197: A Better Way To Launch Products On Amazon With Scott Voelker

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197: A Better Way To Launch Products On Amazon With Scott Voelker

Today I’m happy to have Scott Voelker of The Amazing Seller back on the show. Last time I had him on was back in episode 89. And since then, we’ve become good friends, hung out at multiple conferences together including Fincon where we were both on a panel together.

Anyway because it’s been so long, I invited Scott back to talk about some of his updated Amazon strategies and to see what he’s been up to. Enjoy the episode!

What You’ll Learn

  • Scott’s new criteria for selecting a product to sell
  • His new process for finding profitable niches
  • How to build a list of interested buyers
  • How to create a giveaway

Other Resources And Books

Sponsors

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Klaviyo.com – Klaviyo is the email marketing platform that I personally use for my ecommerce store. Created specifically for ecommerce, it is the best email marketing provider that I’ve used to date. Click here and try Klaviyo for FREE.
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Privy.com – Privy is my tool of choice when it comes to gathering email subscribers for my ecommerce store. They offer easy to use email capture, exit intent, and website targeting tools that turn more visitors into email subscribers and buyers. With both free and paid versions, Privy fits into any budget. Click here and get 15% OFF towards your account.
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Transcript

You’re listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast, the place where I bring on successful bootstrapped business owners, and delve deeply into what strategies are working and what strategies are not with their businesses. Now after a multi-year hiatus, I am happy to have the great Scott Voelker back on the podcast to talk about what’s changed on Amazon and how his strategies have evolved in the past couple of years.

But before we begin I want to give a quick shout out to Privy who is a sponsor of the show. Privy is the tool I use to build my email list for both my blog and my online store. Now Privy is an email list growth platform, and they manage all of my email capture forms. And in fact I use Privy hand in hand with my email marketing provider.

There are a bunch of companies out there that will manage your email capture forms, but I like Privy because they specialize in e-commerce. Right now I’m using Privy to display a cool wheel of fortune pop up. Basically a user gives their email for a chance to win valuable prizes in our store. And customers love the gamification aspect of this, and when I implemented this form email sign ups increased by 131%.

There are other cool things that you can do too. So for example, let’s say you offer free shipping for orders over $100, well you can tell Privy to flash a pop up when the customer has $90 in their shopping cart to urge them to insert one more item. Bottom line, Privy allows me to turn visitors into email subscribers, which I then feed to my email provider to close the sale. So head on over to Privy.com/Steve, and try it for free. And if you decide you need some of the more advanced features, use coupon code MWQHJ For 15% off. Once again that’s P-R-I-V-Y.com/Steve.

Now I also want to give a quick shout out to Klaviyo who is also a sponsor of the show. I’m always blessed to have Klaviyo as a sponsor because they are the email marketing platform that I personally use for my ecommerce store, and I depend on them for over 20% of my revenues. Now, Klaviyo is the only email platform out there that is specifically built for ecommerce stores, and here is why it is so powerful.

Klaviyo can track every single customer who has shopped in your store and exactly what they bought. So let’s say I want to send an email to everyone who purchased a red handkerchief in the last week, easy. Let’s say I want to set up a special auto-responder sequence to my customers depending on what they purchased, piece of cake, and there is full revenue tracking on every single email sent.

Klaviyo is the most powerful email platform that I’ve ever used and you can try them for free at mywifequitherjob.com/K-L-A-V-I-Y-O. Once again that’s, mywifequitherjob.com/K-L-A-V-I-Y-O, now on to the show.

Intro: Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast. We will teach you how to create a business that suits your lifestyle, so you can spend more time with your family and focus on doing the things that you love. Here is your host, Steve Chou.

Steve: Welcome to the My Wife Quit her Job Podcast. Today I’m happy to have Scott Volker of The Amazing Seller back on the show. Last time I had him on was way back in episode 89, and since then we’ve become good friends. We’ve hung out at multiple conferences together including my conference, the Sellers Summit. And recently we hung out at FinCon where we were both on a panel together.

Anyway because it’s been so long, I think it’s been like two years, I invited Scott back to talk about some of his updated Amazon strategies, and basically just to see what he’s been up to. And with that, welcome to the show Scott, how are you doing today man?

Scott: I am doing great. I can’t believe it’s been two years really.

Steve: I can’t believe I’ve been podcasting for like three years now to be honest with you.

Scott: That’s insane, truly insane.

Steve: Time flies.

Scott: Yeah it really, really does. I mean I’m excited to be back, excited to share what we’ve been up to, and yeah I mean just some things have changed, but some things are pretty much the same. But we’re growing and we’re having fun doing it, and yeah excited to be back on.

Steve: Yeah so it’s been a couple years, and I know some stuff has changed. I’m just kind of curious like so last time I think we talked about a completely different set of products. Are those original products that you sold on Amazon, like when you first got started are those still going strong?

Scott: Well they’re not going strong, but there’s a reason for that. I kind of let them go in a sense. They were kind of like my beginning products that kind of got me started. Now with that being said, there are some months that we’re still doing about 10,000 in revenue on those, and I’m literally Steve I’m not touching it. And I think I’m only spending like 20 bucks a day on pay per click. So they’re kind of like set and forget, and I take whatever I get and it’s a decent little chunk to not really be doing anything.

But one of the reasons I kind of backed off on that, number one was the starting point. It kind of got me into the game, it kind of got me like, oh my gosh, like I should probably pay attention to this thing. And I did but then I started to see like if I was going to build this thing out or build a brand, I would do it differently. I wouldn’t do exactly what I did in the beginning. I’d go after products that were different, I would build a brand, I wouldn’t just go out there in just find a product or a widget that was selling in a sense.

