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Featured Business: Digital Onload – Singapore

9 Burning Questions About the Challenges When Targeting Muslim Audiences

Despite the adversity that we are facing, we have no choice but to move forward with what we do best. So this is the perfect time to start our series where we will be featuring small business owners from all over the globe and perhaps learn from each other.

Today, we of the privilege of having Shasha Malik on the hot seat.

Shasha Malik is the Managing Director of the boutique digital agency, Digital Onload (DO). She started it from the passion of empowering business owners with fundamental digital marketing skills to go online with their business.

Shasha has a background in Accounting and Quality Management Systems. It was in 2017 when she decided to follow her passion for Digital Marketing. 

Through DO, she strives to work with more businesses across different industries to build on her marketing expertise. DO also works with other agencies as Shasha believes in collaboration there is power.

Shasha is also a mental health advocate. She is open about her anxiety and having had fallen prey to depression in the past. She urges organizations to be more open and supportive of people with mental challenges. Here are Shasha’s answers to the ‘9 Burning Questions About the Challenges When Targeting Muslim Audiences’.

Shasha Malik

1. Can you please tell us what motivated you to start your business and how you went about turning your dream into reality?

Firstly, thank you Alwi for inviting me to be part of this great initiative by Content Market King! In 2017, I was curious about digital marketing and I attended courses under General Assembly to learn more about it. It was love at first sight and grew to be a part of me! In 2018, I helped my friends to market their businesses, just to put what I learned to practice. It was in August 2018 when I had my very first client – a chiropractor. I developed his website, managed his social media platforms and designed & prepared his marketing collateral. As I networked more, I learned that most business owners were not equipped with fundamental digital marketing knowledge. (That was back then though, now more are getting knowledgeable.) Few shared with me how they lost money and even up to SGD 100,000 (approximately 70,000 USD) to malicious agencies for their website and mobile app development.

DO was centered around empowering business owners with the essential digital marketing skills they need in their business. It was my further interest in DM that I begin to grow the agency to providing a full spectrum of marketing services such as Graphic Designing, Social Media Management and Event Marketing.

I wish to be frank so I would say that having an agency wasn’t a dream. It started with an intention to help business owners and the fact that there are clients who appreciate my expertise and are willing to pay for it, this intention was actualized.

It wouldn’t have been a reality if not for the first few clients who took a chance on me.

2. What are the challenges you faced trying to build a Muslim brand and how did you overcome them?

I am afraid that that building a Muslim brand wasn’t my intention to begin with. I wanted to help as many business owners as possible. But I have met afew individuals who used religion (as an excuse) to get work done for them for free.

I overcame this by finding an arrangement that benefits both parties. If we can’t come to a fair arrangement, I will politely step away from the opportunity.

3. We live in a world where celebrity life coaches are highly regarded. This is not the case however in the Muslim community. How were you able to breakthrough and what can others learn from this?

I do not agree with the statement above. I do know celebrity coaches who are Muslims and they are doing great at empowering the community. To name a few, we have Suria Sparks, Dr Azizan Osman, Sabri Suby, Ahmad Imam and Zai Miztiq unless you tell me they are not Muslims haha.

I used to create videos and was very active on Linkedin but I am taking a break (like a sabbatical year) because I am building my knowledge and building good content through which I hope to value-add to my audience in future, inshaa-Allah.

4. What made you decide to target Muslims specifically and how do you find marketing to them different from marketing to the mainstream audience?

For the sake of this interview, I shall use my recent project as a point to talk about. I am marketing a book that is targeting Muslim innovators and leaders. So far, the strategies I proposed are similar to that of any audience, only that the content and tone would differ in our social media posts. I feel that Muslims now are open-minded and more mainstream, so design-wise, content-wise, well any that is modern and chic should be able to attract Muslims easily.

5. What platforms and marketing tools have you used to attract your target audience and what was the end result?

I believe that any brand, whether you just started or not, should have a website and be on Google My Business page. I feel those two are the most fundamental assets to have. You need to get on Google – it is easy to set up and won’t take up much of your time. You can engage graphic designers to create good digital assets for you so you can put them up on your website or as photos on your Google My Business page. You can pay creative agencies per design. For a website, if you just want a landing page, you can get one at only USD 15 monthly (check out NewResponse). Furthermore, you can create a sales funnel and automated email marketing. Over the last 3 years, I learned to be very resourceful – I think this is essential.

6. Can you tell us about your future plans?

Currently, I am restructuring Digital Onload. We are more focused on graphic designing and we strive to help businesses with our new model as a creative agency: Pay-Per-Design. We are also working with partners to provide our clients full-pledged digital marketing services. Each of us will focus and provide on one expertise – this way clients get the best of all worlds. 

7. Marketing-wise, what would you do differently with this new project from the previous one?

I am currently marketing a great book for a client – we are reaching out to Muslim Innovators and Leaders. I think this is a good example to answer this question. I still apply similar strategies, only different is the audience and their behavior so the target audience will be different. From there, content and tone-wise, we need to fine-tune accordingly. Essentially, best to learn our target audience first – their characteristics, behavior, etc. From then, we will know platforms to get on, what content to put up, what tone to use to connect to the audience, what design to attract the audience, etc.

8. What would you say are the top 3 roadblocks you have faced when marketing to Muslims online?

I can’t say much as I do not have the data on marketing to Muslims. But generally, roadblocks that I would face in marketing for clients are lack of budget for ad spend and gaps between client’s expectations and actual data (I usually try to close the gap by helping them understand how certain strategies would give certain results that may not be monetary).

9. What is the one thing you have learned from targeting the Muslim market that you feel our readers can benefit from?

Muslims today, especially the younger generation, are going more mainstream. So, I would suggest factoring in good style and trends when marketing your products and services.

Would you like to have your business featured on Content Market King or are interested in letting us help you boost your online presence? Feel free to reach out to us today.

Alwi Suleiman
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