In today’s episode, I am talking to Namita Ramani, the founder and CEO of Above Digital, a leading digital marketing agency that helps small businesses reach their goals and generate qualified leads through pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns and social media marketing. An avid reader and learner who consumes almost 5-6 hours of content every day, Namita is also the host of the Successful Marketing for Small Businesses in Dubai podcast, a platform where she indulges in inspired conversations with prominent business owners and inspiring personalities.

Previously known as Salony Creations, Above Digital was established in 2004 even though  Ramani realised her passion for the digital world when she moved to Dubai in 2000 and began studying web programming courses. Prior to this, she owned a fashion boutique. Above Digital has so far helped over 300 companies reach their target audience and convert leads into customers.

She has conducted multiple self-hosted workshops since 2010, in addition to corporate training for brands like Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Arabian Radio Network, Dubai Golf and more.

During her free time, Namita mentors young and aspiring business owners.

Connect with Namita:

Book Recommendations mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Dhiren:

Episode Highlights:

05:04 – How Namita started out remote working as a web agency since she wasn’t allowed to have a job
08:38 – How Above Digital got to where it currently is
13:23 – Namita’s first public speaking experience
22:48 – The easiest way to identify a niche
28:28 – What digital marketing looks like for inventory based businesses and how it can improve such businesses.
32:16 – The client journey that every potential customer goes through
33:50 – What to keep in mind when getting started on digital marketing and the different types of campaigns
36:00 – What to ask a digital agency before signing up with them
40:19 – Emerging trends due to the pandemic
44:35 – Challenges faced by digital marketing agencies (especially the growing ones)
46:00 – The secret to success


Thank you for listening! I hope you enjoyed this episode and I’d love to hear your feedback. You can email me at hello@elevatedentrepreneur.fm and help me improve or if you have someone in mind that would be a great guest on the show, feel free to recommend them via email.

If you liked the episode, I appreciate you leaving a review on iTunes as it helps other entrepreneurs to find the show. You can also share the episode via Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram and tag someone who you feel would benefit from the podcast!

Namita Ramani 0:01
So a website is the most important thing a company in today’s world should have. A good strong website, which works as their sales team online. Because when people are googling you, or when you try to do any marketing, if even when you give a business card to someone, the first thing they will do is they will Google up your website will come up or they will straightaway write your website address. Both these platforms are technologically so advanced that they give you some scripts and codes that you put in your website. And it can track everything the website person is doing on your website. So much so you can show them ads on Google on YouTube on display, they can retarget that person for such small money.

Dhiren Bhatia 0:43
Hello, hello, hello. It is a Tuesday and I’m super pumped for today’s episode with Namita from Above Digital, and I’m going to tell you all about today’s episode and why she is a digital marketing guru. But before I do that, I want to tell you the three reasons why this episode is my top favorite of the show so far, number one, this podcast is 10 episodes old! Can you believe it? Here I was just a few months ago getting ready to launch and making hilarious dancing videos. What’s that? You haven’t seen those yet? Well, if you’re looking to learn some moves, you’ve gotta check out my Instagram channel @dhirenbh. And as they say, time flies when you’re having fun, and it’s been an absolute party for me on the show and the amazing guests we’ve had so far. And I hope you’ve enjoyed the episode so far. So please leave me a review or give me a thumbs up on wherever you see this message. I’d really, really appreciate that. The second reason is that this episode is all about digital marketing. A term I personally feel is as vague as a term space. And there’s so much to learn every day. And that’s exactly what we do in this episode. We’ll break it down piece by piece. And the third most important reason why this episode is one of my top favorites is because Namita is such an amazing businesswoman. And I couldn’t help getting lost in her story in so many parts of this episode that I can’t wait to share with you. From her first website design job to her Toastmasters situation all the way to how she founded her niche by visiting spas and art museums. Namita tells me a fascinating story about how she launched her digital marketing business, and all the trials and tribulations of an elevated entrepreneur. Now before we get to the music, I want to quickly introduce you to Namita and her amazing team at Above Digital Namita started Above Digital in 2004. And over the years, her team and her have grown to have over 300 businesses reach their target audiences and convert prospects into customers. In 2010, she started conducting workshops on digital marketing for corporate giants like ARN to Dubai Golf, Dubai business woman and just so many more amazing businesses in and around the Middle East. Namita is also a fellow podcaster and the host of the podcast, which I highly recommend, called Successful Marketing for Small Business Owners in Dubai, where she dives into conversations with prominent business owners and inspiring personalities about their personal journey and what it takes to create their successes. Again, I’m super excited to welcome Namita On this episode, and I can’t wait for you to dive in right with me. So stay tuned, and let’s cue the music.

Podcast Intro 3:36
You’re listening to the elevated entrepreneur podcast, a podcast designed to help retailers restauranteurs and entrepreneurs simplify business operations and use modern technology to elevate their business. here’s your host, Dhiren Bhatia.

Dhiren Bhatia 3:54
Namita Hi, and welcome to the Elevated Entrepreneur Podcast. It is so amazing have you you’re an amazing figure in the world of marketing. And I want the audience to know who you are. So tell us a little bit about yourself, please.

Namita Ramani 4:08
Hi, thank you so much for having me on the podcast, and it’s a pleasure. I’m the founder and CEO of Above Digital. It’s a digital marketing agency based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. I’m running this agency for almost 20 years now, I think, a long time.

Dhiren Bhatia 4:24

Namita Ramani 4:25
I am very passionate about digital marketing. And since I’m 16, I always knew I want to get into the web world.

Dhiren Bhatia 4:32
You know how you and I met? I don’t know if you remember how you and I met. We met on a cruise actually, of all the places. This is back in 2015. Was Above Digital already running then?

Namita Ramani 4:44
Always. Yeah. I came to Dubai in 2000. And I did freelancing, and I launched the company registered my trade license in 2004.

