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…via voicemail and I do my best to give you my opinion or my advice and just try to help you along here. I’ve said this before and I’m going to say it again but I love doing these.
I mean I’m able to connect with you which is really, really awesome and since starting this, I mean this is episode 235 but session 70. I’ve literally did 70 of these so far including today and I keep enjoying them. They’re just awesome because you guys are been able to submit these and then I’m able to listen and then answer and connect with you as if we’re having that cup of coffee that I always talk about. I really, really enjoy doing them and I want to encourage you to submit your question if you haven’t done so already.
To do that all you would need to do is head over to theamazingseller.com/ask and you can do that. The only thing I want you to do though is include your first name and your question obviously. Some people are submitting questions, which is fine and they’re forgetting to leave their names. I want to hear who I’m talking so I can call you out and say, “Hey thanks for the question.” That’s what I want to do. That’s that. Now let’s move on. The other thing I wanted to do is remind anyone that is brand new or maybe just tuning in, I have a resource for you that if you want to get caught up to speed really quickly as far as like selling your physical products online or maybe just getting started in Amazon FBA I do a live workshop every week, most every week and you can register for an upcoming one by heading over to theamazingseller.com/workshop. Once again that’s theamazingseller.com/workshop.
[00:02:00] Scott: The other free resource I have for you that if you couldn’t attend one of those and maybe you just wanted to go through it at your pace you can head over to freeprivatelabelcourse.com, again that’s freeprivatelabelcourse.com and everything is laid out there for you in a little 10 day video course. Now last thing before we jump into today’s questions is I wanted to remind all you that we have the show notes and the transcripts over at theamazingseller.com/235. Everything will be there for you from this episode.
That’s pretty much all I got for the intro here, I’m real excited to jump into today’s questions. What do you say? Let’s dive in here let’s do this. All right here is today’s first question. Let’s go ahead and listen and I’ll give you my answer.
[00:02:56] Michael: Scott, Michael Willis here. Love the podcast and you really seem to embody the adage that, “Whatever you do you do it with all your mind,” so good on you brother. My question is, could you spend a little time unpacking the bailout scenario where you have a product that you need to get rid of? Coming up with a couple grand, $2,500 whatever it is to make that first buy for some people that’s just going to be gut wrenching to plunk down that money.
Almost a roll of the dice if they’re not sure and I think we need to offer some people assurance that there’s multiple ways to get that money back, get your stake back so you can move forward. Love to hear you talk about your options, what you’ve seen, heard on the liquidation side, places to go, people to contact whether it’s eBay or whatever. Appreciate your generosity and look forward to more. Thanks.
[00:04:01] Scott: Hey Michael. Thank you so much for the question and it’s a great question. Now there’s a couple things that hit me right away when you presented that question. Number one, the first thing that called out to me was where you said if someone plops down $2,000 and it would be devastating if they lost that $2,000. That’s where I’m going to call the time out. I’m going to be like, “Woah, woah, woah, wait a minute here,” because we don’t want to invest our last $2,000 into anything and I know some people might want to gamble that.
If it’s a matter of me paying my rent or $2000 over here into a product I’m probably not going to do that. I’m going to go and probably find a part time job or something that I can come up with that two grand and if I lost it I lost it, it would not take away from my lifestyle as far as my living or my family depending on if you’re single, married, if you have kids, whatever. That’s the very first thing. If we were having this conversation and not you personally but anyone else that’s listening, if you’re at that stage at the beginning and you’re talking about taking your rent money or your mortgage money and paying for a product, don’t do that.
Do not do that. I just did an episode with Dom Sugar all about how to take product in your house that you already currently have and make money using that model first. I just wanted to clear the air there on that. I don’t believe anyone should take money that they’re paying their everyday bills with to invest in this business. Make some money somewhere else whether that’s working a part time or hey maybe that’s someone that says, “Hey I need a hand on the weekend, I would pay 500 bucks to help me move or I’d help you …” Whatever. You can find a way to make some extra money and that’s what I would do.
