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This article is specifically written for small business owners, struggling businesses, startups and new property agents.

I recently had a casual conversation with my brother-in-law over Christmas dinner. He held a rather high position in a bank handling digital based initiatives. Here’s how the conversation went:

Him: Eh I recently signed up for some SkillsFuture course on Digital Marketing.

Me: Huh? So free ah? I’m sure you had another reason for going.

Him: Ya. I’m curious what they teach there. I observed that many students were property agents or small business owners. This knowledge is very useful for them.

Me: Always good to have basic knowledge. But it’d take years of training to get great results.

Him: Yes. And that’s the thing. A classmate felt the course was too basic. He asked the trainer for tips to apply more advanced techniques required to become profitable. Basically, they wanted more followups and reviewing their work. I feel THIS is the gap in the market.

*end conversation

Today, there are pretty much only 2 marketing solutions that exist for businesses.

Solution #1: Hire a hotshot marketer

It’s not uncommon for bigger SMEs to have a $10,000-$100,000 monthly marketing budget. With this, you can hire a marketer for $5,000 or more. Along with an ecosystem of freelancers, consultants and agencies, everything from their media planning to sales funnel optimization will be handled.

But do you have a $10,000 to $100,000 monthly marketing budget?

Solution #2: DIY digital marketing

The bulk of SMEs and startups in Singapore do not have that kind of budget.

This is where people start to go for SkillsFuture courses or sign up for those $2,000 “marketing secret” workshops. These courses equip you with the basic skills you need to start digital marketing. You learn about Facebook and Google marketing, tools you can use, basic terms like CPC, CTR etc.

The gap in the marketing industry

The problem surfaces when people from Solution #2 actually start doing their own marketing. They run small $50 tests on Facebook and Google ads. Many people also try to do their own SEO, believing that on-page SEO alone can get them top rankings (Tip: 80% of SEO effect comes from offpage factors, NOT the basic On-Page stuff the courses here teach).

Soon, they realize that basic knowledge of SEO, SEM or Facebook marketing actually gets you nowhere. In fact, you end up SPENDING MORE every month because your ads are driving 0 sales!!!

The above is a campaign I ran to collect leads for another business. Profit per sale is around $500 with potential for upsells and recurring sales. Conversion from lead to sales sits around 1/20. That’s already $1500 profit in 1 month for ONE PRODUCT, not including upsells and recurring sales.

Another business: $950 profit per sale. 1/25 conversion rate. Total $10,000 profit from 1 campaign.

This screenshot shows complete domination of Google AdWords in one of Singapore’s most competitive industries


This level of refinement and domination is what’s required to be profitable in the extremely competitive online space.

Is it possible to achieve any of the above with basic knowledge from courses and workshops? The answer is clearly “no”.  Basic knowledge learned from SkillsFuture courses or workshops can’t get you these results. Even hiring a $4,000 full-time marketing staff can’t get you these results.

Solution #1.5: ???

The fact is there are many business owners with budgets around $400 to $2,000 monthly. Tell any agency you have a $400 budget and they will ask you to fly kite. DIY marketing with basic knowledge only loses more money. You’re stuck.

How can we bridge the gap between Solution #1 and Solution #2?

Honestly, I don’t yet know of a good solution to this situation. What I do know, is that a solution to this problem is NOT in the market today.

If you are a new property agent, small business or start-up owner, caught in this situation, I’d love to hear from you. Send me a message using the form below.

What do you think will helpful for your business? Perhaps a monthly review of your marketing activities? Or a 1-time fee to “fix” the campaigns? Or a service that lets you ask questions and seek advice whenever you require it?

 

 


Author Bio

A leading digital marketer in Singapore, Nate has beaten professional benchmarks for Google SEM by 400%. Previously a Vice-President of Marketing in his corporate career, he's worked with American Express, Yahoo, Starhub, Genting. Trained people at Facebook, Google, Starcom. Approached for strategic insights by IDC. Helped a bank save 98% on marketing. Increased user revenue for Deloitte's fastest growing tech startup in Singapore by 4,400%.

Currently offering free consulting for charities, social causes and start-ups with shoestring budgets. Also works with private clientele at That Web Consultant.


Questions about marketing or business strategy? Ask me here.

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