So with that being said, it’s kind of my fault. I think I could have grown that into something bigger, but now I’ve taken my energy and focused on different projects.

Steve: I see, so you didn’t feel like you could create a real brand around that product, so that’s why you put on the back burner?

Scott: Yeah exactly yeah. It was kind of like — and it’s one of those things that now it’s gotten saturated. And even though it’s gotten saturated because I got in early, I’m still ranking okay, I’m still getting sales organically, but again literally if I spend — oh gosh, if I log in and check my stuff once a week it would be a lot.

Steve: Okay. Well so given what you just said Scott, how has your criteria changed then for selecting a product to sell?

Scott: Well okay, here is the deal, it’s not even so much the criteria has changed as far as like the numbers go, but as far as where I look for products or what I think would make a good, not even product but a good brand. We talk a lot about like the open brand concept, and I’ve got a partner that I work with on that side of things where we’re able to test products relatively quick. If we find something, instead of trying to fit it into a brand, you can kind of just go, okay let’s just launch it under the open brand. It’s kind of like retail arbitrage for privately label.

Steve: Sure right.

Scott: And we’ve done that, and we’ve actually got one product right now, it’s really, really crazy on how that all happened. And we sourced it locally at first, and then we now are going to China after we validated it numerous times. My partner kind of was dragging their feet a little bit on that, but that’s one product that it may be a trend. So it’s one of those things too that if you see something trending you might be able to jump in, but there’s not really a brand behind an open brand with that.

So with product criteria, the stuff that I look at now more so than anything is really brand, and I string some products together. And I don’t know if you’ve seen this, this maybe breaking news I don’t know I’m going to let you know this right now. But yesterday we logged in, myself and Chris Schaefer, which are partners in this new brand that we’re working on, and we noticed that they rolled out a new feature in Amazon with their coupons. And basically now we can create coupons that target our past customers or ASINS, and we can let that coupon show up to that person almost like they were pixelled in a sense. Have you seen this yet?

Steve: No I have not; it is news to me, interesting.

Scott: Yeah and depending on your account, maybe how old it is or whatever, but if you go to the advertising tab and you’ll normally see campaign manager, enhanced brand content, early reviewer program, lighting deals, coupons, promotions, if you go to coupons, I think that’s where it would be, yeah creating new coupon. That’s where it would be there, and if you want to create a coupon, but then if you go under there and you see promotions, you can go under there and then you can go ahead and create your promotion. So the coupon thing is new. The promotions has always been there.

Steve: So basically you’re only giving coupons to your past customers essentially?

Scott: Well you can select that, you can select the criteria. It could be past customers, it could be an ASIN. So if you have one of your ASINs on your products and you want someone bought this but then you wanted to see something else, you can put that up alongside them. And I think they’re charging like 60 cents a transaction, then whatever else the percentage of this after use. You can either use percentage off, or a dollar amount off.

Steve: Okay.

Scott: Pretty cool man.

Steve: Yeah.

Scott: So yeah we’re actually playing around with that right now to just kind of see exactly what it’s doing. I think we already gotten some sales from it. We just started it like literally like less than eight hours ago. So yes so anyway…

Steve: Let me ask you this real quick. So you mentioned that now you’re focusing more on brand, do you still think the open brand concept is sustainable in the long run?

Scott: That’s a great question. Sustainable, it’s kind of like retail arbitrage, that’s the way I look at it. It’s kind of like it’s a little different because you can keep reordering. But I guess the question is, are the products, products that are trending, are they products that are I guess seasonal like those are the things that I would say? And again it’s like unless you’re just going to be like you’re just going to focus on like electronics, like you’re going to be the electronics dealer or something like that.

It’s hard to say sustainable if you’re looking at like just random products. So to me it would be probably harder to sell a business that’s random products versus like one that is specifically focused towards a market.

Steve: Okay right.

Scott: So I don’t know about sustainable. I would say for people that are like, they’re like, oh my gosh, I don’t know what product to pick. If you want to test products or market, it’s a great way to test markets. I think there’s like five different markets that are in the open brand that we’re working in, and they’re just different markets, right? So you can test sport and outdoors, you can test cooking, you can test fishing, you can test like all these different ones and then you can see which ones maybe has some legs, and then you can take it to the next level if you want to.

So it’s a way for you to test. I don’t know if it’s sustainable, maybe it could be. I wouldn’t want to make that my in thing.

Steve: So is your process now then to just kind of launch a private label product first, see if it has legs and then consider whether you can create a brand on it, or do you consider all the brand stuff right away?

Scott: Well I do consider the brand stuff, but I always start with that. It was funny, I was having this conversation with a friend of mine and I said years ago we would build the website, we would do our product research, we would say we think that this thing is going to work. Now what I like to do is go to Amazon, let them tell me if there’s products selling in that market. Can I create a better product; can I validate it before I actually put all the work into building all of the stuff that it takes to build the brand?

So for me it’s kind of like Shark Tank, right? The sharks on there, they always come down, they go okay like what are your sales? Until you have sales, you’re not proving the concept. You haven’t proven or validated that the market is going to buy your product. So I like to go the other route, do a small test order, put it in, and then from there we can kind of grow with that. So yeah that is kind of the mindset and kind of the process that we take.

Steve: Okay, so let’s talk about that. So we place a small order, then what is your product launch process now today?

Scott: Yeah that’s a great question. So what we basically do is generally we will do a test order of anywhere between 300 and 500 units. Now some people say, Scott how do you do that, like they all want me to do 1,000 units. And we ask, we just keep asking and will negotiate, or will move on to a different supplier. We’ve found that generally you can find at least 500 that you can test, 500 unit run.

