Kris Gramlich and Dustin Kane discuss tips for Amazon FBA product launches and scaling your Amazon business with Steven Pope.
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Amazon FBA Tips: Why Your Latest Amazon FBA Product Launch Failed
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Amazon FBA Tips: Make Your Amazon FBA Product Launch Successful
– Hello everyone, and welcome to episode 73 of Two Amazon Sellers and a Microphone. Today, Kris and I are joined by an absolute Amazon expert, Steven Pope, “My Amazon Guy”. How you doing, Steven?
– I’m bustling. How are you guys doing?
– We’re doing the same.
– We were great. We were just commenting before going live that we really like your live stream background that you’ve got going on there. We got to up our backgrounds game here, ’cause that’s really good.
– Well, I appreciate that. This is like iteration three or four. It’s a lot of work to do, what you guys and what I’m doing. And so, yeah, it’s very worthwhile to do it but it’s a lot of work.
– Yeah. It’s absolutely worthwhile. There’s nothing better than networking. We were just talking earlier about how important that is just to be in a good network of other people in this space because you can’t know everything. There’s just no way. And you learn so much by talking with people like you. So, we’re glad to get you on our show, though.
– I appreciate that. And I agree with you. Every expert I know in my space learns something new every single day on Amazon, without fail. It’s just, there’s too much things going on.
– It’s funny you mentioned that because when Kris and I started, obviously we’re like, “Well, we’re going to start a podcast “but we don’t know everything. “So, maybe we’re going to come across “not as total experts on everything.” Turns out we’re learning a ton by doing the podcast. And it’s somewhat more fun. It’s like, that’s the vehicle to become more knowledgeable about all this stuff.
– I think it’s a great vehicle because you sincerely get to see like all the different ground within the Amazon world, right? So, like, I don’t know, if we were going to take this wineglass that I have in front of me here and say, “This is the Amazon world.” Well, this is my knowledge right here. That’s it right?
– A sip.
– A sip. And so, you got to go sip on that wine glass long time. And I sell funny wine glasses which is why I drink water out of them but,
– That’s awesome. Yeah, you’re exactly right. And that’s going to just tailor into the topic we’re going to get into here in a minute. We’re going to talk about “Why Your Latest Amazon FBA Product Launch Failed.” I think this is going to be fascinating to go through this because it’s gonna be good for Kris and I, we’re launching products all the time. We want to pick your brain on different things that make it fail. And obviously people that are listening are either considering or in the midst of launching a product and just getting your tips and what problems sellers have had in the past can be super helpful. But before we dive into that, quick, let’s go over the story of Steven Pope real quick, the background, how did you get into the Amazon space? What are you doing right now? Just a little bit background on that.
– You bet. I love a good origin story. So, I started out my career as a television reporter and did that for a couple of years in Idaho. Then I went up to Wisconsin and hit a blizzard, kind of the same size that you would see in Texas right now, couple of weeks ago, right? And so, I was doing a live weather hit. I missed my cue. My hair froze over. I looked like an idiot. Everybody else was home in their pajamas, right? And I’m asking myself, “Why am I doing this?” So, that was the night I decided to quit. A couple of weeks later I made a transition and I went back home in Utah, picked up an MBA and actively worked for a career change. I fell into e-commerce. And so, like the first thing I ever sold on Amazon was actually, this is really nerdy, So, let’s check your nerd levels on a scale of one to 10 we’ll find out, right?
– We’re find it real quick.
– But the first thing I ever sold on eBay was a magic to gathering trading card called “the sliver queen”. Stronghold edition for the super nerds out there. And all right, so you guys with me on the nerd level or not quite?
– Not quite.
– But it is good.
– All right, all right. So out nerded, maybe you guys were into Pokemon cards, I dunno. I traded my Pokemon cards in for a Kobe Bryant card, which I actually sold on eBay two weeks ago after 20 years of owning it.
– Random niche story. Anyway. So, over the years I taught chess lesson growing up as a kid in college and whatever else, and an entrepreneurial spirit. But when I broke into marketing, I worked for four failed startups out of five companies in a row. And so, I was basically able to enter into the e-commerce space in a P&L controlled situation on the corporate side as a young smart kid who didn’t know what he was doing. And so, I did women’s plus sized clothing. I did kitchen equipment, fridges, spatulas. I did Golden Silver coins. That was the one company that wasn’t the failed startup. I increased apmex.com by 10 million unique SEO traffic visitors, year over year. Anybody who ever wants to know if I know what I’m talking about when it comes to SEO, you can literally put APMEX, American Precious Metals Exchange into any SEO tool, SEMrush or otherwise, and you can see my hire date, it’s that obvious. And then, my last failed startup, though, was lighting equipment. And so, when I lost that last failed startup, I was like, “I’m tired of growing these companies, “but they’re malfunctioning “for reasons outside of my control.” Right? So, like, in the kitchen equipment business, a bunch of British came over and bought a $5 million warehouse and filled it to the brim with British goods, but didn’t realize that doing that in Maryland and shipping it out to California may be a little cost-prohibitive. And putting things like rubbish bins on the front of your catalog. Yeah, that’s a great idea to sell it in the United States, let me tell you. Anyway, so, I learned a lot of, big corporate mistakes are made by business owners in unusual situations. So, I get laid off from the lighting company and I said to myself, look “I’ve been side hustle consulting for six or seven years. “Pick up clients all with all day long “interacting with these businesses.” Because the startup would fail but the people I met, we like talking to each other, like doing business. And so, I would get referred a lot of side hustle business. So, long story short, finally ending here on the Origin. I got this idea that I’m gonna start an agency called “My Amazon Guy”. And so, my wife and I were in the laundry room and she knew I had spent side house consulting. We were debating like, “What do we do next?” And she said, “How do people normally introduce you?” And I said, “I don’t know. “They just say, “talk to my Amazon guy.”” And that’s how I named the company like in the laundry room. True story. So anyway, that’s who I am and what I do. I have a massive passion for all things Amazon. We have 160 clients at My Amazon Guy and I also side hustle, selling funny wineglasses on Amazon, and my claim to fame on that front is, I have the number one funny wineglass on Amazon.
