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153 Selling on Amazon.com with David Aggiss Part 1 of 2

Today on the show, I have one of the first contacts I made when starting this show, David Aggiss. I had him on, all the way back in November of 2015. Since then, he has given up the day job and is his own full-time boss. He has a few business, one of which being an Amazon business. We’re going to dive in and find out David’s strategy for selling on Amazon.com.

Getting Started selling on Amazon.com

David started learning about Amazon in April/May of 2015 and began receiving some training. In about four months, he started selling his own product. He took off quite well in Q4. At the time, incentivised reviews were still allowed so he made that a large part of his strategy. His sales exceeded his expectations going from 10 units a day to 30 on average. He launched his second product in Q4 last year and focused on his listing since incentivised reviews were no longer available.

Finding a product

There are a lot of techniques for finding products. David decided to simply look through Amazon. This is a great technique for finding good products. Look for lower prices and low competition items when first starting out. If you find a good product and the listing isn’t optimised, then there is definitely an opportunity for you to sweep in and take over. You can use Google Trends, Merchant Words to help you find what popular and what people are looking for.

David didn’t use any tools to find products, like Jungle Scout etc. He didn’t know what his products would be so he wouldn’t know what to search. Once he picked the products, he verified through Jungle Scout that there was a demand. Now he has about 5 products he’s working through launching.

He search Amazon to find his products. He narrowed his search to products between $15 and $50 and looked for products that interested him. If you are interested in the product then it’s easier to relate and figure out what those buyers are looking for. Then you can tailor your listing to those shoppers.

Selling on Amazon.com Post-Incentivised Reviews

Getting reviews has become much more difficult since Amazon banned incentivised reviews. With this new world, you have to pay more attention to reviews since you can no longer give products away in exchange for a review. One thing to pay attention to when getting started with a new product is the number a reviews your competition has. If they have thousands of reviews, it’s going to be much harder to compete because it is more difficult to reach a competitive level.

Make sure you competitors only have a hundred or so reviews so you can better compete. Then you can use other services to help get legitimate reviews. You can also try to get traffic coming in from off Amazon.Ads on Facebook, Google, and Bing are great places to start.

There are also ways you can use Amazon to boost your listing. Spending heavy on PPC at the beginning is a good way to drive traffic when selling on Amazon.com. Once your listing gets going, then you can cut back to where it’s profitable. One thing David mentioned was participating in Lightning Deals. These deals on put on by Amazon that offers their shoppers very good discounts for a very limited amount of time. There is a link underneath your Advertising tab on the main screen of Seller Central. It’s not all the time, but Amazon will offer you a Lightning Deal when it’s relevant. This is a great way to drive a lot of sellers to you listing and gives a nice boost to new products.

Amazon sets the parameters. They will tell you the time slot, the minimum number of units, and the sale price which is based on your sales history. David, for example, recently got a time slot for 1am to 7am. Not the best time as many people aren’t looking at Amazon so early in the morning. Despite that, he had an additional 40 sales from the deal.

148 Building a Brand with Manuel Becvar Part 2 of 3

Building a Brand Off-Amazon

As we discussed in the previous episode, building a brand away from Amazon is a very good idea.

Amazon owns you and your listing. They control everything. They can suspend your account at anytime. If you sell exclusively on Amazon, that puts you in a difficult situation. It’s a good idea to have multiple selling channels. That way, if any one goes down for whatever reason, you have other sources of income. Amazon only accounts for about 20 – 30% of Manuel’s income. Now, if something happens to his Amazon account, it wouldn’t shut down his business.

Another reason for building a brand is that Amazon is a race to the bottom on pricing. If you come up with a new product, in a couple months a lot of sellers have copied it and now everyone is lowering prices to get sales. If you have your own ecommerce site or wholesale, you can dictate the prices as long.

Off-Amazon Sales Channel

When building a brand, there are several options when it comes to other sales channels. There is jet.com where you can signup to be a third-party seller. Wal-Mart recently bought them for $3.3 billion. You can also sign up to be a third party seller on walmart.com. When it comes to these these third-party selling routes, it’s important to bear in mind that it may take awhile to be ungated. For those in the UK, you can use tesco.com. The downside to these platforms is that you are still a third-party that is subject to Wal-Mart or Jet or Tesco, etc.

