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BetaLabs 03: Learn Google Essentials to grow your business

Recently Aarrrmor Digital conducted a Live Online Webinar on Google Essentials, where we shared how to use Google Essential tools to grow businesses

This was a basic information session and since we couldn’t cover a lot, we are writing this blog post.

In the webinar, we covered basics and fundamentals on how to setup Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Google Ads.

Did you just start your online journey?

Built a new website and getting started seriously with your online presence?

Go through the webinar recording in the end of the article that shows you how to setup these tools.

Get over your mental block around these tools.

Why should you use Google Essential Tools?

Because they’re free!

That’s the most important reason and they give a good amount of data relevant for most small businesses.

The biggest reason for sharing this post is to get entrepreneurs and business owners started.

We have seen that a lot of businesses miss this important step

And when you don’t have these tools, you don’t have data.

Without data, it’s difficult to work on growing your business, because any marketing, sales activities need data.

Another reason not to miss out on this is that you start getting data from the day you set up the tools.

There is nothing recorded before that, so start recording data today.

And hopefully after a month you will have something actionable.

The 1st thing that Aarrrmor Digital does on onboarding a new client is check their analytics and tool setup. If there’s any imprecations, we fix them and if they are not setup, we set them.

Because we believe in the importance of these free tools for businesses, we recommend you to get started right away for seriously growing your business.

Setting up of tools is not tough!

There’s a common misconception around tools and technologies that they are tough to setup.

But we know that if you’re smart enough to start your own business then this is not your biggest challenge. And if you have any questions or need assistance, we’re always there to help you out.

These tools will give you information about where people are coming to your website from, what are the sources, once they land on website, which pages they visit, how long they stay there for, what actions they take.

Based on this analysis, you can figure out where to make improvements.

Slides for Aarrrmor Webinar on Google Essentials

Google Business Essential Tools: An Overview

Google Analytics:

This free tool is wonderful! It gives details about users, website, page speed and experience & is #1 in the list of tools to integrate for your website.

To begin with, it gives you real time information of your visitors. How cool is that? It tells you where they are coming from, which device and which page they’re on

Next, you can see for any period of time who your audience is. Details about them like demographics, geography, device and technology they use. You will know what channel and campaigns are working for you. You can set up different actions as goals and trace the path that your users follow to complete them. This and many more awesome things!

Google Search Console:

This free tool sounds a bit technical, but it’s not really much. If you want to work on making your website more “Google-friendly”, this tool is a must have.

Check who is linking back to your website, what keywords your website (&pages) are ranking for. Find out any technical issues Google faces in reading your website and get recommendations on how to improve them.

You can work on your website architecture and monitor improvements using your Search Console. All the data here is more than enough for your developer, SEO marketer to improve the visibility of your website for the desired key words and phrases for your business.

Google Ads:

Scared of Ads? Don’t worry many people are…There is a common misconception that they cost a lot of money and how it works is a mystery.

We suggest you get started, and don’t spend money unless you’re ready to. To start with Google Ads, you might have to enter billing information but you don’t have to spend anything if you don’t want to.

So, play around with the tools, check out keyword planner (mini tool) and see what suits you. If you wish, you can run small (INR 100/day) test campaigns, you can pause or end them whenever you like. This way you will get over your fear of the tool and get a better sense of how they work.

Login with your own Google account in all of these tools.

Preferably use your work account, because these tools will send reports which are best if you send it to your business account.

Aarrrmor Webinar (Recorded Version) on Google Essential Tools

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List of Top Online Social Media Courses

Recently, a friend asked for recommendations on social media courses.

(Secret: She’s an ex-aarrrmor client)

Obviously, we helped 🙂

To start with, we did our internet search and found out all the popular courses. Next, we turned to our trusted /r/socialmedia community on Reddit and collected their reviews.

We understood that this list is not complete without reviews or without finding out which level of understanding they are most suitable for.

So, we have listed out some of the best ones we found here and we are accepting recommendations, reviews and more additions to our list.

Hubspot Academyhttps://academy.hubspot.com/courses/social-mediaSocial MediaFREE Certification Course
Hubspot Academyhttps://www.hubspot.com/resources/courses/social-mediaSocial MediaFREE Certification Courses
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/business/learnShort online courses.

