To learn more about Scott Asahina, please view the following sections:
How I solve common marketing and advertising problems
- My unusual business journey with an unexpected twist!
Creator and owner of the Marketing in Japan community
- My LinkedIn profile
How I solve common marketing and advertising problems…
I help businesses to plan, build or manage marketing systems and advertising campaigns, that are designed to consistently and affordably get more customers and increase revenue… In simple terms, I can help your business to make more money.
Marketing diagnosis and prescription
Building and testing marketing systems
Designing advertising campaigns
Agency services (campaign management)
PPC traffic generation (search and social)
High converting landing page designs
Lead generation and email list building
Marketing automation (sequences)
Together with my small but highly skilled ‘Remote Team‘ we have the technical know-how and experience to help you create a marketing system and paid advertising campaigns. Everything custom designed to meet your exact business requirements and financial goals.
We are not a broad full service creative agency, instead we focus on and specialize at: Attracting good quality traffic (leads, visitors or callers) into your business, website or store using paid (search and social) advertising campaigns. We also help you to generate more income (sales) using proven CRO tactics (online or offline) to convert more of your traffic into paying customers, clients or patients.
What is a Remote / Cloud Team?
We do not all sit within a shared office, or commute the same route every single day. Instead, thanks to cloud based technology and software apps, we can choose to work from any location that suits our individual creativity, without effecting our productivity.
Watch the ’37Signals’ video to learn how collaborative remote teams (like ours) communicate, work efficiently and most importantly, get the job done.
To learn more read ‘Remote’ by 37Signals
My unusual business journey with an unexpected twist…
Did you know “Not enough customers and poor cash-flow” often means:
“You have a great product or service, but you’re struggling to sell enough of it and get more customers. This is affecting cashflow and it’s probably causing many other issues or concerns…”
If this describes a similar problem you’re facing, then you’re probably going to relate and even find a lot of value in my backstory and how I discovered to finally solve this problem once and for all…
Where it all began – In November 2003 I incorporated a new start-up in the highly regulated Japanese financial services industry (my background was in finance as a trained and qualified analyst / advisor).
The barriers to entry in Japan seemed huge for such a small 2 man start-up with only an untested new idea for a portfolio management service (that I developed)… In addition to the hefty 12 month office deposit, furniture, equipment and setup costs, we also had to come up with another 5 million Yen (~$50,000) for the ‘Ministry of Finance’ securities investment advisory license deposit / application…. Even before we were legally able to start doing any business I already felt the financial pressure to generate income fast.
By the end of 2004, our first full year in business, we had generated just over $250,000 in reoccurring revenue (not too shabby). We had also taken on 2 more staff. In 2005 and 2006 we generated just under $350,000 in revenue. In 2007 we were on course to again generate around $350,000 in reoccurring revenue. We had hit the classic glass ceiling. My founding business partner and I were technical product developers and financial analysts, but luckily, I had also studied SEO (search engine optimization) to get our website consistently ranked high on Google. Even back then I knew that ranking high in the search engines was important, and this is where all of our new enquires and clients came from. Other than that we didn’t really know much about marketing and advertising or scaling our business.
We tried many new advertising ideas ourselves (random guesswork) but most turned out to be a complete waste of time and money. Someone suggested that we should look to raise money from an angel investor or VC; which we did. Long story short, we took on a 50/50 business partner. He was going to inject over a $1,000,000 into the business, primarily for a swanky new office and to take on a few more staff. He liked what we were doing and he could see it taking off with the right backing and marketing. So the plan was, my original partner and I were to focus on managing and developing the service, while our new partner would focus on the marketing and introducing our service to his massive network of connections…
First signs of concern and frustration – In December 2007 only a few months into our new cozy relationship, this is when I started to get concerned for the first time… The global credit crunch had just started to kick in (which was not good news for an investment related businesses like ours) I looked at the finances and saw that we were now spending $120,000 a month, but our income was still the same as last year. I knew at this rate we would have serious cash-flow problems within the next 6~9 months… I approached our new partner about this, and he too was concerned. Unfortunately, he had major problems with some of his other business interests, which meant he now spent more time away from Japan and therefore not promoting our business to his network…. Not good news.
A few new marketing initiatives were given the go-ahead which made me feel a little less stressed, and I got back to managing and developing our core investment service. Then I got shocking news in January 2008 that my dad had passed away following complications from routine operation in hospital. He was only 56 years old (I was 37). So I had to return to the UK for a while for obvious reasons.
