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…really fascinated with like funnels and external channels and all that stuff. When I started listening to him in this mastermind session that we had at Steve Chou’s event it was at the Seller’s Summit, if I didn’t already say that, it was just an amazing event but it was an amazing mastermind roundtable discussion that we had there and Mike really got my interest. That’s why I’ve invited him on the show. Really excited to have him. Now, before we just into this awesome conversation that I just had with Mike I do want to remind you that if you want to see the show notes, all the links that we discussed will be there, if you want to download or just read the transcripts they are there on this episode as well. That is theamazingseller.com/219. Again that’s theamazingseller.com/219.
[00:02:00] Scott: Let me also say if you are brand new to the podcast and you are going to listen to this episode right now, it’s okay you can listen to it but understand a lot of this stuff that we’re going to be talking about is a little next level stuff. It’s stuff that you don’t have to do right now and you can even here Mike say that in this conversation that I have with him that you don’t have to start out with doing all of this. He didn’t either. Once you get to a certain level you’re going to want to start thinking about this right here that we talk about in this interview and in this conversation that I have with Mike. If you are brand new and you want to get caught up to speed as far as how to get your first product launched on Amazon, I created a free resource for you and you can find that by heading over to freeprivatelabelcourse.com. It’s a ten day email course. It’s going to walk you through every single step that it will take to get your first product launched on Amazon.
Once again that link is freeprivatelablecourse.com and you go over there, you’ll register, you’ll get the first email which will give you the outline of what to expect through this course and then everyday you’ll get an email for the first ten days walking you through all the different steps that it takes to get up and running. I also have videos there to show exactly what I’m talking about. If you’re just getting started and you want to see if this is the right business model for you, this would be a great place to start as well. Again, that’s freeprivatelabelcourse.com. Alright, I’m going to stop rumbling now so you guys can enjoy this awesome amazing interview that I just did with Mike Jackness. Enjoy.
[00:03:32] Scott: Well, hey Mike. What’s going on man? Thank you so much for hanging out with TASers. What’s going on?
[00:03:37] Mike: Not much, I was just telling you before the preshow here that I went hiking over the weekend and now I’m paying for it. I’m no longer twenty anymore. Just sitting here sore besides that I’ll have a great week hopefully.
[00:03:50] Scott: That’s awesome. I know, I feel the same thing it’s like I’ve swang the baseball bat with my son a few times, like over the years and it’s like the next day I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t realize I had muscles in that area.” As you get older you definitely notice it a lot more. Awesome. You did some hiking and that’s cool. I got to get out there and get some hiking done too. Maybe I’ll do that soon. We’re going to be moving to South Carolina here pretty soon. I here they’ve got some pretty good mountains. Maybe we’ll check that out. I really wanted to have you on because you and I met in Miami at Steve Chou’s event, The Sellers Summit and we were in like a mastermind group on the last day and I was very intrigued by your story and your business but I was also curious to really dive deeper into how you are able to really not really rely that much on Amazon as a lot of people do. Maybe you can kind of give us a little bit of a back story as far as how you decided to get started on Amazon but then get us to speed to where you are today.
[00:05:03] Mike: Yeah. Sure. I’ve had other businesses before doing Ecommerce. I’ve learned my lesson the hard way by having all your eggs in one basket can lead to a very sad day when someone else has all the control. We got started on Amazon actually by purchasing a site called icewraps.com that had an Amazon account and I had some Amazon stuff in the past, but it just didn’t really get any traction but that was really the kind of the thing that got us over the hump, open our eyes to Amazon we were selling other people’s products which we’ve now completely replaced with only our own products. Fast forward, because I know we only have a short amount of time here, we’ve now replaced with all the other products that are selling from other manufacturers without own branded stuff.
[00:05:53] Scott: Right there though Mike. When you bought that website you seen that website, were they selling like was it wholesale drop ship? What was that site, how was that site selling those products? Was it through affiliate sales, through Amazon? What was that?
[00:06:10] Mike: No, it was all FBA. It’s icewraps.com we sold shoulder ice wraps and knee ice wraps. I actually could use one right now after the hike. I should be a customer right now.
[00:06:22] Scott: Go on the warehouse and grab one.
