Toni Anderson and I throw a conference every year called The Sellers Summit. It’s a show about bringing ecommerce entrepreneurs together to learn new strategies on how to sell physical products online.
This past year was our 5th year and it was easily the most difficult one yet because of COVID-19. In less than a month, we had to quickly pivot to a virtual event and it ended up being a huge success.
In today’s episode, Toni and I give our recap of Seller Summit 2020.
Steve: You’re listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast the place where I bring on successful bootstrap business owners and delve deeply into the strategies they use to grow their businesses. Now today, I have my partner Tony Anderson back on the show. And today we are going to do a full recap of the seller Summit our annual e-commerce conference, which we had to take all virtual this year at the last minute.
But before we begin I want to thank Klaviyo for sponsoring this episode Klaviyo helps Brands build relationships across any distance delivering email marketing moments. Your customers will appreciate Ember and share in good times and bad and since it is all driven by real-time e-commerce data, you can make sure every interaction feels more personal now when you have a 360 degree view of the customer the growth possibilities are endless. So visit clay veoh.com my wife to try for free. Once again, that’s KLAVIYO.com/mywife. 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 can spend more time with your family focus on doing the things that you love. Here’s your host Steve Chou.
Steve: Welcome to the my wife quit her job podcast today. We are doing a special episode because I’m not interviewing anyone, instead I brought Toni Anderson back on the podcast for like the millionth time to do a recap of seller Summit 2020, which just took place last week. Now the seller Summit is a conference at Toni and I throw every single year and it’s a show about bringing e-commerce entrepreneurs together virtually this time and learning new strategies on how to sell physical products online.
And this is our fifth year and easily the most One yet due to the coronavirus. So today we are going to talk about how we had to Pivot everything at the last minute and key takeaways from the talks. So how you doing today? Toni? Thanks for taking the time to come back on. So this is our fifth year ticket sales were going great leading up to March. We’re almost sold out and then covid-19 happened. Just trying to get your thoughts on how you felt things went this year.
Toni: You know, I thought we did the best that we could in the circumstances having never have run an online event before Or I think there were definitely some challenges for us. But I think overall people really got a lot out of Seller Summit 2020.
Steve: Yeah, I mean it was really stressful throwing things together cut at the last minute, right? We had like a month to prepare for it. But yeah, since I’m in charge of tech I was extra nervous for this whole virtual thing, but it went pretty smoothly. I think we only had one minor technical hiccup with one talk.
Toni: Yeah, and I think the complicated part of it is it was that it wasn’t just you and I talking for three days. We were bringing on people from all over actually all over the world. Right? And so we’re not relying on multiple internet connections, multiple cameras, multiple microphones that we don’t have any control over because all of our speakers are using their own computers and things like that. So I think it added a layer of complexity that made us both a little bit nervous.
Steve: And also on your part with the planning like we had people from Australia, you know all over the US to and just planning the timing was a little complicated too.
Toni: yeah because we had East Coast speakers West Oh speakers. And it’s one thing when everyone is in the same location physically and then you can ask everybody to get up at 9 a.m. But it’s hard to ask someone on the west coast to get up super early to do a talk. You know what I mean? It’s just it just adds a layer of complexity. I totally agree.
Steve: Yeah, I mean I still like having a live event better, but I think it probably went as good as it could have gone in terms of virtual events. And one thing that we were talking about this earlier as we really like having the live chat on there when speakers are talking because typically Someone’s talking up there. You’re not getting into the minds of the audience. And so I thought that was a really good value add.
Toni: it reminded me of what is the Disney movie about the girl and it’s the characters are inside her brain and there’s like anger and joy, I guess It’s the
Steve: Inside my head right? Is that what it’s called?
Toni: Inside Out.
Steve: Inside out. That’s it. Yep.
Toni: Yeah. Okay, so it reminded me of that movie because typically when you’re in a big conference Auditorium, you can see on people’s faces for the most part like, oh they’re losing the crowd or the crowds really into it, but it was really enjoyable to read their commentary as the sessions were going along.
Steve: Yeah, totally and people were having questions along the way and I think a lot of people who might not have normally asked questions if it were alive were asking all sorts of questions in the live chat.
Toni: Absolutely because I think it is intimidating if you’re in a ballroom and there’s 200 people and someone walks over and hand you a microphone. You got to stand up for some people that’s very natural. But for other people that is like no way in a million years, are they ever going to do that.
Steve: And I think we had extended QA. Which in my opinion is actually made these talks this year a lot more in-depth than in previous years when we had to do it live right because we have limited time when we’re live.
Toni: Because when you’re live you have to account for people switching rooms, you know having to wait in line to go to the bathroom getting a drink whatever when your virtual you just assume people can kind of do that at their Leisure and they don’t have you don’t have to add these like 15 minute blocks for breaks. So we were allowed we were able to extend our speaker time. I want to say each speaker had around 10 to 18 minutes for QA.
Steve: Somehow longer I think Derek Halpern. I think we went on for an hour and 45 minutes.
Toni: Well that’s the benefit, same with Mike Jackness right because he was the last talk.
Steve: Oh That’s true. Yeah
Toni: Of the first day. Which people really love because he was able to bring on his VA who was located in the Philippines. And so they were able to do an extended Q&A as well because they were the last Talk of the night. However, I was ready for bed at that point.
Steve: So I don’t know if it was a combination of having the live chat and the extended QA. But I actually personally thought that this year’s content was actually better than any of the prior years.
Toni: It was my favorite year for content for sure.
Steve: Yeah, and I don’t know if what the difference was really maybe it was the speakers maybe is the content but I want to say also is the extended QA in the live chat as well.
Toni: Yeah, I think with what the live chat did was it allowed the speakers to go in-depth into some of the points that they had made during their talks which they which actually they get at the round tables at the event, right? So they’re able to do that at a later time on the last day. However, it doesn’t get to happen in the big room with everybody.
Steve: Yeah, I think that’s probably what it was and then instead of like having the round tables like we usually do I think the live chat actually essentially took the place of that, right?
