The other day I had 45 minutes of free time between two meetings in the Zvezda cafe at the BTC shopping center. A while ago I started thinking about buying a TV for our bedroom (it seems that my wife and I have reached that point in our lives), so I decided to walk to Big Bang, our largest electronics department store chain, where I could see the offer that I had been browsing in their online store a couple of days ago.

I stopped at the TV department looking for the model that I had found interesting online. After a couple of minutes, a salesman came up to me and we started chatting.

»Hello. The size of the screen is the most important thing while looking for the right TV. If you can tell me the distance from your couch to your TV, I may be able to help you with your choice.«

That made me think. It’s so natural to talk to the buyer in the context of the product that he is currently looking at. It’s also very effective. But it seems they can only do it in person. Their websites and email campaigns do not reflect this. As if approaching customers in a way that creates a conversation is not important online.

As if approaching customers in a way that creates a conversation is not important online. Click To Tweet

90% of emails in my email spam folder are of the following type: »Dear Mr. Igor Pauletič, we are offering a good deal on a new Phillips vacuum cleaner. We guarantee the lowest available price, 25% energy savings and free bags for the first year…«. It’s nice to be addressed by my name, but I am interested in TVs, so I can watch the evening news in my bedroom.

Even segmentation of recipients based on previous purchases and adapted content is mostly out of context. Knowing past purchases is crucial mostly for knowing what you probably cannot sell to a customer again. If definitely does not reveal anything useful about someone who just started their purchasing process. Can you imagine how interesting the Big Bang newsletter could be if they addressed me in the same manner as their salesmen did in the store?

Knowing past purchases of the customers only tells you what you cannot sell again. Click To Tweet

All of this is not that impossible and inaccessible for someone with a serious business. Just the opposite. Addressing the customer according to their area of interest and readiness to buy does not require a huge investment in technology and content. This is just what any skilled salesman would do by watching the customer in the store and figuring out their interests.

Reading this guide will quickly show 8 other good reasons for using marketing automation and content marketing to ensure the success of your business in the future.


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3 things bother me on FrodX’s website:

  1. You cannot figure out what FrodX is doing in 2 seconds. 
  2. It generates way too many DIY leads (these do not have potential – they only learn how to do something themselves).
  3. 4 out of 5 challenges we receive are sent by people who don’t really want our services or cannot afford them.

Item 1 is actually my biggest problem. Maybe not so much because the visitor needs to delve deeper to begin our cooperation, but because my wife and kids cannot explain what I’m doing. If anyone asks them, they say I am an entrepreneur.

No one cares about you! Click To Tweet

My idea for fixing the first problem of FrodX’s website was quite simple: use one sentence in the slider on the home page to explain what we’re doing. I suggested to Fedja and Jerneja that we should replace the current one “Adapt your business to the changed buying behavior of your customers!” with one that would be a common denominator of our services and solutions and a result of our work: “We help you adapt your marketing and sales to the changed buying behavior of your customers!”.

This “small” change seemed like a really great idea. Everyone understands it. This solves all 3 problems in a way. But Fedja quickly said that we won’t be doing that.

“You forgot about the rule we repeat all the time – No one cares about you. What about your rules on what to write and what not to write?”

The buyer is only interested in content connected to the problem s/he wants to solve

Damn it, he’s right. People only care about their own problems and solutions for them. You just annoy them by talking about yourself. If a company selling mattresses publishes their vision, goals and values on the website and an address by the executive director, that won’t bring me any closer to ordering. I am not interested in that. This only interests them. Before I buy, I want to find out which mattress I would need considering my weight, size and sleeping habits. What is the difference between a latex mattress and a foam mattress? What is the difference between HR foam and regular foam? How can I customize the mattress according to my needs and what do I have to look out for?

You just annoy customers by talking about yourself. Click To Tweet

Sometimes we get carried away. Even those of us who make their living by consulting companies and helping them shape their marketing approach or digital marketing automation. This is why it’s convenient to write down the rules or laws that we have to follow at our work. We create a checklist that will be our fallback when we’re creating a project for our customer. It helps us so we do not get carried away by new, non-proven ideas.

If you do not know how a buyer thinks, do not burden yourself with the rules of online growth

Yes, people act much differently online than in real life. Norms are also completely different when we cross the digital foothold. We can nevertheless attribute most of the (digital) marketing mistakes to the fact that companies talk to themselves and describe their products instead of solving the customers’ problems.

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I spent the last weekend in Bovec with my son. We were there for his golf tournament, so naturally, we arrived a day early to play a practice round. After we played our game, we had a drink at the clubhouse, where we joined a group of locals who had a few glasses already. We started talking, and I was asked about what I do for a living (speaking of which, my children are still embarrassed in school when they have to explain what their father does. The children of cooks, doctors, mechanics are lucky in this respect).

