Why Marketplaces is Still better than your Own Website - Clout Fitness | Ep. #013
In this 13th episode of The E-comm Show, our host and BlueTuskr CEO Andrew Maff is with Paul Johnson of Clout Fitness. He has been building and scaling e-commerce businesses since 2008. Learn more on why using the marketplaces such as Amazon and Walmart is much more preferred.
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Why Marketplaces is Still better than your Own Website
Andrew Maff and Paul Johnson
About Paul Johnson
Paul has been building and scaling eCommerce businesses since 2008. He currently owns and operates several physical product brands, each generating 6 and 7 figures annually. He has multiple best-selling products on Amazon and national distribution in Walmart. He's the Founder of Snagshout and Massview and is also the former CEO and Co-founder of Seller Labs. Paul and his companies have helped thousands of brand owners generate billions of dollars in sales.
When he's not working on scaling physical product businesses, Paul spends his time with his wife and 6 boys on their farm in Washington State. He loves snowboarding, surfing, and Jiu-Jitsu.
Here's $20,000 Let's start an Amazon business together. And that's what Cloud fitness kind of was born out of. And last year, I think we did like 2.2 million or 2.4 million I can't remember right off the top of my head, but that was just on Amazon. Hi guys, Dan Nikas here, I'm the founder of GearBunch.com. This is Paul Johnson with Mass View, Hey guys, this is Josh Krause of homearcadegames.com and you're listening to view and you're listening. You're listening to the
Welcome to the show, presented by BlueTuskr. The number one place to hear the inside scoop from other e-commerce experts share their secrets on how they scaled their business and are now living the dream. Now, here's your host, Andrew Maff.
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the E comm Show. I'm your host, Andrew Maff. And today I am joined by Paul Johnson, who is the co-founder of Clout Fitness as well as Matthew which we'll get into, but boy ready to have a good show. Yeah, what's up? Yes, let's do this. This was gonna be fun. I could already tell from your energy this morning. It's great. This is gonna be a good one. So Paul, let's do the stereotypical approach that we always end up doing on every show where we pretend that no one knows who you are. And then you kind of go through your whole song and dance of what Cloud fitness is and what Matthew is and then we'll kind of go from there. i But yeah, sure. Do you want me to just give you my background then or what? Yeah, yeah. Okay, so yeah, called fitness is a fitness brand. It's a private, it was a brand private label brand. on Amazon primarily doing weightlifting kind of accessories, really, like one major SKU is like our barbell clip. It's like a, it's like a weight clip that you put on. And then we also have distribution. Last year, we got distribution in Walmart, as well. We were on the Inc 5000. I can't remember what number it was. We were on there for that business. And I mean, we started off, founded it. Kind of just look at the data. And it was a good product to sell. I don't really have a huge weightlifting background or anything. It was just like, it was like a product, we decided to be the value player in the space. And so we went for the kind of just trying to get our supply chain as cheap as possible in China. And yeah, we've been through all kinds of a crazy journey since then. It's been fun. It's kind of like a bit always a side project of mine actually kind of blew up in the last couple of years. So it was exciting. Nice. So how did you get into like, the whole Amazon space? And then particularly this category? Yeah. So this is this could go we can do the whole podcast just on this. But yeah, so before I did Amazon, my first e-commerce business was eBay, actually. And we were selling guitars actually on eBay. And we bought I worked at a music shop and I decided I wanted to do something online. I watched a CNN special. And there were all these people making money online. And I was like, I can do this. And so I googled like buy wholesale guitars and like the first thing that showed up was this company that sells refurbished guitars from the major manufacturers, so they buy like all the big brands and they fix them. So anyway, we did that. That kind of played out, ended up going to the postal auction in Atlanta, Georgia. That's kind of where I'm from in the Georgia area. And all of the lost mail shows up at the postal auction every month. And you can buy like these, you can buy a million dollars for the stuff that was recently shipped and lost. And so we bought we started buying like pallets and then eventually like tractor-trailer loads of merchandise and selling it. And around this time and we ended up my business partner at the time, he started buying a bunch of books. And we started doing a lot with Amazon and this was back when you know it was still cool to sell books on Amazon. So we started we had we started in was in my garage and then I bought a house with a rented a house with a basement and then we got a 4000 square foot warehouse and we got a 17,000 square foot warehouse and we had all these employees processing all this stuff. And then we realized there was this thing called FBA. And we were like oh my gosh like they'll ship it for us. This is cool. And so you know we had I don't know if this is exaggerating or not. But I think at one point in time we had Like 100,000 different skews or something like that. And, you know, because it was all just one-offs of all these random bugs and gizmos and gadgets and everything. And so my, my business partner, his brother bought a private label kind of Brent like it was their own brand. And it's actually a company called bear paws. They sell these like meat forks, though it can make you look like Wolverine. And he bought a barbecue brand. And I don't remember exactly, but I think like, it was like q4, and they did like $80,000 in sales in one month or something. And it was like one SKU I don't remember if it was 80,000 in a couple of days, I don't know. But there was like, I remember the number 80,000. And they should, he showed me like inside their Amazon account. And I was like, wait, you can sell like one product and make all the money like this is amazing, right? And so we that was when I was like, Okay, it's time to