Toni: Yeah. Absolutely
Steve: So let’s go down some key takeaways of the talks so I kicked it off with the keynote and I did want to share with the listeners some statistics that I gathered for this keynote. I’m probably gonna publish the keynote online, but I just want to give you some of the highlights. I published a bunch of statistics on the of Corona on e-commerce and I had Jake Cohen on a couple of weeks ago to kind of discuss Klaviyo’s numbers, but overall I would say everything in e-commerce is up.
The only categories that are really down right now are like men’s Formal wear, Bridal Wear, party and event supplies and that sort of thing luggage. Everything else is up big time and I kind of quoted some statistics here and I think from just clear videos customers. It seems like everyone is up. Up between 20 and 30 percent Gorgias, which is another sponsor quoted similar numbers. And what was really interesting is when I looked at Shopify’s Global traffic numbers and what we did is we compared Black Friday with the traffic that we were getting in April and every single day in April was like Black Friday.
Which essentially meant it was like Black Friday every day for people on Shopify. So I don’t know if you find that believable or not, but I guess it’s the statistics don’t lie.
Toni: It’s interesting because I don’t, I definitely believe the statistics but yet at the same time. I’m hearing Sellers and Facebook groups and things like that talking about how they’re struggling.
Steve: Yeah, you know, I’m here that too and we’re in the event industry. So like in my keynote I was talking about how we were down in the beginning and we kind of pivoted it to quarantine gifts. So Linens with funny sayings on them and that sort of thing and that’s actually what made the difference for us, but I guess when you hear about people complaining like they’re down online, I guess the extremes of the one who are going to post, right?
Toni: Absolutely. And I also think too. I think I think of someone else who was able to Pivot was Amanda Whitten born who sells birthday invitations and she was able to Pivot into making I think teacher thank you postcards and things like that. I think the people that don’t have the ability to Pivot and then to mine that comes like more Amazon specific Shoppers.
Toni: Or Sellers where they are selling, you know, very specific skews on Amazon. They weren’t able to ship things in things like that. That’s hard to Pivot right because you’re not going to be able to import a different product you don’t control a lot of those supply lines and those are the people that are probably the ones that are very vocal in the groups that I’m seeing.
Steve: yeah I mean like if you just look at Amanda for example like she couldn’t ship any more product in so she went Merchant fulfilled and it was nuts
Steve: but a lot of these larger companies who don’t have fulfillment infrastructure obviously can’t do that so.
Steve: Facebook ads cpms plummeted I got some stats from my buddies over at mute 6 Facebook ad costs are down like 25% and So based on all this overall and I can only speak in aggregate here this is the best time to be in e-commerce like there’s going to be a new normal because everyone’s used to shopping at home now and this is going to persist for quite some time I think
Toni: well that was one of the biggest takeaways I don’t want to skip to the take away so quickly but the one thing that really stuck out to me that I feel like multiple speakers talked about was that the one thing that this whole quarantine shelter-in-place has done Is open people’s eyes to shopping online. So people who were not shopping online before or were not shopping online regularly are now becoming regulars shopping online.
And so that opens up a huge opportunity and I think in either your keynote or someone else had that the sales online have surpassed brick-and-mortar right in April, I think so, I think that’s where the opportunity is for the e-commerce sellers right? Is that you’re going to get these new customers who were may be wary of shopping online before because they weren’t forced to, now it’s becoming comfortable for them and it’s going to become something regular.
Steve: I mean, you know, it’s a big deal when my mom who’s I think going to be 80 years old is using instacart and everything when she has not ever done that before
Steve: and she’s using Zoom as a verb now. “You want to zoom it tonight?” you know, there’s gonna be
Toni: Hey we zoomed it to The Seller Summit.
Steve: Oh, that’s true.
Toni: Did you put that video up everywhere or just on private
Steve: No no not yet. I still have to put it up everywhere. But yeah, so we held this opening party on zoom, and it was nuts. It was a lot of fun though.
Toni: It was funny because up until two minutes before we went live. You were saying to me. No one’s going to show up. No ones gonna show up.
Toni: It’s gonna be it’s gonna be you and me and one other person and I think whenever we went to login and I had it set where people had to sit in the waiting room just because I wanted to make sure that we didn’t get any trolls. I said, you know, we went we were maybe five minutes before launch and I said, we have 15 people in the waiting room. And then I said, we have 20 people in the waiting room. We have 22 people in the waiting room, so it was crazy. I think we ended up with like 45 plus people on at one time people had to came and get went but it was pretty cool.
Steve: I think I was trying to be fashionably late and then you texted me panicking.
Toni: Yeah I remember I was I was like, where are you?
Steve: I didn’t think they were gonna be that many people on time and waiting to be honest with you, but it was a pleasant surprise
Toni: and it was cool because even though I will say it does not take the place of in-person meetups. It was nice that everybody got a chance. Introduce themselves say hello say a little bit about themselves and just what it I think it helps the next day when people were in the chat that they put a name with a face because they had seen them the night before on the zoom call.
Steve: Oh, yeah, totally totally I think it I think it totally helped. I mean is the best that we could do under the circumstances for people to meet each other
Toni: Hey and people had Zoom backgrounds which just made made my night as you know
Steve: And everyone was drinking too. So it’s kind of like a cocktail party
Toni: cocktail party that I didn’t have to stay up late for so I might be lamenting this every year. I don’t know.
Steve: So the overall theme of Seller Summit this year was on owned marketing. So this is marketing that you can control because of all these things have been happening on Amazon. It was just post in the Wall Street Journal that Amazon surprisingly and shockingly was using cellular data to launch their own competing products. And so yeah, the theme was own marketing we covered three main categories one was earned marketing, which is where you get Word of Mouth sales. Social Media mentions reviews owned marketing is where you actually own the medium. So this these are things like your own online store, your email list ], your SMS list, your messenger list, SEO organic Facebook and that sort of thing.
And then of course paid advertising, Facebook ads, Google ads, Amazon ads, influencer marketing and marketing. And so what I thought I’d do for the rest of this podcast is to kind of go over some key takeaways from the talks.
