TAS 352: Ask Scott Session #108 – PPC Budgets – Product Certifications – Variations BSR Confusion

By Scott Voelker •  Updated: 04/28/17 •  31 min read

Are you ready to jump into this week’s “Ask Scott Session?” As usual, Scott is fired up and ready to go with some great insights for TAS followers like you! So grab a pen and paper, this episode is PACKED with great insight that you will need to see exponential growth in your business. On this episode, Scott will go over his weekly advice, budgeting for PPC campaigns, product certification, best seller rankings and much more! If you’ve got a question that you are DYING to ask Scott, make sure you check out the link in the resources section to find out how you can get your question featured on an Ask Scott Session.

3 Ways to Fail at Everything in Life

You may have seen this great piece making the rounds on the internet but Scott wants to share it with TAS followers like you! So here are the “3 Ways to Fail at Everything in Life.”

  1. Complain about EVERYTHING. Have you ever noticed yourself complaining and making excuses? Knock it off!
  2. Blame others for your problems. Don’t play the blame game. Even if it’s someone else’s fault, don’t fall into this pattern.
  3. Never be grateful. Take stock of the great things you have in life. It can make all the difference!

If you’d like to hear Scott’s perspective on these three points, make sure to catch this episode of The Amazing Seller to find out why this has him FIRED UP!

Budgeting for PPC Campaigns

When you are starting a small business, you want to squeeze the value out of every penny. How can you make sure that you aren’t overspending on things like PPC when you are getting your business off of the ground? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Scott breaks down how you can set an overall budget for your PPC spending so you don’t break the bank. This will be helpful for those of you who are just starting out and trying to make sure you can navigate all the in’s and out’s of selling on Amazon. Get more details on this subject from Scott on this episode!

Product Certification

One of the difficult aspects of starting your business selling on Amazon is getting your product certified. Some products will be easier than others and you might even run into products being sold on Amazon that you can’t get certified yourself. Should you proceed with selling that product even if you can’t get it certified? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Scott dives into the reasons why you should approach this area with caution. He also gives helpful resources that you can use to make the most informed decision you can for your business. If you are just starting the process or if you are looking to start selling a new product, this episode will be very helpful for you – don’t miss it!

BSR and Variations

When you set up a product listing on Amazon it’s always a best practice to have an option for variations selected there in the beginning for your listing. Once you have your product up and running and the sales are rolling in, you might find that some variations sell better than the main listing. Don’t worry about that! On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Scott explains why one variation selling better than others shouldn’t concern you even if it is affecting your BSR. To hear Scott go into further detail on this topic, make sure you catch this episode!



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TAS 352: Ask Scott Session #108 – PPC Budgets – Product Certifications – Variations BSR Confusion


[00:00:03] Scott: Well hey, hey what’s up everyone! Welcome back to another episode of The Amazing Seller Podcast. This is episode number 352 and session number 108 of Ask Scott. This is where I answer your questions here on the podcast, I do it every single Friday. Today is one of those days we’re going to…

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…do it again. Super happy to be here and super excited that you’re here with me on this Friday or depending on when you’re listening to this. If you’re listening to this on Monday then happy Monday to you or whatever day it is.

Really, really fired up today. Actually, today that I’m recording this, my father’s on his way from Florida. He’s going to be spending about 12 days with us so I’m pretty excited about that. My son’s birthday is coming up, he’s going to be 19 years old. I cannot believe it. It just seems like yesterday that he was a little baby, a little kid and it’s just crazy how time flies but I’m enjoying every single moment of it.

I think we all should be taking time to enjoy life and not necessarily always focusing on the business aspect. I understand when you’re in the grind you got to stay in the grind sometimes in order to get to where you want to be but you always do need to sit back and look around you and appreciate what you currently have.

I know sometimes it’s really hard to do that but I’m going to be doing that these next 12 days when my father’s here and I’m going to enjoy every day with him and with my kids. My son’s going to be coming back and visiting from college and hanging out with us for about four or five days. It’s going to be a lot of fun, so really excited about that. With that being said, I want to talk about what we’re going to be talking about on today’s episode.

