How to choose the right digital marketing agency and crack the digital code

In searching for a digital marketing agency, what are you actually looking for ? This term is becoming more and more all-encompassing in recent years.

Many traditional professional services providers in Singapore such as web development firms , video production, PR firms, media buying agencies, creative agencies have all transformed into somewhat of a digital marketing agency. Each has their own definition of digital marketing. I don’t think there is a universal agreement to what it really means.

In our agency, we define digital marketing simply as such: The future of sales.

In the past, there weren’t any form of marketing. Sales was the only growth engine of a company. As companies evolve, marketing was introduced as a way to increase brand awareness and grow sales indirectly. Sales has always been the main driver of revenue. Today, with digital marketing in the picture, selling is partly carried out online. Who knows? In the future, there may only be marketing, and no sales.

What do you want ?

The first step in choosing an agency is to get clear on your objectives. Digital marketing can vary in the type of 1)channel, 2)content format as well as 3)objectives. For example, video is a great tool for gaining impressions on Youtube or Facebook, but video marketing can also be effective in acquiring leads on these various channels, depending on how you tweak it.

SEO service is one of the most commonly requested service in Singapore, with the keyword “SEO agency singapore” getting as much as 1300 searches per month on Google! What is SEO(search engine optimization)? Referencing the diagram above, SEO is actually a traffic generation tactic using search engine as a channel.

This is where the problem lies. Most people request for SEO but they want leads/sales. These 2 things do not gel. Traffic generation does not equal Leads generation. SEO belongs to the former. To give you an idea; we rank on first page for several top keywords for a client and got only 10% of the leads that paid ads generated. (For further understanding of the nature of SEO, you can refer to this lengthy SEO article I wrote in Techinasia.)

The same goes for Facebook page management/growth of page fans, another in-demand service. Similar to SEO, it is a branding tool, not a sales generation tool(at least not direct). You probably heard the news many times; Facebook is starting to severely limit businesses from reaching their Facebook page fans.

Facebook’s algorithm tweak has gotten so bad that it has killed several high profile businesses. One such example is a company called Little Things , an online business with13 million facebook page fans. They announced that the business had to shut down because they could no longer reach their Facebook fans. Tragedy.

Hence, there can be no progress if the tactic does not align with the objectives.

Some businesses want to do SEO or grow their Facebook fan page in order to enhance their brand awareness. That is all good, as long as you are aware of what you are paying for.

What if I want to grow bottom line

If you have decided that your goal is to directly increase sales through digital marketing, probably the only way to do it is through paid advertising. With the algorithmic changes going on in Google and Facebook, experts are saying that “organic is dead” and “pay-to-play” is the new rule of the game. While we think that organic is not completely dead(you still have content marketing), pay-to-play is 100% here to stay.

Think about it. Google is a $600 billion company and Facebook is almost worth $500 billion. The bulk of their fortune comes from paid ads and they are doing everything in their capacity to help advertisers make money…so they can make more money. In recent years, Facebook has modified its ads platform more times than we can count, introducing tools such as lead ads, machine learning and audience insights to help advertisers get the most out of their dollars. We think that the world of online advertising for ROI enhancement is extremely exciting.

How to dominate paid ads ?

Paid ads is a tactic whose objective is to generate leads and increase sales. The channel can range from Google to Facebook to Youtube and so on.  Whether you are hiring an agency or a digital marketing specialist to help you in your paid ads, you need to have a good idea of what makes your campaigns tick.

For example, some agencies declare that they developed their own A.I. technology, others say that they are experts in data analysis. There are those that parade the beauty of their banner designs. Since no one is good at everything, how should you go about choosing ?

If you study Facebook and Google, 2 of the largest ads platform in Singapore, you would know that both companies have made A.I research & development their core focus over the next decade, having hired an army of A.I experts. In fact, machine learning is already a big part of Facebook ads platform. These days, it has gotten so smart that you do not even need to set targeting to reach your ideal target audience. Facebook’s algorithm would ‘learn’ by itself. (Yes, its pretty scary) In the A.I race to gain more advertisers, I would say Facebook is slightly edging ahead.

Furthermore, their A.I. technology is built for big countries such as USA. In Singapore with a relatively miniscule population of less than 10 million, it is almost child’s play for Facebook or Google to do its machine learning magic to get laser targeted on your target audience. Human intervention is therefore reduced.

With A.I set to take over the jobs of humans, does it mean there is no need for a campaign specialist ? Nope, that is not the case. It just means that campaign specialist’s skillset would have to be different today as compared to a decade ago.

Campaign specialists have to be really good at understanding human beings, something that robots cannot do. They need to have certain grasp of psychology in order to know how to appeal to real human beings, and not to Google or Facebook. Increasingly, optimization and data analysis can be carried out by Google/Facebook machines but campaign specialists need to be good at crafting resonating messages. That involves real work and effort in understanding the target audiences. Robots will never be able to do that.

How much budget should I set aside ?

Here’s the thing about machine learning and A.I. It needs data for it to do its thing. That means you need to pay money to buy ads in order for the system to gain more data. The more data it has, the easier it is for a system to optimize your campaign for the best results.

This is probably one of the reasons why many DIY campaigns fail. Many conservative SMEs set aside a few hundred dollars for their Facebook/Google campaigns and did not see any form of returns from their campaigns. Actually, the money is used merely for buying data. The system is only just getting to work. Had they go on further and continue to run their campaign, the data accumulated would help in making the campaign work. However, they give up too soon for fear of losing money in this ‘mysterious’ platform.

To find out exactly how much budget you should set aside, you can refer to my article where I discuss the costs of facebook advertising. Simply put, it has to tie in with how much you want to earn. However, you need to be realistic. No matter how good the platform is, you can’t expect to put in $1 and get $1million; it is not lottery. A 3-4x ROI would be reasonable; that means one can expect $50k ad budget to yield $150k earnings, for example.

What KPI can I expect

This brings me to the next section.

Like any other business investments, there has to be a KPI for your digital marketing campaign.

If you are doing SEO, the KPI would be rankings on page 1 of Google. If you are doing Facebook page management, the KPI could be the extent of reach or the number of new facebook fans. If you are running a creative/viral campaign, the KPI could be the number of likes & shares on your post.

However, these could be considered vanity metrics.

For paid ads, the KPI is something highly tangible and business-oriented. We are talking about the number of new leads or the increase in sales.

Here’s a tip. One has to be clear about the difference between guarantee and projection.

If an agency guarantees that they can achieve a certain KPI but they don’t hit it, the penalty would usually be refund of fees.

If an agency projects a certain ROI or KPI from the campaign, the failure to meet it doesn’t result in refund. This is because marketing takes into account human behavior which is highly unpredictable.

You have to be clear about the terms with your agency before signing of the contract.

What agency should I hire ?

With all that out of the way, you can look into what kind of agency you want to hire. It can be categorized into long term vs short term engagements.

Short term or one-off projects include: PR, web design/development, creative or viral campaigns, branding projects.

Long term or ongoing projects include : content marketing, SEO, paid advertising,

Note that you may have existing in-house resources so you don’t want to get an agency that overlaps or even conflicts what your team is already doing.

For short term projects, it makes sense to outsource. You can also look for overseas freelancers to save money. For example, Upwork and Fiverr provide freelance help in areas such as design and development, though you have to watch the quality closely.

How about long term engagements ? You probably need to talk to someone locally especially if it’s an important part of your business.

Our recommendation is to carry out content marketing in-house while outsourcing paid advertising.  Why so ?

  1. Content marketing requires a lot of domain knowledge that cannot be easily outsourced.
  2. Content marketing is a long term game that takes a while to see ROI. For that reason, you find it hard to justify paying an agency on an ongoing basis with no sight of any monetary returns.
  3. You also need to be able to measure the effectiveness of an agency in quantitative and objective way. This prevents any disputes when you want to end the relationship with them.

Paid advertising is a quick way of measuring effectiveness of an agency.

When should I start hiring an agency ?

For a business that is in its initial stage of growth, we typically advise the founders to tap on their network first.

Word of Mouth is the best form of lead generation. It beats digital marketing or any other form of marketing flat out.

Why ? These people already know you personally and trust you. It is definitely easier to close the deals.

You are ready to embark on digital marketing when you meet the 4 criteria:

  1. Your business is scalable to a reasonable extent, such that you don’t have to shut off campaign the moment you reach capacity. It can be very frustrating for yourself and the agency.
  2. You have a proven process for closing deal, whether through the founder or the sales team. That happens when you have a predictable closing rate, say 20%-50%. Otherwise you could be wasting money when you begin advertising.
  3. You have testimonials from satisfied customers. This proves to people that you are tried-and-tested instead of a risky new business.
  4. Typically when you have revenue of over $250k annually.

Charging models of agencies

Charging models in Singapore include cost per man-hour, percentage of ad spend, fixed retainer or performance based pricing.

Each has its pros and cons. For man-hour pricing, you could be paying for inefficiencies of the agency. For percentage of ad spent, there is a conflict of interest to get you to spend more. For fixed retainer, there is lack of transparency. For performance-based pricing, you may have to pay a lot more if the agency is good at what they do. Over here in Ice Cube, we believe in a pricing model tied to performance that allows for a win-win situation.