Alright, so the first talk was from Andrea and she taught us how to use SMS marketing to grow your business. And I hope that her talk kind of solidified that SMS is going to be the next big thing. I am contributing a lot of my resources towards getting SMS marketing up for my e-commerce store. And once again, once you have someone’s cell phone number, that’s yours. It’s like an email address except better because people always open their text. Now you might be thinking to yourself that people might not want to be marketed via text, but it’s happening right now and it’s slowly going to become more widely accepted
Toni: and I love the idea that this is just one more component in a way to reach your customers and for me personally, I don’t mind getting text marketing because you can always unsubscribe is very simple and it is true. I open every text that I get. So I think this is a definitely a talk to listen to multiple times.
Steve: and if it’s a company they actually want to hear from then you’re probably not going to mind. So, for example, I get text messages from this chicken place right down the street for sales and I actually don’t mind and oftentimes the texts influence me to go eat there that night.
Toni: Oh, absolutely I get the Chipotle text and like that. Absolutely influences me getting Chipotle.
Steve: Oh, just okay. I didn’t I’m not on the Chipotle SMS list. I guess
Toni: they do all their coupons through SMS, which is actually pretty smart right because I know when they probably text me I’m usually going to get a coupon
Steve: exactly. Yeah same with that chicken place for me. So if you guys aren’t doing SMS marketing I encourage you to give it a try and look at Klaviyo because if you already using klaviyo it kind of like a no-brainer since they have all your sales data already.
The next talk was from Jeff Oxford and he taught everyone how to grow your organic search traffic for your eCommerce store. I really love this talk Toni. I don’t know what you thought of it.
Toni: It’s I love this talk. This was probably in my top top three talks this year. He’s such a good presenter. Everything is so clear and understandable and he you always walk away with some strategies. And actually I’ve always I’ve already started to implement a couple of the Outreach strategies that he recommended in his talk.
Steve: And I want to say that he pretty much covered. He did a good job of covering almost all of SEO in just like an hour and he got a ton of questions also in the live chat.
Toni: Yes. That one was one of our top question sessions for sure.
Steve: Yeah, and a lot of people who are coming off of Amazon starting on their own store, you know organic traffic is probably going to play a decent sized chunk of your overall sales.
The next talk was from Natasha Takahashi. She taught us how to leverage chat Bots to grow your eCommerce store. Now I’ve been using chat Bots for jeez, I think at least three, four years now at this point and is actually now a significant portion of my sales for mywifequitherjob.com. Especially it’s probably close to like 40% of my sales. I know you’re not using chatbots yet Toni. What did you think of this talk?
Toni: So I I loved this talk. I thought this was a great. First of all, Natasha is an amazing presenter. I loved just she’s very organized and it’s very easy to follow but what I thought was interesting about this talk, is it got the Sub chat going in our Seller Summit Group and people were in the chat talking about everything as she was talking. So I’m gonna have to go watch it again because I didn’t get all of her strategies because I was busy monitoring because people actually were talking about you Steve and how you were actually a chatbot and there was that was the only way you could get things done.
Steve: I remember that.
Toni: I was in there monitoring the chat while she was talking thinking I am not getting like half of this but after her talk what I what I was able to get from it, it’s Something I need to do. It’s just one of those things right? You know, it’s like one more thing in your business and I don’t want to jump ahead but we hadn’t someone else talk about working in your business on what is already successful. So as I was ready to jump into chatbots, then I heard another talk and I was like, okay, maybe not maybe not yet.
Steve: Yeah, we’ll get to that talk. Actually. It’s a very important talk about getting overwhelmed with all the strategies that you learn in a conference, but I found it actually did a great job of just clarifying why you should even go into Facebook Messenger Marketing in the first place.
Toni: Right and it’s so it’s so much less expensive right now than email marketing and I think you were talking about this and I think she references as well, you’re getting about Forex return right compared to email. Is that what your numbers were?
Steve: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I mean the engagement is so much higher than email right now.
Toni: Yeah, so it feels like a no-brainer. But at the same time it also feels like something really big to set up. So it’s one of those things that I feel like I have to balance with my own business, but it’s definitely definitely on my list and and high up. For sure.
Steve: Yes, I mean, you’ve got a lot more plates than I have to juggle.
So the next talk was a summit favorite back in 2016 Drew Senaki, he spoke that first year. We launched it hasn’t been back since but I kind of roped him back into coming on and speaking this year and I loved his talk. He talked about how to make your business recession-proof and my take away from here and and just just for context here Drew runs a nine-figure e-commerce store. He’s the CEO of auto anything and it’s primarily a Dropship Outlet and I talked about this a lot.
But you know when you’re dropshipping you pretty much don’t have your own brand because you’re selling other people’s products and during this whole covid-19 Drew found a lot of different ways to Pivot his business in order to actually grow. I think he was he ended up being up 30% after all the things that he did.
Toni:Yeah, and I think he followed one of the undercurrents of the summit was the importance of being able to Pivot and the importance and he talked about the business that he had. I think it was 2008. Where we had the recession and he didn’t pivot. And he basically I don’t know if he lost the business. I don’t exactly know what happened to that but he talked about the difference between what he did 12 years ago and what he’s doing today and how we need to be thinking about that in our own business.
And I think you know, he used a lot of really great examples about people that were able to Pivot and then I think we you know, we ourselves like you pivoted you talked about how you guys have changed your napkins up, you know, you’re doing some quarantine things and offering some things that you hadn’t offered before we know some other people that have done the same thing and I think it was just sort of sort of a wake-up call to people that if they haven’t pivoted this is the opportunity. They need to jump on it.
Steve: And his example with auto anything just goes to show that even if you don’t have your own branded products, there are ways to Pivot your business to kind of Stand Out Among the crowd.
Steve: I don’t want to give too much away there.
The next talk was from awesome broader first time speaker at the summit longtime friend, excellent speaker. He runs the e-commerce influence podcast. He talked about how the top e-commerce businesses scale. And what you can learn from them Austin used to run an agency, and he also runs this service called brand growth experts and he interacts with lot of different companies and he recognized certain patterns that allow businesses to grow. My key takeaway from his talk actually was that all the most successful Founders always protect themselves from burnout and if you feel stuck it’s because you are doing too much not too little.
Toni: that’s interesting. That was not my takeaway.