– Wow. That’s competitive.
– It is a bit competitive. I’m not drinking alone. I’m social distancing one glass. Got a 42% conversion rate, by the way, which is, obviously epically high, and normally when I get on a coaching call with my clients and I look at conversion rates, if anybody’s above 20%, I’m like, “You underspending on advertising, sir.” But no matter what I do, I can’t bring the conversion rate down. It’s a problem.
– Yeah. The best kind of problem.
– Yeah. Anyway, so, I eat, sleep and drink this stuff. I’ve got 600 videos of content out there on YouTube. And if anybody wants to interact or learn more from what we do, happy to share it all. So, I’m here today to share all my trade secrets, ask me anything you guys like.
– And that’s how we found you. Dustin and I both was on a podcast. We both watched videos on YouTube and you were just one on one with Scott and talking about SEO, and I was like, ” as well “as all this stuff I didn’t even know about.” So like, it kinda like, “We’ve got to get this guy on.” So, that’s the reason for reaching out. And that’s why we continue to listen to podcasts and watch videos, ’cause you gotta keep your finger on here. You gotta watch stuff. You gotta learn. ‘Cause this Amazon is not just like it was six months ago or even two years ago, it’s completely different game. So, that’s why we appreciate you coming on. But today’s topic, “Why Your Latest Amazon FBA Product Launch Failed?” I’m curious to see where this goes with your input and your knowledge.
– So, I’m going to tackle this from a couple of angles today. I think the beginners are probably going to be the bulk of the audience, and so, I want to start there. And typically when a beginner starts their first product launch, they get really excited but they lose sight of like, the protocols of launching a product on Amazon, right? So, first things first, you have to have everything on your listing ready day one. And even if you’re not a beginner, and even if you’re an advanced seller, a lot of people miss the boat on this too. So, you’ve got Amazon thought leaders out there, like Bradley Sutton talking about the Maldives, honeymoon period. And he’s onto something. And there’s a lot of other experts out there they’ve talk about this supposed honeymoon period, and even I put a video out the other day with my opinions, but basically no matter who you ascribed to and what methodology for your typical strategy to launch a product, be ready day one is definitely a hard and fast rule, there’s no questions about this one. So, when you go live on Amazon to sell the products, you need to have everything hyper optimized. That means you need to have your title, your bullet points, your video, your infographics, and your A-plus content, your brand store built, like, soup to nuts. It’s all gotta be ready. And there’s a few reasons for that. Now, if you believe in the honeymoon period, which I do, any sales that you generate in the first couple of weeks, maybe even as long as the first month, we’ll help you leapfrog rankings on Amazon. So, if you launch and you only sell one product a week when you first start out, it’s much harder, significantly harder, to turn that product around month three, four, five and try and get that one a week to a hundred a week. If you come out of that gate strong and you start selling 30, 40, 50 a week, it’s significantly easier to turn that around and get to a hundred a week, et cetera. So, keeping that in mind, that’s why you go out of the gate fast, hard and strong with everything optimized. Now, there’s a few techniques that you can do to help you along the way. So, the number one challenge a lot of people have is like, “Well, do I create the listing at the last second?” And so, here is where I will pivot away from the Maldives-type elements, if you will, and I will say, because percent of us are probably shipping direct from China, directly into FBA, you can’t create the listing and then flip it within 24 hours from your warehouse. It just doesn’t work for most people. If you can do that, I think it’s worth testing, but I think it doesn’t work for the bulk of the audience. So, instead of that, I recommend launching the products, putting it into the system but setting some launch dates out. There are three attributes that affect this. One, is on the offer page. And two, are in the more detailed section. And you need to go in there and you need to set them so, that they are in the future dating, so, that you don’t go live before you’re ready. You don’t want to be indexed by Amazon until you’re ready. When Amazon indexes you and you are immediately starting to sell, it will leapfrog your keyword rankings, like we kind of insured it on, and you will see a snowball effect much quicker. So, that’s the first tip I will give, be ready day one with your listing. And whether you do that by setting a launch date or creating the listing, and then you’re just literally loading everything in 24 hours, both options achieve the same mission, be ready, day one. The other tip that I will throw into that mix, is A-plus content. So, as many of you know, who have loaded A-plus content before, it can take up to two weeks to get an A-plus content accepted. So, how do I go ready day one, if it takes two weeks from an A-plus content to load? Well, thought number one, you can build the A-plus content while you’re not live with those launch dates, wait for the A-plus content to go live before you flip it. That’s option one. And perhaps that works for you anyway, because you’ve created the listing. You’ve got China doing the order and you’re waiting for the logistics to catch up. And there might be a time period, right? Might be okay with option one. Option two though let’s say, “Oops, I forgot to build my A-plus content. “And I’m watching Steven Pope on this podcast. “And I need to do this today.” Well, here’s the tip for you, build out a roth A-plus content with bare bones and submit it. And when I say bare bones, I mean like one photo and a couple of lights, okay? It will go through very quickly. Then do an edit to that A-plus content with the full-blown thing and resubmit the edit. And there’s a high probability it will go through in under 24 hours we’ve seen it repeatedly. The more A-plus content that are on your account, the more likely your next ones will go live faster as well. We’ve also seen that as well.