Dhiren Bhatia 4:53

Namita Ramani 4:54
That’s been a long time. Yeah. It’s been a long journey. Lots of struggles, lots of failures. And here we are still growing.

Dhiren Bhatia 5:02
What made you start Above Digital.

Namita Ramani 5:04
So I come from a business family, being a girl born in a Sindhi family, and if you know anything about it, I was not allowed to do a job. So the only option I was left with was to open a company or stay at home and you know, just chill. And I chose to do the latter. I was very proactive. I wanted to study as I when I came to Dubai 2000 because I was not allowed to do a job as I did studying at that time, it’s not digital marketing. I mean, digital marketing is a big word. I started as a web development agency like a web agency. So I learned how to design websites. How to do programming in PHP. So I’ve done the basics. Like I would sit in the programs and work with arrays and events and all of that. Then after about a year of studying and all, I finally decided that it’s time to go out and get a job. I convinced the family to let me work and I found myself an amazing job with 6000 dirhams somewhere in Barbados. Just a day when I was getting ready for my job, my ex-husband is like, I will try to do a job. I’m like what to do. She lives in the middle of money in Georgia. I’m like, I guess, like, why don’t you start your business? I’m like, how do you start a business? You look at this girl. He was under all these ads on classified for web design and website for this much you can start on the hill, you can put an ad for 350 dirhams. And let’s see how it goes. So he basically convinced me to not go for the job again, because of the family pressure. I guess. I don’t know why. But it worked out for best. I’m so glad he did that. And we put our first ad in Gulf News classifieds for 350 dirhams. When I bought my first website project for 1700 dirhams. I would go drive to the client, get the material, whatever, and design the website myself and then give it back. I got 1700 I think I spent about 1000 and just commuting from back and forth. And that’s me save 700 I reinvested back in the business. So then the second ad in classifieds. And then eventually as I got more confident, I started getting more and more website projects. Then I realized I don’t enjoy making websites. So I was basically working from home again, because not allowed to work. And I was still not prepared to open a company. So what I did was at that time in 2000, like early 2000, Elance was a very popular online portal like Upwork is now where you can hire developers and designers and programmers all over the world. And so I used to have this offshore team, I had a designer in Venezuela and a team of programmers in Serbia and Ukraine. My Google Ads team was in Pakistan. So you know, I had like this all over the world team. And I have a very fast turnaround time. So I would get a project in the morning, the next day and because my team was offshore and working on at night and I’m sleeping, by the time I wake up the next morning, I would have the layouts and stuff ready. So on websites like two to three websites a week that means I’m making better money and that’s how Above Digital was born in 2004.

Dhiren Bhatia 8:02
If anybody’s listening in talking about remote working, you started remote working back in  2004. Right? You’ve sort of perfected the model. That’s amazing. It’s very funny you said something I want to just go back one step you said your family didn’t allow you to do a job but they wanted you to do business. Funny enough in most families is the other way around. A lot of people will say don’t open your business it’s also risky so do a job first. And so since then, you’ve been with Above Digital, Above Digital was founded you had a team, how did Above Digital, get into where it is today, which is digital marketing, performance marketing.

