Robert: Welcome to the eCommerce Marketing podcast. Today’s guest is John Lawson. John Lawson is the go to authority when it comes to online selling success. He is the number one Amazon best selling author. He’s also a speaker. He’s an entrepreneur. Welcome to eCommerce Marketing Podcast John. How are you doing?

John: I’m doing super fantastic man. Thank you for having me on.

Robert: Thank you for being here. If you can just give us a quick background of how you got into online marketing and what your company does.

John: Basically, I started in eCommerce back in 2001 because I was going bankrupt and needed some money to make my house payment.

Robert: Okay.

John: I started selling books around my house on eBay. Long story short, that turned into me leaving my corporate job where I use to work for one of the top 10 consulting firms in America, and they only handled the top 100 clients, so I left that job in 2004 to do business on eBay. I was asked to be a beta tester for the 3rd party program on Amazon when they first started out back in 2006-2007, and the rest is kind of history.

Robert: Congratulations on making that successful transition.

John: That was fun.

Robert: For today’s topic it’s the end of year and we are recording this in December. The reason I thought of this topic was come January a lot of businesses are going to be in their planning stages or planning their whole action plan and the strategy. Some of have already done this or are doing this right now, but the topic we’re going to be looking at is the one thing eCommerce businesses should be focusing on next year in 2016. What’s the one eCommerce marketing strategy businesses should focus on in 2016 and that’s why I have you on since you are the go to authority when it comes to online selling. I wanted to know your take or what strategy businesses should focus on in 2016.

John: I think the small and medium business, the area where they can get the most traction in marketing is with personalization. We need to take personalization seriously and this is the year to do it if you haven’t done it already and if you are doing it, tweak it.

Robert: What do you mean by personalization?

John: You want to be able to deliver a unique experience to every customer so that customer will find that experience with shopping with you, engaging. That includes a 1-to-1 type of marketing, so it’s not like everything I talk to. I talk to in crowds. It’s going from the we to the you, the I to the me.

Robert: Do you have any examples of some brands out there that do successful personalization that people can look at if they try use this strategy?

John: If you want to be like the big boys then be like the big boys, so you need to be on the list of the companies that you want to be like and see what they’re doing. I just did this the other day and I went inside of my e-mail box, and I looked at all of the e-mails that came from the Amazon store. If I looked at what Amazon did, marketing wise, in my Inbox for the month of December; if you just looked at how that works. When do they say “John, here’s something to do”, and when do they say “Oh, here’s our new Black Friday specials.” They do it very specifically and I noticed there was a huge ramp up of personalization starting one week out from Black Friday. They started all of their Black Friday and Cyber Monday e-mails on November 1st however, they started the personalization of the e-mails around November 11th.

You’ve got to think about what are they doing. Started teasing backwards and figure out what it is that you can emulate because the deal is, if you look at the market leaders, and that’s where you want to be, then all you got to do is follow their steps. Is follow the yellow brick road. It leads you to the Wiz.

Robert: Why do you think personalization is effective? Why will businesses start to see more results when they start to personalize?

John: Absolutely. You ever walked down the street and somebody calls you name? What’s the first thing you do?

Robert: You turn around.

John: You turn around, right? They got your attention, right?

Robert: Yeah.

John: Now let’s say you turn around and the person that’s calling the name is looking past you at somebody else that has the same name as you, right? You do this move, it’s like “Are you talking to me?” You like you’re confused and to figure out “Are you really talking directly at me?” Because the best word in any language is a person’s name, so when you can put that into your marketing, that simple thing, that simple personalization, already gets your e-mail noticed before other people’s e-mail.

Now once I get into the e-mail and I see that you’re giving me a unique buyer journey for me as a customer, then I’m more likely to go follow through and click on that ad that you want me to look at, or that item that you want me to consider buying.

Robert: It’s good that you brought up the name, so businesses, okay, should be keeping record of their customer’s names, but when you talk about personalization, should you go beyond just the name?

John: Absolutely.

Robert: Like as if you’re creating a customer hub. It is like a persona, but you want a really full persona that has all the details?

John: Yeah, or as much detail as you can get.

Robert: Okay.

John: All right? The first thing is that you have to realize that the average customer is going to have 5 touch points on average before they make, or do, the buy. A conversion, on average, comes after 5 touch points with a customer, so the first thing you want to do is start touching them again. All right? So we can get to that number.  The other thing is if you walk into a gym right now and you’re looking to join the gym, and you’re a male, they’re going to show you a totally different gym experience than they will if it’s a female that walks in the door.

The guys comes in the gym because he wants to get bigger. The woman comes into the gym because she wants to be more stealth and smaller. The machines that they will show will be totally different. They might walk you around to all the weightlifting machines and here’s all the free ones we’ve got and when the woman comes in the door, they’ll say “Here’s all the cardio machines. Here’s the ones for your gluts”, and these kind of things.

Based on just the fact that they’re male or female, their giving different buyer journey for the customer experience. You got to tease out what are the things that are most important. Are they male or female? Are they a younger generation or an older generation? Are they a new customer or they repeat customers? Are they visual or are they textual? Do they spend a lot of money or little bit of money? All of these little touch points, when you understand that and talk to that specific crowd, the way you talk to somebody that just spent $10,000 dollars at your store is totally different then the guy that only spends a quarter. When you walk into a casino, the people that are big money gamblers have a whole different room and an entirely different experience. If you want to understand personalization, visit Las Vegas. They got it down.