Shopify

The best security would be owning the platform with Shopify. That way you control everything. It takes a lot more work than with Amazon as you don’t have the benefit of them shipping everything. However, the big issue is getting traffic. You can always find people on Amazon, but getting them to come to your site takes work, like all aspects of building a brand.

You have to work on SEO in order to be found. One strategy is to go to other sites where your target audience is. You can find forums or go to Reddit and talk to people that are interested in your category. For example, Manuel is selling VR products so he goes to a Reddit forum about VR and talks to people about a new headset Samsung is releasing. This can drive traffic to your Shopify store which will help your Google rank.

Ads are another way to boost rank and drive traffic. Google or Bing as are effective. You can use Facebook ads for conversion and email signup; not so much for selling products.

It can be more expensive and it takes a lot of work. But if you have good content, good SEO and traffic you can easily rank on page 1 or 2 of Google. That is building a brand that has visibility on the most powerful website on the planet: Google. 

147 Social Media Strategy with Manuel Becvar Part 1 of 3

Importance of a Social Media Strategy

Today on the show we have Manuel Becvar of Import Dojo. As Will Tjernlund mentioned during his interview, Amazon wants to increase their own private label operation. As Amazon become a larger competitor, you’ll want to establish your brand off-Amazon. Once you have a strong audience, this will not only help you sell more on Amazon, but give you the leverage you need if you wanted to sell on other channels. An important step to this, is creating a social media strategy.

There are differing opinions on social media. Some people say it’s a complete waste of time while others say it’s the cornerstone of their business. Social media can be a huge driver of traffic for your listings. When creating a brand, it’s important not to overlook the critical component that is social media.

Return on Investment

It’s understandable that people may think that social media is a complete waste of time. You’re not going to get instant results. You won’t see anything in a couple months. However, if you stick with your social media strategy, and keep building your social media presence, you will start to see in impact in a year or two. Manuel Becvar doesn’t run PPC ads anymore because of the success of the success of his social media platform. Now he can take the money he would have spent on ads, and use it on continuing to build on social media, and put it into his products.

You will have to invest in your social media. Whether that’s you putting in time, or paying someone to do it. Either way you decide to do it will still be beneficial. Even if you’re paying someone to put out content every week, you will still make more from sales than you would have if you put that money into ads.

Immediate ROI

If you’re creating a brand, then you might not have the audience for it to make much difference. However, you can always outsource it. There are sites, like Famebit, that will bring you together with influencers. These are people have have very large following on social media. You write up a campaign and get offers from different people. They will then review your product and send it out to there tens of thousands of followers. This can drive 2000 – 3000 people to your Amazon listings. Manuel Bacvar estimates that this led to 60 -70 additional sales in the first week. Well worth the $500 he spent on it because he wouldn’t have gotten that kind of return with PPC.

You could even contact them directly. If you go on social media and look up people that have a large audience and send them a message. This will let you target those that would buy your product.

Long Term Approach

As much as we all love to get a quick turnaround on our investments, you have to understand that your social media strategy takes time. Again, you can outsource this if you’d like. You can hire people to run your social media accounts and they will post new content weekly and maintain it.

There are a few techniques you or your VA can do to help grow your audience. The first step, obviously, is to post regular content. You need to be posting at least once a week on most platforms. Go onto other accounts that target the same audience to post similar content and follow their followers. The idea is that once you follow them, they will look at your content and will be more likely to follow you since they are already following a similar account.

Finding Your Audience

When planning your social media strategy, it’s important to target the right people. One way to do that is to target people that have purchased your products. This way you know they are interested in the category you’re selling in.

Manuel has grown his mailing list to over 800 subscribers in 2 ½ years. It’s very simple. As we all know, we need to put information in the packaging. This way we can encourage buyers to leave a review on Amazon, or to contact us, rather than Amazon, if they have an issue. Manuel goes a bit further and offers an additional 6 month warranty if they signup for his newsletter. His products are all coffee based. So now he has over 800 people that he can market to, who are also willing to buy coffee related products. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be a warranty. If you sell kitchen supplies you could offer a recipe ebook. You could simply offer a discount on their next purchase if they subscribe.

