Ryu Seng is a busy digital marketer who, from an early age, has always had a knack for making money online. Seeing the opportunities in the online space, Ryu established his firm Excalibur Digital Marketing and taken the business from strength to strength ever since.
Ryu was kind enough to take a break from his work and answer some questions about him, his firm, and how everything got to where it is today.
Hi Ryu! Before we get into the meaty stuff, can you outline how and why you got into digital marketing in the first place for our readers?
I got into digital marketing by mistake, believe it or not. However, I’ve always been involved in the internet space of selling. I have done many things to make money on the internet. I have sold in-game items, in-game currencies, and trading services on games for real money (such as helping people level up). It got up to a point where I was making $400-$500 a week as a 9-year-old, from playing games. I hit my first five figures at around the age of 12, by playing games. So just a message to all the parents out there; It might actually be okay to let your kids play games.
This has definitely opened the gates for me, into believing that making money from the internet was a possibility. As time passed, I accidentally stumbled across a business model called “dropshipping” which is essentially sourcing products from suppliers, doing social media marketing and once you get an order, the supplier fulfills the customer’s order and you keep the profits. This was how I got into digital marketing.
How were you like in school?
Well, that’s a tough one. Unlike most entrepreneur stories you hear/read, I wasn’t getting bad grades at all. My grades were mostly B’s, sometimes an A would slip in there. As I was focusing a lot on playing games and making money, the school did seem so important in my eyes. To me, it was just… normal. It wasn’t bad or good, just average. I did play a lot of sports; it was a big part of my life which really helped with mental strength and determination. I would encourage everyone to get into playing sports and staying active.
What was the biggest challenge in developing Excalibur Digital?
There were many challenges in developing Excalibur. I can hardly pick one that is the “biggest”. However, if I did have to pick, it would be hiring the right people for the job. As a business owner, the level of production we perform for our clients is vital, especially if we want good ratings, reviews, and returning customers. It was challenging for me to find people who can generate better results than I could for our clients.
At the start I have tried many different contractors, most would claim that they’re good, most would tell you why they are the best, but only a few can live up to their words. This is why if you ever find good employees, treat them well. As Richard Branson says, “if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients”.
How do you successfully differentiate your firm from your competitors?
Unlike most “social media marketing agency owners” out there who claim you don’t need to have social media marketing skills to own an agency, I believe that being good at what your agency offers as a service will come in handy, it should also be a necessity. If you don’t know the ins and outs of the production side of things then, how would you know if your employees are doing a great job?
Yes, you can get feedback from the clients, they’ll tell you that they’re not seeing results but what happens next? How will you act upon that feedback? How will you know where to improve?
This is where I believe Excalibur started differently, I have been doing social media ads since I was 15 or 16 years of age. I know the latest algorithm, updates, and policies that most other agency owners don’t. My leadership style also plays a role, I truly believe that employees should ‘do what I do’ rather than ‘do what I say’.
What do you think is the most impactful element of digital marketing for e-commerce websites?
There are many micro details regarding a high converting e-commerce store. As my agency has built hundreds of websites over the last 2 months, most of our clients love to have their homepage filled with many details, descriptions, and pictures…
Although that does help, the most important part is the product page, you have to have a modern design, with proper product photos and proper descriptions, even one spelling mistake could influence the buying decisions of your customers. There are too many scammers out there, you wouldn’t want your website to be looking like one of them.
What digital marketing tips or advice do you have for a start-up business that has never done any marketing before?
Only a few things matter in digital marketing. You don’t need the latest tools, you don’t need to focus on social media, SEO, SEM, PPC, MX + C (this is a very failed attempt of a joke) and all the 3 letters jargon all at once.
You should focus on one and if that works, double down on it before shifting your attention. Every business owner knows that investment in one of these services can cost up to thousands per month. It’s only logical to see returns right? If social media is working, keep going with social media until you have enough budget to move onto SEO.
An analogy I like to use towards my clients is; think of the market you’re trying to breach as a castle, if you have a strong, solid, well-trained soldiers to attack the front, it’s better than small groups of soldiers spreading out across the battlefield. A strong powerful force is harder to stop than several weak forces.
What should people think about before starting their digital marketing agency?
Before you start to charge people for your service, make sure it’s quality. Ask yourself if you would buy your own service. Would you invest in yourself if you were someone else? Would you get the results you want for your clients?
There’s too many “churn and burners” in this industry, so if you can bring value to your clients you’ll never run out of clients.
Are you in university? How are you balancing it out?
Yes, I am a full-time university student. Thankfully, most of the time I select one day per week for my classes. I like to get it out of the way on either Monday or Friday. When there’s a lot of business work to do and university assignment to hand-in, my schedule would be considered “crazy” among normal people. I would wake up at 5 AM and get all my university studies, assignments out of the way and it should be done by 9 AM, that’s when I begin my working hours until 5 or 6.
For some, this may seem normal, but for me, it was super challenging in the beginning, but it’s just part of life now.
How much are you charging your clients?
I don’t have a set price for clients. Unlike most marketing agencies, I truly believe that’s quite disrespectful and unfair towards my clients. We don’t offer our clients pricing packages because each client has different needs.
I like to assess what the problems are, how I can use my services to help and how many resources I am able to allocate in hopes of searching for this solution.
Therefore, each client has different needs and you should not say your price before even finding out what problems they’re having.
Personally, I don’t believe that I am in the business of marketing but rather, in the business of solution-seeking.
Some clients are paying $1000 per month, some is spending $6000 per month. Hopefully, that answers the golden question.
Ryu, Thank you for sharing your thought with us!
You can follow up with Ryu Seng at https://excaliburdgm.com