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SPI 643: Marketing in 2023 — What Should We Focus On with Eric Siu

You’re in for a treat! My value-packed chat with Eric Siu of the Marketing School podcast is the perfect way to kick off the year. With tips for the top five social platforms, podcasting, community, and high-ticket offerings, we cover all the bases and share our business growth blueprint for 2023.

As host of a mastermind that convenes one hundred of the world’s top marketers, Eric is in a perfect position to understand and teach the best strategies for organic reach and discoverability.

So what are the most powerful tools you can leverage? Which platforms are right for your business, and how do you get more engagement? Where should you invest your time and money this year, and what should you stay away from?

Eric and I answer some of your most important marketing questions in today’s episode. Listen in to get the tools and tactics for everything from finding more podcast listeners to networking and acquiring other businesses.

2023 is off to a good start. Join us for this incredible conversation, and happy New Year!

Today’s Guest

Eric Siu

Eric Siu is the founder of the digital marketing agency Single Grain. He also hosts two podcasts: Marketing School & Leveling Up, which get over 2.1M monthly downloads combined. Over the years, Eric has helped companies such as Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, and Salesforce acquire more customers.

Eric also hosts a marketing mastermind where 100 of the best in media, marketing, and business get together twice a year. He is also the author of Leveling Up: How to Master the Game of Life and the creator of Leveling Up Heroes, a personal growth membership NFT.

He also speaks around the world on marketing, SaaS, and NFTs. Eric is also an investor in companies such as Eight Sleep, Levels, Lime, Toucan, and more. Finally, Eric is a member of communities such as YPO and TED.

You’ll Learn


SPI 643: Marketing in 2023—What Should We Focus On with Eric Siu

Eric Siu: Podcasting is probably gonna be one of the most overpowered just things to do in the next year or two. Maybe longer than that. Just because now you actually have discoverability with your podcast. Meaning that, especially for YouTube Shorts, let’s say Pat and I are doing this podcast right now, like Part of the reason why I’m doing this is so I can get the content from Pat afterwards and then I can chop up this content, chop ’em up into a bunch of Shorts, and then the shorts will lead to discoverability on, on YouTube to my longer form, you know, podcast clips.

And then it’ll lead to hopefully them subscribing to the podcast, right? So people that complained about podcasting not having discoverability before that is no longer a problem. And that’s why like the Mr. Beast of the world, and like a lot of people, they are going on these podcast tours right now cuz they’re like infinite content. Right?

Pat Flynn: Happy 2023! Happy New Year to you and your family. I hope all is well and all is safe. We’re off to the races because today we have a special guest, Eric Siu from Marketing School Podcast. He and his partner, Neil, have hosted that show for quite a while. It’s one of my favorites and Neil’s been on the show before.

It’s about time Eric comes on because we’re talking trends and what’s working today in this year, in 2023, for marketing. We talk about all kinds of things from social media platforms that are underutilized, that you should be paying attention to, to mergers and acquisitions and everything in between. So get ready cuz this is a very, very value-packed episode and we got a lot of examples from Eric as well to support what is working today too.

So make sure you stick around. This is the first episode of the year and we’re gonna start off with a bang. So here he is, Eric Siu from the Marketing School Podcast and

Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he wants Disney to make more original stories, rather than coming up with more sequels. Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Eric, welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Thanks for hanging out with me today.

Eric Siu: Yeah, super excited to be here, Pat. Thanks for having me, man.

Pat Flynn: I know we’ve crossed paths a few times and this has been a long time coming, you know, hundreds of episodes in.

I don’t know why we haven’t had you on the show yet, because you and your partner Neil, are just a wealth of knowledge. Obviously we’ve had Neil on the show before, but for what I’ve seen from afar, you’ve been doing some really amazing things. And before we get into really just crunching into what’s working in marketing today, I’d love to get a little bit of a background story on you and how you got to where you’re at today.

Eric Siu: Yeah, sure. Again, thanks for having me. So my name’s Eric Siu, I’m marketer, podcaster, and early stage investor. My main business is an ad agency called Single Brain. Over the years, we’ve bought a couple other agencies as well. I just look at them as great cash flow businesses that allow me to either put it back into the business or invest in other cool stuff.

And then I just love creating content cuz I just love learning and teaching. I mean, same thing as you, Pat, you’ve been doing this for, for a while. Yeah. I mean that’s what I do at a high level and yeah. I’m trying to think if there’s anything else. I think that’s, that’s what it is.

Pat Flynn: It’s awesome. I like it quick and fast so we can get into the value here.

So 2023 is on the horizon, if not here already for people listening. The environment of business has definitely changed since you and I started this thing. You know, back in the day it was blogging and some ads here and there, and now the environment’s seemingly completely different. What is working today for your clients and, and for you as far as like getting attention and converting that attention into dollars?

Eric Siu: I, I think, I’m actually kind of glad that things are getting harder again, because, you know, with the iOS changes, marketing has very much become much more like marketing’s become a, a, a blue ocean. And what I mean by that is marketing is harder now, right? And most people don’t wanna do hard. And so that’s what makes the ocean blue.