You’re going to spend a little more, but that’s okay because we’re just testing and we’re kind of reducing the amount of risk if we were to buy 1,000 units so that’s fine. So what we’ll do is we do our product research. Normally how we do it, we want to look at the sales of current competitors and see what they’re doing. We’ll look at the reviews, see what we can do better, we’ll look at the listing optimization, see how we can do a better job there, better pictures, better title, better optimization, all the way around.

And then what we’ll do is we build our own email list. So we instead of like before you could go to a service that would do a launch for you. And I wasn’t big on those before, I never did massive ones, some people were doing like hundreds or thousands of units and just giving away their products. We’ve never been about that. I’ve generally been about 100 units is what my budget is for my promotion, because I’m going after products also Steve that are not selling hundreds of units a day. I’m going after like can I find a product that can sell ten units a day, $10 profit each, make $100 profit per day. Like can I find that product, low competition, less than 200 reviews, that’s what I’m looking at.

So if I can spike the algorithm, if I can get ten sales a day through an email list or some type of promotion that I can run, in my case I like building email lists because I have an asset now, and then I can spike sales, then I can start to rank organically, then I can start to get in to Amazon’s traffic.

Steve: Right so you’re basically trying to stay under the radar of like the big guys where most of the evil stuff happens essentially?

Scott: Pretty much yeah. I mean again it’s like when you get into gray hat and black hat, it’s always well how can I be the other guy that’s trying to get one 100 sales a day. Number one, if you’re going after products that are selling 100 units a day, in order to rank you’ve got to sell 100 units a day, like bottom line.

So then you get into how do I give away — and I’ve heard some stories where some people will — they’ll take 100 grand and go in because we’re going to dominate that market, they’re going to try to take over it. They’ll take 100 grand and just use that as money to give away their products, so this way here they will just get ranked. And then once they secure their spot, then the organic sales will take over. That’s just not my cup of tea.

Steve: Right okay.

Scott: I don’t want that. And I’m not looking to just building it on Amazon either like that’s where we start, and that’s kind of where we kind of — because we can we can kind of like get started quicker in a sense where we don’t have to build out the website, we don’t have to do the merchant account, we don’t have to do refunds, all that stuff, fulfillment, we can do that.

So to me it’s the way to get started, but I’m always thinking, okay and like I was talking to you just before we got on here, like okay our next move is like we’re going to build a little mini funnel, we’re going to do a free plus shipping offer, we’re going to go through ClickFunnels, we are going to do all the stuff, that’s like what we’re working on now. But it’s been seven months in this new brand that we haven’t done that yet. We’re moving in that direction.

Steve: Okay let’s talk about your email list then, your launch email list, how to do you build that up?

Scott: Yeah we’re building it with your good friend and my good friend Mike Jackness which does the same thing and he did it in his brand is giveaways. We’re doing a 30 day giveaway. A lot of people will do shorter ones; I don’t like the shorter ones. We’re doing a 30 day one, and generally will give away a prize that’s worth about $200 to $250 in value, and it’s a physical product. And now because we have about eight or nine skews, we’re able to include those skews in the bundle as the giveaway, so now they’re kind of aware of our brand. But then we’ll wrap it around something major.

I kind of use a fishing analogy where if I’m going after the bass fishing market, I’m going to go find the best bass fishing lures and the tackle box and the vest, and I want to make that my bundle, and then hopefully my tackle box will be in there too. And then I will do that for 30 days. I’ll drive Facebook ads to a landing page or Instagram influencers. And then I will drive them through a contest, and then I will follow up with them through email. I’ll announce the winner and then on the back end will say to all the people that didn’t win, hey sorry you didn’t win, but we’ve got a 25% off coupon on our tackle box until midnight.

Steve: Can you describe how you figure out the product for the giveaway? It’s not your own product in the beginning?

Scott: In the beginning it’s not. I get a lot people say; well should I not wait to have my own product? The answer is no, like just that’s going to be your launch list. So we did it before we even had our product. We had a product ordered but we didn’t have it yet. So we just found something that was going to be related. The one mistake I see people making is they’re just going to like I know everyone wants an iPad. So I’m going to do an iPad. Well that’s not your market unless you’re selling iPad accessories.

So to me it’s got to be really dialed in even in the fishing space. If you’re going to sell something that’s tailored towards bass fishing, you want something that’s tailored towards bass fisherman. It’s got to be that targeted, because we don’t just want people that are free seekers, we want people that are in that market because people will say, well why wouldn’t I just go to someone that has a list for people who want to get deals?

That’s the problem, they’re just raising their hand because they want to get deals or get deals just like I mean back in the day, we’re talking like eight, nine months ago with Amazon review groups or people that were building these were these groups. These were just email lists of people that were raising their hand that wanted to get basically free product from Amazon. Well those people aren’t necessarily my target market.

So what I want to do is get something that I know is going to get them to raise their hand, and then from there we can go ahead and then start following up with either content, or other offers and stuff like that. So a good offer is key though, and you’re right, you can’t just give away your $29 tackle box. That’s not enough. You need something’s going to get some buzz, you can have a bundle. And we’ve had really good results since we’ve been doing those, and we’ve done it in a couple of different markets.

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I’m just curious, so that list that you get, like what is the quality of that list like?

Scott: You’re going to love this. In the very beginning when it’s fresh, it’s generally between 50 and 60% open rates. Okay so not too bad. So then people would say, well, wait a minute here, you got 1,000 emails, and you get a 50% open rate, that’s only 500. Okay so now it cost me fifteen cents to acquire an email by the way, so — oh it cost me 30 cents to acquire an email. And those are people that are opening my emails so that means that they’re interested.