change the business model, instead of trying to sell 100,000 skews. Once I'm going to try to sell one SKU 100,000 times. Yeah, and kind of switch over to that. And so we kind of started like closing down the warehouse and, and we ended up kind of starting to do software, as well. And we started building software to really help these Amazon sellers. And it's funny because cloud fitness was actually a side project of it was a case study. For our software. We were like, oh, okay, like we need to like, we call it then $1,000. The $20,000 challenge, I think is what it was. So basically, I gave, I had a buddy of mine, Patrick Muir, and he was work, he had to, you know, at that point to work for us, but I was like, here's $20,000 Like, let's start an Amazon business together. And that's what Cloud fitness kinda was born out of, was this $20,000 investment. And last year, I think we did like 2.2 million or 2.4 million, I can't remember right off the top of my head, but that was just on Amazon. Um, and, and so we never really, we took like a little bit of money, we never put any more money in it. Besides that, we just started it with 20 grand. And then we got a couple of Amazon lending loans whenever the account got big enough to do it. And that was it. And we started that in 20 2015 I think it was when it was, um, and we just kind of just grew it as like a side project. Just like this little kind of like fun business-like, hey, we want to experiment with selling random stuff. Let's see if this works. Let's try this. It was like always our experimental account because we were always doing weird stuff with Amazon and our other business. So anyway, yeah, that's kind of the story. So what do you think it is that kind of helped you guys, like surpass that seven-figure? Mark? Um, well, a lot? That's a good question. So I would say, I'm not trying to like, pick, I don't want to pitch my own stuff. But I mean, on Amazon, specifically, like, reviews are the thing that mattered the most. And when we kind of first launched the business, we, we, I guess there's a lot of things. So to be kind of fair, like so one of the things is that when we first launched the business, we own a company called snack shout, which is kind of tied to mass view. And when we first launched the business, we were able to this was back before, Amazon used to have this thing where you could give away a product for the coupon code. And you could require somebody to write a review, you could be like, Alright, I'm giving you this product, write a review. And so when we first launched the business, we were able to get a lot of a good amount of reviews, we didn't get that many because it's expensive to give away a product or whatever. But that was a great way to launch the business. But then, you know, sales were good, but we had a lot of patent litigation stuff and everything going on because there was another company I'm not gonna go into all that. But there was a lot of stuff that we were dealing with that and once we were able to clear up all that and we started getting some of our own design patents and stuff like that. And then get our supply chain figured out and do all of those things. That's when we were able to really grow the business. And then COVID Last year was huge, right? Like everyone's a fitness company. Everyone's at home. Working working hanging out from home and everything. And then a lot of our competitors had soft supply chain issues. And so with Amazon, like, once you get that momentum, it's really good. It's easier to hold it. And then your reviews go crazy, because like right now, on Amazon, you know, they have this rating system, right. So they used to do like you had to write a full review, to leave a review, but now you can just click a start button, and it'll give it'll get a little bump your count up. And so because of that, if you have sales velocity, it's really easy to keep the review count going up a lot on Amazon. And that since
since you can't obviously do you know, the whole free product for review. And I know there's a lot of other like, kind of backdoor stuff that people do and like, you know, off Amazon-style rebates and things like that. I know, you know, there's some of that, but what's your tactic of being able to get, you know, start to generate all those reviews? Yes, sales velocity, or do you have I mean, that's what Matthew is, right? So like, Matthew is like, that's kind of our, our thing. So we do, we sell snacks out, we do rebates on snack shout now. So we pivoted, you know, we have hundreds of 1000s of Amazon shoppers on there, but we don't require review. It's just cashback you know, and everything. And Amazon's really sophisticated now like they so used to be like the Chinese, what they would do is they would do this thing called brushing, basically. And I don't really know where that name comes from. It's like a weird translation or something. But basically, it's, it's where they would like to get a credit card, create a fake Amazon account, like buy enough products, to get to the threshold of where you could write a review, buy their own product ship, like a piece of a paper clip or something to get a tracking number to some random person's house, and then review their own product and write a five-star review and maybe leave a negative review for their competitor, or whatever, right. And Amazon has built a pretty sophisticated machine learning kind of AI that goes through and analyzes all the accounts. And one of the things that they do is look at the shopping patterns and what other products they buy. And they build this kind of web of stuff to be able to detect, like if you have 100 bots, and they're all buying like the same products and stuff like that, right? Yeah. And so that's something that's like, because of that, if you're ever using any type of deal platform, whether