[00:06:02] Scott: Now that we got that out of the way but let’s say that that’s not the case. Let’s just say that you went and you invested in a product and you’re seeing that you’re just not getting the sales. You’re like this product is turning into a little bit of a dud or maybe the market turned and now on Amazon there’s other sellers that have come in, that can happen. The market in certain markets, in certain categories it’s getting very, very competitive. I go back to what we had talked about in a few episodes back where talking about if all we’re doing is banking on Amazon, we’re going at this the wrong way.
We want to be able to know that we can take our products and let’s just take Amazon out of the equation how else could we sell that product? Could we see it to our own customer base if we were to build our own market? We could create our own community in that market or our own channel. Can we sell that product on eBay or could we sell that on jet.com? Could we sell that on Walmart.com? Could we sell on these other external channels? Maybe you have a product that can could be sold on Etsy.
There’s all of these other places that you should be also thinking to yourself, “Can I sell this thing outside of Amazon,” because if all we’re doing is banking on Amazon that is very risky. Now there’s some people that are crushing it on Amazon right now and they’re not taking the necessary actions to go out there and make sure that they secure their future. As far as like for their product and their brand they’re just… Someone that I was talking to had said. “It’s kind of hard to get off the Amazon crack.” It’s kind of like a drug in a sense because it can be so easy and I say that lightly. I don’t want to say it lightly because I don’t want anyone to think that it is easy but there are in some cases that you can start selling a product and it can take right off and then all of a sudden you’re like this is cool and then it’s like smooth sailing.
[00:08:13] Scott: Then all of a sudden you have something happen to your account, you get suppressed, Amazon says we’re going to review your account we’re not going to no longer allow you to sell that. Now what do you do? You have a 1,000 units or 2,000 units in inventory now what do you do?
Well if you had your own channel we can then sell those even if Amazon has them we can still have them sent to our customers that’s not being sold through Amazon. That can happen. I would say if you’re at that point my first step would be, I would look at eBay and see if I can liquidate them over there because let’s say that you bought the product for $5 and you’re trying to sell it for $20, there’s a pretty good chance you can probably liquidate them on eBay by selling them at cost. You probably can do that.
You might even get someone there that might want to buy out your whole lot because maybe they’re going to then flip them and then sell them on eBay or maybe sell them on another channel. That’s another way to offload them if you want to get totally out of that space. The other thing you can do is if you had another product that you could sister this thing up with then you can kind of merge those two. I would say if you just looking to liquidate them, just looking to get rid of them I would start looking at those other channels.
Heck you can even put something on Craig’s list and say, “Hey, I’ve got 500 of these units I’m looking to liquidate them I want to get this.” Then you can put your breakeven price and then try to sell them out. There’s local stores that might want to buy them and then they can put them in there. That’s what I would do right off the top if we were having this conversation over this cup of coffee which I do have a cup of coffee here today so we are having coffee together today. I normally don’t drink coffee during a podcast but this is a little bit different today.
I just trying to get some work done and then it just hit me that I probably should do a couple of podcasts because I was falling a little behind. I said I’m going to have some coffee, let’s go ahead and do this and actually have coffee with all of you. That’s what we’re doing.
[00:10:07] Scott: Hopefully that’s answered your question and anyone else out there listening. I know you wanted to address this for everyone else and I appreciate that because I do think it’s really, really important. I will probably do maybe even a whole episode on this and maybe I’ll even invite on a couple of guests that I think that would be really good at this because I have a few people in mind that could probably help even shed a little bit more light on how you could liquidate it pretty quickly. Maybe we’ll do that in the future as well.
All right guys. Let’s go ahead and listen to the next question and I’ll give you my answer.
[00:10:41] Ozi: Hi Scott, my name is Ozi. Thank you so much for doing all this. I love listening to your podcast. I’m a professional seller on Amazon not FBA and I’ve listed a bunch of products before I discovered your podcast. I’m only recently starting to learn how to advertise and increase sales. I know you talk about how to go from the first product, get 20 sales then list another product and do an Amazon pay-per-click campaign for each but how do you go about making the campaign when you already have listed 100 to 300 products on Amazon?
Would you advise to make separate campaigns for best sellers only or group products that have similar features together and make a separate campaign for those? Would love to hear your response, thanks so much.