And so what we’ll do is we will — like right now, I think we sent out an email yesterday to about 16,000, and I think that one right now and it hasn’t even been a full 24 hours, you know how that goes over time and it’ll get a little bit better, I think we’re over 25% right now. That’s above standard.

Steve: And so in terms of – so that’s the open rate, but in terms of like the people that actually buy, what percentage would you say that list in your last campaign?

Scott: Yeah in the last campaign, and it’s kind of hard to say because I’ll be honest, here is the other cool thing that happens. You get one person or two people that take your promotion that you’re doing and they share it to a Facebook group, and then it blows up, we just had that happen. We sold over 190 units from one email. So did that come directly from the email list? Not necessarily, but it came from someone that was on the list that shared in a group.

But I would say it depends on the offer again too Steve. I think you know that.

Steve: Sure.

Scott: You could send out that to everyone and it might not be the right product. We have right now nine skews. So we’re going to actually be able to kind of tell you a little bit more of that probably in the future because we’re going to run kind of like Mike has done. We’re going to do like ten days to Christmas sale, and we’re going to do like a little email campaign where we’re going to kind of give people different offers. But I would probably say it’s — I’d be kind of lying to say I knew exactly. But I would say, for the most part I would say probably half a percent to a percent.

Steve: It’s hard to track that right because you are not allowed to use affiliate links in emails either, right?

Scott: Yeah you’re not really supposed to. The only thing that we can do is we can track the coupon codes that we’ve given out.

Steve: Right.

Scott: And look at that and actually the one that we just did, we’re starting to get data, but also Amazon is kind of delayed on the data. But the way I look at this, the way I look at it is like this too and I know you’re a numbers guy. You like the numbers. Here’s the way I look at it though. I look at it like this. I got an email list and I paid $1,000 for it, all right. And I launched this product and I sold 250 units in three days. I got ranked on Amazon, I’m starting to get organic sales, I’m not even using sponsored product ad yet.

So that 250 sales that came from that email that I sent out because it was a discount, is that worth 1,000 bucks? To me it is because I’m not even looking at that. I’m looking at now I’ve got potential to take that list and send them another offer, or send them a piece of content that gets shared into a group that I get 60,000 views on a video we just shared. All of those things come back to me.

So I don’t necessarily look at it like, okay I sent an email, I got a 1% conversion, I got a half percent conversion. I don’t look at that. I look at more of like the long term of that. And you know as well as I do, I can take that list now which we’ve done, and I’ll upload it to Facebook, and now I’ll create a retargeting or I’ll also create a look alike audience from that email list. So that’s a little bit more of a higher level I guess thinking, and that’s how we do it. So the email list is built not just to sell a product.

Steve: Can we talk about like the emails that you actually send for a little bit?

Scott: Yeah absolutely. I mean our first email obviously if you sign up for a contest, the first one is going to like thanks for entering. And then from there we’ll give them another — there’s a link that’s in — we actually — actually Chris Guthrie, a good friend of ours, him and I partnered up on a piece of software that we created called Giveaway Boost, which we created for doing this. And there’s been a few other ones out there. We just wanted to have ours more tailored towards e-commerce which is more features.

So we actually built that in. So what it will do is it will give them their own tracking code. So they can share that tracking code and will incentivize them by if you share this with people you know or think that you would like this, and you get three entries, you’ll get an extra entry. So we incentivize in that way. So in that first email, that’s what it’s thanking them. It’s letting them know what they just did, and that they’re confirmed. And oh by the way, here’s your special link that will get you additional entries.

And then we’ll follow up probably in about three days with some just regular content. So it’s basically like, hey, we just wanted to drop in here; I know that you probably want to catch more bass this weekend. So here’s a couple of tips that we’ve been using and they work really well. And oh by the way, here’s your special link again to share the contest, whatever. So it’s kind of like that hybrid approach.

So stuff like that, and then once the contest is over, we’ll announce the winner. So the headline is usually like the winner is, and then from there, and that will be a huge open rate. And then from there we will announce the winner publicly because we want to let them know that we’re actually fulfilling the prize, and we’ll also if we can get a picture with that winner. And then from there it will say, but you’re still a winner because we are going to give you a 25% off discount through this weekend just for entering the contest, we want to thank you. And oh by the way here’s another cool YouTube video that we shot about this other thing.

So it’s really a way for us to connect with them without just pushing a sale, but then we also — and one thing I would say and you know this, and hopefully your audience knows it or they’ll not know it now is the one thing we’ve done is we’ve always added some form of deadline to our offer. So if there is a 25% off coupon, and it goes live on Friday afternoon, it will end on Sunday night. And that will give us the opportunity to email three times, once to let them know about it. The second time to let them know that there’s still a bit more time, and then the third one is its end. It always spikes the sales. The last day is usually the most sales that we’ll get from that email.

Steve: Right. So I’m just curious then, so how does this giveaway strategy fall into some of your other email gathering strategies? You mentioned a free plus shipping offer in the beginning, how do you arrange all these different offers together?

Scott: Yeah well, the free plus shipping is something that’s just getting underway right now. So I can’t really give you that, but it’s like our next move. Right now the whole building of the email list has really been, two ways really. One has been from the contest, and that’s been the number one way. The second way is kind of like giving away like a free PDF the seven lures you must have in your tackle box kind of thing. And that gets a trickle of emails in. And then the third way will be free plus shipping, and those will be like warmer leads in a sense.

So I can’t really tell you on that one, but we’ll be setting these up just like you would. We’re going to segment, we’ll have a contest list, more or less a customer list, and then you’ll have a warm list that came from a free plus shipping offer. And the free plus shipping offer will be interesting because we’re going to be doing it where you get the free plus shipping, and then really on the back end it’s not even to be like the next product maybe, it might just be more of what they just got for free.

Steve: Sure of course.

