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Why we don’t have a rate card for digital services

We have been often asked, sometimes unintentionally by business owners themselves, for our market rate to create a website or managing a content portfolio.. Some of you agency folks would relate to this, and without meaning any offence to our existing or future prospective clients, we take pride in our quality of work from start to end and therefore none of our services come in a one size fits all.

This is what a regular rate card looks like.

And what it should be:

Very few understand the effort that goes into ‘research and market study’ that accounts for not only onboarding a client but also defines the foundation for work ahead and in some cases, as a course correction for the client’s ideas of digital needs. Very often, the cost of this aspect of work is not budgeted.

There’s a lot that goes behind the scenes of telephonic meetings with business clients. Each of them come with a different level of understanding and aligning the bar of knowledge is more or less time consuming, although productive from a long term vision. But nobody accounts for that time and effort in man hours.

We at AARRRmor believe in customisation for the client business needs, basis the digital footprint goals of the business from a quantitative & qualitative perspective. Sub-domains of digital such as Social media, Website & SEO, Adwords, Display – all of this depends on several factors.

  • Personal experience 1: the CPC of a Facebook ad for a baby photography business wouldn’t be the same as that of a preschool franchise business despite the geography or target segment being similar.
    The reach will differ as per audience targeting.  
  • Personal experience 2: building a thought leadership portfolio for an individual using LinkedIn can be confused for an automated or a mechanical activity, but creating an opinion driven, perception driven content demands extensive understanding of the thought leader, his or her style of writing and industry research. This is the pipeline towards building an informed content strategy.
    And ours being a start-up digital agency, we live the DIY life and don’t take time for granted. 

We are not competing with other agencies or even with the ownership of knowledge. We are working towards contributing to the sharing economy of open source and collaboration, to be able to do good work. 


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


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:


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.

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.

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