Shannon: OK. Well, we’re going to go ahead and get started. Welcome to Marketplace Seller Courses. This is our first official Facebook live webinar for our new series. We’re going to be doing it about weekly. If you’re joining us on Zoom, that’s our webinar platform or Facebook live and we just want to welcome you. I’m here today with my very special guest, Eric Kooymans. He has over 15 years of experience in the E-commerce, digital marketing, online marketing, lead generation space. And he’s just a wealth of knowledge.
Two fun facts about Eric, the first is that he– one of his first jobs, he had a $12 million ad budget and got it down to 2 million while increasing the lead generation for the company. Unbelievable what he was able to accomplish right of out of the gate. And the second is when we were freshmen, he ran a business from his college dorm room and they actually called him one day and said, what in the world are you doing? I think they routed 75 calls to his dorm room that day. So, Eric, thanks for joining us and welcome.
Eric: Thank you. Thank you, Shannon, I appreciate your time. Thanks.
Shannon: So, a little housekeeping, just to give everybody an overview. You have a chat window if you’re joining us on Zoom. For Facebook Live, you can write comments in the– underneath the video. And we will be able to get to those towards the end of the webinar. Again, what we’re talking about today is diversification. And Eric, when we kind of went over this it blew me away to just hear some of the things just to get a sneak peek of what you’re going to talk about.
This is absolutely huge and essential not only for Amazon sellers but really, anybody in e-commerce space. It can be a make it or break it in a lot of ways. And so, we’ll get into that but like I said, I just wanted to say, thanks again for joining and let’s go ahead and dive in. So why don’t you give us a sort of an overview of what we’re going to be talking about today and then we’ll start to dig a little deeper.
Eric: Yup, sounds good. So, with that as– thank you for everybody for being here today. One thing I just wanted to kind– as we get started, if you’ve taken Shannon’s courses or selling on Amazon, you– hopefully you have all of your accounts setup good, you have– your products are optimized, you understand how to effectively launch a product and if not, that’s something that I definitely recommend with Shannon’s courses. But with that, what we were going to talk about today is kind of after you get everything perfect and everything in a good place, what do you do next? Where– how do you kind of– in the back of your head, you might be saying, “Hey, you know, Amazon is doing great but at any point, I could be shut off.”
We could have a customer service issue, we could have a supplier issue and there’s this always that one less little tension of “Hey, am I really in control of my own fate when it comes to selling online?” And so that’s one of the big things that we’re going to address in this five action steps that everybody can take that really just kind of give some good overview and– of what you can do to help diversify and really have true kind of online stable success. And so, that’s the goal and I’m excited to go over there with that.
Shannon: Yeah. And for anybody who is either not able to join today or you’re not able to stay the whole time, we’re recording the entire thing, it was still live on Facebook. It will also be available on the website afterward. We’ll have some downloads and Eric has actually written up a more in-depth blog post to go with this and so we’ll send a follow-up email with the recap of all that information, contact information so you can catch the full thing online. So…
Eric: Great. Great. And that’s the big goal today is not to overwhelm you with too much information but to kind of give a good overview and then from there, if you’d be able to follow-up with the guest post and some of the other information with the different links and everything. So, you don’t have to write everything down, we’ll provide everything you need and go from there. So, OK?
1. Product Diversification
Shannon: Great. Well, Eric, let’s go ahead and get started. What’s the first action step that people need to– sellers need to be aware of?
Eric: Well, when it comes to diversification, the big thing is product diversification. Oftentimes, sellers have one category that they’re strong and if it were to be for example apparel or sports stuff or whatever the niche that they might be in. It has a very good strong niche with that. However, as you know with Amazon, it’s a very competitive space and that if you have a good thing going, nobody– somebody else there eventually. And even if you are a manufacturer, there are other issues that come with the competition kind of the race to the bottom.
So, it’s always good and important to diversify but not just all products in different categories inside of Amazon but it’s also when it comes to vendors. You know Black Friday is a crazy time and nobody an estimate how good and how much things go viral and different things by nature. And so, you know, if you have a situation where you have a customer service issue or you have suppliers not able to meet the fulfillment time, you could be shut off at any time. So that’s really you know, the goal what we kind of like to recommend is to really try to not put all your eggs in one basket but to be– have a diversified strategy in terms of products and vendors but also not just–also the times of the year.
So it’s in a sense that if you’re big in holiday time period and that’s your craziest time period, well, what are you doing for the summer time period? What are you doing for the New Year’s resolutioners? What are you doing for football season? Different things of that nature so you don’t just have one big spike at the end of the year but you have kind of a diversified strategy throughout the year and then from there, if you were to have any issues one supply or not, It’s not the end of the world and you’re able to weather those storms and also good successes and as you sell more products and so on and so forth. So…
Shannon: Yeah, And there’s two stats that I have for that. The first one is I was reading yesterday a thousand sellers joining Amazon every single day.
Shannon: A thousand sellers a day. So, if you’re considering that in fact, you have a competition, the answer is yes, you have a competition in whatever space. And people are always looking for areas that have less competition. So, that’s one important thing and the other one is as far as getting your account shut down, I think that 2017 Feedvisor survey showed that that was the number one concern for Amazon sellers was getting suspended and it’s very real. You don’t even have to do anything wrong per se.
There is one customer with one of the clients that I worked with yesterday, one customer had a misunderstanding, they put negative seller feedback in and Amazon suspended the account over one negative seller feedback based on the algorithm and– ooh, you’re working to get that result and reinstate it. But, the fact of the matter is you can basically be doing everything right and still face that very real challenge and concern and what you’re saying is not only do you want to diversify outside of the Amazon but even with Amazon in different products and different categories and throughout the year, you want to have a diversified strategy. So, if your whole strategy resolves or revolves around one category or one or two products around Christmas time and you have one thing happen with that, it could basically capsize the business.
Eric: Exactly. Exactly. And the big thing when you’re thinking about diversification, you don’t want to just guess out of them or say, hey, I think this one widget might be great. The best part is there’s tools out there. One, of course, the Google keyword planner but there’s other paid tools like keyword.io as well as Sonar tool from Sellics.