It’s not as competitive because like a red ocean means there’s a lot of blood in the water, right? And so that’s good because creativity is the X factor when it comes to marketing and also leveraging data, using the data to tell a story. And what that all kind of boils down to now, like I’ve, I did an event recently in in Beverly Hills, and whether it’s Alex Hormozi and Layla, you know, speaking about building their media empire.

And then Cody Sanchez speaking as, as well, and my friend that just sold his company for 250 million that came from him building his media assets as well. And so what I mean by that is, you know, leveraging the strength of organic social, it’s, it’s also what, and we can unpack this later, it’s, it’s also like, okay, leveraging organic social, but also from an M&A standpoint, what attention can I go out there and buy?

And we can talk about that. But also building community, right? So, you know, a lot of people talk about building audience, like I want more followers, blah, blah, blah. Building an audience is talking one to many, or usually like two people to many. Like how you might be doing it on this podcast or how I might be doing on Marketing School.

But when I think about audience, that’s people talking to each other and how you wanna build in a retention mechanism, especially if you’re a subscription type of course or software, you want people to come for maybe the initial benefit, but you want them to stay for the community. So all these things kind of tie in with each other and I’m happy to unpack each of them.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, I’m glad you’re talking about community cuz we at SPI are investing heavily into community hiring for community, putting a lot of resources into creatively offering community as the product. And like you said, it’s not just one to many anymore. It’s many to many, hopefully. Right? Or even few to few.

You know, creating a strong community. I know you have, for example, your mastermind and you’ve brought a a small group of people together who pay a high level dollar to get access to each other and have a lot of value shared that way. We’ll talk more about that too, but let’s talk about what you said about leveraging organic social.

I think we’ve all known that social is a way for us to get eyes and ears onto our work, but you know, social today is different than social before. Like, can you expand on that and get into more detail of what exactly do you mean by social? Do you mean specific platforms? And, and how do we utilize those platforms to, to build awareness?

Eric Siu: So I’ll, I’ll speak on this from the context of B2B because I am an agency, right? And you can also use this for, for B2C as well if you’re selling courses. Social typically has a a bit where, you know, things ebbs and there’s ebbs and flows, right? For like each channel. And sometimes, something will blow up.

Like right now, TikTok is hot and then YouTube shorts is hot. Instagram reels. But also LinkedIn is actually really hot right now because believe it or not, there’s only 2% of users that post to LinkedIn, whereas compared to Instagram, 87% of users post there. And so Microsoft owns LinkedIn and then they’re incentivized to try to jack up that that reach more because they wanna make that investment work, right?

About figuring out A, where’s your marketing 1 0 1, where’s your audience hanging out? And then B, like, where’s the organic reach actually really strong? And so you can call it organic social, but in, in b2b, people also call it dark social, meaning that dark social just means like, Hey, post, take advantage of the reach.

But like, don’t even try to measure it because like trying to measure every one of these channels is you’re just gonna drive yourself crazy. Even though like as marketers, we try to measure everything. So that’s what it is at at a high level, and I’m happy to talk about the top five that I’m, I’m focused on right now.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, I definitely wanna get into that. I’ve never heard of that term, dark social, but dark meaning just, just be there. Don’t necessarily try to analyze heavily, but we still wanna know like what’s converting and such. So what, what is our approach to, for example, let’s just choose LinkedIn. I’m sure that’s, that’s in your top five and I, I keep hearing this over and over again as well.

So I would imagine for B2B it’s definitely important, but for also b2c, depending on who C is. Like for me, for example, we at SPI, we’ve been trying to get more heavy into LinkedIn because our audience are entrepreneurs and they are often on LinkedIn. And like you said, there are aren’t a very many group of people there who are posting a lot of values.

So how would we, for example, use LinkedIn best? Is it post once a day and just kind of like, how, how are we providing value there and how do we, you know, actually utilize it for business?

Eric Siu: So dark social, I’ll give you an example. Two practical business examples. One guy built his agency to about 19 million a year in revenue.

So annual revenue off of LinkedIn. I took him about three years to do it. His name’s, I think it’s, it’s Chris Walker and his company is Refined Labs, and he just will post about every day or so just talking how a lot of it’s like how dark social has been working for him, right? And the reason they call it dark social is because usually when you post like a tweet or like a LinkedIn post, it kind of just goes into the ether and you, you’re not sure like what happens to it.

There are different tools. I’m happy to talk about that, where you can track things. But I’ll share one example from today. Literally, I just posted a screenshot of a tweet and my caption was agree with the question mark. And so far on that one, I have 744 likes on it. 57 comments, about 50,000 impressions on it on LinkedIn, and to give you the math on that, LinkedIn typically, on a CPM basis, so cost per thousand impressions, they charge about $33. So if you did $33 times 50, that’s, I’ve already gotten 1650 in in terms of dollars, in terms of value, right? So $1,650 for free, and that’s gonna continue to compound. I’ve had some posts this year that have got like 500,000 impressions. So that’s, that’s about $16,000. Right? And so in some months I’ll actually get three to 4 million impressions completely for free. And I’m happy to talk about some tactics as well.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. So is that just a brand awareness play, for example? Like yes, it would take you that much money. But you’re getting that for free because you were just there and posting and, and providing value.

So how does that translate to dollars into our, back into our business? Right. It’s one thing to say, sure, that equated to, you know, $16,000 worth of views, but how does that ultimately help you? You’re building brand awareness, but, but then what, is there a follow up? Is there something that happens next?

