Welcome to part two of this episode of The Amazing Seller podcast featuring Scott’s conversation with ecommerce seller Mike Jackness! On this episode, you’ll hear Scott and Mike talk about setting the right price point, how to sell a product you’ve already given away, why there is still room for sellers like you on Amazon, product research tips, and much more! If you are looking for expert advice from ecommerce sellers who have built the type of brand you are hoping to create, you’ve come to the right place. Don’t miss a minute of this fascinating episode featuring Mike!
How do you find the right price point for your products?
As you build up your ecommerce business, you might be wondering how to find the right price point that will give you the profit margin you need and entice buyers at the same time. On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Scott sits down with ecommerce business owner Mike Jackness. Mike opens up about his process and how different tiers of price points appeal to buyers in various ways. Don’t get stuck underselling or overselling your product! Do the hard work and find out how to price your product correctly. Learn more about setting the right price point for your products on this informative episode with Mike, you don’t want to miss it!
Is there still room to start a business selling on Amazon?
Time and time again, Scott get this question, “Is it too late to start an ecommerce business and sell on Amazon?” So on this episode of The Amazing Seller, Scott turned that question to his guest, Mike Jackness. Mike shares his perspective and why he thinks there is still plenty of opportunity for sellers like you to jump in and grab your piece of the Amazon pie. While he acknowledges that the days of seeing instant or overnight success selling on Amazon have gone, Mike stresses the fact that if you are willing to put in the time and energy, there is still potential to grow a thriving business selling on Amazon. Hear more from Mike on this episode!
Setting ambitious goals can lead to increased profit!
What is your goal with getting your business off the ground and running? Do you have a short term and long term plan in place? How will you stretch yourself to reach ambitious goals? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Mike Jackness joins Scott and describes how he got his start in business and why his unquenchable ambition has led him to the level of success he currently enjoys. Mike is convinced that the ecommerce sector is the perfect space to invest in and build a brand. Find out what lessons and insights you can learn from Mike’s story of success on this engaging episode!
Brand building sets you up for long-term success!
If you’d like to find short-term success, you can make a good amount of profit selling the odd product here or there and even using retail arbitrage. But what does it take to find long-term and sustainable success as an ecommerce business owner? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, you’ll hear from Mike Jackness as he describes how he’s built his ecommerce brand and how sellers like you can do the same. Find out how he and his team keep pushing out products to more and more customers who are ready and willing to follow their brand. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from Mike’s unique perspective, listen to this episode to hear more!
Here's the Uber ride Scot talked about. Warning: It's a Crazy RIDE!
TAS WILD Uber Ride Experience – This is how you stand out from all the other UBER drivers. This was right after our TAS Un-Official Meetup in NC and we never expected this. But, it was a BLAST!
Posted by Scott Voelker on Wednesday, June 28, 2017
OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER
- [0:03] Scott’s introduction to this episode of the podcast!
- [2:30] Mike talks about “Dripping out sales.”
- [10:00] Finding the right price point.
- [14:00] How to sell a product that you’ve already given away.
- [20:30] Is there still room for new sellers to get started on Amazon?
- [27:00] Why it’s important to look for depth when researching products.
- [31:00] Mike talks about setting ambitious goals.
- [38:30] Closing thoughts from Mike.
TRANSCRIPT TAS 465
TAS 465: (Part 2) 7 Figure Seller Reveals How to Launch Products and Build Brands in 2018
[00:00:02] Scott: Well, hey, hey, what’s up everyone? Welcome back to another episode of The Amazing Seller Podcast. This is episode number 465 and this is part 2 of The Seven-Figure Seller Reveals How to Launch Products and Build Brands in 2018 with Mike Jackness. And if…
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…you, guys, missed part 1, you’re probably going to want to go back and listen to that because it will make a lot more sense, and I broke this up into two parts because it was so darn long. Mike and I, we just got on a call and just started talking and getting caught up as far as what he’s been doing, what I’ve been doing about building a six-figure and a seven-figure brand, multiple brands. We talked about launching. We talk about product selection. We talk about funnels. We talk about advertising, the future of Amazon. All of that stuff is really in these two episodes. So, that’s part 1 which is episode 464 and then part 2 which is today’s episode in 465.
