Whether you’re thinking of starting your own business or you’re already in the process of building one, there are some key tips every budding entrepreneur should know.
Providing advice on this subject matter to the Guyana Inc. Magazine was the vibrant and charming, Dr. Rosh Khan. At age 29, Khan has already racked up years of experience in the world of business. Today, he has several successful ventures to his name, which are testimony to his vast yet trustworthy experience and knowledge in this field.
One of his most purposeful and profitable ventures is SocialRank Media, located at 125 Regent Road Bourda, Suite 4. The business also has satellite locations in New York, London, and in the Philippines.
Given his rise to success and his experience in trying various tricks of the trade, Khan has been keen on sharing his vision and tips for success through various mediums.
Guyana Inc. Magazine (GIM): What are the advantages of conventional marketing over digital marketing?
Rosh Khan (RK): Conventional marketing has its advantages. For newer businesses, the perception is that if you’re running ads in the newspapers or on TV, your organization is a credible one (i.e, “not some fly-by-night operation”). In Guyana, not everyone is online (although that number is rapidly growing, with over 380,000 active users on Facebook) so you’re able to reach them more effectively via TV and radio.
Some studies have shown that although you can stay ‘top of mind’ at far more affordable rates with digital marketing, customer recall and retention is better with conventional marketing.
It is important to note, however, that I never say digital marketing is better than traditional marketing or vice versa. It all comes down to knowing your audience and your strategic objectives.
GIM: Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn digital marketing today?
RK: Look around you, where is everyone’s attention? In their phones! This is the new frontier and without the skills to navigate, quite frankly, you’re going to get left behind.
GIM: What are the most common things you find businesses doing wrong?
RK: I see two huge mistakes almost daily. Many businesses are using their same newspaper and billboard ads on social media. It won’t work. Especially if it’s a text-filled ad. Take a moment to understand the mind-set of your target audience when they’re on a particular platform and modify your media accordingly.
Many businesses have tried Facebook ads and experienced some level of ‘success’. Perhaps they got a lot of calls or messages to their fan page. Then, when they run the ad again, the results are nowhere near the first time. Here’s why: BANNER BLINDNESS. When you show an ad too much on social media, people tend to think ‘saw that already’ and skim right over it, or scroll right over it. You have to do different things to get their attention. You have to keep it fresh. That’s why I’m a huge fan of content marketing.
GIM: How do you think digital marketing has changed over the last 5 years?
RK: One of the biggest trends we’ve seen is the move to video on social platforms. Yes, YouTube was around but with the advent of Facebook Live, video has gone into hyper drive. Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm features more videos now too. This is a trend all small business owners should leverage. Sit down and think about content that is HELPFUL. Is there ‘YOUtility’ in what you share? Is it effective? Does it move your prospect/ customer from Point A to Point B with less energy and effort? If so, you’re on the right track. Your content will resonate.
Business owners should also be paying attention to Messenger Bots which can automate Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and help with ‘conversational commerce’. We have helped businesses sell via Facebook Messenger (although no human is on other end). There are ways to engineer this process and scale your sales.
GIM: What is your marketing superpower, the most important skill that makes you a great marketer?
RK: EMPATHY. I think people tend to over-complicate marketing. Yes, there is a scientific aspect to marketing, but it’s as much art as it is science. Two sides of the same coin.
By having a sense of EMPATHY, it drives me to speak the language of my prospect and customer. By thinking about how they feel during all stages of the sales cycle, by thinking about what their pain points are, by thinking about what THEY need, and not necessarily what I’m trying to sell, it sets me (and our clients) up for the win every time. Compassion and community is the currency of recurring business.
GIM: What story of a successful marketing strategy could you share?
RK: One of the stories I like to share is what we did for Best-Selling Author of the ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ series, Jack Canfield. The reason is because of its simplicity. With just a few tweaks to current marketing and the addition of an effective layer of digital marketing, one can transform their business. It’s exactly what we did for Jack Canfield.
A few years ago, Jack was releasing his book, Bestseller Blueprint, but he wasn’t tapping into the power of social.
Here’s what we did:
We launched Facebook Ads that directed people to a highly-converting landing page.