– That’s fascinating. Those are tips that I, you brought up the Maldives honeymoon. I do believe in that. I think I witnessed that on my most recent product launch. I’ve launched a brand new product and I for the first time I did what you had said, everything was built out when I launched. And it was a quick launch of all the images although I wanted a title and I was middle of page one. It was a niche item, but I was middle of page one without doing anything for awhile. And so, that honeymoon definitely I believe exists. Now, what would you do if someone’s brand new and they’re not even brand registered, so, they can’t do a plus content, all that stuff? would you recommend they wait until they get all that before they launched the product, or just go ahead? ‘Cause that could be months.
– So it’s not months. It’s now seven days. So I filed trademarks at My Amazon Guy and I’m going to do a shameless plug here, if you’ll let me.
– For sure.
– We charged seven 75 for trademark. We will turn it around and under one business day, and give you a serial number. Five days following that you can go to brandregistry.amazon.com and put your serial number in and get your brand registry through pending trademark, which you couldn’t do until December 20th of last year, this is brand new. And now you can complete the entire brand registry process in under seven days. So, yes, I would wait seven days, get your brand registered in place and then go build out your A-plus content and your brand store. Yes I would.
– That’s fascinating. When did you launch that service, right?
– I have filed trademarks for a couple of years and to be honest, it was just a cursory add-on, so, like my first trademark ever filed was for Momstir and that’s my funny wineglass business. mom as in mother stir as in stir fry. So, I don’t know. Maybe I was going for like a mother stirring in the kitchen. I don’t know. I think it’s a clever name. Now, here’s the number one problem with my brand name choice. If any of you go type it in Amazon right now, there’s like a significant chance it’s going to autocorrect it “monster” and that’s the one downside to my brand name choice. I’ve actually been filing a weekly ticket with Amazon for almost two years now, where I continue to fight them on it, and I’ve done those like escalated tickets, where I’m like, “Hey, I’ve filed tickets every week “for like a year and a half “and your search engine still sucks. Help me out.” And so, like this stuff happens to even experts like us, like all the time. So, if you are experiencing similar situations, I do not actually know the hack to fix the search algorithm on auto-corrects yet, but I will definitely be doing a video on that one once I figured that one out. Anyway, so, I did the trademark and then, I do client calls all the time and I find out, you don’t have a trademark and then it becomes this exasperated problem or roadblock to hiring us. And I’m like, “Well, you know what? “I’ll do it for you,” whatever, right? And so, we started doing that and we filed more than 300 trademarks at this point, and now we’re just hustlers, right? We’re just hustlers that do it really fast and effectively. And if I file a mark that doesn’t go through for whatever reason, we waive 500 bucks off filing a second one just to make it right and go from there. But, by and large, 98% of what we file goes through just fine with no problems. And the main purpose of the trademark is just for brand registry on Amazon. So, having that in place is extremely important.
– Well, that’s fascinating ’cause that is a roadblock. That’s a roadblock that tons of people have, They’re waiting on their trademark to be approved. And then–
– And by the way, anybody listening to this, if you have a pending trademark right now, you can immediately take the serial number and go to brandregisty.amazon.com and get your brand registry. Like, I a hundred percent promise you that will happen, assuming you’re on the principal registry waiting list. So, if you did an intent to use, sorry, I can’t help you, but everybody else
– That’s great. That right there is helpful for a lot of people.
– I guarantee somebody listening to this is going to write a comment and be like, “Yep, this was helpful. “I just went and filed it. Thank you.” So, that guy in the comment section in the future you’re welcome.
– And you just get access to everything now. Like, when we started, we gave video, back in the day, Amazon would roll out all the new features to everybody that’s in brand registry. So, it’s a no brainer, can go and get it done ’cause what we’ve seen over the past is those who have brand registry are going to be the first to see the newest and greatest beta features or whatever is out there.
– So, that is absolutely true. One of my favorite things to do on coaching calls right now is to go look at the brain analytics dashboard with my clientele. And I’m going to give you a case example. And by the way, I was on a coaching call with an Amazon aggregator on this particular one. So, this is good, right? So, like, the product, and for those that don’t know what I just named dropped there. An Amazon aggregator is somebody that buys a lot of Amazon brands. So, they are super sophisticated and they have billions of dollars. In fact, in February, I think I read the number was $2 billion, was sent over to buy Amazon brands, just in the month of February alone. 750 million of that was to Thrasio. Just had Thrasio on my podcast the other day. Anyway, so, I forget actually, where the story was going. What was I mentioning right before?
– Brand registry.
– Analytics, brand analytics.
– So, one of my favorite things to do is to go into brand analytics and look at the demographics of a product, right? And so, this this particular coaching session that I was doing, I’m not going to name the brand or the seller, but I will name the kind of product, right? It’s the kind of like flame that you would put underneath like crème brûlée, right? Like the kind of thing that you would, really cool sophisticated thing. So, like, in my mind, when I first looked at this product in five seconds, I was like, “This is a product for females,” right? Like, they’re doing their little get together with the other woman to impress them. Like that was my my judgment, right? And I think marketing should be polarizing, right? So, like, obviously there’s going to be a few pissed off people watching this, just with my language. Like, I know that. I’m sorry in advance. But like, when we looked at the brand analytics dashboard, turns out it wasn’t women buying this product at all, it was 70% male. I thought it would be 70% female. So, I was wrong about that. And I was like, “This is extremely fascinating. “Why is this? “Why are men buying this thing?” And so, I was like, the only way to find out the answer to this question was to go look at 10 competitor products. So I looked at 10 competitor products as quickly as I can. I was going through their secondary images. It’s like, “Why are males buying this product? “Why are males buying this?” And then I found it, cigars. People were buying this product and the demographics were skewing 45 to 55 male. So, that meant that they were probably divorcees who were buying this product to impress the impress the women. But they also like the cigars, and so that’s why they were buying it. They were probably not sophisticated cooks but they want it to look like one.