Eric: Those are two tools that would tell you how many people are searching for it on Amazon. And so those things that– as well as other different marketplaces and channels. And so those are things that you don’t want to just guess and say, hey, I think this is going to do great. You really want to kind of go with the plan and to see, “Hey, this is really trending in the right direction.” You can look at Google trends and just really be able to understand, hey, am I do– making the right investment. And don’t guess at it, there is enough knowledge out there and you’re going to be able to say, “Hey, is this the one, you know, is this the good niche to be in?” And then of course, always do just kind of a little competitor analysis on Amazon and say, hey, you know, is it 50 sellers on this one product or this one niche and then from there be able to make an educated, you know, do an educated decision on this.
Shannon: Yeah. That’s a really the point. All right, Well, let’s dive in what else do we have in terms of–
2. Marketplace Diversification
Eric: The next thing is basically when it comes to diversification is also a marketplace diversification. Of course, Amazon is always the leader. There it’s having the most growth, you have to play at Amazon, getting off good– everything they need and they’re always going to be a leader. However, the game is changing and there’s a lot more different opportunities that are out there and a lot of big companies making big investments to play ball against Amazon and you want to be there to be in the upfront of those, you know the start of those waves.
And when I kind of think about it is this Amazon, I almost think of it as free money as in the sense that you have– you’re leveraging somebody else’s traffic and you’re able to get you know for the time which that is available to you, we want to use that cash flow as an opportunity to diversify and to really– to really– not just on the Amazon but to other marketplaces. But the nice part about it is that there’s a lot of different tools that can get you on a lot of different marketplaces quicker and specifically, there’s Wal-Mart, there’s eBay, there’s Jet, there’s Etsy, there’s a whole handful of different marketplaces.
And there are tools now that are very cheap that– or cost effective that will easily allow you to get on those, some of those are listing mirror, Ecomdash, Skubana, of course, ChannelAdvisor, Celebrate. Those are just the handful ones but you know with some of these tools, you could be live on three to five marketplaces in a week or two. And starting as low as $69.00 a month. And then from there, as you get the sales and get things cranking, then you can then work on, you know, work on getting more advanced tools and doing things better. But you got– you have to be able to diversify and for example, we had one customer who had a problem with their eBay and that’s 33% of their business last year. And so that’s OK, it was turning Black Friday time, they were down over Black Friday but Walmart made up for it and so that was something that is needed see.
Also, with Walmart, they usually open up about over 100 new stores a year. And this year, they made a conscious effort and alerted all of their stockholders that they basically– they’re only going to open up 24 stores because they’re focusing all online. So, that’s where it’s going to start playing ball. And then also, the near part about it are tools that are really kind of leading the way on where to go, on where the industry is going. So for example, ShipStation, you get to integrate with 22 marketplaces with just your one basic ShipStation account. So with that, if you’re in– at the small product base, you could quickly add your products to those and then from there, you can quickly pull all the orders and then their fulfillment is all in the same location. So if you have one channel or 22 channels, it’s all the same thing to you.
Eric: You can also, as you kind of walk before you run and go, there is also a ChannelAdvisor, it– it integrates 90, they 92 marketplaces and they’re one of the leaders out there. So that’s something that the space is really changing. the Ecomdash of the world, listing mirror, those are tools– that Skubana, they’re really coming along in the way and are really helping lead this challenge. And now, it’s not a situation where you say, I’m already going crazy, I can’t expand anymore. Well now, you have the tools to make life simpler and to make…
Eric: …fulfillment easier and to make inventory management accomplishable. And so, that’s the exciting part.
Shannon: Well, and there’s a couple of things along with that. The first is that right now, the stats– they’re trending every year but 50% of products searches now start on Amazon.
Shannon: And that trend started back in 2012 when Google started charging to be eliciting Google shopping. Before it’s free, you just put your feet in and Google you know, will be able to list your product. When they started charging and that dropped off because the number of sellers selling the products on Google Shopping decreased then people saw the product selection was less, you know, it wasn’t consolidated. So, even though Amazon gets 50% of the initial product searches, not everybody searches on Amazon.
Shannon: And not everybody buys on Amazon. And some people specifically, you know are against it or just have other preferences and so you want to make sure that you’re in front of those people as well. One, to just increase sales but also two, like we said to diversify and…
Eric: And really, the goal is to spread the risks because that if you’re making an investment in the products or marketing side of things or hiring people, you– it is your responsibility to be as you know to give us as many sales channels as possible so that you can avoid the hiccups. Then the whole goal is that if you have an issue, you’re not out of business or down 50%, you’re down 10% or 20%.
Eric: I mean that’s kind of the goal. And then the neat part about it is that EDI, that’s a way to integrate within the really big refills with the home depots, the wayfarers, the Targets. That’s become easier with a logic fulcrum and ShipStation integration so that’s a very cost-effective $550,000.00 investment where you’re able to now, all of a sudden start taking EDI orders and fulfill them easier. Also, the second-tier engines, those are the Housers, the Newegg, the Rocket10, grommet, Wish, there’s a lot of these new ones that are coming out and you’re like, well, I really want to spend my time there. And the question is this a 50 or you know the 25 to 50,000, $100,000 little pot to help you, you know. And that’s something that it’s really neat and some of these are really kind of going to the next level. In Ace hardware, they just bought The Grommet. That’s going to be the new up-and-coming different marketplace and things of that nature.
And then also, there’s flash sales. If you’ve got the product development, down, you know this is something that there’s a lot of different sites that you could run a one or two day deal. And from there be able to get a nice, good, pop you know 50 to a couple of hundred thousand dollars and that’s something that they don’t want to do with your main product line all the time and all of that. But if you got the product schedule down, you can schedule these throughout the year and be able to kind of have a little pop here and there and to be able to do that.
Shannon: I mean and I think some of the marketplaces that we set up, it was hiring people– there are people who do this…
Shannon: …that’s for a very low hourly rate, they know the marketplace and there’s always, you have a consolidated spreadsheet or database for your product information. So product titles, features, descriptions, categories and then UPC codes, map prices, MSRP, and photos.
Eric: Jumpin the gun! We’re going to go over that. So you– I got you… don’t get overwhelmed we got a full action plan.
Shannon: Yeah. There are ways to make it cost effective and go on people feel overwhelmed and they– I can’t do it all myself, you shouldn’t think that you’re going to…
Shannon: do it all yourself.
Eric: Exactly. And will let people to–
Shannon: So, let’s move on for sure.
