Archive for December, 2017

How to Design a Minimum Viable Product 01

How to Design a Minimum Viable Product That Customers Love?

There will a point where you’ll need to convert and monetize your traffic. This is where positioning, pricing and packaging comes it. How can you design a minimum viable product that your customers will love and purchase?

Early on in my entrepreneurial career, I made the mistake of driving traffic using SEO strategies, getting my rankings, however, failing to convert the traffic into paying customers.

Common Fears When Designing a Minimum Viable Product

Even up till today, I still face a lot of fears when designing a MVP. Here are some common fears:

  • What if people think I’m a scam or a fraud?
  • What if I’m charging too much?
  • What if nobody buys?
  • What if somebody buys and refund?
  • What if I got defamed online?

There’s no reason to be afraid of charging for your services. You’ll actually be doing your clients a favor by charging for your product or service. That’s because, people don’t value what they pay for. Secondly, by charging for your service or product, you’ll have the cash to innovate on your customer support, hire employees, innovate on the product, better your business systems and more.

Okay, now, let’s get into the framework on how to design a minimum viable product that your customers will love. 

How to Design a Minimum Viable Product 02

Step 1: List Out 5 – 10 Burning Pains 

Okay, firstly, it’s important to ask yourself what burning pains does your product or service solve?

This is where you pluck out data from your customer research you did early on, and attempt to build your product around that. 

Step 2: Create Solutions to Those Burn Pains

Now, you’ll need to create a product or service that solves this burning pain. You should also include these burning pains in your sales copy and product description. You may not be able to find solutions to all their burning pains. However, you don’t have to find solutions for every problem, you’ll just need to find solutions to solve some of them.

Benchmark and Important Questions 

There are important question to account for when designing your minimum viable product.

The first important question 1) demand, is there enough demand for your product? This is where SEO keywords and customer research is important.

2) Skillset. Can you fulfil that demand? Can you create that product, that solves problems and deliver?

3) Interest. This is the most important factor of all. Do you have enough interest in the product itself to adjust and innovate along the way?

I enjoy writing about digital marketing and entrepreneurship in the 21st century. I find a certain joy and fulfilment in designing my SEO courses and helping my client as a Singapore SEO consultant. I’m constantly innovating on my digital marketing skillsets, and I believe that digital marketing can help the underdog entrepreneur to excel in the world of entrepreneurship.

Including 3-5 Killer Features

Okay, next, you’ll need to figure out 3-5 killer features to package your product and service around.

Here are some features you can include in your product or service:

  • Information

Information is everyone, don’t limit yourself to information. If you’re marketing courses or digital products, how can you differentiate?

  • Community

Community is one way you can differentiate from your competition. You can invite your clients to a private forum or social media group.

  • 1:1 Coaching

1:1 coaching is also a way to differentiate yourself from the competition. This is why parents pay for private tutors for their children.

  • Accountability

Can you create a system that ensures your student is kept accountable to their behavior?

  • Free Shipping & Returns

There are many E Commerce retailers that offer free shipping and free returns, making it effortless for online transactions.

  • 100% Money Back Guarantee

100% money back guarantee is also extremely common in the E-Commerce space and digital products space.

  • Customer Support

The Singapore web host that I use has 24/7 customer support. Their customer service is tip top, often getting back to you within 24 hours. That’s one of their killer features.

  • Luxury

Take a look at the difference between Toyota and Mercedes. When someone purchases a Toyota over Mercedes. They are both solving the problem of transport. However, Mercedes is inherently solving a different problem than Toyota. They are solving a burning pain: a need for social status, along side many other luxury brands.

How can you position your products this way?

Giving Your Products and Services Compelling Names

Lastly, after you’ve created your product. You’ll need to give your product and services compelling names. Here’s where you need to meet where your audience is at. What burning pains are you solving? Can you infuse burning pains into your product names, descriptions and positioning?

Kit Kat is a good example. They infused ‘taking a break’ with their product, as you often see in their commercials and product positioning. They are solving a burning pain: needing to take a break with chocolate biscuits. Yes, the snack is great, however, they still needed to meet where the audience is at, and solve a burning pain.

MacDonald’s is another good example. They just aren’t marketing burgers and fries. Their trademark slogan: ‘I’m Loving It’ subtlety means something. They are marketing a lifestyle choice, an identity. Hence, MacDonald’s is a billion-dollar company.

How can you infuse these examples in your copy, titles and product names on your digital profiles?

Closing Thoughts on How to Design a Minimum Viable Product

I used to rush into everything, from the content I wrote, to my marketing, to my positioning, and my product and services. This caused a huge problem down the road. I couldn’t price my products properly, I couldn’t communicate the right message I wanted across in my digital profiles.

When you design a minimum viable product, it’s important to think in the future, 5-10 years down the road. Do you want the same product to be able to sell 5 years down the road? Yes, you do. This is why you should be focused on designing a world class product with a huge competitive advantage over your competition.

Firstly, this will help you get raving testimonials from your customers that’s specific and authentic. You’ll also earn the trust of your customers, earning the goodwill from your customers for years down the road.

Lastly, whilst it’s important to create world class products, there’s no need for perfection. When your product and service is good enough, able to solve burning pains and have killer features, you should ship it!

How to get Customer Testimonials 01

How to get Customer Testimonials from Raving Customers!