We’re going to be answering a question about pay-per-click budgets, we’re going to be talking about product certifications and we’re also going to be talking about variations and some BSR confusion. That is the main topic that we’re going to be talking about.

[00:02:00] Scott: If you guys want to ask a question here, all you have to do is head over to theamazingseller.com/ask and do that. Just ask a question. Just do me a favor, say your first name, where you’re tuning in from and then just a brief question and I’ll do my best to air it here on an upcoming show.

I did want to remind you, the show notes can be found for this episode at theamazingseller.com/352 and you can get the transcripts, the show notes and all the goodies over there. Now, before we jump in though, you guys always know, I like to give you my thoughts for the week or something that might have either inspired me or made me say, “wow should really think about that.”

Today, it’s actually something that was posted in my newsfeed and I’m not even sure if it was in the TAS group or if it was just in my general newsfeed but I seen it and it really struck accord with me and I’m like, “This is exactly what we should be thinking about.” The little info graph or the little graphic that I’ve seen said, “Three ways to fail at everything in life.”

You may have seen this already and if you did, you should probably print it out because it’s pretty important and I think it makes a lot of sense. Three ways to fail at everything in life. Number one, complain about everything. Have you ever noticed that sometimes you just find yourself complaining? Well, it’s just I can’t do it because I don’t have enough time. I just don’t have enough time. I work too much or I don’t have the advantages like someone else does. They already know how to setup a landing page and start getting email addresses or they already know how to do product research so they’ve got an advantage. So you’re complaining.

Do you ever notice yourself doing that? Don’t be ashamed for doing it, we all do it. It’s a way for us to feel as though the cards are stacked against us and that’s why we’re not successful. Understand that, if you complain about everything it’s going to be a lot harder to succeed at anything in life. Number two, blame. Blame others for your problems. Again, very similar to complaining, you’re now looking for someone else to blame or something else to blame.

[00:04:00] Scott: That could be like, my supplier screwed up and sent me the wrong sample and I didn’t do an inspection. I should have did an inspection but they should have told me I should have gotten an inspection.

Have you had something like that happen? Not necessarily that example but you understand what I’m saying. Finding a place to point the finger. That’s huge. In basketball, in baseball, in sports, football, you always find it where a team say, do not point blame. Do not look at someone and say, you screwed up and that’s why we lost or you screwed up and that’s why we didn’t score.

It’s going to happen but there’s going to come time that you are the one that actually might have made something happen that maybe you didn’t get the results because you screwed up and someone else was depending on you. In any aspect of life, it doesn’t just mean business but we are relating this to business but again, that’s blame.

Three, never be grateful. What we mean by this is like thinking about what you are so grateful for right now. Right now, take a second. There’s gotta be something that pops in your mind and you think to yourself, I am so grateful that I have this. It can be the simplest thing. I’m so grateful that I have a voice that I could actually speak. I’m so grateful that I can hear. There’s people that can’t hear that are deaf and I feel so bad for those people but we don’t think about that as ourselves like how grateful we are to have these things that we take for granted every single day.

I’m so grateful that I have kids. Some people struggle to have kids. I’m so grateful that I’m able to have three kids, healthy kids. There’s things that we can think to ourselves that we’re so grateful for that we don’t even realize that we should be grateful for. The simplest things. Like I said, some of those are big things like having kids but I mean the simplest thing. It could be like I’m so grateful that I have a car even though the car might not be the best car.

[00:06:00] Scott: It still gets me from point A to point B. I’m so grateful that I can have that. There’re some people that don’t have that.

There’s a lot of things that we need to be grateful for and I think if we do that it also reminds us that we don’t have it so bad. We’re just trying to strive for something a little bit better.