What we want to try to do now is with all of these tools that we got: The Infusionsoft, the Ontraport, and a HubSpot, and all of these kind of tools, is how do we get better personalization because we understand that we’re moving from target marketing, which is like Personalization 101; here’s our target and we’re going to market to this specific target, but we now know that personalization is even greater than just target marketing.

Robert: You mentioned some tools. You mentioned the Infusionsoft and HubSpot; are there other tools that are actually great when it comes to personalization that people need to be looking at, or need to use, to start collecting this information and just make the whole personalization experience on their website better?

John: Here’s five that are pretty fabulous, all right? They’re pretty interchangeable. I could give you my top one and I’m not even going to say that, I’ll give you the top five that I think are pretty good for this kind of audience. Definitely is Infusionsoft, Ontraport, HubSpot, ActOn and Marketo. I think those are good. Now there’re some other ones that are out there and I think are good as well, but it’s all about what you want to do and what you’re going to be able to learn because the tool is not the magic.

Robert: With all of these tools that you mentioned, are they comparable? Do they all do the same thing? It doesn’t matter which one somebody picks? Do they work together or you just have to pick one of them?

John: You just have to pick one of them and learn it. The thing you really want to be able to do is to hypersegment your list, so that you know that people that, like I said, if you come in and you make a purchase and I realize that that purchase you’ve made are multiple occasions then I want to talk to you a little bit differently then somebody just got on our e-mail list. On somebody that just got on our list, I want to nurture them a little bit, as opposed to somebody that’s a consistent repeat customer.

Robert: With personalization, is this a trend that you’re seeing that’s going to be on the rise with basically all of the businesses online, in the digital business? Is this something that’s really on the rise that you’re seeing people starting to do, or do more often, or being advised to do it, or is this just your won personal opinion from your experience in business?

John: You know what’s happening is that the tools are finally catching up with the technique. Gary Vaynerchuk always talks about this one thing that always sits in my head, when he was talking about the butcher. Back in the old days, the butcher knew exactly what kind of meat your mother would go into the store and want. The deal was, you come in and she likes the lamb chops and the lamb chops are there on Tuesday. She doesn’t come in on Tuesday. She had something go on, but on Wednesday she walks into the store and the meat cutter knows that she normally gets them on Tuesday says to her “Ma’am I didn’t see you there on Tuesday, but aside some of our fresh cut lambs for you. I figured you’d be in this week.” Now guess what? When it comes to whether I’m going to go to Wal-Mart or this meat cutter, I’m going back to the guy that knows me. This is not something that is new, it’s a principle. It’s a universal principle, but what’s happening now is the tools are allowing us to be able to emulate that in the eCommerce space.

Robert: John, thanks for sharing that. I hope people take that and they use that in 2016. If people wanted to follow you, find out the latest things you’re up to, where should they search and find you?

John: They should go to Google and type in ColderICE, you find me. Trust me.

Robert: Don’t even go to the website, just Google?

John: Yeah, that’s right. I’d rather you Google it and then whatever medium you like the best, you pick that one. You want Twitter? I’m on there. You want Facebook? I’m on there.

Robert: The name ColderICE, how did you come up with that and is there any significance, or any meaning behind that?

John: Well you know here in the U.S., a long time ago man, there was a thing called segregation.

Robert: Yes.

John: Segregation, of course, was well blacks would drink out of this water fountain and whites would drink out of this water fountain. Everything was black and white, right? The deal was, what people don’t realize is, that there was a huge black business industry, so because you couldn’t go the white hotel, they had black hotels. You couldn’t ride the white cabs, they had black cabs. Everything that emulated on one side had to be duplicated on the other side, so there were a whole lot of black businesses, but what happened when segregation ended, that there were a lot of black store owners and shop owners that would watch all of their customers walk right past their stores to go Downtown and shop at Macy’s where they were never allowed to go.

Those black store owners had this saying where it was “Oh guess the white man’s ice is colder”, and that’s where I came up with ColderICE.

Robert: Okay.

John: It’s a cool story, but I mean I think there’s no such thing as colder ice, I just thought it was cool.

Robert: Yeah, it is a cool story. Any final thoughts you have as far as personalization?

John: I’m coming up with this like it’s little acronym is MLM. All right? Because hates MLM. I can’t stand Multilevel Marketing, but I want to change that and I want you to think of it as Mail Like you Mean It, all right?

Robert: Mail like you Mean It?

John: Yeah, I know. I get it, it’s like five words, but we’re doing it MLM, Mail Like you Mean It. That’ll make you remember, so what you want to do is start using things like paid ads, and retargeting, to get people into your e-mail list because at the flick of a button they will be on to another site. A flick of their thumb and they’re on another side, but once you open the e-mail, you have those people’s attention, so that’s why I think e-mail is becoming even more important. The thing that social media was suppose to kill is actually giving it new life.

Robert: Thanks John for being of the podcast. I really appreciate you coming on and sharing the personalization strategy and hopefully in 2016, people focus on personalization.

John: Absolutely. Thanks Robert.

Robert: Take care.