[00:06:25] Mike: But launching this stuff FBA, it clued me onto that model. We just started shipping in other manufacturers’ stuff that we already had inventory of in our warehouse because we were selling it on icewraps.com and then started selling it on Amazon and at the time it was a very lucrative market. We were doing really, really well but I’m sure a lot of your listeners know as soon as you identify an opportunity and you start gaining rank everybody else finds it too. Eventually, not even a long period of time, within six months really it became a quick race to the bottom. Especially for the ones that didn’t have map racing and then of course there’s the map violators that just don’t care and next thing you know what used to be a great source of revenue and income for us just dried up. Over that six month period of time at some point it was just like, “F it, I’m going to stop sending in other manufacturers products into Amazon and only sell our own stuff.” It was a six month transition for us.
[00:07:29] Scott: Got you. Got you. At this point then you transitioned that into where you were the manufacturer in a sense and then you were basically taking and controlling all of those different SKUs now that you were going to be sending in.
[00:07:29] Mike: Exactly.
[00:07:42] Scott: Okay, cool. That’s awesome. From there then what’s next? What happens next?
[00:07:49] Mike: As our Amazon revenue started to grow it actually eclipsed our revenue on our own website by quite a bit and it left me in a position of that’s a little bit scary so we also had launched another brand called Color It. All of our sales for that brand were 100% exclusively on Amazon so I was even more concerned at that point. It really lit a fire under my but to launch our own store for Color It and to expand some of the stuff that we’re doing with Ice Wraps and to basically change our philosophy of we have an Amazon business to… We’re selling on Amazon and it’s just the channel for us. If and when the day comes that they lock our account for absolutely no reason or they decide to change their FBA fees to something that it changes the math for us that it makes it not profitable or one of a dozen of other horrible scenarios we aren’t left without a chair when the music stops kind of thing.
[00:08:50] Scott: That’s smart for sure. You realized that like you said you experienced it and then you’re like I’m not going to fall into this trap and just being a smart business person too knowing that you don’t want to be relying on one channel and one source of revenue kind of thing too. At what point do you start thinking to yourself okay I’m going to start building my own external funnel or channel in a sense to where I’m not relying on Amazon.
[00:09:25] Mike: We did with Color It and I encourage all of your listeners as well to take this philosophy because I listen to your podcast a lot and I know a lot of stuff you talk about. You can put the cart before the horse, would you go out and spend thousands or tens of thousands of dollars building out a website, if you’re just getting started. We got to a point where we were selling six figures of products a month on Amazon and that was when it was like okay, we need to protect this revenue stream and we also had the domain colorit.com from the beginning for our brand knowing that that was going to be our long term plan. To answer your question what we do is we waited until we had people come into colorit.com. I put Google analytics on there, I put like… We sold exclusively on Amazon, but if you wanted to join our newsletter, and you know, your email address and when we started seeing people coming to the site naturally we knew it was our time to start building things out at that point.
[00:10:28] Scott: Then at that point though what’s your… What I’m asking is, “What’s my first thing that I do at that point?” Do you come up with an offer? Do you start to try to really just heavily just try to build that email list? I know we talked a lot about it in there in our little meeting about you building that content strategy which I agree 100% with. What are the first steps for you to start building that thing out?
[00:10:55] Mike: We’re crazy with my friends and people in the community know that. We are pretty ambitous and we don’t do things as a typical person. Like when we tackle that project it was like we are all in and within a period of three months we launched our website and built the funnels, email series and did everything with a very short period of time. Not sure the best advice I’d have for someone that wants to do a little bit slower, more realistic time frame. I think that the best place to start is like building out like a Shopify or ecommerce type store so you have a place to capture sales off Amazon and not doing it in a way that’s going to break Amazon’s terms of service and we’re very careful not to do that. We do include inserts but we do it in a way that is solely within the confines of their TOS. For us we aren’t looking at Amazon as our source of business there, we are looking at off Amazon. As big as Amazon is, I think the stat is like 44% of all Ecommerce decisions of purchases start on Amazon but what happens with the other 56%. Those people are on Google or they are on Facebook or wherever.
For us it was trying to capture that traffic and people that are going to buy on Amazon are going to buy on Amazon. I’ve given up the thought of, “I’m going to get people off of Amazon to come to colorit.com and buy… They have a prime account, Amazon is going to get products to them quicker as the brands and having protection from the whole way through the pipeline. I don’t really care where my customers buy, I just want them to buy. If they’re an Amazon customer, let them buy at Amazon but again if I want to be able to grow my non-Amazon business, and we did that through a lead funnel, lead magnet and Facebook ads and contests, so basically the three main areas that we did the build at.