Eric Siu: You know, I think you and I both come from a direct response marketing background, and so for me, I kind of had to, I’ve had to disconnect myself from trying to like focus on conversions too much and just focus on the brand piece, which is trying to grow more awareness on the YouTube side, the podcasting side, on the LinkedIn side, I will say, I’ll, I’ll give you a concrete example here. Actually later today our the agency teams talking to a large crypto exchange, I, I’ll just say they’re top five, crypto exchange. And they reached out because their CMO was like, Hey, like I keep seeing your stuff over and over. Like we actually might be looking for an agency to help us with stuff. That’s a very practical example.

So oftentimes people will say like, I’m seeing your stuff. And so last week I was at a YPO conference. So YPO’s like a, a community of entrepreneurs. A handful of people are like, they, they, they saw me at the conference. Hey, like I actually see most of your LinkedIn stuff, it’s not even the podcasting stuff that, that’s actually getting my attention now. Right? So those are two, two practical examples.

Pat Flynn: Sure. So definitely a like a, just an awareness of A, who you are and B, the kinds of things you have to offer. So how would we optimize our brand awareness from a messaging standpoint? Because part of our struggle at SPI is we have so many things we could talk about.

So many things we could offer. Is it better to niche down, for example? Posting organically and not spreading your message too wide, because yes, on one hand we want to share all the things to cast a wider net, but I would imagine that for what you could become known for, it kind of dilutes that message if you go too far and wide. Right? Can you speak to that a little bit?

Eric Siu: Yeah, so for me, because it’s a, it’s an ad agency, it’s a marketing agency, and I have a podcast called Marketing School and all I, my YouTube, all, all I talk about is marketing. For me, it’s easy to just say, I’ll, okay, I’ll probably 80% of the time focus on marketing and then maybe 20% of the time I’m focused on, on business and startups. I think for you, it sounds like you’re mostly focused on founders, correct?

Pat Flynn: A lot of startups and founders, but n not necessarily the ones who go get venture backed, but the bootstrapped startup kind of person.

Eric Siu: Cool, okay. That, that’s your position. Right? It’s the bootstrapped founders mentality. So I, I have a friend, and he focuses on bootstrap SaaS founders. So that’s like super specific. I think you can focus on bootstrap founders and saying, Like having that spiky point of view. So I have a friend, her name’s Wes Cal, and then from Maven.

Yeah, Maven. I dunno if you did a Maven course too. But like, it’s the, the whole idea is, is like saying something that’s a little controversial. Like, you know, those that rely on raising venture capital are weak. Right? I’m not saying you should write that, but like, that’s gonna get people to start talking and like people are gonna add their feedback in an engagement loop just, you know, starts.

Pat Flynn: I like that. So to bring that up again and resurface it, a spiky point of view, this is something that Wes from Maven had coined. She had been on a, a guest on the podcast before. We’ve actually done a course, a cohort based course through Maven at one point. And we really love that. Matt and I use that terminology all the time.

Spiky point of view. What is the spiky thing that’s gonna get a person to go, whoa, wait. Okay, like, I hear you. That’s your position. Let’s talk about this. And again, that builds awareness to, to the thing because to your point, if you don’t have spiky points of view, if you just do what everybody else is saying or, or just kind of what’s expected, well then you kind of blend in and, and the whole idea of brand awareness is, is to stand out.

So I really love that, and that’s a great lesson to take forward. Okay, so we talked about LinkedIn. What other platforms socially for brand awareness are you kind of exploring or, or putting yourself on?

Eric Siu: By the way, before we move on to the next one, I’ll just say for LinkedIn, one of the key things is people talk about engagement pods.

And so like there are various spammy what engagement pod is like is you have a group of people in and they’re like all boosting each other’s content, right? I always like to look at people are doing from like a black hat perspective, where it’s like, you know, really like, you know, kind of looks maybe a little below board, but do it in a white hat way, right?

And so there are engagement pods that are out there where you have a group of entrepreneurs that are, they’re writing like really good content and then they’ll send the content to each other in the beginning of the day. And then they’ll just like, like it and they’ll comment on it, right? And that will like get the engagement going.

I know some people might say, okay, that’s, that’s like really against the terms or whatever, but if it’s like you’re actually commenting like you, it’s actually like a legit comment and you’re not just like, you know, putting emojis or whatever. I find that these engagement pods typically will go a long way, just do it in a white hat way.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, I’ve, I’ve heard that strategy before. It’s like, I remember when blog, gosh, what were they called? They were like, you could set up your own blog networks essentially to help bring back links back to your website. And it’s like, okay, you shouldn’t do that. But that is being done because back links work.

Cool. How else might we get back links to work for us and, and build those relationships so that we do genuinely get those back links. And, and not have to sort of black hat our way there, our, our way there. So what I’m hearing is, and this could likely happen, and I think happens, I’ve heard it happen on other platforms as well, where you have a group of people who, you know you’re gonna be there to look at each other’s stuff, genuinely read it, genuinely respond and reply to it to as a byproduct of that kickstart, the engagement that can happen on those posts and platforms, and you kind of do that for each other. It’s when it becomes just more machine-like and the human elements are removed, that it then becomes sort of like, okay, this is a little iffy here, or gray or even black.