How many companies have raving, awesome customer testimonials that isn’t slapped on just for the sake of getting slapped on? How many ‘gurus’ out there providing ‘internet marketing’ courses to SEO courses have slipshod testimonials?

I plan to do it differently. This is how I plan to position myself as a Singapore SEO consultant differently from my competitors. You should too. You should differentiate your company by collecting in-depth, specific testimonials from your customers.

You can also use these testimonials at different opportunities of the sales process. You can use it in your email marketing, your sales copy, testimonial page and some times even blog articles.

How to get Customer Testimonials 02

Rule 1: Create Great Products and Services 

There’s no way to get around this, you need to create great products and services to get great testimonials from your customers. When you create great products and services, it’ll also help with your positioning, your life time customers. 

Create Surveys and Interviews Instead of Testimonials

One good way to think about testimonials is NOT to see them as testimonials. It’s to them as customer research, interviews and surveys from for your product and service. Here’s what I did for my other project: I sit my customer down, and do a 20-minute-long interview with him.

Asking him or her questions like:

  • What was different about this product from other products?
  • How has it helped you in your life? Please explain in specific and vivid details?
  • Did you find the support great?

You should do the same for your customers.

How to get Customer Testimonials: The Teardown

A good testimonial should be ultra specific.

For Eg. For my SEO course trainees, it should say something like: ‘Marcus got me to set up WordPress within a couple of hours. It wasn’t as technical as I thought. My website was initially not found in Google. However, within 3 and a half months, I’m now ranking well on a couple of important keywords and my leads have doubled!’

Ask Them at Different Point of Your Product or Service

When you interview your customer, you can ask them at different point of your product or service.

When clients hire me, I often ask my clients who pick me over my competitors: Why did you pick me over others?

In my SEO course, I ask some questions such as:

How did you find the training? Was it too technical? Should it be stretched out over a longer period of time? Should it be more personalized? What are the problems you face when executing an SEO campaign? How many reviews are you comfortable with?

Use Your Testimonials for Customer Research

You’re going to get negative reviews and testimonials from time to time. However, that’s perfectly fine, you don’t have to show them, however, you can use them. Now that you’ve got this extra interviews, data and surveys, you should also use them to build better products and services.

You’ll be narrowing down what your audience actually want, and how you can fit their needs.

Ultimately, the better your product is, the more testimonials you’re going to get. The better testimonials you get, the more people you’re going to get in your program, and so on.

How to do Customer Research 01

How to do Customer Research Before Starting Your Business

One of the most important factors in marketing is doing your customer research before launching a marketing campaign. This includes an SEO campaign.

For my SEO services, I rarely come out with SEO proposals until I know that my prospect is serious undertaking the project. I know that really good SEO proposals consist of 6 months, highly planned out campaign detailing customer research, content strategy, short tailed, long tail keywords and reports on strength of their competition.

How to Do Customer Research

How to do Customer Research: Frontloading Your Work 

One of the most powerful concepts in business (and life) you can do is to front load your work.

Damn, I wished I knew this when I was 12, I might actually have a chance to get into a top University. I was actually really lazy and apathetic from 12-17 years old.

This concept is known as ‘front-loading’ your work. You want to do the heavy lifting before you dive into the actual work itself.

That means:

  • You want to you exactly who your target customer is
  • You have to have a game plan on how to reach them
  • You want to uncover their hopes, fears and dreams.
  • You want to spent time talking to them through emails, surveys, on the phone and in person.

If you do this heavy lifting in the beginning, you’ll know exactly how to reach them later.

Now, if you’ve already got a website, assuming you’re not educated in SEO, you’re not really seeing the results that you want. That’s fine, that’s actually normal. I made a similar mistake once.

The majority of people do this because it’s easier to focus on the design of a website, instead of crafting out high quality content that your audience desires. It’s even harder to go out and ask people: what do you want?

Tools You Can Use to Validate Your Product or Service:

  • Google Search

Google search can point you to well established sites that people already trust. It can point you to websites and content that people are already publishing. It’s a no brainer that Google keyword research tool is a powerful tool in your SEO research process.

However, do NOT copy. Just because everyone else is doing in someway, it doesn’t not make them right.

  • Amazon

The reviews on Amazon are a goldmine of data for learning what your customers really want. Readers and buyers of the book related to your niche will tell you what they hate or love a bout a book. You can use these as guidelines to craft your sales copy and products.

  • Q&A Sites

Forums, question and answer sites like Reddit and Quora are good places to get insights in your market. There’s real discussion, back and forth, and people write their honest opinions on the topics they care about.

  • Other People

I don’t really like his strategy, because you may be asking someone who isn’t actually in need of your product. I don’t really ask my friends what they think about digital marketing or entrepreneurship, well, that’s because the majority of them do NOT care about these two topics.

However, if you can laser focus this demographic down, it can be really powerful. If I were to ask a small medium enterprise owner in Singapore about SEO, I can get really accurate feedback on what the thinks about SEO/ digital marketing in general.

The key here is asking open ended questions:

“Have you thought about this”?
“Have this ever crossed your mind?”
“What do you think about it?”
‘What’s so hard about it, which parts, and why?”
“When do you think about it the most? Do you think about it often?”
“What else have you tried? What worked and for how long?”

Who are They?  

This is having a detailed picture of your target market. What are you market’s demographics, occupations, opinions and personalities? In the relationship advice niche, there’s a difference in demographics between going out picking up tons and tons of girls and finding that one dream girl.