Steve: That was not your take away? Okay
Toni: It was not my takeaway was when he talked about how most of the successful business owners did one thing really really well and that’s what they focused on.
Steve: Yes. That was my next
Toni: Yeah, if it was influencer marketing then they just killed it and influencer marketing and they didn’t worry about, you know, create a new YouTube channel or doing chat Bots or anything like that and if it was Facebook ads and they just became like Facebook ad Masters and that’s what they did and it’s not that nothing else happened. But that’s where they devoted like their time and their energy and any training that they needed, you know, they focus on that and that really stuck with me.
Steve: Yeah along those same lines Austin mentioned that his most successful clients only really used two channels to scale. Now, I know for our e-commerce store, we used one channel to hit six figures and all you need is to pretty much to hit seven or more.
Toni: Yeah, and I think what happens in this was I thought was such a great. He kicked off the conference right after your keynote and I thought it was a really great talk to start with because you attend any conference virtual in person and you hear so many awesome ideas and so many people in different fields are very very successful doing what they’re doing. But there’s no way that you as one person or a person with a small company can do all of that really well, so I think his talk was a good reminder that you only need to pick one or two things to scale.
Steve: Right. Hence, you are focusing on email. I believe right now and messenger is at the top of your list, but you’re focusing on what’s working right now for you.
Steve: and the companies that were all supportive of own marketing the sponsors for the conference. We had klaviyo who you guys have probably heard a bunch of times on this podcast already. Zippify which is Ezra Firestone’s company. He helps you build landing pages and he has this cool one click upsell for Shopify. Bigcommerce, which is one of my main shopping carts of choice because they have this really cool WordPress integration where you can actually have your blog and your store in the same domain. And Pickfoo, which is a polling company where you can get instant feedback about anything from real humans within 15 minutes.
Now, the next section of the Seller Summit was all about paid marketing and you know, I met this guy Nick Shackelford. He was introduced to me by Ezra he invited me down to his event in LA I had an amazing time and at that point, I knew that I had to have him talk and he spoke specifically about how to scale Facebook ads through hidden audiences. And this is actually one of my favorite talks at the event. He actually showed us so he spends millions of dollars per month on Facebook and he literally showed us his exact campaigns in this talk and I don’t spend nearly as much money as Nick and it was just interesting to see an account of someone whose scales so quickly. What did you think Toni?
Toni: I thought he had a great talk. I think the first part of his talk when he talked about those hidden audiences, I think for most e-commerce sellers was just like a complete brain blow right just never thought of that strategy before so I love that he brought that Up. And then I think the second part of his talk where he basically went in his face book dashboard and showed us. Everything was nuts. I don’t know anybody who’s ever done that before at a conference. So that was just amazing and people that know anything about Facebook ads were I was getting messages because I can’t believe he’s doing this.
I can’t believe you showing this is amazing. So he just had a great presentation clearly knows what he’s talking about. But most importantly he used to be a professional soccer player and I was like Googling him all after his talk. To find out more about it.
Steve: You’re not a stalker.
Toni: Yeah, I’m not a stalker. It’s totally normal fine. But yeah, he he was incredible great great presentation. And definitely if you haven’t watched it all the way through you need to watch that second half. It’s just gold.
Steve: Just to give you an idea like what I start out with the campaign just starting out I’m using I’m usually blowing like 20 to 30 dollars a day. Just just to kind of you know, hash things out. Nick, I think he’ll just put down five hundred or thousand dollars a day. Just from the start just to show you like he’s you Spending all this money on Facebook and making money.
Toni: and I think the Q&A on that was good to he did it. I think we had a little extended time with him as well because he was the last session before break and he actually did walk through some strategies for people who don’t have a thousand dollars a day to spend because that’s usually most people when they’re getting started right? They don’t have a thousand dollars a day spent on Facebook ads. So he did walk through some strategies for folks who don’t have the budget that he gets to work with.
Steve: Yeah. Basically you just take what he’s doing and just scale it down to whatever level you’re at.
Next talk was Brett Curry and he talked about mastering Google ads for Amazon and sponsored brand video ads. Now, I actually didn’t know this but Amazon actually allows you to do attribution or conversion attribution now, so basically what that means is if I send a Google ad or a Facebook ad over to Amazon, there’s a way to actually get credit for the sale and tell Facebook that it actually resulted in a conversion. This is huge. I didn’t know about this because I guess apparently this program is in beta. But Brett actually introduce that to me.
Toni: Yeah and Brett is that this is his third year at the summit and every year he gives a great presentation. But this year I feel like everything that he presented. I had no idea that you were able to do and like I was just yeah crazy
Steve: and sponsored brand video ads turns out to be like the highest converting Amazon ads that you can run right now and I wasn’t running them. So I’m going to go ahead and do that now and try it.
Toni: peaker 1: Yeah, that’s that video is on my priority to re-watch. That’s one of the first ones I want to re-watch because I feel like he covered a ton of information and it’s all stuff that I’m not doing and I had some of that I had no idea I could even do.
Steve: totally totally I mean, I guess, you know, when you run an agency you always have to be on The Cutting Edge of all the advertising platforms.
Steve: If you sell on Amazon or run any online business for that matter, you’re going to need a trademark to protect your intellectual property. Not only that but a trademark is absolutely necessary to register your brand on Amazon. Now, I used to think that any old trademark registration service would work and that could even try to register my own trademark by myself on the cheap, but I was dead wrong. Securing a trademark without a strategy in place usually results in either an outright rejection or a worthless unenforceable trademark. Now, that is why I work with Stephen Weigler and his team from Emerge counsel. They have a package service called total TM, which provides the same attention to detail and process that large law firms do at a fraction of the price. Now for me personally, I like Emerge Council because of their philosophy, their goal is to maximize IP protection while minimizing the price. So before you decide to register a trademark by yourself or file for other I could protection such as a copyright or a patent, check out Emerge counsel first and get a free consult. For more information go to emergecouncil.com and click on the Amazon sellers button and tell Steve that Steve sent you to receive a $100 discount on the total TM package for Amazon sellers. Once again, that’s emergecounsel.com over at emergecounsel.com. Now back to the show.