– So, this is the kind of thing when people are launching their products, they get this wrong, right? So like, I’ll tie it into our theme today here, right? Like if you launch your product and you get your target demographic wrong, that is a problem. And I’ll give you another example. So like, imagine you have a watch here, that’s just a rubber band kind of watch with, I don’t know, hand sanitizer in it, okay? Now, who would buy this product? Well, potentially your mom might buy this product to give it to the kids ’cause they’re going to the playground and, “Oh, Hey Johnny, don’t forget. “Wipe your hands after you touch that slide.” Right? Like, so, that’s like one potential target demographic. Potential demographic two might be, “Hey, I’m going to go on a jog.” And it’s for the 25 year old woman or male who just before they go into the Jpot late to eat lunch, they need to clean their hands or whatever, right? And obviously most restaurants have an on demand now, but that’s not the point. So, if you went to market and you tried to market to both kids and adults at the same time, your product is going to fail. And so this is back to my marketing needs to be polarizing comment. So, if you know your target demographic, you need to position all of your content. Laser-focused on that one ideal customer. And if you do this, your conversion rates are going to go up, not down, they’re going to go up. And when they go up, your keyword rankings go up faster and then your traffic booms, and then you get a boomerang effect that goes around and around on this, right? So, when we looked at that flame thrower type product, right? we really wasn’t a flame thrower, it was just like some small $20 gadget, and the way that we would redo the secondary images, we would show a 45 year old attractive male using the products, but then in a second lifestyle shot smoking a cigar. And that’s how you fit the target demographic to the listing using brand analytics dashboard, which you don’t have access to if you don’t have a trademark. So, go get that.
– Now, that’s fascinating, actually, ’cause there’s probably a lot of products out there that have multi uses, potentially. And I think you see this a lot of times in the listing, as it could be used as this and also good as this. So, they’re kind of trying to capture the whole audience and you’re laser focusing it on like the specific person you’re trying to target with it. And you’re seeing a huge impact on conversion rates.
– It’s extremely beneficial. Most people on face value won’t understand, “Why would I want to get rid of parts in my audience?” Like, “Hey, I sell a toothbrush.” Do I want to sell to everybody with teeth?
– No, you do not. If you try and go wide net, like you cast the wide net on the tent, you will not attract customers. They will not understand that the product is for them. And what you want to have happen is somebody who goes to the product and immediately knows within five seconds, “This product is for me.” If you try and cast the net too large, they’ll be like, “I don’t know if this product is for me.” Let look at a few other products. And then they’ve gone down the 100 rabbit holes of real estate for sponsored products on your listing and they’re gone. But if you go all the way in on one core audience, there’s millions of people that are in that niche by the way, and you’re going to win. And the other thing that people may not understand is that that audience is going to come back. They’re going to reward you. And then you can build an entire community off of that one audience, right? So, like what other problems do 45 year old males have who are getting back into the dating scene on Tinder here, who’ve been divorced, What else can I talk to them about? What other products do they need, right? Do I need to give them a beard trimmer, at the same time? Like, somebody who didn’t look at the brand analytics dashboard wouldn’t even be thinking these thoughts right now. So, launching products with a target demographic in mind is definitely a core concept.
– That’s a great point for people who have brand analytics now is we get stuck on just launching product, launching product, launching product, launching product. We don’t really focus on who we’re really launching it to, We’re just launching a brand. We’re just launching a brand and I’m guilty of it. Like, we don’t use brand analytics to our advantage, where we can go in and see who our demographic is, what their age is, what are the proximity look at, Who’s the competition around it? So, knowing that, and Steven mentioned it, getting brand analytics, you’re going to be able to know who your target is. And then you could just target them again on Facebook ads and do product launches to that same target and just keep rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat. So, really valuable, really valuable there.
– One of the techniques that it’s still underutilized, most people don’t know this, but in the display campaigns inside of Seller central, no DSP here, you can actually remarket and retarget your clients that bought from you. And it’s an easy, easy campaign to set up, right? So, like, people who viewed your products, bring them back in. People who bought your product, bring them back in to buy a second product, and you can find lookalikes too. So there’s a ton of new segmentations that are now available to help you launch your product that you didn’t have access to previously.
– That’s great stuff. Kris, do you have a question?
– Yeah, I wanted to talk a little bit more about that A-plus content ’cause that’s really got me going and keywords and using search terms, and making sure you’ve got the right data everywhere. When you create a listing, sellers stick to the basics. Title, bullet points, maybe a few stuff in the more detailed section. And then we get an A-plus content created and we throw it up there and that’s about it. Like, we’re not adding, and Steven’s got to mention this, I know he’s, but we’re not adding the keywords to the text field, we’re not doing any of that stuff. So, we’re kind of losing out on indexing. Steven, I heard another podcast talk about like, misspellings and, and Spanish keywords and how you added them to the backend of an A-plus content. And you got indexed right away or something like that?