So, head over to TheAmazingSeller.com/465. You’ll also get a link there to part 1 or you can just go directly there on iTunes or Stitcher, wherever you are, and you can listen to that. I would definitely advise you do that and really just kind of listen in and pull the things out of there that you can use right now or even in the planning stages of you launching right now. Because Mike and I agree on a lot of things as far as moving forward and the launch process and we’re going to actually pick up in this conversation where we talk about dripping out product so this way here, we can start to get sales right out of the gate and then we can start to get in Amazon’s algorithm and then start getting some of those organic sales and you’re going to hear all about that here from today’s part 2 episode. All right. So, I’m going to stop talking so you can enjoy that.
[00:01:54] Scott: I will remind you though if you did miss the last episode, I did mention that we do have a brand-new workshop that I take you through the five-step roadmap for building a six-figure brand in 12 months or less. And I basically created kind of like a case study where I walk you through what we’ve done here in the past 12 months and how we are at a six-figure brand, now multiple six-figure brands, and how we plan to build that into a seven-figure brand over the next 18 months. So, definitely go check that out, TheAmazingSeller.com/workshop. That'll give you a good roadmap to follow and it will walk you through all of the different steps. All right. So, guys, enjoy part 2 of this interview, over this conversation really that I did with my good friend, Mike Jackness.
[00:02:40] Mike: Once a product launches drip out over a period of time because again once a product in Amazon, let’s just say you have 100 potential sales to get from your list. You don’t want to get 100 in one day. That does nothing for you. That just looks neat for one day. It’s better to get three or four per day over 21 days and sustain that but you’ll get the new bestseller tag. You’ll start to really build some traction with an Amazon, get ranking organically, and we find that that formula works so darn well that it’s almost scary and again, it’s completely white hat. It’s just a ton of upfront work and investment that a lot of people are just like, “That’s too much,” and then they just give up on it which I think is a mistake. Because I think as I was saying at the top, the gimmicks of today only are the gimmicks of today and I promise you that that’s going to change, and this is a much longer approach and going to have more value eventually when you go to resell your business anyway.
[00:03:39] Scott: Yeah. And I think that’s very smart to drip and also kind of like understand that there’s a window in the beginning when you launch a product and that you want to continually get consistent sales. And like you were saying, like even three or four a day versus some people saying I want to get 50 a day but if you’re going to do that, you might only get 50 for two days in a row and then you’re gone again so then your rank starts to drop.
[00:04:06] Mike: Yeah. What do you do at that point? Like you’re out of emails. You’ve emptied your arsenal and if you need it legitimately be at 50 per day then you just need to get more email addresses or whatever or find less competitive products to do the strategy to start with. Yeah, I mean, getting 50 per day for two days then you’re just done like your products going to eventually tail off and just become nothing. It’ll be a nonstarter because Amazon doesn’t do crap for you after two days like you’re not going to see yourself ranking organically or sustaining. And that’s the whole point. It’s like you want to be able to sustain organic sales and not have to continue these gimmicks long-term just like you’re going to run out the tools in your shed. So, you have to eventually let Amazon do the work for you, but this is just a way to get the thing up the ramp.
And if you have a product that isn’t getting returned a lot because that’s one of the things I look at and is consistently getting five-star reviews and people are asking questions and leaving the comments or whatever about all these other factors. Amazon will continue to let it to do well. I mean, we’ve had brand-new products just like that. We do no other work on anymore that are number one bestsellers. It just does well. I mean, but you have some sustainability in the beginning. That’s really important.
[00:05:29] Scott: Yeah. And, okay, so let’s talk about that really quickly. So, dripping out, and what we’re talking about basically is just like slowly getting those sales so slowly maybe messaging your list. So, what you’re talking about I’m pretty sure is you’re segmenting your list or you’re taking your list and you’re dividing it into chunks. So, you if you have 50,000, you may do like maybe 5,000 emails per day or whatever the math is so this way here you can get that steady group of sales. Is that correct?
[00:05:58] Mike: Exactly right. Yeah.