[00:12:45] Scott: Let’s walk in. Let’s walk through those if you don’t mind. If I’m going to build out a funnel, let’s just go through that process, obviously we need an offer. Let’s go through the contest. I like that idea actually.
[00:13:01] Mike: It’s a good place to start. That’s actually where we started. We launched our website on December fifth of 2015 and on January first I was sitting… We had been thinking about doing a contest but I was sitting at home, it was new year’s day, I was a little hungover from the prior night before. I wasn’t going out that day, I was just lounging around the house and I was like, “Today is a good day I need to launch a contest,” and I just took it upon myself to… Even though I have employees here and staff that could help with that. I was like, “Let’s just do it.” I ended up selecting a software called Gleam.io, there’s others out there like contest domination that I’ve heard are even better but we selected Gleam because it integrates with Klaviyo. If you’re doing ecommerce and you’re going to be doing email there’s very few people that will tell you that Klaviyo isn’t the best ecommerce email platform. It blows away like Aweber, Mailchimp for ecommerce if you want to get sophisticated.
We knew that we wanted to have everything in Klaviyo so we launched the contest, we did one free set of colored pencils a day for a month. We gave our 31 sets of colored pencils and we have our social media and marketing person here in the office and we worked really hard to keep this going on social where every day we were posting who the winner was and asked them to send a photo when the product did show up so we can put that on Facebook and other social media channels and it took off, it got viral and we ended up in just a month got something like 9,000 people on our email list right out of the gate. Obviously the promotion had a cost to us. We gave away 36 pencils that cost us something probably like $15 to get in the customers hands, maybe even closer to twenty with all the shipping and everything. If you were to ask me, “Can I get 9,000 people for 600 bucks, would you do that?”
[00:15:03] Mike: Yeah. Obviously I’ll do that. The thing that’s crazy, actually have the starts here. I’ll look them up real quick we got so many customers from the promotion that it more than paid for itself. Let’s see if I have this… I have it actually sitting right here. Sorry, you caught me off guard with that. I remember it was 9,000… I actually have the information right here. I’m sorry, it wasn’t quite 9,000. It was 8,145 people on our list, people that took advantage of the contest. We had 6,589 people sign up to our newsletter. We got 1,870, Twitter followers, 1,442 Instagram followers, 3,137 Pinterest followers 8,900 Facebook fans and probably most importantly we got 98 orders out of it which is nuts. Just so contests drove a lot of revenue for us and we spent $678 in the Facebook ad spend, basically what we did is promote, we had made a post on the first like I mentioned and then I just promoted that post.
And nothing more than promote a post which is not something I typically recommend doing but in this case it worked great because I already had a bunch of comments so we had all that social proof and I only promoted to a very niche audience. Just off the Facebook promotion, the $678 we spent we got $2900 in orders which was another 78 orders and then as a part of our post contest flow because we have a whole month to figure out everything we wanted to say as a part of our Newsletter Sign up flow and as part of our post contest flow then the post contest flow got another 6 and 17 and 6 more orders on top of that and that was just our first month out of the gate, just trying it.
[00:17:10] Mike: February, March we had had even better results. We’ve actually tailed off a little bit because we tried a couple different promotions that haven’t worked as well, plus we ran out of the time that we were giving away there which is the colored pencils which are so popular that we have more coming but we haven’t been able to use that exactly any more for the contest. When we get those back in we’ll be able just to supercharge it again but contests have done wonders from growing our email lists and for in building our business
[00:17:42] Scott: What does the contest say? You don’t have to say every bit but what does it say to the person that’s looking at it like here, enter to win or whatever, we’re doing something for February. Whatever it is like enter your name and email address to enter to win a full set of colored pencils, something as simple as that or was there more to it?
[00:18:05] Mike: No, it was really just as simple as that. The thing that’s needed about Gleam is you get more entries for the more actions you take and that’s the thing that kind of helped us take off and to become viral. People didn’t just sign up for our email list they also went to Twitter and Tweeted for us. They also went to Instagram and you put up a picture of the thing or pinned it on Pinterest or any of these number of things. Every time that they did one of these actions they got more lottery tickets in the pot. All these different… I know Gleam does it, contest domination does it. There’s other ones out there like I said, we only selected Gleam because as far as I knew, or know now, still they are the only ones that actually interfaced with Klaviyo out of the box.