So I appreciate you saying that and thank you. So LinkedIn, okay, cool. It’s like the fifth person in the last two weeks who’s like, said LinkedIn. So I’m, it’s like ingrained in my brain now. What else? Where else?

Eric Siu: Yep. So I was debating on on which like a, a fairly obvious one is short form. So I’ll, I’ll go quickly on this one cuz I feel like a lot of you, you’ve probably talked about this quite a bit and I’ll move to Twitter next, but the reason I’m even bringing short form up right now, especially those of you that have a podcast, I, I believe podcasting is probably gonna be one of the most overpowered just things to do in the next year or two, maybe longer than that.

Just because now you actually have discoverability with your podcast, meaning that, especially for YouTube shorts, let’s say Pat and I are doing this podcast right now, like part of the reason why I’m doing this is so I can get the content from Pat afterwards and then I can chop up this content, chop ’em up into a bunch of shorts, and then the shorts will lead to discoverability on, on YouTube to my longer form, you know, podcast clips.

And then it’ll lead to hopefully them subscribing to the podcast, right? So people that complained about podcasting not having discoverability before that is no longer a problem. And that’s why like the Mr. Beast of the world, and like a lot of people, they are going on these podcast tours right now cuz they’re like infinite content. Right? Especially if you do like one of those like Lex Friedman eight hour podcast, right? You could have a ton of pod content there. So short form, we’ve kind of beaten that to death. I’m just saying like, you know, use that angle, but with podcasts.

Twitter, to me is really interesting because you have some of the smartest people in the world hanging out on Twitter, right?

It’s an open graph, meaning that, you know, if a post actually does really well, it’s just gonna blow up and, and in some cases you might get couple hundred thousand views, couple million views on it, right? I remember I had a friend, he wrote a, a tweet storm that just blew up. He actually ended up on, on CNBC and he got interviewed on like, you know, his stuff popped up on like TechCrunch.

You know, I think that post basically got like 20 million impressions or so. So I think it’s kind of the same idea with LinkedIn, but you have to make sure that you’re posting natively, right? So what I mean by that is on Twitter, what tends to do well are these threads. And you can do the engagement pod thing as well, like that works, but threads where you’re sharing proprietary data.

I’ve had threads where, like I talk about how I’ve built like a billion dollar network, right? I share a lot of tactics in there and those might take me like a couple hours to write. And I remember that post itself got like, you know, it did decent, it got like a couple hundred thousand impressions.

Even though my background is in SEO, like it’s, it’s actually really hard to grow from an SEO standpoint. I’ll, I’ll talk about that in a second. But going back to Twitter, it’s like you do something well there, you do something well on LinkedIn, like you get a couple hundred thousand impressions, like, that’s really good. It’s hard to get that anywhere else. And so I speak, I think if your audience is hanging out, especially b2b or it’s, it’s like you know, in some cases b2c, Twitter makes a lot of sense. Just make sure that you’re thinking about posting natively. And then the other thing, here’s a little hack for you.

If you have a thread that does really well on Twitter, Then you can take that thread, make it into a carousel, so you can use like Canva for that. Make it into a carousel to post as a PDF onto LinkedIn and those carousel do really well on LinkedIn for whatever reason.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. It reminds me of a tactic that Alex Hormozi, who you mentioned earlier, does where he uses Twitter as sort of his brainstorming ground, and sometimes there’re single posts, sometimes there are threads, but if it starts to take off, that’s a sign that, okay, people like this thing that I just said. Let me turn it into a short form video, then let’s make it into a podcast and let’s put it onto Instagram and such. It’s, it’s interesting how taking screenshots of a tweet looks familiar on Instagram now. It’s just, it’s just something you see. And the carousels are great cuz that provides an engagement opportunity with the swiping and then that triggers, you know, the algorithm to send it out to more people. So I really like that. Where do you think Twitter’s at an interesting time right now with Elon having just taken it over and literally asking people like, Hey, what do you want here?

What can we do? I dunno if you saw MKBHD’s video. It was published yesterday. It was called Dear Twitter, and he basically said, Hey, I like Twitter and I do see MKBHD on Twitter. In fact, he’s been on the show before and we connected on Twitter. That’s how powerful Twitter can be. And like you said, there’s a lot of powerful people there.

Celebrities, artists, musicians, top people in your field are there and they’re just accessible and you could or could not capture attention potentially. Anyway, he had this video come out and basically outline how Elon or the team at Twitter could make Twitter more valuable. You know, not just charging for a check mark, but maybe access to more creator tools or the ability to have, you know, videos be shown in certain ways and, and to certain people.

So it’s just really interesting, like where, where do you think Twitter is headed for us creators who, who are marketers who are using it. Is it worth kind of paying closer attention to you in case like new things come out or, or is it just more of a distraction at this point?

Eric Siu: Yeah, I think love him or hate him, i, I know there’s a lot of haters, like Elon Haters. I, I think he, he’s largely been a net positive. That’s my opinion. in terms of kind of what he’s, I see it. Yeah. And so the fact that he’s out there kind of asking for feedback right now is good, right? I think what I, I had a friend that wrote a post. So he, his name’s also Pat, and he sold his pricing company Profit Well, and he just broke down the math.