[00:11:30] Scott: Hey Ozi, thank you so much for the question. This is a question that I have gotten before and I definitely want to address this. Number one if you have… I get a lot of people that will say, “Scott I’ve been selling wholesale for a long time and I have thousands of SKUs, how do I manage pay-per-click on that,” and that’s going to be a challenge. That’s going to be a challenge. My first advice that I ever give in this situation is find those top 5 or 10 products that are selling decently and then if you want to ramp up those that’s where I would start.
Now you may have a product that you think would do well if it could just get seen more, that might be another product to sell. You do want to break these down and it’s going to be a little bit of a pain for you or anyone else that has a lot of products because there’s really no easy way to manage all of these different campaigns that you have. A good buddy of mine Dom Sugar would let you know that this can be very, very time consuming and I know Dom listens to the show.
Dom is shaking his head right now because you can spend hours monitoring all of that stuff because if you have that much SKUs you have to keep an eye on those things because if you don’t set strict budgets and you don’t have an idea of what’s happening on a daily basis you can lose a lot of money very, very quickly and you don’t want to just throw money at different listings and hope that it works.
You want to be able to focus on looking at the data over time. I would say you want to pick a handful and then from there start drilling down into those because it’s not going to be as easy as just saying like I’m just going to throw a bunch of keywords at this listing and then it’s just going to work. You have to kind of look at the numbers after a week, after two weeks, after a month and then you have to keep refining that stuff. I would say, again, to repeat myself here just so it’s clear I would pick those handful of products that you can focus on and break them up into separate campaigns so this way here you’re able to really dissect that.
[00:13:53] Scott: You’re not going to be able to throw the same keywords in one campaign at four products anyways so you’re going to have to break them down. I would say to break them down in small groups so this way here you can manage those groups and you’re not like trying to just have this one campaign or two campaigns that might be targeting one or two products inside of each campaign. Again you can’t target two different SKUs in that one campaign, at least that I’m aware of so you will have to setup separate campaigns.
Anyway if you have 5 products that you want to target you’re going to have, at the minimum you’re going to have five campaigns each one of those targeting keywords. You want to take it further than that. We talk about this or we talked about it on episode 119. I did that with Chris Shaffer, we’ll link that in the show notes today too but you can always head over to theamazingseller.com/119. We talk about how to really setup those first initial campaigns for one SKU and you’re going to have to multiply this by how many SKUs you want to do this for and you can see how time consuming that can be.
If you have let’s just say five skews that you want to use pay-per-click on, you are going to have to set up then two or three campaigns per SKU. Now we’re talking if you have three campaigns that’s, if my math is right, 15 different campaigns that you have to keep an eye on and it’s a process. That’s what I would say to do. Slowly you’re going to start to refine these and then over time you can start to trim back and then cut out the keywords that aren’t performing and focus on the ones that are. That would be my advice to you or anyone else out there that has hundreds or thousands of SKU’s because you definitely want to make sure that you can keep an eye on the metrics.
[00:15:48] Scott: The other thing is too is if you have that many SKU’s, your profit margin on each SKU might be small so if that’s the case pay-per-click might not be something that you want to really do a lot of on those products. You need that in your budget in order to be able to get your money back on those.
If you’re thinking to yourself that you want to rank these products and if you can rank them organically to get on page one and then you’re going to double or triple your sales well then yeah, it’s worth it even on a less expensive product that only yields a smaller profit margin, but you have to know those numbers in order for that to make sense.
All right, let’s go ahead and jump into the next question and I’ll give you my answer.
[16:34] Kay: Hi Scott. This is Kay. I’m from the UK visiting Canada and I met somebody who’s been on your, I think your podcast and he speaks of you very highly, his name is Nick. I’m a new seller and I’ve created a pre-labeled brand namely Vitamin D. I’ve started sponsored ads and I’m not noticing any sales. I’ve had some in the past about 50, 60 but I’ve only got three reviews. Amazon say they don’t penalize. I’m kind of stuck, I don’t know what to do. Some people recommend inserts.
I understood that Amazon doesn’t let you deflect their traffic. I’m not really sure what I should do. I haven’t really got a high budget, maybe three, four hundred pounds per month, no more than that. I really don’t know because I need to start making an income from this and I’m getting a little bit concerned. I’ve just come cross a bit of a challenge and I’m hoping that you can please shed light as to what’s going to be the best option, whether I need to find somebody to do Google ads.