it's like Snapchat, which is ours, or like somebody else's, there's always going to be the, you're always kind of fighting is the AI. In a lot of cases, like them even if it's like a totally legitimate sale, and you only did you just have your own list, right, let's say you have your own list, and you have 10,000 people on your list and you're like, hey list, I'm going to give you 50% off to buy my product. And hopefully, you'll write a review, but I'm not going to require you to write, that's totally legitimate thing. If you do that enough, and like the same people are always buying your product, like some of the reviews are gonna get deleted, and things like that. And so and so it's just not the same anymore, I guess is what I'm trying to say. But definitely, if you're like on Facebook, or if you're using a lot of these other platforms that are out there that don't really guard like who gets the free or the cheap product, it's really almost impossible to get reviews like those people like they can't even leave reviews on Amazon anymore. Like their accounts are just banned or whatever. So we did something pretty painful actually, which was we like introduced like all these limits. And we did like phone number verifications. Like every time you log in, and we're rolling out like bank-level ID verification, and everything. So like get rid of all the riffraff and like basically like make real like not just because there are all these people on these deal websites that are just looking for free stuff. So even if you go run like a Facebook ad and you're like, you're using as a mini chat workflow, and you're doing all this Facebook bots stuff, you're going to get a bunch of the AI in Facebook, like when you tune the ads, it will find the people that are like just going around grabbing all the deals and stuff like that. And so you have to advertise differently. So my strategy long story short is to get real people to buy your product and try to have a way to communicate with them outside of the Amazon channel. Basically, to where you can ask them to write reviews and you can be a little bit more aggressive at it without you know, downright breaking FTC regulations and being like, Hey, I'm gonna give you 20 bucks if you write a review, or what have you. What do you tell Amazon sellers regarding snag shot, like going outgoing that route, whether it's with snapshot, or whether it's you know, with another rebate site, like Yeah, I know a lot of sellers Every time we talk to them doing anything that is remotely even close to against Amazon's Terms of Service, they're always like, no, no, I don't want to do that, because so many Amazon sellers are so reliant on just Amazon, and they haven't gone through the whole diversification process yet? So what do you usually tell them like to say, like, Hey, you're not going to get suspended for doing this? Yeah, I mean, well, I say that, like, number one is that like, I heard of two or three complaints, like warnings from people that have brought it up to me in the last few years of like, review, manipulation, or like, whatever manipulation. Um, because
most of the time, you know, that's it, like out of like 1000s and 1000s, of sellers, like a couple of times, and that's a warning. That's like a warning from Amazon. That's not like you got suspended. That's like something that happened, every time I dig into it. They were always doing something weird, like, beyond what we're doing. And a lot of times, it's their dang emails that were messing them up, they were putting stuff in their emails, like, hey, leave a, you know, please leave a five star review or something like that, where they were trying to like, you know, review gate or whatever. Yeah, stuff. And so, I mean, I think that you're more likely just going to get reviews deleted than you are going to get your account suspended, I guess, is my thing. And then the other thing is, like, if you don't have some strategy to like, boost your sales off of Amazon, like you're not making it, like, there's, we could definitely do a whole podcast on that. There's no way you will be successful on Amazon, don't pump it. I mean, maybe if you just if you have like a huge social media following or something, but still, that you're boosting your sales, right? You're sending traffic outside of Amazon, to kind of do it. I mean, the algorithm is pretty simple. Like, basically, every single keyword has a certain number of searches, right? Amazon publishes some of this data in brain analytics, it shows you like, what the rank of each keyword is, then you can kind of reverse engineer that stuff that we do with McAfee, we kind of come out and we figure out, you know, what, what the keyword is? And then you say, Okay, well, this is how much searches it has, we know that they give you the click Share the conversion share, they give you like all the data, right there that tells you like that they're tracking every single search on Amazon. And they're tracking who clicks on what product and who buys, what product, right? So it makes it pretty dang easy to reverse engineer and figure out, okay, I need to get this many sales per day to rank on page one for this product, it's pretty easy to figure that out. That's kind of what all the data tools do. So Jungle Scout, helium, 10, whatever, that's what everyone does. So then you have to drive enough sales while you're doing it. So I don't know how I got on that topic. But yeah, that's how you get ranked number, you know, to page one is literally finding the keyword driving the sales to do it. And, you know, while you're doing that, you might as well try to get some reviews in the process, you know, at doing it, but you know, all the other platforms out there. Pretty much every single platform, Amazon has a good line on who those shoppers are, and they're just letting everyone go wild. Everyone's buying the same stuff. And it's just like, you're not getting a lot of reviews. So, I mean, but it's I like I said I barely ever hear about, I just think they've solved it, they've solved the problem. Like it's just not easy to go and have a fake group of people to review your