3. E-commerce Diversification
Eric: Yeah. We’re going to give you the detailed map of how to accomplish that effectively and so on and so forth. So, the next piece is E-commerce diversification. And, everybody, you know this is something where when you look at– when you look at your online strategy, marketplaces take care of other people’s traffic so that’s something that’s always good to do but you’re still not being fully in control. You don’t own the customer, you don’t have the email address, you can’t remarket, you can’t send out email blasts and you really can’t grow that brand. And that’s where you know branding is always something that you want to kind of be working on and you use this revenue that you’re getting from the marketplace to help really build your own community, your own E-commerce environment.
And that’s something where you can build on with Shopify. You could build a branded website where you don’t have to worry about security. You don’t have to worry about hosting. It’s $29.00 a month, you can get some more you know some more bells and whistles but that’s something where you could manage and be able to set up a branded website very cost-effectively. Now, you have to have a strong content strategy. I’m not going to say, “Hey, you set up a website, you’re going to go make millions,” that’s not the case. You have to be able to hold in to invest in that. But that’s where you got to think about, you’re getting this marketplace revenue, be always investing into your own, into your own property so then you can ingrain value for your target audiences and then be able to do that. And then next thing…
Shannon: Along with that, I want to do a quick shout out, can you mention, because you actually just did a post that lists some of the top shop five plug-ins, one of the strengths that I see you continually have is your ability to keep track of not what has just happened in the past to be successful but what’s trending and always on the lookout for new tools. Always looking at what’s upcoming, mention that real quick so I think that could be really helpful for people to say I’ve got a basic Shopify site but there are so many things you can do with it. Just– I just want you to mention that blockbuster quick what you can say.
Eric: Well, with that, if you’re not seeing a 20 to 60% increase year over year with your website, then there’s something wrong. And by that, Shopify is a great tool. It’s one of the fastest growing. It’s over 400,000 stores use it but it has some holes or some things that you need to kind of fill. And the neat part of that is there’s a bunch of plugins over like 2000 or 3000 plugin apps that you could install. It basically helps fill those gaps that take care of the customer service issues, that take care of the upsell, the cross sell, all the different things that greatly increase your sales.
And so, you don’t want to just go set up at what you know, a store then send a bunch of traffic to that with no content or no, you know none of the upsell and cross-sell side of things. And so, they’re definitely– we just launched it last month but with that, it basically goes over the must-have plugins and also the cost justification for each. You don’t want to go install a bunch of plugins and– that never get the ROI. There’s reasons for each one. There’s no right, no wrong way of doing it. We’ve kind of map that out to be able to help you with your E-commerce store and so on and so forth.
So– but the whole goal is just that you got to start, you have to start building your own environment and the reason why these marketplaces do well is they get lots of people wanting to put content on the website and products and so on and so forth. So that’s where you need to start that as well. And you can’t just go through up an e-commerce site with no content expect to do that. You have to add value to the conversation. You have to play the game Google wants you to play to be able to do that and there’s lots of opportunities with that. So, and then–
Shannon: Yeah, I’ll just go and mention on that side, one of the things that I think a lot of people think about– they think of it like strange fibers in terms you investing your strengths and not your weaknesses.
Shannon: And so, I had a client last month say, “You know, Amazon is not doing 90% of our sales.”
Shannon: And so the thought with that mentality is what Amazon is our strength let’s just invest more in the Amazon, but that’s really problematic. Because like you said, one it can get turned off anytime but two, you’ve got to have that diversification to protect yourself and basically for risk. But you can also increase your sales. It’s not simply a throwaway investment. You’ll actually see an increase across the board when you do this and implement.
Eric: Absolutely. And we’ll go over some of that– the market diversification next and some of the different things you do to increase the Amazon sales but definitely you know the whole goal here if you want to create a good platform, a good foundation and then grill it. And so that’s kind of where you know you want to get the marketplace a setup. You want to get that diversification there but then you want to get your branded site going. And then also, if there is an opportunity and then you’re paying in your industry and if you’re selling, for example, T-shirts and grills or sports equipment and different things.
Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense to have one site. And that’s where a non-branded site that is very keyword rich that already has been built, that has been out there for many, you know, many, many years, you can go buy a domain that ranks on, you know, 2, 3, page 2, 3, or 4, redesign it and then all of a sudden, be on page 1. And then from there, you have your branded site which is going to start getting there but you could buy a site or buy a domain, put a good website together with a great content strategy and then the ranking to be your leader for the couple of niches that you’re in.
And then you have your three to five sites, you know, E-commerce strategy, you have your three to five sites, you know, marketplace diversification and then now, if you have an issue, you’re losing 10% or 5% and not a lot more. And so that’s the kind of a goal where you’re spreading that risk and you’re controlling your own fate and growing and using that cash to be able to build your own marketplaces. You control the email of customers that you can remarket to and all of those things.
Shannon: And it’s also we grow a brand faster.
Shannon: So one of the apparel companies I worked with for the last couple of years, they had to sell their apparel line and so they bought a website specific to that. I’m going to think, you know, for a minimal cost in terms of the return, it was incredibly cost-effective. And like you said, now it’s having multiple websites, Facebook channels, and all that stuff. But then finding a solution to integrate it so it doesn’t feel like you’re having to spread yourself too thin, you know, built out a full content strategy for that but it allows you– it could take you months or years to rank for certain keyword if it’s just a subcategory on your site. But if it’s a domain URL, the whole content strategy around that site is built there.
And if it’s– or specifically if it was an existing domain previously, it already has those backlinks in, you can buy a site even if it’s been dormant for a while. You know, over– you probably could have– you know over a four to six months period, start to ramp that up and see that accomplishable you know, SEO goal…
Shannon: …much faster than you would than if you’re just doing it on your own website.
Eric: Yeah and we have sites that have been, that are old sites that have been down for three to five years and still within three to six months, they increase. But it has to have that age and has to have a good keyword, you know, the keyword structure in the domains but the whole goal is tha yet, yeah, you know are being able to rank for things that your brand and site can never accomplish or not in a good time period. And that’s where in a three– you know, 3 to 12-month strategy, you could have three, two or three sites either ranking in a good number.