Three ways to fail at everything in life is:

  1. Complain about everything.
  2. Blame others for your problems.
  3. Never be grateful.

Think about those things and I’m telling you if you can put that into perspective it will definitely make a difference and it’s simple. Just go out there, create the life that you want. You’re in control. You’re 100% in control. Yes, you’re going to depend on people to help you maybe get things done. If you’re sourcing a product you’re going to be relying on the supplier. You might be then relying on the third party inspection but it’s part of the process. If it doesn’t work then you figure out a way to make it work. You’re still in control.

Just think about that over the weekend or during the week. Whenever you’re listening to this, think about that and you might even want to write that down. Actually, I will post this graphic inside of this blog post. If you want to print it out go for it. Print it out, stick it up on your wall or somewhere near you every day so this way here it reminds you that you’re in control and don’t push blame and don’t complain and be grateful. It’s really simple. Those three things are huge.

[00:08:00] Scott: With all that being said, hopefully you guys are fired up. It’s Friday or it’s Monday or it’s Wednesday, depending on when you’re listening to this, it’s an exciting day because guess what, you got up this morning and you’re able to do whatever you want meaning, you can go out there and build this business. I’m going to get off of this because every day should be a new day and you should be excited to be able to work on whatever you’re working on.

With all that being said, let’s go ahead and answer today’s first question and I’ll give you my answer. Let’s do this. Let’s dig in.


[00:08:09] April: Hi Scott? This is April from Ohio. I have a quick question again for you. My question is about Amazon pay-per-click overall budgets. When I first started and only had one product, my budget was about $15 to $20 a day in Amazon pay-per-click for that one product. Now fast forward 12 months I have four products and I’m just wondering what you would recommend for the overall budget of my pay-per-click campaigns. That’s the one in the advertising settings where you set the overall daily budget.

If one product had $20 on it, should four products have $80? That sounds really, really high to me but I’m just wondering your thoughts. Thanks Scott. Bye, bye.

[00:09:00] Scott: Hey April, thank you so much for the question, a repeat question actually or getting on the show two times, so congratulations for that. It was a good question and I haven’t really answered this directly I guess. Let’s talk about that really quickly. What April is talking about is like setting the main budget for your entire sponsored product ads budget.

You can setup individual campaigns for all of your different products or even if you just wanted to do an automatic campaign and then maybe a manual campaign, you can do all that stuff but you also can set your overall budget. Your overall budget would mean that you’ll never spend over that. You’re saying, Amazon, that’s as much as I want to spend even though I might set up two campaigns for $25 each and my budget’s $50 I’m never going to go over that.

Sometimes even though you set your budget at $25 for the campaign, they’ve been known to go over a little bit but if your main budget is capped they’ll go under. That’s been my experience. Going back to, you’ve got a few products and you’re setting a budget for those individual campaigns for $20 and it’s scary to set your overall budget at $80, here’s the question, is it profitable? Are you generating sales? Are you getting data?

To me, that’s not expensive. I say keep pushing as much as you can using sponsored product ads to collect the data, the search terms and then from there start to refine and trim some of the non-performing keywords and dial that all in. Honestly, $80 a day is not that much for sponsored product ads campaign or the overall budget. I’ve seen people spend $1,000 a day or more.

Me personally I’m around $250, depending. If I’m doing some type of product launch inside of a campaign, I might go up as $500 a day.

[00:11:00] Scott: It doesn’t mean I’m going to spend that, it mean I’m willing to spend up to that. Even though you set that budget, it does not mean that you’ll go there, it just means that that’s what you’re willing and you’re okay with spending but just be careful with that.

I always tell people when you are first starting, if you say, the most I want to spend in a day is 75 bucks then set your overall sponsored product ads budget for that amount and then individually set your other accounts. Now, some people have said, if you have an overall budget of $200 but all of your campaigns added up collectively are over $200 if they were to spend all of that, that could also hinder the amount of reach and stuff that you’re having on those campaigns.

I don’t have proof of that but that’s just what I’ve heard. What I would suggest though is looking at your campaigns and making sure that your ACOS is where you want it or at least it’s… If you’re concerned about money spending there, you want to definitely keep an eye on that stuff. We did an entire free training… I believe it’s like five days-worth of pay-per click-training.