When I started out a business in the relationship advice niche, my initial content and positioning appealed to young childish and immature pick up artists with no willingness to pay. I was targeting the wrong people. I needed to target the working professionals, executives, who perhaps had problems such wanting to date outside of their immediate social circles. These people had both a willingness and ability to pay.

Their Pains & Fears

One of the most powerful tool in marketing, and writing, is to use the language that your audience users. What do these people verbalize, say and actually complain about in their day to day life?

No one wakes up and say: ‘Damn, I need to learn social skills’. Well, actually I did, however, I am a weirdo like that. However, a lot of people and wake up and say: ‘Damn, I wish I can meet that girl who sits across my lecture hall.’ 

Their Hopes & Dreams

What do your audience want for themselves? A six pack abs? The ability to work off a laptop? A classy girlfriend? What do they say in their day to day life?

‘I don’t want my work to be undervalued’

‘I want to be EXCITED about my work’

‘I want my work to make a difference in the world’

‘I want others to value my opinion.’

What are The Obstacles in Their Path?

Question, frustrations and uncertainties that they have.

To give you some examples as an SEO consultant:

‘SEO is scam’

‘Some other company is charging me X price, how can you be charging me so much?’

‘Can learn SEO? Am I too old?’

‘Is SEO about programming? Is it something too technical?’ 

Other Interesting Stories, Insights & Metaphors and Quotes 

What are some other quirks and phrases that your audience uses time and time over again.

‘SEO just takes too long’.

That’s something I hear pop up time from time again. How can you record these stories, insights and address them in both your content, product, service sales copy and your pitch?

Whilst the majority of SEO companies focus on selling page 1 rankings, I am going to sell you on both good rankings, that drive revenue to your business. This can only be accomplished by frontloading your work, and doing customer research.

I also cover all of these in my SEO course. Yes, you’re going pay for it. I’m not some random cheap SEO Indian firm.

Local SEO Singapore

How Local SEO in Singapore Can Get You Customers in 2018

Firstly, what the hell is local SEO? Why should YOU care? Isn’t SEO in itself complicated enough? Is there a ‘foreign SEO? Okay okay, I know all these sounds confusing to you. Let me explain the local SEO concept in this article.

Okay, here’s why you should care: if you have a strong result on local SEO, you can beat your competitors who are ranking well organically but do not apply local SEO in their strategies. Google places ‘local SEO listings’ above organic results from time to time. If you don’t have strong organic SEO rankings, you can bypass it and rank higher than the ones that do.

Users who searched and found localized results were also considerably more likely to become customers. Local SEO is researched to have the highest return on investment (surprise!) compared to other marketing strategies, because it reaches the largest market of likely consumers.

Sounds great?

Now, let me teach you how you can use local SEO to outrank and outsmart your competitors. You can actually do this on your own, and don’t need to hire an SEO consultant to help you with this.

The Singapore Local SEO Guide

Here’s an example of the search query: Life Coach Singapore.

Local SEO Singapore 01

You can see competitors outranking the first page result using local SEO. 

The Concept: Achieving Consistency on Online Profiles

The concept for local SEO in Singapore is simple. Google wants you to achieve consistency on your online profiles. That’s because they want their users to have the most accurate information possible. Google will crawl these profiles for your business name, phone number, address and URL.

They will compare this information with other sources and how well you rank on local SERPs is determined if Google can find consistent business information that matches the one you supply on your website.

Okay, firstly, you’ll require to publish similar name, address and phone numbers on your online profiles. This can range from social media profiles to review sites.

Step 1: Sign up and Use Google my Business

Secondly, sign up for Google my business, type in your the relevant information and verify it by mail. Yes, Google will send you a free mail.

Step 2: Sites to achieve Consistency On

Remember, you’ll need to have consistent NAME, ADDRESS and PHONE NUMBERS on these profiles.

Social Media Profiles:

These accounts are all free, make sure you fill in your physical address, contact number and phone number accordingly.

Review Sites:

Event Sites:

How can event sites help with local SEO? That’s simple, when you host events, you can publish similar address, phone number and business name on these sites. It’s an extra trick and tip to achieve consistency on online profiles.

Step 3: Business Directories in Singapore:

Business directories are a great way to build your first do follow backlinks. They are also a great place to achieve consistency for your name, address and phone number.

There are a lot more directories than these two, however, I’ll be including the top two for this article.

Step 4: Get Your On Page SEO Right

In your title tag, ideally you’ll want to include the country you’re targeting. For example, if you’re target dog training Singapore. You’ll want to include the keyword ‘Singapore’ in your title tag. Unclear about on page SEO? I wrote a huge guide on how to do on page SEO.

Secondly, you’ll want to double check that you’re targeting the right Geographic location in Google webmasters.

Step 5: Online Reviews

When you sign up for platforms such as Facebook or Google my business, you’re now open to reviews. Getting reviews on your services on online profiles is helpful for local SEO. There is research showing that sites with more reviews get shown in local SEO results.

The most common ones are Google reviews and Facebook reviews. You can get your customers leave a positive review you on Google or Facebook. Positive reviews also boost higher click through rates and hence, higher rankings.

Here’s the downside reviews: your competitors may be able to use negative SEO and sabotage you. You got to keep a look out for that and track your reviews. You can use tools such as Google alerts for brand mentions.

