How to Start Marketing & Bizmark Podcast

Transcript

Bizmark:

Welcome to the business marketing podcast.

Jose Mota:

Hello everyone. And welcome to episode three of the Bismarck podcast. On this episode we're talking about marketing from nothing. And with me today, I have Jason Khoo, founder of search business group, an SEO company in orange County, California. So welcome to the show, Jason. So just a little bit of background about yourself. Who are you and what type of marketing do you do?

Jason Khoo:

Yeah, so my background is always been in marketing. I was lucky enough that when I was in high school, we actually had business courses and one of the courses was marketing. So from early on I kind of knew I wanted to do marketing. I think I always had a feeling I was going to do business. And then, um, you know, after taking the accounting class and other courses in high school, it just kind of knew that marketing was the way I was gonna go. And then from then on, my marketing career really began in college. I brought my sophomore year, you know, I was part of the entrepreneurs society at Cal state Fullerton. And, uh, I was in a leadership role, but I felt very like insecure about the fact that I had never started a business. Um, I had been marketing positions in these like club organizations, so I was able to like get some experience recruiting members and everything. But I started my sophomore year, I went door to door to businesses and I had a background in search engine optimization or SEO, um, and just because I was 20 at the time I was like, Oh, I didn't, I know social media. So, uh, with those two I kind of went door to door and got my first client. And then fast forward, I know I'm in partners, I have a partner and we have a business called the search business group where we do SEO for veterinarians, dentists and table tennis clubs.

Jose Mota:

So you started off pretty early in marketing in high school. Pretty awesome.

Jason Khoo:

Yeah. Um, yeah, I always say I'm a little lucky that my high school had those classes. Uh, but it was only like a nine week program and kudos to my high school teacher though. He really got me into the whole thing. And I still remember my high school project, what it was for the marketing and stuff. But, um, yeah, I guess you could say I was lucky enough to have an early start and be exposed to it fairly early on.

Jose Mota:

Nice. So you specialize in a SEO. How, how'd you get into that specific?

Jason Khoo:

Yeah, so when I was a freshman, I had met someone in my, one of my courses and he designed a websites for local businesses and he told me like, Oh yeah man, I make like thousands of dollars. And I was like, Oh, Schnapp, well this guy's like my age 18 and you know, maybe there's something I can learn from him. And I at the time was trying to learn how to code by myself. So my dorm room, I would like code or try coding. And man, I was awful. So like when I say I was coding, I really wasn't. I was just trying. So, um, I knew enough where he needed me to do basic HTML improvements and so I did that. It was all fine and everything, but he told me like, Hey yo, um, there's this internship. I took the top me like SEO, they're doing like another round of recruiting. You want to go ahead and do it? Um, I was like, yeah, like you're the guy who's making thousands of dollars. And I was like, sure, I'll, I'll do it. And then through that internship, that's where I got my first taste of it. But by no means was that like, did it teach me like all the basics, SEO, SEO, like many other trades I guess is very self-taught, independently taught. And so after that internship I just went home and studied it a lot and that's how I took off.

Jose Mota:

So did you learn coding to understand how SEO works? Like in the back end?

Jason Khoo:

Big misconception about SEO. Uh, everyone thinks SEO is like coding and actually a majority of SEO is not coding there. You can do SEO with coding, but a lot of people don't. There's just a lot of ways around it. And um, coding does give you an, uh, an advantage. And thank God my partner does know coding. So there are certain sections of SCO that require it, but for most people, like 95% of people who are just doing basic SEO, that requires no coding whatsoever. So

Jose Mota:

going off of SEO, you have clients that basically want to get to the top of the searches from keywords going up with that. Do you have clients that start with nothing? Yeah, so SEO

Jason Khoo:

for here's a, here's where it gets difficult. So let's just say if when you open a store, the way to know of SCL is going to be good for you is if you're opening a business that already exist in the world. So if you're, like for example, I have a, I had a client who he opened up a table tennis Academy in orange County. It was not the first of its kind, but they just opened and they had hired us. That was a client we took from not being found on Google. Did anybody exist? And now that the, the number one [inaudible] Academy in orange County, you type it up guarantee you'll see them. That's when it works. Where it doesn't work is for startups who are creating new products that don't exist in the marketplace. For example, like, uh, let's say you're creating, I don't know, a new potato chip. No one's really Googling new potato chips or anything like that. SEO is all about people finding things that they want you, they search something that they know they want and they find it right? For startups, it doesn't really work like that because they're opting, creating a product that does not exist in the marketplace. It's like the same thing as like looking for an iPod before iPods even existed. No one's doing it. It just doesn't make rational sense. So that's where the one limitation of SEO is