Google Trends and Facebook Ads

You can use Google Trends to help you build an audience as part of your social media strategy. You can look up your keywords and find out where they are popular. Then you can buy Facebook ads targeting those locations. So if you’re looking up hiking and you find that people in Manchester search hiking a lot, you can buy Facebook ads targeting Manchester.

Facebook ads are really good at building your audience and a following. They are effective if the user doesn’t have to buy something right away. So they aren’t useful for directing people to your Amazon listing, but if you direct them to your site and have great content, then they will be more likely to buy your product.

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#90 Merch by Amazon with Chris Green – Part 2

Using Merch by Amazon, are there good ways to game the system, Chris Green? Is it worth it?

Chris Green says: Merch by Amazon, like all Amazon models, is not best done by trying to game the system. The best practice it to reverse engineer the system instead. Figure out what Amazon wants you to do, because that will be rewarded. You can try to game the system, but if Amazon doesn’t like it, you will face consequences.

There are time-tested methods for creating and launching new products with FBA. With Merch, how do you select new products, and how do you launch them?

A lot of the people, Chris Green has been working with are relying on organic traffic. One way you can find new products is to search on Amazon. Start typing in the search bar and see what’s populating and you will find the products people are looking for. So if you see that people are buying “I love Panda” shirts, then maybe you should make one. Make sure you don’t copy. However, there is nothing original in this world. Everything is built on something else. So make your “I love Panda” shirt or whatever is popular, but make it your own.

The people that are going to win at merch by Amazon, are the people driving traffic. If there is already a demand for something, find out where the demand is, and go give them a product. For example, there are a lot of Facebook groups for classic cars. Now, there are probably sayings and phrases that go along with classic cars that you can put on a shirt. Have someone create a mockup of a cool car and make a shirt. There are some shady ways of promoting it, but the best way would be to go to the admin, and offer to give him/her some shirts that they then and giveaway to those in the group.

This applies to anyone with an audience, not exclusively Facebook. You might consider making a mockup of a logo for a smaller YouTube channel. You could find someone with a podcast that is respected by their listeners. Approach them with the idea of the shirt, share the link to the listing, you can make it unlisted so you’re not selling anything, and offer to share the royalties. It’s about getting creative with the platform you have because most people want to keep doing what they’re doing.

Chris Green feels that advertising within Facebook groups is under-utilized. Some groups you can just post a link and that’s fine, but if you need to approach the admin, you can give them something to giveaway to make them look good, or cash may work. Just ask if you can advertise in the group for $100. If you have a good design then people will go buy the shirt and you’ll make your money back.

Or, you could get involved in the community. If you know about classic cars, join the group. Ask questions, answer questions, help other people and you will gain rapport and you’ll have more freedom to advertise the shirt.

Here is an actual secret from Chris Green: Send them to redirect them to Amazon. You can send them straight to Amazon to buy the shirt, but you won’t get any data or analytics. However, if you send them to your website first and redirect them to Amazon automatically. That way you can attach a Facebook pixel and get a lot more data. This way you know that everyone that clicks through that link is into classic cars and you can target them using Facebook ads with all of your classic car shirts. You now have a list of people that are into classic cars right now and are willing to click out and to look at a t-shirt.

If you’re selling your shirt for $7.68, then you can spend $7 per sale and you’re still making money. Better yet, you’re spending money on highly targeted people who are the most likely to buy your shirt. Since Amazon is doing all the work, every sale is like printing money. That is the huge potential with Merch by Amazon. Unlike with FBA and private label, you have no money tied up. Right now it’s only t-shirts, this is the ground floor. In time we will look back and reminisce about when Amazon merch was only t-shirts. Now is the time to carve out you space.

Amazon is where the customers are. Sure, there are other options like eBay or teespring where you can sell your shirts, but the people are on Amazon. They want Prime shipping. They will filter out products to make sure it is Prime eligible. People don’t search on Google, they go straight to Amazon and you need to be where the people are. Merch by Amazon is prime eligible, and no inventory and you can’t find that elsewhere.

Let’s say you have 10 designs. What is the simplest way to get going?

Leave Facebook until after you get some sales. Don’t get into that fancy targeting stuff right away. First thing would be to post it on Facebook and ask your friends for their opinion. Get some feedback for it and be prepared for them to be honest. Which is what you want. Bad looking shirts won’t sell so get feedback first so you don’t waste your time on a bad design.