Is Local SEO in Singapore Enough?

Google doesn’t always show local SEO results above organic results.

Here’s a quick search query of: SEO Singapore.

Local SEO Singapore

The number one results is still shown above the local SEO results. You should also be optimizing for other keywords. It’s pointless to just drive traffic through one keyword. Furthermore, competitors are able to modify your listing on Google my business.

There are guides on the internet that recommends schema mark ups and etc. It can get quite technical. However, for this guide, I wish to keep it simple. I don’t see the need to complicate local SEO to that extent. Local SEO should be easy and doable for all business owners. If you want an advanced tutorial on local SEO, you can check out our SEO course.

I also think most small business owners in Singapore are unknowledgable about SEO in general, much less local SEO in Singapore. If you’re a start up or a small company with limited resources. You can take advantage of this knowledge gap, apply these local SEO strategies and outrank your top competitors within couple of months.

Here’s my verdict: I didn’t really focus much on local SEO when I started my SEO strategy. I prefer ranking organically. Well, that’s where the fun and the competition is at right? However, local SEO can be powerful when done right, especially in the beginning of your SEO marketing campaign, since organic results take almost half a year to show results. Furthermore, you’re wasting Google real estate space if you aren’t optimizing for local results.

So, why not dominate both organic and local results?

However, do keep in mind that SEO is an overall strategy of user experience, mobile friendliness, link building, press release and high quality content. These minor factors also play a role in local SEO.

How to Sell to the Rich

How to Sell to the Rich – High Effort and High Reward

When I started off as a SEO consultant, I lost up to 30 thousand dollars’ worth in projects. I got myself certified in one of the best SEO courses in Asia, however, to my horror, I found myself losing projects one after another.

In this blog, I don’t only want to write about SEO advice. I want to write about digital marketing, and business advice on the whole.

The Problem with Cheap SEO Firms and SEO Courses

Well, partly why I was losing projects one after another is because I was selling SEO to start ups and new businesses. They were all cash tight and didn’t have much leeway to invest in marketing. In fact, I’d argue that if you’re cash tight, all the more you should be investing in marketing or SEO.

Okay, these mistakes taught me something about marketing and selling. Forget your friend that is running some fanciful start up. You should be selling to people with both the willingness and ability to pay.

Positioning Idea: Luxury and Tailored Service

I also made a decision that cost me thousands of dollars upfront. I wasn’t going to serve any SEO that demanded that I matched another SEO company’s price. I lost another multi thousand-dollar deal that way.

I was going to position myself as a tailored solution. If you wanted to hire my SEO services, you bet that I’ll serve you in an exquisite and tailored way. This is why I made the decision to write everything on my own. How many SEO companies do that? You’re going to be expecting the same level of excellence when you work with me.

  • Beautifully crafted content that your audience will love
  • Ethical white hat SEO strategies to help you rank and convert traffic to customers
  • Monthly reports
  • Email support
  • Phone support
  • Tailored business advice

However, I won’t be charging you $500 a month like some random cheap Indian firm. I know I’m good, and you’re going to pay for a great service.

I also decided to market my SEO courses in a similar manner. I know of other companies that create multiple level courses. Once you finished their ‘basic course’, you then move on to their ‘second course’. You’re made to pay multiple of thousands of dollars this way.

No, this isn’t how I operate. I only offer one course. There’s no upsells. However, you’re going to pay a premium for our courses. You also bet you’re going get a exquisite support and service during and after the course.

Strategy: High Effort and High Reward

Is there a lot of work up front? You bet there is. I write about 2000 words everyday for my sites. When I conduct my courses, I offer follow up sessions up to 6 months later. There are both office rental costs and time investment.

However, this way, I pick the right clients and students. I get clients to value my work, I get compensated the right amount, and I get students for life.

How to Sell to the Rich: Studying Luxury Brands 

How to Sell to the Rich

Can you find a ton of SEO advice and tutorials on both Youtube and Google itself? Why would someone pay me multiple thousands of dollars for my SEO course or service?

Why do people eat out at hipster cafes as opposed to the hawker centre? Well, I don’t, because I don’t see the value it in, and I love hawker fare, however, all my friends do and it’s interesting to study consumer behavior this way. You could argue that hawker fare is somewhat a luxury. People are willing to pay for a luxurious service.

Luxury brands and products are solving problems as well, in contrary to popular belief.

When you purchase a Mercedes, you’re not really give the problem of transportation solved. You’re getting the need for social status fulfilled.

This is something really interesting to think about it when marketing and positioning your products.

When clients hire me, they are paying for a service beyond SEO itself. When students come to my courses, they are investing in something more than knowledge. They are buying psychological security and more.

I used to only come from a singular SEO perspective.

However, after multiple failures and mistakes, I realized this: SEO is important, however positioning is equally important. Everything counts. From how your site works, to the subtle designs in your theme.

This is the difference between Mercedez and Toyota. They are serving different target markets, at different price points.

However, are they equally profitable? You bet.

How to Be an Expert

How to Become an Expert without Formal Credentials

When it comes to starting a business, publishing content on a website, marketing our products and services, a lot of us run into this problem called: the imposter syndrome. I suffered from this for 3 years straight. Can you believe this?