Qualifications of agencies

Unlike the case of hiring an accountant where you can filter them based on whether they have an accounting degree or whether they are a CA(chartered accountant), there is no such credentials for digital marketing in Singapore.

Well, we do have one given by Google: Google Partner badge. This is for agencies that have exceeded certain amount of ad spend across accounts under their portfolio.

There are also the marketing awards given by organizations such as Marketing interactive or Mumbrella. Big agencies tend to boast a suite of marketing awards. Just make sure you are not paying a premium for these awards.

Last thing you can look at is probably the case studies and testimonials that an agency has garnered. This tells you the track record of the agency.

Credentials aside, you can see if an agency walks the talk by checking with them if they do their own digital marketing. You can also check out their online presence to see if they know their stuff.

Ice Cube Marketing is a strong proponent and practitioner of digital marketing

Criticisms against digital marketing agencies

Let’s be real; digital marketing agencies don’t enjoy the best reputation here in Singapore. There are many complaints against agencies in recent years. Some said their agencies overpromise, don’t know what they are doing and are in it just for the money. For any industry that is unregulated and has low entry barrier, cases like these are bound to happen. Digital marketing vendors range from international agencies, local agencies to solo freelancers.

I would say it takes both hands to clap. You need to carry out due diligence and set the right expectations. Within an agency, the sales team and delivery team may be disconnected. Sales team promises the sky and the moon while the delivery team is left to do the fulfillment. Do not be taken in by wild promises that are too good to be true. At the same time, don’t squeeze your agency so much that it is impossible to deliver.  We have companies asking for $1 or $2 per lead which is not realistic to fulfill.

Lastly, if you are still not sure what type of agency is suitable for your current situation, feel free to talk to us by clicking on the button below. We may not be good at everything but we can direct you to the right resources!

We help great companies grow their revenues


Ted Chong

Ted is the director of Ice Cube Marketing. His insights on marketing has been featured in AsiaOne Business, Singapore Business Review , e27 and TechinAsia. He graduated with a 1st class honors degree in Business IT from NTU. While not planning campaigns for clients, he enjoys a good read on books related to psychology.

How to create a landing page that generates sales-qualified leads for any business

What is a landing page

A landing page is like the airport of your business. It is where a user lands immediately upon entry to your website from 3rd party sources.i.e. Facebook, Google or other websites. Like it or not, a visitor derives an impression of your entire business from the airport. Based on this impression, the visitor decides whether he is going to do business with you or not. So it has better be up to par! This infographic tells you everything you need to create a world-class landing page. By following the steps laid out here, your visitor will be sold even before meeting you in person!

Top Fold

For a moment, pretend you are not a marketer. Instead, you are a user, a consumer. You go into a page, checking out an offer that caught your attention. You may not have realized, but within split second, your mind scans the page and decides if it is your thing or not. If it’s not, you leave.

The “Top fold” of a landing page is what a user sees at first glance without having to scroll down(applicable to desktop browsing only). It is the most important part of a landing page. If you display a wall of text at the top and keep your trump card at the bottom of the landing page, I guarantee no one will see it. Top fold is precious real estate on your landing page- be very careful what you choose to include here.

The surest way to turn off visitors

 There are various ways to display the elements on the top fold but you need to make sure that the essential few must be there: Headline, personalized image/video, form, credibility boosters.


The job of the Top-fold is to pique the interest of the users and entice them to continue reading to find out more. A strong headline gets the ball rolling.  In fact, only about ¼ of people who read your headline will go on to read the body of your landing page. To have more people interested, your headline has to do these 2 things: promise a benefit and evoke curiosity.  Some marketers go for highly exaggerated headlines(“eat this and achieve immortality”) where we prefer a more editorial-sounding headline with a power words sprinkled on it.


Copywriting is my first love and I have seen it work wonders, but I won’t downplay the importance of visuals.  A good landing page strategically blends both elements well. By alternating words and images, your landing page becomes easier to read.

Avoid putting up overused stock photos in your top fold. It implies your company is phoney. It is like giving fake flowers to your other half on valentine’s day. Instead, use real images of your people, office, or product.


Authority is one of the 6 spheres of persuasion, as told by Dr Robert Cialdini. How do you create authority without being an authority ?  Well, you borrow it. Include logos of partners, media or associations your business is associated with in the top fold, preferably those that are familiar to your audience.  It provides the assurance that your company is not a fly-by-night business but one that is able to deliver on its promise.

Remember, this is likely the first time your visitor is interacting with your company. You need to put the best foot forward to convince your visitors that you are legitimate and established (unless you are not)

Social Proof

Social Proof works kinda like Authority. It serves to provide assurance.

It will scare your visitor to know that they are the first people to buy from you. Social proof tells them that there are other people before them who have tried your product or service and are satisfied. Testimonials should be as detailed as possible. Include those that mention the problems, benefits and results faced by the customers. It takes certain knowhow to ask for an effective testimonial.


The 2 biggest obstacles to conversion are Confusion & Mystery. Imagine you considering buying a product online, and no matter how hard you try, you aren’t able find information about how long it takes to ship. Is it 1 month? Is it 2 days ? But you need the item for next week’s valentine day. You decided to abandon cart.

Many websites and landing pages slap users in their face with hard-to-find information. Don’t let it be your business. Be as clear about your process as possible by including a ‘how it works’ section. Go one step further- anticipate their questions and include answers in the FAQ section. You only got one chance to make a first impression; you want to create the perception that your customer service is top-notch and you are transparent. People love it.

Unique Selling Points

This is the crux of your landing page. Don’t make users rack their brains to figure out why they should choose you over your competitors; tell them !

Sad to say, many businesses we talked to at the beginning of our engagement tell us they are no different from their competition at all. That is throwing in the towel even before the battle has started! Many a times, your USP doesn’t have to be groundbreaking or earth-shattering. Most businesses are doing something different but they are just not communicating it to their users. Take the example of a Maths tuition business we are helping. They have smaller class size than their competitors and use their own unique pedagogy in teaching, but none of them was mentioned on its website.

On the other hand, you want to make sure that your USP is truly unique and is valuable to your customers. One other tendency of businesses is to use clichés such as “we are the cheapest”, “we have the best customer service” or “we are the best!”

As marketers, we cringe when we see that. Whatever you do, avoid clichés at all costs.

The Salesman

In a nutshell, your landing page works like a salesman who is doing the selling on your behalf. It should therefore check all the boxes of a good salesman. That means your landing page should also seek to counter objections of a prospect. The FAQ section can do that for you. Anticipate potential concerns and doubts and answer them in the FAQ section.

A good salesman never fails to instill urgency. Likewise, you should also do that at the end of the landing page. Nevertheless, you need to be careful of the tone of the message. If done wrongly, it can come across as being harsh and obnoxious and kill off any hopes of conversion for you.


Does the elements have to be in the exact sequence as illustrated in the infographic ? Not necessarily.

Some marketers prefer having “About us” at the top, along with a story about themselves to establish rapport. That works too. Whatever the sequence is, the most important thing to bear in mind is that the flow of the landing page has to be logical and seamless. It has to be easy and compelling for your prospects to read all the way to the bottom to sign up for whatever you are offering.

Last but not least

I need to stress that none of the above could be achieved without first knowing your customer. Before you set off to do any copywriting or planning of landing page, the requisite is to first know your audience inside out. Incorporate as much of their language as possible. Speak like your audience and you will do fine !

We help great companies grow their revenues


Ice Cube

Based in Singapore & Malaysia , Ice Cube Marketing is all about turning your customers from ice cold prospects into hot leads and happy advocates. We do so through ROI focused and data driven campaigns aimed at helping SMEs improve their sales.

21 Digital Marketing Hacks to jumpstart your online success today

According to Statista, 2015 brought about $59.82 billion spent on digital marketing in the US, and the number is expected to grow to a whopping $113.18 billion by 2020. A field growing in popularity day by day, Digital Marketing has been the talk of the town over the last decade. To some, it remains a cloud of mystery.

In this infographic, we attempt to simplify the topic for brands that are just starting out and are overwhelmed by the sheer number of things they have to do. There seems to be an ever-increasing list of activities under the umbrella of digital marketing that demands our attention. Most of them are sadly not worth our time. Here, we cover what we consider the foundation of digital marketing that forms the requisite for greater things to come.


Website leads conversion

Your website is not just a namecard. It can be a source of leads and sales for your business. To do so, it needs to be able to convert web visitors into leads. With a potential customer in mind, you would need to ensure that your website provides them with a good level of ease and convenience, whether in navigating your website and learning about your product, or simply in contacting you. Hence, adding forms to every page of your website can work miracles, and avoids the customer having to strain their mind browsing your website for an enquiry they may have.

Meanwhile, testimonials and other social proof from your previous and current clients placed on various landing pages of your website would give a good impression to potential clients or customers, drawing them to look more into and eventually purchase your product or service. This occurs as, instead of you and your website selling the product, your testimonials etc. would do the work for you, as potential clients often prefer seeing proof that your product would benefit them, from those other than your brand’s sales representatives themselves.

