A skeptic’s guide to Digital Deepak’s Internship program

It was an early Saturday evening as I sat down to think about Deepak’s first assignment from his Digital Deepak Internship Program.

DigitalDeepak is a popular website helping people know more about Digital marketing. I was introduced to it via a Your Story course. Deepak, who runs DigitalDeepak, had taken a few sessions in that course. This post is about his Internship program, his first class and my learnings from it so far.

Disclaimer: It’s a long post of 1800+ words. The last section is a TL;DR. It has my take on the Internship Program.


“That’s smart!”, I thought as I heard Deepak talk about the first assignment. Batch 2 of his internship program had just started. This was the first class. As expected there was a visible enthusiasm in the 700-odd virtual participants. Almost everyone eager to show and prove that they are as serious about it as anyone can be.

Deepak had the first assignment well thought out. He pushed his students to create a blog while making all of us organically promote his program. He had asked us to create a blog post and write about our learnings from the first class in his program. He also asked us to link his website.

“Very smart!”, I re-iterated to myself. The assignment not only pushed us – the students – to take action but also promoted his website and program.

Deepak added all of us to a private Facebook group. Within a few hours, the submissions started flowing in, in the Facebook group. People were incredibly enthusiastic. Deepak had nurtured a fabulous following for himself. Yes, he has been in this industry and running the website for a while but this is admirable. It shows that he has been delivering value.

I admired him for that.

The Backstory

This is the 2nd time Deepak is doing this program. I still remember the mail when I received it for the first time. I am a skeptic. I do not get swayed easily by promising marketing offers. But I am also a keen learner. So I do take up any learning opportunity that excites me. This internship program and the prospect of getting mentored by Deepak himself excited me.

I was introduced to Deepak in YourStory’s Startup Course. He and his co-founder of their company PixelTrack, Sanjay Shenoy had taken up the Marketing part in the course. A google search on him and an email subscription to his website followed. From there, I was part of his periodic emails. I liked what Deepak wrote. His content reflected a certain honesty that is rare in many programs.

I further bought his Marketing Mastery courses as I had decided to take Digital Marketing as the core focus of my business this year. But it was only last week that I started looking at his courses. The content was good. There was a lot I could learn from him.

In short, I liked Deepak, his style of delivering content and his marketing tactics. I wanted to learn more from him. So, when he offered the internship program – I was ready. I was not only being a student of his course but also a keen observer of his promotion and marketing strategy.

I missed joining his first batch. So, joining the second batch was a no-brainer.

My goals and what program offered

So, I had clear goals from this program. I wanted to start a digital marketing agency and scale it to $25k/month in revenues by the end of this year. It is a very ambitious target. The timeline is incredibly steep. So, I needed as much help as I can get. This internship program thus was a blessing.

The internship program offered mentorship and basic training on Digital Marketing for about 7 weeks. It covered the basics of topics like Copywriting/Sales, WordPress, Lead Generation, Google/FB ads, etc.

Every class is followed by an assignment and every assignment has a payment attached. We pay fees upfront and if we complete all assignments and do it well, we get our money back plus some more.

As a skeptic, I had my questions on the efficacy of the course. Will this be enough? How will Deepak address 700 people while helping each of them to their satisfaction? I decided to let me time tell me an answer while I do my side of work.

His First class

He had his first class on 25th Feb. It was a generic introduction to the world of Marketing, Digital Marketing and basic economics. “Interesting” I quipped to myself. It wasn’t revelatory for me. But I come from a privileged background with adequate exposure to books and knowledge. For many, the session was their first exposure to the basics of economics and business.

What was more interesting about his class was that he coerced people to build better habits and be a lifelong learner. I liked that.

My top three learnings from the first class

The top 3 things that stuck with me from the class were:

1. Find your niche.

You can’t be a jack of all trades and expect to make it big. In today’s age, you have to become an expert in one and then grow from there. That’ll help you get clients and grow exponentially.

How do you find your niche? Well, it has to be a blend of what you like and what people would pay for. (Ikigai anyone?) It is not straight forward and we might have to experiment with many things before we find one. But that’s the way to grow big.