product, like once they buy like we did this. Some people like we all like I had a bunch of people that buy we all bought like the same products and then we all reviewed it and then all of a sudden like our stuff started getting, you know, deleted and everything and I was like okay, like, you know, this is fairly simple. So, so the best way to really grow your business is I mean everyone says this, it's so stupid. We've heard it a million times but like have a list of a list like you know, it's amazing how many podcasts I've done and every time someone's like yeah, I don't understand why no one's got a list like that always blows my mind as you know, we could definitely get into the whole diversifying away from Amazon not saying like stop selling on Amazon but being so reliant on another business for your own business seems it just doesn't make any sense to me. I don't understand half the time why Amazon sellers like stick to just Amazon and not move around but
with called the Amazon crack. It's the Amazon crack but it's so good until it's not like until you're like oh man so really bad and like, No, I mean, even us like we've been in the software company. I mean, so my last company was cellar labs, we actually founded a snack shop in cellar labs, and then I sold and spun it out of there. And, you know, I kind of got out of so it allowed, you know, I was like, Alright, I'm gonna diversify my, like, I saw what happened. Like, I saw what happened, you know, we had feedback genius, which was like the, you know, the tool that sends all the emails, we were freaking huge. And now, like, I knew, I knew what was gonna happen. I was like Amazon's going to replace us with their own thing, or they're going to get rid of this because they don't want people spamming their customers, right. And I was okay. I'm gonna sell I sold my business partner, I spun out snack shot, I was like, I'm gonna go do this. And I in my head, I was like, Okay, I'm going to get off of Amazon. And like, expand beyond Amazon, right? Well, literally, like this week, we're finally opening up, smash view and snack shout out to work, like, off of amazon for everything finally, like, it's been four years. And it took me that long to like, get over it, because I just kept on finding all these cool problems and all this stuff with Amazon even now. But like, you know, like, build an ad tool. Like we started building an ad tool when I left. And it was cool. It was like one of the coolest ad tools around well, Amazon's they're making billions of dollars running ads. So guess what they do they steal every single cool thing that you create, like on their platform, you know, and it's the same thing if you're, you know, we have all this legislation coming on right now. For like Amazon competing with you like with their private label, and stuff like that, right? Like, you make a product, you put it on Amazon, Amazon's going to is they're going to copy it if it's if it does, well, like so. Like, it's their sandbox, like, you know, understand it. And yeah, like, it's, it is always interesting to me, like, you know, how we mentioned like the, you know, some of the sellers, they don't diversify, often I'll build a list. It's also really interesting to me, like, the thing that always drives me crazy about the businesses, I find where they're solely on Amazon is they spend so much time, like trying to figure out these tiny little tweaks, just to get like a little bit more revenue, when in reality, like, Hey, if you went to Walmart, or you open your own site, and you focus your energy there, you'd be a lot happier later on down the road. It was really interesting. So what What's your stance on the whole off Amazon? Amazon? Do it? So I, I think okay, so here's the thing. Um, this is so brick-and-mortar distribution is amazing. Actually, everyone acts like it's crazy hard, and it is expensive, you gotta have money. To do it, right, you have to be able to fund you have to be able to have enough inventory for someone like Walmart to buy, right? So we're in like, 17 150, Walmart stores are whatever, like on the shelf. And, you know, even if you sell like a couple of units a week, right per store, you're talking about 1000s of sales a week. Right? And so if you can get in, but then you have to have the inventory to do it, and they're not going to pay you for like 90 days. Right? So it's a big boy kind of play that you have to do. But it's awesome. And you know, the thing about Walmart is like, there's no other competitor on the shelf next to us, I didn't have it and now someone can come in and they can you know, take it away which is why we've like really worked on our supply chain. Right so we've worked on you know, we don't just we develop new molds we've gotten design patents we've worked on you know we're working on potentially manufacturing in another country besides China like to reduce the shipping cost and the and the lead times and everything else right but But yeah, that's great I think that's the real way to do it. Because if you think about like traffic so I have another company that I partnered with, it's called designer daddy and the guy who the frontman for that his name is Nephi Garcia and he's a big Instagram influencer right and he sells we sell princess dresses and we're about to be like a wedding gown like he's like a fashion designer. He has 550,000 followers on Instagram and like if you go work with somebody like him
you don't need Amazon you don't need Walmart because that's all Amazon really is. And at Walmart, there's a distribution channel. They're just gonna get eyeballs to your product right so for him like we just launched a Kickstarter, we launched it. We launched we funded like, the first actually we went ahead and manufacture everything Latia Kickstarter, just why not? And then we, you know, we put the product on Shopify, whenever we want to make sales, we just put an Instagram post up, and it's like, boom, you know, sales. And that's awesome. But like, if you're kind of bootstrapping a brand, like,
in my opinion, I don't know, maybe you got maybe more experienced, you're talking to all the people about this.