Build your business and reach more customers with free, five-minute lessons.
FREE
Facebookhttps://www.facebookblueprint.com/student/catalog?fbclid=IwAR2zuDidauFQCJ8WDavsnmv4gA_Mb8S3yrnbvSElIDsYa_ig9SLeHOhOEz8For professional level courses, browse our lessons designed for advanced digital marketers.FREE
Hootsuite Academyhttps://education.hootsuite.com/collectionsMaster new social media skills with online courses taught by industry pros.FREE/Paid
Google Digital Academyhttps://learndigital.withgoogle.com/digitalunlocked/courses/digital_marketingDiscover a range of free learning content designed to help grow your business or jumpstart your career. You can learn by selecting individual modules, or dive right in and take an entire course end-to-end.FREE
Courserahttps://www.coursera.org/courses?query=social%20media%20marketingFREE/Paid
Courserahttps://www.coursera.org/specializations/social-media-marketingSocial Media Marketing SpecializationFREE
EdXhttps://www.edx.org/learn/social-media-marketingSocial Media Marketing Courses: Learn social media marketing best practices and strategies with free online courses from Boston University, UBC, Curtin and other top schools and institutions. Learn social media marketing tools and tactics to build your online marketing knowledge and advance your career.
Linkedin learninghttps://www.linkedin.com/learning/topics/social-media-marketingSocial Media Marketing
Get the training you need to stay ahead with expert-led courses on Social Media Marketing.
FREE
Udemyhttps://www.udemy.com/learn-social-media-marketing-course/Social Media Marketing – Complete Certificate Course
The comprehensive social media course, beginner to advanced. Go viral, get started today!
Paid
Gen M https://genm.co/program/social-media-marketingSocial Media
Grow small businesses with social media
FREE
Skillsharehttps://www.skillshare.com/browse/social-mediaSocial MediaFREE

Make this list better and let us know in the comments which courses do you think are good.

We’ll add them to the list if they make the cut!


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Game of Marketing to Throne’s Fans (*No Spoilers*)

Now that the mass mania of Game of Thrones is over (Click on the link if you want spoilers), it is time to see how much it has effected our lives.

There is absolutely no doubt that with the copious loads of marketing and advertising budgets($20 million for the recent season) that were thrown in for the mega-series, you maybe in one of these 3 categories:

  1. Watched the series completely
  2. Watched the series partially
  3. Never watch, never intend to watch and is constantly annoyed by the 1st two categories

The show has a huge fan basean average same-day tune-in of 17.3 million viewers, and where there are potential consumers, there are brands.

Brands have jumped into the conversation with extreme enthusiasm. 

For months now, marketers and advertisers at of Oreo, KFC, Pepsi, AT&T, Hotstar etc have been on strict GoT diet.

I hope they get a break, 

and I really feel sad for the people in marketing who fall under the 3rd category.

But you know,

Sometimes jobs are bad… 

Now companies which have hitched their wagon to the GoT brand have done something called as “Topical Marketing” or “Newsjacking”

You know when your consumer base is already engrossed in something that is happening right now 

&

you feel it is your moral responsibility to crash the party? 

Annoying as it might seem but topical marketing is something which drives results.

There is partial data of people who watch Game of Thrones (Insights are coming) and they can be impulse buyers (Yippee! for companies), and also favour the companies which have associated with GoT because they might feel that these brands “get them”, whatever that means.

Obviously, this data is not exhaustive and may not reflect purchasing habits accurately 

but it’s something 

a brand is not willing to ignore. 

Topical Marketing

Indulging in topical marketing, first of all, needs budget. 

It also needs you to know through some user research that the topic you are hijacking overlaps with your target audience interests. So, you can imagine that not all companies must be taking advantage of all the current topics, because they might be irrelevant to their customer base and they might end up spending their budget frivolously.

This sort of marketing increases your brand visibility, gives your brand a personality (something which all brands crave for), maybe show off your sense of humour or cleverness or boldness, all of which can be positive or negative depending on how your ad is perceived by the intended audience. You also need a team which keeps an eye out and responds quickly to such opportunities and is available to successfully complete the campaigns which sometimes might be short-lived, unplanned and hectic.

Because it doesn’t take more than a few hours for people to lose interest and move on to the next shiny object.

One of the most influential marketing phenomena in recent times is the Game of Thrones inspired marketing and advertisements.

Not to forget HBO’s marketing of the show itself, which saw a worldwide scavenger hunt for the throne, a #ForTheThrone campaign to donate blood and hijacking Budlight’s Super Bowl spot.

But we are not going to talk about that… 

Initially I thought I could write about some of the ad campaigns, but the more I researched it, the more I saw that there are literally 100s of ad campaigns catering to GoT (You can find them HereHere and Here)

So now, this article is about how good or bad some of these are 

whether you, as a brand, must indulge in topical marketing or not.