When I returned to Japan I looked at these new marketing initiatives, 3 shocked me when I realized the cost. One was for $14,000 to have a one page spread in a generic Asian investor magazine. This really got me concerned because we were targeting Japanese nationals with our business, but this magazine was not only new, but it was in English and distributed across Asia (not our target market). The other was for $21,000 for a 2 part marketing video in Japanese with semi-pro actors, talking about saving and investments options. The content of the video seemed ok to me, but I was puzzled as to why we had suddenly decided to have professional videos made. Anyway, the videos got shot, edited and delivered to us, and that was it. There was no campaign attached to these videos. We just got two video files and a bill for $21,000.
There was also another Google PPC campaign that had been given the go ahead and we had agreed to pay an agent $7500 per month for the next 6 months to drive traffic to our homepage (which I now know was a terrible idea – paid traffic should never be sent to a generic homepage, unless it’s a highly optimized and dedicated landing page)…
Feeling like a marketing victim – We had just spent $40,000 and committed to spend another $37,500 over the next 5 months (Google PPC agency). I was feeling concerned before, but now I was starting feel a real sense of danger and panic. I wanted to know why we had agreed to pay for these marketing services. It had been almost a month and we had not seen any new leads or inquires based on these new campaigns.
It turns out, that a few random marketing providers had called us and asked if they could help. I was not aware or present at any of these meetings. When I looked into everything, it appeared to me that these companies were happy to sell us their individual services, but without really knowing how these services would fit in to our business or conversion process. It seemed to me these meetings went something like this:
“This is the latest ‘shiny object’ tactic. Look at all the success other businesses have had using it. If you want more customers, you need to be using this. You can buy it from us, blah, blah, blah”…
So it turns out these were all random attempts to ‘fix’ our marketing problem. Needless to say they all failed miserably and we had wasted more valuable time and money.
Only the marketing companies that ‘sold’ their stuff to us had made any money from these dire campaigns. I was now not only worried but I was also starting to get really pissed off and annoyed. It is now late 2008 and the Lehman shock and the stock market collapse had just started. So now, we had the added problem of retaining worried existing clients, whilst also trying to get new customers at at time when everyone was feeling nervous about the markets and economy. This was not ideal to say the least…
Hitting rock bottom – In late November 2008 I got a call that my mum had also passed away following an accident at home. She was 57 (I was 38). To lose both of your parents within 11 months was an experience I cannot even begin to explain… In early December 2008 I had to return to the UK again for obvious reasons.
Whilst I was in the UK for my mother’s funeral, the 50 Billion dollar Bernie Madoff Ponzi scandal hit the headlines. My original partner called me and he was hysterical. Many of our customers were on the phone to him panicking and wanting to close all their accounts. I guess the credit crunch, Lehman shock, equity market collapse and this Madoff scandal was just too much for them to handle (understandably)…
I also got a call from my disgruntled wife telling me that she was not happy with the way my business was going, or the amount of hours I was working. She was convinced it was all my fault and that I wasn’t taking my family, business or income responsibilities seriously enough! She then suggested that I should just quit the business and get a ‘normal job’ so she did not have to worry about anything… Her selfish attitude, the tone of her voice and timing was not very compassionate to put it politely… So much grief, stress and bad news in last 12 months was like a nightmare which I couldn’t wake up from. This is when I was at my lowest point… I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted.
When I returned to Japan in January 2009, my job became damage limitation. We carried on with a few simple marketing campaigns, but it wasn’t enough. We were getting a trickle of new customers, but the revenue was less than the cash we were hemorrhaging. Our new business partner had injected another $500,000 into the business to keep it afloat.
The strange thing about all of this, is that despite all of the financial market turmoil, the scandals, the collapses and the big government bail outs in the news almost everyday, the vast majority of our clients were happy with us and the service we offered.
The service we offered hadn’t failed our business. My personal family tragedies hadn’t failed the business. We as business owners had failed in our marketing efforts. Basically we did too little too late and most of what we did was random acts based on hunches, enthusiasm and panic… We did not have a well designed and thoroughly tested marketing system in place and we paid the price for our lack of awareness and marketing ignorance.
In the end (early 2010) we transferred all the remaining clients and assets to another Japanese business that had more experience and the resources to look after them. They too liked the service we offered and were very keen to become the sole provider of it.
Dusting myself off and slowly standing back up – Trying not to give up, I made a commitment to myself to come out of all this stronger and more determined than ever. After all, at that stage ‘hope and determination’ were all I had left to hold onto. I focused all my spare time and energy on learning marketing, advertising and scaling a business. I also made it my goal from that point to never trust the marketing and advertising of my business to someone else, or to someone with a lower vested interest in my success than I had.