Jose Mota:

going into today's topic of, um, marketing from nothing like say a startup. They barely have

Jason Khoo:

a product that they develop. So what are some of the ways that somebody should start marketing? Yeah. Um, I actually got this question yesterday at an event I went to the, some guy said like, Oh, you know, I want to start my own business. Like, how do you suggest I start? I remember when I was in college when I really want to start or start from nothing or marketing from nothing. They said, look with your family, your friends and your network and see what opportunities are there. And that's very true. If you have a new product or a new business they're starting, or let's say you just have a scale you want to get out there because if you have a skill, like you're a painter and you want to paint for people, that's still entrepreneurial in a sense, right? You've got to ask around your network.

Jason Khoo:

Now you gotta be careful because doing business with people when you're so experienced can be tough with family and stuff. But I was unfortunately unable to find anyone in my network who I could work with. Um, so I went door to door, like two businesses. That's not a great marketing. So, so why do you go to people in your network? Because they trust you, they already know you. And there's the hardest part about business is legitimately just getting new clients. There's a, there's a natural issue is that people only really want to hire you when they know that you have a good reputation. When you don't have a reputation. Uh, it's really hard. It's really difficult to get them to trust you, right, to even do business when you go your network of family and friends, they know, they know you don't have a portfolio of work, but they still know your personal reputation and that's where it's good to go to your family and friends.

Jason Khoo:

So that's the advantage you have. Yeah. Yeah. It's like the same way where like if you've ever had solicitors coming to your door and they want to sell something, like, have you ever really bought like the only thing I've ever done in maybe, maybe I bought like girl scout cookies or I donate to some kid's athletic career, but, um, I've never bought anything and it's the same thing. But if my friend's sister came and was like, Hey, you know, I'm doing this, I'm trying to sell girl scout cookies, you're much more willing to do it because you know them and there's that personal relationship. So that's a good way to go. A don't, I would encourage you to not take it so lightly because when you ruin w, when you get bullishness with people, you know, if you don't do it well, there's a bigger repercussion though because there's waves, there's waves of it.

Jason Khoo:

This person probably talks to some more of your friends. They hear you do a bad job. There's a whole concept on that, I think. Yeah. So don't, don't mess around with that. So, so, so that's sort of where you build word of mouth marketing, right? Yeah. Word of mouth marketing is a lot about that. It's like the people you work with and they spread the same thing. So when you're starting from nothing, yeah, go to family and friends. You know, word of mouth marketing is one of the most overvalued points of market. Everyone loves word of mouth marketing because it's the easiest. But, um, any good marketer will tell you that dries up very fast. So, uh, for those starting out, yes, rely on word of mouth marketing in the beginning. Try to try to take advantage of it, but it cannot sustain you forever.

Jason Khoo:

Um, even my own company were, were dealing with the repercussions of our word of mouth well is drying up. So that is a good one. But it's, it's imperative for you when you start out. Yes, word of mouth gets your first handful of clients. But are you transitioning to other forms of marketing as well? So, so this is one type of offline marketing in regards to offline marketing. Besides say advertisements, what other channels are there? So you can go through, I listened to one podcast called marketing schools with Neil Patel and Eric SIU that, that was pretty good. Um, it's mainly for SEO and marketing people, but they had a podcast portion where they wrote into the topic was, well, how do I get clients when you just, there's no one coming in. Right. And it wasn't the most basic answer, but I just thought it, it rang so true.