Lastly, were you aware of the fact that an increasingly larger number of Internet users use their smartphones to browse websites and social media instead of, say, their laptops? This is where the importance of having a mobile friendly website comes in, since a majority of your visitors would be browsing your website through their smartphones and not their laptops. Take a step back on those graphics and animations, and ensure that the mobile version of your website is just as easy to navigate; and see the leads rolling in!

Email marketing

Lets put it this way: do you know anyone who doesn’t have an email address? Neither do we. Moreover, Exact target reported that accessing email is the one task people tend to use their smartphones for the most; yes, even more than connecting to social media.

Hence, reaching your current or potential customers through their email may be the best marketing tool you may have the liberty to use. An email marketing campaign’s ability to be personalised specifically towards each customer gives you all the more reason to consider this particular marketing tool since. Often enough, customers seeking your product may not always be aware of that new blog post on your website, or that brand new service your company just launched. With email marketing, your customers can be made aware of all this, as well as new promotions and updates specifically catered towards your loyal customers. Moreover, A study by Adobe found that your current customers are 9x more likely to convert than 1st time prospects.

How would you jump on the email marketing bandwagon, you may ask? It’s quite simple, really. After you’ve complied a list of all your customers’ emails and contact details, you can pick one of several email software providers –Mailchimp, for example, is completely free for your first 2000 subscribers! –and proceed to blast your emails. Other tools such as SumoMe, Leadpages or OptinMonster can always be used to continue collecting more emails, and by sending out regular and attractive emails to your customers, you earn their loyalty.

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization –or SEO, as it is more commonly known –is the buzzword within digital marketing as it stands now. SEO is the top source of organic traffic and leads. With 97% of consumers using the Internet to search for products or services they require, SEO potentially is a vital lead generation tool.

So, how does one go about planning SEO? To track your web traffic, install Google analytics; to communicate with the Google search engine, install Google search console; and lastly, install an SEO plugin such as Yoast, if you are using WordPress. After submitting your sitemap to the Google search console, you must begin producing keyword-based content. This, along with ensuring your website’s URLs are short and concise, would gradually move you further up in your potential customers’ search results, hence leading them to your website and, eventually, helping you create yet another source of leads. For more information, check out our comprehensive guide to technical SEO.

Social Media

In the current decade, social media has become the driving force for businesses. Often enough, it can too be said that, without a presence on social media, your brand may just cease to exist. Keeping up with the times is crucial for your business, both in drawing in more customers and maintaining your existing ones. As with the case of email marketing, social media aids your brand in getting the word out; in updating your clients of your new promotions and services, while targeting potential clients with the use of ads. Our day to day lives often feel incomplete without accessing social media a few times a day, at the very least, with Singaporeans, for example, having reported to be spending a whopping 2.2 hours a day on social media. An indication of the role of social media within businesses can be seen too with the online presence of 91% of retail brands on two or more social media platforms.

In terms of your website, connectivity to various social media platforms and vice versa should be your topmost priority. This can be established by adding social sharing buttons to every page of your website, and, while sharing posts on social media, ensuring that your posts lead to your website, so as to increase the traffic and resulting leads. However, before you can go about sharing and spreading the word on social media, it is too integral that the content on your website is beneficial enough to your users. Social Media, as the name suggests, is a platform for socializing and not for selling. Hence, brands should strive to provide value and useful content on social media, with the view of building a long term relationship with their audience.

Finally, it is also recommended that brands try out advertising on Facebook. It allows them to reach out to a huge group of audience at low costs, relative to other traditional ads platform such as newspaper or magazines. However, there must be proper strategy in place if one is seeking to obtain a positive ROI from their facebook ads. To that end, you can check out our guide to Facebook advertising.


Blogging is an up-and-coming method of leads generation. It is premised on the idea of using information to create trust with today’s highly educated audience. Pay close attention to your content, and always prioritise quality over quantity. If consumers of your blog posts are put off after having read just one low-quality piece, chances are they might not return again to your website when a new piece is published and promoted.

Look to your customers’ recurring queries and frustrations, and turn them into blog posts; not only would your blog posts then be of interest to your customers, but they too would gain more traction as compared to other, less significant topics. Moreover, the content itself should be in a specific tone of voice that would attract customers; easy to read and conversational tones which can also be promoted on social media are often the best approach. Take your time in copywriting the headlines of your articles too; with the fast-paced life that we currently live, your customers would more often than not only read your article’s headline, and then go on to read the rest of the article if and only if it piques their interest.


Adapting to the changing tone of the world has become crucial, with the fear of you and your brand being left behind quite real. Your customers now expect you to maintain an online presence, while it has been proven time and time again that digital marketing, as compared to more traditional marketing perspectives, outperforms in all aspects, whether it be cost, convenience, or audience reach. Following these hacks listed above, digital marketing would be less of an uphill task.

We help great companies grow their revenues


Ice Cube

Based in Singapore & Malaysia , Ice Cube Marketing is all about turning your customers from ice cold prospects into hot leads and happy advocates. We do so through ROI focused and data driven campaigns aimed at helping SMEs improve their sales.

How much does it cost to do Facebook Advertising in Singapore?

Unlike advertising on traditional mediums such as Straits Times where you fork out $7000 to buy a ”half-page ad space” , things are very different on Facebook.  So how much will it cost to advertise on Facebook?

One of the biggest difference in ads pricing on Facebook vs traditional media is the flexibility in choosing your budget. When it comes to Facebook marketing, there is absolutely no minimum required amount for getting started with paid ads. You can literally spend $1 or $0.50 and have your advertisement show up. Of course, the budget then gets exhausted in probably one click with minimal impact. Facebook uses a PPC(pay per click) model of advertising.

Bidding Options

There are a few bidding options you can choose from. Facebook charges you by : Cost per click, Cost per mile or Cost per conversion. Depending on your requirements & situation, you will choose the bidding option accordingly.


For example, CPC bidding lets you bid for clicks. As long as your ad is clicked, you have to pay, whether it results in a conversion or not.

Other than clicks to your website, clicks on the “like”, “share”, and “comment” buttons are also charged. For CPM bidding, you decide the maximum amount you want to pay for 1,000 impressions.

The cost per action is another option where you bid for actions being taken, designed to get more sales conversions and a higher ROI.

So how much is it ?

It can be annoying to say this, but there is no specific magic number. The costs depend on a variety of factors, as we will explain below.

The cost for one click can range from $0.10 to more than $2, depending on your requirements and other factors. You can decide yourself how much you’re willing to spend and form a budget for yourself.

Although we don’t have exact figures, we have historical averages that you can possibly use as a reference. In 2015, a report by Nanigans revealed that the average cost per click was $0.11, and the CPM was $1.61 in Southeast Asia.

Source: Nanigans Asia-Pacific Facebook Advertising Benchmark Report

Adespresso also estimates that in 2016, the average cost per click for Singapore was $0.41.


Factors That Influence Facebook Advertising Costs

Facebook and other online advertising platforms such as Google base your advertising costs on 2 main factors: 1)competition in your market , 2)quality of your advertisement .

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The theory behind this is simple – if many other advertisers are going after the same demographic group(s) as you, expect to pay more. Vice versa, if you are the only one, or the rare few, then the costs will go down.


Different industries require different costs. Usually, the industries with higher costs are professional services, e-commerce, technology, and education.


Advertisement Quality and Relevance

Similar to Google’s Quality Score, Facebook’s algorithm provides a score to every advertisement that partakes in the bidding process.

Each ad has a relevance score that will constantly evolve depending on the ad’s performance.  An ad is considered to have performed well if a large portion of the target audience interacts with it, which is determined by click-through rate. Naturally, the advertiser with the highest relevance score holds a distinct advantage over the rest.

Even with a lower bid, that advertiser can win the auction and pay lesser for clicks. Therefore, the better the quality score, the lower the costs. To put it simply, an advertisement with good engagement may cost up to 10 times lesser than  that of a poor advertisement targeting the same set of audience.

Like Google, Facebook rewards advertisers that meet users’ needs with cheaper advertising costs. This is to ensure that users’ experience are being protected from spammy ads.

Hence, you could be paying alot more to Facebook if you do not have the time, effort or know-how to optimize your ads.

Setting Up a Budget for Testing Costs

Before launching your Facebook advertisement, it is necessary to implement a budget for testing costs. These can include costs for audience testing, ad copies, images, and it is recommended to fork out at least $500 to $1000. During this process, different variations of ad images, ad copy and audience are tested in order to find the combination that works best.

Ads take time, effort and some trial and error – you can’t expect them to kick off successfully from the beginning. Therefore, you have to include costs for these into your budget to ensure a more successful advertising result.

On the other hand, if you choose to outsource your work to an agency, you have to take the agency fees into account as well. Different agencies have different charging models: they can be fixed monthly retainer fees or a percentage of your budget.

For the latter, the figure can range between 20% to 40% of the budget. Some companies can also charge by performance, such as the cost per lead.

How much to spend on Facebook ?

There are 2 main ways to make this decision: 1)Your marketing budget  2)What do you want to achieve?

If you are a business owner determined to grow your business, it is almost always recommended that you use the 2nd method to derive your spending on Facebook.

Think of it this way. If you have a machine that reliably gives you $300 for every $100 you put in, how much money would you put in the machine ??