Most of these ads don’t make much sense and are simply using the points of popularity to suck you into an absurd place with loads of commercial products to sell.

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Look at this. 

Who would want to have a game of straws? 

If anything people are understanding that straws are something we shouldn’t be using, and are happy to not use them. Why would a popular brand, which is guilty of increasing the consumption of something clearly unhealthy for our future want to flaunt the very thing they are guilty of?

Not cool…

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And then there’s this. 

FastTrack’s GoT inspired watches. 

For the die hard fans, it makes no sense. 

You can’t simply put the name GoT on random products and expect fans to buy them. 

But these kind of products cater to the show-offers and they routinely fall under the category of people who have watched the show partially and want to be considered cool by adorning such products.

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And then there’s the Adidas GoT inspired sneakersOreos’ limited edition pack of Game of Thrones-themed OreosUrban Decay’s GoT inspired MakeupWhite Walker by Johnnie Walker and the tons of experiential marketing done around this series.

However tempting it might be for you to jump into something which is catching waves, 

do a quick check on whether you should:

  • Does it resonate with your target audience?
  • Do you have the budget for it?
  • What is the goal you expect to hit with the campaign?
  • Do you have the team equipped to carry it out?
  • Is the management on board?

Only when you the answers nudging you in the direct of taking up topical marketing should you get into this game where big brands with unlimited pockets come out to play. 

Make sure you are in it completely and for all the right reasons.

Like and comment if you saw a Game of Thrones inspired “something” recently, 

I certainly have 🙂


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Ethics of Business

While discussing client’s and projects with my team, I hear a lot of interesting conversations.

One of them revolves around who we should work with

Our Partnerships:

Everyday, a diversity of business and startup owners talk to us.

They cater to different problems, industries and have their own unique take on the products and solutions required for their market.

This way, we get access to new, exciting and cross-industry learning and insights.

And some of these solutions are incredible, and we can’t stop talking about them. But a lot of them are not, and we face a moral dilemma.

Mostly, this means that we don’t trust the business owner’s intentions.

This has made me realise it’s not the business in itself but the intention of the leadership and their values which reflects in their approach towards business.

The business or startup owner is responsible for making decisions about acquiring customers and delivering quality.

And if they are not serious about doing a good job, but simply wants to pocket money from the market, we feel uneasy.

Taking up a project means working closely with another business.

It means a partnership, a relationship and something we don’t take lightly.

Our relationships impact us and the way we work, so we are intentional about the kind of people we work with and the kind of work we do.

We make it a point to promise at the outset that we’ll not engage in unscrupulous activities in the name of marketing,

even if that means losing an account.

Our Beliefs:

  • Communicating clearly the scope of our services so that we don’t overpromise and drain our team’s energy.
  • Talking openly and often about expectations
  • Not take up tasks simply because someone asked us to do them.
  • Brainstorming on the best course of action for our clients.
  • Saying no to sub-quality requests and projects , &
  • Suggesting data-backed alternatives.

We also go out of our way to deliver quality work instead of chasing many clients and doing subpar work.

But we only do all of this if we believe we’re doing the right thing.

& sometimes we slip, because we’re not perfect but we’re learning everyday even though we make mistakes.

We never make sweeping guarantees,

but if we had to, we’d guarantee that we are committed to

  • Learning
  • Experimenting
  • & Talking.

We would rather focus on quality than quantity.

Whenever we take up a project, we don’t do it simply for putting money in the bank.

We take it up to invest in our learning, contribute to making our culture and processes efficient and building better resources for the industry

Ethics in business is important for us.


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How to prioritise your biggest business challenges?

And escape the cycle of meeting, meetings and more meetings:

As a business owner, you are stretched in all directions.

You never have enough hours in the day.

Still, you try your best.

Everyday you begin with the intention of giving your best and growing your business

& everyday you get sucked into the petty urgency of trivial tasks.

& everyday you feel bad about not prioritising right.

Find yourself in a similar position?

I totally understand.

I was a 1st time manager to a team of cross-functional teams of Marketing & Sales, Customer Support, Admin & Logistics and Legal departments.

It was a humungous challenge but I was prepared to ace it.

Once I got the hang of basics: the people, the challenges and how to manage change;

I started taking time to plan, prioritize and implement what I thought moved the needle the most.

At times, it means taking a break, working on yourself, getting help or simply hiring.

If you fail to identify your biggest challenges, you won’t solve it.

And if you want to solve it, you have to be serious about solving it.

What that means is that finding the important thing to optimise for.