I have a social media expert who’s working on building like a presence on Facebook which is working well but again everything is discounted and I’m really not getting much sales. Any advice would really be helpful. Thank you very much.
[18:08] Scott: Hey Kay, thank you so much for the question and Nick, I want to thank you for sharing the podcast with Kay so that’s pretty cool. Let me dive in here. One thing that hit me right away is that you were… A couple of things that I want to address here. Again, if we’re having this meeting together and we’re having this cup of coffee this is exactly the advice I’m going to give to you, it’s just everyone listening is going to get that same advice.
It really hit me that you said two things. Number one, you said that you have to get this thing going because you want to be able to replace your income. That’s going to be a really, really hard thing to do in a short period of time and it’s risky if we’re talking about replacing our income from one product selling on Amazon. It goes back to the first question that I was talking about in sharing my opinion and thoughts on that. It goes hand in hand with this same question, although yours is about how to get more sales because your pay-per-click doesn’t seem to be running.
I would just again want to make sure that anyone else listening including yourself Kay is that at this point, you can’t really be thinking about like that all of a sudden in thirty days this is just going to take off and it’s going to replace your income. I don’t think that’s a smart move, it is going to take work. Now, you did mention that you had someone that you know that can build out a social presence, they can maybe build an external, kind of a following or a list of people that are interested in your product, that is the long term, that there can be beneficial for you.
If you have someone that you know that can help you with that I would definitely take then up on that offer. That doesn’t mean that that’s going to help you replace your income in a month, it means that over the long term, I’m talking six, 12 months, you can have a pretty good following so this way here you can start taking that traffic and then building out your external channel so you can start getting your own sales not relying on Amazon.
[00:20:20] Scott: Now, let’s go back to Amazon because that’s where we are and that’s where you want to sale and I think that you can sell. One thing that, maybe some people listening to this also caught this, is that you were saying that you ran pay-per-click and your results weren’t that great, maybe not even any sales but you made forty or fifty sales organically, which I would need to know a little bit more as to why that would have happened. If it’s because of a promotion then I really wouldn’t even count those.
Going back to pay-per-click, you said something that immediately called out to me is that you had three reviews. If you’re running pay-per-click and you have three reviews, your conversions are probably going to be low. Anyone listening is asking themselves like what is a conversion? It’s basically a sale. Everything that Amazon uses as their gauge as far as like how they want to rank you and how they want to promote you is all done by sales. We want to get more sales.
If you have only three reviews but your competition has 50 reviews or 100 reviews or 300 or 3,000 reviews, it’s going to be hard to compete with that. Even though you’re getting eyeballs with the pay-per-click, you are not getting the conversions because people aren’t trusting the listing and that takes time. You either have to be willing to give away product at a discount or for free in order to start getting a base of reviews. I don’t mean give away … I always have to clarify this because I’m not ever saying that you should give away your product and basically say you have to give me a review and it has to be a five star and all that stuff, that’s not what I’m saying because that to me is unethical. What I’m saying is you have to, you don’t have to, but you could give away or at a discount or free in exchange for your honest review and have that as a disclaimer and all that stuff.
[00:22:16] Scott: That’s all that we’re saying here because that will then start to get you conversions organically and naturally even through pay-per-click that then can turn into those reviews that were given by people that had purchased at full price. That will build upon itself by you using a follow up sequence, letting people know that you’re there for them and that you want to make sure that they received everything, maybe even get them a PDF, a guide to help them through that process.
You also mentioned that Amazon doesn’t want us to divert the traffic to our website and that’s true but it’s also… A lot of people get hang up on that and then they don’t think that they can give external help. I don’t believe that that’s true. Again, this is my opinion so do what you feel is right. I just received a package for an accessory that I bought for my iPhone and it’s a pretty big company. They have all kinds of calls to action in there to bring me over to their website. They even have, to bring me over to the website to see their other products which I think that’s a little bit riding the line.
They do have some really clever ideas on how to get people to use their product and then from there show it on their website and then for you to be able to be part of their VIP, also to warrantee your product so it’s a way for them to get us over to their website and I think that’s totally fine. I don’t know why Amazon would ever have a problem with that. Again, you have to use your own judgment on that.