Infinite ! The same philosophy applies in Facebook.

If you can reliably spend $100 on Facebook to gain a new customer that brings in $300 in sale, would it make sense to continue ? Why not? Unless you have capacity issues, a company aiming for growth will always reinvest their earnings in Facebook.

How to calculate your spending

Say it takes a 100 clicks for you to get one lead.

One click costs $0.50.

100 clicks * $0.50cents/click = $50 per lead.

One click on facebook will get you nowhere, since the average conversion rate is at 2-3%. The minimum spending, if any, is to generate 200-300 clicks at the very least. From there, you can have an idea of what kind of results it will yield you, and whether to continue or not.

In deciding how much to spend, you will then have to decide how much is a lead worth to you ? As legendary marketer, Dan Kennedy puts it, the winner is not the business that gets the cheapest leads, but the one that can afford to pay the most per lead.

The Bottom Line

No matter which method you use, you should test and compare each of them out repeatedly to determine which will give you the best results. Don’t forget that the main goal of any Facebook advertisement is not to reduce costs, but to maximize ROI.

Many variables come into play, such as the click-through rate and bid price to conclude which provides the best return. Be patient, because doing so needs time. Additionally, go for the one that best meets your overall objectives.


We help great companies grow their revenues


Ice Cube

Based in Singapore & Malaysia , Ice Cube Marketing is all about turning your customers from ice cold prospects into hot leads and happy advocates. We do so through ROI focused and data driven campaigns aimed at helping SMEs improve their sales.

What you need to know about PPC advertising in Singapore before putting in a single cent

Ice CubeBased in Singapore & Malaysia , Ice Cube Marketing is all about turning your customers from ice cold prospects into hot leads and happy advocates. We do so through ROI focused and data driven campaigns aimed at helping SMEs improve their sales.

Ice Cube

Based in Singapore & Malaysia , Ice Cube Marketing is all about turning your customers from ice cold prospects into hot leads and happy advocates. We do so through ROI focused and data driven campaigns aimed at helping SMEs improve their sales.

Top 15 web hosting companies in Singapore that can take care of your IT needs

Based on a report by Today, Singapore’s internet penetration rate is at 73%, which is more than double that of global average of 35%.  These days,  it is unthinkable for a business not to have a website. Given the importance of a website, you definitely want to get a good hosting solution for it. So if you are even remotely thinking about getting overseas hosting to save a few dollars, you can drop the idea. The process of not being able to contact your hosting company when things go wrong(and they will) is a nightmare. Neither would you want your web visitors to wait 1 minute for your website to load , though they would have left after 8 seconds. So in this article, we have listed 15 web hosting solution providers in Singapore for you to check out to get reliable and robust hosting for your precious website. They are arranged in no order of priority.

Vodien Internet Solutions is a leading web hosting service provider in Asia, and offers premier access speeds to visitors in the region. They have clients from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Since their inception, Vodien has serviced thousands of clients across different industries and consumer segments across the globe and have continually received accolades for their prompt, knowledgeable, and affordable service.

Cybersite is the wholly-owned subsidiary of ZONE Telecom Pte Ltd (ZONE). Through ZONE, Cybersite has grown to become a one-stop service provider that offers the most comprehensive Cloud hosting and communications service that is second to none. And as an authorised partner of Microsoft and Alibaba, Cybersite brings you wider direct access to business and productivity-related cloud applications offered by the two giants.

As a group, Cybersite provides essential communications, information technology (IT) and business solutions to meet the growing needs of today’s businesses. Cybersite keeps businesses connected every step of the way with their enterprise class of Voice, Data Connectivity, High Speed Internet Services, as well as Hosting and Cloud Solutions. Cybersite is recognised as the “Top 25 Most Promising Cloud Service Provider” in APAC by APAC CIO Outlook, a leading IT magazine in the Asia Pacific region.

SingHost is one of the Singapore’s early web hosting companies. Their web hosting plans come with 24 hour support, and feature SSD drives for performance and reliability. Singhost prides itself as continually improving your hosting all the time, constantly adding new features, staying on top with updates for security, and most importantly of all, offering the best support ever.

Aspiration hosting specializes in high-performance Cloud hosting services with their main focus on Magento Hosting solutions as well as other PHP Applications like SimpleMachines Forum (SMF), WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc. They use very powerful servers and the most advanced technologies which allows them to offer one of the fastest hosting services in the industry.

APC Hosting Pte Ltd is a premiere hosting company in Singapore,  specialising in hosting and IT infrastructure solutions. Founded in June 2003, it started off humbly but has since developed into one of the key leading hosting and IT solution provider in the region. APC Hosting has a proven track record in the hosting industry since 2003 and has won numerous awards and acclamations, including Business Superbrands in 2014.

A decade ago, W3hub was started as a personal project in the investigation of new technologies and a new network called The Internet where things grow day by day. Since then, the technologies have changed exponentially, progressed to the present day state where the data centers as well as the new servers and virtualization technologies make it possible to offer a wide range of web hosting services to the needs of each client.

CARE’s vision and mission is to provide quality IT service and solution to businesses around the world so that clients can concentrate on their core businesses without having to worry about IT. CARE will assist companies to build a strong and stable IT infrastructure whereby disruptions are kept to the minimal through the 4-S model.

Sosys was established based on experience of poor shared hosting that founders had used in the past. As such, they harbored this thought of building a company to solve a serious problem they have experienced before so that new clients won’t have to suffer from poor shared hosting. Sosys’ mission is to create the best quality hosting available and we keep the price affordable,  striving to meet each and every client’s needs.

Founded in 2007, SecureAX made corporate IT solutions affordable to any company that wishes to deploy reliable and fully automated solutions with complete access, control, security, and scalability. They provide enterprise-grade internet solution to businesses of all sizes around the world. SecureAX takes great pride at what we deliver to our customers because it is their strong commitment for service excellence that differentiate them from the competition.

Hostinglah started in 2012 and as a growing web services provider, they choose to stand out from the rest by filling the gaps of what’s missing from other bigger hosting companies. Unlike other hosting companies that are too large to care and tend to each customers individually, Hostinglah treats everyone as a friend andwill help you with your website or hosting personally, hence the name Hostinglah which comes from the Singaporean slang ‘lah’ which is a very common word that Singaporeans like to add at the end of their sentences.

IT Works Internet (IWI) is a Singapore web hosting service provider and a full provider of Internet services, dedicated to providing Internet solutions to small and medium businesses alike. By combining DdH (Design, Develop & Host), IWI is able to deliver a powerful online presence easily and economically. Customers can choose from in-house web site design services to end-to-end, fully managed Internet services, ranging from virtual web hosting, dedicated hosting, email hosting, web development, web maintenance to dedicated server, server co-location, all backed by unparalleled technical resources, people and experience.

SnapsHosting is a privately owned Singapore web hosting company established in 2014 with the intention to deliver best web hosting experience. Their hosting infrastructure is powered by Intel Server products and Cisco-powered network. Snap hosting’s  web hosting, VPS and Virtual Private Cloud are built using Apache CloudStack which allows services to failover to another server node when it’s original server is down.

Inspius™ is a group of diverse and self-motivated young people. Each of them comes from different background but share the same passion for internet technologies. They devote their utmost effort to deliver professional web services to every customer at highly affordable price. Inspius tries whatever in their capability to ensure that we ourselves are proud of the end products. They believe that every single website does embody their core values.

VV CARES – founded on 2011, with reputed recognitions from  loyal clients and grown as a leading singapore company in providing valuable web designing services, Online payment systems, Online invoicing systems, eCommerce websites maintenance, Employee portals, Organisational blog systems etc. team of pros is always abreast of the latest digital trends whilst maintaining a well-known base of technologies.


With more than 7 years of experience in creation and deployment of business solutions protecting systems, networks and information assets for various companies and organisations. Ever Higher team design, integrate and manage entire IT infrastructure for you in order to improve your business productivity, continuity and face toward the tough business challenges.

If you are considering which global web-hosting company best suits your needs, consider hearing expert reviews on this matter. For example, you can check out a comprehensive comparison of major web hosts on

Choosing a webhosting company to work with is not always easy, but it is worth every bit of your time.  It is one of those services you will need for a long time, as long as you are in business. Besides costs, you want to look into other factors such as space provision, support capability, uptime availability as well as bandwidth provided. If you are running a huge website heavy on graphics or other elements (such as ecommerce site), it is all the more important to choose a powerful hosting solution. Don’t scrimp on it!  Switching your hosting provider can be a big hassle, so make sure that you make the right choice !


We help great companies grow their revenues


Ice Cube

Based in Singapore & Malaysia , Ice Cube Marketing is all about turning your customers from ice cold prospects into hot leads and happy advocates. We do so through ROI focused and data driven campaigns aimed at helping SMEs improve their sales.

10 marketing tips for higher learning institutions in Singapore looking to recruit more students

Higher education in Singapore is a huge market that caters not only to local students but also foreign students wanting a better lives for themselves. In 2014, it is estimated that there are 75,000 foreign students in Singapore, comprising 15% of all students here. A hub for world class education and high quality facilities, it is little wonder why Singapore has become a magnet for students all over.

