July 13, 2022

Sabir x John Readman


John Readman is the founder of Modo25 and the man behind BOSCO. He’s a digital marketing specialist and in the latest episode of This Week With Sabir, he offered some of his most valuable tips for fellow marketers and business owners.

Here is a summary of what Readman had to say:

  • Find the Right Platform For You: Don’t assume that Facebook or Google is best for your business and don’t let someone else make that decision for you. Spread your budget, try them all, and see which one works. Alternatively, you can let BOSCO do the work for you.
  • Don’t Let Your Mistakes Defeat You: All entrepreneurs make mistakes. What defines us is how we deal with them. I have made them. Readman has made them. You will make them. Use your mistakes as a learning experience and don’t let them defeat you.
  • Amazon Isn’t Just for Amazon: Amazon is great for direct sales, but it’s so much more than that. It will also drive sales to your D2C business, attract B2B sales, and improve brand exposure. It’s the world’s biggest product search engine, after all.
  • The Benefits of Attribution Marketing: Think about where your leads are coming from and don’t get too caught up in the bottom of the funnel. Every platform plays a role as consumer actions are rarely as straightforward as “click and buy”.

Last but not least, John Readman advises all subscribers to remember that Business is all about people and you should only hire people you like, trust, and enjoy working alongside.

These are the elements of a successful online business and ones that every entrepreneur and business owner should seek to implement.

What Digital Marketing Platform Is Best For Your Brand?

John Readman is the founder and CEO of Modo25, a digital marketing company based in Leeds, England. He has over 20 years of digital marketing experience and used every bit of that experience to create BOSCO, a SaaS platform that uses machine learning to help clients improve their marketing outcomes.

There isn’t much that Readman doesn’t know about digital marketing, so I was delighted when he agreed to sit down for a chat on the latest episode of This Week With Sabir.

We discussed social media marketing, Google Ads marketing, and Amazon. You can watch the full interview here, with the guide below going into depth on some of the discussed topics.

If you’re building an online business or a personal brand, the following tips and techniques will help you to get the best results.

Find The Right Advertising Platform For Your Brand

One of the biggest challenges companies face is knowing which platforms to use and which ones work best.

The vast majority just opt for Facebook or Google. They follow the crowd and do what they think is working best for their competitors.

If they strike lucky and achieve a positive ROAS, that’s where they stay.

Why venture elsewhere if what you’re doing is already working for you?

But this tactic means they never truly understand what is right for them and whether an alternative platform would be better.

Even if you work with a digital marketing agency, you can never know if you’re doing what’s best for your brand.

Facebook marketing agencies will always tell you that Facebook is the best. Google Ad agencies will sink all of your funds into Shopping Ads and Search Ads.

They have preferences. They do what works for them and not necessarily what works for YOU.

Modo25 created BOSCO to help with this problem. It allows marketers and company owners to find the best platform. I recommended checking it out, but you can also do the legwork yourself.

Rather than spending $20,000 on Facebook in your first month and then judging it as a success/failure based on your returns, spread your money around.

Split that budget between Google, Facebook/Instagram, Bing, and Amazon.

And don’t just rely on direct marketing. You should also think about SEO, TikTok/YouTube videos, affiliate marketing, banner ads, and offline marketing.

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.

Learn From Your Mistakes And Keep Going Regardless

John Readman was one of the many business owners to be hit hard by the pandemic.

In our discussion, Readman explained that at the time of the pandemic, he had just acquired clients for his marketing business and all of them were in the hospitality sector.

It seemed like a good business to target. Advertising spend was up. The hospitality sector was flourishing. Times were good. But then the pandemic hit, the lockdowns began, and it was one of the sectors hit the hardest.

But Readman found a way out of the chaos. He realized—as many did—that while brick-and-mortar businesses were struggling, e-commerce was booming, and that’s where he placed his chips.

The growth that e-commerce experts were expecting in 2025 happened in 2020, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Many businesses collapsed during the pandemic while others were decimated and forcibly downsized. But the best entrepreneurs are always looking for opportunities and don’t let anything defeat them.

If you swing and miss, just take it as a lesson learned and move on.