Here are some of the fears I had:

  • I don’t have an accounting degree, I shouldn’t be teaching people to invest in low-cost index funds
  • I don’t have a psychology degree, I shouldn’t be teaching people in behavioral change
  • I’m not a ‘Google partner’, I shouldn’t be providing SEO courses or services

Well, I was brought up by my Asian Mum to think that you’ll need a professional certificate to be an authority in any subject. That’s totally untrue. I’m not saying that you don’t need any knowledge. Of course you do, especially if you want to move up the value chain, charge more for your services.

I have spent the last 3-4 years reading up on subjects ranging from personal finance, persuasion, psychology and digital marketing, investing in professional courses and I do have cumulative knowledge in these subject matters.

There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be publishing or writing about them.

Here’s an important reframe for people suffering from imposter syndrome: people aren’t looking for credentials, people are looking for results. If you can produce results, people WILL hire you.

So, how can you publish content that positions you or your company as an expert?

How to Become an Expert without Formal Credentials

How to Write Content That Positions You as an Expert?

Like I mentioned, people are looking for results. If you can showcase your portfolio, case studies and testimonials, people will trust you over your formal credentials. One of the top financial advisors I used to know graduate from a chemistry diploma. She didn’t have a degree or diploma in finance, yet, hundreds of clients still buy and purchase from her.

Your informal education counts as well, if you haven’t been reading my blog, I often refer to articles and experts from digital marketers that I study and learn from.

One other way is to take your own advice, implement it yourself, and put it to the test! On my blog, I write about SEO, digital marketing, content marketing, copywriting. You’ll also see all these elements implemented not only on this site, but also my student’s sites, client’s sites, and my own sites.

Expertise used to be a fanciful graduate degree on the wall. However, this concept can be re-invented in today’s digital economy. Don’t get me wrong on this. There are some skillsets you need to go to school for to be branded as an expert, if you want to be an engineer, lawyer or doctor, you’ll need a technical degree. However, what about the hundreds of other niches that are out there, that do not require you to get a professional, technical degree?

Education matters, results matter as well. If you can show that you material works with yourself, and others, you’ll technically: an ‘expert’.

Being Honest with What You Don’t Know

Secondly, you should be honest with what you don’t know. Here’s something I tell my clients and students:

For digital marketing:

  • I’m not selling or promising Google page 1 rank 1 rankings
  • I’m good at what I do, however, I’m not guaranteeing you’ll succeed or get rich if you hire me as an SEO consultant or attend my courses
  • If you’re looking to rank on a worldwide E-Commerce level, I don’t provide that level of instruction or services

For my other areas of expertise:

  • If you’re looking to get clinical professional psychology consultation, I’m not the person for you, however, if you’re looking for private instruction and coaching, then yes.
  • If you’re looking to invest in foreign exchanges, I’m not the guy you look for, it’s outside the scope of what I know, however, I do have something to say about equities, index funds and active investing

These are the pointers I am extremely clear about with my clients and students. Yes, I may not sell in the short run, it may even hurt sales in the short run, however, I’ll gain the trust of the market in the long run.

Embrace what you know, and what you DON’T know, and be totally transparent about it. People are going to respect you more when you admit what you don’t know.

Everyone else is screaming: Google page 1 rankings in 2 weeks, rankings guaranteed! They know that they can’t deliver. It’s NOT that easy.

I choose to take a different position: look, SEO is going to take some time, if you work at it, you’re going to get your rankings. Secondly, SEO rankings do not determine sales. Sales do not determine business profitability.

You’ll need to figure out your profit margin, company positioning, sales copy, and many other different aspects of running your company.

Start at Different Levels, Document the Transition

Lastly, one of the earlier mistakes I made in my digital marketing career is to hide my flaws. I wasn’t willing to document the process.

If I had documented the transition, mistakes I made from attending an crappy SEO course that instructed me to publish up to 200 pages on commercial keywords, all the way to re-educating myself on proper SEO, ranking my keywords, I’ll have a lot more content, case studies and testimonials on my site today.

Here’s a rough journey of what I went through in digital marketing:

When I started off, I was designing websites off free website hosts called Weebly. I slowly moved on to WordPress, started playing around with different themes, educated myself on SEO, failed multiple times, reeducated myself on SEO, finally got my rankings, faced no conversions and learned about copywriting and positioning, learnt about email marketing, systems, product launches and etc.

There’s an increase in sophistication as I progressed.

Everyone wants to start off as an expert, nobody wants to document the transition. When you document your growth, not only this is a great content marketing strategy, you’ll also win the hearts and trust of your audience.

How to Become an Expert: You Decide 

Ultimately, it’s your choice to decide if I’m an expert in SEO or digital marketing. It’s NOT my formal credentials. If you’ve used my material to get results, or hired me to get results, I am an expert in your eyes.

What I need is my audience, a small corner of traffic coming from Google, where people trust me. That’s all.

Can You Make Money Blogging?

Can You Make Money Blogging?

I remembered starting random blogs ranting and bitch about life when I was teenager.

I stopped writing because you read and people tell you that ‘blogging’ can’t make you a living. Writers always die poor. You can’t make a living as a ‘writer’.

Well, what if I told you that SEO is 98% about writing great content, which can fall under the category of ‘blogging’?

Can You make Money Blogging? Yes, You Can!

There is a different between blogging aimlessly, versus writing and publishing content for an audience.