If you are an institute of higher learning in Singapore, you probably feel the need to set aside huge funds for marketing. It is not uncommon to see advertisements of educational institutions plastered all over MRT stations, newspaper and other traditional media channels. To stand out in the eyes of students, organizations are compelled to put their best foot forward.

However, there could be other ways to market yourself in a way that doesn’t break the bank. Capitalizing the internet is a good idea, especially if you are marketing to young adults.  Facebook has 4 million users in Singapore while 91% of Singaporeans google to look for information. Here are 10 tips on how to better make use of digital marketing to achieve the next breakthrough in your student recruitment goals.

  1. Information management

Very few other organizations have as much information regarding their product as learning institutions. While not exactly a product, schools’ main offerings are their courses, and courses come with information that includes mode of delivery, course intake, curriculum, module outline and the list goes on.  Yes, it is definitely important to provide prospective students with as much information as possible in making the right decision. The problem comes when the same course information is used as the landing page for marketing campaigns.

Depending on which stage of the decision process students are in, too much information phases will only confuse and overwhelm prospective students, especially in the early phases. The merits of simplicity and less information has been well documented. In his book, Paradox of Choice – Why more is less, Dr Schwartz’s experiments concluded that giving prospects less information helped them in making decisions better. Consider providing just enough information at various  stages of their research process.

  1. Suitable Call-to-action

By now, most schools have presence on social media since that’s where young adults hang out. Many businesses, however, make the mistake of treating social media as a marketplace instead of a place for socializing.

On social media platforms, avoid asking for too much of a commitment. Instead of getting them to sign up for your course right off the bat, consider softer conversions. Examples include signups for open house, course previews or just a soft copy of your course brochure. These are less intimidating than having a sales consultant call them up to sell them the courses, but are no less effective.

Take the case of PSB academy whom we helped to attract more than 10 participants for their open house in one day by promoting the event on Facebook.

  1. The virtual salesperson

One of the unbreakable rules of marketing is to know your target audience inside out. As an institution of higher learning, young adults form a huge portion of your target audience. You may be well aware that young adults these days are different, they grew up with technology and are extremely savvy with internet. MIT professor Sherry Tuckle even states that this group of people prefer interacting with gadgets more than they do with people (including sales people). A report by Linkedin concurs, declaring that 72% of students develop their short list before reaching out to a school representative.

What does that mean for your school? If you want to reach out to students, you have to appear in front of them early and where they are comfortable with, whether it be Google, Facebook or Youtube. These are the places that they hang out.

  1. Content marketing

While they do not talk to salespeople as much as before, that doesn’t make students any less savvier as a consumer. In fact, they probably know more than the previous generations. A forester study shows that consumers read 11.4 pieces of content on average before making a purchase decision. Consumers today are comfortable with digesting truckloads of information.

The question is whether your school is present during their research process? Are you visible when they google for keywords related to your course offering? How about when they read articles on Facebook revolving around their passion and job prospects? These are all opportunities for you to show up in a  non-intrusive way in front of your target audience, especially when they need you most. According to Linkedin, if you are waiting for students to make the first contact, it is likely too late.  

  1. Demonstrate authority and build trust

The above point is  precisely why the concept of content marketing has taken off in a big way in Asia. Changing behavior of consumers, particularly Millenials has made it mandatory for brands to change their marketing strategy. Content marketing, the new marketing buzzword, is especially applicable for the higher education institutions. Why so?

The whole idea of an education system is about transferring knowledge to students and educating them. If you can begin educating students on social media as well as through long-form useful blog articles, wouldn’t that make you more trustworthy as an educator?

After all, what is the best way to demonstrate to students that you can help them? Simple. By helping them ! Using content marketing ,schools can produce information that are useful and even interesting for students in their lives. In doing so, trust is gradually established with the students, not to mention that it dramatically enhances exposure of your brand among your target audience as people share your helpful content.

Check out some content we produced for LSBF.

  1. Speak their language

Its not just schools, I can’t tell you how many businesses I have seen that fail to speak the lingo of their target audience on social media. I would humbly suggest that press releases and website content be kept at where they should be, instead of being recycled as social media posts or blog articles.

Consider checking out the marketing messages of brands that are popular with young adults. Voted as the top clothing brand for Millenials in 2016, Nike constantly inspires people to ‘Just do it’.

Likewise, PSB Academy constantly encourages youngsters to “Dare to dream” and “follow your heart, not what others say” as well as produce other inspiring messages.

Source: PSB Academy website

Instead of promoting your courses directly, how about inspiring them on social media? Or educating them with useful information?

  1. Be transparent

Of course, you shouldn’t take this too far and start shouting irrelevant messages on social media. After all, the Committee of Private Education keeps a close watch on educational institutions and what they say. With complaints and news about less-than-quality education offered by some schools, CPE is calling for more transparency in this sector . In 2016, CPE announced that they require schools to publish their Graduate employment survey results with regards to their students. They also disallow schools from being overly promotional in their marketing efforts. Our stand is to act in accordance with the guidelines of CPE and incorporate more transparency and less embellishment in marketing.

  1. 3rd party effect

If you are still worried about saying the wrong thing on your social media account, why not consider publishing through a 3rd party platform? With 60,000 monthly visits, Digital Senior is a portal specially catered to students in Singapore looking for higher education options.  In terms of messaging, you can afford to be more casual on these platforms, to the point of perhaps even using a little Singlish to connect with your target audience, without having fears of it backfiring.  Not just that, by virtue of being a 3rd party not connected to any institutions in any way,  students tend to be more receptive towards their messages. (Disclaimer: Digital Senior is owned by Ice cube marketing and this is a shameless plug)

  1. Always share stories

It is no secret. Storytelling has been one of the most effective tools in a marketer’s arsenal for the longest time.  Professor Paul J Zak’s famous experiment found that people who watched character-driven stories tended to donate more money to charities. It was also discovered that the subjects who watched the stories produce a type of hormone known as Oxytocin that bolsters trust and empathy.

You should use this to your advantage because there is no better place to find stories than in schools! Schools is an indispensable force in a society. They transform people’s lives for the better through education, and there are probably at least thousands of student that has benefited from attending your school.

The best part is that prospective students are always looking for seniors who can share experiences of their school life with them. This aids in their decision making process.  Instead of having the students painstakingly scour forums or random Facebook groups in search of seniors’ stories, why don’t you make it available to them?

Your current students probably find it hard to write an entire article around their school life, either due to their already-heavy schoolwork or they are just not used to writing. In which case, you can interview students, round up their opinion or even film them talking. Check out an interview we did with a student from LSBF here.

  1. Don’t time the market

Most schools open their application window only at certain times of the year, most commonly in the month of February/March where A levels results are released. That is when you see schools going all out with their marketing. Everywhere you go,  MRTs, buses or shopping malls abound with advertising messages of PEIs. It is also during the same time, it becomes harder to stand out amidst all the clutter.

What’s more, if you are not a household brand name(yet), it is probably wise to start early and allow the advertising rule of 7 to work in your favor. As the story goes, marketing expert,  Dr Jeffery Lant stated that to penetrate the buyer’s consciousness sufficient enough to create buying impetus, brands have to appear in front of the prospect a minimum of 7 times within an 18-month period.

At the time when Dr Jeffery Lant researched and developed  his theory, he probably wouldn’t have guessed that the internet would take it to another level. With remarketing technology, today you can reach the same prospect over and over again.  Remarketing consists of using a special tracking code to place cookies in the computer of people visiting your website, and then serving ads to those with that cookie when they visit other websites such as Facebook or Gmail. By doing so, the fear that you lose your prospect from 6 months ago is eliminated. This is one of the most -used feature we have used to generate results for clients.


As technology evolves and consumer behavior changes, marketing is no longer about dumping heaps of money into buying banner ads and waiting for prospects to call you. Through an understanding of current trends, you can use the internet to your advantage and stand out in the competitive marketplace. If you pay attention to the needs of prospects and what they are saying, you will never go wrong. The opportunity to rise above the crowd is bigger than anything we ever seen.


We help great companies grow their revenues


Ted Chong

Ted is the director of Ice Cube Marketing. His insights on marketing has been featured in AsiaOne Business, Singapore Business Review , e27 and TechinAsia. He graduated with a 1st class honors degree in Business IT from NTU. While not planning campaigns for clients, he enjoys a good read on books related to psychology.

8 traps of facebook marketing that causes Singapore business owners to burn time and money

You probably don’t need another person to tell you that ”everyone is on Facebook” and your business should also leverage Facebook. Its widespread these days.

Well, these people are not lying. Facebook records a user base of about 3million people in Singapore. On average, Singaporeans spend 2.2 hours daily on this platform. These are staggering numbers from a marketing standpoint.

The problem is; Facebook introduced so many features & changes in their platform in the recent 2-3 years , its easy to lag behind and misapply outdated strategies that wastes our precious resources as SMEs. Having worked with companies ranging from startups to MNCs in their advertising efforts. I have identified 8 common traps you need to be aware of:

Don’t bother posting on Facebook

Are you thinking about what to post on your Facebook page next week ? Well, you can probably drop the thought.