That means everything on the web page (i.e., layout, headline, copy, images, social proof element) had one focus – capture the visitor’s name and email address. Once that’s done, we serve a THANK YOU page.
This is nothing new. Everyone does this all the time.
But here’s what we did differently.
Instead of serving the standard THANK YOU page, we offered another option – access to premium bonus content. And in order to get that content, you have to first click the SHARE button.
This now shares a pre-set message to your entire Facebook audience and unlocks the bonus content.
Your friends see this and, click, bringing more visitors and thus more emails to the website. (This also brings down the cost of the Facebook ad. For simplicity’s sake, let’s say Facebook is paid $1 for every click you get. 100 clicks mean $100. But when a visitor SHARES, and their friends click, you’ve now turned that $1 into more than one click – drastically reducing the cost of the ad and increasing your viewers.)
Ultimately, this simple system created a positive feedback loop between clicking visitors and their networks – each one creating another ever-extending ripple of reach.
When the numbers were crunched, it was astounding. Email capture had increased by over 300% and 21% of gross sales were attributed to FREE viral traffic.
GIM: How powerful is social media as a tool for propelling the success of a business?
RK: Let me put it this way: If you’re not using social media, that tells me you’ve totally made it and no longer care about increased reach and impact. However, if you’re still in growth mode, and you’re not using social media, then you’re doing a complete disservice to your business and your prospects. This is one tool that, when used effectively – and let me stress that, WHEN — USED EFFECTIVELY – can completely transform your business. I see it happen every single day, all over the world.
GIM: Becoming a successful entrepreneur does not come overnight. What is your advice to young and ambitious entrepreneurs?
RK: Firstly, understand that entrepreneurship is no walk in the park. Even with preparation, it’s an uphill battle. Challenges will come from all angles. I’ve had my fair share of challenges, but you must accept this as part of the journey. Growing pains, if you will.
And that’s why we advise our students at The Masterclass Institute to start with a problem that you are PASSIONATE about fixing. Find a need – fill a need. But it has to matter to you.
Deploy what we call ‘the CGS Formula’ – Curiosity + Grit = SUCCESS.
Curiosity is having an active mind versus a passive mind. It’s about being observant to new ideas. It’s bringing excitement into your life and profession by opening the world and all its possibilities. It’s about asking RELENTLESS questions.
Probing deeper for the deeper truths. Curiosity is about adopting what they call in Eastern philosophy “a beginner’s mindset”, where you never confess to being the master because when you say you’re the master, what you’re actually saying is you have nothing else to learn.
If you’re forever-curious, you’re going to strive to learn, strive to find out how systems can be optimized and strive to craft an unforgettable experience for your customers.
Also, when psychologists study people in challenging situations, they found that GRIT is the one characteristic that emerged as the predictor of success. It wasn’t social intelligence. It wasn’t good looks, physical health, or even IQ. It was GRIT.
Grit is about acknowledging that failure is often-times a necessary stepping stone on the way to success. It’s about understanding that if you really want to achieve anything, you’ll have to make sacrifices.
Grit is looking at a dire situation straight in the face and saying, “I’m not just going to GET through this, I’m going to GROW through this.”
GRIT is about being flexible, relentless, and never giving up. As the Chinese proverb says, “Fall down seven, get up eight.”
Another bit of advice I would give to young entrepreneurs is to be patient. We’ve grown so accustomed to instant gratification. Hungry? Order food online. Need a movie? Just open Netflix. Looking for a partner? Open the Tinder app. Business doesn’t work like this. You have to put in the work to see the fruits of your labour.
GIM: What do you consider to be the secret to a business establishing a long and stable relationship with its customers?
RK: VERY SIMPLE: ACTUALLY CARE! I get so upset with some businesses in Guyana – too many seem to care more about the customer transaction than the customer. If you take care of your team AND your customer, if you go out of the way to ‘surprise & delight’ them, and if you actually deliver by doing what you say you’re going to do, then your business will continue to grow – month after month.
REMEMBER: Acquiring a new customer is 5 – 25 times more expensive than retaining one.