He’s like, Hey, like Elon, like if you do these creator tools, or if you do these analytics or you have like access, like here’s another a hundred million in ARR or annual recurring revenue, here’s another 300 million in ARR. Like, and then it all like adds up, like all these other services add up to about like a billion a year or something like that in new annual recurring revenue.

And so at that point, like you’re talking about something that’s really serious. So I, I think, I think Twitter’s gonna get a lot better. I’m excited for where it’s gonna go because I, I dunno if you agree with this, but in the last 10 years or so, it’s largely been the same tool. It’s been like this, it’s kind of like fallen behind.

But I think if put into the right hands, and I hope Elon hires the right people, I think it’s gonna be largely a, a boon for creators.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, I agree with that. He’s definitely been on a firing, sort of, he, he’s been firing a lot of people, but also is hiring, and it again is encouraging because you’re right, Twitter has remained kind of the same.

It’s a very unique social platform and I, and I enjoy it. That’s where I hang out most actually. Even, even beyond Instagram and you know, we’ll see. But I like it as a way per Alex Hormozi’s tactics to like just openly share things with very little consequence as far as ideas and opinions, and obviously use common sense.

But it can be a great place to discover what you could create elsewhere and what, and what might be gaining steam. I created some stuff recently on Twitter that took off related to community. We, we were talking about community. We’ll get into that in just a. You know, I think things are moving toward private communities in, in the marketing space and just in general for brands, because places like Facebook and these other sandboxes that have their own rules that change them at any moment, and it’s a dangerous game to not just build an audience, but build a community of people and have somebody else own that community.

You need to own it, like you own your email list. And that’s why I also agree that community is what we should be focusing on. So, If there aren’t any more platforms that we should look at for brand awareness, let’s imagine we bring awareness in, in that capacity. And yes, we’re building an audience, but where do we take those people?

How are, how are you imagining community to be a part of a brand and and why is that important?

Eric Siu: If, if I go back in time when I look at the communities I’ve been a part of, so I, I’ve been fortunate to, to join communities. So there’s one called Entrepreneurs Organization. I was in that one for about seven years.

And then I’ve been in, in Young President’s organization that’s, that’s YPO in the last two and a half years or so, and I’ve gone to these amazing events like TED, right? Or Singularity University. And, and that’s all that to say is like, I’ve also been in other masterminds too, so I’ve seen the magic that happens.

It’s, it’s really. people talk about increasing their, their, your, your surface level of luck, right? It’s, it’s about the, these serendipitous opportunities that pop up. And so yesterday, actually at the event that I, I did in, in Beverly Hills, someone texted me I did this event in August and you know, one, one of the speakers had texted me, her name’s Kimberly.

And then she said that like, from one of the ideas, like she started running this quiz and she decided to throw up a video on TikTok yesterday, and she thought she might have get like five, you know, responses on her quiz, but 80,000 people responded to the quiz and she’s like, this totally changed my business.

Right? So it’s really, you know, sometimes you just meet someone and they like, they have exactly what you need or they’ll, they’ll just give you that one idea that will completely change your business or like whatever it is that you’re working on. But like-minded people want to hang out with like-minded people.

Motivated people want to hang out with motivated people. And so to be able to create that forum for them is just insanely valuable because as as you start to rise higher and higher, like the air gets thinner. And so I’ve just seen it happen time and time again and people long from this stuff.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, I mean, I wrote about this in my book, Superfans in 2018.

I knew this was coming and here we are. And now you have tools like Circle, which I’m a big fan of, and also an advisor for to build these private communities on. My question to you is, for a brand that’s out there that’s listening right now, they have an audience but don’t have a community yet. What would be maybe their first steps or how might they go about actually building a community?

Eric Siu: There’s a really good example, let’s just use our community right when we started out in the, in the very beginning. So we, our group is, we cap it at a hundred people and that’s our backend group, right? I’m happy to explain that later, but we also have a front end group for people that are maybe a little earlier in their business career.

The idea is when you’re first starting a, a group out, you might have to invite some people for free. So for example, Pat, I might say like, Hey, you know, for the first like 20 to 30 people, I’m gonna invite some real, like, badasses. And they, they can come for free. And then maybe you have like 10 or 20 people that are maybe paying like a real like, you know, like a introductory fee.

So let’s say at the very end you wanna charge 25 grand a year for like a, a mastermind, which is a high price, right? Maybe you might say, Hey, for the first 10 or so, you charge five grand for the year, or like 2,500 for the year. And then maybe the next 10 you like, you go up and price more and you just go up and price more.

And then eventually the group will become full and there’s just gonna be a waiting list. And then you can start charging a new people the full amount. But I think most people try to just look at, oh, like these masterminds charge like 36 grand or 50 grand. I should just do that immediately. But you don’t really have a community yet, and so you have to seat it with amazing people.

And then maybe you can charge some people and then like, you know, start to slowly increase the pricing. And then other than that, it’s a lot of hand-to-hand combat in terms of reaching out to people. And you know, again, like people are gonna ask who’s actually in a group, like what is this group about? And you just have to decide like what your unique selling point is there.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, I mean, it seems to me for higher level groups, especially ones that you charge a lot more for it, it’s the relationships that count. Right? It’s very difficult to just have, for example, an audience of followers on Twitter and just be like, Hey guys, I’m starting this mastermind group. Come join me and pay, you know, $8,000 a year to be a part of it.