Next talk was Ed Ruffin, Edward Ruffin, PPC Ed he likes to be called and he talked about how to use sales funnels to maximize your Amazon advertising. What I liked about Ed’s talk is he kind of gave a more holistic view of Amazon advertising across the entire funnel and because over the years Amazon now has like a complete advertising system where you can actually Target cold customers all the way down to the bottom of the funnel with Amazon sponsored product ads.
Toni: Yeah and what I love about #PPCEd as we call him is that I’ve never seen someone get so passionate and excited about something. So boring is
Steve: I don’t think it’s boring. I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Toni: All right, you know what, I mean. It’s he’s talking about even when he gets super technical. He’s still like waving his arms and very excited about everything and I feel like I like this was once again his talk was my favorite of all the talks. In Seller Summit just because I loved that big picture because he started off with the big picture and then he brought it in to like those actionable strategies that you can actually go into your Amazon account and execute today.
Steve: Totally. So I always loved watching PPC Ed it’s funny because I called him edit first things like no. No, my name is PPC Ed and I’m like sorry man. I guess I’ll call you PPC Ed from now on.
Next talk was from Ilana Wexler. She had talked the prior Year got rave reviews this year. She talked about the paid traffic puzzle and YouTube ads. So if you’re just starting out and you have no idea where to advertise a lot of had this really cool strategy in place. That will help you figure out where you should be focusing your efforts and I don’t want to give too much away, but it all starts with retargeting and then just kind of gradually expanding your audiences and she uses the analogy of filling out the different pieces of your advertising puzzle.
Toni: Yeah, and once again, she always has such a great job of explaining everything and what I love about all of our speakers, is that a lot of times I don’t know about you but I will watch a video or a webinar about how to do some of these things and they don’t actually give you this actual strategies. He’s like they don’t show you how to walk you through exactly how to do it and all of our speakers walk you through the entire process. So if you don’t have any idea how to do something you’ll be able to do it by the end of the talk.
Steve: Totally you might have to watch the talk multiple times. But yes, you will know how to do it by the end talk.
Steve: and for the are paid advertising sponsor was seller labs and I didn’t know this before but they actually offer managed PPC Services now and we actually did a little case study and maybe I’ll put the blog post in the show notes here, but they actually took over my Amazon Advertising account and what I did is I pit what they did against what I was doing. You can read the blog post for the results. Where actually publish actual numbers, but I highly recommend these guys if you want someone to manage your Amazon PPC ads.
Now, the next section of Seller Summit was all about earned marketing, and this is actually my favorite section after all you can’t get Word of Mouth advertising, media mentions and that sort of thing unless you have a strong brand unless you have a strong Brand Story and unless you excel at customer service.
And so one talk and he kind of went first along these in this genre of talks was Michael jamming and he talked about how to use the power of Storytelling to boost your brand, fantastic talk. So he sells ladies dresses, girl’s dresses along with his wife and he showed some specific examples of you know, how he told his brand story and after seeing these video examples. It was very obvious why that stores a multimillion-dollar company today
Toni: Yeah, and he also, Examples of his customer service emails and his shipping emails and I think the all the fulfill, anything that you get is an email that normally you would just send a blanket email and this power of Storytelling is so amazing that people were actually responding and sharing the email content on shipping emails. Right? I mean, who does that? I mean that’s and it’s free advertising and he was he’s gave examples of how you know any time that they were telling a story The Organic reach of you know anything on social media or people’s just sharing that content, you know by forwarding an email to their friends is just phenomenal.
Steve: Here’s what I thought was even more impressive. So a lot of times we sell commonplace items that you don’t think might have a good story associated with it. Right? And so what Michael did and his talk is he solicited volunteers from the seller summit audience to come up and he actually helped them with their brand story because he has this nice framework to help you do it and I think it was Dana and Wesley Steyer. Presented their solar panel company and Michael turned their story into something amazing.
Toni: Yeah, so we had we actually got three people to volunteer. We had Dana and then we had Dale he came on to talk about some of his cleaning products. And then Jesse came on to talk about his he has some athlete or some skin products, I think but yeah in each case Michael was able to because he talks about like what do you selling? And then what are you really selling?
Toni: And so Dana Michelle was saying they sell those solar kids, but what they’re really selling or the DIY solar kit. Kids, but what they’re really selling is freedom, right because they’re for those small houses and you know, he was able to just like in what two minutes he was able to craft like this whole pitch for them. It was pretty incredible.
Steve: It sounded really good to me. Like it just framed the product. I mean, I wasn’t even thinking about the product anymore. Actually. I was thinking about the message behind the product by the end
Steve: definitely don’t think
Toni: yeah. That was what that he I love that. I love that talk like that was probably my favorite talk just because I love I mean That’s you know, that’s what I like to do. Anyways, of course, it’s in my wheelhouse but I love the storytelling component and it’s cool to see that it’s not just like oh that’s cool to tell funny to be funny or to tell compelling stories that actually can have an impact on your business.
Steve: and then next up. We had Eric Bandholtz of beardbrand longtime friend. I’ve known this guy forever. He taught us the secrets to YouTube marketing because YouTube marketing actually drives 40 percent of his sales and I you guys know I’ve been working on my YouTube channel for the last couple months and I I learned a lot from his talk.
Toni: Yeah, Eric does a great job. He actually went into his YouTube analytics showed how basically how they strategize how they make decisions based on what types of videos to film sort of the benchmarks for them. And I thought that was really interesting because usually most people are not going to go into their analytics and show you anything but he was willing to do that and basically use his own site and he actually has three channels but use those three channels as examples for how to basically Run YouTube marketing for your own businesses.
Steve: And specifically for physical products.
Steve: Yeah next up. We had Derek Halpern and this is the one that he talked I think for an hour and 45 minutes. So the title of his talk was 250,000 orders in two years how to Captivate customers with story and you know, even though the total was similar to Michael’s title. The content was actually a whole lot different but the theme was very similar. You got to think of some underlying message behind your products so that people Fall in love with your message and your brand.