[00:06:00] Scott: Okay. So, and again, the stuff that we’re talking about it might seem to some like it’s a ton like, “Oh my gosh, what am I going to do?” but really, I mean, it’s pretty simple if you really think about it and actually your approach, Mike, is even simpler than most because you’re not even getting a sample of your product yet until you actually test something that will sell through AliExpress, and a lot of people say, “You can’t do it on AliExpress.” Well, this is a way that you can do it on AliExpress because you’re just taking something that’s close. Now, I know some people are going to be like, “Well, what if it’s not branded with your brand name? What do you do there?”
[00:06:36] Mike: It doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter like it’s coming in with some other brand on it. It comes in sometimes in a Chinese box. I can shift 50 of them and there could be three different styles that come from AliExpress from the same person. It doesn't matter like you just had to let that go, like what's more important to you? I look to the long-term. To me, like the long-term things are the most important and if I have to sacrifice some short-term stuff at that point, it doesn’t really matter. I’m not positioning it as a brand at all in the beginning. I’m just a kind of a content provider so like I’m offering. I’m doing a giveaway of something to get their email or I have a really good piece of content that’s interesting to them or a lead magnet. I don’t position myself as a brand at that point, so I don’t really care, and I don’t think that the customer cares. The average person doesn’t even understand the difference anyway as long as they’re getting the product in their hands and they like it, and they’re not complaining about it.
And if they do complain about it, I would just give them their money back. I don’t really care about any of that. I just want to know that like I’m looking at my desk, I’m looking at a mouse like if I’m going after a bunch of techies and I’m giving away a gaming mouse out of AliExpress, does it really have to be branded at that point? No, it doesn’t. I just want to know that I can convert my traffic to buy a mouse. Now, like when I go to develop my mouse, you can darn well better bet that it’s going to be the best one in the market, the best thing I can possibly develop. It’s going to be a kickass product, that’s going to have amazing packaging, that’s going to have great design. Everything that we kind of specialize in we’re going to apply all those tactics to it when we actually go to sell our product. But I just want to know in the early going, can I even sell a mouse? Can I do that? Is it even possible? Like with this audience that I’m building up to that point, can I just sell them a mouse?
[00:08:30] Mike: I’m going after at this point let’s say a gaming market like online gaming market and I’ve given away some other mice in contest and I’ve done like a review, a PDF download of the 10 best gaming mice and all these different things to get people on my list and now I just wanted to see if I can even sell them this widget and see if it’s viable. And once I get that affirmation then I’m going to go develop my own mouse. If they don’t buy them, I’m probably going down the wrong path. I probably should be developing a keyboard instead. If you try that, and if it doesn't work then you try the mousepad but eventually, you'll find the product that does respond to that list or you realize that you're completely in the wrong segment. Luckily, we haven’t had that problem but you’re finding things out cheaper than if you like dove all in and you’re finding the answer out much quicker and cheaper than you would otherwise is what it comes down to.
[00:09:28] Scott: Yeah. I agree. Let me ask you this. So, is there a certain price point that you’re looking at to retail for in like the perfect world like when you get it to where you want it? Forgetting about like, yes, you’re going to spend more now because you’re doing AliExpress and even maybe in your first run, it might be a lower batch because you’re still testing in a sense and your cost can be higher, and all that stuff. Is there something that you shoot for in your products even just maybe the first two or three products and then maybe you go with a different price point like is there any strategy in that?
[00:10:01] Mike: Yeah. So, this is an overall part of our strategy. Let me just start with one part of this. Part one is that I like the $25 to $50 range. Just in general, there’s good margin in that range overall. The volume typically will be higher. It’s like an above $100 price point and this is just speaking in generalities but in generalities, as you get over that higher price point, a lot of times you end up with an item that’s oversized. That’s usually the more cost, the bigger it is unless it’s an iPhone. Those are ridiculous. But so, in generalities that. Also, it overcomes like that whole spontaneous price point. People will spend $25 to $50 without putting much thought into it but if it’s over 100, you start to hit some resistance. Things like that. So, that’s typically where we’re at. But the only thing that we haven’t talked about yet is every brand that we develop, we also have a product that we specifically go after.