Totally free. You can head over to theamazingseller.com/ppc and you can get all that there. We break down just different strategies for using sponsored product ads and also how to determine when you have a winner, when you have a loser and how to discover the “real” search terms not just your keywords. We talk about broad match, phrase match, exact match and how to create those campaigns and then those ad groups and all of that stuff.

If you are at all interested in that, it’s totally free. Head over there and check that out. We do use a tool that helps us manage that stuff now called Ignite and that also is there if you wanted to check out that there’s a 30-day free trial. You can check that out as well. If you want to go directly to that information like I said, theamazingseller.com/ppc. Again, going back to your question just to wrap this up here for you April, yes.

[00:13:00] Scott: You want to give your overall budget enough so that way your campaigns can spend as much as they can spend. This way here you’re not hindering the amount of impressions that you’re getting and the amount of clicks that you’re getting and all of that stuff. You want to definitely keep an eye on that. I would say, in the beginning guys, when you’re doing a product launch, pay-per-click is going to be one main driver for getting exposure to your products.

In the beginning… I’ve said this, Chris has said this, Chris Shaffer that is, Dom Sugar has said this. We go in the negative a lot of times in the beginning just to get things rolling. Again, if you guys want more information about that we talk all about it in that free training. April, thanks for the question and good luck and keep me posted. Let’s go ahead and listed to the next question and I’ll give you my answer.

[00:13:52] Chris: Hey Scott, how’s it going man? My name is Chris Ekman and I’m a private label seller myself and I’ve been listening to your podcast for months and months now at this point; big fan of all the stuff you’re putting out. You’re a huge inspiration to me. I listen to it just about every day on my way to work, so thanks for being you and all you do. My question for you is, I have a product that I believe that I needed to get certification to sell in the United States. Long story short is that it just came back as it failed the specific certification for being too magnetic or something along those lines.

The weird part is that there are people who are selling the same product or a similar product, not the exact same, on Amazon and it’s pretty much the same thing that I’m selling but I failed the certifications. My question for you is, do I really need to get certified and if so, how do go about finding which certifications and product warning labels do I need on my packaging? If you can help me out with that that’d be awesome. Thanks a lot man.

[00:14:54] Scott: Hey Chris, thank you so much for the question. It’s a good one, by the way, and yes, it’s pretty important that you understand that stuff. I believe what you’re talking about is certification meaning like your product if it’s being sold in the United States or whatever country that you’re in, there’s going to be certain guidelines, FDA approvals, stuff like that. Yes, you can reach out to your manufacturer and ask them for their certifications. If they already have been certified then that will help you.

Let me just say though, this is probably a question for an attorney or someone with liability insurance experience. That will probably be someone that I would reach out to and ask. Now, why are other people selling without…? Saying that they have certification or maybe without certification? That’s just because they’re doing it.

We can all sell and not necessarily have that certification or we can sell a product that’s patented, technically but we’re going to get caught and we’re going to get in trouble. The problem with your product that you’re trying to sell that could be a major problem is, if you have something that could harm someone and then they come back and say, “Well, you weren’t certified so you’re clearly in the wrong.” Well, now you got major problems.

That’s why I say, an attorney or someone that’s dealt with liability insurance or that has that information that can guide you I think that would be a good phone call. The one I’m going to give you is Michelle Love. Actually, I met her at one of our TAS Breakthrough Live Events. She’s actually a student of our PLC but she’s also a liability insurance broker and she’s been running her business for over 20 years; I believe her and her husband. She knows all about this. Liability insurance is something that she also offers which I wasn’t even aware of until after our event.

[00:16:54] Scott: I would listen to episode 293 or just go to 293, episode 293 that is, and reach out to Michele. She’s very willing to help anyone out that has any questions. I would definitely reach out to her because she does know a lot about that.