Scott: But then maybe test it down sell up sell, all that fun happy stuff.

Steve: So just curious, what are some tips on giveaways? So your price you recommend 250 to 300 bucks?

Scott: I’d say yeah, I’d say the more the better just because it gets more hype, right? It’s like a bigger deal. So I would say the offer is key, your targeting is key too. You can’t just throw that up and think everyone is going to see it and like it and share it with someone that they know is into fishing. You have to really do that targeting, and it’s going to take a little bit of work. We have done Instagram, we found influencers. We didn’t even run ads; we just basically reached out to influencers.

In this new brand though, we have not really had success with influencers on Instagram, and I think more so because we haven’t really spent too much time. We tried like three or four, and then we just kind of said, you know what Facebook ads are kind of easier right now, so we’re going to stick there. But we did one. We actually did an open case study. I did it for — my son’s into sneakers. I did the whole Jordan and all that stuff. So we did a public case study for one of our live events showing how we built the email list and stuff in the sneaker head market.

And that offer was all driven through or actually shared through Instagram. I found on Instagram a couple. I found like three different Instagram pages that had — one had 300,000, one had like 500,000, one had a million, and I think the most I spent was like $125 for a post. And those converted really well in that space as far as email capture, which is kind of crazy because in Instagram you have to go to the bio link and you have to — then you’re warned that you’re leaving Instagram.

We spent like I think 125 bucks on that one run for that one page, and we got like over 500, 600 emails in than four hours.

Steve: In terms of writing your Facebook ads for these promotions, so let’s use your fishing example, what are some targeting aspects of Facebook that you would use?

Scott: Well, I think first off you’ve got to find out where your audience is hanging out. And I mean an easy way to do that obviously is to just kind of go to Facebook, it’s a search engine, and just start to search for groups, and search for pages. And then from there sometimes you can target some of the — not the groups but the pages, or it can at least get you started. So if you’re starting from scratch, that’s where you’re going to kind of have to start doing some of your own testing.

So you’re going to go in, you’re going to look at the target, the different interests that you’re going into like fishing or it might be bass fishing or whatever, right, like those interests. And then in the beginning, I mean you’re kind of like you’re guessing as far as like demographics until you start getting some of that data and then you can start to really hone that in. The advantage of having even a small tiny 250 email list of people that you know raised their hand already, and then taking them and uploading them into Facebook and using them as your lookalike, that really can speed up the process because then it almost goes out and finds those people for you.

But beginning I would say it’s going to be testing. And for us it was kind of like you’re kind of shooting kind of blindly, but you’re just guessing. And then you start to look at the data and you’re like, okay wait a minute here, guys that are 18 to 24 are clicking, but they’re not converting. So let’s just pause those guys, let’s only target the guys that are older than that. And you just start refining that through your different tests. But I would say just go there and find groups, and there’s going to be tons of them that you can look at groups and Facebook pages, and then just start seeing from there what kind of people are hanging out in that market, and then start to use that as some of your insights.

Steve: I guess what I’m trying to get at is like what is your exact process, like how many ads do you run, how many different ad sets, how much money do you put on each ad set at the beginning, what is like a target click through rate or a conversion rate, how many people do you — how much do you expect to pay per lead, that sort of thing?

Scott: Well I’m going to kind of go over to being that’s not my expertise Steve, so I’m not going to give you that.

Steve: All right.

Scott: Chris Schaefer, my partner is that. He’s the guy that loves those numbers like you; you guys would have a great conversation over those Facebook ads. But I could give you the basic stuff. So when we were starting that stuff, we allocate 20 bucks a day, and that’s like our testing money. Generally, I mean in the beginning we were shooting for a dollar per email, like that’s what we were shooting for. We’ve since got that from where it was, it was I think we got it to 50 cents, and then we got it to 30 cents, and then recently, our most recent one was 15 cents.

But again that is from him looking at the numbers after day one, and then tweaking, turning off this and putting this. Now the one thing I would say, a little tip here and I know this is the case because we kind of go over this stuff, if you have a — again testing, it all comes out on testing. If you take a static image, just an image that’s just not going to be any movement, no gift, no nothing, that may not convert as well as a video or just a gift.

And what I mean by gift is like what we did is we took, I think it was five pictures in our contest, and all we did was create an animation of it. And we put it up and acted as a video, and our conversions were better and our click through rate was better, and our cost per email was better just from that one thing. And that was just Chris saying, I’m going to give this thing a test and see what happens. And he did it, and it was like that’s what we use now in every single ad set.

So yeah I mean to give you like all of that, all of those numbers. I can’t give you that. All I can tell you is we’re spending between $20 and $30 a day; our email cost is about 15 cents give or take per email. That’s per email, that’s not click that’s per email. And then from there as far as different ad sets, I think we’re using right now four, you know what I mean to test. And that’s basically the bare bones. And I know even Chris has said like we could get even more granular, but why? At this point we want to spend more time doing other things, and just kind of run this behind the scenes.

Steve: Yeah I mean 15 cents is really good, and that’s probably because people are sharing this, right?

Scott: Yes. Yeah they’re sharing it, and again another byproduct of this is every time we do a contest, we add about 2,000 Facebook likes to our page, which just happens automatically because we have to have the ad running through our Facebook fan page. So of course that we’re naturally getting likes on our page, now people would say, well aren’t likes kind of useless, aren’t they? No, they’re actually not, because we can retarget that page now and run ads cheaper to our Facebook fan page, and we can also now do our Facebook lives where we get exposure to our audience, but then they can share it inside of our fan page versus a group. So that’s the other things that we look at.

Steve: And in terms of this email list, do you end up cleaning it after?

Scott: Yes.

Steve: Okay. What is your process?