I think you going forward and saying that you can build out an external presence like socially or even on building your own email list which I think everyone should be doing, then that right there is the long term because then you can help people through the process as far as how to pick a product like yours or maybe information that surrounds that product, that’s the long term play.
[00:24:14] Scott: You guys have been hearing me talk more and more about that because I have been doing that before I ever started selling on Amazon so I know the power in that. It’s just Amazon to me is the channel to get started and to start getting some of that traffic and then from there you can start thinking about that external channel.
All right guys, you guys know I can talk about this stuff for days but I want to just address this one part of the question which I think is pretty critical. If you’re running Amazon pay-per-click and you only have three reviews and you’re not getting sales, that’s probably the reason you’re not getting many sales. It’s not a hundred percent but it’s a pretty, I would say a pretty sure thing in my book. Now, I have run products myself and I’ve had students of mine or people that just listen to the podcast tell me that they’ve started pay-per-click with zero reviews and started getting sales, that just means that you have a really, really, really, really hot product that people don’t even care about reviews.
That’s good, that’s a good thing but it doesn’t mean that we’re all going to be able to benefit or to be able to have that really, really awesome scenario. We just don’t, for the most part, people need to see reviews for social proof. All right guys, we’ve got time for one quick question. Let me go ahead and play it out, we’ll go ahead and answer it and we’ll wrap this up and we can get on with our day.
[25:38] Josh: Hey Scott, this is Josh from Boston. I hope you can answer one of my questions. I’ve been selling a product on Amazon since the beginning of February and just last week Amazon notified me and said my listing was under review. They wanted me to provide all the invoices from my supplier within the last a hundred and eighty days and they also wanted their contact information. They told me to provide this within seven days and on the seventh day I provided it.
Just recently, they sent me an email saying that my listing is now inactive, I can’t sell this anymore and please refrain from re-listing the products or they will take my selling privileges away. This is strange because I have a very similar product that went through the same process, same supplier and they allowed me to sell it after it went through review. I’ve been in contact with seller support, they told me to contact Amazon performance team. When I contact the Amazon performance team they said they can’t help me and to contact seller support.
It’s very frustrating because I can’t get an answer. I really just want to know what I did wrong, how I can relist my product if that’s even possible or how I can prevent this from happening in the future. If you can help me out that’d be greatly appreciated and go Red Socks!
[27:02] Scott: Hey Josh, thank you so much for the question. I have to say, I have to say this, I almost didn’t answer your question after I heard you say Go Red Socks, sorry, it’s the Yankee in me. Just kidding, I’m not that crazy a fan, I’m a fan but I’m not like that. There are some people that would have said, “No way, I’m not doing that,” but I didn’t.
Anyway, Josh, I feel your pain brother, I feel your pain. There seems to be a theme going on here for this episode and I didn’t plan that, I just pulled these questions. Again, we are held hostage because Amazon is telling us yes or no. As much as I love Amazon and I love their platform and I love the traffic and I love their pay-per-click and I just love a lot of things about it but when I hear things like this, it gets me upset because, you’re right, they don’t give you a clear answer on some things.
I dealt with Facebook a while ago on one of my accounts and I was running ads with Facebook, this is in my photography space. I was running ads for probably a year and they were all the same ad and then just one day they basically said, “We’re taking down your ad because you violated the terms of service,” and that was it. I’m like, “Okay,” and then I try to run it again and then they banned my account and they didn’t tell me why.
The problem I have with Amazon or Facebook or Google or anywhere, just tell us what we did wrong so we can make sure that we don’t do it again, please. In this case, what’s even more frustrating for you Josh is that you had this problem before and you fixed the problem and then they brought your listing back.
[00:29:05] Scott: So, okay, cool, you’re like, “Okay, I’m going to do it, I’m going to do the same exact thing.” I’m assuming you did the exact same thing that you did before and it didn’t work. The only thing I could say that when you were telling that story is that you said you waited till it’s seventh day, I would have tried to get that fired off on day one or day two, like immediately I would have tried to get that thing fixed because I wouldn’t want to wait till my deadline. Maybe you did and maybe you ran across some obstacles and some struggles of getting the invoices or whatever you needed to do. My advice here and I think anyone can give you is to really just keep squeaking the wheel, you got to keep contacting them every single day.