If you enjoy writing and blogging, instead of writing aimlessly about your life or posting pictures of your Corgi, you can position your content in a way that’s SEO friendly and audience friendly. What do I mean?

Well, you can reverse engineer topics from the Google keyword planner and write on topics that people care about. This way, you can generate traffic through search engines.

How to Write for an Audience?

Firstly, you’ll have to reverse engineer services and products that are already demanded by people. You’ll also have to be careful of the country you’re targeting. Some products and services are higher in demand in other countries as opposed to your local country.

Secondly, you can research long tail keywords or search queries surrounding that demanded service or product. For Eg. If you want to market yoga products or yoga classes. You can write an article on the basic poses of yoga, the basic equipment a yogi would use and etc. You get my point.

This is how you generate website traffic

Well, is traffic enough to get you cash? Not really. However, if you can write about topics surrounding a service or a product that is on demand, you’ll be able to convert these traffic to paying clients.

There are multiple ways to make money from writing content.

Coaching

If you haven’t noticed by now, I am writing about SEO. I also provide in person SEO course in Singapore.

The plus point of coaching is that there aren’t any upfront costs. Yes, I’ll need to rent a nice training room for my students. However, I don’t hold any inventory. Coaching can be expanded to Muay Thai coaching, yoga coaching, personal development coaching any many forms of coaching.

Services

Secondly, you can provide a service. I am SEO consultant providing SEO services to SMEs in Singapore. Services can range from copywriting services, web design services to consulting services. You’re not limited to services that are online. There are real estate services, accounting services, law services and etc.

You can blog and create content around these services to 1) brand yourself as an authority 2) bring in traffic from long tailed search queries.

Products 

The E-Commerce model is preferred by many entrepreneurs as well. When you blog, you can create content on that particular product. It can range from make up products to sporting products. You’re also building a brand by publishing you own unique content. You’re not just a middleman.

Let’s take a look at the demand of baby products in Singapore (suggested by a friend)

Can You Make Money Blogging

Google Ads

Sometimes, you click into sites where they place banner ads on their site. The owners make money from people clicking in their ads. Unless you have a ton of traffic, you’re not going to be making any sustainable income from these Google ads.

I don’t recommend it at all. Understand some business strategies, package your services, products or coaching and sell it for profits.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a business model where you don’t own the product or service yourself. You are the middle man. In this model, you drive website traffic by writing content to an offer (in the form of a product or a service), and you get paid a commission.

This is great if you don’t want to carry an inventory. However, I personally recommend owning the product or service itself. Why do all the upfront work when you’re only getting a cut of it at the end of the day?

Website Rental Model

You’ve probably heard of real estate right? Just like real estate, the top spots on Google are like real estate. You can write content surrounding a service in demand that has poor SEO, dominate the rankings, and rent out your website to the business owner for a fee a month.

Either that, you can write content surrounding a service in demand, generate leads, and sell them to the actual business itself. It’s similar to the affiliate marketing model.

Closing Thoughts

No, you don’t have to be an influencer or a hot girl to write content that sells. In Singapore, the majority of ‘influencers’ happen to be a girl who won the genetic lottery with a bunch of desperate stalkers. No, there are a bunch of SEO blogs, food blogs, personal finance and travel sites that push out creative and useful content. They also often monetize with sponsorships, partnerships, offline and online courses.

So yes, you can make money blogging. However, you’ll need to write for an audience that has a willingness to pay.

How to Get Email Subscribers For Your Blog

How to Get Email Subscribers For Your Blog

I often tell my clients or students, when they work with me or attend my SEO courses, they aren’t working with just an SEO consultant, they are working with a complete digital marketer with skillsets in psychology, copywriting, positioning and more.

It’s said that email is the life blood of your business. Here’s a strategy you can use that I personally use:

  1. Understand your audience
  2. Do your keyword research
  3. Drive targeted traffic
  4. Get sales AND email subscribers

Like I’ve mentioned a thousandth time on this blog, digital marketing is holistic. It isn’t that copywriting is going to help you, or that SEO is all you need. It’s all aspects of digital marketing that’ll grow your business. This is the marketing approach I take at our digital marketing company.

So, how can you get email subscribers from your blog, the high quality content that you push on your site?

How to Get Email Subscribers For Your Blog

How to Get Email Subscribers for Your Blog: Create Your First Opt In Bonus

When publishing articles and content on your site. You’ll always need to ask yourself: What’s in it for your audience?

This is why bloggers that only write about themselves, rarely are able to make a living through blogging. That’s because they are only writing about themselves. Unless they are aesthetically pleasing, nobody really cares.

So, in the case of the your opt in bonus, you’ll need to give something to your audience, in exchange for an email address.

One of the most efficient ways is to compile some of your articles and blog posts into a simple 4-5 pages PDF.

You could:

  • Compile some of your high quality articles into a PDF format
  • Pull a couple of chapters out of your services or product, and give it away
  • Interview experts on a subject, and compile them into a report
  • Give away a free tool or template
  • Create bonus videos

You see many WordPress plugins developers use this method. In exchange for using their plugin, you’ll have to opt into their email subscription.

Okay, one you’re done with that, the next step is to position your material in the best way possible. You’ll need to combine your opt in with compelling copywriting.

How to Combine Your Opt In with Compelling Copywriting

Creating opt ins and embarking on an email marketing strategy can be one of the many aspects of digital marketing to grow your business.

