Archive for January, 2018

Why Facebook Likes are Useless

Why Facebook Likes are Useless and are a ‘Vanity Metric’

Yesterday, I was out at an investment event invited by one of my friends. I was introduced to a friend who was a comic artist. He published his comics on his Facebook page. He needed exposure and went around asking everyone to like his page.

I told him honestly: you’re not going to get anywhere with that strategy. That’s because it’s not targeted. Even if I did like your page, I don’t care about comics, hence my friends probably don’t care about it, I’ll never share your content, so won’t my friends.

This is why, getting your friends to like your page is a vanity metric. I don’t care if you have 10000 likes. Just like traffic, the quality of likes matters.

Should You Pay for Facebook Likes as ‘Social Proof’?

Just another day, I had a friend who told me he ran a paid campaign, to get cheap likes, as social proof. Yes, you can invite your whole friends list to get ‘social proof’. However, then again, when people click in your page, and they don’t see any form of engagement.

It’ll work against you.

This is why I don’t get my friends or invite people to like my Facebook page. You shouldn’t either.

Let’s Use Brian Dean, a Top SEO Expert in the World as an Example

Brian Dean, a world renowned SEO expert, has barely 15000 likes on his Facebook page whilst his website generates 100,000+ viewers monthly and has a million-dollar business revenue behind it.

Why Facebook Likes are Useless 02

Backlinko is ranked for world’s hardest to rank for keywords such as: backlinks.

Ramit Sethi, a well known digital marketer, entrepreneur who generates up to 5 million dollars a week in his business, didn’t have a Facebook page for the first 3+ years starting his business.

They focus on what matters. Not vanity metrics.

Yes, You Should Have a Page for Social Media Links

Okay, should you create a Facebook page then? Yes, you should. They are a great platform to distribute content and earn social media links from.

Here’s the one other reason you’ll want to create a Facebook page:

If you’re intending to run a Facebook paid campaign to drive conversions such as emails or direct sales. However, you need to be well versed in Facebook advertising platforms.

The more Important Metrics

Stop paying attention to vanity metrics, and start paying attention the what matters. Things that will drive the bottom-line revenue in your business:

Okay, lastly, if you’re worried that you don’t have enough likes on your Facebook page. Then don’t include it in your website. I’ve pulled the plug on my Facebook page. It’s obviously NOT on display anymore on my website.

However, my students from my SEO course, clients, and casual readers who are genuinely interested in what I have to say about entrepreneurship and digital marketing will find it, click in and like my page.

However, the rest won’t. That’s fine by me.

What Shark Tank Can Teach You about Getting Investors

What Shark Tank Can Teach You about Getting Investors

I’m a huge fan of networking events. Firstly, I get to meet like-minded individuals, and secondly, I get to hear how people talk about their businesses.

Here are some common concepts I come across when networking and entrepreneurs talking about their business:

  • Getting investors and raising capital seems to be startups top priority
  • They should be focused on customers instead of raising capital

Some of these business owners told me that they require a huge capital investment before getting paying clients.

Here’s my take:

It’s possible to bootstrap a capital intensive project by securing contracts upfront before purchasing inventory from: CUSTOMERS.

This way:

  • You get to validate your idea/ service from paying customers
  • You reduce the risk for potential investors

Of course, none of them didn’t like what I had to say. Raising capital is fun. Getting paying clients is difficult. Oh, wait, designing a competitive product is even harder.

Did you know that I bootstrapped my project as an SEO consultant? No office. Just a laptop and time investment.

There’s a lot of lessons you can learn from the show Shark Tank:

‘You guys make people pay you for a proof of concept for two years’. – Mark Cuban

Numbers That Matter

If you’re looking to raise capital, you should be focused on your sales results. Those are numbers that matter. Not the ‘dream’ or the ‘vision’. Facebook likes, press releases etc are often vanity metrics. Note: Mark Cuban did talk about innovating your sales process and SEO of the videos.

The trick here is to validate your product and service way ahead before of time.

  • You can do this by pitching to clients way before you invest in inventory or starting a business
  • Or you can do some research: The Google keyword planner is one of the best ways to research market demand, along with a multitude of other ways. I teach this in my SEO course.

The majority of businesses fail because they built something that the market isn’t willing to pay for.

How to Deal with Business Uncertainty

How to Deal with Business Uncertainty – The Pivot Mindset

Just a couple of months ago, I hit a setback in my entrepreneurial journey. I wasn’t generating enough sales from my side project. It was something I was really passionate about, and I had spent years of effort building the project.

