Roswell-based Sylvane believes that better air begins with knowledge. An e-commerce company, Sylvane doesn’t just sell indoor air/climate control products, they also provide rich information and resources for customers. Their expertise, expressed through their content marketing strategy, has allowed them to become a leader in the space and a name consumers trust. We recently chatted with Sylvane President, Steven Hong, to learn more about him, his company’s success, and his thoughts on tech.
Content Marketing at it’s finest
E-commerce is an industry dominated by Amazon. For small e-commerce sites, it’s next to impossible to compete with their prices and quantities of scale. However, Hong and his team found a way to earn consumers’ trust through their Knowledge Center. “Our content play is not purely for the conversion rate. It backs up our brand,” he says. “In the early side of the marketing funnel, you have to educate the customer. It helps to draw them in and keep them coming back for more information, not just air treatment issues. Every internet retailer needs to ask themselves, ‘why would someone buy from us over Amazon?’.” For Sylvane, it’s their knowledge and expertise.
How Sylvane Got Its Start
In a way, Sylvane began as a result of allergies. Following a childhood of runny noses, sneezing, and itchy eyes, “I did some of my own research into other treatment options you could combine with immunotherapy and medication,” Hong explains. “I read a lot about the benefits of using an air purifier indoors to remove allergens from the air. So I researched the top brands in the air purifier industry, got some recommendations from friends who had used air purifiers, and decided to purchase one for myself and was really taken aback by its effectiveness.” In 2001, he started Sylvane.com and expanded to other product categories that helped promote indoor health and comfort. He ran Sylvane out of his basement with the help of a few employees. In mid-2005, the company relocated to a small office in Marietta, GA and continued adding to its staff. In 2007, the company moved to a multi-room office with a warehouse in Roswell, GA, where it now resides.
Steven As a Leader
In order to keep up on the latest trends in tech, Hong is an avid reader of Internet Retailer, ‘the Super Bowl of e-commerce,’ as he puts it, Tech Crunch, and MOZ. Over the years, he’s seen Atlanta grow as a tech hub and he’s proud of the work David Cummings and the Atlanta Tech Village have done to set up a local culture that supports and fosters networking among e-commerce companies.
Hong received a Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering from Penn and an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business. Having a tech background himself, Steven knows how essential it is for candidates to have a passion for tech because, “When you’re passionate about something, you also happen to be good at it,” he says.
He has three sentiments of advice for young people interested in tech:
1) Life is too short to do something that you don’t enjoy.
2) If you’re thinking about starting your own thing or joining a startup, it’s easier to do that when you’re younger as there are less barriers at an early age.
3) Experience is valuable, but it’s not everything. Having a fresh perspective and a hunger can give you an edge in overcoming the experience hurdle.
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