You, you have to get to know those people in a way first. So this is why you’d mentioned like a front end group. Maybe it’s a lower cost group that people can join who just want to connect in a filtered space with like-minded people. And then from a, from that group is where you might find the top players to kind of come into a bigger program.

And we have literally the same thing in SPI. We launched with our SPI Pro community in 2020. These are for established business owners. We now have a front end group, the Learner Community, which is a lot lower price, but it’s for the beginners in the audience to, to, you know, train them and get them to the point where they could upgrade to SPI Pro.

And then inside of SPI Pro, we, through invite only have invited people to our SPI MBA program, a much higher level program for those who are ready for that at at that level of business. And most people don’t even know that exists because that’s sort of a insider group for people who we invite, who we know would be right for that situation.

So we’re right there with you as well. We haven’t quite gotten to the multi tens of thousands of dollars mastermind level yet, but we could probably end up there at at one point. What kind of value are you providing at that level? Let’s say you’re charging 20 K a year. What is expected in a group like that?

Eric Siu: By the way, have you had Sam Ovens on this podcast?

Pat Flynn: I have not.

Eric Siu: Okay. If you’re down, I’m happy to make an introduction or if you know him already, I think. So I, the reason I’m gonna call this out is cuz like he shared some of the numbers, and I’m gonna share it on this podcast and I’ll let him decide if he wants to, if you guys do a podcast, he can extend on it.

Okay. You know, back in the day we just had this video go on YouTube, my YouTube channel. But back in the day,, which is his main course business was doing about 36 million a year and 6 million of it was profits. So like, a lot of it was going towards ads and he, he had, you know, big fat payroll, right?

Like, you know like a lot of people on the team and it was just driving him nuts. And so he’s like, okay, so how do I drive the most value here? And how do I drive the most profit while like not putting up in as much time. And so what he decided to do instead, instead of having 55 people on the team, was, let’s have three people on the team. Let’s focus on masterminds only. So community aspect. Right? And so now collectively, I, I think he does about like, I don’t know, five or 6 million in profit. The top line is maybe like, you know, a million or two mil million more than that. And this is all public, but he lives a much simpler life. And so just to share some numbers on, on his, before I go into like the value of of, of our community, his front end mastermind is like $10,000 and then his backend mastermind, which where there’s only a hundred people is $36,000.

And so like that’s the whole thing that he’s kind of like pushing people on, right? And I, I think it makes a lot of sense and I, I definitely think it makes a lot of sense for you. So I’ll, I’ll talk about ours. For us, in terms of the value, so the, the last event, it’s amazing. Speaker. So I just mentioned like, you know, Alex Hormozi, Leila Homozi, Cody Sanchez. So like, you, you get the point, like good speakers, right? But when we sent a survey afterwards, we, we had asked everyone like a, like, okay, rate the event one through 10. Okay, 9.7. Okay, that fine. That’s great. Grateful for that. But what is the most value that you got?

What’s the most valuable thing that you got from the event? Virtually like, I think it’s like 90 to 95% of the people said it’s the people. And so in the audience itself, we had people that founded Comic-Con. We had a YouTube dancer that has like 13 million subs. And we just have like a lot of people that have done really amazing things.

Like someone has like a crypto hedge fund, a lot of EO people, a lot of Y P O people that I mentioned earlier, people I met from Ted. So my job is, I’m just, I, I love curating the right people, right? So it’s really the audience that rose above, even the speakers themselves. My podcast co-host Neil Patel’s in the group as well, right?

So it’s just really high caliber of people. And because I’m curating everyone, like I’m making sure that we keep the quality high and it’s only a hundred people. There’s that sense of exclusivity. There’s like everyone you gotta talk to, like they’re the best in the game, you know, at their level, whatever it is that they’re doing.

And then you have amazing speakers sharing amazing insights. But the other thing is this, I don’t focus it on mostly programming because I remember earlier this year, I went to a investor’s conference called Capital Camp. And each day they only had like two speakers speaking 45 minutes. And the rest of it was just people connecting with eachother throughout the night, right? And that was like that moment I was like, okay, this is what it’s all about. It’s not about the speakers. Cuz we can see that stuff on YouTube. The speakers can be the draw, but the people, that’s what it’s all about.

Pat Flynn: So how many times are you meeting per year to bring these people together?

Eric Siu: So for our group, it’s two times live a year. So the Q1 in Miami and then Q3 would be in LA.

Pat Flynn: Okay, so you have speakers there. So there, there is like that’s a part of the package. It’s filtered access to high level people like them, like-minded people. So you’re doing that job to bring those people together. I mean, is it like $36,000 per year to have two events and just like contact information?

Eric Siu: Yeah, there’s a little more than that. So that, that’s, that’s a good point. So there’s a also aspect of deal flow, right? So I mentioned earlier that I do early stage investing. So I, I’ve invested in some cool companies. These were more later stage, like Lyme. You would, you would know Betterment, you would know those were late stage deals.

I used a sleep tech called Eight Sleep. So Eight Sleep I invested in like an online school that’s taken after like Elon Musk in terms of how he trains his kids, called it Synthesis. And so I get access to really good deals. That’s not to brag, it’s to say if you wanna win, when it comes to angel investing, it comes down the deal flow, right?