[00:18:50]Scott: Okay, that’s cool. You did that for 30 days everyday basically you were giving away or you were announcing a new winner. Is that it?
[00:19:00] Mike: Yeah, we were religious about Monday through Friday at least announcing the names of the people that won. We would email them, we were actually ship them the prize priority mail to get it to them quickly. It only cost us a couple of dollars extra and then when they got it we would ask for a photo of themselves with the product. You know like one third of the people, which is really high if you think of it. But they got something for free and they were just excited so about one third of the people gave us permission and a picture to use their name and likeness and that built even more traction because when people saw that it was real and that it wasn’t just BS it helped quite a bit.
The other thing that’s really key here is that we already had several thousand people on our Facebook likes or whatever on Facebook profile and we were already pretty active. I know a lot of people that have tried this and talked to me and they are like, “Oh Mike I tried this and it just didn’t work.” You get out of social media what you put into it. This is definitely a very social platform and if you are just hosting this contest and this is the first thing you put on your social media accounts in three months then don’t expect the whole lot to happen right? That’s one piece of advice I have for people. I spent some time cultivating social relationships early on so when you do want something out of them you have an engaged audience and not just the circkets.
[00:20:28] Scott: That makes total sense and what happens like to the non-winners? Did you follow up with the sequence of like a special offer, a discount because they entered but they didn’t win?
[00:20:38] Mike: Exactly. That was the 6, 17 and 6 I mentioned. That was all post contest sequence. We use a timer in our email so it’s basically we did a 10% off offer. It’s like 10% off for your first purchase and we only sent it to people who hadn’t purchased, and that’s one thing that Klaviyo can do that something like Mail Chimp or Aweber can’t. We sent out the emails to get 10% off and then the second one was like a reminder. It’s going to end tomorrow and then the third one was we extended it one more day but seriously this is it. We just kept an eye on our open rates and click through rates and we saw it, by the third one it had tailed off so much for me to decide that was going to be enough.
[00:21:24] Scott: Now, moving forward with that list you just continually give them content or what is your strategy moving forward with them.
[00:21:32] Mike: Everybody that’s on our list… We have a very high open rate so we have a 31% open rate which is almost double the ecommerce average and it’s because exactly what you just said, we give them content. It’s not just sale, sale, sale, buy, buy, buy. In fact we only maybe even send that out 20% of the time there are other four out of the five emails are Color It fan of the month. It’s stuff that people are submitting that we do user submitted content that we send down on our newsletter, we announce the products obviously. We put out articles like the benefits of coloring or the best coloring pencils on the market and of course our pencils are in the article but we put a very objective article together and drive traffic to that. It’s now gotten something steep like 50 or 60 comments in the last few weeks. It all plays together and SEO and everything. We spend a lot of money and time putting together amazing content and then we promote it in every channel. We get to leverage every bit of value out of that we can, not just try to have like a one hit wonder.
[00:22:41] Scott: Right. Give me one other situation that you could do, like if you were just going to like let’s say for example you didn’t have a full out like season kind of like Facebook fan page or whatever but you wanted to start driving external traffic. Have you done it or you just take a Facebook ad that you’ve been targeting certain audience and then drive them to like some type of lead magnet and then get them in the funnel that way and then just start educating them through that process?
[00:23:10] Mike: Yeah. In fact it’s been our most successful thing as far as the… If you’re looking at how much we’re paying per lead in those sheer volumes, we’ve gotten something like 18,000 leads since February, since we launched that. We’re recording this at the end of May so… We paid $0.20 to $0.21 per lead. It’s incredibly cheap so but that didn’t happen overnight. There was a lot of AB testing on our page and we do use LeadPages.net and it was a lot A-B-C-D-E-F-G testing on our Facebook ads and we were able to do that by just continually working on the message until we got it exactly right. What the offer is it’s for free, downloadable drawings. No questions asked don’t need to give us your credit card. We even say that type of stuff on the pages, not gimmicks, we’re not asking you for any personal information. Give us your email address we’re going to give you the drawings. What we do with that, we just don’t give them the drawings all at once.
We have like a 17 parts email sequence that goes out that drips that stuff out over a month. We keep the person engaged and we basically alternate between giving them a free drawing and then telling them a little bit about our company and our free drawing and then telling them about our company and it’s worked really well. So well in fact that we actually later today supposedly according to our UPS freight service that we have, we are actually going to be doing a hard lead magnet which, as opposed to a soft lead magnet, we are going to be actually doing a free plus shipping offer. We’ll be sending people ten free drawings or doing two and a half times more free stuff but we’re going to actually physically mail them something which will have even bigger impact and have me back on your show in three or six months and I’ll let you know what the results are of that.