Pump It Up

There are hundreds and thousands of websites attempting to collect emails through this method.

However, how many of them actually are interesting or stand out? You’ll need to assume that your audience is an educated consumer, because of the easy access to tons of free information out there. You’ll need to make your offer, mouth watering, and exciting.

Let’s use an example and assume use this copy for my opt in page: 

Get clients through this SEO strategy’

That isn’t that bad. There’s a clear benefit to it. However, it can better. 

‘Get endless clients through this SEO strategy. Wake up on a Saturday morning to see your inbox flooded with enquiries.’

That’s much better.

You get my point?

Add Counter Intuitive Twists

You can also add a counter intuitive twist to your copy. Let’s take a look at this copy:

‘Start your own business without a business degree.’  

How can I add a counter intuitive twist to this?

‘Start your own business in months, instead of years, even if you have never had business experience.’

There are a couple of ways to create counter intuitive twists:

  • Using ‘even if’ in your statement
  • Giving a warning: ‘miss this critical SEO step and you’ll miss out on what works for 2018’
  • Branding technique: SEO expert Brian Dean is great at this, naming his SEO strategies from the moving man technique to the skyscraper technique

Use Specific Vivid Details

Lastly, great copywriting is about including specific and vivid details in your copy. Ask yourself this: how can you add in specific details that occur in your daily life to your copy?

Let’s take my own site’s copy, strip it apart, and improve it:

‘Get endless clients with digital marketing’

What’s a better version?

‘Flood your inbox with endless customers, even if you’re new to SEO, or don’t have any formal background in IT’

This one is much better, that’s because it paints an image in your audience’s mind.

Closing Thoughts

People are generally selfish with their email address. I find this is especially true for the Singaporean audience. This is why you’ll need to stand out with your content, opt in offer and combine it with compelling copywriting.

However, you’ll want to make sure your email list is engaged. It’s not your list size, it’s how engaged your list is to you, as a reader.

Hence, you should make it DIFFICULT to opt in to your list. I don’t make it easy to my audience opt in to my email lists, whether be it for this site, or other projects. I also make sure they double confirm on their end, before sending them my material or letting them on my list. I’m coming from an audience mindset, and not a tactics mindset.

You should too.

How to Market Your Services Online 02

How to Market Your Services Online? The One Rule

A couple of years ago, I paid up to 4 thousand dollars in total of buying an email list, building a sales funnel and affiliate marketing training. I was obsessed with the idea of making ‘passive income’ because I wanted to ‘travel the world’. I also found a real-life mentor who had the business model and was living proof that it was possible.

He showed me his pay pal account, I hung around with him multiple times, for months straight, travelled with him, verified his lifestyle with my own eyes and invested in his affiliate marketing course. He was living the passive income from the internet dream.

I did sell a couple of products from Clickbank for a couple of weeks, decided that there must be a better way to do this, and quit the business at a huge loss.

Scammy Clickbank

I didn’t want this to be my career

There are a couple of reasons why I did so. Firstly, I didn’t want my career to be spent marketing scammy products. Some of the products from this affiliate site was horrible. I was an educated individual that had a formal education, I should have the smarts to figure something out. I was also admittedly lazy and wanted the fast way out.

It was the way I wanted to do business.

Eventually, I went into SEO because I wanted to provide an ethical service and product to Singaporean businesses. Even so, SEO itself is a fascinating subject that if you’re not careful, can be labelled under the category as scammy. 

The One Rule: Never be Scammy – How to Market Your Services Online

The internet marketing industry is rife with quick promises of the ‘make money and travel the world’ promises. You see this a lot in the Singapore seminar marketing industry. You get forex traders, copywriters, marketers and even SEO course providers marketing their services in an unethical manner.

You know, jet planes, the laptop on the beach and all of that.

I actually once considered stooping down low to their level. However, I figured, screw it. I was going to raise levels, instead of going down to it. This is why I spend so much time top quality creating content. I handwrite everything. You rarely see this amongst SEO companies.

Gimmicky Products and Services

So what happens when the standards are low?

You end up with complaints on forums and dubious reviews. I can’t tell you the number of times business owners label SEO a scam. No, it isn’t a scam. In our defence, they probably outsourced their SEO in some cheap Indian SEO firm that got their website penalized by Google.

However, there are the real scams. The pyramid schemes and empty promises. These people shine a negative light on the good guys in the industry. People that spend years, thousands of dollars mastering their craft. The good guys are often lumped in together with the bad guys.

I refused to be categorised with these guys. In fact, if you know me in person, I’m always pissed off at some of these ‘personal finance gurus’ promising 30% returns per annum in the stock market in their sales copy. Oh? Warren Buffet generated 20% per annum on his best years, and you’re going to outperform him?

That, to me, is unethical marketing.

I’ve come across ‘internet marketing’ gurus who are extremely afraid of ruining their reputation from one bad review. Well, if you’ve got results for yourself and tons of other clients and students, then why be afraid at all? Every good product in the world has a negative review.

So why be insecure about it?

Commit to adding Massive Value

There are courses that go up to $4000 for a 5-day course. That’s more than someone’s monthly pay. If you’re charging that kind of money, you bet you should be adding massive value. If you aren’t, then, you should be getting out of that business.

So how can you market your services in an ethical manner?

Firstly, you got to be committed to putting your best foot forward. When you commit to creating world-class products and services, you’ll create students and clients for life. You create trust and authority, something that isn’t talked a lot about.