This would have been a good move in 2012, when your post can reach as much as 16% of your fanbase. The figure dropped to 6.5% in 2014. Now, it is less than 2%. Thats not all. Only a further 5% or less of this measly 2% is going to pay attention to your post on their newsfeed. That is only about 0.1% of your fanbase. Shocking?


Facebook page organic reach to your fans per post

*Note: These are average figures. Your numbers will vary depending on the level of engagement on your page & post

*Note: These are average figures. Your numbers will vary depending on the level of engagement on your page & post

It would have account for something if you have a fanbase of say, 10,000. If your Facebook fancount is 300 or less, honestly, the time would be better spent elsewhere. There is absolutely no need to put up posts daily, or even weekly for that matter, as with the case of so many businesses I see. We all love to think that we are very important and everyone is waiting for us to post. Fact?  People are so busy with stalking their friends and relatives on Facebook to give us any attention.

On the other hand, you cannot totally ignore Facebook either. People need to know that you are still in business. Strive to at least post once a month, but there is absolutely no need to scratch your head agonizing what to write everyday.

Be careful of the default

So you learnt that your organic posts do not go far and advertising on Facebook is the only way to reach more people at (very) reasonable costs.

Source: Moz

Source: Moz

You started buying ads on Facebook, only to receive alot of likes…. but zero new business. Before you start concluding that Facebook ads are a waste of time & money for businesses, think again.

The problem usually lies with how you set your targeting. By default, Facebook show your ads to users in Facebook, Instagram and Facebook ad network.



Did you know only the first option is for advertising within Facebook ? 2nd option shows your ads in Facebook’s subsidiary, Instagram and for the 3rd option, you don’t even know where your ads are displayed!

You may think its harmless but Instagram burns your money faster than fire spreads in the forest. (Instagram is hardly profitable for most businesses) If you do not have a big budget to invest for ‘brand awareness’ , do scrutinize your settings before clicking ‘confirm’, or you may just fall into one of these traps.

Free bonus:
Get a 1-page Cheatsheet to Facebook advertising in 2018: Step-by-step guide

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Foreign likes

Lets say you checked your targeting settings hundred times and have made sure that you are targeting high networth individuals in Singapore. Your ads are still not getting any sales. You decided to click into the profile of people who like your ads. To the shock of your life, these are not locals! You got alot of engagement with plenty unfamiliar-looking profiles instead.

Another trap of Facebook advertising is its ‘smart’ algorithmn. Facebook automatically optimizes your ads to appear infront of people most likely to click or engage with ads. Coincidentally, these people may not be people who buys, but people who like to like your posts. More often than not, these are not the locals.

What can you do about it ?

Well, Facebook’s advertising platform is a powerful machine, as long as you know how to tap on its potential. Make use of the ‘exclude’ feature to exclude audience you do not want to target! You can exclude foreigners or other groups you know will never convert into a customer. In one of our campaign for a property company, we excluded all property agents in Singapore.

The shortcut

If you are wondering why the options above are not accessible in your computer, you probably have been boosting posts only.

Amazon and other ecommerce stores have their 1-click purchase to make it easy for people to buy. Facebook came out with their own version of this with the ‘1-click advertise’ option, which is the boost post button.

It saves time&hassle at the expense of cutting out alot of features you would see in ads manager and power editor. To encourage its use, Facebook repeatedly reminds you with messages like this:


Many advertisers have likened clicking boost-post to writing a blank cheque to Facebook.  If you don’t have deep pockets, avoid the trap of the shortcut and instead go deeper into what Facebook offers.

Facebook’s share price has been on the rise as more and more businesses jump on the advertising bandwagon. Without proper know-how, businesses owners are just contributing to the bottom line of Facebook. On the other hand, with the right strategy, you can be among those succeeding.

Source: Convinceandconvert

Its not traditional one-way advertising

The power of Facebook lies in its social potential. It can go both ways. You ads has the chance of going viral , however it can also backfire.

Check out this ad by OCBC bank.

It looks like any normal and decent Facebook ad, until you scroll down further to the comments section. Did you realize that they are paying money to advertise for their competitor ? Guess what, after seeing this ad, I took action and shifted my money to BOC. You can say its pretty ‘successful’.

Many traditional advertisers fall into the trap of approaching Facebook advertising the way they do for newspaper or magazine advertisement; that is to publish and forget. The wonder of Facebook is that it produces alot of feedback for you to finetune your ads over time. Make use of these quantitative and qualitative feedback to improve on your performance.

Be a geek

Speaking of getting quantitative feedback.

Since Google, Facebook and other digital advertising platforms came into the picture, marketing has largely evolved into more of a geeky sports. The amount of data available for decision making is tremendous.  Your left brain muscles matter as much , if not more than your right brain muscles today.

Fret not, you don’t need to start hiring a data scientist. To make it simple, important metrics to look at include your cost per click, clickthrough rate and conversion(most businesses are not measuring!).

So, what is considered decent numbers? According to Nanigans, a data company, the average clickthrough rate in Asia in 2016 is 1.97%. If you are doing less than 1% clickthrough, you are paying alot more money than you should.

In our own example, we were collecting emails on Facebook with a free ebook.  I changed the ad image from the 1st to the 2nd and saw an increase in clickthrough and leads conversion by 50% !

1st ad image

2nd image with 50% higher clickthrough and conversion

This would not have been possible if I were to advertise in say, newspaper where I get only one shot at success. Today, the data available for finetuning our ads provides unprecedented opportunity. It makes leads generation a highly predictable and consistent process, almost to the point of being scientific.  Stability, isn’t that what we all want ?

Softer conversions

Facebook likes to keep users within Facebook. Thats obvious, no media publisher wants to send people away.  Thats why they introduced new features such as Canvas ads, as well as instant articles to confine people within their ecosystem. As an advertiser, this is not to your advantage. Facebook is the land of shiny objects where a thousand and one things demand the attention of your prospects.

Think cat videos, ex-girlfriend’s pictures etc etc. As an advertiser, instead of trying to sell your product on facebook where attention span is almost nonexistent, strive to get them to click into your website or landing page and opt in to an offer that doesn’t take alot of brain power to process. Don’t be overly ambitious in getting them buy on the spot. Use soft conversions.

Facebook distraction

Facebook distraction 

Scaling your ads

Perhaps your Facebook ads has started to work and you are getting some leads. You excitedly increase the budget of your campaign from $5/day to $50/day. The next thing you realize, your ads do not work as well as before. Clickthrough and conversion rate starts to nosedive and you wondered what happened. Well, thats Facebook’s mechanism.

When you increase your ad budget suddenly, ad frequency starts to increase drastically and effectiveness of ads decline. To get around this, instead duplicate your adset and tweak one of the variables- either ad image, copy, targeting or campaign objective.

Alternatively, don’t forget other ads platform as well.

Youtube ads are fantastic for getting huge reach at low prices. Google search ads are ideal for established industries with a proven demand. Video, search and social are all huge in Singapore(check out our stats) A laundry business we helped out with closes 20 over deals consistently a month from Google but didn’t fare well in Facebook.


At the end of the day, don’t stop trying. Getting burnt in Facebook once doesn’t make it a useless platform.  Afterall, isn’t it the spirit of entrepreneurship to keep trying ?  Having taken the time to educate yourself on the 8 traps above, you are better equipped to deal with Facebook than ever before. Like all other aspects of your business, once you find the right formula, Facebook will skyrocket your sales. Importantly, it provides the consistency and stability of business that all of us need. Don’t miss out on this awesome opportunity! Facebook ads is going to get more expensive over time. The best time to jumpstart your engine is now.

We help great companies grow their revenues


Ice Cube

Based in Singapore & Malaysia , Ice Cube Marketing is all about turning your customers from ice cold prospects into hot leads and happy advocates. We do so through ROI focused and data driven campaigns aimed at helping SMEs improve their sales.

How to Get my Customer to Give me a Testimonial or Review?

Annual Local Consumer Review Survey by BrightLocal sheds light on the following:

  • 88% of shoppers trust online reviews just like they value personal recommendations
  • Excellent reviews of a business make customer spend 33% more
  • 72% trust a local business if it has positive reviews
  • 72% shoppers take action after coming across a positive review
  • 86% refuse to buy a product or service of a business with negative reviews

It is no secret that a business ought to have a good reputation in market in order to compete. With the advent of internet and social media, it is easier than ever before to gauge the reputation of a business, by simply checking it out on Google on Facebook!

“Welcome to a new era of marketing and service in which your brand is defined by those who experience it” says Brian Solis, business analyst and social media expert.

For small businesses, it could well be a cause of celebration. Even if your brand is relatively unknown, reviews can level the playing field between you and the big boys.

Reviews can be:

  • Testimonials on your website
  • Facebook reviews on your Facebook page
  • LinkedIn recommendations
  • YouTube video testimonials
  • Google business page reviews
  • Reviews on niche review sites such as Hungrygowhere
  • Reviews In local search directories

Notice that reviews need not be on 3rd party sites. Review websites such as Tripadvisor& Facebook allows you to embed reviews and testimonials of your business on your own website.

Even if there isn’t a 3rd party review website in your industry(usually B2B), you can create your own reviews and testimonials and host it on your own site! The key is to make it convincing.

So, now for the big question…


How to get customer to provide testimonial?