Jason Khoo:

And it's just networking. And what I mean by that, just going out to events. So what this is what I would encourage people to do actually beyond family and friends is go to as many networking events as possible and network. And so, um, I hate a lot of college kids hate that word. I'm okay with that word now. Now that I'm actually in the real like business world. Um, but another strong offline channel is just going out into the community or the local area. And pretty much when I say networking, you network, right? But make an impact or develop relationships. That's where collaboration comes in. Yeah. So, you know, join a nonprofit organization, uh, join a meetup group. If there are no organizations available, just grab some people you know, and form one, like those are the best ways to do it because it's not that those people you meet at networking events will get you business all the time.

Jason Khoo:

But every so often you will get one person like, Oh, you're the exactly the person I need. And you're like, well, this was totally worth it. But usually what happens is when you network with someone, you naturally actually absorb their network. Once you've developed that relationship. So you never know who that person knows that might need what you provide. So that is a much stronger way of marketing. It's still hyper-local, but it's a very, very strong way of marketing. A lot of people don't like it because networking is difficult, but it's the way you got to go. So that's sort of your second community. First you start off with your family and then you go to a business community to throw your idea. And I see collaboration opportunities. Yeah. And um, if you're, you know, I do that because you know, naturally when you've never done something before and you're not the most confident when you go to a network and you had to say, Oh, let's just use these websites for example, you want to design websites for people. If you've never done one, uh, you'd be hard pressed to be confident. It's going to networking it and say you could do it for someone. So family's usually just a good, like, you know, like video games when they have like the, the first level, it doesn't mean anything. It's just a training level. That's what working with them is probably going to be or friends. So

Jose Mota:

that, that was sort of a, some of the offline stuff. Um, now going to online, what are some things that a business should focus on? There's obviously social media, there's their website. What's important in the online world? You talking about like, uh, as far as getting your product out there, product service out there. So it kind of blends in for to go to your family. Uh, they can share it online. Um, what are some strategies for online exposure?

Jason Khoo:

Yeah, so I'm a big believer in the whole, I think networking gets lost in the online world. So, uh, Jose, I think you've heard me talk about this. I can twice now. Um, it's the whole idea that like online has its own community and you can also network there. So this is, uh, this is more conceptual, but it's important that I get the conceptual portion across first, which is that there are lots of communities out there, whether, whether they may be Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and there are a lot of micro communities within that platform. Right? So it is important for you to network and identify groups and people on the online that you can market to. So a prime example, let's say Nike, like Nike does a great job of marketing online and they do a really good job. Not because they're just broadcasting their message on Facebook like, Hey everybody, look at this new shoe we got now.

Jason Khoo:

They do a really good job of like identifying the people that they need to market to. So besides celebrities, Nike does a good job of marketing and delivering their products to fitness enthusiasts. So running blogs, when they come out with a running shoe, you can be pretty sure that the biggest influencers on Instagram blogging world, Twitter are getting some media access to the product and they'll be talking about it. So that's a big scale company. And so it's kind of hard for little businesses or not a little but small businesses to mimic it. But even on a micro level in a local city, you can do the same.

Jose Mota:

So, so there's, it's a micro level influencers.

Jason Khoo:

So, you know, I used to help this Boba shop in Fullerton and they actually were the first client to ever take me in. So that, that was the person that knocked on the door. They actually gave me a chance. They a was some things I did for them. They're right next to Cal state Fullerton. They were probably a five minute drive. Right. And they want to get to the college kids. Um, there's not really college kid influence. There's at floor 10, like this isn't mean girls. There's not like the Copular kids or anything, but there are groups, there's like, like just like Facebook, just like Twitter. There's micro groups. So what we did is we reached out to local clubs on campus for a fundraising competition. So I think we reached out to community service organizations, uh, some of the fraternities and sororities to do a competition to see, you know, uh, whoever ordered the most drinks, I think a one $500. I don't, I don't remember the exact prize, but it was some sort of competition. And that's the same thing your business needs to do. You know, that's, that's a form of networking in your, or collaborate, like you said earlier in your community, collaborating with the local university that are clubs to make it beneficial for everybody. It's a fun game quickly. The Boba shop got customers, but the clubs also benefit if they had one, you know, so it helps everyone out.

Jose Mota:

Most of these strategies have been focused on a local business, uh, bringing in local community, uh, networking locally. What are some strategies for something that is, uh, like an eCommerce site that is global or national?