Look at what is selling. Don’t reinvent the wheel. See what people are buying and make your own version of that. See what’s popular. It’s election season in the U.S. right now so Trump and Hillary shirts are popular. Go to your local school and sports teams and do a fundraiser. Put their logo on a shirt on Amazon and have all the kids push them on their social networks. Every shirt sold with mean $5 to the group. People are more likely to buy the shirt than donate the money.

Find local businesses that want to want people to wear their logo. Give them a shirt to display with a link to the Amazon page. They can offer promos and discount to customers wearing the shirts. The possibilities are endless. There are so many different things you can do. If you’re a marketer, you can team up with a designer and split it 50/50. You might be good at promotion, or networking, or relationship building; find what you’re good at and then fit in the missing pieces.

How does launching a new shirt work? Is it similar to launching with FBA private label? Do you do a lot of giveaways to get your ranking up? Does ranking work in a similar way?

There is definitely some overlap between merch and private label. If you want to be competitive, and get your shirt to the top you’ll need some recent sales and reviews. You can certainly do giveaways; buy the shirt and put someone else’s address on it. You can send Amazon gift cards instead of refunds. Have your shirt as a prize in some kind of drawing. You can bundle it with your private label items. Put an insert in the box that gives the buyer an opportunity to get a free shirt.

Is there any way to gauge competition or predict sales?

You can certainly see your ranking just like you can with private label, says Chris Green. So with retail arbitrage, everyone is fighting over the same pie. THere’s only so much to go around. With private label, you introducing a brand new pie into the market and you get all the pieces. With merch, you own the pie but the pie is getting bigger. There is no limit to the market because you’re not fighting over the same design, you’re introducing new designs and the best ones will win out.

The biggest mistake Chris Green thinks people will make is relying on organic sales. He thinks Amazon will reward people that drive traffic. When people search for something, Amazon will determine what the best products are for that customer. If your product has better page views and conversion rates, you will be one of them. And having a better ranking gives customers more confidence in your products.

GET AN ACCOUNT NOW! There is no reason not to. You have nothing to lose, even if you never doing anything. As of right now, there is a waiting period to get your invitation, so even if you’re not ready to do anything yet, apply now so that when you are ready, you don’t have to wait for the invitation.

Get in touch with Chris:
Merch Life Facebook Group
merch.life
chrisgreen.com
facebook.com/chris
Merch Life book

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#32 Amazon Ads Specialist Danny McMillan- PART TWO of Interview

This Episode, #32, is the second half of an interview that was prompted by our very own Facebook members! They said in a survey that Amazon Ads were the area they most wanted expert help with. Danny McMillan, himself a member of the group, responded by giving many golden nuggets to our listeners. Read More
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#31 Amazon Ads Specialist Danny McMillan Interview – PART ONE

This Episode, #31, was prompted by our very own Facebook members! They said in a survey that Amazon Ads were the area they most wanted expert help with. Danny McMillan responded by giving many golden nuggets to our listeners. This is the first of two episodes containing this interview. Read More

#17 How to Create an Email List of your Amazon Customers

This Episode, #17,  is a tactical one by popular demand: How to Create an Email List of your Amazon Customers. It’s  a popular topic and rightly so. It’s a bit of a technical area, so it may be something that you want to outsource. But I still highly recommend you understand the process so you have some understanding of what you are asking someone to do, how much work is involved and what a reasonable fee would be for that work.

**STOP PRESS** REVIEWS CONTEST!

The first 25 people to review the show on iTunes will be entered into a draw. The winner will receive a £50 Amazon Voucher from Amazing FBA!  
Head over to iTunes now and leave your review! If you haven’t  already, you can also subscribe through iTunes to get all the info you need to start your own successful Amazon business!

CONTEST EXTENDED to the end of November or 1st 25 reviews, whichever comes first !

SHOW NOTES FOR EPISODE #17

Why do this? Strategic goals:

  • Part of audience building
  • Build a business  that is independent of Amazon
  • Connect more with customers – what do they want/need? what would they buy?
  • Create those products – physical or info
  • “The money is in the list”
  • How (tactics)

Join Amazon Insider Secrets and I will do a video on this

  1. Website (LANDING POINT)- let me know if you need help on this, I’m not covering this in detail in this episode – I will add video to Amazon Insider Secrets if asked
  • Choose domain name – I recommend Blue host. Cost: around $12 pa.
  • choose hosting – I recommend Blue host. Cost about $6/mo
  • Choose CMS – I recommend WordPress (1 click install with Blue Host). Free.