[00:25:11] Scott: That’d be very interesting because I’ve been hearing a lot about the free plus shipping offers. Those are definitely very effective. Definitely be curious to see how that goes. You’re right though. The download it works, totally. You’ve proved it but it’s something getting something tangible on the mail is a little different. Not, to mention you can put stuff in that insert as well. You can send them some more information in there to come back and visit whether it’s another piece of content or whether it’s an offer or whatever, you are able to do that.
[00:25:48] Mike: Just real quick, you were asking earlier, what can people do to get started with… This is actually good first step really. I mentioned earlier getting a website up and running but doing this is even easier. There’s even more insulated benefit as just a pure Amazon seller because what you can do is set up one of these lead magnets off Amazon just usually pages, URL or whatever, drive Facebook traffic to have a lead magnet and depending on what you’re brand is or your industry is that will be different. Sometimes it might be information, sometimes it might be… In our case it was a drawing but no matter what you’re doing, we obviously ice wraps as well. We can’t afford to send someone a $50 ice wrap but I can send them a pdf on how to fix a knee injury or tennis elbow or whatever and you can have a pdf and then you can get these really targeted Facebook ads going to specific lead pages.
I can advertise to people who are 35 and older who play tennis are going to have more aches and pains. Then you give them a free pdf download and now you have them on your email list and the advantage to that for me is that when you have a new product instead of having to do, do one of these review club type scenarios you can just email your list and say we gotten your product out. Go buy it at this discount and they are going to leave an honest review obviously and all of these different things but it’s what we’ve done with Color It. Whenever we launch a product now we email our list and say, “These new product is on Amazon,” and we get all the reviews we ever wanted and we don’t have to use a review club for that anymore.
[00:27:24] Scott: That’s really powerful actually to be able to… Number one, you can spike the algorithm in Amazon, you can get your reviews going and you just going to get that ball rolling over on Amazon but in the same breath you still got your sales channel outside of Amazon. You’re able to guide people through that funnel. I love talking about funnel stuff. I can talk about this for days because I believe in it and we are giving the buyer or potential buyer, we are giving them a better experience, we’re trying to educate and give them value upfront before they actually buy or it can be a straight discount but for them most part like you’re saying, the ones that you’re seeing that are working too are an offer to help them. Then educate and then they’ll be wanting to come back and you built that good will and all that stuff and I think it’s huge. Like you said, whether you build an ecommerce store out like right now, you could build this external funnel without even having that in place and still just keep in their inbox. It’s really what you’re doing and then you’re just in their inbox.
[00:28:25] Mike: Yeah, and that’s why we email so frequently. Having a message in front of them constantly trains them to open up our emails and in fact when we do the lead magnet we don’t hit them up right away with the free stuff. Our first email is thank you for signing up with it, tomorrow… Starting tomorrow we’re going to start sending you free drawings once a week for a month. The first email is just primer. We know that they open rate on our first email is going to be incredibly high. They just gave us their email address. We want to keep our open rates high. This is one way to artificially help keep your open rate and help them keep your name in their head. When they see the Color It email come through they open it because you’re giving them so much free stuff and value that by the time you hit them up with a 10% discount or something else or a new product or whatever they want to give you the money. Where do I give you my money, which is being in this awkward…?
Some stranger on the street like ask you for a $1, like you just probably not even say anything just keep walking, you feel uncomfortable. But if I walk up to you and ask you for a $1 you probably will just give me the dollar and not even ask me what it was for because we know each other. That’s the difference. The digital marketer guys talk about this quite a bit. They are incredibly smart [inaudible 00:29:38] talks about this with his dipsy doodle type offers and stuff. Some of the stuff we figured out by reading them and some of them we figured on our own the hard way. I wish I had met them a lot sooner we would figure it a lot sooner. Same as your presentation at Sellers Summit like I wish I had seen that two years ago.
It would have been a lot easier road but you learn from other people that are doing smart stuff and the things that make good common sense it’s going to work. This just makes good common sense. You develop a relationship, build trust something with somebody, give them something for free, make them feel almost obligated to do you a favor later and they are going to buy something from you down the road. The great thing about this is it doesn’t cost that much. You never know, it might take six months or a year before they are ready to pull a trigger but at least you have them on your email list.