She can tell you, probably, what you will need or what to be aware of because you’re going to have to get liability insurance at some point too, so that’s going to be a phone call anyway. That’s where I would probably start. Then from there, I would probably reach out to an attorney and see about that and let them guide you. The main thing is understanding what is required, what you need to have and then also what will help you be protected if anything was to happen you’re definitely doing things by the rules.

I would not look at it as far as like, well, on Amazon there’s already people selling in this category and they’re technically… They have all the certification or maybe they don’t have the certification and they’re still selling. Don’t look at that as that’s an approval for you to do the same thing. Like I said, there’s people right now that are selling patented products that haven’t been caught yet and once they do they could have $30,000 of inventory and then they’re going to be sitting there wondering how they’re going to get rid of it and that’s a major issue.

You want to definitely be careful with anything with certifications or patents or any of that stuff. Hopefully, this has been helpful. Thank you again for being a long time listener or a fan of the show. I appreciate it and I want to just hear more from you in the future as far as an update. That would be awesome and I would really appreciate that. Again, thanks for being a listener.

Let’s go ahead and listen to one more quick question. We’ll go ahead and answer it and then we’ll wrap this baby up so you guys get on with your day, with your weekend whatever time of the week it is and enjoy the rest of your day. Let’s go ahead and listen to the next question.

[00:18:46] John: Hey Scott? How are you doing? My name is John from Dallas, Texas. I have a question about variations. I have a listing that I started late last year. It’s in the office products category and there are four different colors, so I have them all listed with a parent/child relationship all in one listing. One thing that I’ve noticed is the BSR for each individual SKU is different. Previous products that I have listed were in the clothing category.

With those, there’s a single BSR that appears to be share throughout the whole listing and every SKU that is a child. Every sale that you get will contribute to that BSR in the clothing category but it seems like in this office products category that they’re each individually looked at and the BSR is associated with each individual SKU. It seems like I’m actually hurting myself by having this listing setup as a variation because the sales are spread out amongst the four different colors. Therefore, I don’t have as good as a BSR as I could.

I’m just wondering if you’ve had any experience with that or have any information about those two different types of variation listings and the way the BSR is treated. Hope you can answer my question, thanks.

[00:20:20] Scott: Hey John, thank you so much for the question and this is a good question. I’ve had people in the past ask me this question as far as like, well, why is the BSR, best seller rank that is… If you guys are brand new listening to the show. Why is the BSR different for the red garlic press versus the blue garlic press? That just means that there’s more sales for the red than there is for the blue.

Now, this can also be an advantage for anyone that’s doing any type of product research because now we can specifically see what product or what variation is selling the best. Another way to see this is if you are searching for a standard garlic press, stainless steel garlic press and the red one appears that’s most likely the one that’s selling the most.

If you are in product research that’s something that you want to pay attention to as well. For you, John, that’s selling these four different variations under this parent listing and you want to know like, well, I got one product that’s got a BSR that’s higher and I got one that’s lower and that’s hurting my other one. It’s not necessarily hurting anything. If anything, all of those are feeding that one listing. Yes, you are going to have one that’s doing better than the other because it’s more popular and that’s fine. That’s still going to take the overall parent and rank it.

The other ones are just other variations that could also rank a little bit further down the list and that’s fine. I don’t look at it like you are hurting yourself. If anything, you are giving people more choices which in some cases is a great thing because now, people that couldn’t have bought because you didn’t have a blue one bought. That helps you and it also will allow you to then feed that listing with reviews because now you have other people buying it that might not have not bought it before because you have another color that wasn’t available.

[00:22:20] Scott: I don’t look at it like you are getting a disadvantage, if anything, you are getting more advantages than disadvantage. I wouldn’t worry about that. If you guys are selling in a category that everything is grouped under one, it’s pretty much just the way that the category has been set up and formatted.

I don’t know why they do this but they do. For example, in home and kitchen, if you are selling your garlic press that’s what it would be. A variation would come basically with different BSRs, best seller ranks. At this point I wouldn’t relay worry about that because, again, like I said, if you are selling a whole bunch of the red and you really doing well with that but you have blue, yellow and green, that’s okay even if those don’t have that great of BSRs because it’s still feeding the main parent listing.