2. Email autoresponder (EMAIL)

  •  choose one – I recommend aWeber (cost $18/month)
  • sign up
  • create a List of customers eg Product Warranty
  • create a sign-up form
  • create first email (eg welcome)
  • optional – create follow up sequence

3. Opt-in page

  • choose one
  • – WordPress does “Optimise Press” theme, which is cheaper than LeadPages.
  • I recommend Leadpages (cost $25/month if you pay annually -! or $37/mo if you pay monthly-PLEASE NOTE!) 
  • Sign up
  • Integration with email service provider:
  • Create a new leadpages template
  • At top bar, click “Leadpages”
  • Click “Create a new page”
  • Choose a template – if in doubt, keep it simple
  • Choose industry – “Retail” probably
  • Edit form – fairly intuitive
  • Click on edit opt-in box
  • Under integration settings,
  • Under integrate form with, choose “aWeber”
  • Under Using, choose “name of your group eg Product Warranty”
  • Save, publish
  • Check the published page works

4. Website redirect

  • Create a page named “warranty” or other
  • Get it to appear in menu bar
  • Create a redirect to the Leadpages page
  • Use the plugin “Quick Page/Post Redirect Plugin”
  • Test it!

5. Product inserts(driving traffic)

  • Create wording – e.g., “To activate your Lifetime Warranty, go to  mybusiness.com/warranty
  • Create PDF
  • Ask Chinese supplier to create and print and insert into each unit
  • Specify size, type of paper if possible

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE TO THIS PODCAST

A podcast is a free downloadable audio show that enables you to learn while you’re on the go.  To subscribe to my podcast for free, you’ll need an app to listen to the show from.

For iPhone/iPad/iPod listeners – Grab your phone or device and go to the iTunes store and search “Amazing FBA”.

This will help you to download the free Podcasts App (produced by Apple) and then subscribe to the show from within that app.  Every time I produce a new episode, you’ll get it downloaded right on your iDevice.

For Android listeners – Download the Stitcher Radio app (free) and search for “Amazing FBA Podcast.”  Or, if you have already downloaded a podcasting client, follow the directions in the next sentence.

For podcast enthusiasts – If you already listen to podcasts and have a podcatcher that you prefer, the feed you’ll need to add is: http:// amazingfba.com/feed/podcast.

For those who don’t have a mobile device – You can always listen to the show by clicking the audio file at the top of this page.

If you have any queries, just go to www.amazingfba.com/ask.

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#11 Amazon Product Launch

This Episode, #11, deals with Amazon Product Launch.

It is  part 9 of the “Amazing FBA Startup System”, which is a very highly structured series of podcasts (with very detailed show notes) designed to take you from zero to having a product launched and selling on Amazon.

If you haven’t already listened, you’ll want to at least listen to episode #10,  which deals with Product Listing.

Ideally, subscribe to listen to the whole Startup System, and start from episode #3 (episode #1 is a quick intro from me about the podcast, and episode #2 gives you the overview of the process I used to get to $20,000 in total sales in 7 months).

**STOP PRESS** REVIEWS CONTEST!
As announced on the show:

The first 25 people to review the show on iTunes will be entered into a draw. The winner will receive a £50 Amazon Voucher from Amazing FBA! 
Head over to iTunes now and leave your review! If you haven’t  already, you can also subscribe through iTunes to get all the info you need to start your own successful Amazon business!

SHOW NOTES FOR EPISODE #11

The launch is basically divided into two areas for me:

  1. Prelaunch – before your product is live on Amazon- essentially creating lists of potential reviewers
  2. Launch – going after reviews (to increase conversions) and driving traffic to your listing.

Don’t Forget to Optimise your product listing before actually Launching! Check Episode  #10 notes if you haven’t already.  