One valuable lesson / mindset I had learned towards the end of this nightmare experience was:
“The marketing of your ‘thing’, instead of being the doer of your ‘thing’ is were the real value, growth and profit is made”…
I came across the above quote in one of the courses I was studying on advanced marketing strategies. What it really means is this:
“If your business needs to produce sales and profits to survive, then it doesn’t matter what products or services you sell, because first and foremost you’re in the marketing & sales business. What you actually sell or provide is important, but they’re secondary, because your products and services don’t market and sell themselves, so knowing how to market and sell is what will keep you in business and making money and the chances are your business is no different”.
For the first time, I had realized and accepted this very valuable lesson (fact). It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is, because without a steady supply of leads and customers (marketing & advertising system) the product itself is meaningless. Without any profits coming in, there is no business, or it only survives whilst constantly being a painful and stressful struggle until the money runs out.
For years I had been so caught up in the technical aspects and features of the product itself, I had failed to see things from a marketing point of view. Like many business owners, I had automatically assumed I was the most qualified to market and sell my product, because I developed it and therefore no one knew my product as well as I did. But I was totally unaware that knowing everything about your product and knowing how to market your product are not the same thing. Far from it in fact. I suppose I was too ignorant or naive to ever realize that?
This is something I have witnessed time and time again since then. When it comes to marketing, many businesses totally underestimate the importance and complexity of the the task..
My breakthrough and turning point – The ‘ah ha’ moment when I realized I had discovered something that actually worked..
After my business transfer was complete, for the next 18 months I continued to read marketing related books (on average 8~10 per month) I attended seminars, I enrolled in marketing, advertising and copywriting courses and I also joined two premium high-end business mastermind groups. Once I felt I had accumulated all information and tactics I needed, I sat down and came up with what I thought would be a simple initial marketing system.
I focused my attention on 3 keys areas to begin with, which were: Attraction, Conversion and Relationship – which means how to identify and attract more leads, enquires or traffic, how to convert them into customers and finally how to retain the customers. I now refer to these stages as ‘More Traffic, Increase Sales and Boost Profits’.
When building a marketing system, it becomes a complex machine built using a range of different tactics, strategies and technologies all working together to attract, convert and retain customers. I also incorporated traditional and digital marketings tactics as well as advanced copywriting principles (salesmanship in print).
I spoke to the owner of the business who had acquired my service and clients, and I showed him what I had come up with. We agreed to test just the attraction tactics. We started by looking at just one of their existing poor performing campaigns that had been running for 18 months but was only averaging 2 leads per month. After I had applied what I had learned and developed (my system) we relaunched the campaign. Within the first month we got 27 leads or a 1250% improvement. This was my first real test and I felt like I had made a significant breakthrough and turning point.
Consistent and sustainable results – Following the initial tests we started to expand the areas for me to test and improve. I applied the exact same method as before (diagnose, test and prescribe) and once again we started to get consistent and almost predictable results. At last, I felt like I had ‘got it’…. But had I? I knew I had to perform other tests on different types of businesses…
A simple to follow step-by-step system – Being an ‘analytical and linear thinker’ I put the things I’d been doing in the order I had experienced the best results. I then tweaked, fine tuned and improved each of the steps, which eventually morphed into what I call today:
The “Get More Customers” Step-by-Step Marketing & Advertising Blueprints System™ It’s like rocket fuel for business growth*…
*I continue to update and evolve the marketing & advertising blueprints as new technologies and opportunities arise.
Further validation – I showed my step-by-step marketing & advertising blueprints to two other very close business owner friends. I wanted them to test and validate what I had developed. I really wanted their feedback to help me improve further.
It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but I was delighted when they too started to get good results. I remember being on the subway train heading home and scanning through their marketing and sales data. I had a big cheesy grin on my face all the way home, I felt like a child who had just unwrapped a super cool gift…
For the first time in my business life, I felt confident I knew exactly what to do to get more customers and grow a business. This was also the first time someone suggested to me “Scott, you should do this full-time” I liked the idea a lot, but it wasn’t what I had intended to do. But knowing I already had 2 clients wanting my help, and after spending many restless nights thinking about it, in late 2011 I decided to start Asahina Marketing and Asahina Video (now combined into Scott Asahina Dot Com – SADC) to promote and offer my marketing, advertising and consulting services.
Why I decided to share my discoveries and help other businesses – When I was creating and testing The “Get More Customers” Step-by-Step Marketing & Advertising Blueprints System™ I realized that the subject of marketing, advertising and sales is such a wide, diverse and technical subject and that many business owners even with the best intentions get it horribly wrong. I also realized that I actually enjoyed the challenge and process of diagnosing problems, testing and prescribing solutions.