[00:30:35] Mike: One thing that we do is we scrub our email list. After a while people aren’t opening our emails we flat out just ask them, “Do you still want hear from us?” If they don’t click yes, we just stop talking to them.
[00:30:46] Scott: I think that’s smart too. That keeps your open rates high as well and it keeps the list clean. I totally agree with that. You mentioned earlier that there were some things that didn’t work so well. Can you share like maybe one of those things? What’s one thing that you think that you’ve tried that you’re like it, “Didn’t really work that really good.”
[00:31:06] Mike: When we first started doing Facebook ads we almost gave up on them because we were doing awful and we spending like 50-60 bucks to get a conversion and we don’t have a life time value to justify that. Actually I think we do now but at the time because we were just getting started we didn’t really know what our lifetime value of a customer was. It was all because we weren’t niching down and we weren’t split testing. Luckily a couple of different masterminds with people that are a heck smarter than me and it was like their thing to go you niche down some more what really wasn’t working was like advertising, our coloring book products to like all the United States. We had a figure out that core our audience is 45 and over females who have an interest in coloring and own a home and they are married. Over lots of different split tests and doing that type of thing, we were able to find what does work. The real theme and key is never give up like if you try something once or twice, keep on trying. You got to put the effort into something.
You get out of whatever it is, what you put into it, so I mean, the reason our lead magnets and funnels work is not because we just got lucky and we are in the right niche and all these different things that people tell me all the time. The reason it works is because we put a lot of time and effort in the way we have a sort of like a sort of a seventeen part email series that goes out after people sign up on our list and we email our lists once or twice a week. We have a lot of sophisticated if then kind of things that happen in the back end of Klaviyo. We tested a lot of different images and ad copy and landing pages and all these different things until we found the one that works. There’s lots of things that we did that didn’t work. It’s all about failing forward and learning from what your, not necessarily mistakes but just learning as you go along and that’s what’s worked for us. It’s the persistence.
[00:33:09] Scott: I agree. I mean, like you said you almost gave up on the Facebook ads because you were like “Ah these things don’t work” but you just needed to realize that you just were targeting too wide of an audience and you got to find that audience. Is that part of also running the ads because you can probably throw the ads out there to everyone but split them up into different categories or different campaigns and then go, “Oh, wow look at the ones from 45 to whatever, to 60 or whatever they are converting better or they are getting more clicks or converting better than 20 to 30.” Is that how you were determining how your audience was?
[00:33:44] Mike: Yeah. We actually use a tool called Ad Espresso to help with this. We were using the Facebook power editor and stuff to begin with and creating our own niches and figuring out based on, just again, the guy and the mastermind that helped me quite a bit. The tools certainly helped quite a bit. That’s definitely what helped us. You can see a clear indication. First it was between female and male and it was just like, it was something stupid like a hundred and something dollars per conversion for a male but like twenty for a female. We said, “Okay, well why the heck are we advertising the males anymore?” We just stopped all advertising to men and then we did age group testing and we started 24, then it was 24 to 34 or whatever then 25 to 34, then 35 to 44 on up. We realized that the younger people are just weren’t converting anything. Over time we were able to… This is really a relatively short amount of time, but we were able to tell that realistically our core audience are retirees and stay at home moms and that’s basically the only thing that works for our product like for people that have a busy lifestyle, they just don’t have time to color. Even if they do they might buy one book. They are not actually consuming the product and becoming a repeat customer. Our core, just like bread and butter as Drew Sanocki calls them, “the whales”. The Whales are people that are stay at home moms or the retirees that just had time on their hands and they are looking for something, an outlet to relax.
[00:35:21] Scott: That’s interesting and I think also people need to realize that you spend some money to figure that stuff out. You had to run some ads and not be profitable maybe in the beginning to become profitable. That goes even if you’re running sponsored ads on Amazon or whatever. In the beginning you discovering what’s working what’s not and then you just scaling what’s working and do less of what’s not working.
[00:35:44] Mike: Exactly, it’s the same type of methodology. At first we were doing the equivalent of auto targeting which is a little bit less efficient and then you start doing manual bids and it’s a similar thing but obviously a little bit more sophisticated on Facebook but the same idea and it’s important in any type of business venture to be willing to lose money to make money.