Uh, you should not try to do Shopify unless you're unless you have a high ACB product. Or you have an LTV that's high, because traffic is so expensive on Facebook, on like, a lot of these other things that you're going to spend so much money to acquire the customer that your row as is gonna suck, basically, yeah, I've never been successful, like running, paid traffic, for, you know, $20 products or whatever, like one-off things, you have to have some lifetime value of the customer to be able to get that out. So if you just have one SKU like, I think Amazon Walmart is a good place to start. Yeah, I mean, you know, usually what I'll say is, I like you said, the new business that you're doing designer, daddy, like you, you already have the eyeballs, so you don't need to pay for them. Right. So it makes a lot of sense to start on something like Shopify or anything like that. But if you're doing a product where you know, maybe you're not wildly differentiated, you're kind of okay with that, you know, race to the bottom sort of thing. And you don't already have the eyeballs available to you, Amazon's a great place to start because you can kind of get up and going relatively quick, you can put in a little bit of advertising dollars and see, you know, if your product, the concept of it works really well, and you can make some money on it. And then in which case, then I say, okay, you know, diversify into other places. But I agree like if you have like one or two, like $20 products, depending on what those products are, of course, like just launching a Shopify site and paying for ads is very expensive, getting that traction going is not cheap, you usually are better, at least in the beginning, starting with some kind of influencer route. But if you can expand your product line, or if your product is wildly differentiated, where, you know, you can't really find anything else like this, then it's a little bit easier to kind of get, you know, some more traction that way. But otherwise, like, you know, some of these everyday products that people get, and they're like, oh, you know, I bought a mug and I private labeled it. And I put it up on Shopify, like well, good luck with that, because you're gonna have to, by the way, yeah, exactly. I mean, if you think like if it can succeed on Amazon, it can probably, it could probably succeed off Amazon. But you have to think through the way that Amazon's algorithm works are relatively similar to Google's work. So if you're doing a private label mug, on Amazon, you're going to be spending an arm and a leg to try to even get to page one, if you're lucky enough to do that. And it's the same problem. If you did like Google Shopping ads or something like that is you're going to be spending a ton of money just to get that thing going. Yeah, I guess I'm thinking more about like, Facebook, than Google Shopping. So like, I really haven't done a ton with Google Shopping ads, but like our, Facebook grows as, like, we were lucky we get like, two, or whatever to Shopify on like a $20 product. Yeah, that's kind of new stuff. Whereas on Amazon on a $20 product, we like eight or so yeah. It's on Amazon is actively searching for your product. On Facebook, it's like you're just presenting a solution to them that they may have the problem, but they may not be ready to buy. So there's a lot more top funnel. So yeah, finding, you know, I agree like if for a product line like that, you got to have some kind of LTV behind it of repeat buyers or otherwise, it might not be the best route or at least not doing Facebook ads, you might have to do a different approach to what you remember, there was a massage gun
that was really popular like a year ago, like, like those things were like 300 bucks, right? Yeah. And so like, you can make that work. Like if you have a product and you need to be differentiated. But if you have a $300 product, like you can make that work on Facebook, like that, like all the time, but the $20 product, like it's just doesn't, it doesn't, I don't know, like, I think I think if you have like, I don't know, I'm looking here, some nuts or whatever, right? Like if you're selling nuts, and you get people to come in on your brand, and they're gonna let you know you sell them the first product for a good price, then you can, you know, bring them in and then if they love it and then reorder, now you got this LTV, right, then you saw some other stuff, and everything but I think that's the Shopify game is like, how do I actually acquire a customer? So we do the same thing for snapshot, right? We're like, we're running ads being like Hey, we're gonna give you free stuff, but good deals, but like, you know, we might lose money the first time someone buys something on our site or whatever, but then over the lifetime, right, if we get back back back, can we make my money, right? And so I mean, I know that it costs, you know, I know how much it costs to get something for somebody for free, you know, or for really cheap, like, it's still cost money to give away a product like that, to get somebody to like, go and buy it, and then give them cashback or a coupon code like, so it's very expensive to run ads when you're trying to get somebody to buy you something, something, money. And so that's why Amazon, I feel like that's why Walmart, that's why the marketplace because there you don't have to overcome some trust issue, you don't have to have, you know, all the social proof, even if, like, for me, even if a product has like two reviews on Amazon, I'm like, I don't care, I'll just return it. Like, if it looks like I don't care, like, whereas you know, if you're on some random website that you've never seen before, even if it's beautiful, you're going to be less likely to buy. So anyway, that's kind of, yeah, that's why sometimes we'll even tell sellers, like, you know, depending on your product like that, you know, like you