– Amazon is on record saying, “We do not index for A-plus content.” And I know that’s not true because I’ve tested it. I’ve put Spanish in one photo slot, didn’t put Spanish anywhere else, lo and behold, in under 72 hours, we indexed for it. So, there is tremendous opportunity that is being missed out. So, let’s talk a little bit more about A-plus content in depth. So, one of the mistakes I see a lot of people make, is they don’t put enough copy into A-plus content, right? They go for the beautiful aesthetically pleasing designs, right? Like, giant photos, which you should do, but do not put too much texts in your photos. You should instead, put a lot more copy that’s crawlable into the actual copy sections of the A-plus content. This is antithetical to a lot of people’s design tastes. It feels like keyword stuffing. And to be honest, it kind of is. But I can tell you right now that if you want to index for the most possible number of keywords, you must have heavy amounts of texts in your A-plus content. And if you do this, you will see more indexing of keywords faster. So what about indexing? I’m talking about a keyword that shows up for your product in the top 300 results. So, when we run three phases of SEO at My Amazon Guy. So, phase one, is all about mass indexing. So, when you do mass indexing, your goal is to show up for as many keywords as humanly possible. Phase two is about incremental indexing. We call it the “Pink Word Update”, maybe the Dennis Rodman update, if you will. And that’s when we take out words from the title out of the backend search terms, because it’s superfluouses a little bit, right? Like, it doesn’t add as much value, but the reason we keep it in phase one, is because we found that through testing that it actually has more indexing impact to keep it in phase one. So, let’s say you’re launching a product and you’re like, “How do I judge, whether my product’s been successful?” A lot of people are going to say, “Am I selling units?” There’s a lot more to it than that, right? So, like, “Am I indexing for enough keywords?” So, here’s your bright line. If you can’t index for at least 1200 keywords in under 30 days, you have not indexed for enough keywords. You need to repeat phase one SEO. So, the alt text of the A-plus content is a great opportunity to throw in some additional keywords. My favorite place to put Spanish and misspellings though, is the actual search term field in the back end of Seller Central. I am seeing some pushback on whether misspellings are necessary to index for them, but I gotta tell you, when I use the various tools out there, I am seeing higher impression counts, show up for typo words and misspellings than I’ve ever seen before. And so, to me, I would hedge my bets and include them. And obviously on the front facing copy, you would never want a misspelling or a typo. So, there’s only one or two places you can put that, search term field or the alt texts. I think it’s okay to put in the alt texts, but my number one choice is the search term field. Spanish, on the other hand, I think is becoming more appropriate to include in more locations. I personally wouldn’t put it in the copy today, unless I was selling a product that may be bought by a lot of Hispanic population. And it would be obvious, right? I like to drink Mexican Coke. Maybe, I probably would put Spanish on that, If I were to sell that on Amazon, and somehow figure out how to ship heavy bottles across the continent without breaking them. But in any case, you wanna have, maybe a particular photo have a theme to it in the alt texts. You’ve got a hundred characters to work with. So, if you make that one photo, all Spanish, maybe that will help you index for Spanish keywords. So, I mentioned phase one and phase two of the indexing. It’s all about indexing. Well, once you’ve got a mature listing, let’s say you’re getting at that day 90, and you’re wondering, “Hey has my product reached maturity phase, yet?” Here’s your litmus test. Do you have at least 50 keywords in ranks 20 through 50? If yes, you’re ready for phase three and phase three SEO is all about matriculation of keywords into the top one through 20 rankings. You throw out the rule book for all phase one and two, ignore it entirely on that ASEN and then you redo the search term field, the title, the bullets, the A-plus content, and the indexing for the alt texts all within mind of five or so target keywords that you want to rotate in and push to the top of SERPs. And by the way, I will indict the concept of set it and forget it. It is a terrible, terrible concept, especially as it relates to SEO, it’d be like me saying, “Hey, Kris, could you run me “an advertising campaign and put $10,000 on my PPC, “but I don’t want you to add any negations, “and I don’t want them to adjust any bits.” That is what people are doing on their SEO right now. They’re setting it and forgetting it. And that is a crucial, bad mistake to make. So, after you do phase three, you’re not done. In fact, you need to redo phase three repeatedly, every 30 to 90 days, depending on the success. So that’s a big, in-depth dive on your A-plus content and your SEO for you, Kris.
– I love it because you are right. We do just create a listing and we’re scared to screw anything up. So, we just set it and don’t touch it anymore because we think that’s the way you need to make it. “You’re selling supplements. “And you made medical-grade claims, bad for you.” “You’ve mentioned FDA acronym, yanks listing, “lost dogs found page.” Yes. I know exactly what you’re talking about. It is extremely difficult. There’s going to be some people in the audience that would be like, “Yeah, I don’t want to touch my copy. “Amazon’s going to yank me.” And honestly, I understand that, especially if you’re in the medical or the supplement space, it has never been harder, right? So, like, we look at the COAs that are required certificate of analysis. They’re now required for like ISO lab testing. It’s insane, right? Just like 10 days, it was like a Friday night. I go to the top supplements listings and I see eight missing images on the top 100. And I’m like, “What the heck is going on?”
– Oh, oh.
– Eight listings were taken down. So, and they were all testosterone boosters. So, Amazon is under tremendous pressure right now. And it’s because of some recent court rulings where they can now be sued and held liable for products that do things that harm people, which is a good thing, right? Like, we actually kind of want Amazon to be the good guy in this. But the way that they’re implementing it makes no sense. And there’s a lot of 80-20 rules that are being put in place that catch the 20% of good sellers that are getting totally screwed over by the situation. So, if you’re in one of those spaces, ignore a lot of what I said about heavy copy and go heavier on the images. And I totally get it. You gotta play it safe, but for everybody else in the non-supplements nonmedical type categories, go as much as a thousand words of copy in your A-plus concept.
– And then where else where? ‘Cause there’s a lot of spots, right? In the listing, especially in the more details there. And when you create a listing and you’re like, “Do I put it here? “Do I have more stuff here? “What’s this field? “Do I put more stuff?” Like, where do you see like, when you do an audit of an account, where else would you put more information in the listing to kind of help indexing?