Businesses have already started to realise the importance of reviews and are encouraging their customers to leave a review of their products and services. But your customers are not always readily giving their opinion and feedback. Now what? You can try few of these ways to get reviews from your customers.


The earlier the better

In accordance with the bird-in-the-hand theory, you might want to try getting a testimonial when you reach a milestone, or when you attain small wins along the way instead of waiting until the end of the project. You don’t know what kind of situation may pop out that can jeopardize your grand plan of getting testimonial down the road. The sooner you get it, the better. Whats more, you can always have a new testimonial when you reach the next milestone. There is no harm in having more 🙂


Claim your existing reviews

Customers love to mention the brands they usually transact with. With or without asking, people are talking about you online. The good news is that you can find them with tools! You can track these mentions by setting up notifications on  Google Alerts or Social Mention. Include a variety of terms that people may use to talk about your brand to ensure that you cover all grounds.  Use these alerts to get in touch with the customers who have mentioned you  in blogs/forums/other sites and seek their permission to feature the comment on your testimonials page. Usually, they oblige, more so if you have done a good job previously.


Systematize it

You already know the importance of creating systems within the company. You can systematize your sales process, interview process, why not your testimonials generation process as well ? Make it a part of your work process – Encourage your employees to get reviews from clients they work with at the end of a satisfactory engagement. You can also create an incentive program where they can receive cash bonuses for getting reviews; more reviews, more incentives!


Asking via email

When talking about systematization, you have to agree with me that robots do a better job. They never forget. Hence, if you are in a B2C business with infrequent customer contact, getting testimonials via email may be  a better idea.

This is a bit trickier and difficult. People rarely check their important emails, let alone the ones about giving feedback. However, you can turn it around with the following tips:

  • The email must come from a real person’s email address
  • The pitch must be that of a personal request made by the same person
  • Give a very clear call-to-action button of ‘Review’ and nothing else
  • Use autoresponder to automatically trigger a testimonial request email X number of days after purchase. Plenty of software such as Mailchimp, Aweber, Infusionsoft can do the trick, at an affordable price.
  • Go for A/B testing, i.e, test with different subject lines, email body, plain text versus HTML, etc., to see which performs the best.


Facebook and other review sites

Some businesses avoid using the reviews feature on Facebook, thinking that they would rather not take the risk of having a bad reputation online. Being a smart business owner, you should know that the most adventurous, daring and transparent businesses survive in this competitive marketplace! High risk, high returns. As Warren Buffet famously said, “When others are fearful, you should be greedy”. Jump on Facebook and openly accept reviews now!


Whats more, there are direct benefits to incorporating reviews in your social media profiles, and that is higher visibility. For example, your Google business page profile is more likely to show up on Google search results if it has considerable number of reviews. Likewise for other platform sites. Their algorithmn is mostly built in such a way that prioritizes high-ratings profile.


Reward users who review

Psychological principle of positive reinforcement holds – the more you incentivise, the more of such behavior you receive. Offer some incentives to your customers to leave reviews about you. Incentives can be in form of samples of your products, discounts on their future purchases, free gifts or promotional products. These tempt customers to leave reviews about your products. However, incent them to “write a review”, and not “write a good review”. Your motive should be to give them some incentives, not bribe them. Else it will backfire.


Make it super easy

Some businesses make their customers climb a mountain just to leave a positive review.

If possible, meet up with your customer and video or audio record them saying good things about your business. And you have a solid testimonial!

If you can only interact with them online, create forms and formats, and ask them to fill spaces respectively, instead of having them draft an email. People are innately lazy. This will make reviewing process less tedious and time consuming while encouraging people to leave reviews.


Just ask

Sometimes, it is our own mental hurdle. Customers are usually nice people. Just ask – Gently ask them to leave a review of their experience on your website. A reasonable customer would understand how important reviews are for you as well as for other customers who would transact for the same product in future. If they use your product or service, feel free to ask them what they think about you.

In the words of Jeff Motter, CEO and chief marketing officer of EastBay Marketing Group, “The best way to get reviews is to ask for them and the best time to ask is when you finish the job and are with them”.


Outline of a Testimonial

Testimonials tell about a customer’s experience with you. Make sure that you never pester them to leave behind a testimonial. Asking them a few questions politely can solve your purpose. Carefully pick your questions so that your reviewer feels them to be genuine and easy enough to answer.


For instance you can ask –

  • How was your experience with us?
  • What would have stopped you from buying this product
  • How do you find the product after buying it?
  • What specific features of our products or services did you like the most?
  • What benefit or result did you derive from using our product/service ?
  • What more could we do to improve?
  • Would you recommend our business to others? If so, why?
  • Is there anything you’d like to add?
  • Can I add your picture, company name, job title to the testimonial ? *

The last item could be the most important of all. The more generic a testimonial, the less convincing it is. The worst type of testimonial to have would be:

“Abc company is really good. – John”
You are better off not having a testimonial with that. Hence, you need to ask questions to facilitate their thinking to  smoothen the whole process. Remember the above rule? Make it as simple & easy as possible for your customers.

A survey done by econsultancy reveals that reviews/testimonials with a photo increases add-to-basket conversion by 22%. Again, the more specific , the better. Having photo, job title and company all helps.

Reviews not only give you scope for improvement, but help you widen your reach and increase brand awareness. With society and technology evolving rapidly, reviews can help you strengthen your online reputation and brand value. Shared experiences of your customers is what shapes your brand.

We help great companies grow their revenues


Ice Cube

Based in Singapore & Malaysia , Ice Cube Marketing is all about turning your customers from ice cold prospects into hot leads and happy advocates. We do so through ROI focused and data driven campaigns aimed at helping SMEs improve their sales.

How to use Facebook Advertising to generate leads & sales for small local businesses


When it comes to Facebook advertising, it simply means pressing the boost-post button for many businesses out there. Boost-post is an extremely quick and easy way for your post to get higher reach, which makes it attractive for time-scarce business owners. The downside is that the options are limited, without the ability to exclude or narrow audience. Unsurprisingly, it is also with the same group of “post boosters” that I hear complaints of Facebook not generating business results for them, or it being a “money blackhole.” Well, it turns out that Facebook advertising is actually more much complicated and powerful than just clicking boost posts. Here, in this infographic guide, I outline the steps to getting phenomenal results on this platform with 1.71 billion active monthly users.



Unlike Search Engine Marketing that targets people by intentions, Facebook targets people by their identify, which includes their demographics, interests and a whole lot other things. When doing targeting, advertisers are usually tempted to use the easiest targeting option. For example, I run a restaurant, I shall target people whose interests are food. If only it is so easy. Generally speaking, stay away from targeting broad interest categories, such as yoga, photography, food etc. Facebook tries to determine your interests from your clicking habits, but they may not be the most accurate. For example, I found one of my Facebook interests to be photography even though I am at best a smartphone photographer. (Find yours here To succeed in Facebook advertising, go the extra mile in understanding your target audience. Before you even turn on your computer, some homework is required. Grab a blank piece of paper and begin jotting down everything about your ideal customer from demographics to psychographics. Use the infographic ( Rhyme uh?) above as a guide. Doing this brings 2 benefits. Firstly, it helps in putting your ads infront of people who have the highest chance of becoming your customer, thus reducing unwanted spending. Second, identifying your specific audience allows you to craft ad copy that speaks to the pain & desires of this group. Facebook rewards advertisers that produce highly relevant ads with cost per click as low as 2cents. This is one of my campaigns.

fb-rewards Is nothing coming out of your head? There are some hacks for determining their interests.

  1. Go to the facebook profile of an existing customer and check out her about page. From there you can see a list of her favorites and liked pages. Repeat a few times and try to find commonalities.
  2. Use graph search to find the favorite pages liked by fans of your competitors’ pages. fb-pages
  3. Fall back on good old survey. Best yet, talk to your customers and find out their interests. If you do not already have questions to ask, check out our survey template.

Download this 10-point questionaire

to nail your facebook targeting & copy.

Also, these days, Facebook provides you with features to really home in on your niche audience. Play around with the narrow audience and exclude audience bars. Consider excluding your existing customers by uploading the list or adding pixel to your thank-you page. The more specific your group is, the better you are able to relate to them and therefore optimize your spending.

detail-targeting Note: Facebook has reduced its targeting section in ads manager to one bar encompassing interests, demographics and behavior. It means that you need to know your options well since there are no prompts now; this is where the guide above comes in handy. If you have custom audience from your email list of website visitors, they are the best group to target. I will leave that for another post for more advanced advertisers. Of course, not all your customers will share the same attributes. I recommend that you carry out the exercise only for your Most Valuable Customer. It is also common practice to create a few campaigns targeted at different groups with a different message for each.

Facebook Ad

Even if you nailed your targeting options, the ads will fall flat if it is not useful and relevant to your target audience. There is alot of clutter on Facebook these days. Don’t forget you are also competing for attention against the friends of your target audience. Your ad image plays a big role in stopping the track of someone mindlessly scrolling through their news feed. The general rule of thumb is to have something that STANDS out. Using strong colours, weird images(or cute kittens) can all help. See how local startup, My laundry Box literally posted picture of a cute kitten to draw attention to their post. According to their founder, Kelvin Khoo, My Laundry Box sees a 3 times return on their spend on Facebook ads! Apparently, the post worked very well with their target audience. On the other hand, a kitten post may not fare as well in the B2B niche. Bottom line; there is no hard and fast rule on Facebook, Just make sure you understand your target market by carrying out the homework above in advance!