Namita Ramani 8:36
I think a lot of credit goes to my curiosity. Websites were not very popular back then people would advertise those things in different newspapers and magazines print was big in the early 2000s. So when I would try to sell a website, everybody wanted a brochure or make an ad and all of those things. I was not ever interested in graphic or design. I never had interest in branding, logos and stuff. But then the need is there you have to do to earn the money on the bucks, right? So we were a web design agency, creating a lot of brochures and logos and everything. But eventually, as Google Ads came in 2004, besides doing SEO, we started doing and in 2007, Facebook ads came in. I kept investing and learning, I believe in mentors. So I had a mentor in the US. I would read a lot of books, I was reading this book called The Guide to Pricing for graphic designers because I didn’t know how to price products. I didn’t know how to price my brochure or this product. So she guided me very well to attend conferences seminar to do public speaking to speak one to many. So that mentor really helped me master the industry. So she advised me that you should visit America and go to some conferences and see what they’re doing. So I made my first trip to the US, I think in 2008, a digital marketing conference and I saw what America and the West are doing when it comes to all the digital campaigns in America was already running all these ad campaigns selling these books. So much was happening in that world. So I came back with deep knowledge about all these things. Now the job was to convince someone to let me run a digital marketing campaign for them. Back then in 2008, I was not very good yet with Google ads and Facebook ads, although both the platforms are open and available. So I managed to convince one spa to give me opportunities. I told her, I’ll charge you 10 grand, let me run this campaign for you where I’ll have a landing page and come up with an offer. So design an offer for her that we will offer. If anybody comes to you for a facial or a massage, they will get a free 30-minute thai massage worth 190 dirhams. So when I chose Thai massage, because it doesn’t involve the product is just a therapist effort, it’s time. There’s a lot of mechanics when it comes to running a spa business is that she didn’t want to lose her oil for free. So as a client and then I told her then you upsell a one hour massage for extra hundred dollars. So that’ll be an extra money that will come in from the same client. So after a client spends about 350 dirhams. Finally, I’m so glad to hear that this father’s called father doesn’t exist anymore. But she agreed and let me run a campaign. So I created a landing page with this offer. And I needed traffic. Now back then, again, like I said, I was not yet very good with Google ads, the concept of Google ads still was not popular here, but Timeout was hugely popular in UAE. You would go to Timeout for everything for events or movies or everything. Timeout was a huge site, which had a lot of traffic, given the time of magazine and stuff of Timeout, and I said, Okay, I want to run an email marketing campaign. She said, okay, send an email to 10,000 people, it could be $1,000. Fine, I’ll take it. Because my project was 10,000. Right, I had to make it work. Otherwise, I would not get paid from the time 3000. I’ll give to Timeout. So I told him, I want to send the ad campaign. So I designed the entire email marketing campaign. There’s a landing page, and the thank you page. I told him I want to send the email short on Tuesday at this hour to these kinds of people. So women who are between this and this age group But I hadn’t studied the entire thing as to how I wanted to run the campaign after learning from the west How the West did it. The Tuesday we decided the hour when the campaign went, the email short was done to the Timeout database. I think about 1600 to 1800 people hit the landing like I was sitting in front of the computer like this watching what’s happening in about 1600 plus people did come on the landing page. And we got about I think 161 at registration, so 180 people register to take the offer. And there was a limited time so I applied all the principles of digital marketing having a scarcity element as you know, the offer is valid until this much time, there’s only 30 days offers to people showed up. In the whole month, actually, about 110 plus people came in to the spa. Taking up this offer. They also upgraded the bought packages as part of the business 75,000 dirhams in that one month. We were in business. I signed up the contract with them for a whole year. So we do different kinds of campaigns throughout the year for spa. And then based on how my mentor guided me, all I had to do was replicate this for and become the master of the niche. So I became a spa marketing expert in your own words right? Beside owning a site approaching different spas and I spoke on the spa conference. So there’s a spa conference that happens every year called the beauty world. Back then I was really young as well. And nobody wants a young speaker on the conference, right? So I reached out to the stock conference, people that she wanted me to speak on social media or digital marketing, I can come and speak and she was like, sorry, we want experienced people to come and speak on our stage because it’s a paid conference, they will charging 1500 dollars for people for spa owners to come and attend the conference. So only fine. Seven days before the conference, the social media person decided not to show up for some reason. And she needed to fill the spot. So I get an email from the spa conference manager that this person is not coming Would you be able to fill the spot? I am sure! The entire seven days all I did was convert the campaign of the spa into a presentation and I had to just blabber it out on that stage for exactly what I did. And I was so nervous I’d never done public speaking, never spoke on stage, even speaking one on one I would sweat. So how you work in your early days. I remember my mentor told me, her name was Elise Ben. And so mentor was like, imagine the entire room is dark, and you’re speaking to just one person who’s nodding. There will be one person who will know that you’re nervous will node for you. Look at that one person. Exactly what I did. There is one person one kind gentleman who was just nodding like this, the entire room actually became dark for me and I was just presenting to that person. The presentation got over within 20 minutes and that was the difficult 20 minutes of my life. I just shared exactly what I did like how I shared with you but the slides and everything like this is the landing pages of the thank you page. This is what happened. After the presentation. There was lunch. I was not a paid speaker there but lunch was free. Why not have lunch and this is potentially 100 plus people in the room, potential target market. Good for the founders and sitting in the room. So I decided to hang around and go, I didn’t know anybody. And this one lady comes to me and she says, what you did there for that other spa can you do it for me, I have a spa in Frasier suites. I am like, of course! We are in business.

Dhiren Bhatia 15:16
That it is a phenomenal story to share. And I think you basically outlined the success story of a great public speaker is imagine the room to be dark, and focus on one person so that might be your friends as the secret of public speaking, but I cannot imagine the amount of courage it must have taken you to get up on stage. The motivation must have been the desire to get other people to know what you did, but what made you get on that stage so fearlessly with so much courage. Was it the desire to share what was going on in your mind when you got up on that stage?

Namita Ramani 15:50
You know, I had to kind of make it somehow present to share what I know and grow the company. Because I was selling, right? It was such a selling and I was selling one to many I just wanted to share my story of how I can help and help many more spas and be in business. That’s exactly I think the desire to keep the company going and make it easier to sell. That’s what you do as a business owner. You do anything. In fact, there’s another short story we have time I would like to share. I realize that public speaking is not my skill. I should invest in learning. And I think it’s important for people to hear this because you should invest in skills you think you’re not good at. So I decided to join Toastmasters. And this is actually linked to my story as well. Why? So I decided to join Toastmasters. Have you ever been to a Toastmasters meeting?

Dhiren Bhatia 16:40
I have.

Namita Ramani 16:41
So do you know there’s a section called table topics?

Dhiren Bhatia 16:43
That’s the table topic idea is that you get a random topic and you have to speak at it correct? Yes.

Namita Ramani 16:48
Yes. I said I’ve recently done public speaking. So I have lots of experience. Let me raise my hand up and go on the stage and give another presentation. I don’t know where the guts came to me. So I go up to the stage and suddenly the exact same same feeling of seeing that roomful of people staring at me came back. And this big, transparent jar image, they have these chips came to me a bit of a chip, and I swear to God, the paper was blank, couldn’t read anything, whatever was on that paper. And then, like six people are like the numbers of flying and I’m like, shit, like, all these letters and words are all around and am like I can’t read the sentence, and I was just traumatized on stage. And the timer was, I think it’s one minute, right? How much it’s 60 seconds. 60 seconds of green light. I think 70 seconds is yellow and 90 is red. Finish, whatever you’re saying within 90 seconds. Yeah, that’s about one and a half minutes. One of the longest 60 seconds of my life, or maybe students, I don’t know how much you have at the minimum time is I don’t really remember. It’s a very old story. As I couldn’t read anything, I didn’t want to leave the stage. So what I did was, I stood there, and I told everyone Hi guys, I’m extremely traumatized and I can’t read anything. And all of this again, staring at me is making me feel nervous. But I’m very pretty, I will stand here and not leave the stage, you can stare at me I’m fine. I said all of this maybe in a better way in less than 10 seconds. And I just stood there everybody’s like say something and try to say something. My brain was absolutely blank. I could not think of anything. literally no thought, like I was shocked the same thing of you know, people staring. But I stood there when the green light came and said, Thank you. And I got a standing ovation from everybody for having the courage to stand and not leave the stage. And that is what has kept us going. The courage and the grit to keep it going and make it happen and never give up.