Scott: Well at this point it’s really like we give them opportunities to open or click. So it’s like one of those things, like after — I think we’ve been doing it about every 30 days that if they haven’t opened a email, we will then send them kind of like in that last set of emails, and if they don’t click or open after that, then we’ll just get them off the list or manually remove them. And of course we’ll get unsubscribes which we’re happy to get those. I mean it’s just them doing it for us.

But for the most part it’s pretty standard right now, and we’re kind of still new and kind of growing in this because for us it’s less than a year. And I know Mike has got some pretty — Mike Jackness that is, he’s got some pretty intricate systems and stuff going on behind the scenes to do all this stuff, and I’m definitely looking forward to chat with him on this stuff. But we’re definitely going through the process on a basic level to just clean it on kind of top level. And then from there we’ll probably do some type of like wake up campaign where we kind of get them reactivated, and if they don’t after that then we can just keep off.

Steve: I guess are you putting these people like in an autoresponder sequence after the contest is over for a long time.

Scott: Yes. Actually right now I think we’ve got it built out to about 20 emails.

Steve: Twenty miles okay, yeah that’s a lot actually.

Scott: Yeah and I think we’re doing about — at least we’re doing one drip every single week, but we’re also doing a live every single Friday. So like every Friday there’ll be like an update of what we published, or new content or a new deal, or whatever. And then the drip will be basically content sprinkled in with a little bit of an offer.

Steve: So let’s talk about that. So who’s creating this content, and I imagine this is all going into establishing a brand, right? You’re putting something out there with the content, so what does your strategy look like there?

Scott: You mean as far as like who is going to be writing the content or who is going to be the face and all that stuff?

Steve: And how you formulate the content. So you have this email list now that you have to kind of nurture along, and hopefully at some point they’ll buy from you, just because you have given them mind share of your product. So how often are you creating content, how do you know what content works well, like what’s the strategy there/

Scott: Yeah well okay and we’re again testing a lot of different forms, because I think every market reacts a little bit differently. We’re finding that Facebook lives work really well, but also you have to be there live. So it can be a little taxing on the person doing it and you know that. So we are trying to do at least, we were doing one of those a week, sometimes two, now we’re doing about one every two weeks. But we’ve since started to add short videos that are tutorial based that are giving value that are kind of showing how to do something. And that is being done generally about twice a week on a regular basis.

And then once we get past — we just started talking about this, once we get past a certain amount of content, we can then start to kind of repurpose it and kind of bring it back to life again. But the way it works really is my partner in this, my partner that I started this brand with, they’re the face. So they’re the ones that’s coming up with the content. And the way that they’re coming up with content is a few different ways. Number one they’re part of other groups and other pages. So they’re very aware of what people are talking about, what people are excited about, what people like, what they don’t like. So then they just put their spin on whatever that is, whatever is interesting at that time, that’s one way.

The other way is we now are starting to get emails from people asking can you show us this, can you do this, how does this work? So then we can start to create content around that. It’s great also because you can start to add social proof that, hey Sally from Mississippi asked this, and I wanted to answer her question, here is the answer, a piece of content. So, all of that stuff is kind of being produced.

Once that’s being produced, it’s also now being published on our blog. Our blog is our home base, and by the way it’s kind of crazy, we did the blog without thinking about like driving traffic to it, or even getting search engine optimization, really dialed in, and we’re already probably getting about 25,000 to 30,000 uniques a month.

Steve: That’s crazy man.

Scott: To that blog, which is basically us just taking what we’re creating on Facebook and then republishing it on our blog our home base, and then from there people can — and then we drive people, generally we’ll drive people from the email either to the blog or to Facebook whichever we want to get attention. If it’s Facebook we’re doing it because we want to get shares and we want to get comments and all that stuff, or we’re driving it to the blog because we want people to be able to download something or consume something there. So we just kind of direct the traffic wherever we want to.

I just want to let you know that tickets for the 2018 Sellers Summit are on sale at sellerssummit.com. Now what is the Sellers Summit? It is the conference that I hold every year that specifically targets e-commerce entrepreneurs selling physical products online. And unlike other events that focus on inspirational stories and high level BS, mine is a curriculum based conference where you will leave with practical and actionable strategies specifically for an e-commerce business.

And in fact every speaker that I invite is deep in the trenches of their you converse business, entrepreneurs who are importing large quantities of physical goods, and not some high level guys who are overseeing their companies at 50,000 feet. The other thing I can assure you is that the Sellers Summit will be small and intimate. Last year we cut off ticket sales at around 100 people, so tickets will sell out quickly.

If you are an e-commerce entrepreneur making more than $250,000 or one million dollars per year, we are also offering an exclusive mastermind experience with other top sellers. Now the Sellers Summit is going to be held in Fort Lauderdale Florida from May 3rd to May 5th. And as I mentioned earlier, we’re almost sold out already, and I actually will be raising the ticket price from here on out every two weeks. That’s right; the ticket cost is going to go up every two weeks until the event. For more information, go to sellerssummit.com. Once again that’s sellerssummit.com, or just Google it, now back to the show.

So let me ask you this, regarding the content is it product focused content or is it is it informational content related to the niche primarily?

Scott: Yeah it’s that. I would say out of ten posts, it would be one or two may be product based, but it’s not going to be us coming on being like, hey, I just wanted to show you my new fly fishing rod today, and I want to show you why I like it so much, it’s got this, it’s got that. It’s not that, it’s generally like, hey, I want to show you how with my new rod I just was able to go out there and catch three fish or whatever.

Steve: Right, it will be like fishing techniques as opposed to like, hey, check out my rod?