said like it kind of comes down to like, you got to know exactly who your customer is, you got to know exactly like where they're most likely to purchase your product. And when and things like that. And try it always depends. Like sometimes we'll tell sellers, depending on their product line, like you might want to actually have on your Shopify site, like underneath your buy now button, like an available on Amazon button that just takes them straight to the listing, as you said, it's almost impossible until you've got a big enough brand that you can like, kind of have that awareness and trust, you know, people working with you, in the beginning, people are going to be so much more comfortable shopping on Amazon, they know they can get it in two days, they know they can return it without an issue, they know that they can complain to someone besides you if they do as well. So it's, you know, the to fight that is almost unnecessary. So that's why even sometimes we'll be like, Screw it, let them go to Amazon. And, you know, as long as you're getting the sale, you're getting the sale. So you know, you can do on your button, you can actually put in the keyword you want to target, you can do all kinds of cool stuff, where you draw them in the search results page. And then that like counts. You know, it, it tips, the algorithm is what I call Yeah. And we've seen people do that, because I know that's kind of the same way that you would do it through like a chatbot or something, right? Yeah, exactly. That's what we do. as well. Like, whenever we send traffic to Amazon, we're pushing them towards a specific thing. So if you are sending somebody from Shopify, or whatever platform to Amazon, then go ahead and make sure that you take a keyword that you want to try to rank for. And use that as the traffic, right. And so now, if you have no reviews, it's so funny, like people are like, they come to us, and they're like, Hey, can you get us rank? And I'm like, Yeah, meet your rank, any keyword, you want it, you got enough budget, we'll get you ranked. And then, and then I'm like, I was like, but I've never, I don't recommend it. Here's what I tell everybody I'm like before we rank you. So we have a Managed Services team that sometimes we will take on a few customers, like a couple of months or whatever. And I'm like before we rank you, we have to, I strongly implore you to run ads to see if your product even converts for the keyword. And so so many times we'll get people ranking like, you know, number one for a keyword, and then they're like, I'm not making any sales. And I'm like, Yeah, because you got two reviews, and you're up against all these products that have 5000 reviews, or whatever. And so anyway, the moral of the story is, yeah, if you're sending somebody to Amazon, I do recommend targeting the keyword for what you want to rank for. But I also recommend before you pick that keyword actually run sponsored product ads, see what your role as is, see if you're actually converting for it before you ever try or run
around. Get your point. Is, that is a very good point. I know, I know, some sellers, too. They'll you know, you can do it that way or you send them to a search results page. But now Amazon's even encouraging people to drive off Amazon traffic. So now you can use the affiliate link in which case you kind of have to pick your poison on what you want to do. But that is very interesting. I don't know if I ever thought about that. Like, hey, yeah, we could rank you. But do you really want that cuz you're like, No, this keyword, I mean, that's what like, that's kind of like our main like, bread and butter as far as Amazon goes is like helping people rank like that's what our whole tool set up to do? And like a lot of people they'll do it, they'll ruin everything and then they get ranked and then that's like, you know, you'll it takes a while it's expensive to get ranked now because you have to like run enough traffic for a certain amount of time. So you get rank, you know, you read traffic for like three weeks or something to get ranked. And then you get up there and you might hold it for three weeks. But if you don't make the sales, you're gonna fall back down, right? Yeah. So you have to actually get the click-through and the purchase. And so you spend all this money and time trying to get rain. And then you get there. And it's like, yeah, I did it. Number one for a water bottle. The dollars to do but you know, you did it. And then it's like, just lay down, you know, you got the best seller badge and everything. You know, it's like doesn't matter. Like if the guy next to you has 10,000 reviews and you have five you see it all the time you go to Amazon, you see these like random products? And you're like, why is this one ever it's like he didn't have any business? Trying to get there for that keyword or whatever. So anyway, that's so your I imagine your answer to this will be relatively similar to mine, which is it depends. But what is your product launch strategy? How do you like you get a new product and you get some maybe you're working through mass for your snack shot, like or your own product? Like what's your go-to on getting that thing up and running and starting that snowball effect? Yeah, so I'm for Amazon specifically like what we like to do. The first thing we do, before we ever even launch a product, is we do product inserts in the product. So we have a tool that does that, where there's like a QR code, people can scan it, it has like a unique code for each unit. So that way they can get cash back or get a reward, that's gonna help you get reviews for your organic sales, especially. So I highly recommend that if you're doing Amazon some type of product insert, um, I like to do a market, I do huge market analysis as I look at like, all of the keywords, I look at every single. Every single competitor, I pull every single keyword from