And also, with plugins, there’s a store-copy plugin from Rewind. They can literally copy your site and make another one and then you change up your content and all the different details, all of the Ecomdash, ChannelAdvosor, Listing Mirror, you can use all of those tools that quickly be able to manage all of your products in one place and be able to push into multiple sites. So, we’re not talking about increasing workload, we’re talking about increasing diversification. And of course, you got to have your content team doing things which we’ll go over here a little bit. But, that’s kind of a quick summary. So.
Shannon: Yeah. and the last thing on that is if you have a website or whatever that you’re– you have quite a diversity of products or you know, it encompasses a fairly large audience with a more specific brand of site. You’re also going to get a higher conversion rate because it’s…
Shannon: …much more specific and it’s like, you know, you’re using MailChimp or something and they say, “Hey if you send a targeted email, you’re going to get a much higher open rate or much higher click-through rate than if you just send it to everybody.” So, when you do a product or product line specific site, it allows you to rank faster, it allows you to get a better conversion rate typically in higher engagement and you can build an audience around. You can create your Facebook page, Twitter account, Pinterest, Instagram, etcetera.
Eric: Yup. And it’s the same thing with you know, with some– with the different sites. You can do things that Amazon can’t. and also, for example, Chewy, their big thing is they create reoccurring orders. You can make one order for dog food and get it once a month for five years, you know. Or, as long as your credit card expires. So that’s kind of a situation where on your website with the plugins that Shopify provides, you can do things, provide the quantity discounts, provide the upsell, cross-sell that you can’t do on the Amazon. And, you get the customer and you get to send email blasts and be able to directly target specifically the audience that they are wanting to target. So, that’s…
Shannon: A quick note on that. Amazon did just enable the option to set up subscribe and save for regular sellers on seller central. So, we’ve just on-boarded a handful of clients with that. I think it– it’s– it depends on how many products they have enrolled. I know we buy diapers and dog’s– [Laughter] so…
Shannon: …we use it every month and you can adjust it but…
Shannon: …basically, you enable it, you activate it and then you upload your products and it’s– it only takes 10 minutes or so.
Shannon: It allows that subscribe and save to show up on your products in your seller central account that was previously only available to vendor central. So, if you get the opportunity, but again, of course, as Eric was mentioning, you want to diversify and put that on your own site as well.
Shannon: That way, the benefited value is not just on Amazon. You say, hey, you can do the same thing from your own website…
Shannon: …without having to manually keep track of all these.
4. Marketing Diversification
Eric: Yep. That’s exciting, definitely. All right, So, let’s move on to the next one which is basically marketing diversification. And this is the key to not just growing your marketplaces but also your– not just your own websites but also your marketplaces as a whole. So the big thing what we always start off with is you got to kind of have a video. And it’s a video that not just– yo don’t want to just upload a spreadsheet of tons and tons of products. But, you really need to make– get people to help understand the “Why,” that “Oh, my gosh! I got to have this product” video. And that’s something where the neat part about it and Shannon can provide some links for that but there are some different tools that are out there for just a couple of hundred dollars to be able to get you that.
And you can even– depending on what p[roducts you have. You know, you could just be doing that with an iPhone type scenario. But the goal is that doing that, when you get a video on your product sites, on your product pages on your Amazon listings, you can really be able to increase sales if some sets, say, it’s high as 33%. And that’s the goal where you are– you’re going to use this for marketing. But you also could help increase conversion rates. And so, that’s just kind of the first thing that we love to– as you can use this throughout the marketing strategy that we’re about to go over. So.
Shannon: Well, and there’s two– so there’s two resources that I can think of that at the top of my head. The first is one of the ones that you’re referring to is 30-second explainer videos.
Shannon: It’s that great little 2-D animation and those, you can get those start at a couple of hundred bucks and it’s more to increase the time but if you have a product that sort of showing in a different way of doing something or product that does something uniquely, that’s a great place to start because the cost is so minimal.
Shannon: For other ones like AMZ product video which is specific to Amazon, you cannot only pay that to have them create the video and it’s much more effective than to several thousand dollars.
Shannon: But they’ll actually shoot live footage of your product, demonstrating it, unboxing, etcetera. And they’ll actually put that video on Amazon on your detailed page which has the ability to kind of do that. But I think with the videos, you have the ability to use them anywhere. And so, the video is just so big that in a world full of still images, and product copy, the video stands out because all you have to do is watch it play and sit back and just see all the features and benefits and it definitely is the way to differentiate yourself in those marketplaces including your website.
Eric: Yeah. I reck– excuse me, on the stat, it said something about 80% of online traffic will be videos in the next couple of years. And so that’s something that– that is really greatly increasing, a lot with social which is about to go over a little bit but there’s just a lot of opportunities there. So the next thing that two is going to kind of skim through a couple of things here but if you aren’t already doing it, you got to have specifically with marketplaces, you need to have your review management place.
There’s a feedback genius that basically makes that and not just trying to get more reviews but you’re trying to stop the bad ones. And that’s just kind of a real– a real goal that we definitely have to have. When it comes to your ad strategy, you know, Amazon provides the ability for you to put on sponsored listings. And that’s the situation where we kind of look at it and say, hey, you can– you got to be able to take to the 20% of your marketing, of your revenue and put it towards the product. And that’s just the A-cost that you have to be able to work in your pricing. You might say, hey, that’s not– I don’t have the margins for that. Well, in today’s, world, you need to add the margins for that.
And so basically, it could be a situation where you just got to do that to get things going to get over the hump. But everybody in the big budgets are doing that so you have to be able to play that game. And the neat part about this is all the different marketplaces are doing something. There’s a service called credo that can get your ads on the all the big marketplaces. Of course, eBay– eBay has theirs when you pay after the sale happens which is great. Walmart’s got theirs cranking. And, it’s a situation where it’s now, it’s not just AdWords that you need to do in Google shopping and all of that in Google search and display and remarketing.
But, no, there’s the ad budgets that you got to have for Amazon and you just take a piece of your revenue out and you put that towards it but you got bo– you get the products over the hump and you play– everybody’s playing the ball. And once you can increase your sales and your organic– you know, the reviews and all that, it will help everything as a whole. So that’s just the part…
Eric: …that you got to have to be doing.