2. Personal branding is the way to go.

Because most of us are new to Digital Marketing, the only way to establish credibility is to build a personal brand. As we build it, our personal brand will rub off on our business and clients will trust us with their work.

So, building a personal brand is paramount to becoming a successful digital marketer.

3. Creating a system via a funnel.

To scale, you need to become redundant. Meaning, you should be able to automate the process so much so that the system works even when you are not there. Now you obviously cannot have it on day 1 but you should keep striving towards that.

This is where Integrated digital marketing also comes in. At the core of it, is good valuable content. And around the content, you have systems to reach potential customers. The more automated the system becomes, the more scalable it is.

Pic source: digitaldeepak.com

I do, I understand.

Confucius once said – “I hear, I forget. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.”

So, explaining the theory is all good. And I know many others can explain it much better than me. But the more important question is – how do I practice the class’ learnings?

So this is what I did in the last few days to internalize the learnings:

0. Taking notes

My first step was, of course, to gather everything that has happened since the start of the program. The Facebook group had some very useful posts, particularly from Krishna Prashanth. Many students had shared their assignments on the group as well.

So, I decided to read them and learn from other’s work and posts first. After reading some 15-20 posts, I learned a whole host of things that had skipped my mind. I list a few of my favorite ones here:

a. Blog post by Mandeep Mehta

b. Blog post by Roy Bhargav

c. Batch 1 post by Nandu Pillai

d. Batch 1 post by Ankit Ladia

1. Setting up a new blog.

I have been a blogger for over 10 years now. So, the writing wasn’t the problem. I had never set up a custom WordPress blog. So, I decided to take it up and try it.

I watched Deepak’s lecture on hosting a website. And then I researched on different hosting options. I bought myself a hosting account from Siteground.com. And then I set up this basic WordPress site. It was easy.

Krishna Prasanth gave a cool idea of using the Hemingway app and Grammarly to form a near-perfect content. I grabbed onto the idea and used both for this blog post. I got an overall score of 91 in Grammarly and managed to keep the grade to 4 in the Hemingway app.

Then I decided to look a bit into SEO stuff. How do I popularize this new blog? What can I do?

2. Some basic SEO stuff

Coincidentally, Sanjay – Deepak’s co-founder at PixelTrack, had a session on Technical SEO this week. I took cues from it to make my title and URL have “Digital Deepak” and “Internship Program”. I called up a friend who was a content writer herself. I asked her to help me understand what I do after Keyword research on a topic.

Deepak had already covered parts on how to do Keyword research. So that helped. He had suggested to use tools like Google Auto Suggest, Answer the Public and Keywords everywhere, etc.

3. Finding the niche

I watched a tutorial by Deepak on Finding the niche, from one of his courses. His course gave a list of areas in Digital Marketing. I created a horizontal list with it. Then I created a vertical list of industries/topics that interests me.

The goal was to pick one horizontal and one vertical to form my niche. I made a few options by picking such combos. Then I applied my filter of interest and earning potential. I knew my goal was to find an area that excites me and would give me the potential to get my revenue goal of $25k by Dec 2020.

This exercise gave me one clear winner. I decided to give “Google SEO for Software products” a try. One, because I am a tech guy and the fields of SEO and software excite me. Two, because there is a potential in this field to touch the revenues I am targeting.

So, “Google SEO for Software products” it is. Let’s see how that goes.

4. Personal branding

I already had a domain with my name. I decided to use that to set up this blog and develop a personal brand over time. So, I intend to make this blog about “Google SEO” and “SEO in software products”.

TL;DR – My take on the course so far

The course is an excellent tool to give your Digital marketing journey a sense of direction. It is not going to make you an excellent Digital marketer. No course can do that. But it would nudge you to take action and work towards becoming a good one. So, if you are thinking about whether to join this course or not – it’s worth it. Go for it.

For me, Deepak’s mentorship is the key differentiator here. He knows his shit. And he is always there to help you out. So, learning from him will expedite your journey.

I, for one, have started mine. Have you?

Until next time,

Shyam

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