So I’m actually sharing that deal flow and they can decide if they wanna participate or not. And then actually we have an active, you talk about Circle, we’re using Sam Ovens group called School. Inside of School people are, you know, sharing, you know, kind of their challenges or sharing something that they’ve learned or they might be sharing other opportunities.

So that community is ongoing and then we get to get together, you know, live in person two times a year. And then the other thing too is when I’m actually personally onboarding every single person cuz it’s only a hundred people. And so I’m trying to understand what it is that they’re trying to get for the year and then trying to make those connections to, so it’s in addition to like the network, it’s like, what else can I do to maximize their experience?

Pat Flynn: Right. So I’m signing up, not just because there’s these two events during the year. I’m not just signing up because I know there’s gonna be other cool people there, but I know that you are going to help me achieve my goals, right through whether deal flow or getting access to these special investment opportunities or making connections to the right people because now you know what I’m looking for and you probably know somebody who might be able to fulfill that for me, and that that is definitely a value.

And so I wanted to bring that in because for people listening, you know, getting access to TikTokers with, you know, millions of followers or the founder of Comic Con might seem way outta reach. It’s like, well, I don’t know those kinds of people. You probably know more than you think, and you probably have the ability to help people achieve their goals if you really knew what they were looking for and you had that drive.

And I think that that comes with high value. Absolutely. And that’s something you could absolutely charge for as well. So again, all this to continue to beat this down on you is the relationships, it’s who you know, it’s get out there, meet people, connect on podcasting. That’s, I know the podcast has done a lot for you as far as like who you meet and who you get to know.

And it’s the same thing for me. That’s how I’ve gotten to know people like Gary Vaynerchuk and Tim Ferris and such. Like just having the podcast alone is, is valuable for that reason, let alone all these other brand awareness opportunities that are there too. So I appreciate that. Maybe somebody’s listening to this and they’re not yet at that level, or they’re just getting started, they don’t have those connections yet, is building a community of people just like them of value?

Eric Siu: Yeah, so I, I actually started doing building a community when I was like 26 or 27 years old. What, what I mean by that is I was broke and so what, I was broke I actually got a group of marketing directors at my place in la. And we got together, it was like seven or eight of us. And I remember I was so broke that the only thing I had we had to eat was my half eaten bag of chips. And so there’s a time and place for, for everyone, right? And I think it’s about, hey, like we’re gonna get together and we’re gonna talk about what’s working well, what isn’t working well.

So at the time it’s like I didn’t have a business. So it’s like, okay, well let’s talk about what’s working well in the world of marketing and then we can share knowledge, share, and then we can make connections. What I like to do when it’s like a small little mastermind like that, that’s how I started to build my network was I said, Number one, tell us who you are.

So we’re, we’re doing a round of introductions. Who you are, what you do, one brag. So talk about like something that you’re really good at so we can understand what your superpower is, and then one thing you need, right? And that’s always, we still continue to use that format today, even in the mastermind itself.

But as you start to continue to do this, you become the connector and you become used to doing this. And then you can start throwing happy hours. You can start throwing dinners as well. And you can get sponsors for the happy hours or the dinners. You don’t have to come outta pocket. . Then eventually as you start to become more successful, you can pay out of your, your out of pocket yourself.

And so that’s how I’ve grown over the years where like, you know, now, like we do dinners with like 40 people or so, or we’ll do like masterminds or we’ll do events with hundreds of people. But you slowly level up and, and you, everyone starts at the very bottom right. And you know, you know how the game is played.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. How did you initially attract those marketing directors when A, you were broke, B, they didn’t really know who you were yet. How do you capture their attention? Because that is of massive value to bring a room of those kinds of people together. I mean, how are you able to convince them to come?

Eric Siu: Yeah, so let, let’s say Pat, like we’re, we’re starting out right now somehow, like I met you at an event and we, we hit it off.

But you, you kind of like, you kind of don’t know what I’m all about. Maybe I’m like a nobody but you. You think I’m nice, right? And so what if I hit you up Pat and I’m like, You know, I’m getting a group of people together and, you know, they’re all entrepreneurs. They’re all doing seven to nine figures, and like, they’re all really good marketers.

Like, don’t worry, like, I’ll take care of the bill. Like, what would you say to that offer?

Pat Flynn: I mean, that’s exact, I, I want connections to other entrepreneurs like that, so that sounds very attractive to me.

Eric Siu: Yeah. So that, that’s basically what I did. Except it’s, like I said, it’s a group of marketing directors and like they’re at, you know, this stage and don’t worry, I’ll take care of everything.

Just come to my house, you know, I didn’t say we’re gonna, here’s some chips. Yeah. I didn’t say we’re gonna eat anything, so I, I, I never promised that, so-

Pat Flynn: Okay. Yeah, I mean, cuz again, going down to, well, what is a value to the people who are gonna be there? At certain levels, it’s access to other people like them, and you don’t necessarily need to be known to be able to create an opportunity for that to happen.

It’s just somebody has to step up to organize it, and that’s exactly what you did. How does one get over the fear of doing that and the sort of limiting beliefs that come along with trying something like that.