[00:36:06] Scott: I agree. You’ve already demonstrated here that having the outside channel and creating your own funnel is to me that’s where it’s at. That’s where you’re creating a real business and that’s where you can dictate when and how much traffic is going to be coming in by you just turning the faucet a little bit harder.
[00:36:31] Mike: I’ve gotten to the point where we were spending four figures a day on Facebook spend alone. Like we had to turn this down a little bit right now because we ran out of inventory. We were a victim of our own success. We sold so much stuff so quickly that we outpaced our forecasting for ordering stuff from China and when that happens it’s a three to four month mistake because you’re waiting and waiting for more product to come in. That’s just the unfortunate reality that we got ourselves stuck in. This stuff can be incredibly fruitful even if you don’t have your website. Like I mentioned, at least you’re building a list, you’re communicating with people, you’re sending people through Amazon for new products for reviews and not using review clubs and getting verified reviews and not leaving a footprint of people that only do review clubs stuff and then when the time comes you can just start sending emails and say, “Hey, look we’re launched ABC.com now and come back over here and here’s a 10% discount. Come buy on our site” and those people can be easily primed to go over and start buying on your website.
[00:37:39] Scott: Are you also being able to ask your audience and your customers about maybe a next product or do you try to peer into their minds to try to help you with that?
[00:37:50] Mike: We do this all the time. It’s a great question. The two most recent examples I mentioned we sell coloring products, coloring books so the two most recent examples the first one was… Now we have 35,000 people on our list at this point. We emailed them and said, “Look we want you to pick our next title and here’s 15 things to pick from that people have been suggesting over last few months on social media and we ran a month long contest that was actually our last contest which was, ‘To pick this book,’ and whoever ends up picking the tittle we are going to send 30 people free copy when the time comes.” We had people that were motivated though because they had a chance to win a free book.
The theme that ended up winning was like this mystical creatures theme which were basically drawing dragons and fairies and trolls under a bridge. I don’t color so none of this stuff makes sense to me but we have this book now that we’re in development with and we’re, and as we’re getting drawings now they are coming from our artists, we’re posting that stuff on social media, keeping people engaged it’s a part of our email sequences now. You know we send all that stuff out, it’s worked amazingly well. Now we know based on like thousands upon thousands of votes. We had had over 10,000 people vote. We know that they want this book. Chances are very high that when we launch this next book that it’s going to do really well with our audience and all along the way. It’s like three month or four month to develop the book all along the way.
We’re dripping out the content showing them what we’re working on, keeping them excited. That’s one away that we’ve done it. Another way that we’ve done it we actually just had… We pushed on Facebook, we were looking at developing a water color version of our book which is like a different type of paper and medium where you use water colors instead of markers or pencils because we had found this product in china when we were over there and we thought this might be a very good idea. We pushed it on Facebook and everyone was lik “no, not interested, not interested, not interested.” It probably saved us $5,000 or $10,000 from developing this product that it would just probably at least for our audience would have done well.
[00:40:05] Mike: Having that audience available has been really helpful for exactly that.
[00:40:11] Scott: That is a great point. You came out with an idea you thought it was going to be a great product, a great fit and they are like “no, no don’t want it.” You’re like, “okay let’s go on to the next thing. What else could we offer?” That’s beautiful. You’re in the driver’s seat at that point and you’ve got a nice base of people there to give you that input. I’m excited man for you. I’m excited to learn more from you as well and will definitely have you back on to give us an update on a few of those other things that you’re working on. What are you using to use as a flow to for this content to be delivered. Is it just through email to a standard landing page and lead pages, is it click funnels? Are you using anything in particular to build out these funnels.
[00:40:59] Mike: No, it’s just two tools to just, I guess three, which would be Klaviyo which is the email back end, leadpages.net which is just hosting all the lead pages. I actually think there’s some better ones out there now like Instapage and all the good ones out there but we’re kind of married to leadpages.net right now because we have so many of these pages in the well right now that we just can’t switch. It’s not bad, they have a good software, they are the largest guys out there, they were first on the block. Definitely still a great tool. Then we obviously use Gleam for the contest part which is still an integral part of what we’re doing. We’re about to launch our next contest coming up here on June like I mentioned we are recording this in late May. The next contest is going to be giving away a copy of our newest book which we just release a couple of days ago. It’s a good way for us to constantly keep adding a book title in front of people’s face and then if they don’t’ win at the end of the month then we can give them a discount to go buy it or whatever.