Only you can tell whether out of the 100 tasks that occupy your plate every single day, taking 10 sales calls, or taking 10 interviews or taking a few hours of online tutorial is worth your time.

As a business owner, you have to evolve.

Every stage of your business demands a different you

&

You have to understand what your business needs from you today.

As a business grows, you might have these questions:

  • How to fight my competitors with deep pockets?
  • In a constantly changing environment, how to keep up?
  • How to learn a new skill with so much clutter online?

Marketing specific challenges you will have:

  • How to hire for marketing teams?
  • What channels should I be using?
  • What kind of content converts?
  • How to build an audience and acquire new customers?
  • Is social media marketing worth it?

It’s a lot to process…

Start by identifying what’s bothering you the most

I know, it’s a huge list.

Find your top 5

Now, look at this list and ask yourself.

“If I solved these 5 problems, would my business look drastically different than it looks today”

If sales is the #1 challenge, you have to learn or gain the capability to do sales for your business. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, your problems need to be fixed before you create a grand vision for the future of your business.

Similarly, you might have other problems…

Like hiring or marketing or retention or business development or processes

My point is that it can be anything, but only if you identify that this problem is what you will prioritise today, you’ll be able to solve it.

Stop optimising things which are already working or which if improved don’t make a drastic impact on your business.

And start prioritising 20% of tasks that will bring 80% of the returns


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Foundations of Marketing for Business Owners (Read this before you spend a single marketing rupee)

To all the founders out there.

Also the founding team members

And a handful of committed marketing team members

In short, for all business people tired of doing everything all time.

I have bad news

Marketing is magic doesn’t exist.

And Digital Marketing is magic doesn’t exist.

But I want the magic

Yeah, who doesn’t?

The only real magic is in the hard work.

Learn the basics of your market, learn the message, channel and creatives that work best

or

If you have money, spend it on the person you’re asking to do this work

That’s the only magic.

Build the foundations of your marketing.

&

If you don’t fail to get this right,

there’s really not much use spending time, energy and money in the wrong direction.

Are you ready to work for it?

I advise all my clients to do their own research first.

Recently, at an Entrepreneur Masterclass, I asked the attendees.

“Are you ready to put to understand your market?”

Only if the answer is yes, there’s any reason to talk more.

About Digital Strategy and Execution.

Else, there’s no point.

Don’t get me wrong,

You can (and should) take the help of experts, people in the marketing industry, communities, online resources etc., but you are the one who has to figure out the space you are operating in.

Some of the non-negotiable things you have to learn:

You can only build a repeatable scalable marketing and distribution channel when your marketing foundation is strong.

Work on building that.

An employee or an agency can only help you reach your market if you’ve done the groundwork and set them up for success.

Learn your marketing

I and my agency is a strong advocate of getting founders to learn about marketing.

Don’t panic.

You don’t have to be an expert,

Remember when you started, you didn’t know much about anything?

But you learned, right?

Similarly, you’ll learn the foundations of marketing your own business.

Some of the points that you’ll have to research are:

And once you have done your homework,

you can give out the execution to someone one.

Remember, no one will experiment and learn the way you do.

As an marketing agency head, I request founding team to do this work.

It obviously works better for me if you give this work to me….

But I am okay to let that money go.

Why?

Because I have seen too many business and startup owners make the mistake of giving way too little importance to marketing

And once they have launched their business, and they’re not getting any customers,

they start to panic…

And make mistakes.

Falling victims to scams, inexperienced marketers and unscrupulous agencies whose only motive is to make you spend money so that they end up earning more:

Marketing works but it’s not a magic bullet.

It is an art and science much like any other business function.

You make assumptions, benchmark with industry standards, research your market, experiment.

All the time.

And hopefully you learn 🙂

Contact us if you have any questions about how to get your foundations of marketing right.

We are happy to help!

The full slideshow that I used for a recent event is here:


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How to engage with your potential candidates to hire the right talent.

Recruitment drives are passe…

Let the right talent know your brand and get to know them too, before the actual hiring!

Want to know how?

Read on…

Our client 101reporters, a media company, came to us with the requirement of hiring interns for writing/reporting stories.

Hiring wasn’t just it, they had the vision of ‘hitting two birds with one stone’. Alongside recruitment, increasing brand awareness in Journalism colleges was their goal too.

So, we delivered.

Banasthali Photo-Journalism Competition Winners
Banasthali Photo-Journalism Competition Winners

This made us realise that attracting talent shouldn’t be restricted to that desperate time of filling a vacancy or hiring for a new position.

Instead, keeping an eye out for good talent must be an on-going activity.