PRODUCT LISTING ELEMENTS

  1. Photos
  2. Title
  3. Bullet Points
  4. Product Description

Underlying the last 3 elements is the hidden “Key”:

5. Keywords!

See Episode #10 notes for more details on Optimising your listing

A. Prelaunch (all of this is semi-optional but it’s ideal if you have time)

        1. Friends & Family – if UK based, build lists  ready for “unverified” reviews
        2. If US-based, do the same but you can also approach friends for actual Amazon Sales
        3. Use own list of existing clients or prospective clients  if you have one with strong cross-sell potential
        4. Facebook Fan Page
          1. Post 2-3 X/day – before launch
          2. pay for likes aim: 1000-2000
          3. run facebook ads to “fans”
        5. Creating anemail list (very optional)
          1. Run Facebook Ads
          2. Optin pages: Lead Pages. Costs about $25 a month. Relatively easy to use, looks just great, quick downloading pages. I’ve used these for 3-4 months and it works well.
          3. Email autoresponder:
            1. aWeber costs around $18 a month – the industry standard for most online marketers (unless you’re using Infusionsoft, which is over 10X more expensive). My current provider.
            2. madmimi is free for up to 100 subscribers. I haven’t used it but I’m tempted by the FREE price tag and a recommendation from Scott Voelker.

B. Launch

      1. B1. *Getting Reviews – TOP PRIORITY!**
        1. Use Amasuite software to (semi) automate this and other essential tasks
        1. Creating “Promotions” in Amazon (essential)
        2. Contact Top Reviewers (optional)
        3. Create your own list (see above) then email them your promo code
        4. Paid review services (I believe one of these is fairly essential)
          1. Tomoson – also Bloggers (for traffic) – free for 1 month then $99 a month (gulp!). I signed up too early then didn’t use them in the free period. If you’re going to use this, wait until your product is live, then get cracking fast – you have one month only for free! Many Amazon sellers I know have had success with these.
          2. Snagshout – my favourite if you’re only going to give away very few units (say 10-20). Cost ca. $5 per giveaway (plus Amazon costs!). Give them your list of single-use codes and they do the rest. I’ve used them 3 times and the review %age was high (around 75-85%, as they promised). Occasionally the reviews were very very short (try 6 words!).
          3. AMZTracker – my personal favourite as the Amazon Review Club is included in the monthly price. Give them your list of single-use codes; then you can choose which reviewers to use.
          4. Facebook Fan Page
          1. put up offer
        1. Email list if possible
          1. use Facebook page

B2. Driving Traffic to your listing

  1. Start when you have at least 5-10 reviews; more if possible (depends on how competitive your niche is) – maybe up to 25 if you’re going to give away a lot/competitive niche.
  2. Amazon Ads (essential )
    1. start with auto campaign
    2. run for a week then leave for a week
    3. review ACoS (Advertising Cost of Sales) and Sales
    4. break out best performing keywords into a manual campaign
    5. You can also use the best keywords from the competition from your AMZtracker analysis
  3. Other traffic sources (optional):
    1. facebook page
    2. Facebook ads (combine with page Likes ads)
    3. email lists of buyers
    4. Social Media generally:
      1. Youtube
      2. Twitter
      3. Pinterest – note, join the USA version to connect with US customers!
      4. Instagram

In the next episode we focus on Life After Launching…how to stabilise your business and your Essential Daily Disciplines (and Weekly Must-Dos…).
Including the ins-and-outs of Amazon Ads and Amazon statistics generally.

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE TO THIS PODCAST

A podcast is a free downloadable audio show that enables you to learn while you’re on the go.  To subscribe to my podcast for free, you’ll need an app to listen to the show from.

For iPhone/iPad/iPod listeners – Grab your phone or device and go to the iTunes store and search “Amazing FBA”.

This will help you to download the free Podcasts App (produced by Apple) and then subscribe to the show from within that app.  Every time I produce a new episode, you’ll get it downloaded right on your iDevice.

For Android listeners – Download the Stitcher Radio app (free) and search for “Amazing FBA Podcast.”  Or, if you have already downloaded a podcasting client, follow the directions in the next sentence.

For podcast enthusiasts – If you already listen to podcasts and have a podcatcher that you prefer, the feed you’ll need to add is: http:// amazingfba.com/feed/podcast.

For those who don’t have a mobile device – You can always listen to the show by clicking the audio file at the top of this page.

If you have any queries, just go to www.amazingfba.com/ask.