We are now entering a new era where things are moving online and millennials depends on them for both work and leisure. We spend 27 hours on online media a week and more than 50% of us stay updated on brands through social media. The internet does wonders, and audiences of all ages are hooked. So, the question is, how do we build attention that subsequently translate to dollars?

We interviewed 4 digital marketing experts on the topic of digital marketing. These wizards will show you the different tried and tested methods to start getting traction for your business through digital platforms. From low cost advertising to startups tips, read on and you will be amazed what these hacks can do for you.

bin teo consulting

1. Bin Teo, Director of Bin Teo Consulting

He’s spent the last five years helping small business owners grow their clientele through digital marketing. More importantly, he helps them cut through the noise by assisting them to clarify which activities would be pivotal in moving the needle forward.

What advice do you have for a startup with a small digital marketing budget to grow quickly?

1. Stop trying to boil the entire ocean.

Unless you have an unlimited marketing budget (startups usually don’t), focus on dialing in on your ideal audience. Make sure you are clear about the pain you’re solving and how you are different from other solutions in the market.

One of my clients runs a commercial legal practice. Initially, their marketing materials were loaded with industry jargons such as liquidation and insolvency. While those were standard industry terms, it did not resonate with their target audience — startups. Therefore I assisted them in re-positioning them as “legal insurance” for startups in case things go wrong. This shift differentiated them from “run of the mill” legal firms where the generic claim was they had superior customer service. The change in messaging on their website design also proved useful in acquiring new qualified customers.

2. Continually test various acquisition channels to see determine which are the most profitable ones.

From there we tested various acquisition channels relevant to startups. For instance, buying advertising space and guest posting on startup news sites. Also using Facebook advertising to target users who followed startup-related pages. Regarding determining the most profitable channels, most companies focus on vanity metric such as the number of ‘clicks,’ ‘Facebook likes’ or ‘Twitter followers.’

Instead, you need to focus on the Cost Per Acquisition (CPA, how much it cost to acquire a customer on average) and the Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV, the total value of a customer on average). If CLTV > CPA, you are generally on the right track.

For one of my previous clients, we used email marketing as a new medium to help them sell more presentation courses and services. It was a no-brainer because of the low cost of using an email software versus the potential revenue they could get in a single sale.

Also read: 10 mistakes digital entrepreneurs commonly make

How do you envision the digital landscape in Singapore changing?

I envision that video marketing is going to be more popular since visitors’ attention spans are decreasing. Facebook ads would start to get more expensive due to market maturity, with more marketers jumping on the bandwagon. Along with findings from the Content Marketing Institute, I predict there will be more focus dedicated to content marketing, conversion rate optimisation, email segmentation and AI-driven chatbots in the coming years. Basically, automation is something that will inevitably hit the digital marketing scene and make it way easier for newbies to get into the space.

ian tay 2. Ian Tay, Founder of Your Idea Crew

Ian runs Your Idea Crew with a team of subject matter experts. They are a full-service web and app development agency that provides a range of services ranging from development, to digital marketing and cyber security.

His clients are small business owners trying to understand how their business are able to leverage on technologies to reap benefits from going digital. His team takes on the consultative role and strategise plans for their clients to execute, from the creation of digital assets to protection in terms of security, to marketing of the digital assets.

He is one of the few digital marketing experts that has success in both consumer (grew a consumer startup from 0 to 10k paying customers.) and B2B space (hit 6 figure revenues within first 3 months.)

What advice do you have for a startup with a small digital marketing budget to grow quickly?

Having a small marketing budget is great as it forces the team to be creative and find proven methods to scale their business. However, before even scaling their business, we need to know who are the target customers and the real buying customers for the startup. It is often in this marketing phase where they find the difference in ideal and real customers are. I would advise that they use this a small budget to first test their ad copies to find test groups of customers to know who and what kind of customers they exactly want and need. With that done they can do a proper profiling of their customers and know where to advertise to get them or their look-alike audience.

For example, if you managed to find out that most of your customers are mothers with children below 2 years old, you would want to place your ads on Youtube Kids channel where they will frequent during meal times.

How do you envision the digital landscape in Singapore changing?