– So, they’ve been taking away a lot of fields and they add some fields back and it’s a really big moving target, right? So, just like the pending trademark moving target, like, there was like a three-week span where you had to go to a different link to file your pending trademark. And like, I couldn’t keep up with it. I just kind of, I was just like testing out these links, talking to everybody I knew. The same thing happens in catalog attributes, and then eventually it will stabilize and then it won’t be the same for everybody. So, for example, though, right? Like, they took away like the target audience in a lot of categories and a lot of those other fields. So, if you go to your keywords tab and you see a lot of these other fields, I do recommend filling them out. You also probably could do a template upload for these fields still in your category even if they don’t show up on your Seller Central backend, you probably are successfully loading them. Nobody knows for sure on this question this is kind of conjecture on my part, but based on what I’ve seen in the past, anything that ever showed up once in the catalog never actually goes away, including platinum keywords, which you don’t need to fill out. But nonetheless, the fact that is, why would the field platinum keywords be in the system for years on end, even though it’s been defunct for almost like eight years? I don’t have the answer to that question, by the way. But because of that symptom, I kind of look at myself as like the taxi cab driver of Amazon, right? So, like I don’t actually have any insider information, but I do see a lot of people get into my cab and get dropped off over at this building. And I’m like, “Something’s going on in there.” So, I then look at that building and I just kind of read the symptoms and signs and then kind of make some conjecture of like what I think is happening. So, when it comes to the catalog, we’ve seen tremendous amounts of pressure on Amazon to clean the catalog up. As one example to this, take the grocery category, where in the grocery category, they redid all of the attributes for the sizing. And this is pretty problematic for a lot of people for their parentage attributes, because it broke up a ton of parentages. And for those that don’t know what I’m talking about, when I say parentage, I’m talking about multivariations or a twisters, kind of the old school language. And in any case, when changes like this happen in mass, you have to ask yourself like, “Where should I be spending my time?” Like, “Where do I focus? “How do I know that what I’m doing here makes sense.” It’s a very difficult question to answer, and it’s a very big moving target. But I will say this, make sure that at bare minimum, the search term field is perfect. That field needs to be perfect. Same with your title on your bullets. Those are the obvious ones that people are like rolling their eyes and like, “Yeah, I get it.” Right? Now the question is like, what are the ones that are not as obvious? Well, let’s take the description field. If you have A-plus content up, do you need to fill in the description field? I think you do. And the reason I say that is because I’m starting to see products, which would not normally have both the description field and the plus content, now show both. And like, when I was on Scott Needham’s podcast, I actually said that it was only vendor central clients that were showing up. And literally like the day after, I started looking at my own listings and I started seeing product description show up and I was like, “Man, I just lied on Scott Needham’s podcast.” But in reality, it’s not in every category right now, and I’m still kind of like, trying to wrap my head around it. But what I see the signal is that there’s an opportunity to put more copy in a product description outside of your beautiful A-plus content for additional indexing value. I think right now the number one field, is product description. If you go over to the more detailed section, and you look at all of these attributes, anything related to logistics will help you from a shipping fee standpoint, right? Make sure you’re not being charged more. The number one mistake I see made on FBA shipments is when somebody makes the FBA shipment for the first time on a product launch, they put in the case size into the product dimension–
– And it’s like, this is the stupidest thing that Amazon ever did. Why would you ask for the product that mentioned when I’m shipping in a case? Because it’s confusing, they don’t label it. There’s no tool tip in this section of the FBA shipment process, right? So, like if you’re some guy at Amazon right now listening to you this, this is the stupidest easiest tool tip to add in the entire Seller Central system right now. Jump on this thing, right? So, like, if you fail to do this, then you’re done going to be paying like three X on your shipping costs until you catch it and then make an adjustment. Then you’ve got to fight with Amazon to get the claw back, which is stupid. Anyway, so, if you’re in the more detailed section, you notice I have a lot of digression because I get going and I’m super passionate about like all of these things that Amazon needs to fix. But if you go on the more detailed section, you’re going to see things like fabric type, item dimensions, I’m just going to looking at my list over here, wait, runtime, theme, capacity, liquid volume. Like, these are all that are optional that will have minor benefits. But if you look at like the additional features tab, right? So, like additional features probably got moved for most people, added the keyword section and bunked to the more detailed section. So, it’s still present. And these are things that could be beneficial to fill out because it helps the robots like understand more context of your product. At the end of the day, the number one thing I would recommend if you want to understand indexing as it relates to product launches, there’s a graphic that’s for the A9 update. There’s been an A10 update and possibly an A11, which I think happened in September, but nobody’s talked about it yet, but the A9 update talks about how they adjusted the ranking algorithm. So, in short PPC does not affect SEO rankings as much as it used to. It used to be like 25, 30%. Now it’s more like six. And 40% of the keyword rankings are now total organic orders and total non PPC orders. And those are orders that come in from external traffic. Those are orders that come in from organically being found or your brand storefront. So, those are like 40% of all of your keyword indexing, links back to that. Does it matter? Should you still be having a PPC campaign for your SEO keywords? I think so. I totally would do that on a product launch. If you are selling a product like a tweezer, you should have a broad match tweezer campaign for SEO purposes, knowing that you’re going to lose money on it. I would do it. Go back and negate some of your automated campaigns and try and call that a little bit. So, in wineglass world, I will never win a sale to somebody looking for acrylic or or like stainless steel. Like, there’s no way I’m ever gonna win that audience. So, I’m going to negate those kinds of things. But in general, do I want to rank number one for the term wineglass? Absolutely, and right now I’m going to go scramble and go check to see what my ranking is right now. But I’ve been in the top one through three for the term wineglass on Amazon and it makes a tremendous impact. So, I think I’ve lost a little rank. I think I’m in like slot 15 right now, but in any case, if you can get keyword ranked through PPC, through organic sales, it makes a tremendous impact.
– And so, are you keeping that term as a broad match wineglass? Is it broad match running just for that purpose?