Jason Khoo:

Yeah, so the reason why I focus so much on locals, cause that's actually the area of marketing SEO I specialize in. But on the product side, it's typically the same thing. You know, it's a, this is a not a, not a groundbreaking strategy, strategy or concept, uh, influencer marketing within your industry. So, um, if you have a new product, I don't know, let's say like you made a new kind of popcorn, let's just say something like that. Uh, you want to go and market it to, you know, any blogs, communities are all about trying new foods. I'm sure you know, on Facebook I'm just overloaded with the video is about, Oh, this new burrito that has like a, it's like a sushi. It's like, you know, there's always the courageous things coming up. You identified those that would find those targets. So you don't have to think, you want a local level, just think about it in a relevance level.

Jason Khoo:

So find out what industry your product is in and try to get with those that discuss that kind of field, um, on a daily basis or for their business. And even then you have to start small. You're not gonna like if you came out with a new phone, I don't think CNN and all these companies can really cover you unless you have funding and you're some big hype train. Uh, but if you're some small local guy or kid in a, in their dorm or garage, uh, you're gonna have to start small spots to start with a small guys and slowly build it from there. Yeah.

Jose Mota:

So another thing on marketing is you can spend a lot of time doing the wrong thing in marketing or some strategies for being efficient in what you're doing.

Jason Khoo:

Yeah. Uh, marketing has the classic issue of, as it is very difficult to always like track. Like how do you know if something like how you have a billboard actually worse? You never really truly know and wants to try to, yeah. If you, you know, when companies use commercials, we know they work to what degree you, we, we don't know. Right. And there's a lot of advancements in the marketing industry that allow us to track more and more, but still not perfect. And so, but discussing and trying to figure out what's going right, what's going wrong. It's just being organized. So when you go out and do marketing, you know, it's the little things. So for example, if you're going to, let's say you're going to go to a local event and pass out flyers, like you want to just, you know, Oh, you know, this is how lifts Augusta, they went to Cornell university and just passed out little papers, right?

Jason Khoo:

Like trial lifts, trial Charlottes and this was when they first started. Uh, I, you know, we do that with some of our clients too. We want to build some hype, you know, you just gotta be a little bit creative, strategic and organized about it. Um, if you go to a local school and you're passing out flyers, make the deal on that coupon, a little different or ton of different, bring the coupon and then that coupon for some reason has like a blue streak across the coupon or, but then if you go to a different school, it's a different color. That way you know where things are coming from. If you give one generic liar all across the board, you'd never really going to know what's going on. So with, on an online level with like products and e-commerce, if you're working with different Instagram or blogs or whatnot, you know, coupon codes, unique coupon codes for each person and track their, there's a lot of tools out there to help to track. But at the end of the day, it just, it all comes down to how organized you are and creative with it. You are.

Jose Mota:

So that's more of a tracking strategy to find out what's working, what's not, and then focus on what is,

Jason Khoo:

yeah, that's extremely important. Um, you know, sometimes people will fall into the trap of like, Oh, Google ads, I'm paying Google. That's good enough. No, no, no, no, that's not good enough because you'll waste a lot of money doing that kind of stuff. You need to, you know, move fast but also be monitoring it and ensuring that it's worth the money. And

Jose Mota:

so, so this is where quality and quantity comes in. You know, if you take shortcuts, there's obviously Bob back on that

Jason Khoo:

believer and that's good. Really good. And that like, I don't, if you're starting out, don't join 10 social media and tried to operate 10 profiles, you know, start with two or three and then whatever, whichever one of the two or three is doing best. Focus in on that. Right? Like, you know, everyone's going to remember you based on how good you are at something rather than your, um, how, how many different platforms you are on. Like, like taco bell used to be the King of Twitter, like they just dominated Twitter and they're really well known for that. Right. So for your small business it's important to, don't worry about all 10, just worry about the couple ones that will work, one or two here and there. And then once you do really well with one, then you can move over to the second or third platform. But you rarely get people who start all 10 and are good at a whole 10. You just want me to do one and slowly build from there.

Jose Mota:

So this is where, um, some of the stuff you don't want to do is like buying followers or somebody can see based on your engagement and it could also hurt you in the long run.