Shannon: Well, there’s two points about the first is that you have the regular Amazon campaigns, you have manual and automatic. Manually, you can really drill down and do specific bids, specific keywords for specific products. Automate allows you to show up is related sponsored [0:30:34.2] [Indiscernible] on other competitor listings which is really important. So we always recommend running those side by side, side by side. I’ve got an article on marketplace on courses that talk about that. But…
Shannon: ..the other thing that if you have brand registry which means if you own a brand, it’s a registered trademark, you can get brand registry 2.0 if you don’t already have it on Amazon. And that allows you to do what they call headline ads. And that’s basically ads that show right up at the top, again, it was previously available only to vendor central. But because it’s limited now, because only people with brand registry and the people who know about it. Because a lot of people with brand registry, they still don’t even know about it, don’t use it.
Shannon: And you have typical 15 to 20% ACoS. We’ve seen down from 1.5% to 2.5% to like 5% for the headline ads.
Shannon: That’s because you have less competition, you can do lower bids and it shows up right at the top, it’ll show three products and you can add content. So it’s huge opportunity if they’re not doing the headline ads and you have the brand with brand registry or registered trademark. You definitely want to jump on that. And also consider running automated campaigns along with your manual ones.
Shannon: And, as Eric mentions, people think of it OK, if I’m selling $10,000.00 a month on Amazon, and I have a 20% a-cost, acquired cost and sale for my campaigns and you’re like, OK, I’m giving away 20% of it but you have to run the campaigns to, as Eric said, to prime the listings, to continue to get on traffic. And what that will do is as you run sponsored campaigns to your listings, you’ll increase your organic search results and search ranking to help your products continue to grow organically.
So, even though you’re a-cost is 20%, your sponsor may only be 20 to 30% of your entire revenue. So, there’s 70% that you’re not spending anything on it. You have to spread that and consider that investment on that end. So, huge, huge aspects to grow the business on that end.
Eric: Yep, definitely. Great! So, the next part where the exciting stuff comes and if you– if everything we’ve said thus far is kind of like yeah, yeah, I know that. Well, this is the part that the secret sauce that you’re going to get really excited about. So, the big thing that they’ll help your Amazon, as well as all of your market leg place listings as well as your website and your organic sales, is the influence of marketing. And with that– what do we mean by that? Basically, a lot of people have said, OK, hey you know what, it takes six months to two years to get a product going just because it just takes a while. Well, that’s where the ads come in that helps. We talked about all the diversification so I think, we just talked about.
But the big goal is that now there’s tools like a Ninja outreach, a scrunch about Sumo that you can go and find influence or people that are talking about on Instagram, on YouTube, on their website, on their blogs. I’m talking about the categories, the topic, or the target audience that you’re trying to reach. And then from there, you can then give them– contact them, send them products to review, get a blog post, ask to do a guest plug, do what influence the roundtable. But the goal is, and this is where the key is is that one, you’ve created your website now so can get a backlink from that blog to your website that helps your organic volume.
But the big key is you also have the video. And that’s where you can say, “Hey, can you post this video on your web– on your social media? Where then, with a link to your Amazon listing and that’s where you can get a big influx of a– a big influx of views and orders that then from there, your organic rankings in the Google search and the Amazon search engines or in that Walmart or what have you, whatever marketplace that you’re marketing. And then from there, it will greatly increase your sales. And the neat part about that is that’s one of those featured best-sellers are coming. That’s where the great increase of sales comes from. It’s not actually from something happens starting on Amazon that’s– you know, ads, all that’s going to help.
But the big thing is that you can get influencers that kind of a win-win. They can even get their little referral fee from Amazon through the Amazon associate program. And from there, you don’t have to pay for that marketing, that’s something that they– that Amazon does. And with that, the whole goal is that you find target audience of people that their audience will love your product and these tools can help you do that. And then from there, it’s the videos get that much more come– click, you know, views and then a quick link to right there on your Amazon page to buy and it’s a perfect storm and that’s the goal is that throughout Black Friday cyber week, you want to have contacted a whole bunch of influencers and each day.
Your Sat– you’re going to have on Monday, Black Friday week, you can have two or three go out. You go on Tuesday, you’re going to have two or three go out. Some niche you may have to pay for, some niche– no problem. I’ll do it for you, you don’t even have to ask. They’ve already got scheduled. But you got to have that really cool video. You got to have the links. You got to have to provide the resources so they can easily go and do that. You don’t want to waste their time. But it’s something that that influence or outreach, the tools are there now, it’s accomplishable, you can easily contact a couple hundred influencers a day with Ninja outreach. You can have other people do it for you in different things and, but that’s the part that can get a product to be a top seller when you launch this much quicker.
I mean, in a couple of days timeframe. And there’s a bunch– you know, a bunch of different opportunities with influencers on every niche that’s out there. so.
Shannon: I want to mention a couple of things on that. The first is Amazon just adjusted their Amazon affiliate programs and associate fees and stuff. But some people say, “Well, why would somebody just drive traffic to Amazon for an associate fee? Well, the first thing is they are going to provide an affiliate link to Amazon. They’re already what’s called an Amazon associate by the Amazon affiliate program. They’re going to provide the link to Amazon to your product but they don’t just credit for that product. They’re going to give credit for every other product that the customer adds to their cart and checks out.
And, when I’m on Amazon, I really buy one thing. So, I have– one of the clients I was talking, he– he did this and he just got a credit for somebody. They added one of his products to their cart but they also bought a $600.00 iPhone and he got credit for that. So, so there’s a huge upside for affiliates because unlike your, you know, driving traffic to your website which you have paid the affiliate commission, Amazon’s affiliate commission is less but you have the bigger opportunity especially around the holidays that speeds– that people are like, they click an affiliate link and then check out all of their Christmas presents, you know, it’s really big.
The other thing that’s important is you can also do giveaways you know, on the site. And then, for people who don’t win the giveaway, you’re linking Amazon. And the other thing that’s really important that I want to mention is I’ve talked to sellers to talk about, well, in order to keep my ranking or get my ranking organically, I have to giveaway literally, thousands of products a day. And for me, it’s just the biggest no-brainer, there’s no reason to give away a product. You shouldn’t ever be giving away unless it’s a very initial launch, brand-new product in a very, you know, niche thing. But what you want to consider is you can do coupon codes in addition.
So, I have clients that say, I’m going to reach out to this affiliate. I’m going to give them a coupon code and for people to use that and with that coupon code, I’ll actually give that influencer an additional kickback in addition to what the Amazon gives.
