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March 26, 2020

Diversifying Your Amazon Business with Rory Stern

“We Deliver the results you hoped your last agency would”

Rory F. Stern has been a best-kept secret working behind the scenes to help build, grow, and scale many successful online companies for the last 14 years.  Today, he manages a small boutique media buying team that specializes in multi-channel traffic.  He is best known for creating ads that convert and being able to get a lot of policy challenged offers approved and running on Facebook.

Core business is growing a business with paid traffic.

That includes FaceBook, Instagram, google search, google display, Youtube, Google Shopping

  • Ecomm, supplements, info product
  • Specialise in compliance and policy

Ten years ago, traffic was this “black box” – only a handful of people knew what they were doing.

You can ‘control” the flow of traffic – so you can predictably scale your business.

Whereas scaling based on organic traffic and partnerships can be under less control.

What are the different experiences of your clients?

Not done a lot of work for solely FBA businesses.

Typically a brand that is on Amazon comes to them to control more of the customer journey.

Anybody who happens to watch this in the future – there is a very unique challenge in our world. But that is going to be what any business faces in any recession.

Rory tries to build a business from a strong foundation, they are a 3-legged stool

Right now, the majority of his clients are seeing “normal” volatility.

In the USA, they are just breaking into things that are really bad.

Lost client last night from Australia – do live events.

“We need to focus on getting you online”!
What they offer physically is able to go online.

Some clients are thriving -from 2X ROAS to 6x ROAS

They happened to be in the right place.

Other agencies have lost ⅓ of clients!

Amazon businesses typically have traffic within the Amazon eco-system.

So you don’t have a lot of ROAS.

What are the characteristics of the physical goods businesses that are weathering the storm?

Importing from China did lead to shut down for a while.

Now there is the issue with FBA side – Amazon has shut off inbound shipping.

Several distribution centres in the USA have had Covid19 cases confirmed.

Is there anything you can do?

One client with 6X ROAS is a physical product company, based out of Western USA, only essential employees can report; they are selling the right kind of product.

In light of what’s going on right now – how do you diversify?

How do you pivot into digital products?

There are multiple steps to this.

Risks of Amazon businesses

The main issue is Amazon owns the customer!

What happens when I can’t rely on Amazon?

  • They label your own product
  • They kick you off amazon etc.

How do I get control of my customers?

Getting people on email list is really hard.

Your inserts are limited.

So how do I develop my own Customer list?

Start to build an audience via some moderate-budget paid ads.

Then choose an Email platform and build a list eg aWeber, ActiveCampaign,

How do we start doing lead generation? – building a list?

So that when supply chains open up, we are outside Amazon and Alibaba

How do you get ready?

With ecomm brands, they like to do contests.

Built an essential oil accessory business on back of contests

  • FaceBook ads
  • Opt in to email lists
  • Ran Kickstarter campaigns for product development.
    • They can take 30-60 days
  • If you’ve listed a pillow on Amazon, there’s a decent chance you have someone in the family with sleep issues
  • Can you put together a lead magnet – down pillow vs. x type of pillow

Get your mind in the right place

If you’re bleeding cash and you have no marketing budget, it may not be the time to build lists.

What can you do to build a future strong business?

Consumers are looking for guidance and information.

In US, they’ve lost all professional sports.

Rory can read a book, spend time with family, build business.

Whereas the average consumer is lost and struggling for connection.

People have time and attention on their hands. So it’s the time for quality content.

Is now the time to run paid ads?

Yes! Now is the time to put out paid content and enter the conversation in people’s heads.

You can spend $5 a day – that’s $150 a month!

That starts establishing you in the marketplace.

When Rory runs contents they are generating quality leads for $0.75 a lead!

You’ve got to put your toe in the water and test the market.

Jumping a few steps ahead.

With your email list can you sell them other things in your list that other people have created?

Bolting other people’s digital products on to your own

Obvious pivot points – say you sell dog products, you could find an affiliate who does dog training.

If you can find a reputable digital product or training you can tap into, it’s a smart and viable option.

People are still spending money, just on different things

Rory had 4 businesses reach out to him about advertising.

Sales for beauty came out.

They are spending money on supplements also.

General Motors – a major automobile maker – is producing ventilators.

Anheuser- Busch – a massive beer maker in USA – they’ve shut down production of beer and are sending out canned water out to disaster sites.

Diversifying/making your Business more robust

  • Increase AOV
  • Sell multiples
  • Selling associated products
  • A lot of problems arise when someone got lucky on Amazon
  • Know your margins and numbers
  • Have other products in development

How to diversify outside the supply chain impacts?

2-3 weeks ago, Rory was telling people – this is why you can’t just rely on China.

Let’s find US supply chains – maybe it’s searching AliExpress and finding what companies are outside that.

Amazon FBA sellers diversifying- example

Rory had a Client had a 7-figure Amazon business come – no. 1 for keyword, margins on Amazon were great came to them several months ago.

Rory looked at their margins and numbers – without Amazon, they had no business!

If you tried to add in advertising costs to their product, the margins weren’t there.

Look at your business

Look at your numbers – what do I need to do to diversify?

If it’s a high-ticket item, you could be okay.

What else can you sell them?

Affiliate selling

You can add on other people’s products to your product offering.

If you’re selective about quality, you can make good profits and feel good about it.

Now you need to figure out how to get outside Amazon.

How do I get plugged into the right relationships and the right types of businesses?

How do I set up a contest and start learning FaceBook ads?

Digital products

Rory and partners themselves had digital products on top of physical products.

They had an essential oil accessory business – FBA was picking up and so was e-commerce.

One of the main products that essential oil users were diffusers – which cost between $10 to $ several hundred.

The idea was to sell accessories, they decided to bootstrap the business.

They borrowed $1000 and started a contest for a diffuser.

That helped them acquire essential oil users.

Don’t give away an iPad! If you’re selling pillows, give away pillows!

Viability test

On thank you page after entering – you can buy this exact thing for 20% off on Amazon via a coupon code.

Gave proof of concept. This became a $100K a month business off Amazon eventually.

Healthy use of essential oils

Two leading companies in essential oils were MLM – anybody can sell these!

A lot of people share bad advice – some of it harmful.

They created a 60 minute webinar on using essential oils.

They also created a 6-part training course.  $47 digital product with bonuses eg 25 home remedies for

  • linen spray
  • disinfectant
  • Blends of smells

A lot of people who come into ecommerce space are not digital marketers.

A lot of ecommerce businesses don’t email customers and don’t build KLT

With Amazon – you can’t really email people.

Any final words to everyone?

It’s easier to say “do this” than to do this!

However, hopefully this provides hope and light for what you could do.

Take a step back and where you want to go. Identify a plan.

Take some kinds of steps, even $5 a day.

Watch my full interview with Rory Stern

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