There is no such thing as a flawless entrepreneur. We’ve all made mistakes. We all have scars.

In many ways, entrepreneurs are just well-informed risk-takers who know how to learn from their mistakes and have the constitution to keep going even when everything is falling around them.

Provide Your Customers With Frictionless Commerce

Consumers expect an easy and frictionless experience when making an online purchase. It doesn’t matter what you sell or where you sell it, your website must be user-friendly and fast shipping.

If not, you’ll lose your customers to Amazon and other retail giants.

It doesn’t matter how small you are. Most customers won’t care. Sure, there are customers who prefer to work with smaller brands and are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, but if that were true for all customers, our high streets would be filled with Mom and Pop stores and not dominated by retail conglomerates.

If it’s not as easy to do business with you as it is to do business with Amazon, why would they bother?

That doesn’t mean that you need to provide same-day or even next-day delivery. It means that:

  • Your product pages are populated with all the content a customer needs to make a decision
  • Your customer support is friendly, professional, and available
  • You have a returns policy or money-back guarantee
  • You have social proof in the form of reviews and testimonials
  • All questions about the product have been answered via images, video, product descriptions, or FAQs
  • You have the means for customers to track orders once they have been shipped

People expect frictionless commerce. If it’s not as easy doing business with you as Amazon, they will just use Amazon.

Full Funnel Marketing Vs. Last Paid Click

Most marketers focus on the last paid click. It’s all about what that customer clicked before they made a sale, but this doesn’t tell the whole story.

For example, let’s suppose you are spending $5,000 a month on Google Shopping Ads, Facebook Ads, and TikTok advertising.

You realize that only Google is generating a direct profit and so you stop all the other ads, only to see a sharp reduction in Google conversions.

That’s because customers don’t simply type a product into Google, click your ad, and buy what you’re selling.

They do their research, check customer reviews, and see what communities say.

The most recent thing I bought, for instance, was something I had seen advertised on TV. My first action was to watch a few videos of the product, after which I put it on the backburner before slowly being convinced by Facebook ads.

When I was eventually ready to buy, I ran a Google search and clicked a shopping ad.

If the company only focuses on conversions, they will only see that click and assume it did all of the work. But if not for their TV ads or Facebook Ads, I probably wouldn’t have known they existed and definitely wouldn’t have found that shopping ad.

Attribution models account for all of your advertising and help you to learn the customer journey and calculate how much value each channel provides.

It means you can balance your budget more effectively and ensure your money is being spent in areas that generate the highest return. It also means you can avoid fighting for those final clicks and bidding extortionate prices.

Don’t Overlook Good Old Fashioned Marketing Methods

John Readman says that digital marketing should be “more Mad Men and less math”. In other words, it should focus more on quality copyrighting and great ideas and less on analytics and fighting at the bottom of the funnel.

As noted above, it’s easy to forget about attribution and brand recognition when you’re getting results by bidding on specific keywords. But those keywords are getting more expensive and there’s always a more prominent company waiting to outbid you and take your clicks away.

Your position will be much less precarious if your marketing is more orientated toward quality copywriting, great taglines, and strong on-brand messages.

Copywriting should take priority. Rather than throwing your money at cheap social media promotors who will churn out low-quality posts, hire skilled writers who know how to write memorable, engaging, and convincing copy.

It always helps to have at least one good writer on your team. Not only can they help with advertising copy, but they can also produce blogs, how-to guides, website content, and scripts for YouTube/TikTok videos.

Remember That Amazon Is Not Just Amazon

Amazon is not just a storefront. It’s the most prominent product search engine on the internet, and it’s where many consumers start their search.

Let’s focus on a few scenarios to highlight why it’s crucial to get your products on Amazon:

  1. A consumer only uses Amazon. They are interested in the product you sell, but as they don’t search or buy outside of the platform, they are forced to buy from your competitors.
  2. A consumer uses Amazon as a search engine. They research your products and business and see what others are saying about it and what sort of range you offer.
  3. A consumer uses Amazon to complete a sale. They find your product on Facebook or Google before visiting your website. They like what they see, but prefer to use Amazon, a site they trust. They search for your products on Amazon and when they can’t find them, they give up and buy from a competitor instead.

