hayden Lake that set their course of life toward Coeur d’Alene.
While they liked San Jose, he and his wife grew disenchanted with their lives there until one day Gillian suggested that they make the move to Coeur d’Alene and work on their businesses.
“Hands down, we made the best decision,” Masin said. “It’s like Denver here with an even better quality of life. It’s a lot of work when you run your own business now that we have an 8-month-old daughter, but we haven’t regretted it ever since.”
For more information about Constructive Roots, visit constructiveroots.com or search for the Facebook page.