Shannon: Now, the thing that we’ve seen is you want a verified purchase for you. if you’re giving away a product, you’re not able to get verified purchase reviews. And verified purchase reviews are highly outweighed non-verified purchase reviews. We found it to be 20% so if you do a coupon code and you give a coupon code to an influencer or an affiliate, you want it to be 20% or less. If you go up to 20%, that customer review when they click through and buy your product even with that coupon code, it will still be a verified purchase if they give a review. If it’s any more, if it’s 30, 40, 50% off, that’s not going to be a verified purchase. So, I recommend keeping that in mind. But it’s a great way to do it. Like you said, all you got to do is reach out, provide the assets, provide the information.
And a lot of these people’s Facebook, you know, users facebook groups, they’ve got an audience and their goal is to provide content. Hey, what’s new? What’s hot? What’s a great way to save you time or save you money? And if you’re providing a product that fits in line with that, they are looking for those. In fact, we’ve experienced this. You know, one of the clients that we’ve worked with last year where we didn’t even ask them. They found the video, they put the whole thing together, they did the link to Amazon and it blew off an took off because they were just looking for cool new products to show to you their base, their audience base and happen to be in Amazon affiliate link.
Eric: Yep. And that’s the goal is that you know, there are those people that actively do this. And for that one customer, we calculated some of them got over $10,000.00 in that 24-hour timeframe just due to the influence or the influencer link that they would have posted– they posted. And so, that’s a situation where there’s lots of company– lots of money bloggers and different types of sites that have huge social audience that they don’t even know this exists but they know they love your product and if you could reach out to them and say, “Hey, here’s your product. Can you write a review, can you give me your feedback?
Get their help and then from there, they love to and if you can link to them from your website or push their social link on your social and from there it just starts that ball rolling. It may not be the first 1, 2, 3, or 4 but then all of a sudden, the more bigger ones kind of will see that and there’s like, “My gosh, this product again! Am I– and it really helps take off.” You know, to get people to see it take off, you know, with the exposure and visibility with that. So, it’s such…
Eric: …a good thing. Great, so the next part when it comes to marketing is also the content marketing. Now, we talked about all that influenced the marketing, that’s where we– you know, really try to get people to want to you know, want to push your videos and links to go towards social through their social platforms. So with that, there’s also the ability to do things on your website. So if you– if you are the– you know, you’re selling a certain product, you really want to become the leader. And the thought, that the person that adds value for that niche.
And from there, you, know, you can even outsource us to have people help write content for you. But with that, you know, this is something that– that the whole goal with your website is you got to provide value, you have to be able to greatly increase the ex– the reason of why people want to come to your site. You create the good content and then you– and you can also– can even be as we mentioned before, reviews, guest posts, you know, different things of that nature.
But, you really got to get the links, the backlinks to your website up. And so that basically the– you know, you can even do competitor backlinks. There’s a tool called “a href” which will basically tell you that all of the links that your competitors have and from there, what the value of those are. You can look– you can go quickly click on the links, see what it is, contact that person to see if they can you know, add you to the list of top 10 things to do this is or you know– you know, whatever the article might be.
But that’s really the goal is that what we don’t want to just have great pops or social pops that’s great. But you going to have a long-term growth and that’s where the content marketing, really makes the difference. And so, if you’re able to blog once or twice a month, once or twice a week, whatever it might be but the whole goal is that it has to happen. You don’t want to just hope and say, “Hey, why are my sales down?” or “Why am I not seeing that good growth?” And the reason is that you’re not trying to get that. And your websites aren’t doing great and it won’t be doing good or be growing if you’re not adding value to the conversation. Google used to say “Hey, it’s good, if you have a content, if you do, we’ll help you out.” Well, now they’re saying that “If you have thin content, you can actually penalize.” And so product content, that’s technically duplicative content oftentimes. It could be on Amazon first, it could be somebody else’s content contents.
So that’s where you have to add product content– sorry– add additional content to your collection pages, you need to start blogging and getting content on there to help support your collection pages, you’d have good content on your homepage. And from there, then also providing good content on other people’s sites that are basically good relevant linking back to you. And so, there could be a situation– but there’s companies, you can look at, you know, Ninja outreach has a whole class on some of the different backlink analysis tools. But basically, you know, that there’s companies that– been out there that a basically written 80 guest post on a bunch of different blogs and then from there, getting hundreds and thousands of people to the website just do…
Eric: …to get in the right places. They’re doing the different podcasts the webinars all the different things, but the goal is that wherever people are if there’s an audience like’s you’re doing with marketplaces, you’ve got to do that with other places as well. Because people are, you know, looking for content. They’re on Facebook scrolling through things they’re looking to try to learn. If you’ve got a product that answers to that– a– that answers are fixes somebody’s problem, then you can provide content around that too and you’re adding value that separates you, separate from somebody else that are separate from an Amazon or a website and go from there. So.
Shannon: Eric, let’s drill into that. Because that’s so important, I don’t want to, I don’t want to pass that up. I want to go just to one next lower level.
Shannon: You mentioned like you can’t just do this stuff, you have to have a strategy around it that somebody could say, “OK. Well, I’ve got a part-time employee or an intern and they’re great at guest blogging and blogging stuff.” And they’re just putting out content. But content for content sake is not going to do much. Can you talk about two things that are really important, if you’re going to do a blog post?
Shannon: Specifically, I’m thinking in terms of SEO keyword research.
Shannon: And then audience relevance. Can you talk…
Shannon: …about those can be part of the strategy? Because if just do blogs for blog’s sake, that’s all they’re going to be and maybe a couple people read them, but it’s not going to be part of the long-term strategy. Can you drill down just to the next level on those two?
Eric: Yeah. Absolutely, it’s very– it’s a great point. Because it’s a big– the big thing is that content for content is not going to do great. And really– also blogs can actually hurt if it’s not done effectively. It can hurt your website as a whole because you got– when you build a website, you’re figuring it out you’re doing the keyword research about, “What am I trying to get people to the site for?” I have a collection that sells these products. I have you know, these five products in that collection. And all of it and you basically build out your content map of where you want people to go to because Google has to say, “Hey, do I link your blog first or your collection first?” You want them to go to your collection page and so, and you don’t want to overlap. And that’s the key is that you use your blogs to help go for something that you can’t technically go for with your collection pages or your category pages with that on your website, or your product page. You want to send on one product, you want to send to a collection with a bunch of products.