Dhiren Bhatia 18:46
Yeah. And the other thing that is highlighted in that story is the courage to show up and face the music rather than walk away from that stage. The courage to stay on there and keep letting people watch you even though it’s a difficult situation. I’m getting goosebumps just listening to the story. And I feel that a lot of people have the similar fears of not being able to speak. But I think the moral of the story is, doesn’t really matter. As long as you show up, you won the battle. That’s a phenomenal story to share. So thank you for sharing that with the audience. So Above Digital is now running you’ve got your first conference, you’ve got amazing spa businesses lining up to do business what happened from there on

Namita Ramani 19:26
so what happened was, I really give a lot of credit my mentor who guided me with two things one master a niche and to own your words, like you should own your word. So back then, I was wanting to work with spa marketing specialists. So if you think about spa or any spa salon or aesthetic center needed help or clinic Namita Romani, or at that time even known as Salony Creations would be the company that will come in your mind and I became a judge for spa awards. So I kind of became I started speaking on more spa related conferences, so I started owning the word spa marketing specialist. Then we wanted to kind of shift on that one because my team was very bored of just working with spas, they wanted variety. I also wanted the same magic, or the same strategy that we applied for the spa as we can apply to any business to be honest. Again, going back, that was a very basic stuff that I did was spa. Because now we’ve evolved three sixty degrees in digital marketing agency, we do much advanced campaigns, we’ve done funnels, we do Facebook, ad campaigns and Google accounts and we combine them like I keep going to the US and learn the skills. From the best of the best there. We have mentors and coaches who train me and the team. We buy these training programs, you keep investing in your learning. That’s number one advice I would give to any business business owner, anybody who’s ever doing a job, any time it’s a marketing job, always invest in your skills and own your words. Then we wanted to pivot and become our own the word digital marketing agency. So what I did was when I started building up the team here in Dubai, like the offshore team, in 2006, or seven we started having an office and having a full time team one by one. So I had the first person the second person joining the first person who joined me is still with me, she is the head of operations on brain. What I did was I reached out to Dubai Business Women Council, and I offered them an eight week digital marketing course for the business owners there. So again, the same target market so stick to your target market. They agreed to the concept of teaching people how to do digital marketing themselves. And so for eight weeks, about 60 or 70 of the members of DWC joined in for the course free for the members. So I would go week by week exactly what you went through the 14 day digital marketing training. Imagine that in over eight weeks, one session a week. So kind of made us very popular with the word digital marketing, all these 60 people will talk to them all and a lot of inquiries and references came started coming in from there DWC also gave us an award. They got us a magazine article like an article in college time. So that got us the name digital marketing. And then we started promoting ourselves as a digital marketing agency and launched a podcast like yours And this is what God is like, as long as you stay puts to your goals, talking to the right, the same audience, you keep doing a different activities aiming at that audience.

Dhiren Bhatia 22:11
There are absolutely two things that I want to highlight in your conversation there. One is owning a niche. You need to know your niche and owning that nice so well, that you become an easy referral when it comes to someone’s mind to say, oh, if it’s digital marketing, talk to About Digital. And the second thing you said was having a coach or mentor who can help you upscale, I think those are two very key things. I want to have you just talk about owning the niche bit which I feel to something that I’ve learned, as well as running Cloudscape is to have your niche, what is a good thing that you can talk to business owners and tell them when it comes to owning a niche. How do they find that niche? I just want to take you off on a side question for a few minutes.

Namita Ramani 22:50
So you know a lot of them clients come to us and I asked them so who is the target market? It is everyone. Everyone cannot be your target market. It has to be particular kind of person who is your target market. Let’s take my own example if I go back to owning the word spa marketing so when I was actually discovering my niche. A little process how I found the spa niche. So my mentor told me what do you like doing back then I was really struggling my personal life as well as in business. That’s when I decided to have a coach and she made me go through all the process of having public speaking and having a niche and everything. So how I discovered spa was she said, What do you like? Okay, I said, I like to visit art galleries. I like to have coffee and I love going for spas. This is exactly the process I’ve been to by the way. So she said, I’d like to start with I’m like, really have to start from here. She’s like, yeah, you should work for a company that you enjoy working with. And it starts with what do you enjoy doing? Like fine, so I went to art gallery. So I found out about 1015 art galleries in Dubai, a lot of them are in DIFC, they have paintings worth 30-40,000 dollars but nobody wants to spend a dime in digital marketing or any marketing. Again, this is not even having a website. I went to these guys and ask them if you want a website if you would like to do some marketing or email marketing to set up any visits or if you’re not interested, that doesn’t work. We have events. These gallery shows people come for the show, and then the paintings are sold like that. So nobody showed me interest so I came back. So every week I would have this coaching call, right. The second in line was a coffee shop. So I contacted Caribou, Costa and you know, whatever other standalone coffee shop, I kind of made a list of about 20 coffee shops, and I approached each one of them. I found out that one of the coffee shops, I don’t want to name the brand, their head office is weird or something. So there’s a big market to reach the right person to get a project. I’m like being a single person, you’re a solopreneur. At that time, I was a solopreneur no way a coffee shop will sign up with a solopreneur. They’ll work with bigger advertising agencies. So that was against that. The last game was the spa marketing. So I went to one of the spas, hotels spas and ask them, How do you promote your offers and stuff? Do you send an email newsletter? She said no, and I’m like how can you not send an email newsletter?. So at that time, I was a very vocal entertainer, which was very popular. And they would get one on one free. So I would finish all my favorite spas. And then I also found out by going to a lot of spas that they have these monthly offers. So once and I was looking for a deal at one particular my favorite spa, I call them and checked do you have a new offer and she told me this is the offer. I am like No, this is not a good offer. Then I call the second spa and she gave me her offer and of course I’m giving her offer. like God, I wish all these offers were in a newsletter or something for me. That’s when the idea came to compile a newsletter for spas. So what I did was I created a newsletter with about 25, spas and their monthly offers. And I did a tiny test on Facebook. And Facebook’s ad platform was brand new in 2007. for signing up for spa newsletter to receive what are the different spouses going on these different spots, using the word different a lot. Anyway, so within like a day I had 300 people To sign up for the newsletter, I’m like this is something which is going to work. And that’s how actually we gave birth to Spa Genie. So another thing my mentor told me was, give something to your potential clients to come to you versus you going to them. So what I did was I created a portal called spa Genie, which was revealed bodies to go to spa or salon or aesthetic center or clinic, you have this monthly offer that you would like to tell to the world, you can be part of spa genie’s portal, and we’ll promote you for free. Versus me going to spa spa sign coming to us. I’ll have access to all their details, their owner’s names, so I didn’t have to work hard at all to find who owns the spa, who was the right person to talk to they would come to us. But then there was a lot of work and advisory. So now that I have all the spas and their offers I need people to go to these spots, right? So I would spend a lot of effort and labor of money as well to get these end users going to spa. So that also gave us a lot of training in digital marketing, like our hard earned money was spent on our own training in a way that would direct traffic to the spas, you need to make people look at these spas and that gave us a lot of insight as to what’s working what’s not. And then I started doing this spa camping as I showed earlier, I would send these newsletters to the 1200 spas on my network. And we will send them newsletters on how we can help add that in 100% of business was coming from spas, but even today the spa portal doesn’t exist. And when it did its job and it was closed. This is not my goal. Even today, 60% of our clients are spa salons. But actually now we are kind of grown into different industries.