Toni: Yeah, and he even talked about how they were able to what did they do? I did something on Black Friday I don’t remember the exact numbers where they didn’t have to Discount anything but yet they still got a huge increase in sales because of another strategy that they took something completely different which I thought was pretty genius. And if you’ve ever if you’ve ever heard Derek speak you will wake up when he starts talking. He does not pull any punches. He’s very animated and he is a straight shooter. He does not mess around when it comes to talking about is business and what they’ve done to grow it.
Steve: Yeah. I mean, I’ve known Derek for a long time. I like that. He’s just blunt. I mean very blunt and very open like if you ask him a question, he will answer it with brutal honesty. I guess that’s the best way to put it.
Toni: but I you know people really it was it was a great way to end he ended the summit. He was our last speaker and it was a great way to end it because I think people sometimes well, what did he even said? Something about himself. I don’t know what it was. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything and I think that that was really good because I think at the end of the day a lot of times people just need to hear it straight right and hear what worked what didn’t and be able to just be told that really bluntly.
As opposed to sort of I think a lot of times you go to these events or you go to sessions and it’s like everything is wonderful and perfect and he talked about the things that didn’t work and did and I think that’s important for people to hear.
Steve: Oh, yeah, totally he talked about the good and the bad. And the sponsor on this track was Gorgias. Which is the tool that both Toni and I use to manage all the customer service for all of our businesses because you can track all of your social media channels all in one place and it pulls up all your orders on your Ecommerce store and you can reply to common questions like where the heck is my order all in one click. And Of course the Seller Summit would not be the same without having some Amazon talks.
So the first Amazon talk we had was from Brad Moss the former head of Seller Central and he talked about what was working on Amazon in 2020 and something that I was really surprised at and again, this is a guy who specializes in Amazon sales. He was telling everyone to start selling off of Amazon and the importance of building your own brand.
Toni: Yes, and it was funny because he got started and I had to run out of the room and I come back and you’ve messed you messaged me and said he’s talking about selling off Amazon.
Steve: Haha Yeah
Toni: Like wait, this is an Amazon talk what’s going on?
Steve: I know
Toni: but he’s you know, he’s such a he’s been to Seller Summit I think this would be his what third or fourth time. Always a fan favorite because one you know, he always gives a great talk on and he’s always up to date on what’s going on with Amazon and I think to hear from an am someone former had to sell some Seller Central to say like hey, this is what Amazon’s doing. And he was one I think he was the one talking about Amazon grabbing that data, right?
He talked about that in his talk as well for him to say. Hey, you need to be thinking about this brand creation as opposed to just selling, you know, 200SKUs. Completely independent of each other.
Toni: I think that was powerful for people because he’s someone That is not just speculating. He actually has pretty good knowledge of what’s going on.
Steve: He does and just the fact that he’s telling everyone to sell outside of Amazon now just just says something about where ecommerce is going.
Steve: Next up we had Greg Merser on how to get Amazon reviews in 2020 and there’s actually one tactic that I did not know about that was free. And that was really shocking. I’m definitely going to take advantage of that.
Toni: Yeah. I didn’t know about that either actually most of the people in the chat didn’t I think that was a bombshell for a lot of people
Steve: They were like what I thought you had to pay two thousand dollars to do that. And yeah, I mean obviously Greg would know this because he runs jungle Scout but there’s a lot of hidden tips that he shared in this talk and I’m definitely going to be implementing them
Toni: and I have to say one of the like side highlights of this talk was that if you know Greg, you know, he’s very white hat with the Amazon. He does everything above board. He really is, you know, he likes to give people really solid advice and there were a couple questions that were definitely not white hat. Right? in the chat and he said, you know, he said he made a comment about it and like hey, I can’t really endorse that or recommend that because it’s not you know, and then you started putting on the ticker black hat tips for this entire.
It does to poor Greg like literally like the nicest guy always like doing the right thing and then the rest of the time it was all like black hat tips from Greg Mercer. Which is like the cool part about the virtual event because you could not have been trolling him while he was on stage.
Steve: So I can only do that because we’re friends but I definitely wouldn’t have done that for a total stranger or maybe I would have but more subtly.
Toni: Yeah, not not quite as obvious as you did there where you created a banner on his screen.
Steve: So the Amazon sponsors for the event was Getida. Getida is a service that helps you get reimbursed. It’s for Amazon Amazon loses your inventory all the time. And basically they’re they’re losing your money all the time and Getida helps you get reimbursements back. And one thing that was really cool was Getida. I offered four hundred dollars in free reimbursements which basically covered the cost of the event.
And we also had product labs. This is Brad Mosses’ company he offers Consulting and of course Jungle Scout, which is Greg’s company and jungle Scout has really come a long way over the years. I mean, they’ve been a longtime sponsor. They now pretty much do everything related to Amazon all under the same tool at one low price.
All right, next up we talked about how Chinese people are taking over Amazon and Over that happens, there’s gonna be lots of counterfeits. And so we had Steven Wiggler our attorney Toni I use him and he talked about a low-cost strategy to protect against Chinese knock-offs. This was a huge hit because apparently a lot of people are getting knocked off and just a quick note patents are not the answer.
Toni: and I loved he mapped out this exact strategy and you could take it and implement it and you don’t even need an attorney to do it, which I liked. I mean, he basically told you how you could do it without Out, you know, you only spend a couple hundred dollars. I think at the end of the day, but I have to say the funniest part about his talk was that he used an illustration of a straw hat that was his product that he came on when he signed on the video for you and I he was wearing this like gardening hat.
Steve: Oh Yeah
Toni: right? and you and I were both like why is he wearing a gardening hat? Like this doesn’t make any sense and then he ended up using it. He actually took the hat and basically dissected it about all the different parts of it that you can use to it. Basically using as your product and how you could protect it and all these different ways. We use it as a really cool illustration so that people could understand there’s multiple ways to protect your property your photos all that stuff.
Steve: definitely got my attention because I was like, why are you wearing that hat and then turns out it was part of the presentation
Toni: thank goodness
Steve: and Steven, why go to runs emerge counsel. He offers trademark services and IP protection services, so you can just send them an email go to their website. Just tell him I sent you and I’m sure he’ll give you a discount of some sort.