With platforms maturing and changing their algorithms frequently, every company will need a dedicated CMO whose role is to understand how to convert users from digital marketing and get the strategies executed. Companies are just getting around that Digital Marketing is the lifeblood of companies, just like Sales. Therefore, the perception is changing from a “Cost Centre” to a “Revenue Centre”. “Cost Centre” is a term that is used to describe if the departments of a company, like HR or Admin, incur costs but indirectly contribute to revenue. “Revenue Centre” means that the departments that help generates the company’s revenue directly, like Sales or Ecommerce for example.

joel grouphunt

3. Joel Leong, Founder-Consultant at Sidekick Marketing

Joel is founder at Sidekick Marketing where they help brands raise massive amounts of cash in crowdfunding projects through consulting and strategy. They’ve helped clients raise more than $1.5Million in crowdfunding proceeds and provides digital marketing consulting as well. Joel is also CEO at Grouphunt – a marketplace where people can organise their own mass orders.

What advice do you have for a startup with a small digital marketing budget to grow quickly?

Being digital is about communicating your core values and making communication available to your prospects or customers. Businesses can go a step further by lubricating that communication, in other words, making it clear, easy, and personable for their customers to contact them.

We find that most newer businesses trying to get into digital don’t have a good handle on their value propositions. In essence, they assume that the nature of the service is enough to attract new customers. Something as simple as separating benefits from features can set you apart from your competitors.

For example, if you’re selling marketing services, you’ll want to flesh out the inherent benefits of the service. If you’re writing for small businesses, driving more qualified traffic and conversions will be a benefit you want to showcase. It is not always talked about, but effective copywriting can accelerate your business by convincing your audiences online at-scale.

How do you envision the digital landscape in Singapore changing?

I think adopting digital is a natural evolution in the way of doing business. As more and more businesses get digitised, ironically it levels the playing field and it goes back to basic business fundamentals. Are you providing a unique solution to an addressable market, and are you communicating that clearly and taking the right steps to reach the right people?

Take Carousell that basically digitised how people purchase goods from others locally. These communities used to exist on digital forums like Hardwarezone Forums where users would deal with each other with second-hand goods.

At Grouphunt, we’ve also tapped on that progression by allowing people to conduct mass orders at scale rather than posting on forums in a manual fashion.

Think about your current model of selling and adding value – is there a way to digitise it and scale your marketing in a similar fashion?

joseph e alchemist

4. Joseph Ho, Founder of E-Alchemists

Joseph Ho runs a digital marketing agency E-Alchemists based in Singapore. In 2006, he encountered his first experience in digital marketing and eventually specialising in search engine optimisation.

What is ‘digital marketing’ to you?

To me, digital marketing is a data-driven marketing. You market your product/services on the internet and then collect the data from the campaign. Based on the data collected, you improve your next campaign.

For example when you start your paid traffic advertising like Facebook ads. You first create 5 to 10 different ad sets targeting different interest or etc. After you run for 2 to 3 days based on the data collected, delete those ad sets that are not performing and keep those that are performing well.

Repeat this process until you are satisfied with the result and save the winning ad sets and use it for your next campaign.

Also read: AI is set to kill digital marketing, thus marketers need to evolve

If you could recommend one digital marketing hack for a new business to grow fast – what would it be?

You can actually start your local SEO campaign while you are still building your website.

Here is the hack:

  • Register your business address with google my business (google.com/business)
  • Verify it and then use Google my business website function
  • Input the basic information and then start by filling up all the information required on google my business. Add photo, posts and select the correct business category
  • Then start building citations to your website

By doing these few steps, you will have a chance to rank up in the top 3 map listing packs without having your website fully ready.

Anything else to add?

As paid advertising is getting more expensive. Businesses should think of considering building digital traffic assets (aka. reusable traffic) such as Facebook groups, followers on social media and email lists. By building these assets, it allows businesses to recycle the same audience for different platforms.

Well there you go, here are the tips and tricks from the digital marketing experts. We hope that it provided some insights on how you can boost your traction on the internet with the help of these pieces of advice. Let us know in the comments below if you have found it useful!


This article was first published on e27 on February 28, 2018.

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