That’s our free plus shipping offer product. Because that is another way to get people on your list and it works so incredibly and effectively and I don’t see that going away because I think that that model’s been around since like Columbia House for anybody that’s old enough in this podcast. Do you even remember them anymore? But it works so well. For ColorIt, we talk about this all the time. It’s our drawings, our pre-drawings. I don’t really want to talk about what we’re doing yet for Tactical or Wild Baby because it’s newer and people tend to copy what I talk about but if you can think about something that cost you $1, $2 or $3, that’s really like to ship like your all-in price that’s going to cost you for the product, plus what it cost you to ship the customer can be covered by what you charge the customer and you still make some profit. That is like a necessity for us for building a list.
[00:12:00] Mike: We build our list bigger and better that way than anything else. And as soon as we sell them, the people are shipping off where they’re immediately hit with an upsell offer. You don’t need a lot of people to convert in the upsell offer funnel, part of the funnel, to make a profitable advertising campaign right off the bat. And again, the whole objective here is to collect email addresses from people that are more likely to buy. So, I mean, if you’re selling them a free plus shipping offer, those emails are going to be worth a lot more to you than someone that’s signing up for a contest. Even though those contest emails restore something, we definitely convert them but nowhere near the same rate than someone I can get to convert to a free plus shipping offer. So, the other big part of this component is yes, that’s $25 to $50 products but you also want that $7, $8, $9 kind of product at retail that you can buy for $1, $2 or $3 and also that’s really like that you can ship easily that you can use to convert people as a free plus shipping offer customer. Hopefully, it all kind of make some sense there.
[00:13:01] Scott: That makes sense. It makes perfect sense. Here's the deal though, let me ask you this, because I know a lot of people are like, “Okay, well now I got to think of this lead-in offer kind of like a self-liquidating offer in a sense and then from there, I got to think about what’s my next product going to be.” Do you look at it as in the beginning even just to see about the upsell, do you just try to offer more of what they just got for free?
[00:13:23] Mike: Yes, absolutely. That’s a big key. That’s something that we’re kind of missing with ColorIt and something that we thought a lot about as we were developing these other brands. I mean, this is kind of improving. There’s no better thing to sell somebody more than what they just bought. So, this is why this works so well in like cosmetics or shampoo or shaving cream or just any type of consumable, personal consumable product, light bulbs maybe or I’m trying to think of something that’s more in a physical space, something that you can always use more of, any type of food product or things like this. You sell somebody a particular coloring book like why the hell do they need another one of those same inspirational words or whatever, coloring book? That doesn’t make a lot of sense. Or even a set of pencils, why do I need another 48 more of the same exact pencils? So, this is something that we think a lot of about as we’re developing these free plus shipping offers, things that you can use more than one of yourself or that make amazing gifts.
They’re just like give to somebody else. It’s such a good offer. It’s like, “Okay, I’ll take another one of those.” I mean, a pocket knife or something would be a good example or a lighter that would like work underwater or something or things like this that you can just take another one of those and keep it in another drawer in your house or in your pickup truck or whatever. It works really well. Maybe like a bib for a baby or a pacifier like you need one of those because the baby spits it out, throws on the floor, and now you got a backup one. Whatever it might be, having things that you can sell more than one of is like really important component for us moving forward.
[00:14:59] Scott: Yeah. And so, again, on that, I would be thinking too as far as like, okay, now if I do that, I got to make it a good offer, so I got to be able to think now. Normally, it’s going to sell for $19.95 but now because we’ve got them, the free plus shipping, and now are going to offer them normally it would be $19.95 or $25 or whatever it is. What kind of discount do you usually do there to get them to take that next offer?
[00:15:28] Mike: Yeah. So, again, the primary first objective is just to get the money in your list. So, it’s like you offered them, so let’s just say it’s a $19.95. Let’s say it’s a $14.95 product. It’s hard to do for a $20 product. At least it has been for us. But like something for like $15, let’s just say it’s a baby bib. You can sell those for $15. I can buy them for a $1.50 like all day long so the margin’s amazing. Free plus shipping, just get this bib today for $4.95. Just pay shipping and handling for $4.95 or whatever. I still make money. They get the bib. Then they get an upsell offer of a pacifier or like you just take these products and move them from one part of the funnel to the other. So, like the bib is a top of funnel. The next one’s got the pacifier’s top of funnel, whatever it might be. Then you upsell them the other item and then another item and another item. Usually like three upsell offers we’ll hit them with, but the first upsell is more the same. The second upsell is something that’s a similar price point but that would definitely be something that somebody like that would use. And then the next one is like the last one is a higher value thing. Maybe it’s a stroller or something like that offer you. You don’t go quite that high but that’s the first thing came up top of my head.