Toni: And honestly, I have to tell you like I know we’re talking about our virtual event, but he’s a reason to come to the physical Seller Summit because he will talk you will give you legal advice and talk to you all day long at his table for free.
Steve: Yes. I don’t know any lawyers that do that. I know like this lawyer that I talked to like even talking to on the phone. I got a bill in the mail and I was I was a little annoyed but Steven will talk to you for free.
Next section of talks were on improving efficiency of your store. And the first person we had up was Elizabeth Mercer and she talked About understanding the big picture when managing your supply chain. Now Liz sells over sized products you sells furniture on Amazon. And as you know storing large items on Amazon is really expensive. So you have to make sure that you have your supply chain down path. I guess one of my key takeaways is I didn’t realize how much Elizabeth communicates with their vendor oftentimes people don’t communicate with their vendor until it’s too late when something goes wrong and by that time it is really too late. I don’t know what were some of your takeaways with this first one.
Toni: Well first of all I was yeah, that was my number one take away to with it. I don’t do half of this.
Toni: when she and in like some of the communication and her processes that she talked about. I was like, I don’t do any of this and no wonder you know, things are probably not as efficient as they could be the second thing that I was just I thought was amazing was that no matter what the there was a ton of questions on this talk as well and she basically answered every question even if it wasn’t even if I don’t think she necessarily was working in that area. She’s so knowledgeable on this that she basically talked everything supply chain, which was pretty impressive.
Steve: I mean, I think that was her major and I would argue that the Q&A section was just as good as the actual Talk itself.
Toni: Yeah, I especially with this one because there were so many questions on this one. I think that the QA was as good as the presentation.
Steve: Yeah next up. We had a fan favorite Mike Jackness and he talked about how he created this awesome team in the Philippines to manage operations. And what I liked about his talk is he actually brought in the person who runs his Philippines office to come give a talk as well.
Toni: What I what I thought was great about this is we’ve realized that Mike doesn’t do anything anymore. Yes. It’s all his Filipino team.
Steve: He literally does nothing and actually Mike slides were really impactful because he talked about the cost savings and if he had hired everyone in the US on his team, he would not be making any profit whatsoever. And in fact, I think he would be losing like 20%.
Toni: Yeah. And what I loved about Mike’s talk is that he brought his manager on and she basically explained everything from like from the cultural side of the Philippines. So and I think that’s one of the reasons why people when they sometimes hire overseas, it’s not successful because they don’t understand that there are definitely some cultural differences. And so she talked a lot about that in her talk. She also talked about how to build a company culture overseas, which I thought was really great.
Because you and I both have overseas VAs and so for me just take I took away a lot of there’s things that I can do better with communicating with my VA, and there’s things that I can do to make her job easier because I’m not always thinking about the differences. The other thing that I really liked about this is they really gotten into specifics about pay for overseas VAs like how you know, everything from vacation and sick, you know, sick leave and things like that like those types of policies because I think when you hire in the US there’s basically some like understood rules or depending on what state you live in you know, there’s sometimes, you know, there’s minimum wage laws and things like that.
Overseas, It’s gets kind of murky, especially if not using an agency and so I love that they broke that down and talked about what they did to help build a really loyal team.
Steve: Yeah, actually she outlined her exact process for hiring as well, which I thought was pretty cool because it’s it’s a little different due to the cultural differences.
Next up. We had Scotty V on how to get massive results in your business and do what truly matters and you know, Scott he is a ball of fire when he has the mic and I don’t know maybe it was It after listened to his talk. You said you had problems sleeping.
Toni: I did I could not fall asleep that night. I think he ended with his talking about what 9:15 maybe and I think I didn’t fall asleep till about 12, maybe midnight or maybe later because I just everything that he was talking about was still swollen in my head. Plus. He’s so high energy. It just gets you excited and amped up
Steve: totally and you know, you come out of seller someone with a bunch of different tactics, and I thought Scott stalk was important on kind of prioritizing and focusing your efforts.
Toni: and what I loved about Scott’s talk was that he actually talked a lot about the past year of his own life and how he basically had all these things going on in 2019 and he got a little bit burn out right? And so he talked about having to sort of come back and realize like he needed to start prioritizing you start focusing on and he used his own life as an example. And I think a lot of people someone like Scott right?
He’s you know in the Limelight. He’s got a very popular podcast got a very active Facebook group people think that his life is amazing all the time, right because he’s high energy, you know, but I think it’s good for people to see. Like hey, everybody’s going through the same struggles. Everybody gets burnout everybody sometimes bites off more than they can chew and here’s how you can deal with it. And in these tactics work, you know.
Steve: they absolutely do and they’re not just tactics. I mean, these are things that you really have to just sit down and evaluate from time to time.
Toni: Yeah tactic wasn’t the right word, but I couldn’t think of the right. How do you how do you how do you manage your life with a tactic? I don’t know, you know.
Steve: The last up we had Charles Mullins of quitelight and he taught us how to boost the value of your business with math and logic. Now, if you run a business right now, there’s some things that you really have to consider. Even if you don’t plan on selling your business anytime soon. These are things that you have to consider ahead of time because they increase the value of your business and Charles’s talk also allowed you to kind of figure out how much your business is actually worth in the current environment, which I thought was very valuable.
Toni: Yeah. I really like that talk one of the things that stood out to me was has he talked about all these things that you need to be doing in your business if you’re thinking about selling but then he talked about the one thing that you didn’t want to do was I don’t remember the, I used the wrong terminology, but he talked about you don’t want to make it too polished on the outside because you want people to see opportunity in your business.
And that was something interesting because it to me it’s kind of like when you sell a house or you want, you know, you put your best foot forward, right you clean everything up and hide all the bad stuff, but in reality like some of that stuff actually works, too. Advantage because buyers want to see an opportunity when they’re looking to purchase a business.
Steve: Yeah. Absolutely. It’s kind of like when you buy your fixer, I think all of your houses have been fixers and you’ve made a lot of money doing this right same philosophy. Kind of?
Toni: Yeah, but in your mind you like in my mind though, and I’m not you know, I’m not thinking about selling a business right now, but I you know, if I was going to I would think oh, I want everything to be perfect. Right? I want the website to look better. I want this to be better. But at the same time there’s actually things that are way more important when you want to sell your business, so you should be focusing on other than these externals because the external might actually hurt you.