When I said that I am developing marketing in a world where marketing no longer works, I struck a nerve in a man who owns one of the camps in Bovec. He began to explain that despite all of his marketing activities, his revenue decreased by over 30% even though his reservations were 20% better than the previous year, and 90% of overnight stays come from regular guests. “The weather forecast from Ljubljana ruined me! Even though there was no rain in the end, the forecast said there would be. While everyone in Slovenia was drowning, we had sunny days in Bovec.” I waited for a bit for him to finish his rant, and then asked him a few questions, well aware of the fact that people will do everything but face their problems…

People will do everything but face their problems. A look from the outside is sometimes required. Click To Tweet

This man has a very simple problem. He needs to persuade his existing customers or, even better, the customers that made a reservation, that mathematical weather forecast models are not always accurate and that this wonderful valley is blessed by a local microclimate. We discussed how much a guest costs him and quickly established that the costs a visitor incurs is almost zero. All of his costs are fixed campsite costs, since he needs to provide the same services to run a camp – whether its half empty or full. I wondered, how much could he make with an open camp? Is it better to have an empty camp since the weather forecast from Ljubljana says it will rain, or would you rather announce that camping will be free of charge if it rains, even though the local weather forecast says there’s a high chance of it happening?

My advice was simple: “If you are sure that the local wise men who have been living in the valley for 80 years are able to predict the weather better than the weather agencies, and you know on Thursday that the weekend won’t be a rainy one, focus all your marketing efforts into convincing your regular guests and guests with pre-season reservations, that they should trust the weather report by the locals. This should be your key message every Thursday. If you provide assurance that camping will be free or significantly reduced in cost if it rains, customers will believe your local weather forecast. And even when you’re inevitably wrong, they won’t blame you.” Lawyers don’t represent themselves and doctors go to other doctors. When we develop our own services and processes, we ask people we trust outside our company.

When we develop our own services and processes, we ask people we trust outside our company. How about you? Click To Tweet

Habits are the biggest barrier in strategic decision making – especially routines that accept that some things cannot be changed, and others cannot be influenced. Everyone who visited us for a cup of coffee got an interesting perspective on their problems and solutions. Some of them have later became our customers, and others will probably join them soon.

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PS. You are welcome to join us for a cup of coffee as well.

[sf_button colour=”orange” type=”sf-icon-reveal” size=”standard” link=”” target=”_blank” icon=”ss-mug” dropshadow=”no” extraclass=””]I’m coming for a coffee[/sf_button]

Too many companies, mostly in the service industry, still believe that they do not need a website or that a web presentation containing only their contact information and a presentation of the company is enough. Yes, in 2015.

I had a chance to speak to some of these managers and business owners in the last 3 weeks. Their main argument was that their service cannot be bought online, so they do not need more than just a web presentation.

A web presentation is no longer enough. Click To Tweet

FrodX’s services cannot be ordered online and you cannot enter into a contract with us this way, but our web presence is still the main source where we get (or lose) our sales. Even though it may at first seem that we don’t even explain what we are doing, people who are trying to find inspiration for increasing sales usually become our regular readers. Those who like our way of thinking, our approach to solving challenges, sooner or later trust us with their business challenges. This is the key goal of our web presence. Draw leads with their challenges and define a wide outline for a solution. If the lead likes it and we find it feasible and profitable, we prepare an offer for its realization.

The fact is that we changed our buying habits. Not only the consumers who research and buy products for their own needs. The same is true in business – when we are buying something for our company, we wish to research available offers, check the providers, their references, their approach… We are looking for a credible and professional provider. Self directed buyers who wish to know everything about the product or service before they contact the salesperson are quite common nowadays. Mostly for one simple reason – information is so easily available. Everything is just a click away. If it’s online. But there are still businesses which think that their buyers have different buying habits from their own and that their company only needs a simple web presentation for 200 €.

Any online information is only a click away. Click To Tweet

I will not quote research data stating what percentage of the purchase decision engaged customers make before they contact sales personnel. I want you to think about how you’re acting as a customer and why you didn’t even give a chance to some providers when you were exploring. Why did you disqualify them from your search? Even more directly – what does your website offer that will animate leads so strongly that they would like to contact you? A web presentation with contacts for 200 € definitely isn’t it. Quite the opposite – a lacking web presence will even take some value away from recommendations by satisfied customers.

If the recommendations by satisfied customers and the good name that accompanies them are not enough to satisfy your growth aspirations, a modern and well conceived web presence is the best available alternative. It plays a key role in the purchase process of your leads who look for solutions online and search, evaluate and compare different solutions. This is how they evaluate your professional competence and compare you to your competitors. Solely based on what they can read about you and them with a couple of clicks online. All of a sudden, a 200 € website doesn’t sound like a good idea, don’t you think?

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PS. If you want to learn how Brian handled communication with customers, read our quick guide “How to transition to inbound marketing”.