Hopefully, that makes sense. I wouldn’t get too hung up on that. I would just look at your overall sales like how many sales are you getting? It’s like, if you have one that’s getting you ten units a day, you have the blue one that’s getting you five a day and then the yellow one giving you one a day, and then you have a green one that’s getting you one a day, collectively you are selling… I just did all that math, what is it, seventeen? Like ten, five, one and one, is that right? I mean, it’s not a bad thing, it’s just you are widening your net because you are adding more variations under that parent and then that parent will share all the reviews.

It will technically share, in a sense, the BSR or the sales because that’s going to help you rank but the one that’s getting the most sales would be the one that will be more or less on the cover. It’ll be the one that people see when they are searching for that but now if someone searches for blue, stainless steel garlic press, your blue one will most likely come up because it’s got the keywords right in it and it’s optimized for the blue version, versus the red.

If someone comes in and looks for a stainless steel garlic press and they happen to see that there’s a red one that’s listed and then they go into the listing and they happen to buy the blue one, well, that’s fine you are still going to get credit for the blue one.

[00:24:20] Scott: Don’t look at it individually you’re competing against each other, if anything, you are just more to the parent.

I wouldn’t worry about it. I think it’s awesome that you have four SKUs under one parent. I think that’s a great advantage for you and I think you’ll pick up additional sales because you gave those extra features because not everyone likes red, not everyone likes blue and not everyone likes yellow and not everyone likes green.

You’re going to be able to fit a wider audience but with that same specific thing. Hopefully, that makes sense. Hopefully, that helps. Anyone else that’s looking a product research, definitely pay attention to the one that showing up. If you’re doing a search for that stainless steel garlic press and the red one happens to come up every time you search for it, that’s most likely the one that’s selling the most then you can count on the side which one you want to sell starting.

A lot of people say, “Scott there’s four of them I can sell, which one do I want to start with? Do I want to do them all but if I do them all that’s a lot of SKUs to start with? I don’t even want to start with one.” I’d start with the main one that you think is going to have the most searches for and the most purchases for. I’m actually doing something very similar to this in a brand that we’re just starting right now and there’s one parent that we have two different colors.

We basically did this exactly this, we found the ones that were selling the most in that certain color and then we added a second color. We’re only starting with two colors even though we know there’s two other colors. There’re probably four colors total that we could launch but we’re starting with the top two and then we’ll add variations to that as we move forward and get a little more of intelligence.

That is pretty much going to wrap up that question and this Ask Scott session. This is pretty much going to wrap everything up. I want to remind you guys about the three ways to fail at everything in life. If you guys didn’t listen to the beginning of this and you just fast forwarded, shame on you. You should have listened to the whole thing. There’s a good lesson in the beginning of this episode. Definitely check that out.

[00:26:20] Scott: Head over to the show notes page as well and I’ll have that graphic there for you. You can print it out. I think you should. I think you should look at that and really think about that. All the show notes, the transcripts can be found on the show notes page as well at theamazingseller.com/352. The other thing is, I would love for you to ask your own question. Head over to theamazingseller.com/ask. You can do that. Leave your first name, a brief question and I’ll do my best to air it here on the upcoming show.

All right guys, that’s it. Officially, we are wrapped up. Go out there and enjoy the day. 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 loud, say it proud, say it with some energy, “Take action.” Have an awesome, amazing day and I’ll see you right back here on the next episode.


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Scott Voelker

Over the years I’ve helped thousands of people TAKE ACTION to UNLOCK their true potential on building their ultimate freedom business, by developing the skills to make them resilient, confident and FUTURE PROOF. I’ve clocked my 10,000 hours over the years working in the trenches myself and helping others build and grow their brands. I know the power in TAKING ACTION better than anyone and I’ve seen people lives changed as a result of it...including my OWN!

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