every single one I see like what's the traffic? And then I try to determine like, what am I going to go for? Like, what do I think will be the best keyword. And then to get your first five to 10 reviews. If you're brand registered, you can do a vine into Amazon vine, which is like, you can actually you can give away like 30 products. And it's funny, Amazon doesn't like letting everybody else do it, but they still let you they let you do it right. You can give away the products for free and then you can get up to like 30 reviews. So that's pretty good. That used to be the early reviewer program, but they don't do that anymore. And then and then I'll run ads, I just run ads to see what I'm what keywords are actually converting. And then once I know what ads are converting, then we'll run will run ranking campaigns. That's what we do that off Amazon traffic, right. And you can do traffic anyway like you can do Naksha you can do Facebook, you can do Google you can do you can do influencers did whatever it is that you want to do your own email list, but I like to do everything kind of internally to see like what the ads if you can convert on ads, you can convert organically. Like once you can get good row as or even if you get crappy row ads, but you get like some sales on keywords. And you can target like specific keywords in you know like I set up like individual campaigns and we're gonna target like this one keyword, we're gonna see like how it does, and then we can go so that that's Amazon. Um, yeah, I'm not really like that's even me like my distribution channel is like, get good on Amazon Go to brick and mortar. Like I'm not a Shopify expert yet, so I can't give a huge thing on that. One thing that I mean, I believe that if you're doing Shopify, you better have some social proof. Like, I think that you should do, you should get like user testimonials, you should have videos of people using the product. I think that you should try to get reviews on Trustpilot and like other websites and stuff like that, I think that you should spend a lot of time building up your social media accounts before you start running a ton of ads. Like I think you should put that foundational stuff in place before you go to launch everything. But yeah, I don't know. What's your strategy?
Yeah, I mean, between on the Amazon site it's essentially the same you know, I mean, there's really not too much you can do now there's not too many like backdoor ways of getting stuff moving. So it is really kind of just, you know if you do already have a list like doing some kind of large announcement if you do have the ability to like I really like to leverage influencers for product launches. You can kind of do like, get a bunch of influencers that are game to like, start posting about it, but I have them all wait until like the week that we launch it. So everyone posts and everyone sees it in a bunch of different accounts and then it starts kind of going a little bit quicker. off Amazon, it completely depends on what the product line is like, I agree that you gotta have your social side to it. But sometimes, depending on the product line, social doesn't really matter. Like sometimes you'll get these guys like, I know, they're huge on Amazon. I don't work with them on off Amazon, but like ever, as an example would be like those guys that sell printer ink, right? Like what printer ink replacement guys, just a ton of those. If they did their own thing on Shopify, no one's doing their due diligence, I'm looking at what those printer ink guys are posting on social. So that's going to be more of an SEO side. Yeah, you got to focus on blogs, or you know, or you're gonna do Google and you want to do like real specific search or shopping campaigns. But if you're doing you know, consumables, then you got to think about like, Okay, how do I like your peanuts as an example? Like, how do I get someone to try these before I actually get them to commit to purchasing because it deals with shipping and everything, like getting someone to try a food or drink or anything like that, first is always going to be key, because they're not going to spend 3040 bucks on something they've never had before. Right? You know, it really comes down to the product line and where that customer we think is typically hanging out and where they're at in the buying cycle. So it kind of like, you know, like I said, like, it all really depends for the most part. Yeah, no, I think each product has its own unique strategy. And I love influencers. They are amazing, I think, to me, as I agree with everything you said, the main thing is starting with like, as much of a deep Data Dive as you can is where I mean, that's the thing, one thing that I really have been enjoying lately, too, is I'm thinking about putting this into, into mass view is, is PickFu actually, as well, I don't know if you've ever used that. But like I think was awesome. Yeah, we'll do stuff. Like one thing that I've started to do now is like, even when we're like creating a product, we'll take as the top Amazon products, and we'll like put ours next to it and then we'll be like, hey, which one would you rather buy and why and everything. And so I like to do I just like to do as much market analysis and research as I can. Before I um, you know, spend too much money on ads spend too much money on creative and everything else. That's another thing. That's another thing. I think a lot of people really undervalue working with e-commerce people, they undervalue their creativity, like so much. It's impressive how much work people will put into like their product imagery or something like that on Amazon, or like their storefronts or enhanced brand content. Like it's all you know, they'll sometimes I'll actually see them, like, put some good work into it. And then they'll do like a Shopify site, or they'll start some social media. And I'm like, What are