Scott: Exactly, and then in the conversation you’re able to say, oh by the way I custom made this fishing rod because I was frustrated because this, that and the other thing, if you want to go check it out you can, but here let me go ahead and show you what I have been doing. So you’re just sprinkling that in your, and then from there people are just naturally wanting to see. It’s one of those things, it’s like we don’t want to be sold, but we’re sold if we see something that’s working or something that could benefit us in some way.

So it’s a way to do it and give value, and then from there you can also sprinkle in that offer. And so we’ve done — like I said, if we do ten posts, it might be eight of them that are pure content with mentioning all of the products, but it’s not necessarily product driven. The other might be 100% like, hey, I wanted to show you this new thing that we just created because I was frustrated, and we created something that’s awesome that I want to share with you guys because I’m so excited, like that type of thing. I’m so excited and we just launched this thing, I want to give you guys a 30% off discount all through the weekend.

Steve: So let me ask you this, so the way you’re doing it, there’s definitely a person who is the face of the company.

Scott: Yeah.

Steve: So let’s say there’s people out there who don’t want to be the face of any company, they don’t even want to show their face, how would your strategy change?

Scott: Yeah, that’s a good one. And here would be my advice. I would try to find someone that is so into your space or into your niche, and maybe they have a YouTube channel that they’re just publishing on the weekend, maybe they’re fixing their car on the weekend because they’re into fixing muscle cars, and they have no idea about like that they could actually make some money at this, I would look for someone like that and then tap into those people. I think if you want to build a brand, and really differentiate yourself not just with the product but with the personality, because I think that is a huge advantage, I think you just need to find someone. And it could take some time.

It’s funny though, I mean I don’t know about you, but I mean I come across people all the time that I see opportunities that if I was in that space I could probably make it happen. I could probably say to them, hey, I know a thing or two about e-commerce. I know a thing or two about information products like what do you say, you want to do something here? And they’d be like, what do you mean, like what’s FBA, is that like the government, is that like the IRS? No, no it’s not. Like literally there’s people out there that have no idea and they love talking about this stuff.

So, I would try — I just actually met with – actually it was at FinCon. I had my little TAS meet up there, and I met with a couple there that they make their own honey and they make their own honey cider vinegar and all this stuff, and we were actually giving them a consultation, we were actually doing a hot seat with them. And they are the face of the brand. But in the beginning they weren’t that person, but they just were doing it because they love it and they just love growing their own plants, and they just love all this organic stuff.

And they were like my neighbor, I’m sure I could connect with them and say, hey, I’ll tell you what, you do this, just jump on video, do this, that, and the other thing and I will take care of the rest like that’s how a partnership could form, and that’s your face. That’s the only thing they got to do is just be the face and just get on and do videos and stuff. So to me it’s like it’s a process to find that, and people say well where do I find that? You just be aware. I don’t know about you, but I mean I find people all the time that I could do that with.

Steve: Yeah I mean I think for us, it’s a little different. I mean we have access to a lot of people. I’m just I get this question a lot which is why I was just curious what your take is, because a lot of people are shy and then they don’t really go and talk to people, they don’t go to conferences, they don’t really network, and so it’s a little bit harder when your life is a little bit more insular, you know what I’m saying?

Scott: Well okay but I’ll give you an example. Okay I’m at my daughter’s volleyball, she is nine years old. I’m sitting there in the bullion chairs. And no one knows who I am, no one knows what I do nothing, and I got a lady that her sister was there with her, and she’s a huge volleyball player, was in the day, a D1 college, she coached, she’s done all this stuff, and she wants to make a little bit of extra money on the side and doesn’t know what to do.

I could have very easily said, you should go into the volleyball space, you should be an instructor, you should be an on line coach, you should — or I’ll tell what, I sell volleyball stuff or I sell sporting stuff for this market, how about you come on as a face, I will pay you and you can be part of the brain, I’ll give you a cut. That’s what I mean, like it doesn’t matter who I am, it’s just it’s there it’s right in front of you and it doesn’t mean that I have a podcast, you have a podcast, we have more connections. It means that I’m there locally inside of this place where there’s this raving fan base.

I don’t know about if you’ve ever seen this, but like volleyball or even soccer, you know soccer, kid soccer it’s crazy, right? So it’s like there’s a huge niche for girls’ volleyball at certain ages like this person could be like the local and the online trainer, but they had no idea that they could do that. So like for me I could bridge that gap for them and be like I know all this other stuff over here, all you got to do is just do what you love and just teach.

Steve: Yeah I mean it’s basically just keeping an open mind.

Scott: Totally.

Steve: Right yeah.

Scott: And if you’re aware, if you’re looking for it in a sense, it almost happens. But if you’re just close minded, you don’t think about it. You just think it’s got to be someone that’s on YouTube already, and they’re doing this thing. It doesn’t mean that, it just means you have to be open and you have to ask questions and get to know people a little bit.

I did it just by listening to the conversation. I wasn’t even on the conversation. I just heard it and my wife was talking to her sister, and I was like, okay well, if I wanted to get into that space, I could probably grab her, and she would probably be a great face. Totally looks like a volleyball person, like great personality, I’m like but she doesn’t know that you can do that right now, and she’s just not into that space.

Steve: So Scott, to kind of end this interview, I just kind of want to get your take on where Amazon is going. So how do you feel about RA, OA, private label, and then branding?

Scott: Yeah okay I think Amazon isn’t going anywhere, that’s first.

Steve: Obviously yeah.

Scott: So, you can either take advantage of what they’re doing right now, and get in on some of that, and to me it’s like getting a foot in the door. It doesn’t mean you’re going to build your business primarily on Amazon. I’m not a fan of that; I’m a fan of getting started there. But I think that, yes change is going to be happening, are we going to have to adjust? Yeah. Has SEO changed over the years? Sure.