Jason Khoo:

Yeah. Oh my God. Yeah. I'm, I'm a, I'm a big proponent about not buying followers. Um, I know people who will, you know, swear that it's gonna, it's good and everything, but the whole premise around it just seems a little unethical. And I've had a client who bought ballers before for his Facebook and it became a huge mess. Like, you know, he bought I think 2000 followers on his Facebook. And, uh, when we started running Facebook ads for him, we could not do any, any analytics because, you know, I think we grew to 2,500 followers, but then 2020 500 followers for bot. And so I always say like 70% of our traffic came from Egypt. I'm doing air quotes while I'm saying this, but Egypt, this restaurants in California, man, there's no way that 2000 people are coming from Egypt. But that's just the nature of the beast. He bought the followers. There was no way for us to learn anything because dude, these guys are from Egypt. There's nothing if we're going to learn from that. Right. So he was actually forced to delete that Facebook and started a new one. So, you know, in my line, I don't believe in holding the whole buying followers and everything. Your relation to be doing that.

Jose Mota:

Yeah, definitely. So just to recap today's show, you want to start with family, pitch your idea to them and then you want to go to networking events. Uh, tried to collaborate, involve the community and then obviously focus on quality work. Yeah.

Jason Khoo:

If I could say nothing about the networking thing, you know, as, as you said, that made me think like, man, that sounds like classic business cliches that I learned in college. Uh, I think what would be good to sets as you kind of what the networking, remember it's notch distributing business cars. The true power of networking comes after business cards. It comes, are you following up with them? Are you, are you communicating with them? And that's very important. So if you meet someone and you've directly can help them still follow up, get coffee with them, say, Hey, what are you looking for? Help them look for that service that they need and then they will help you as well. So let that collaboration thing take it upon herself to provide value for them.

Jose Mota:

So going back to networking, at what point do you think it's too much? You mentioned you don't want to be passing out your business cards everywhere. Um,

Jason Khoo:

I do, but that's not the hope. That's not the end all be all. Yeah. Right. It's just one step of many steps. Yeah.

Jose Mota:

So this is where the quality comes in as far as your relationship to who you network with. Just for you, how many people do you think you network with regularly and go to that second step to?

Jason Khoo:

Um, that's a good point. Um, I don't know. I'll probably meet like at least five individuals a month. Um, I don't, I recently have been starting to go into networking more so, and this last month I've probably met like 30 people, so it was months a little bit high, but other months it can get slow. But yeah, just, you know, I try to, I try to do one or two events a month. That's what I really try to do. Yeah. But what I, what I mean by like, you don't want to just pass up as card. Yes. Pass out the business card. But for example, let me just you an anecdote. My company went to Orlando, Orlando, and Vegas. So let's talk about Vegas. Vegas was a conference the second week of the conference for veterinarians. Right. And we networked with Vanessa. We got some cards all get to go.

Jason Khoo:

What's important is to continue communicating with them after the conference is over. Right? So are you sending texts? Are you sending emails? That can get difficult because you don't know what to send them. But that's where it's extremely important to remember a little details about the conversation. Right. Uh, one of the vest from Newport beach that we met there, he's a big Laker fan, so I'm a big Laker fan. That was easy. I just texted him, Hey, did you hear about, you know, the lagers like losing this game? Like Oh my God, they needed to be losing more. We're taking right now, stuff like that. But for others, like, you know, you just want to keep them in the loop and be friendly and stuff. So for example, uh, we have a veterinarian we met from Portland who are never going to sell to, she will never hire us, right?

Jason Khoo:

Because she's not in a position to, it's just probably not ever going to happen, but we can still leverage the relationship. So we wrote a post about the top 10 none of that was the top 10. It was 11 Yelp reviews that reminds you why you treat animals, not humans. And it'll just be some funny, you know, funny one-star, Yelp reviews that make bets. Kind of like pull their hair out and when I'm not done with it yet, but I sent it to my contacts saying, Hey, you know, I'm working on this poster right now. Can you give me your two says a little thing is like that kind of go along the way. So kind of do the same thing when you go out networking, you know, people, key people in the loop, ask them about their progress on stuff that they're doing. See if you can help them in any way.