you posting? What is this we're so your site looks like crap? Your posts are garbage, like, but your Amazon's great. Like, why don't we use some of this stuff? So I completely agree. The just the lack of love for forgiving creativity is, I think even on Amazon, it's bad, bad. Like, I work with people all the time. And they're like, hey, you need to do $1,000 photoshoot. They're like, $1,000. And I'm like, yeah, like minimum? Like, like, you got to spend some money on this. But yeah, what's the ads for this company all the time. And it's something where now I want to try and but I think it's sooner. And it's so Na, where you just shipped them your product. And they'll do the whole photoshoot for you. And you know, there's a lot of companies out there that do it. But they seem to have the option where you can get a model and you don't need a model. And it's a lifestyle. And it's nice, and it's not a lifestyle. It's not the most expensive thing in the world. A lot of our sellers now if they got crappy pictures, I will just be like, hey, go check them out, or check someone out. Their ads have been doing great. They've just been following me everywhere I go. So I try eventually. I got to check them out. Yeah, I'm always trying out new photography stuff and everything. Like I like wait, sometimes we've had people that have worked with us, and they're like, I'm just like, you're never like we did a case study on this. We did it with a product on why we take a product that had so they like product photography, they just do like white background, they're great if you've seen a white background photo, but they're not like, they're not going to give you that like, you know, super awesome look or whatever. But we did a case study with them. And we took a product that was
like it was getting a single-digit conversion rate, I can't remember what it was. And all we did was update the photography. We did like some lifestyle composites where we just photoshopped, you know, just some good Photoshop and everything. The conversion rate went to like 29% It was like single-digit to like 29% And I was like, why are we not all spending money? Like really, really, really a lot a lot of money, you know, working on our creative like all the time like it's just I don't know, I think we just undervalue it because like everybody has a phone with a camera on it and we all have we can all buy a nice, you know, digital camera if we want and you know everyone can help Photoshop or whatever. And so we think that like, there are so many people that can do creative and you can hire like freelancers and everything else to do it. But there's a difference between like, like, being like, being able to do it and being like a true artist, I mean, look at like, companies like Apple and like, the way their photography looks like that. But like, let's try to be like that. And I say that right now. And I'm thinking like, Man, I better go back and like, fix some of my photography and so much, because like I say, we started to play a lot more with like, 3d renderings and stuff, because of like, the ability of, you know what, cuz, you know, imagery is obviously great. If if you have a sometimes, you know, we have like a larger like an industrial product, like getting perfect pictures of that like sending it off to photographers, not cheap. So we'll do more like get to CAD files and do renderings, but then you can also do like videos so that your video that you have on Amazon or video that you're using, and social and stuff can look a lot better. But I completely agree that like creative is wildly important. And way too many people just like there's work and then they throw it up like it as you would do on eBay. Yep, that's right. And that I think Amazon sellers are like, the most guilty of that. They're like, all right, I got my product like, yeah, no money. Like, no, no, no, no, no. Yeah. Well, I don't want to take up too much of your time. That was great is an awesome time having you. And I appreciate you being on the show. This is that, that stereotypical time at the end of the show now where I give you that opportunity to tell everyone where they can find more information about you? Yeah, I would say. I mean, we have a very tiny YouTube channel where I talk about Amazon stuff. It's just a search mastery on YouTube. That's probably like the social media place that I'm trying to do things on. And then yeah, there's mastery.com as well, if you want to see kind of what we're doing. As far as that goes. We are, we're opening up to every type of product and service imaginable. So we can't do this for Amazon, where we can guarantee you reviews. But if you want to launch your Shopify store, and you want reviews on Trustpilot, or you want videos of people trying your product, or you want people posting on social about it, or whatever, like we are opening up our hundreds of 1000s of Amazon shoppers right now to basically work on me that you want to watch on Walmart, you want 100 reviews, we got you. So anyway, that's kind of what we're doing really focusing on user-generated content and helping businesses get that social proof. And yeah, come check out that. If you want, I'll even do this. I'm probably going to change this. I'm going to probably eventually turn this email over to one of my assistants, but you can email me at Paul at Mass view.com. So if that's my personal check that so that might change if I get a ton of spam on out there for now. Nice ball. Really appreciate you having on the show. Thank you so much. Everybody tune in. Of course. Thank you for listening. Make sure you guys subscribe on whatever podcast platform you want to or on our YouTube channel or head over to ecommshow.com to see wherever else you want to subscribe. But for usual, thanks for tuning in, and keep on selling we'll see out there next time. Thank you for
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