So that’s where your contents got to be, you know, very focused. If you’re starting somewhere, you’re going to say, “OK. First, we’re going to do a homepage content.|” And then you got a good collection content or content on your category pages. And then you start blogging and you put together, hey here’s the content map of what I’m going for, I did the keyword research, I check this one off, I got that one, I’m going for that, check the next one off, I’m going for that. But then, with that– then what’s accomplishable? What are the lower hanging fruits? Now, if I write a blog about Hey, Five-ways to do this and each five or five of those little things…
Eric: …with this one thing, you can start ranking for those and use your blogs to drive people back to your main collection pages and that’s kind of where content for content, definitely is not going to work. And then from there, you have to be very intentional not stuff, don’t get– you know old-school SEO bad– you know, hardcore keyword stuffing but you really got to be very intentional with “Hey, my goal for this blog is going to rank for these three things. So, I’m not going to rank for that, I’m going to go link to these things.” So from there, you’re providing value, you get a good, real-life, don’t be– you know, it’s got to be– kind of have your own candor, your own personality, your own– it’s got to be interesting and engaging.
And from there, then with that venue– but when you’re in with the copywriter at the back of your head saying, “Hey, I want to rank for these three things.” “I’m going to provide traffic of these three products” and it can’t be– when you’re doing a guest blog, you know, some people are like, “Hey, kindly use 250 words?” or “What does it need to be?” Well, there’s– Google isn’t saying that’s what you have to have but the goal is at least it’s 450 words or more. And you’re like, “Well, that’s a lot of words.”
But then the social studies say that hey, sites that have over– pages that have over– it was 11 to 1400 words were ranking on the top 5 on Google. And the top first spot gets 33% of clicks. So that’s a good place, you’re trying to get to that place. So, how do you do that effectively? And that’s where basically you have to really do the keyword research. You got to be able to understand what are people looking for. You’re not going to mind blog, just write a blog about it. You got to be you know, provide value to know what they’re looking for.
And then also, where is going to be? What’s their big problem? How are you going to help them? What’s the value that you’re providing and then be able to really make content that you can skim that you can really– and you know, people spend– you got seven seconds to get their attention and you got to be able to keep them reading. And so you got to have the– you know, the bones, the H2’s, the ability for them to quickly be able to scan.
Shannon: Certain graphics or photos or that sort of thing.
Eric: Exactly. And also the bullet points and all those different things so that you’re engaging and people want to like you on Facebook, they want to keep getting that. They want to subscribe to your newsletter. And also, to be able to help accomplish those ranking goals but not step on your toes of your collection pages, you know and all of that. So, it’s very important. You know, content strategies are great but there’s a lot of ways you’re doing it wrong. You know, having a blog on blog dot your domain dot com. It basically doesn’t– it actually hurt– it’s starting from scratch. You want to have it on your main domain. So picking the right platform is very important.
You know those different tools out there that say “Hey, no, it’s fine!” but really, Google thinks those two domains differently and so you want to have it on the main one. And that’s just the different things of that nature. So, there’s a lot of things that go through a content strategy. If you’re– you know, one setup at a time after this to be aware we’re having this .questions. I can go into more detail but that’s the part that separates, that gives you either downward growth now or upward growth is this content strategy.
And that’s really the goal not just on your website but also in marketplaces and getting the enhanced brand content to be able to have lots of content with good value that helps people, that really– people are looking for that. They’re not just going to buy by “Oh, this looks great!” they have to know what’s in it. They have to know where it is. And so, you’re going to provide that value and you– you know, and your website has to gra– establish with credibility and the authority and that’s how you do it with great content. So.
Shannon: I think– I think that, you know, to give an example of an article, if you search Amazon SEO there’s an article by Nathan Grimm from the responsive hero, I think four or five years ago something like 1200 words and it still one of the top ranking articles. And, it’s because it has a significant amount of content, there’s comment underneath and it continues to maintain relevance. But it also continues to gain backlinks and so forth. So if you have really good strong content, it can achieve that, if you have weak content nobody’s going to link to it, it’s going to fall off eventually like you said as I heard you. So.
Eric: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
Shannon: What else?
5. Tools and Team Diversification
Eric: Here’s the last piece. So, you know, this is where– I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed by what we just talked about, you know, in a sense that you like “Oh, my gosh! I can barely handle what I got. Q4 is coming, this is just blowing my mind. Where do I start? You know, “How do I make this accomplishable?” OK? And so that’s the key, so the fourth part is basically, tools and team versification.
And so we talk about this tool, you know, you’re diversifying into you know, into multiple marketplaces. So, I’m not saying go and create all these five different accounts and let’s just kind of, you know, get a bunch of emails and try to start by filling them. That’s not a scalable growth. And that’s not something that, you know, growing not effectively hurt and hurts you. So that’s where the tools are very important, you know. As I mentioned, there’s Listing Mirror, Ecomdash, those are two that are under $100 that basically can get you on those five main marketplaces quickly and there are some more advanced ones as well.
Also, order management, you can’t kill your support team, you know, you got to be– make it. So it’s got to be able to link to it but if you have a ShipStation or you know, an order management system that allows you order hive, you know, a handful of others that allow you to integrate, you’re doing one order or five market, but it doesn’t matter it’s the same thing, you know. Also customer service, you got to get a bunch of things going and the customer service is where it happens. And so, there’s tools like Excel code that can basically allow you to get all your marketplaces and everything in one place, you know.
Then also, you know when it comes to team, you know, this is something that problems are going to happen, OK. You know, the more that you do, the more that things come on, there’s going to be issues and so you can’t be the one person that does that– that does all of it. You can’t be the only person that knows it all. You need to have a team of people that can help you. And that’s where the neat part about today’s world is you can go onto indeed.com and you could post a job post. You get 20– 200, 500 people apply for it, and you get it for free that’s a cost– that’s a free. And they can be your contract type thing. And these are people that just specialized in different things so you could have, you know, if you have a huge Amazon business, you know, or even it’s a smaller Amazon business, you don’t want to have a problem on Black Friday or a problem and not have somebody to go, and if you’re in the weeds caught on with Amazon support, you know what they may do.