Dhiren Bhatia 27:37
And that’s how you started to own this spa niche.

Namita Ramani 27:40
That’s how I was no wonder I was a spa genius at that time.

Dhiren Bhatia 27:44
Amazing. It is so important to have a niche. You said something in there that I want to highlight again. There was probably one person that was your target audience, but there are so many other people just like that, that need the same level of help. There is a secret of being so niche that you will find other people that look just like that, that need help. Thank you for sharing. And thank you for talking about the two most important things. One is having a coach and second, finding your niche and owning the words. Those are amazing things to talk about. So I know about digital now for a long time. And I’m so glad that you shared this story because I didn’t know the story either. But I know that Above Digital is a phenomenal marketing agency, you work with some of the biggest brands in the UAE. And I want you to tell the audience about what is digital marketing for inventory based business owner. So for someone who’s running a retail business or restaurant business, someone who manages inventory, how can digital marketing help them?

Namita Ramani 28:39
You know, I think digital marketing is a very broad word. Let’s simplify it is basically marketing or promoting your company on digital platforms. So its online platform, so it’s whether it’s Google, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, all digital format, you’re not printing anything on your website. So, basically reaching out to a potential target market in digital format is, in my simple words, my own terminology. I’m not going with Google’s definition of digital marketing. And whatever business you are, whether you’re a service industry, or a restaurant, or an inventory base, or a retail or a fashion outlet, you have a product and you want someone to buy this. You go to them, where they hang out the most. Where are currently people hanging out? What do you do when you are looking for something? So people like you and me, everyone today? You Google it, because when you are looking for something, you go on Google. So I have all these places where I can reach out to the internet to sell to them. No matter what product or service I’m whether I’m a restaurant, I’ma sunglasses company, I’m a fashion company, whatever I am, I can target Dhiren in these places on Google, on his email, on Instagram on Facebook, maybe LinkedIn, sometimes some people hang out on LinkedIn as well. or whatever other platforms you could think of. So when you Google or when you Facebook or Instagram, you can find something interesting. You click on it, when you click on something that takes you to a website. So a website is the most important thing a company in today’s world should have good, strong website, which works as their safety online. Because when people are googling you, or when you try to do any marketing, or even will give a business card to someone, the first thing they will do is they will Google you where your website will come up, or they will straightaway write your website address. And that’s the last thing people invest in. But nowadays, I think people are getting more educated. You reach out to them these digital platforms. And platforms are so advanced these days, both Google and Facebook, which are the most primary platform because most of the people use these two platform to do everything like whether you’re hanging out and socializing, doing social media, you hang out on Instagram or Facebook or tik tok or all these different channels depending on what age group you are or what interests you. Or you Google things, right? Both these platforms are technologically so advanced that they give you some scripts and codes that you put in your website. And it can track everything that website person is doing on your website. So much. So you can show them ads on Google on YouTube on display, they can retarget that person for such small money. Which other form of media will give you access to your potential customer for shillings and cents, and not thousands of dihrams. I don’t know any other form of media. If you go print or radio, these are all very great forms of media marketing as well. But once you’re in print, somebody’s read the article, the magazines become old, it’s gone. But on digitally, you have constant access to the Dhiren every single day.

Dhiren Bhatia 31:43
That’s such a great definition of digital marketing. It’s so powerful. All it takes is the desire for me to sell a product to my target audience and being able to find them on these social channels, whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and displaying an ad to them. I like that I think it really simplifies the whole complex world of digital marketing, digital marketing like you’re saying is very big word. It’s a very complex world. Now you’ve talked about you wanting to sell to Dhiren, you’ve found him on LinkedIn you found on Instagram and you’re serving ads. Is that all there is to digital marketing? I’m sure there’s a lot more.