Steve: Yeah, and then there’s also the ad backs. I mean there’s a ton of information in Charles’s talk.
Toni: Yeah, there’s some crazy spreadsheets.
Steve: And we were proud to have Quietlight as the premium sponsor the Platinum sponsor this year. So Quitelight. I’ve known Joe and Chuck for gotten many years and our friend Mike Jackness has sold his business who QuietLight. We really trust these guys. So if you’re interested in buying and selling a business definitely look towards Quiet Light brokerage.
And we talked about, you know, hiring a Filipino team both Tony and I we actually used Intelligencia to find our VAs over in the Philippines. What’s nice about them is they actually have an office that has power and internet and the Filipino employees actually go into the office do the work. So there’s never any power outages or any sort of thing. And you also don’t have to deal about you don’t have to deal with benefits or that sort of thing because they handle everything for you.
Toni: They also pre-screen all of your applicant. So if you’re looking for someone with a specific skill set they will actually pre-screen people and that way you’re not waiting through, you know hundreds of applications. I know I’ve used other services that are just you know, log on to a website and put out a job application and you know, we’ve had to wait through tons of people but they actually narrow it down for you based on information you give them so it’s really helpful.
Steve: Yeah highly recommended. The next sponsor was SkuVault. So if you are selling on multiple channels like eBay, Amazon as well as your own site, you’re going to need a central location to store all that information into manage your inventory and that’s what SkuVault does. Recommended our longtime friend over at RPC Logistics Pam Kale, if you need Freight forwarding Services always recommend Pam choose great. She’s a great people person. She’ll take care of you and she’ll do it with a smile.
And then finally there was Brex and Brex is actually really important for e-commerce because they offer this card that lets you float money 60 days instead of 30 days without any interest. So instead of trying to take out a loan for your inventory. You can just put it on the Brex card. Or did I miss any talks Toni? I think that’s it, right?
Toni: I don’t know it feels like a lot of talk. So yeah, I think we got them all I’m looking through your slides right now. I think we’re good.
Steve: Yeah, I mean like I said before I hope this was an indication with this podcast episode. I thought the content this year was amazing and I don’t know exactly why that is because you know, we did have a lot of the similar speakers as prior years, but the content that, maybe was the live QA or maybe it was the extended QA but I got a lot out of these talks more so than any other year.
Toni: I agree. This is the first year that you and I have actually been able to go to all the talks.
Steve: That’s correct. Usually we’re in separate rooms because we do double track but this year we did everything in single track.
Toni: Yeah, so I think that was another thing as we got to hear everything live which typically only one of us hears it live and the other persons in the other room. So I think that was a big factor as well and I think the new speakers that we added this year just really were awesome like awesome additions to our Seller Summit lineup.
Steve: So Tony can people still access these recordings?
Steve: Absolutely. You can actually still pretty Just a virtual pass and the virtual pass comes with every session including our keynote and all the Q&A. So all the extended QA there’s very little editing done this year because it was all virtual. So all that QA is on the virtual passes. You hear us reading the question. So everything’s really clear. I know sometimes it’s not always clear when you’re actually in a venue.
So Steve and I are reading those questions out this you get the extended QA plus all the PDFs from the speaker’s all their presentation. So you get to get a good look at those slides and we are having those for sale. I don’t know. I think what till like June 30th?
Steve: I think so. We typically close it off after a while. Yeah, June 30 is sounds like a good date as you can tell we’re prepared to announce this date because I didn’t know that Tony was going to throw that date out, but that sounds good.
Toni: Well, I think we need to you know, you we can’t keep these forever for sale because then we have to move on to 2021. Right? And we’ve got to focus on that. And so I think and also these talks are super relevant now but in a couple of years some of these strategies will change so we don’t like to keep these sessions on sale forever. So you got to get them now
Steve: and stay tuned I guess for the 2021 announcement, which I believe we should have in the next couple of weeks or so.
Toni: Hopefully still trying to negotiate some things some details. So we want to get that to everybody as soon as possible. But for now you can enjoy, how many sessions is this 18, 19 sessions?
Steve: Actually there was a bonus section that session that I forgot to talk about which is from Getida. Getida actually record like we didn’t have it on the schedule, but they recorded a special session on. Actually how to save money with your Amazon business and it kind of goes into depth about all the I knowhow to phrases but all the different ways that Amazon can screw you and how to get your money back basically. It was very valuable.
Toni: Yeah, so we actually joked that the cool thing about this is you can binge watch the Seller Summit in a weekend. So it’s basically taking the taking over Netflix for a weekend. You can binge watch all the sudden.
Steve: Yeah you can pretend It’s like Tiger King and watch all seven episodes all at once except in this case would be 19 episodes.
Toni: I will be regretful that I’m saying this but I feel like Seller Summit might be slightly more valuable.
Steve: just slightly more valuable man. This woman has been talking about Tiger King for like the last month ever, since it came out, good Lord.
Toni: Exactly. No, I plan. That’s my goal. I plan I have a vacation coming up and I plan on watching a lot of these talks while I’m on vacation just because I feel like with most of them. There’s so many nuggets in there that you can’t just watch them once.
Steve: And I plan on watching these all over again as I am sheltered in place for the next couple months and with that Toni thanks for coming on again. It was a pleasure.
Toni: Thanks for having me.
Steve: Hope you enjoyed that episode. Now, you can access all the Sellers Summit 2020 videos over at Sellersummit.com until July after which we will close it down forever. For more information about this episode go to mywifequitherjob.com/ episode305.
And once again, I want to thank Klaviyo for sponsoring this episode, Klaviyo is my email marketing platform of choice for e-commerce merchants. You can easily put together automated flows like an abandoned cart sequence a post purchase flow or win back campaign. Basically, all these sequences that will make you money on autopilot. So head on over to mywifequitherjob.com/klaviyo. Once again, That’s mywifequitherjob.com/klaviyo.
Now I talked about how I use these tools in my blog and if you’re interested in starting your own e-commerce store heading 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