Eric: That’s just– you just missed all the Black Friday. That’s why you got to have your Amazon guy. You’re having a Shannon on retainer is something that, you know, you don’t have them for when you need him, you have him for when you have the problem. And you know, and so that’s something that– and also when– for Walmart. You’re going to have– Walmart have customer service is not yet there yet, you know. So there’s a bunch of hurdles, so you can go and get some of this and say, “Hey, I got Amazon problem, you, go!” and then that person can go and do that. And they kind of handle that for you, they have the experience to handle couple different customers in that.
And then also, when it comes to marketing, you can’t hope to grow. You know, that’s something that, you know, people like, “I’ll get to that content,” “I’ll write these blogs” and it will never happen, you know. And that’s where you– you want to have a team of copywriters then write this content, two weeks, that’s your job posted here. They can go on to your site and post it for you, you know, and it’s like “Well, hey, I didn’t approve the content.” But you’re not growing if you did. Does that make sense?
You know and so that’s the key that come back to and after they posted, skim it later. But the goal is that you’re having that consistent growth, you’re like “Hey, I can’t afford it. I don’t have a budget.” Well, these things, they start– content starts and you know, you know, $20, $30, you know, $50 a page type scenario. And that’s a situation where you can, you know, invest and remarket into your business and to be able to grow that. You know, you think, oh, hey, having somebody for your marketplaces is– it’s too expensive. Well, if you’re off on a big day and you didn’t have that person to fix it…
Eric: …you kind of wish you did. And obviously, you know– and so that’s we’re having an Amazon person, that marketplace person. So then, they can fix the problem and you can stay out of the weeds. I’ll be the first person to say “I’ve been in that situation where I’m too far in the weeds and they can’t see over the trees.” You know, and that’s where, you know, you need to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time and having that team to be able to do that. So, I mentioned…
Eric: …there’s Indeed, there’s Upwork and also you can have agencies that do that, you know and you don’t have to worry about the vetting and anything of that nature and they specialized in these things and so on and so forth. So these…
Eric: … are things that you know, the whole goal is, is that you’ve got to be able to weather storms and you got you know, kind of conclude there’s the product diversification, you got to have that. You don’t want to just have one and get the category shut down, you’re screwed. You know you don’t want to have a problem where you have too much going on in one situation or Amazon starts competing against you, you got to be diversified there.
You want to be able to have the marketplace diversification too so that– then you, you know, you’re able to see growth in other areas and be able to invest ads and other areas, so that, you know, have all your eggs in one basket. Of course, E-commerce is very important, so that you control the customer, you control the growth. At the end of the day you have something, you know, it’s yours, you know, and you don’t have to worry about that, and that’s a big goal, and you’re providing content that sets you apart from all the other guys, and that’s the important thing.
And then also, you know, the big thing is team. You don’t want to go do all this without a good tool to be able to help you do orders and list products and all that. You’re going to have problems, you’re going to have to cut customer service, you know, you’re going to have to have that. So having a good team, they could be all contractors, they could be, you know, you don’t have to happen to hire a huge team. But, you know, with that you need to be prepared to be able to, you know, complexities add complexity. But with that, you got you can’t– not afford to be diverse, you know, so…
Shannon: Yeah. Well, that’s a great– I mean that’s a great wrap up. We’re actually going to be doing a webinar with Excel Co. on their helpdesk tool on a few weeks here. Unbelievable, I can’t speak highly of it enough, it’s absolutely phenomenal. And next week, we’re actually having Ken Greenlee from Upgraded images, talking about product photography, you mentioned how important those, you know, those videos and product images are, we’ll be kicking that off next week.
If there’s no questions, I just want to give a final wrap up, if you need to– if somebody wants to reach you, Eric, what’s the best way for them to reach you? And I’ll put this also in the follow-up email and the links, but what’s the best way to contact you if they have–
Eric: Yeah. You could shoot me– you can shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, that’s E-K @harnessingstrengths.com that will– that will all be in the information or you can call as well. You know, my goal is not to overwhelm if it’s just kind of, you want kind of break it down or kind of, you know, we can help give a growth strategy with that. We specialized in E-commerce, online marketing but really just kind of an overall step back, here’s your– here’s where you are. Here’s your problems, here’s what we need to do to fix those, and here’s the growth strategy, and so that’s the goal.
If you’re not seeing the 20 to60% growth, you know, that there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit that you can do with smaller budgets and as well of course of those bigger budgets and from there to be able to accomplish the growth and diversification that you needed. Always happy to help just even answer questions, I’ll be on Facebook monitoring this going to be able to answer any questions as well as you should feel free to shoot me an email and I’m happy to help however possible.
Shannon: Yeah, I’m going to go ahead and post the link as well for marketplace seller courses. If you have not checked it out yet, it’s a great resource. If you sell on Amazon, it’s definitely a must-have especially if your brand or manufacturer to help me get everything in line with Amazon policy, make sure everything is optimized and making sure you’re taking advantage of all the updates and rollouts, there changing things every day, every week, I think there’s a new updated. So we have to go back and update the course and we’re constantly making those changes. But, to make sure that you’re taking advantage of everything, allows you to stay ahead of the competition and this is a great way to do that. So.
Eric: And I think the big thing that even if you’re an Amazon seller that you say “I’ve got my big pieces of the face.” You know, to be able to stay up to date on the big things, being able to effectively launch a product, to be able to fix fifth– 10, 50% of low-hanging fruit that have Amazon errors that are not getting, you know, I’ve– that’s where these courses can really help and I can’t stress it enough and all of our clients, the first place we go is say “Hey, You’re on Amazon, you got to be– you got to watch these courses.” If you don’t know what don’t know and you can’t afford not. It’s just not, you know, so, definitely.
Shannon: Well, Eric, Thank you so much for joining me, I really appreciate it. And again, we’re going to post a recap, we’ll have the video posted online on the website in a few days and we’ll also post that special guest blog that you did that takes all these topics and drills into them a little deeper. Again, you can follow us on Facebook and marketplaceonlinecourses.com, you can follow us on Twitter @sellercourses and YouTube as well, MarketplaceSellerCourses as well as sign up for our email list at marketplacesellercourses.com. So, thanks everyone for joining us and we hope to see you again next week.
Eric: Thank you. See you guys!