A good Amazon listing backed by Amazon ads will improve your direct and indirect sales. It will also increase brand recognition and give you access to customers who would otherwise never make a purchase.

I recently had a client who wasn’t seeing as much success as they hoped with their Amazon Ads and so they decided to stop them. I warned them against doing so, but they did, and as a result, they lost a significant chunk of their Shopify sales.

They had assumed—as many do—that Amazon Ads were only drawing direct sales, all of which they could see and track. But many consumers were seeing those ads and then buying the brand’s products from their Shopify website.

If you sell wholesale, Amazon will also put your products in front of potential buyers.

Many professional buyers use Amazon for product research. They see which products are selling well and how consumers are responding. If they see that your product is doing well, they may offer to buy in bulk.

Last but not least, there are thousands of companies and entrepreneurs looking to buy successful Amazon businesses. If you have any hopes of selling your business now or in the future, you need to start listing on Amazon.

The $100,000 Question

“Business is all about people.”

That was John Readman’s answer when I asked for his $100,000 advice.

Your business is only as good as the people running it. You won’t go very far if you hire people who only care about collecting a paycheck and will do whatever they can to avoid work.

You need people who are committed, ambitious, and willing to work hard.

If you get a small number of highly motivated people on board, you can achieve great things.

This is especially true in the digital marketing space and it’s something I discussed at length in my guide to starting your own digital agency. But it’s also true for all other D2C and B2B companies.

A single employee willing to go the extra mile is worth more than all the analytics in the world. They will be your right-hand man. Your friend. Your biggest advocate. They will work just as hard as you do and won’t stop until your business goes where you want it to go.

These employees aren’t hard to find, but that’s why it’s important to take your time when recruiting and focus on the individual and their mindset and the qualifications on their CV.

In my experience, it’s often better to have someone who is dedicated, hard-working, and willing to learn than someone who has all the qualifications you need but is just going through the motions.

You can adapt the former to suit the needs of your business and mold them into a mirror image of yourself. As for the latter, their passion stops as soon as their working day is over.

It’s not just about motivation and dedication, either. You should also enjoy working with these people as you’ll be spending a lot of time with them.

Many entrepreneurs spend more time at the office than they do at home, and if your significant other also works or you have school-age children, there’s a good chance you’ll spend more time with your colleagues and co-founders than with your family.

If that time is enjoyable and productive, your life will be easier and your business will flourish as a result.

As Readman put it, “If you wouldn’t feel uncomfortable inviting someone around for lunch or going on a flight with them, you shouldn’t be hiring them.”

That doesn’t mean you can use this as an excuse to hire friends and family members, though.

As discussed several times on this blog, there are many positives to hiring people you know and love, but there are also a number of downsides. If you’re only hiring them because of their relationship to you, it means they may lack the skills needed to get the job done.

More importantly, what happens when they’re hungover and can’t be bothered to go to work? What happens when they fancy spending a few weeks in the sun or just don’t want to work for a few months? Are you going to treat them like you would any other employee and fire them, or will you give them multiple second chances and let them run your business into the ground?

By all means, hire family members and friends if you know they will work hard and you can trust them. But, oftentimes, the best employees are the ones experienced enough to do the job, motivated enough to work hard, and pleasant enough to spend all day with.

About John Readman

John has been working in digital marketing and e-commerce for over 20 years, during which he has grown several global digital marketing agencies and marketing technology businesses. During this time, he has enjoyed working with some of the world’s largest brands, helping them shape their online proposition and increase their e-commerce performance. These include Asos, Pepsi, BMW, Superdry, Honda, HP, Toyota, Argos, and Sigma Sports. John’s day-to-day role involves driving the vision of BOSCO™ forward. He is passionate about people and creating an environment that will enable the team to deliver the best possible software for our clients.

Modo25 is a Leeds-based digital marketing and in-housing agency specializing in SEO, PPC, Shopping, Paid Social, and Affiliates. Last year we launched our pioneering product – BOSCO. BOSCO is a SaaS digital marketing intelligence platform with machine learning and forecasting capabilities to help clients understand where to spend their marketing budget most effectively and accurately.

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