Leveling Up: Why Eric Siu Treats His Life Like a Video Game

Folks is perhaps shocked to study Eric Siu—a grasp marketer identified for his capacity to rework high expertise firms—has one other declare to fame: gaming. Earlier than he entered the world of selling, Siu, 34, spent his time competing in championships for video games like World of Warcraft and EverQuest.

The rationale Siu enjoys (and has largely succeeded at) digital advertising and marketing, he says, is as a result of he treats his work as if he’s enjoying a online game. Every resolution he makes and step he takes is akin to leveling up—the stakes are just a bit bit increased in actual life.

“The flexibility to tug levers after which abruptly, site visitors is available in, and even partnering up with different folks… it’s enjoyable,” he says.

Siu’s story isn’t considered one of a linear trajectory towards success. He nearly acquired kicked out of highschool for practically failing a required course. Then, he nearly flunked out of faculty for lacking too many lessons. “Faculty by no means made logical sense to me as a result of the premise was constructed on following the foundations of a system,” he writes in his guide, Leveling Up: How one can Grasp the Recreation of Life. “I used to be by no means constructed for following guidelines—I at all times needed to do my very own factor.”

After finally graduating from the College of California, San Diego, Siu took a dead-end job doing information entry at a small well being data firm. Not lengthy after, he pivoted to digital advertising and marketing, the place he spent a number of years because the vp of selling for a digital training startup. In 2014, he determined to do what he at all times needed—his personal factor—and he acquired the failing SEO (search engine marketing) company Single Grain for simply $2. 

He has since grown Los Angeles-based Single Grain into a significant digital advertising and marketing powerhouse with income within the eight figures and a employees of 46 workers. Single Grain works with massive expertise firms like Uber, Amazon and Salesforce. Siu, who just lately moved from L.A. to Miami, additionally helms ClickFlow, a advertising and marketing analytics firm, and co-hosts the favored day by day podcast Advertising Faculty with fellow digital marketer Neil Patel. 

Siu says Single Grain has been so profitable as a result of its companies are centered. Digital advertising and marketing choices are seemingly limitless, and he believes his company’s specialization in search engine marketing and paid media (e.g., Instagram and Fb advertisements) units them aside from the competitors. 

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“Specialization goes a great distance,” Siu says. “You don’t need to go to a normal surgeon. You need to go to somebody who’s achieved it a thousand occasions.”

Solopreneurs and small companies don’t sometimes have the price range to rent a digital advertising and marketing company like Single Grain. They’re typically utterly in command of their firm’s advertising and marketing technique. 

Like many entrepreneurs, Siu is self-taught. He believes that earlier than taking any motion, all entrepreneurs ought to spend two, three and even 4 months listening to podcasts, watching YouTube movies and studying blogs about advertising and marketing. 

“It doesn’t take lengthy to choose these items up,” he says. “The foundational items of selling took me about three months to study. If I can do it, I feel anyone can.”

Not solely will brushing up on advertising and marketing make it easier to develop your small business now, however it’ll repay years down the street. “For those who perceive just a bit bit about advertising and marketing, then when you find yourself hiring folks, they will’t run circles round you,” Siu says.

Whether or not you’re a solopreneur providing graphic design companies, an entrepreneur who simply launched a youngsters’s toy startup, otherwise you run an area bagel store, Siu presents these eight tried-and-true suggestions for enhancing your advertising and marketing technique: 

1. Think about creating longform content material.

When Siu acquired Single Grain, the corporate’s web site acquired round three,000 visits monthly. By specializing in longform content material, together with podcasts, YouTube movies and running a blog, Siu elevated web site visits to 350,000 monthly—to not point out 1.5 million podcast downloads monthly. 

“Every time I’ve tried one thing to get quick outcomes, it’s very fleeting,” Siu says. “However each time I’ve achieved one thing for the long run, that’s at all times labored effectively for me. So long as you stick with it, and you realize you’re taking the best actions each single day, it’s going to compound over time.” 

2. Domesticate persistence. 

Siu says the No. 1 mistake he sees is folks anticipating outcomes too shortly. Though creating longform content material can have an immense payoff, it might take years to see outcomes. That is why folks typically go for paid social media advertisements as a substitute of placing the hassle into one thing that may final. 