However, I violated one of the rules of Google SEO marketing: you can’t sell ice to an Eskimo.

Here’s the demand for coaching in Singapore, from an SEO standpoint: 

How to Deal with Business Uncertainty

If you’re taking a conversion rate of 3% a month, I’m getting 2.1 leads a month. Not sales, just leads. It’s sobering to say that it’s not a sustainable business model if I were to only market my services through Google.

I was confused for a while, and I didn’t know what to do. Should I perhaps target the keyword: life coaching Singapore? Which has far more demand than the one I’m currently targeting.

Since there wasn’t much demand from an SEO standpoint here in Singapore. I got a little depressed.

I then play around the idea of selling online courses to the rest of the internet.

Eureka!

I’m no longer limited to local SEO and the marketing in Singapore. I got the entire internet as my potential customer.

That’s a pivotal moment.

In the past, I would get depressed and delete my projects. However, there’s no need to delete anything, it’s a matter of restarting and pivoting.

I was so invested in my abilities as an SEO expert that I had ignored other digital marketing business models. Furthermore, it was only through further education that I had learnt about the concepts of positioning and copywriting.

If you failed at one aspect of your business, don’t give up, just take the lessons, data, and move on to better models. That’s something that most people get wrong (including myself), we just give up and think that we automatically suck. We identify with the failure.

However, if you are able to take the step back and ask yourself what went wrong, you’ll be able to identify your errors point by point.

Here are some ideas:

  • Did you track your key performance indicators?
  • Did you define your target audience?
  • Did you position your product or service properly?
  • Did you write persuasive copy?

These were the glaring questions that I faced. I had to go back to the drawing block, and re-learn old strategies.

How to Deal with Business Uncertainty – The Pivot Mindset

The best people in the world are able to take information from anywhere and apply it to their current businesses or life. Just because a previous framework doesn’t work for you, does not mean that it won’t come in useful down the line.

The majority of businesses and startups are a constant pivot. You can be working on an angle (that you’re sure that will work) for months and end up having to change and pivot 6 months down the road. Whilst the majority of people will just give up there and then, you just have to take a step back and see what went wrong.

When things don’t work, just take a step back, and change course. That’s a pivoting mindset.

The advantages of digital marketing are that you can pivot fast. You can change your sales copy within a couple of hours. You can run a paid campaign and collect data in a couple of days. However, the fact that it’s so malleable, can work against you as well. You’ll need to test with data collected.

When you have a pivotal mindset, you’ll be able to deal with business uncertainty.

I teach all of these in my SEO courses.

Should You Focus On Making YouTube Videos

Should You Make YouTube Videos To Grow Your Business?

Recently, I’ve been playing around with creating videos for YouTube, getting a couple of my friends who are entrepreneurs and freelancers together to record some of their business growth strategies.

I did it because it was fun, and I was bored of writing articles like this one.

However, it’s important to note that what will drive true business results to your business. What are you trying to achieve with your business?

Cut through the bullshit and your business goals should be:

  • Sales
  • Revenue

However, unfortunately, YouTube videos will not help you achieve that. That’s because people that go on YouTube do NOT have a clear commercial demand. This is unlike ranking for commercial keywords in your industry or niche with SEO keywords.

One of my friend called me a couple days later and asked me: can you do YouTube videos for ‘branding’. I’m sure you could. However, drive results and sales first. Then you have the time for branding.

Focus on One Marketing Channel and a Singular Goal

I told my friend, you should be focused on search engine optimization for Google, or one singular marketing channel before moving on to the next one.

It’s hard to focus on a single marketing channel, or even a single keyword. This was my huge problem when I started out as a Singapore SEO consultant. I wanted to rank for multiple keywords at a go.

I also wanted my site to be perfect, beautiful, and spent my time re-designing my site as compared to publishing high quality content.

Should You Focus On Making YouTube Videos 02

When Can YouTube be Useful?

YouTube can be a huge catalyst when it comes to driving traffic and engagement to your site, down the line. Combined with a powerful email marketing strategy, you’ll be able to build your email list effectively with traffic from Youtube.

Nicely curated videos are always great for ‘branding’ purposes.

YouTube is an avenue where you build natural no follow links to your site, which helps in overall SEO.

Closing Thoughts

If you’re a starting out entrepreneur, freelancer, or a business owner, what ONE keyword can you focus to rank for to FOCUS on increasing your bottom-line: sales and revenue?

How can you cut out the noise and focus on a singular marketing goal?

 

The Ethics of Marketing and Should You Cross It

Ethics of Direct Sales Copywriting and Should You Cross It?

Direct sales copywriting often walk a fine line. It’s something I’ve been interested in recently.

How can I be persuasive in my sales copy and NOT cross the line? How can I make you want to purchase from me, right there and then, and at the same time letting you know the full deal you’re getting out of it?

How can I hold your attention?

The State of Digital Marketing Courses in Singapore: Over Promised and Under Delivered

I told a friend recently: money sells. That’s the ultimate benefit.

How many of us desire:

  • Increase in income
  • Make money online from all around the world
  • Be your own boss
  • No more nasty colleagues

Well, it’s the most of us.

These are the common benefits marketed in most of these courses.

Ethics of Direct Sales Copywriting and Should You Cross It

However, can you really market an entrepreneurship course? Can you really teach entrepreneurship? There’s just so much an entrepreneur has to go through, from writing content to positioning, to getting over his own psychological barriers and charge for his services.

There’s no magic bullet course or formula for entrepreneurial success.

It took me 3 years to go from freelance to entrepreneur. Can you believe that? Was it something that was taught in the digital market courses I paid for? Not really. The majority of it gave me technical advice, there’s very little that addresses the psychology of starting and growing a business.

Ethics of Direct Sales

However, at the end of the day, I know that business owners aren’t looking just for SEO rankings. They want different things. They want benefits, not features. Increased income is a common denominator.

This is why wealth creation courses often flourish in Singapore.

Which brings me to my next point.

What draws the line in direct sales? What can you write and what can you not write in your sales copy? Can you over promise to your customer? If you write something on paper, you have to be surely to back it up.

However, if you’re too vanilla in your marketing. You don’t stand out, and you bore the market.

No one buys from you.

Ethical Persuasion

Marketing is about values. In fact, how you run your company is about values. What does your company stand for? I got into this entrepreneurship thing because I wanted to make more money. I also wanted the freedom. However, there’s something to be said about winning ethically.

If you make a million dollars over promising products and services, you may be a success financially, however, you’re a bankrupt morally.

This goes the same for me as an SEO consultant in Singapore. There are ways to win, and there are ways to not win. In the long run, what kind of brand do I want to build for myself through this channel?

I’m writing all my articles. I’m also pretty sure that most of the SEO experts or SEO course trainers in Singapore don’t write their own content. I only know one other SEO in Singapore that writes his own content.

Persuasion can be misleading and misused. However, I believe in ethical persuasion. If you have a great product, you should feel guilt free and promote it. You should not hold back in marketing it.

The digital marketing world is a noisy and messy world.

How can you stand out in a noisy world?

How to Respond When Clients Think You are Too Expensive

How to Respond When Clients Think You are Too Expensive?

‘Why is your quote 1500 when others are 1200?’

I hate emails like that. In fact, I hate customers like that. The first thing they look for in a service, is price. Not value. Yet, these are the very people that are willing to spend half a million on luxury cars, as opposed to a Toyota.

I hear this time and time again as a freelance SEO consultant. Despite telling them I’m not some random Indian company that spams with your inbox with shit poor pitches, the majority of them won’t take up the offer.

I got butt hurt for a while. However, that ignited a new fire. I was going to master this copywriting and persuasion subject.

Is SEO rankings the end all for my prospects? Or is it clients, sales, enquires, money, million dollar businesses, freedom or choice?

Why did I get into SEO in the first place?

  • I didn’t want to sell to family and friends
  • I want my customers to be complete strangers, so there’s NEVER any hurt feelings involved
  • It’s for scalability. Instead of running around networking meets ups (which is a hit or miss) I get to tap into the laser targeted audience from the search engines
  • I can get enough leads to fire annoying clients

SEO rankings are a means to an end. Yes, I need those rankings, however, why do I need those rankings?

This taught me a huge lesson in understanding the language and psychology of my audience.

How to Respond When Clients Think You are Too Expensive 02

Positioning – Why are You Different?

One of the age old business mantra is to never compete through price. There’s always someone else who’s willing to undercut you. You’ll need to position yourself better in your market.

Here are some position ideas that I came up with for my own company:

  • Stress on the fact that I had invested tens of thousands of dollars in SEO courses and digital marketing training
  • Yes, formal credentials such as a Google partner company is important, however, at the end of the day, it’s about results.

Compete on Value, and Not Price

I often tell my clients and my student, you aren’t just learning SEO from me. You’re getting my business knowledge as well. In my SEO courses, I go ahead and beyond in teach you:

These concepts aren’t SEO concepts, however, that’s MY value add.

Wrong Clients and Opportunity Cost

Once, my Dad told me: why don’t just do it cheap for X client. I did consider it. However, I measured the pros and cons.

I could spend the time building a marketing machine for X client. Or I can spend the time building a marketing machine for MYSELF!

You’ll need to ask yourself: is this client worth it? What are the opportunity costs on taking this client on?

There aren’t just opportunity costs in business, there are opportunity costs such as:

  • You could have spent the time on advancing your marketing knowledge
  • You could have taken a holiday instead (I’m not kidding, I do take these personal issues into account)

Some times, there will be clients who always use price as a means to ask for a discount or slash your prices down. The way to respond to clients that think you are too expensive is to educate them on YOUR value add. Of course, you’ll also need to great at what you do. You’ll need to teach them to revere your work.

Other times, you’ll need to just let your prospect go and say: Sorry, you’re not the right fit at this point of time.

How to Conquer the Fear of Starting Your Own Business

How to Conquer the Fear of Starting Your Own Business

In this interview, I sit down with Jazz, and asked him how he managed to go from zero clients, to monthly paying clients, without any fanciful marketing strategy. He used digital platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to get his clients.

How to Conquer the Fear of Starting Your Own Business: Key Takeaways

  • Just start

Starting is always the hardest and the scariest. However, once you’re up and walking, you’ll slowly be able to run. I held back from 3 years before launching my business as an SEO consultant, preferring to stick with the word ‘freelancer’ for 3 years.

Can you imagine that?

This is why I write a lot on the psychology of growing your business.

  • Create something you’re proud of, be great at what you do

Jazz was sick of working for big corporate gyms where sales and bottomline was the only focus for the company and the sales team.

I personally pride myself as an ethical digital marketing course provider, especially so in my SEO courses.

  • Try out all platforms

He got most of his clients from referrals, Facebook marketing and instagram. It’s up to you if you want to use SEO as a strategy, or social media marketing.

Whilst he’s a born hustler, I’m a systems thinker. This is why I dived deep into SEO as a marketing strategy in the beginning, because it’s a system. 

 

Study the Masters to be Great at Digital Entrepreneurship

Study the Masters to be Great at Digital Entrepreneurship

You need to study the masters to get good at a certain area of life. There’s no better way to learn about a subject. Entrepreneurship is no different. When I started off, I refused to pay to learn. I thought you can learn almost everything from Google or YouTube itself.

However, that’s false. You may have scattered information, however, what you need is accountability, support and systems.

Over the years, I researched for mentors, systems and guidance to learn from both locally and the internet, there are good ones and there are the outright scams.

Here are Some of the Good Ones to Study to be Great at Digital Entrepreneurship

Study the Masters to be Great at Digital Entrepreneurship 01

Learn Digital Business Systems: GrowthLab

Growth lab is the digital marketing arm of Ramit Sethi’s online businesses. Their content is focused on building and growing online businesses, however, a lot of them can be applied to brick and mortar life entrepreneurship and digital marketing.

Favourite skillsets learned from Growthlab:

  • Copywriting
  • Email marketing

Ramit Sethi is also a master marketer, with one of his strengths being able to dive deeply into his customer’s mind to address their fears, hopes and dreams. He’s also a great business teacher. I’ve learned more from him in business and marketing in a couple of months than I ever did from my modules in business school.

Learn Top SEO Strategies: Backlinko

Brian Dean is one of the world’s foremost SEO expert. His site is ranked for extremely hard to rank for keywords such as: backlinks. Brian Dean is at the forefront of SEO, he practices what he preaches, by being able to rank for extremely hard to rank for keywords.

I like Brian because it goes to show that a one-man team can out manoeuvre many of the bigger websites by being smart, and producing the best content on a particular subject.

Unlike many other SEOs, he promotes the idea of a system. Something you can follow step by step to promote your content to other site owners, and not just random tactics that’ll lead you nowhere but tactical marketing hell.

Learn How to Write like a New York Times Best Seller: Mark Manson

There’s a lot that’s written and said about ‘content marketing’.

Great content marketing is almost always personalized. There’s no other more personalized content on the internet than Mark Manson himself. His content is full of F Bombs (in a funny way), and he shares extremely intimate stories from his own personal life.

He’s one of, if not the best writer on the internet, with a blog that drives millions and millions of readers every month.

For anyone that desires to write better, you can start out by checking out his blog. He writes on everything from psychology, habits and in your face self development advice.

Singaporean Mentors 

It’s hard to find a good local digital marketing mentor to follow in Singapore. That’s speaking from experience. That’s because most people do not publish their own content and ideas and the way they are going about digital marketing isn’t exactly ethical.

However, they are mentors that exist that are great at what they do. They are able to practice what they preach. They have Google-able results, validated testimonials and an all round clean reputation. These are the people you can study and learn from.

Note: I’m plugging myself here. However, it’s my blog so I’ll do what I want. I do run an SEO course in Singapore.

Study the Masters

I annoyingly refused to get help for a year straight when I started a blog when I was 22. I caved in only to find myself wasting thousands of dollars on SEO gurus that aren’t able to rank their own websites and gimmicky affiliate marketing scams.

I should have cut through the noise and got direct coaching from masters. It would have saved me years and years of effort, and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Marketing is about Values

Marketing is about Values

In the noisy world of digital marketing, the information economy and the multitude of ways to get results, I’ve been left in a distraught space recently. There are old frameworks that worked, newer frames that still work and the evergreen frameworks that’ll work day after day, year after year.

In the world of SEO there a multitude of ways to win:

Best framework: You can rank for your keywords through great content and genuine content promotion, earning powerful do follow backlinks.

Older framework (but still works): You can rank for your commercial keywords through not so great content, however, by understanding how page rank is distributed in your website.

Oldest framework: Splashing out 200 pages targeting long tailed keywords and waiting for ‘Google to give you ranks’, as said by an ‘SEO guru’.

Unethical frameworks: link purchases, black hat SEO and frameworks I don’t understand.

Marketing is about Values

The question is, should you be spending time on X or Y? Should you always aim for the best framework, despite the huge upfront work, the potential for rejection, and the complexity of the model?

Well, as Steve Jobs once said, marketing is about values.

Ethical Marketing 

I had conversation with an engineer who said he’s genetically hardwired to hate marketing and preferred to take an accounting and engineering point of view towards marketing. However, the truth is, the world is run on marketing.

You’re never really purchasing the technology behind Apple computers. You’re buying the perception of the product. However, is the product great? You sure is. Steve Jobs did an even better job by making his marketing great.

Should you use the best framework, or should you be reliant on frameworks that still work? That’s a question I ask myself almost everyday, as an SEO consultant, SEO course educator and entrepreneur.

Ultimately, marketing is about values. What are my values, what are yours? Something to think about.

Benefits Versus Features Selling - Marketing Teardown

Benefits Versus Features Selling – Marketing Teardown

I had some fun helping a fellow entrepreneur better positioning and come up with marketing ideas for his company and product.

His product (according to him) does not have a digital marketing presence. I told him, that’s alright. I’ll see if I can value add with my SEO and marketing knowledge.

The Marketing Teardown:

Sean runs a technological driven company, that offer features such as:

  • Keeping within regulatory laws
  • Monthly pricing model
  • Lower initial outlay
  • Ability to reduce manpower
  • Automated systems

These are features of the product and service. However, you’ll need to better position your product, understand the language and psychology of the audience.

Benefits:

  • Keeping within regulatory laws > Benefits: Zero complaints > Zero fines > Save cost
  • Monthly pricing model > Benefits: Lower costs, more accountability
  • Lower initial outlay > Benefits: Lower costs
  • Better technology > Benefits: Keep pool users safe, complaint free, lowering costs from zero fines in the long run
  • Reducing manpower > Benefits: Lowering costs

If you run a company and offer products or services, can you think of ways to include benefits in your marketing process?

I cover these concepts as a value add as an SEO consultant, and in my SEO courses.

The Concept of Burning Pains

Lastly, it’s important to ask yourself, what kind of burning pains are you solving for the customer? If you go to a doctor, the burning pain would be literally a physical burning for yourself. When you’re in pain, you’re most likely be willing to pay any amount to get your pain solved.

Even though Sean’s company was a highly technologically driven company. He has to position is product in a way that solves a burning pain with his target market. That can come in the form of time, convenience, cost, social status, security and safety.

How can you position your product to solve burning pains?