Namita Ramani 32:16
Yeah, there’s also something called intent. Now, for example, why would you Dhiren be interested in a golf product or a fashion product? So there’s a consumer intent also, right. So this is called right target market or right targeting, the same concept. The whole world is not your client, like Instagram or Facebook has 10 million active users and UAE, you can’t run an ad campaign to 10 million users and algorithms are not even going to deliver your ad. So you need to find the right people who would be interested in your product or service, right. So there’s audience targeting, there’s also funneling like there’s a journey like there’s a client journey like there’s a cold client like a cold lead. Then they become warm and they become a hot and ready to buy from you. So every potential client for every business goes through this journey. They are they have never heard about you, suddenly they hear about you, then they show interest in what you have to offer maybe because you solve a problem. And the next thing is they want to buy something. So to transition your customer from cold to being a hot, and that’s again, a different strategy. It’s a process for each business, each industry, it differs from time to time. And you have to kind of have them to journey on digital. The same thing what you do in person, you do it digitally. So you have blogs that you write, you create good quality content on your Instagram, as well so all of these other aspects that come into play.

Dhiren Bhatia 33:37
Absolutely. I think content is very, very important. Because your audience, like you said earlier, is going to start searching on Google and if they find good quality content, they’re going to be attracted because they’re going to know like and trust you. So important. So I want to ask you, if someone was just getting started, they open a retail business they open an ecommerce business. Now they want to get started with digital marketing, what are the things they should keep in mind?

Namita Ramani 33:59
So ecommerce is businesses are different. A service based business is different, retail. So what exactly one, you should know the goal of your campaign, what exactly do you want to achieve by running a digital marketing campaign? Like if you have a store, do you want people to come to the store? Then it’s a different kind of campaign. Do you want to get phone calls? That’s a different kind of campaign Do you want to receive leads as email addresses and phone numbers like full leads like proper persons interested in your product or service? That’s a lead generation campaign. In ecommerce, we usually run sales based campaign because it’s online ecommerce system right? You can run a campaign driving traffic to the website and making actually as the conversion based campaign. So for different businesses, different kinds of campaigns, so one know your goal. No digital campaign should be without a revenue KPI. We as an agency work with revenue goals, no matter whatever your fashion brand, service brand or ecommerce brand. There’s always a revenue KPI attached to it. To be honest, you have to invest in a website. Whatever money you spend in digital marketing, you want to be sending these people to your website. So it’s very important that website is equipped to sell. So for example, when somebody clicks on Google, and they come to your website, but the contact button is not clear, or the call to action with your phone number is not clear what exactly you want the customer to do for you. How should they reach out to you? And why should they reach out to you? If we don’t answer all those questions properly in the way the website’s structured, then all the efforts will be gone to waste. So it’s all linked. All of these things are linked. So as a business if you want to invest in digital marketing, stick to a proper agency who can guide you who can run you through these steps. What is the three month goal or the monthly goal? Whatever goals you have, it should always lead to revenue KPIs, it can’t be just slough that has sent this much traffic to your website and these many followers, you don’t care about followers, having followers the byproduct of a digital campaign. It should be sending quality traffic to your website that makes people buy from so that’s what I would suggest people do or look into.

Dhiren Bhatia 36:02
Awesome. And look, I think it is a very complex space. And you’ve already alluded to this in your advice there is talk to an agency. A lot of people are intimidated by digital agencies. Can you talk about what a business owner should ask a digital agency other than having a revenue KPI everything is very important. It’s not about just leads and followers, but it’s about KPIs. Are there any other questions that a business owner should ask the digital agency before they sign them up?

Namita Ramani 36:27
Yeah, they should see their previous work. What are different kind of campaigns they’ve run for other clients? maybe ask them for a live demo. Maybe they will not give you access to the controller, but at least see how the agency is running the client campaigns and what kind of leads they’re generating for them, what kind of results they’re generating from them. That’s number one. Number two, you should always know your exit clause. Make sure that you know, God forbid if it’s not going to work. How would you exit so you don’t lose the money that you kind of signed up for? So when you have a KPI, if they’re not meeting the KPI you should know when to exit which is immediately If you don’t want to waste your money, I’ll be with them for three months or six months, if nothing is coming back. If you’re spending 10 grand and you’re getting two grand something is wrong. So have an exit clause laid out. Third, don’t give access to your social media accounts, basically logins and passwords to agencies. And then tomorrow, they can also you know, put you in trouble. So always own your accounts for yourself. And you give them managerial access or sub accesses. Never give a login and password to your agency. That’s another very important because we have some clients who come to us, the other agencies are not using their login credentials because they didn’t finish the contract or whatever it is.

Dhiren Bhatia 37:38
Amazing. It was very key even with websites. Similar advice, people will say this not to give your website access to someone because these are so important these days in the digital world. All of these are a digital asset and you just can’t give them the lock and key to say, here you go

Namita Ramani 37:52
Correct.But to have their goals sorted out first. Like if i invest 10 grand, what am I going to get back. Have clear goals.

Dhiren Bhatia 38:01
Got it. If working with an agency is not possible, is it possible for a business owner to do this themselves? Can they get started?

Namita Ramani 38:09
Well, if you have the time, energy, and the brains I know everything is free Facebook ad platform is free Google Ad platform is free. To be honest, it’s not a one person’s job. So you need multiple skills, you need good graphic design skills, you need these tools like Facebook tools, or Instagram, as well as Google ads are pretty extensive and pretty deep. Try to set up an ad campaign yourself. And if you don’t do it, right, Facebook will finish up the money in a minute and you will not see any result. I mean, you can give it a try and see how it goes. And if it doesn’t work, have an agency, you’ll have someone else help you who knows the system.

Dhiren Bhatia 38:43
Yeah, it’s important to know the system. And then also the other big thing that we’re talking about here is as a business, there are so many other things that a business owner needs to do. Digital Marketing may not necessarily be one of the things that they enjoy, they want to learn about.

Namita Ramani 38:56
I would suggest, do what you’re best at running your company.

Dhiren Bhatia 38:59
Exactly. So, tell me Namita then, especially now with COVID, has marketing changed. Do you think for business owner?