So I think retail arbitrage, online arbitrage, I think that’s going to become a little bit more difficult, because brands are going to be able to lock down who can sell. They already can, but I think it’s going to become even harder. So that will probably become a little bit harder, but there is this place out there called eBay, and there’s still people doing pretty well over there, so you can always look into that.

But I think for RA or OA or even wholesaling, I think that’s not really going anywhere in 2018, I think it’ll still be there. I think people can still take advantage of it. I think it’s a great stepping stone. I don’t think — me personally if you’re going into this thing to create a business, I would start a business building your own brand, that’s what I would do. If I could choose one thing, it would be do exactly what we’re talking about, doing exactly what you’ve done, do exactly what Mike Jackness has done. This stuff will be here for the long term.

And I think Amazon is just that channel that we can tap into and take advantage of their platform and of their resources and stuff like that right now. Now in the future if they decide to change things and or maybe they take your legs out and you can’t sell there anymore for whatever reason, you definitely want to have your own platform, you definitely want to have your own email list, you definitely want to have your own sales channel so you can start directing traffic there. That is important.

But I think Amazon is only going to get I guess bigger, and it’s going to create more opportunities for us to be able to take advantage of these different resources. But for the ones that are doing these little hacks or gray hat, black hat stuff, just know that it’s a short cut, and that it probably will go away, and it could get you banned and then you could be sitting on inventory that you’re not going to get rid of. That would be my take.

I think private labeling, no matter if you’re selling on Amazon or not is still going to be here, and I think that building your own brand will just give you more security, and it will allow you to sell your brand if you want to and get more money for it if you end up by kind of getting out of that space.

Steve: Well Scott, thanks a lot for coming on the show man. Where can people find you and find out what you’re up to now?

Scott: Yeah, TheAmazingSeller.com is where you would find me, and the podcast is on iTunes, Stitcher, I believe it’s on Google Play as well. Yeah that’s pretty much where you’d find me. You’ll find me at Sellers Summit, I think one more year, right, Am I going to be back?

Steve: Yeah, what are you talking about, I told you to put on your calendar, good Lord?

Scott: I did, I did. Always a pleasure hanging out at Sellers Summit, and everyone that comes, it’s just been a really great community. I’m really impressed to you and Toni, and everything that you guys have done and you’ve built like a nice community there for Sellers summit. It’s just — it always gets really, really good reviews. So I want to thank you again for letting me be a part of that.

Steve: Dude, always happy to have you man.

Scott: I appreciate man. All right, go get some sleep; you’re still recovering from that jetlag are you?

Steve: Yes we are, yeah coming back from China is pretty brutal.

Scott: All right man.

Steve: All right dude, take care.

Scott: I appreciate Steve.

Hope you enjoyed that episode. What I like about Scott is that he’s always trying new things, and always at the cutting edge of Amazon trends. For more information about this episode, go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode197.

And once again I want to thank Klaviyo.com for sponsoring this episode. Klaviyo is my email marketing platform of choice for ecommerce merchants, and you can easily put together automated flows like an abandoned cart sequence, a post purchase flow, a win back campaign, basically all these sequences that will make you money on auto pilot. So head on over to mywifequitherjob.com/K-L-A-V-I-Y-O, once again that’s mywifequitherjob.com/K-L-A-V-I-Y-O.

I also want to thank Privy for sponsoring this episode. Privy is the email capture provider that I personally use to turn visitors into email subscribers. They offer email capture, exit intent, and site targeting tools to make it super simple as well. I like Privy because it’s so powerful and you can basically trigger custom pop ups for any primer that is closely tied to your e-commerce store. If you want to give it a try, it is free. So head on over to Privy.com/Steve, once again that’s P-R-I-V-Y.com/Steve.

And finally I want to thank Payability. If you’re looking to take back control of your cash flow and scale your Amazon business fast, then sign up for Payability, and say goodbye to cash flow issues and stock outs. With daily payments, you can speed up your supply chain, buy inventory at optimal times, and stay in the buy box. The more control you have over your cash flow, the more buying power you will have. Visit Go.payability.com/Steve to get started, and cash in on a $200 credit just for being a My Wife Quit Her Job listener. Once again that’s Go.payability.com/Steve.

Now, I talk about how I use these tools on my blog, and if you’re interested in starting your own ecommerce store, head on over to mywifequitherjob.com and sign up for my free six-day mini course. Just type in your email, and I’ll send you the course right away, thanks for listening.

Outro: Thanks for listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast, where we are giving the courage people need to start their own online business. For more information, visit Steve’s blog at www.mywifequitherjob.com.

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3 thoughts on “197: A Better Way To Launch Products On Amazon With Scott Voelker”

  1. Rudi Ratlos says:

    What is an ASIN your guest is always talking about?
    May be A stands for Amazon?

  2. Great column by Scott. Scott”s father was an outstanding official, and I”m sure Scott got to know many of the outstanding Board 9 refs of yesteryear (Nick Koules, Johnny Peters, Tony Martinelli, Joe and Gary Liberatore, and many more I”m leaving out) It”s is a thankless job, but these guys love the game and staying involved. Some of the parents (especially in certain areas) are out of control. Give them a whistle and they”d be like a deer in a headlight. Thank you Scott for the detailed analysis. I hope your colleague John Nash reads this. He criticizes the officiating in all sports. Very unprofessional. And he”s a failed referee. Keep up the great work!

  3. Hi again Chris , thank you for the reply! The thing is that triggmine/klaviyo offer not only cart recovery, but some other interesting possibilities. I will think about it, and once I”ve made a choice, I”ll let you inform about my experience 🙂 Thanks again for your opinion! 😉

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