Everything we do is long term thinking. We try to not ever say go buy this. It’s, “Hey, our new title is out and we’re launching a contest for our new title. If you want to win go sign up over here.” If they want go buy a book they’ll buy it. You don’t have to tell them go buy it. We do launch sales, we just did a memorial day sale like obviously certain times it just makes sense to say, “Hey, here’s a discount go buy cheaper and here’s like a buy, buy, buy kind of message.” For the most part we try to stay away from that. We try to be really selective in our discounts and we try to be really selective in we want you to give us money kind of messaging and work more I building community and it works because we can look at our open rate and our conversion rates and stuff and see that that’s working and it’s really more to my personality anyway. I hate forceful salesmen kind of personality type people definitely never been kind of guys actually like give me money, we have the best thing ever.
[00:43:13] Mike: I work on building the best possible product and I’m proud of it and people will figure that out as well. You don’t need to be pushy salesman to make that happen.
[00:43:22] Scott: The sale will follow and with that approach of delivering value and giving it to people they are going to naturally like you said, they are going to help you out by actually paying for something after you’ve giving them so much value. I love it. I’m really excited that I was able to meet your number and sit in on that roundtable that we I learned a ton and then just being around guys like you I think gets it your thinking to think a little bit bigger. When you start talking about funnels I’m like I got definitely talk to Mike.
[00:43:55] Mike: It was awesome meeting you as well. I mentioned to Steve on email I went to add you on as a friend on Facebook afterwards and Facebook’s like you’re so popular that you’ve run out of fans or like there’s a cap a number of people that could be friends with you. I was like, “Oh my gosh, I’m glad I hadn’t heard of that ahead of time, or I would have been nervous around you. “
[00:44:12] Scott: You’ve seen that in the thing I’m just a regular dude.
[00:44:15] Mike: Yeah. you’re awesome. I definitely really like meeting a lot.
[00:44:19] Scott: Definitely. we’ll definitely keep in touch and I’ll definitely be picking your brain because I’m moving in this direction myself personally and I got a couple of brands that I’m working with that I’m going to be absolutely doing the funnel stuff. Definitely be reaching out to you and I’d love to hear some updates in the future so just want to say again, thanks man for coming on and sharing with us. You’re very generous and wish you all the best man.
[00:44:44] Mike: Thank you. Have a great June.
[00:44:45] Scott: Yeah, and take care of that sore body. Go get one of those ice wraps, will you?. Alright Mike. Thanks a lot man. Take care.
[00:44:53] Mike: No worries. Good talking to you.
[00:44:55] Scott: Okay. Was I kidding? This is awesome stuff. I don’t know if you guys was excited as I am but this stuff really gets me pumped, gets me excited and makes me want to start yesterday. Now, again I have to remind you that if you are not at that level to where you’re going to be moving into this right here, where you’re going to start building this external traffic in these funnels and stuff don’t’ worry about it. We got to start somewhere. Just understand that you don’t have to be there right now. Just understand as well that this is what you will be doing and you are going to want to be doing. Again, you can always bookmark this, blog post or podcast, save it, whatever and go back to it.
You can download the show notes, the transcripts all of that stuff again that episode number is 219, the one that you’re listening to right now. That’s theamazingseller.com/219 but man oh man it’s exciting stuff. This is really, really cool stuff and I’m excited to dive into this area myself. I’m just so thankful that I met up with Mike and he really shared a lot of light on what a successful business is doing right now off of Amazon, not just on Amazon. I do want to remind anyone that is brand new to this concept or to this business model, the first place that you should start is by visiting my free resource for you and that is freeprivatelabelcourse.com.
That’s where you will see the entire business model for Amazon selling at how to get your first product up and running on Amazon so that’s Amazon free privatelablecoursee.com. Definitely go check that out. Alright guys, that’s it. That is going to wrap up this episode which was killer by the way. That’s going to wrap everything up again, go over check out the show notes. Let me know what you guys think about this. You guys are looking forward to doing this yourself, is this something you want to hear more about? Let me know.
[00:46:55] Scott: You can leave comments on the blog, you can hit me up on Facebook, you can just find me out. You guys know where I am. Periscope, wherever you guys want to find me, you guys know where I am.
That’s it guys, that is going to wrap it up. Remember as always, I’m here for you, I believe in you and I’m rooting for you but you have to, you have to… Come on. Say it with me, say it extra loud today, “Take action.” Have an awesome amazing day and I’ll see you right back here on the next episode.
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