– A hundred percent and other cursory terms like “funny wine glass” or “wine glass for gifts” and all those other things come out of that. I think the number one misunderstood PPC technique is that people don’t realize that targeting category is highly effective, right? So, like, people by now know like, “Okay, videos are hot, let’s go create videos.” Or people understand that like ad segmentation matters right? Like they know that. But what they don’t realize is that there’s certain ad segmentations that they’re undervaluing, and I think category targeting display ads are the number one most undervalued ad type. And so, I am absolutely running a category target for wineglass at 45 cents a click and killing it. And it absolutely helps my SEO 6%.
– And that is, that’s a cheap head.
– That’s unbelievable, really, when you talk about it like that, you’re killing it.
– Compared to the history, nothing is unbelievable from like the beta PPC advertising days. So, like, when I was selling rice cookers and I was putting it on PPC, In like, this was when you like needed beta access to advertise. I was paying 2 cents a click and crushing it, right? Amidst those days, so, so much. And today it’s like, if you want to even sell a supplement, good luck, $5 bids, starting point.
– And by the way, I’ll make a prediction here. I think that Amazon is going to add video external ads on Twitch, pushing to Amazon products very soon. And I don’t know anything, I’m predicting it. So like, I could be wrong, but like, I think it just makes common sense. Like, why wouldn’t they do that? Because they’re running out of real estate right now on Amazon. Where else can you put an ad right now? Like, do you wanna type in anything in your browser right now, in Amazon search, and it’s like, there’s 20 ads before you even see like an organic result these days, it’s nuts, like sponsored headline, two rows of potential sponsored products, maybe a video ad after the first row of organic, like, it’s just nuts. So, they gotta push external ads more. And their beta beta tool to track advertising is terrible, right? Like, you can’t effectively track Facebook. You don’t know where like your ARB version’s working. Should you run external traffic on a product launch? Absolutely. But I wouldn’t do it post-launch. I would do like a one and done $2,000 investment external and then walk away from it because it’s impossible to track to know what’s working. Kris, you were raising your hand there.
– Yeah, that’s super important. They are running on other advertising spots. And so, we’re gonna see, I think your prediction is spot on. They’re going to start using other platforms where us as sellers are gonna start going into those avenues and starting to spend our money because we’re just that way. We’re going to test everything out. So, I liked that prediction. I kind of hope it does happen. ‘Cause I would be interested to try that out.
– I think it will be an incredible boon. Now, obviously not every audience demographic is showing up on Twitch right now. Like clearly, but like millennials, that’s the number one place to go right now, right? This TikTok thing is gonna come and go, but like Twitch, that’s not going anywhere.
– Yeah. Anytime Amazon releases a new ad segment that you can jump on. The early adopters are getting cheap, cheap ads, successful advertising
– And anybody that listens to Gary V, and he’s always like, “Go over here, go over here. “This is underrated.” Like, “Spend money on Twitter ads or LinkedIn ads.” “Holy crap. LinkedIn ads.” So, like, I’m a huge Gary V fan, and it is a little over the top sometimes. Yeah, obviously. And I don’t appreciate the cursing, but like, he’s right, right? Like, go where other people are not going, to be a trailblazer and you will have way more success. You’ll have more mistakes, but you’ll have more overall success.
– And he, I follow Gary too. It’s amazing, and he’s dead on. It’s like right now, if you’re trying to be in social media, get on Clubhouse right now, build your, it’s newer. You could build your audience so much bigger there ’cause it’s a newer platform and you’re right. Same thing goes with advertising. All the new things that Amazon rolls out, jump on at first and you’ll make mistakes, but it should pay off big time.
– Small less costly mistakes. And by the way, there was a metric I haven’t got to yet on product launches. So, out of three products, how many should succeed, right? Like, this is a question that people get all the time. So, I like to use the rule of three on this one. So, one product is going to fail and you’re going to lose money on it. A second product is going to break even and a third product will do exceptional well, and you’ll reorder it and you’ll probably make enough money to pay for your three product launches. This is my ratio. This is what’s I’ve personally experienced. So, even though I’m a suppose at Amazon expert, I still fail one of the three, still break even on the second and I make money on the third. I don’t know what you guys experienced or kind of what you guys do or what you see, but if you consider that rule of three, then what does that translate to? Well, it means always be launching three products at the same time. That’s what it translates to.
– Well, that’s really interesting, when we talked about this too, Kris and I talked about how difficult sometimes it is for sellers to ditch a bad product or move on. They fall in love with it. I’m guilty of it, for sure. You’ve put a lot of work into it. And a lot of times that’s because people who are starting up, they’re laser focused on one product. That’s their baby. It’s like they’re in love with it. And they want to keep throwing different things at it to find out, “Okay, if I do this, it’ll work. “If I spend more money on this that’ll work.” But it’s for their reluctance to just cut their losses and say, “It’s time to move on.” And if you’re saying launch three at the same time, that almost can help you, psychologically, ditch one of them ’cause you’re going into it that way.