You’re going to have to try to… And hopefully you’re using the phone and you’re trying to get someone on the phone that you can talk to and if they tell you to go some other place, to another department, try to really tell them on that one, “I don’t want to get transferred, I’ve already been transferred. I need this fixed, I need it fixed now.” You definitely want to make sure you’re also talking to the catalog team so that might be something else. If you’re not asking for someone on the catalog team that might be one tip to do because then you’ll get someone in the catalogue team not just in seller’s performance or any of that stuff so maybe go after that, that could be one thing you should try.
Again, that’s what I would do. Reach out to the TAS Facebook group. There’s over 30,000 people in there right now, this has probably happened to someone in that group and you can probably reach out and get that help from someone else’s experience. From what I’ve gathered is there’s not one situation that’s happened the same for everyone. Again it’s frustrating and it’s again another reason why even myself I’m not going to be focusing all of my attention and energy on just Amazon, I’m now splitting that off.
[00:31:06] Scott: Don’t get me wrong, I’m focusing quite a bit but I’m really now focusing also on trying to get that external sales channel set up where I can control the traffic, where I can take Facebook ads, drive them to my own website and turn that visitor into a buyer and then from there follow up with them through content and education and getting them to really trust and enjoy the brand. That’s really to me long term play stuff but not ignoring that Amazon is a wonderful channel that we all should be tapping into and at least we should be starting there for beginners especially because it’s like, we all know it’s a platform with buyers like right there.
Just to end this session here with that theme in mind is that realize that Amazon is awesome but it also is their rules that we’re playing by and you need to understand that. For anyone out there that’s thinking to themselves they’re just going to go ahead and throw up a product and make money and leave their job, that’s not the right mindset. If I can just help someone that’s going down that path right now that would be a great reward for me because I know some people out there listen to other people and they’re saying, “You can just build your whole business on this platform.” I don’t agree with that, I just don’t because there’s so much more you can do outside of that and it’s going to help protect you and your brand over the course of time.
Hopefully that’s helped you Josh, I know it hasn’t helped you directly, maybe as far as like one thing you can do other than maybe contact the catalog team if you haven’t done so already, make sure that you ask them for someone there. Then again just be in that squeaky wheel. The other thing, I can throw that out there too is like the other thing I’d be thinking of is you may need to pull that inventory and you may need to do some type of change maybe it’s adding it to a bundle or whatever to make that product different and then resubmitting the product back into Amazon.
[00:33:16] Scott: But again, without knowing what the problem was, you really are held with your hands cuffed because you can’t really move forward. If you did send any inventory back in on a different listing, maybe you set a new listing up and you tried it again, I wouldn’t go and send in 500 units, I would maybe start with a hundred and then see what happens through that process. Again, it’s a little frustrating because we’re trying to tip toe around and hopefully not get shut down again.
I feel your pain and I definitely want an update on this. I know this question was probably submitted a while since I’ve posted this and that’s just how it’s been working. I’ve been getting a lot of questions which is amazing by you guys, just guys got to hang tight a little bit because I am getting a ton and I want to be able to make sure that I can cover as many as I can so just hang tight. If you do want to submit a question, anyone that’s listening right now, just head over to theamazingseller.com/ask.
I did want to remind everyone again that’s brand new maybe, that is looking to just get started, get their feet wet learning this Amazon platform to get started and I highlight that, then head over to theamazingseller.com/workshop, I do a live workshop which will walk you through the five phases for getting started and getting your first product launched. Then from there we do live Q&A and stuff like that as well.
All right guys, that’s it, that’s going to wrap up this episode. I want to remind you guys though one last time that there are show notes as well to this episode as all the episodes. This one here can be found at theamazingseller.com/235. Definitely go check out those show notes and guys can always follow me on Periscope @scottvoelker or SnapChat @scottvoelker1, would love to hang out with you guys there, we have a lot of fun on those two channels as well.
[00:35:19] Scott: All right guys, that’s it, that’s going to wrap it up. Remember 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 loud, say it proud, “Take action!” Have an awesome, amazing day and I’ll see you right back here on the next episode.
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