Jason Khoo:

So this is building your network over time. Yeah, it's building your network and it's, it's also building, um, your leads, right? Like I think when you say network, people think like, Oh, networks. Like, Oh, who could say they have more like friends that have do big things. That is a one part of it. But lead generation is a lot about just grooming, right? Are you going out there? What is your reputation? What do people around the area know you as a, do they say, Oh Jason, you're a marketing guy. Great, cool. I want them to know that. Or do they think, Oh, Jason, this young guy who comes on and cracks jokes all the time, you know, you want people to start associating with you. It's something and at the beginning and we really slow, you're not going to really build a reputation, but you know, you keep going, you make some friends, second, third person, they end up becoming someone who refers you to other people and whatnot.

Jason Khoo:

So what did we see when we talk about going out to networking events, it's also just being methodical about the process after, you know, staying connected with them, uh, giving them a call, Hey, you know, Hey, so and so, how's it going man? And you know, that's the one thing man calling people has been one of the biggest assets for me in communicating and networking with people. So this is where you start to gain trust from people outside of your family, right? And, um, you know, you just say hello and whatnot. Uh, there was another person I met on a plane flying back from the conference to orange County. We figured out, Hey, we're both in orange County and we're both trying to go for the veterinary market, right? Uh, let's, let's, let's talk. And we just talk. And I called him, I called him occasionally and say, Hey, you know what's going on?

Jason Khoo:

He let me know. Oh, actually, we're trying to hire someone right now. I said, Hey, you know, I actually from Cal state flows here, I still know the career people there. Why don't we connect you and everything. A little things like that, you know, really kind of help you out and you want to help people, even if you know that in the long run it might not directly become like a customer for you. You want to, you want to do it without expecting in return. Yeah. So I think the perfect example is this podcast. You know, my, my target market is veterinarians. I don't think that's the target market of your podcast per se, but just still doing these kind of, you know, opportunities still go a long way because you're still building trust. You're still communicating with people. I don't know. And I'm sure with you, you know, if you know that now and you're like, Oh well Jason did that one thing and then you know, for myself, if people want to know more about podcasts, well I'm probably gonna refer to them to the you because obviously you have the set up of the microphones over here.

Jason Khoo:

So you know, that's just really what it is, is, are you actively going out of your way to connect with people? Right. Yeah. Oh, that's a well rounded dive into marketing. Yeah. So where can people check you out? Where's your company located? Yeah, so my company operates up two locations right now. We have an office in Costa Mesa. We were kind of a coworking space called crash labs. If you want ever watch it, check it out. I usually there half of the week. So, um, I'm, I'm available if, if you're in the area and OSI you can drive over if not, um, we have another office in Fullerton, but my website is the search business group.com. So actually no, that's incorrect. It's search business group.com. No, the, so it just the word search, the word business, the word group all into one.com. Um, I think we can add it in the show notes or something like that would be the show notes.

Jason Khoo:

Yeah, you can look at our website there. As of right now when we're doing this recording, I will have, so it's not completely done yet. So if you look at it and you're like, what the hell is this? It's in progress. We just finished a photo shoot or [inaudible]. It'll be live really soon. I also have a personal website@jasonjkudotcomandalsoanotherwebsitecalledronwavedesign.com which is what our company used to be called, but we ran it to search business group and those are the places you could find me if you'd like to shoot me an email. It's just Jason at the search business. God keeps keep saying the, it's jason@searchbusinessgroup.com and I'm more than happy to answer any questions. If anyone has any NFPA, if you guys like to show, just be sure to tweet us out using the hashtag Bismarck BIC M a R K may, who knows, maybe we'll do another show

Jose Mota:

with Jason. He, uh, obviously is an SEO genius. He knows a lot about SEO and local small business. Thanks for being on the show. Yeah, no worries man. Hello everyone and thanks for listening to this episode of the Bismarck podcast. If you'd like to learn more about Jason, be sure to check out his site@searchbusinessgroup.com and if you liked this podcast or would like to be interviewed on a future episode, be sure to shoot us an email at Bismarck podcast at [inaudible] dot com as always, be sure to subscribe on iTunes so you won't miss any episode in the future. Thanks for listening. We'll see you guys next time.

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Jason Khoo

Jason is founder and CEO of Zupo, which is an Orange County based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends catching up on reading and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.

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