A couple of people had already suggested I should do this for a living (which I was seriously considering) but then by pure chance one day I came across a ‘Zig Ziglar’ quote that encouraged and motivated me to change my mind about what I wanted to do with my career. The quote is:
“You can have anything in life you want, simply by helping enough other people get what they want”…
It’s a simple ‘win win’ quote, but it had a huge impact on my business outlook and my personal philosophy going towards. So since 2011 my aim has been to help other genuine and sincere people (passionate business owners) get what they want. I know from experience, most people simply want to “get more customers and improve their cash-flow” which is exactly what I wanted when I started by business journey.
Summary and my advice to you – “I felt like a marketing victim”… I have had enough of marketing providers and advertising agencies. It got to the point where I was convinced they were only interested in selling their services to me, rather than actually caring enough to listen and help me market and sell my services.. I was sick of feeling lied too, betrayed, embarrassed and experiencing financial fear and anxiety.
Most of all I felt ashamed going home every night and telling my family that things hadn’t improved yet. Telling my then 5 year old daughter that the private piano lessons she wanted had to wait made me feel weak and inadequate as a father… It seemed like I was constantly making excuses. My daughter did her best to reassure me, but I knew she felt sad and disappointed… I hated feeling like that, so something had to change, and had to change soon…
So despite all the tragedy and market turmoil surrounding me, I decided to try and figure it all out myself… In the costly trial and error process, I consider myself fortunate to have eventually discovered and developed a complete step-by-step marketing and advertising blueprint system. A system designed to consistently and affordably attract, convert and retain customers. After I tested, tweaked and improved the processes, I let a few others test and validate it too. Finally, when I felt confident and with other people encouraging me to do it, I decided to start out on my own helping other businesses improve their marketing and get more customers.
Some would call this the traditional school of hard knocks. Looking back, I think it was a very tough yet great experience and journey, because I started out understanding the pain and frustration a lot of business owners experience. Ironically (the unexpected twist in my story) what I ended up developing is exactly what I wanted back then when I was struggling to get more customers for my own business. I really wish I knew then what I know today. But, that’s life I suppose.
So what’s next… If you have any problems attracting, converting or retaining customers, I strongly advise you to take one of the following two paths.
- Go out of your way and invest the time to study marketing and advertising to develop your own marketing system. It will be time and money very well spent.
- If you don’t have the time to take that path, then you should consider hiring a full time marketing manager (that you trust) or working with a marketing agency / consultant (like me) who has the ‘know how’ to not only build what you need, but also the experience to understand how you feel and what it means to you.
If you would like me to help you, I suggest you first go and watch my ‘Get More Customers’ free video to understand more about what I do and how to work with me…
If you’re still here, thank you for reading my unusual business journey and story.
I would like to close by wishing you every success with your marketing, advertising and building your business.
Marketing, Advertising and Sales Problem Solver
Being honest, how valuable is yours?
“Did you know that your ability to consistently and affordably attract, convert and retain customers, is the most valuable asset you’ll ever own in your business. It’s where the real value, growth and profit is made”…
Marketing, Advertising and Sales Problem Solver
Marketing in Japan™ Online Community
Marketing in Japan™ is an online community for business owners, entrepreneurs and startups who want to: (a) market and sell their products or services in Japan. (b) market and sell their products or services from Japan in other countries. It’s also for students wanting to study marketing in Japan.
We aim to become the ‘go to’ community where business owners, entrepreneurs, students and expert marketers come together to search for solutions, share ideas and experiences, get feedback and connect with other passionate people just like you… www.marketinginjapan.jp
Marketing in Japan™ Live Event Community
The official Marketing in Japan™ meetup is a live event community for small and medium size business owners, entrepreneurs, startups and students, who want to discover and learn how to market, advertise and sell more of their products or services, in and/or from Japan. www.meetup.com/marketinginjapan/
During the Marketing in Japan™ meetups, we will focus on the following two topics:
- Traffic – Attracting good quality traffic (leads, visitors or callers) into your business, website or store
- Conversion – Generating more income (sales) using proven tactics to convert more of your traffic into paying customers
We will hold (beginner, intermediate and advanced level) meetup sessions on developing, testing and improving a marketing system and advertising campaigns. We’ll also cover other marketing / business related topics that have proven to be popular based on your requests, votes and the analytical data we collect from Marketing in Japan www.marketinginjapan.jp website.
GET MORE CUSTOMERS?
I’m Scott Asahina and this is what I do:
Do you want to drive more traffic (leads, visitors or callers) to your business, website or store? If yes, please go to the ‘Get More Customers’ page to watch the short intro video to learn more.