1) You are an engineer by training so how did you discover your passion lies in business and marketing? What prompted you to start your digital marketing firm, Influenshine?
I like to think of myself as a versatile person, and that I can become whatever I want to be. As a teenager from a small town in India trying to decide my future career path, I could only think of engineering as a profession that could lead to a feasible career and my desired lifestyle. I got into the best engineering university in India (Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur) through a lot of hard work and then joined a big corporation which allowed me to travel the world. Throughout my corporate journey, I felt I had much untapped potential. I knew I had more to give to the world. After meeting my husband, I found myself drawn further into his expertise areas of business and marketing.
While I was pregnant in 2015, I thought about the direction in which my life was going and the legacy I was going to leave. That’s when I first thought of taking matters into my own hands and starting my own company. Influenshine serves several businesses based in Asia and helps them enhance their digital presence. It is my way of starting to make an impact on the world.
2) What were the main challenges you faced in starting your company, and now in growing it?
The most challenging thing when I started the company was wearing multiple hats at the same time. It was daunting and time-consuming. But as the founder I wanted to get my hands dirty and be involved in every aspect of the company. I have now formed a team which can take care of many aspects of the business. Now the main challenge for me is find the best people who will take the company and the practice of digital marketing to the next level.
3) Which are your most memorable experiences of working with clients on their digital strategy?
I love the part when clients are amazed at the reach they can get through digital campaigns. Traditionally, you could take out an ad in a magazine or newspaper for a few thousand dollars and hope for the best. But with digital ads, you can measure exactly how many people saw your campaign, clicked on it or took action. Clients are often pleasantly surprised at how much more cost effective this strategy is. It feels great to be able to craft campaigns that perform better than their expectations.
4) As a wife, mother, author and entrepreneur, what are your top time management tips?
Firstly, prioritize and delegate. If somebody else can do a task better than you can, give it to them. I try to get as much help as possible (that I can afford!) to help me both at home and at work. I try to focus on the ‘quality’ part instead of trying to do it all. It helps me keep my sanity!
Secondly, learn to use technology to help you. I list down my daily, weekly and long-term tasks and priorities, and save everything on my online calendar. I dedicate time slots for my work, and for my personal life. Everything from my client meetings, brainstorming for my next blog post to my daughter’s swim class is on my calendar. That way I don’t miss anything.
Thirdly, learn to say ‘No’ without being sorry about it. Saying ‘No’ to certain things means you are prioritizing and taking control of your time. Don’t let others waste your time if you can help it. Meetings can be a big time-sucker too – replace one with a phone call if it isn’t necessary.
5) You are also a blogger and you contribute articles to sites such as The Huffington Post. How did you get started with writing for The Huffington Post and which articles have gotten the most support from the online community?
Earlier this year, I decided to write more. I have always loved writing – I used to write and edit for my school and college publications. I started writing on LinkedIn, and to reach a bigger audience, I also decided to submit an article to the editors at The Huffington Post. They liked my article and set me up as a Contributor. I have written about 8 articles for them so far, and have always been amazed at the response I get and the number of tweets and mentions after each article. It has helped me reach a wider audience and I love publishing on their platform. The article that was ‘shared’ the most is about Video marketing, and I guess it really echoed the sentiments of the online community which is beginning to realize the potential of videos as a marketing tool.
6) Which are the books, people and/or movies that have made the biggest impact on your life?
I think there are too many to list! I learn so much from the books I read and the people I meet. I grew up reading a lot of science fiction, so technology has always been an area of interest. Of late I have been reading books about business and marketing – a few books which have stayed with me are: Good to Great, Made to Stick, Purple Cow and Zero to One.
7) You wrote the book ‘Untangling the Web: Developing a blueprint for Digital Marketing‘. Who should read it, and what edge does this book have over other existing books on Digital Marketing?
I got my understanding of digital marketing from many different sources. There’s a lot of information out there, yet it’s all scattered and fragmented, and isn’t structured well for the brain to process at one go. My book aims to give readers a concise overview of digital marketing, and help them derive the understanding and confidence needed to make decisions regarding business growth and strategy using digital marketing techniques. I try to take away some of the mystery behind the jargon, and help people gain a quick understanding of online marketing. So the book is ideal for owners of small and medium-sized businesses, entrepreneurs, and new marketing executives who want to grasp the fundamentals of digital marketing to enable them to make better decisions.
8) Which top (possibly international) brand would you like to have as your client, and how would you assist the company in doing even better?
I would love to work with a company like Unilever. They have an amazing leader in Paul Polman who believes in purpose and sustainability. He also has goals of increasing the company’s social impact, and I find that admirable. I would love to craft more stories around the company’s efforts in minimizing its environmental footprint and doing social good. We need more of such corporate stories!
9) You help companies craft their brand story. What is your personal brand story?
My personal brand story is about creating an impact, driven by passion and determination. Even since my childhood, I have always been passionate about stories and ideas, i.e. content, and how it influences minds and changes the world. I am determined to create top notch content that inspires and moves people. I believe I can empower business-owners and professionals, especially women like myself, to achieve greater success through the use of technology and powerful content. I would like to create more success stories through the knowledge I have acquired and through my wonderful team at Influenshine!
For a limited period starting from 3rd September 2016, you can download Swati’s new book for FREE here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LB07VCM