AIM – The Associated Interactive Marketers

“The Associated Interactive Marketers” is a company a friend, Mike, and I started in early 2017. Our mission was to make extra income outside of our day jobs. At the time Mike was working for Oracle doing sales and I was working for a SAAS company called VisualIQ as a “Global Product Support Engineer.

Prior to starting AIM, I had been earning extra money doing web development projects for friends, family, and former colleagues. One day Mike presented the idea of us working together to find projects. At the time we were talking about only providing web services and I agreed.

The Process

Our first mission was to get organized. So we discussed a list of things we wanted to get done to start business. 

  • Pick a Name.
  • Register the business.
  • Get a Bank Account.
  • Register a Domain
  • Set-up email addre.
  • Logo Design.
  • Publish Website.

The Name

We decided on the name by brainstorming ways to incorporate both of our names, Mike and Armani, into a company name. That proved very difficult. We settled on using our initials instead, “A” and “M”.

The two initials with an ampersand was also a challenge so we removed it and played with a variety of letters to create different acronyms. Eventually, we settle on AIM, which we filled was marketing oriented. Then we created the official title of Associated Interactive Marketers because…

  1. It accurately represented our Identity.
  2. It accurately represented our services.
  3. It fits into an easily digestible acronym.
  4. It inspired many logo ideas.

Registering An LLC

Now that we landed on a name we just needed to register the business and set up our banking. We needed to decide on what classification of business we wanted to register with. We consulted friends and family who we knew had knowledge in this area. Based on the advice we received. we decided to register a “Limited Liability Company.

We looked at Rocket Lawyer, Legal Zoom, and Inc File’s prices and services. We decided to go with Legal Zoom. The reasons are they were the most affordable, rhe online registration was convenient and it was the quickest return time.

Picking a Bank

We need to register a Bank Account. We looked a variety of business bank accounts

  • Ally
  • People Bank
  • Bank of America
  • TD Bank
  • Citizens

We landed on a final two banks, Bank of America and TD Bank. We decided to go with TD bank because of their hours. At the time we were both working so we found TD banks long open hours suitable for us.

Domain Name

We needed to register a domain name that was much more user friendly than our full name, The Associated Interactive Marketers. TheAssociatedInteractiveMarketers.com would not be easily added to our stationary marketing material or our digital marketing material.

We browse through a few names. AIM.com was taken by the former internet company AOL for their instant messaging services. We thought of AIMMarketing but felt that was redundant because the “M” in the name represented marketing. That led us to AIMarketers.com. Unfortunately this was also taken.

We really wanted this name so we attempted to purchase the domain from the current owner. We were hoping since it appeared the name was registered around 2 years previously the owners would be open to selling. They were, but we could not agree on a price. In order to save capital we decided to register a new domain name, TheAimarketers.com

We looked at a few providers of domain names and decided to go with 1and1.com because their domain and hosting option was the cheapest to start with. Also, I had prior experience with 1and1.

The other providers we looked at included…

We also did some research before making this decision. A simple google search for “best website hosting providers” gave many useful results. We looked at a few articles from familiar publications. I have listed a few below.

Email Set-up

Now that we had a domain name we wanted official email addresses. We first needed to decide on an email provider and then a naming convention for addresses.

For email providers we were split between Microsoft Office 365 and Googles Gmail Suite. We decided to go with Google because the prices were the same and we were both more familiar with using gmail.

For ease of use, we decided to go with the naming convention of firstname.lastname@theaimarketers.com. This was a naming convention we were familiar with in our professional careers.

Logo

My mission for the logo was to create something timeless. I also wanted to it to communicate that AIM was an institution or organization rather than a business. To accomplish this I wanted thin lines. I also wanted to use thin lines to give it a more “modern” look. 

To draw inspiration I imagined this logo being found thousands of years from now, like old Greek pottery or on an Egyptian temple, or on a Roman building. This theme inspired the straight and solid lines, as if etched largely into a wall or statue. It also inspired the lines on the top and bottom of the logo; to appear on the side of a large wall.

In creating the straight thin lines for the text in Adobe Illustrator I wanted to separate each stroke to imply, pieces coming together to create a whole. This concept was intended to compliment the notion that AIM is a collective, or better, “Associates”.

I Also wanted to give the appearance the strokes were hammered in with a chisel. At first, the gaps were vertical or horizontal. This symmetric style felt bland. I Solid squared open corners made the logo appear amateur and felt the logo need something unique to give it an identity; something to make it appear as if the gaps were a part of the overall design of the letters. To solve this I made the gaps diagonal. IT WORKED! 

As I applied these ideas other adjustments came by mistake. The original logo was solid without the gaps in the middle letter strokes. See below.

when I printed out the logo on business cards my printer nozzles were clogged. This caused a riff in the print and lines were created. I loved the look so added the style to the logo. 

That last touch left me satisfied with the logo. I had accomplished all my objectives in creating the logo and Mike also liked it. 

Website Design

Our next step was to publish a site. We had two primary missions for the website.

  1. Create a modern Design
  2. List all of our services

In order to execute on a modern design, we went with a minimalist approach. This is the reason for a one-page site. We also went with a 50/50 theme. Notice how the content is divided in half, left and right to one another. The last design element we added was the overlapping of content. This was inspired by trends we seen in contemporary web design.  

We also created a mobile-friendly design. We decided to go with a CSS framework, Bootstrap, to add responsiveness to our site. I planned the design beginning with phone mobile-friendly design. Once satisfied with the content and layout I expanded to wider screen sizes and adjusted the layout.

Our site had very little content, less than 200 words. This was our intention, we did not want the site to be text heavy. Our mission was content that if in an elevator with someone, or having a brief conversation, we could direct them to our site for an overview of what AIM is and what Aim does. We hope the content was concise and informative enough that, mid-conversation, a potential client could read the site then continue our conversatio.

This left the need for strong imagert to make up for a lack of text. To add good imagery we searched through Adobe Stock until we found a group of images that matched one another and could compliment our services description.

The last element added to the site was animation. This was, first, to demonstrate our web development capabilities. Second, keep up with the site design trends of the time. We looked on CodePen for some useful animation. We decided to go with the connected dots animation in the hero section to complement the connected/associated theme. We added ScrollReveal to add in additional modern animations to the main content.

Expanding

At this time AIM offered one main service; web design and development. A little less than a year after formally starting AIM another friend of mine brought up the idea of starting a company offering social media consulting services. He was inspired after obtaining a great deal of knowledge on influencer marketing. Through several conversations and negotiating he agreed to join AIM as a third partner.

“And my wolf pack, it grew, it grew by one.”

The Hangover (2009) 

AIM services expanded to…

  • Influencer management.
  • Audience Development.
  • Media Sales.
  • Community management.
  • Content Management.

Building Contracts

In preparation to seek out clients, we decided to create pre-made contracts.  Our goal was to create a process where as soon as we agreed on a deal with a potential client we could send them a contract. We feared that in the time would take to get a contract written we would miss out on signing customers.

Getting these contracts made had two obstacles. First, neither of us had law experience to write contracts and second the online services we found did not meet all of our needs. So we dove into our network of friends to find someone who could help write the contracts and we did. We ended up with 3 contract template and a constituition for our LLC.

What’s Next

After we completed all of these tasks we officially opene for business. You can find our information on our website. TheAIMarketers.com. For updates on our projects, you can find articles both on our site and here in the “TheProfessional”.

Written by 

The Armani.