“It’s human nature—we’re not wired to suppose long run,” he says. “For those who can rewire your mind to suppose long run—and settle for all of the ache that you just’re going to eat for these one, two or three years—you then’ll be means forward of anyone else.”

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three. Take a unique method. 

Siu believes paid media, considered one of Single Grain’s niches, will turn out to be automated within the coming years, very similar to different areas of selling have turn out to be automated previously. Firms can guarantee they continue to be related by at all times specializing in creativity, the cornerstone of selling.

“What’s going to remain for folks is creativity,” Siu says. “Creativity shouldn’t be one thing a machine can simply substitute, in order that’s going to be the candy spot for folks.”

For small companies seeking to improve their buyer base, Siu recommends specializing in constructing a group, whether or not that’s by means of a Fb group, a podcast, or by getting concerned in a social trigger your clients assist. 

“To have the ability to construct a model new group—a brand-new viewers—that to me could be very fascinating,” he says. 

5. Attain your viewers organically. 

Strive to determine the place your viewers hangs out as a substitute of simply specializing in no matter is hottest in the meanwhile. For instance, should you run a swimming pool upkeep enterprise, you won’t need to purpose for TikTok simply because it’s the recent channel proper now. You would possibly as a substitute take a look at creating educational movies for YouTube. 

6. Take into consideration the worth you’re offering.

No matter the kind of content material you’re creating, take into consideration the worth you’re offering your clients. In e mail advertising and marketing, for instance, you need to create a sample wherein folks look ahead to the following e mail you’ll ship, Siu says.

“Present worth first as a substitute of attempting to make a proposal each single time,” he says. “It’s like going to the financial institution. You need to make deposits greater than you’re making withdrawals. You may’t simply go to the financial institution and make withdrawals from the primary day. Suppose worth first, after which all the opposite stuff will come.”

7. Steer clear of running a blog. 

Running a blog allowed Siu to develop his firm’s month-to-month web site visits from three,000 to 350,000 monthly. Nevertheless, he started running a blog seven years in the past. If he acquired Single Grain right now, he says, he wouldn’t go for running a blog just because it will be practically inconceivable to rank excessive in Google search outcomes.

“Running a blog is a really pink ocean proper now,” he says. “It’s very aggressive. For those who’re ranging from scratch, it doesn’t matter how good of a author you’re, you’re nonetheless going to want a number of assistance on the promotion facet.”

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eight. Undertake an abundance mindset. 

One of many largest challenges firms face is figuring out when one thing is worth it and when it’s only a shiny new toy. Siu doesn’t comply with developments simply because they’re “the following massive factor.” As an alternative, he focuses on doing one or two issues very well.

“You may hit these channels anytime you need,” he says. “The analogy [I use] is that there’s a sphere. Success is on all the perimeters of the sphere and also you begin within the center. However should you preserve altering instructions on a regular basis, you’ll by no means attain one of many edges.”

In Leveling Up, Siu appears to be like on the lifelong journey of self-improvement by means of the lens of a online game. 

His way of living is much like his method to enterprise: Private progress is a endless sport wherein the purpose is to repeatedly enhance ourselves so we will “energy up” and attain the following stage. 

“The thought of life gamification is that you’re viewing your life by means of the lens of a sport,” he writes. “It’s enjoyable to get up within the morning once you’re on a significant quest for self-improvement, amassing useful power-ups. The extra power-ups you gather, the quicker you’ll stage up and the stronger you’ll turn out to be.”

Siu believes his capacity to see each life and enterprise as a online game has helped him immensely. Whether or not he wins or loses doesn’t matter—he views every part as a part of the general sport. 

“I by no means have actually excessive highs or actually low lows,” he says. “An excessive amount of emotional attachment can have an effect on how you’re employed, the way you have interaction with different folks and the way you reside your life.”

This text initially appeared within the September/October 2021 situation of SUCCESS journal.
Picture Courtesy of Courtesy of Eric Siu


Jamie Friedlander

Jamie Friedlander is a contract author primarily based in Chicago and the previous options editor of SUCCESS journal. Her work has been revealed in The Minimize, VICE, Inc., The Chicago Tribune and Enterprise Insider, amongst different publications. When she’s not writing, she will often be discovered consuming matcha tea into extra, touring someplace new along with her husband or browsing Etsy late into the night time.



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