Eric Siu: Yeah, I think it’s good. I think imposter syndrome’s a good thing, and that’s why like I’m so incentivized to over-deliver on, on the mastermind itself.

But even in this scenario, what I, I was so nervous that I wouldn’t do a good job, that I was just googling a ton on how to do a great mastermind, right? So I, I came across this P D F called Mastermind Talks, or Mastermind Dinners. There’s this entire PDF on here’s how you should run it. Here’s the questions you should ask. Here’s like the whole agenda. So like, you know, I made a really nice agenda. I sent it to everyone ahead of time. I printed everything out. I just wanted to make sure that I over delivered. And usually what happens is the imposter syndrome inspires you to over-deliver and you find that everything is, you shoot for the stars, you land on the moon.

Pat Flynn: What if you got to lose also, right? That’s the other thing, like what’s the worst that can happen? It’s not anywhere near what the best could that could happen, could be.

Eric Siu: So, yeah, I don’t, I don’t think any of these things have really failed for me before. Like it’s always turned out pretty good. At the very least.

Pat Flynn: That’s awesome. Thank, thank you for that. So as, as we wrap up here, first of all, I wanna have people be directed to the podcast that you are at so that people can go from this podcast to yours. Where would you recommend they go. And do you also have like a favorite episode that you recommend they, they listen to?

Eric Siu: Yeah, so there’s the Marketing School podcast. That’s the one that I do with Neil. Yeah, I mean the, my favorite ones are usually when we talk about trends or like different tools. So you can check that one out and then, yeah, we’ll just focus on that podcast.

Pat Flynn: Nice. Cool. So Marketing School and Neil’s been on the show before.

It’s been a pleasure to have you as well. Now that we’re into 2023, what would be your number one tip for winning with marketing this year?

Eric Siu: I think marketing and business in general. I, I think for the next 12 to 24 months, it’s, it’s actually an M&A angle. So what I mean by that is, how do you go out there and either buy businesses or how can you go out there and buy your attention?

Because I think there’s a lot of businesses, like even today we, we saw that FTX was just acquired by Binance, big crypto exchange.

Pat Flynn: So M&A meaning mergers and acquisitions, right?

Eric Siu: Correct. Mergers and acquisitions. So there’s gonna be a lot of deals that are coming up. So I actually invested in a company called Micro Acquire, which is now called Acquire.

And so like, you know, they’re not paying me to say this, but you can, it’s, it’s almost like Zillow for M&A. You can find good business deals on there, right? And you can buy them. I, I think you’re gonna be able to buy these companies at a fire sale price. And I want people, marketers, listening to this as well as business owners to be like, okay, you can look at buying a business from like a cash perspective, but also some of these businesses have good traffic.

Like they have good SEO traffic, they have an email list as well. You, although you probably can’t use the email list, they have a machine that’s working from a marketing standpoint that you can maybe take and plug into whatever it is that you’re doing and maybe you can go out there. Go direct. Like maybe there’s a YouTube channel that you wanna partner up with or like a podcast, something like that.

Right? But I think not enough people do that. I think it’s, we’re gonna see a lot more of this activity, not just in the next, you know, one to two years, but like forever.

Pat Flynn: Love it. Thank you Eric. I appreciate you for coming on the show, and we’ll make sure to drop all the links in the show notes for everybody.

Eric Siu: Cool. Thanks.

Pat Flynn: All right. Hope you enjoy that episode in conversation with Eric. Eric is an absolute wealth of knowledge. You can follow him again at the Marketing School podcast along with his partner Neil, or you can check out Eric, thank you so much for coming on today and setting us up for success this year.

You know, we probably talked about more things than you need, but pick and choose from the couple things that were most exciting and perhaps most interesting to you, you might be at a stage where a merger and acquisition might be in your future, which you could check out those resources that were mentioned.

Speaking of resources, if you go to, again, That’ll take you to the show notes and all the things and links and resources mentioned today. On top of that, you might be ready for LinkedIn and there’s a big opportunity there as well.

And using that for brand awareness. I like the idea of just using that to put your name out there, get people to know what you’re about, so that you almost sort of attracted those people toward you when they need your services. And then it’s almost a done deal right from the start. So Eric, thank you so much again.

Marketing School is the podcast you should check out and listen to. And I’ll be on that show very shortly too. So maybe by the time you listen to this, I’ll be there and you can listen to. Let’s talk about everything from YouTube to other things that are working in the SPI world too. So we talked a lot about community today, and as always, we are here to support you.

And if you’d like to get involved with other like-minded entrepreneurs like yourself, I highly recommend you check out our community page, We have a lot of offerings there for you to help you come together with other people like you to support each other, hold each other accountable.

And support each other and bring that inspiration. It’s awesome what happens when you bring some amazing people together and we’re just very grateful for all of our members as well, and especially big welcome to all the members of our new All Access Pass. That is something that allows you to get access to our courses, multiple courses, as well as guided pathways, and our team to help you through those courses as well.

When you really do the economics of it, it’s the lowest price available to get into any of our courses and you get access to all of ’em. So check it out,, no spaces, Anyway, thank you so much. I appreciate you. Here’s to you in a successful and profitable and healthy and happy year. 2023. Here we are. Cheers. I’ll see you the next one.

Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is David Grabowski. Our series producer is Paul Grigoras, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We’ll catch you in the next session.

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