After all, a good team can take your startup to places you could only wish for. Imagine having self-motivated, eager to learn members with the right aptitude in your company; working on as many projects becomes effortless.

As 101 reporters recognised this, we were happy to brainstorm with them on a plan.

Skeleton of our plan

  • Step 1: We identified a Journalism college, that had a student interned with 101 reporters in the past. Making her the brand ambassador for our Project, the next step was to conceptualise an idea to engage with the students and in the process create productive brand awareness.
  • Step 2: We came up with a plan to conduct a photo-journalism competition. The objective was well defined, we wanted 100 students to know about 101 reporters at the end of the competition and get 3 leads for prospective interns.
  • Step 3: We worked out the rest of the mechanics of the campaign including permissions and content plan for respective channels.

Through the process of execution, we had to use an offline push and our student ambassador, Archita Puranik did an incredible outreach by conducting a QnA with participants and distributing marketing materials without spamming.

Campaign Deets

Now to share with you a little about the competition

  • Target Audience: Banasthali college of Journalism, BA(JMC) students, BA9(JMC) students irrespective of the year
  • Name: Stories in Photos, A Photography Competition
  • Theme: National Girl Child Day
  • Giveaways: 3 winners were announced and 5 noteworthy mentions. Winners also win a direct internship interview along with getting published on exclusive 101reporters news website.
    • Winner 1: Amazon Gift Voucher of Rs.5000
    • Winner 2: Amazon Gift Voucher of Rs.2000
    • Winner 3: Amazon Gift Voucher of Rs.1000
How to engage with the right talent

Instead of broadcasting over common social media channels where it might not be seen by the college students, we chose to broadcast our message on targeted Whatsapp Groups, distributing flyers outside classrooms and college message boards.

We are happy that not only did we meet the objectives we had set ourselves for, but we also got on board an exceptional talent, Gargi Sharma.

It’s not often where you get a client who is crystal clear with their objective, willing to innovate and invests a significant lot of its team in executing the campaign.

We consider ourselves lucky 🙂

101reporter’s editorial team and photo-journalists created a rigorous process for judging the entries so that the competition retained it’s quality, worthy of their brand name.

Snapshot of the campaign outcome

101_Internship_Case_Study
Brand Awareness Case Study for 101reporters

If you want better interns for your organization, creating an engagement drive in colleges is your best bet. Don’t rely solely on the intern search websites, sometimes they may not give you the best results. Conducting this activity in a short span of time with less resources is very doable.

Not many agencies can help with you an integrated campaign using offline & online channels, so here we are.

  • If you are pressed on time, and want us to bring in our learning and organise your competition for brand awareness, EMAIL US.
  • If you have questions on this campaign, feel free to DM us on Twitter / Facebook.

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How to organise an Instagram giveaway to increase awareness, followers and reviews

Contests seem passe, but doing it thoughtfully still works

OR

We went back to basics, to driving engagement through contests. And guess what, it still works 😊

Our client, an Author, wanted us to market their book – Refugee Changemakers, that is a collection of 13 incredible real-life stories of hope and optimism. The book is about how this abandoned community fought the toughest battle of uncertainty in a new land.

Their stories of survival deserved to be heard and what better channel to communicate a story other than Instagram. Getting sufficient reach through organic posting is not always attainable, so we decided to piggyback on an influencer to get the word out.   

We identified a relevant and popular Instagram book blogger called ‘Storypals’, who was generous enough to run a book giveaway contest for us through her handle. The goal was to boost awareness of the book and increase followers on the Refugee Changemaker’s Insta handle.

We realise from our past work that one post published by the influencer would generate only limited engagement.

So, we ran a simple contest that lasted a week and the outcome was more than what we had expected.

Contest Idea: Ask storypal’s followers to like the post and tag 3 of their friends who inspire and motivate them.

PS: we understand how tagging to win a book can be so painstaking for all of us social media addicts. However, that’s where the content matters. If the story is compellingly good, it doesn’t hurt to like or tag.


Outcome:

  • 3809 Impressions
  • 638 Accounts Reached
  • 129 Participants
  • 3 Winners

Bonus: we got 2 book reviews organically, without expectation 😊


Book Reviews from Instagram Giveaway

We kept the content calendar for this contest very simple.

An introductory post on Storypals channel was followed by a post explaining the contest, a few posts about the book to encourage participation. And our team ensured to engage with every comment with a personal appeal.

If you want to up your Instagram game and run engaging contests on your page or with influencers, and want us to bring in our learning and organise your giveaway for brand awareness, EMAIL US.

If you have questions on this campaign, message us.

We are on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram


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