Showcasing your product

A study by eMarketer reveals that content with photos gets about 20times more interaction than those without. If you run a business with products that are highly visual, such as in F&B, fashion, interior design and so on, you have an advantage! You can create content that engages your audience and promotes your products on a social platform at the same time. Best of both worlds! The caveat is that you have to invest in good photography. Check out the example of Twelve cup cakes , a brand that went from one to 12 outlets within 2.5 years, using primarily social media as a channel for growth. According to Daniel Ong, its founder, “We grew Twelve literally through social media. I reached out to the raw emotions of Birthdays, anniversaries, the happiness, the joy, the coming together of people. I made Twelve a lifestyle brand, instead of a cake shop.”

fb-ads Doesn’t it make you salivate ? Lesson here, do not skimp on the quality of your photos.

The secret sauce- human pictures

Better yet, include pictures of real people in your ad image, along with your product. We human beings have this thing in our brain called the mirror neurons that cause us to catch on emotions unconsciously. Remember the time when u were tearing non stop in a movie theatre? While images alone are unlikely to make one cry, it can definitely evoke emotions strong enough to make your prospects take action. it is no secret now among marketers that emotions drive action, and logic merely justifies it. In the post below, Brain Pickings skillfully evokes sentimental feelings using a well-chosen image.

fb-ads-brain-picking Co-founder of Crazy egg, Neil Patel got to 220, 593 fans on Facebook by adding an image of a face to many of his facebook posts. fb-posts Why does it work so well? Neil shares that facial expression is the only universally understood language, and the human brain is wired to process facial cues far more easily than written word.

Ad copy

While there are a thousand ways to write your ad copy, the general rule of thumb would be to write as if one would on a social platform. Even if your target audience is CEOs, stay away from the corporate tone. CEOs are also humans, and Facebook is where they interact with friends. Be conversational with them. Copywriting principles apply here; use headlines that evoke curiosity and promises a benefit. Telling stories and asking questions are some of the ways to do that. Just make sure that you deliver on your promise in your landing page. Check out this Facebook post by OCBC bank telling the story of one of its customers. The number of likes and shares it garnered is a testament to the power of storytelling! While it is ahead of many other companies in the Facebook space, there is still room for improvement. I would include more details to the ”story” and add a stronger hook to attract more attention. fb-ads-ocbc-bank

Power words

Don’t have time to learn copywriting from scratch? A quick hack is to incorporate power words. No one on social media has enough attention span to read your ad copy word for word. Our mighty mind has the ability to pick up dispersed words to form meaning just by skimming through the text. That’s where power words come in. It short-circuits your mind and grabs the attention of prospects. Check out this Facebook ad in which I incorporate a number of the power words. (Hint: it generated an ROI of 400% to date!) fb-ads-ice-cube-marketing


By default, your facebook ads do not come with CTA buttons. Without CTAs, your ads can be totally fascinating but bring in zero business results. If you want people to take action, you got to make it easy for them by telling them whats the next step, especially in a channel like Facebook where people are in leisure passive mode. What are the best CTAs? Facebook marketing strategist, Jon Loomer categorizes them into hard sell and soft sell buttons. The former includes: Shop now, download, signup, book now. The latter would be: Learn more. Soft sell button tends to yield a higher clickthrough rate since it implies a small commitment. On the other hand, hard sell buttons have the benefit of allowing you to filter off the less-quality clickers. While there’s no best answer, I tend to drift towards ”Learn More”. In the example above, even though I was using ”Learn More” as CTA, my conversion on landing page was about 40-50%. In regards to that, I buy into the stand of the founder of Elite Digital Group, Kim Walsh-Phillips who said that Facebook is the land of shiny objects and your goal should be to entice the user to click through to your landing page to find out more. That’s where you do your selling. Don’t be overly ambitious with what you are trying to accomplish with the ads.

Ad formats

The list of ad formats provided by Facebook is ever increasing. Caurosel and video ads used to be non-existent. These days, videos are the fastest growing form of content shared on Facebook, as told by Buzzsumo.

fb-average With each new ad format, there are guidelines to bear in mind. Facebook automatically plays your video on silent mode as a user scrolls down his newsfeed. So if your video features you rattling non stop about your product without captions, it shouldn’t come as a surprise why it gets ignored. In this video ad we created for our client, a Malaysian security door seller, the video is a short 45secs clip showing one of their guys using a hammer to whack their own product(crazy, uh?). The shock factor is apparent even without any voice over. The demonstration speaks for itself, bringing alot of organic exposure. The good byproduct? leads come in every other day through the campaign. Make sure you choose a good thumbnail too.

fb-ads-salio With caurosel ad format, companies can now present their offerings using more than one image, without having to pay more! However, before you lump everything in one ad, dont forget your advertising 101- do not confuse your audience with multiple messages. If you were to do a products showcase, put products in the same category catering to the same audience group in one ad. If you do storytelling, make sure all images fall under the same theme. Less is more. According to search engine watch, Foodpanda used the carousel format to promote its app and measured an increase of CTR by 180%and reduced the cost per install by 39%.

fb-ads-ctr Good old image ads still has its appeal, bearing in mind that it is the most common form of content in the newsfeed. It blends in well with the other posts put out by normal facebook users. Whichever ad format you use, testing is a must. Test different variables from your ad format, your image to your ad copy.

What offers to promote on Facebook

Sometimes, the problem is not with your targeting or ad copy, it is with your offer! By offer, I don’t mean your product/ service. So don’t worry, you don’t have to start overhauling your entire business model just to do Facebook advertising. Instead, offers refer to something unique and exclusive for the Facebook audience. You can get to it by simply repackaging your existing offerings. Again, the decision on your choice of offer hinges on your understanding of your audience. Generally speaking, for B2B market, free demo/consultation/ebook/trial can work. While for B2C , event/workshop/samples/discount/contest can do its magic. Another reason you need to use offer is to leverage the power of scarcity. Think about it, your products are usually offered all year round. Since they can buy your product anytime, why would Facebook audience be compelled to ditch their cat video on Facebook to take action on your product? Unless, you have a limited-time offer! Scarcity is one of Dr Robert Ciadilini’s famous 6 principles of influence. In the words of the persuasion expert, human behavior is such that we are likelier to purchase something if we’re informed that it’s the very last one or that a special deal will soon expire. In short, people really believe that they’ll be missing out on something they have to have if they fail to act quickly! Facebook is the perfect platform to execute scarcity. Just make sure that you make it scarce by really ending the promotion as claimed!



Selecting the right campaign objective is no less important than choosing the correct targeting options. Based on what you choose, Facebook would show your ads to the segment of your target audience that can best meet the objective. Get it right and Facebook will work its magic. Facebook’s algorithm is pretty smart in that regard. If your goal is to garner leads and sales from Facebook, the most popular objectives to choose from would be ‘clicks to website’ and ‘conversions’. Using conversion will require some setup – adding pixel to your website, but it is a one-time effort. As a company that provides lead generation service, getting this piece right is critical to our success. Rick Mulready, Facebook ads coach, wouldn’t even recommend using objectives such as “Reach people near your business” unless you are going for awareness. Personally, after trying out several objectives, I have had the best results with conversion and website clicks. That is even if I’m using videos or offers.


Now that we are on this topic of marketing objective, most of you reading would be wondering, “How on earth do I measure the success of Facebook ads beyond likes & shares?” Well, you can! and you must! That is why I stressed the importance of conversion tracking using Facebook pixels. If you ever find yourself asking the question “how much should I spend on Facebook? ”, thats means your ads campaign is not giving you enough insights. Your goal should be to build a scalable digital campaign that turns $1 into $2 and more. Your tracking system will provide these information for you. Some people obsess over the number of fans they have and resort to buying page likes. There is very little practical use in it, apart from it being a social proof. if you don’t have deep pockets, stay away from that.


Of course, your costs of advertising on Facebook is an important factor in the equation. Some people boast about making millions from Facebook. It is not a full picture if we do not know the costs invested in running the ads. We did a separate article on how to calculate the Facebook advertising costs in Singapore.


You would have noticed that some of the examples above are that of organic posts, instead of facebook ads. That is essentially the whole point of this guide. The world has evolved in such a way that the line between organic posts and paid ads is blurring. Native ads are the norm. Therefore, your facebook ads has to appear as organic as possible. No one likes to be sold to, whether on Facebook or in person. On the other hand, people like to check out useful or interesting stuff. Our job as advertisers is to get into the minds of our audience and serve relevant and value-adding information to them, while contributing to our bottom line at the same time. If you can do that, you win in the social media game.

We help great companies grow their revenues


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Ted Chong

Ted is the director of Ice Cube Marketing. His insights on marketing has been featured in AsiaOne Business, Singapore Business Review , e27 and TechinAsia. He graduated with a 1st class honors degree in Business IT from NTU. While not planning campaigns for clients, he enjoys a good read on books related to psychology.