Namita Ramani 39:07
Oh, it has changed big time. I think it’s time now every business learns how to pivot and go digital because COVID is not going to go away so easy. The impact is going to be for the next couple of years, people are not going to go out a lot, a lot of online shopping and online ordering and everything online. Say for example, even medical is going online. Like you talk to your doctor now on zoom. So your doctor consultation is happening on this tele medical now. So the world is going digital. And if you’re not really taking care of it, it’s no way possible to survive. Like if you think you’re having a brick and mortar business and expect people to walk in and not have a website or do online promotion is not gonna last long. This is what I believe.

Dhiren Bhatia 39:48
Absolutely. I think a lot of people are now as you said, they’re all doing this from home. Everybody is looking on Google. They’re looking to do everything online. So can you share any other learnings in having done Marketing for so many other businesses, especially now with COVID, what are the learnings? Can you share any trends that you’ve seen?

Dhiren Bhatia 40:00
Many other businesses, especially now with COVID, what other learnings Can you share any trends that you’ve seen?

Namita Ramani 40:06
So I’m seeing a lot of people really pivoting and coming up with interesting concepts. So for example, one of the big trends I saw was in fitness industry, which is the most hurt with fitness centers closing down, yoga centers, fitness centers, a lot of them actually have kind of gone away from the market. But some of them who are fighters what they did was they started Zoom training. And during the COVID period during the lockdown I myself, you know, you need your exercise, you’re not allowed to goout so you might as well work out from home, right, so I would have my teacher on the phone, and I’m doing my yoga practice and she’s watching and the price for online zoom classes was one fourth the price of live classes at the center, much more affordable, and there’s still some income coming in for the shala as well as for the teacher. So that was quick and smart. I see if it is industry kind of pivoting I was talking to one of the other business owners has a fitness studio in Dubai also wanting to go global now. A lot of Fitness Trainers personal trainers, they want to have digital zoom classes and zoom trainings and online programs. So a lot of these fitness industry is kind of pivoting big time and having Zoo competitions and Zoo classes and everything. I’m seeing a lot of new ecommerce sites also pop up. A lot of brick and mortar retail stores are now going all digital serving a whole world is transforming. Everything in every industry is transforming and getting more into digital.

Dhiren Bhatia 41:28
Indeed. And I think, as you said earlier, Google, Instagram, Facebook, they all give you so much access to people that not utilizing these platforms would be a deservice to your business. This is where everybody’s hanging out. Again, knowing your niche knowing where they hang out, knowing the channels they frequent. That would be a great place to start. I also want to talk about books you mentioned earlier in this conversation that books are a very key part. I truly believe that so I want to ask you for some book recommendations. What books would you recommend for an entrepreneur to read?

Namita Ramani 41:59
Oh, God there’s so many books. I think one of the books that changed my life was 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Not only reading the book but I also used to teach the book that transformed my personal life and my business life because when you understand the seven habits I don’t know if you’ve read the book, have you read the book Seven Habits?

Dhiren Bhatia 42:18
A long, long time ago,

Namita Ramani 42:20
You know, be proactive begin the day end in mind, synergy, emotional bank account that actually taught me human relationship and that is so important in your personal and business life, right? Managing your team getting the best out of your team. All of it. I think I will give the credit to the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I love Robin Sharma he is one of my favorite authors that kind of read all his books, I’m in his 5am club or maybe I used to be since last one month I’m being a little lazy. But I always believe in the 5am Club. Waking up at 5am doing your exercise morning routine in the morning time is like my time I would journal I would exercise and I would be the first one to reach office even though I don’t have to be the first one to reach office. So having the right habits, the five income is one of the very good books I would recommend. Atomic Habits is a great book as well. There’s a huge list going on, and all the different books I’m reading. There was a time when I was reading about brain books, because I’m into marketing, and it’s the brain that makes people take action. Right? So I read a lot about brain how brain functions, how do people take action, what triggers action, so that affects the way we write copy. So I read these kind of books, and then go educate my team, like this book says this and I give them the highlights and then start applying those key learnings in the way they write, copy, and that helps in making our campaigns perform better. So I would also recommend picking the books that are part of your industry that help you get better results in what you’re doing. Like the brain books I used to read helped me in doing better marketing. Tony was on and so many other brain books I read.

Dhiren Bhatia 43:51
You’re right. I think these three books are phenomenal. One of the books that I read recently was related to marketing. I don’t know if you’ve read it. It’s called The Brain Audit. It’s a really good one. I’ll make sure we list all these books in the show notes. And I’ll also add a link to Brain Audit if you have a chance. It’s a great book to read. It presents this idea of the seven red bags that a customer needs before they make a purchase equates the seven red bags that you put on a conveyor belt before you take off for a trip. And then when you reach your destination, you take the seven red bags off the conveyor belts. It’s a very interesting book is a very interesting analogy. I’ll make sure we list them in the show notes. But if you haven’t read it, have a read. I want to ask you Namita you shared so much information about Above Digital you share the story I want you to talk about as an entrepreneur, were there any tough times? You talked a lot about in the first few months, the first few years, the fundamental years. But since then, as your team has grown, have there been any challenges?

Namita Ramani 44:44
So many! Every day is a new challenge. It’s a different challenge. Like I remember the time and I was growing from one to two to three to four to five there was a time we were 50. So we have multiple offices. We have two offices in India and one in Dubai. One of our offices in India was an amicable and we were big time into web business we doing a lot of websites so I had about 30 web developers sitting in the office and it became a nightmare to manage that team. I just didn’t know how to manage them. I used to be such an Tendulkar there’s an analogy and giving like she wants to make every shot perfect give his best and I used to be a such an Tendulkar and I would expect everyone in my team to be such because I am one so it doesn’t work like that and he told me Namita You are the Tendulkar doesn’t mean everybody’s going to forget Tendulkar be the Tony. So basically, I was anybody who connects with Indian cricket goalie is a different kind of Captain. He knows what is the best potential and each of the players and you would use them to their best capacities right you put the right there at the right time and all that and make the country wim. When I understood that concept of being Tony that’s when the way we managed the team and everything changed the way I said looking at everybody in the way the kind of work they do and giving people what they enjoy doing. That helped us in retaining our teams. You know, there’s so many challenges with a growing business, you have increments you have bonuses have so much different things happening and is every day is a new challenge.