– There is way more psychology to being a business owner than people talk about, right? Like, it’s not sexy. Nobody’s going to tune into my podcast to talk about the psychology, be an entrepreneur, but, let’s go there for a moment, right, guys? Like, I’m running a 50 person ship today, right? Like, in two years ago I had a team of under 10, right? Like, it’s a totally different world right now running an agency. And there are a lot of people out there who have gotten to a certain point running 100K, 500K business, whatever it might be. And the difference between what it takes to go from that level to go to the next level, become a two, three, four, five million dollar company, is insanely difficult, right? Like people need to understand that you have to be very scientific about your emotions because if you don’t, they will control your science, and then will destroy your business. So, my tip on that, on that comment, Dustin is, people need to write down a number. How much are you willing to lose, to be proven wrong or right on a product? And do not go pass that threshold, walk away. That number might be $2,000 for Kris, but it might be $10,000 for Dustin, right? Like, you guys might have different thresholds. So, there’s no right or wrong answer on that question, but be honest with yourself. Like, if you spent $10,000 on a new product launch, would you lose your shirt? Would you lose your girlfriend or not be able to pay rent? If that’s true, then 10,000 is the wrong answer. Maybe it’s 5,000, right? Whatever that amount, I coach people out of Amazon all the time. Like, I think it’s the number one problem I have in the space with a lot of thought leadership. Like, everybody’s like, “Amazon’s amazing. “Let’s all go on there.” And it is, but it’s not passive income, right? Like it’s definitely not hashtag passive income. very, very difficult work to sell on Amazon. And I hope people understand that. And if you’re in over your head, you’re ready to get help. Talk to an expert, bring in somebody who can look at your data and read it. You’re not alone in this. We’re all in this together against Amazon. I need a better tagline than this. But like, we’re all in this against Amazon. It’s not me against you as a seller. It’s not my agency against their agency. It’s us against Amazon, ’cause they’re the behemoth monopoly, right?
– You touched on two good things. First one is we fall in love with a product. Like, I’m guilty of that, Dustin’s guilty of that. We think this is going to be the next best thing, and we just don’t want to let it go, because we think the more we spend on advertising, “I’m almost there. I’m almost there. “I’m almost going to get it.” And just, you keep spinning your wheels while you’re missing out on good products, because you’re focusing on this product to try to get the sell. So, like, don’t get emotional about the product, if it doesn’t sell. If you’re not selling 10 units a day by a year in, it’s probably time to get, let go of it. Like, it needs to move on. And then the other one with networking. That’s where Dustin and I, again, we’ve talked about this before, but we were always kind of like hush, hush, like keeping it in and keep it a tight and go to conferences and kind of like not talking to people who didn’t want everybody to know our product and we didn’t want everybody to think about who they’re going to come after me. But you’re right. It’s all of us in this together, because that’s like a game and you need help. And we’re all against Amazon. We’re seeing on Amazon kind of a new products all the time, and that they can easily turn off your account for something that can easily come in your niche and take your customer. So, you know, networking is important and not falling over at the product. You’re doing two good things sir.
– So, I appreciate that, Kris. I think the other thing that people need to keep in mind, is that the Chinese are now coming in from the left and going direct to consumer now. And so, if you don’t have a game plan for that, you are behind now. There is a massive influx of Chinese sellers going direct to consumer. So, if you’re selling a commodity product right now, your clock is ticking at the moment. Then you have the Amazon aggregators coming in from the right, with lots of money investing into the space. What is that going to do, it’s going to increase your competition. So, your pricing is getting hurt from the Chinese, the aggregators are hurting your competition. And then on top of that, you’ve got Amazon coming in from the top and they are increasing the complexity even use of Seller Central right now, adding rules and everything. So, what does that do? It squeezes the mom and pops of the world. And I’ve kind of been like, this last tidbit is kind of where I’ve been like trying to like wrap my head around it the last 60 days. Like this is fresh ideas for me. And I’m wondering like, Is My Amazon Guy going to be like the last bastion for the mom and pop out there? Or do I need to sell out and like work with the aggregators? I don’t know the answer to these questions by the way. But like, all I know is that people out there, it’s going to be a bullish two years. Everybody’s going to win, but just be paying attention. That’s my best last word of advice today.
– Good point.
– Yeah. And that’s great stuff. And we’ve gotta have you again at some point in the future, because we could talk about a million different things. But just going through this for the people that are listening, just talking about the common mistakes that you see, that we see for people when they launch their products, and how they can avoid it, just listen to those things that Steven was talking about with failed product launches and you can avoid that. And that will help you be more successful. Maybe you’ll be the guy that does two out of three successful products. because you listened to this and all that. So, Steven, we really appreciate the time that you’ve put in. Before we go, tell everyone how they can get in touch with you. If they’re like, “Oh, we love this. “We love what we’re hearing and we want to learn more.” How do they contact with you?
– So I’ll answer that in a second. But this is my most endearing failed product I’ve ever launched, right? So, this is a sweet heat, hot sauce, monster sweet hot sauce, right? So like, I did not understand the logistics nightmare of working with FBA. I paid Amazon to do the prep work and what do they do with my four and a half pound glass bottle of hot sauce? It shipped out in padded envelopes.
– Oh jeez!
– And I got pictures galore from all my friends and family that was ordering. ‘Cause I was so excited. It was like my first personal product thing I ever did. Right? Like, and they shipped it out at an envelope. So, even the experts really, really get some things wrong. But to answer your question, Dustin, if you want to get in touch with me, you can follow us on YouTube at youtube.com/myamazonguy. If you wanna get in touch with me directly, email at podcastatmyamazonguy.com, and we’re happy to answer any questions that we may have brought up today. Anybody that leaves a comment on any video including this one, I will come back and I will answer it directly myself and add to the community wherever can. So thank you guys for having me on your pod.
– Oh man. It was great. And for everybody out there listening as well, I encourage you to go follow Steven everywhere that he said. Go to his website, myamazonguy.com, follow him on social. Look at his content and your content is great. It’s it’s just great.
– Thank you.
– Putting all that out there just to prove that this community is amazing. If everyone who’s listening wants to hear more content like this from us, you can follow us on Sellozo’s Facebook page. You can follow us on Sellozo’s YouTube page. Subscribe to our podcast everywhere, where you get your podcasts so, you can get more information like this in the future from us. Steven, thanks so much for coming on. We’ll have to get you back on another time.
– Sounds like a plan. Thank you, gentlemen.
– All right, have a good one.