There’s a ton of noise out there. Why would anyone pay for my course or service when there’s a ton of free stuff on the internet? Just about anyone can create a simple website, install WordPress, promise you world domination on a sales page and run a Facebook ad to it. How many of these people actually can back up what they say?

In the long run, there will be a flight to quality. This why I don’t just use my client’s and student’s testimonials as success stories, I am intending to rank for my own keywords. I also don’t hard sell myself as SEO consultant, if my service or pitch isn’t right for you, then so be it.

When you commit to adding massive value, you get better customers, students, clients and you can charge premium pricing.

Some Decisions I Make in Business

  • Rejecting students with credit card debt

If you’re in debt, you can’t attend my course. You’re better off clearing your debt first. I hold this decision true to other projects as well.

  • I don’t offer kickbacks or commissions

This is extremely common in the SEO world, especially with government grants such as the PIC claim. SEO agencies are able to manipulate invoices and give kickbacks. I don’t do any of that.

  • When I was a freelancer, when my clients price me out, I turn down the project

There were a couple of times when clients came to me and say: why can’t you just match your price with X competitor? Firstly, I’ll educate him why I’m charging for such prices. However, if he still insists, I’ll simply turn down the project.

Ultimately, when marketing your business or services, the first rule is: don’t be scammy. Create world-class services and products and you’ll build a valuable brand this way.

Online Marketing Scam

6 Signs That ‘Online Marketing’ Course is a Scam

I hate the ‘internet marketing’ and ‘seminar marketing’ community in Singapore. That’s because it’s filled with: SCAMS.

Firstly, I hate to be called an ‘online entrepreneur’ or an ‘online marketer’. Fuck that. I am a fucking entrepreneur. Someone who has provided services to real companies, with real staff, real services and real revenue.

If you’re looking to invest in courses, I’d like to advise you on that. Over the years, I invested into SEO courses and digital marketing courses both from real life mentors and online mentors. I’ve gotten a hang of how to properly differentiate the bullshit from the real deals.

1. Person you are learning from

Here is one of the best videos I came across when research how to differentiate good courses from bad course.

‘Are they standing in front of a private Jet telling you that you can become a millionaire in sixty days?

– Ramit Sethi

This is why I always tell my clients or my students: this isn’t easy, however, if you follow the system and you have the patience, you will get results. I don’t promise Google rankings for both my SEO service and my SEO course.

I don’t sell the ‘make money and work 4 hours a week lifestyle’ and if you read my ton of free advice on business and positioning, you’ll know that it isn’t walk in the park.

2. Track Record of Excellence

Second thing to ask yourself: does that person you’re learning from have a track record of excellence beyond creating an eBook about how to sell more eBooks? You want someone with technical expertise, not marketing fluff.

Which brings me to my next point.

3. Full Names of Their Successful Students – Browse Their Successful Websites

You want Googl-able results. This is something I’m SUPER FOR especially in the investment training industry in Singapore. No one releases their track records and make crazy marketing claims! It’s crazy! If you’re really that rich, why can’t you release your investment record from a small 10K account?

Okay, since we’re on the topic of SEO. You can track my client’s Google rankings here. You can also check my students and client’s testimonials and what they have said about me. When it comes to digital marketing, you want full names, Googl-able results, non-anchor text domain names of successful clients and students. Here a bonus for you: I’ll be releasing my own site’s rankings in due time.

4. Make Sure You’re Considering Joining has Customer Service to Get Technical Support

You want to make sure the course you’re signing up for has great customer support systems in place. This can include follow up coaching sessions, student networking meet ups and etc. You want to make sure that your course you’re signing up for has some sort of support in place whether be it through live meet ups, phone or email.

I personally offer all my students 2 times SEO follow up reviews. When you sign up for my SEO course, it’s not a one and done deal. They are also free to email me any time of the week to ask me about any SEO/ marketing questions.

5. Find The Best Course – Don’t go For Cheap Courses

Lastly, PRICE. There are tons of CHEAP SEO courses and digital marketing courses out there. There’s also companies including up sells, down sells and side sells. I only offer ONE COURSE: you’re going to get all the SEO knowledge you need for the rest of your life within ONE COURSE.

However, it isn’t going to be dirt cheap. That’s because I had spent years and years refining my SEO knowledge. You’d rather spend three thousand dollars on an amazing course than three hundred dollars on a shit-y course that gets you nowhere. This is the same philosophy with SEO services. You can hire some cheap SEO Indian firms that don’t know what they are doing, or you can work with a SEO consultant that has tons of verifiable results.

6. Google around

Take your instructor name and Google them. You’ll find the bad eggs popping up on websites and forums. Avoid them at all cost.

Closing Thoughts

I’ve shamelessly asked for refunds on some of the courses I’ve attended over the years. Some of these courses charge a full month’s pay. You should value your money and time, and if you feel the training isn’t right for you, then go ahead and ask for a refund.

There will be courses with a no refund policy. However, just ask anyway. If the trainer still refuses, you can simply leave a negative review for him on his site. It’s actually not against the law.

Well Marcus, aren’t you afraid of negative reviews yourself? I’m not, that’s because I have Google-able results and if an unhappy customer or student comes my way, there’s nothing I can do to prevent that negative review.

It’s time to raise the training industry standards in Singapore.