Dhiren Bhatia 46:12
What is the secret to success? What do you think has been the one thing that has helped you keep getting through these challenges with there’s so many, like you said, there’s one every day? How do you get through them?

Namita Ramani 46:22
Having empathy for your clients and for your team is the secret, because there are times when, for example, I’m bringing my head of operations we keep getting into this argument. As you know, this should be the fee we should charge why are we reducing the fee, whatever argument that I’m having with our client and she would make me understand and kind of empathize and empathize with the team, also a person who’s maybe overloaded or not able to perform so you show empathy and see what can we do to help the team member and to be honest, I don’t like firing people like when we have when somebody comes on board. First, we have a lot of process like I learned very early on. Make sure that you choose the right people. And when we hire people, we don’t look at their skills because skills can be learned as long as they have the overall information like a broad view of they have basic skills. They are good with that. But we check their mind, what kind of mind they have, how do they think. Learning the tools of Google ads and Facebook ads is one week or 10 days job, if we go to make your way through the certification, you will become the master of all the partners Where is bought and everything. There’s no point knowing the rules if you don’t know what to do with them. Having the right strategy in mind. So when we hire people we hire based on the kind of mind they have, but everybody has a different learning meter, right? Some people learn faster, some slower. So we invest in them invest in their training. So we do everything to kind of help the person grow and blossom in the company. It comes down to empathy, having empathy for your clients, your team, everyone.

Dhiren Bhatia 47:45
So true. And also the other thing is something that I learned in my career is attitude is key. Technical knowledge is one thing and like you said, that can be learned very easily. It’s the attitude that’s really important. So I think the two things that I picked up on this one is empathy and second hiring the people, not necessarily with the best skill set, but with the right attitude with everything else can be learned. That is something that my ex boss once told me, he’s like, I can teach you everything that you need to know. As long as you are willing to learn. Everything else will come to you. Having an open mind, and having a mind that can think that can understand and compute rather than wanting to be the best at just pushing buttons. So true. Namita, one last question I want to ask you is you’re on the Elevated Entrepreneur podcast, what does it mean for you to be an elevated entrepreneur?

Namita Ramani 48:31
I think I will, again, come back to being kind and empathic. Being an entrepreneur. I think authenticity is so important for any business to succeed. Anyone posted, you are elevated and you’re authentic. I would like to relate both these words when you authentically so whatever you’re selling, whether you’re selling a shoe, or a yoga class or whatever you’re selling, you’re selling from heart is selling authentically wishing good and serving to that person, whoever is buying from you, it will elevate you and your business and nobody can stop growth of authentic genuine business, right? I think the definition of being elevated enterpreneur will be being authentic in whatever we do and how we serve our clients and how we live our life as one of the very important values to me as well, like being authentic, being genuine, because it shows, you can feel it. When you’re sitting with someone who has not good interest for you, or wants to hard sell you or foul sale you, you just feel it. I’ll give an example. I recently bought a new bike, I’m into cycling. The person who’s helping me, his name is Paul and the passion with which he talks about the bike not to sell me the most expensive bike, the right bike that I need. Even if I’m looking at the one which is more expensive, he would talk me out of it and tell me why this is better. So that was genuine selling that was authentic. And not only did I buy that bike for myself, family bought a couple of one more other bike and all my gear like I go to that store and our support, because I just know that that Paul will give me the right advice and he will not oversell to me. And this is how it should be. I speak to clients like I would not try to sell someone, just because I want to make extra money on the person should pay us this much versus this much. So being authentic when you sell is the definition of being elevated entrepreneur is what I would say

Dhiren Bhatia 50:28
I love that. Thank you so much. That is phenomenal. And I love the story that you talked about. And that example is so poignant. It’s so hard hitting, I think something as simple as buying a bicycle. You shared so much in that one example of trusting the person and you got his trust because he was honest, once you trusted them, you were looking for him every time and he became your trusted adviser. And that I think is something that all of us business owners should do for our clients. Serve authentically. I love that. Thank you for sharing that with the last question before we wrap up. Where can people find you and how can people get in touch with Above Digital?

Namita Ramani 51:02
So you can visit our website, www.abovedigital.com. And if you just Google my name Namita Romani, you can find me on Instagram, on Facebook on LinkedIn. And I would love to invite your listeners to our podcast, which is Successful Marketing for Small Businesses in Dubai. We are on YouTube, iTunes, as well as Spotify. And I have one more question if you’d like I can appreciate this podcast on our show as well.

Dhiren Bhatia 51:26
Absolutely. And I’ll make sure that obviously I’ll link to your podcast in our show notes. And I have to say before we wrap up, I’ve listened to your podcast, I’ve seen your podcast, you do a phenomenal job. And I invite everybody, if you want to learn about marketing and you want to hear from some of the best business owners, then your podcast is the best one. Namita thank you again for being on the show.

Namita Ramani 51:45
Thank you for having me. It was fun.

Podcast Outro 51:50
If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to the Elevated Entrepreneur show at elevatedentrepreneur.fm or wherever you’ve been listening to this episode. And finally, if you would, please do leave the Elevated Entrepreneur podcast a review so that you could make it easier for other entrepreneurs to find this show. Thank you, much love and I’ll see you in the next one.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai