All posts in Grow Your Business

If Everybody Did SEO, Wouldn’t Everybody be the Same?

Interesting question I got about SEO as a marketing strategy when I was talking about my business during Chinese New Year visits.

‘What if everybody did the same thing as you did, wouldn’t your strategy be ineffective?’

  1. Everybody had equal access to lectures and tutorials in school, why do some people perform and why do some don’t?
  2. Index funds are shown to have a track record of 10 years and more. People still invest in bird nest, gold, bitcoin, mutual funds or not start an investment account at all.

My point is. Everybody knows what they should do, but they NEVER do it.

You see.

Something I learned about persuasion is:

People don’t want to learn about digital marketing. They want to learn how to get rich or quit their jobs. These are their hopes, fears and dreams.

People don’t want to hire an SEO consultant. They want their business to ‘magically’ be prosperous the next day.

People will never subject themselves to education. Then again, education isn’t enough. I know many people that attend a SEO course, and never really test out the methods. Implementation and execution are two different things. 

How You Can be More Persuasive

In my opinion, digital marketing is a great entrepreneurial skillset. Not only you can start you own projects, you’re pretty much able to value add almost any commercial organization.

Name me a company that doesn’t more leads and enquires for their business.

None.

However, how can you communicate to your audience that getting found on Google through search engine optimization is a low cost and effective strategy?

That’s the trick.

Why I’ll NEVER Give Kickbacks in Business or Sales

Yesterday, I found myself in an interesting conversation that confirmed my suspicions on the laziness of how people conduct their business practices.

Here’s the conversation:

Me: ‘The reason why I didn’t enjoy working for my previous company is because they ran their business on kickbacks and commissions, it didn’t make any sense to me.’

Her: ‘Kickbacks and commissions are normal on the commercial world. It’s normal that entertainment expenses go up to 6 thousand a night.’

Me: ‘Well, I disagree. There are ways to go about it that don’t require kickbacks or commissions.’

Her: ‘You’d better sticking to being a psychologist them (I had just finished a class on psychology), and not go into the commercial world.’

I wanted to bring up Jack Ma’s example of how choose he fired two of his biggest account managers who received kickbacks, despite bringing in the majority of the company’s revenue.

Jack Ma on How he Fire Two Employees:

The Real Reason Why You’re Giving Kickback: Laziness

Here’s what I really thought:

She never bothered to craft out a unique selling proposition for her company and products. She never bothered to look into different marketing strategies such as SEO, Facebook marketing or other strategies.

There’s no narrative behind her products and services. She probably didn’t know the concept of positioning and assumed that every sale is made on commission and kickbacks.

Through my days as a freelance SEO consultant in Singapore, I have never once offered kickbacks or took in clients that used my competitor’s prices as a manner of negotiating the price of my services.

Secondly, if you’re constantly giving out kick backs, your profit margin goes down. If you’re constantly blowing your credit card bill on entertainment expenses, your profit margin goes down.

You’re not really a competitive business. You’re only getting sales because you’re giving your clients cashback benefits.

There are so many ways to compete and differentiate

The opposite of laziness is excellence. They are so many ways you can differentiate, increase market reach for your business. If you’re not putting in the time to figure this out, you’re merely being lazy.

When was the last time you invested in your own education in business?

I’m pretty sure that lady haven’t read a single blog article or attended any business class in the last 6 months.

‘I want to make a million dollars, but I won’t read a book to know how to get there’. It’s an extremely common mindset.

Here are a couple of articles you can steal to differentiate yourself:

Hopefully, with these, you’ll have honor in how you conduct your business practices, and not rely on kickbacks or commissions for sales.

I teach all of this in my SEO course.

What Mr Lee Kuan Yew Can Teach You about Writing Great Copy

What Mr Lee Kuan Yew Can Teach You about Writing Great Copy

Writing great copy is about persuasion to action. You can study great copy by studying great persuaders, politicians and business leaders of your time. Since I’m Singaporean, there’s no need to look further than Singapore’s first Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

Like him or hate him, he’s a master of persuasion.

Like it or not, you’ll need to be persuasive in how your write your content, to convert readers into buyers. I always tell my clients this as an SEO consultant. This is why I also include copywriting as a concept in my SEO course. 

Mr Lee Kuan Yew Giving a Speech: Youths Don’t Know What it’s Like to be Poor

Copywriting Skillset 1: Specific and Vivid Descriptions

Great copy relies on specific and vivid descriptions. If you noticed, Mr Lee Kuan Yew is always using specific, real life and vivid descriptions to get his message across. Instead of relying on some esoteric statistical data, he uses real life, day to day examples.

Some of his quotes from this speech:

‘Your grandfather probably worked harder than your father.’
‘Had we not had people with that ruggedness, that robust attitude, we’ll make it, do or die, we won’t have today’s Singapore.’
‘I’m not sure if I went back with 1959, and started with today’s generation, bred and brought up in comfort where there’s no discomfort with a HDB flat with an air conditioner, and there’s a covered walkway.’

Copywriting Skillset 2:  Passing the Bar Stool Test

Secondly, your copy has to pass the bar stool test. It has to be as simple as talking to a friend over a beer at a bar. Forget about writing like a professor. Write like a layman. That’s great copy.

Here are some quotes from his speech:

‘Very few people had homes of their own. In Chinatown, you have cubicles 8 or 10 people in the room sharing 4 bunks. Because they do shift work. Save money.’

‘So Lim Kim Shang, once went to a HDB cubicle and asked a man who was covering himself with a blanket. So he asked him why? He said because his friend was using his trousers.’

‘If you lived in those conditions and you get a flat with one room, communal bath room and communal kitchen, running hot and cold water. From that you go to a three and fourth room flats to executive condominiums, just like how you go from a bottom of the ship to the deck of a ship.’

‘As I flew over to New Zealand, I watched the green fields, the sheep, and the cows, and the small little houses dotted around. 3 million people there. I thought to myself, if come back in a hundred years, I’ll see the same scene.’

You can see that Mr Lee Kuan Yew uses a combination of simple and ‘big words’, with numbers, to get his message across.

Copy Skillset 3: Write to Your Reader

Lastly, you’ll need to write to your reader. Great copy uses the ‘you’, a lot more than the word ‘I’. You’ll see that in Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s speech, he uses ‘you’ and ‘we’ a lot more than ‘I’.

 ‘Many of the parents who are living in the HDB flats. They understood like the people in Chinatown. They understood what it’s like to be poor. Today’s children do not understand what it’s like the be poor.’

‘And no other country does that. But we have ministers out of 3 million people who can talk  to Chinese ministers, American secretary of state, secretary of treasury or any European nation at the same level intellectually, and we’re not inferior to them.’

‘Now we need these 2 things, then you got today’s Singapore. Then we got this cultural hall. Then you can sit down and talk about what will happen in 50 years. Otherwise, you’ll be scratching a living. So please don’t forget that’.

Learning Great Copy from the Masters of Persuasion

You don’t need to be chaneling Ogilvy twenty four seven to be a good copywriter. You can pay attention to masterful persuaders all around you. One other great example is Donald Trump, who arguably persuaded his way into becoming the President of the United States.

Perhaps in a future article I’ll do a write up on how Donald Trump uses his words, and how you can improve your copy, using Donald Trump’s speeches.

What do you think? Let me know.

How to Figure out Who is Your Paying Customers 01

How to Figure out Who are Your Paying Customers?

Customers make or break your business. You can have the best business idea, with the best products, with zero pay clients, you’re still going to fail horrible. I learned this the hard way where I entered a dating and relationship coaching market in Singapore.

Here’s the huge subtlety:

There’s a huge demand for relationship advice. However, there’s almost zilch demand for social skills coaching.

Your paying clients should have:

Filter 1: Ability to Pay

When I first started my business, I was getting emails from national service men and men in their early twenties. I soon realized whilst these people were enthusiastic about learning more, they had no ability to pay.

They’d rather scrimp and use the free information that can be found on the web. Nothing wrong with that. However, I needed to switch target audiences. 

Filter 2: Willingness to Pay  

Secondly, your clients must have the willingness to pay. Yes, according to Google reports and some market research, relationship advice has a surmountable demand in Singapore. However, do these people who read relationship advice have a willingness to pay for professional coaching?

Not really. Yet again, market research backs this up.

This is why defining your target audience way head of time helps with your positioning and copywriting.

The Teardowns of my Digital Marketing Company 

Here are Pink Elephant Consultancy, I teach SEO courses and SEO services.

Here are the possible markets and target audience: 

SEO Course:

  • Employees of small medium enterprises

They come to training under these SMEs. These SMEs have an ability and willingness to pay.

  • Want to be entrepreneurs

These people are probably employees looking to become entrepreneurs themselves. SEO is a great skillset to have for an entrepreneur.

  • Real estate agents

Real estate agents can target keywords on Google to generate leads.

  • Start up founders

Start up founders are often cash strapped, and require low cost marketing activities. SEO is a great way to market their products and services.

SEO Services:

  • Established small medium enterprise who have a clear Google demand and value digital marketing

Notice, I didn’t say start ups in this section because most start ups do NOT have the ability pay for a 6 month retainer fee when it comes to SEO services. I also included: clear Google demand, arguably there are businesses that do NOT require SEO or digital marketing for business growth.

Lastly, I also wrote: that value digital marketing.

That’s because many traditional SMEs in Singapore do not see the value of digital marketing. If you don’t see the value of something, it’s highly likely that you’re not going to pay for it. Hence, these companies aren’t part of my target audience.

This was so crucial as an SEO consultant. I needed to find businesses that VALUED digital marketing, and wouldn’t underprice or under value my work.

How can You Write Mouth Watering Copy to Persuade them to Purchase?

Once you understand who your paying clients are, you can write your sales pages to persuade them to purchase from you.

This is MUCH MUCH more efficient as compared to writing for EVERYBODY.

This is also done by frontloading your work, and understanding who your target audience is: namely, your paying customers! You can figure out their pain points, hopes and dreams. You can get specific about their issues.

For example, an office furniture retailer in Singapore is only able to close huge one time projects, instead of having consistent cash flows from regular customers.

That is his pain point. Hence, SEO is able to provide consistent leads and cash flow for his business.

How about the business owner is consistently innovating on her product, as opposed as focusing on marketing?

He/ she doesn’t understand the value of digital marketing, and hence, will not be willing to shell out for digital marketing services. However, through education, persuasion, she MAY be more open to my services.

However, she isn’t my target audience. That’s because her primary focus is on product innovation, and not marketing. She has the ability to pay, but not the WILLINGNESS.

When you create a business, you should be addressing the hopes, fears and dreams of people who have the willingness AND ability to pay.

Marketing Teardown Instagram Story of a Boxing Champion

Marketing Teardown: Instagram Story of a Boxing Champion

I chanced upon an Instagram story and I thought it was interesting how it was written. Recently, I’ve been diving deep into copywriting and positioning.

You can argue, positioning is all of business:

How does the market perceive your products and service competitors as compared to the market?

So what does copywriting got to do with positioning?

Well, copywriting is the art of taking your business’s positioning, and accentuating it.

Marketing Teardown: 1:1 Personal Coaching with a Singapore Boxing Champion

I’m a huge fan of martial arts. Hence, I follow a local boxing champion on Instagram, and from time to time, I click into his Instagram stories.

Here’s what it writes: Marketing Teardown Instagram Story of a Boxing Champion 01

Let’s take a look at this simple copy, and break it down.

‘Because ‘champions’ still need to work to put food on the table. So we are all the same. Unless if you can’t die, then you are special. Hit me up for personal coaching cause if my boxing knowledge can help improve your life, it’s great.

Also, I need money to top up my ezlink, buy food, pay my bulls, buy my morning teh-o/coffee, buy new socks for my fight, buy diapers, pay rent, buy healthy food for my fighr diet, buy tissue for my daily flu/ sinus etc…’

Can you notice something?

The people viewing this Instagram doesn’t care about the fact that he needs money for his daily expenses.

Here’s the rule of thumb: people only care about themselves. It all boils down to: how can you benefit me?

Let’s Take his Copy, Tear it Apart and Make it Twice as Effective

Okay, so, he’s offering 1:1 personalized boxing classes. That’s his pitch. How can boxing improve your life? What do people really care about?

Remember, they care about benefits.

How can you write a short piece of mouth watering copy for 1:1 boxing coaching.

Here’s what I’ll write:

Hit me up for personalized, 1:1 boxing coaching.

  • Feel energized and kick butt through your day
  • Get a customized fun workout that’s laser targeted to help your burn through those stubborn fat
  • You and I are the same. We’re all equal. Train like a world champion today.

I’m opening up 3 spots for 3 special individuals.

For 3 champions.

Direct message me on Instagram NOW.

See the difference?

Now, you’re mastering the psychology of your audience.

No one wakes up and says: I want to help a world champion pay his bills.

Everyone wakes and says:

  • How can I lose weight?
  • How can I attend a fitness class that doesn’t bore me to hell?
  • How can I feel more productive and energized throughout the day?

Copywriting is an Underrated Skill

Copywriting is an underrated skill. I used to IGNORE copywriting for my first three years in digital marketing, only focusing on SEO rankings as an SEO consultant.

I teach all of these in my SEO courses.

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.

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?

 

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.

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?