So, now at this point, again the important thing is you’re getting email addresses and turning a profit and then the next part of that would be now you’re six months down the line, three months down the line, whatever it might be. Now you have another product that is coming in from China or wherever that you’re ready to launch on Amazon. You have this list of people that you can then send it over to the other thing like in the meanwhile you’re continually promoting this other funnel that’s producing revenue for you and getting you addresses and getting you people that are Pixeled and getting you people in your ManyChat because in that case, we’ll get them in all three. And yeah, and then it’s just the flow into the next product that you launch and the next product that you’re launch and the next product that you launch.
[00:17:21] Scott: So, okay, but going back to and I get it when you have like two or three products then you can kind of start to put them into place but let’s just say, for example, it is the bib. Now if I was a parent which I am but I don’t have babies anymore but if I had a baby, I could probably use more than one bib. So, maybe I got the ivory color one or the yellow one for the free plus shipping offer but then on the back and I get some multipack of three that you normally sell for $29.95 and you made a knockoff $10 or something to get it for $19.95. Is that something that you would do? Because you have to make it a deal? You’re not just going to go, “Here, now get ours for a regular price at this.” You’re going to be like, “Here’s a special offer because you just got our free plus shipping,” whatever, however you want to phrase it, and then here’s maybe just a one-time offer for you because we want to make sure that you get all three colors because we know people like variety or whatever. And then from there, you would make them a $19.95 offer and then you’re still going to make some money and now we know that you converted something on the back end of that.
[00:18:22] Mike: Yeah. I mean, that is exactly what we do. Obviously, if we placed a product with something different but, I mean, that is exactly it because if you only get 15% of people which is about what we’ll get on the upsell offer take is about 15%. If I only get 15% of people to do that, the margin changes so dramatically in this whole game of getting people to convert. So, I mean, let’s just use that same thing. Let’s say we’re selling it for $20. Let’s just say, again, we’re buying that bib for $1.50 so our cost is $4.50. There’s $15.50 profit in that upsell offer and again if only 15% of people take it, that changes the map on this so dramatically that, again, it becomes profitable to do this. You’re collecting all these email addresses and setting yourself up in a very white hat way that’s starting to build your brand. You’re getting your products in people’s hands, etcetera, etcetera, that when you have the next product to launch on Amazon, you have all these assets. That’s kind of like the key.
[00:19:24] Scott: Yeah. And I think to really kind of highlight here is now you’re able to also start playing with money that you just earn from that but then you can fuel into more ad spend and then the more ad spend, you can start refining and kind of really targeting in and dialing in your audience and all that stuff. So again, that kind of fuels the ads and then you can start to increase that stuff. So, I just think that the initial part of getting that offer to convert, number one, even on the front-end and then on the backend to get that to cover then it really starts to get exciting because now like you said, now you’re building a list profitably and making money. And now when you do launch that product on Amazon, you’re going to be able to launch that thing with a bang and then start to get their traffic because you’ve given Amazon what they want which is sales and an optimized listing and all that fun stuff. Yeah. So, I mean, it makes sense. Now I was going to ask you as before we wrap up, I was going to ask you this. So, for people getting started on Amazon, is there still room for us to get started on Amazon, Mike?
[00:20:27] Mike: Yes. I just think that the easy like make a million-dollar overnight type of thing that people used to talk about a couple of years ago is pretty much gone. I think that you need to have a more strategic approach to it, be more patient, follow so much that I been kind of talking about here. I know that you talk about this stuff as well and treated more like a long-term business than just like I’m going to go get rich overnight kind of thing, but the opportunity is incredible like, I mean, we continue to launch new products over and over again with pretty high success rate as I mentioned. And I look at what’s going on in the Amazon marketplace every day and as of right now at the end of 2017 immediately like the opportunity is literally unlimited because the opportunity is way bigger than any amount of cash that I can ever get my hands on to develop products. So, it’s just a matter of, for us, it’s not running on the cash. They continue to grow it 200%, 300% per year.
I mean, so I see a huge runway to continue to do this but again it’s doing it the right way. It’s building brands. I think that’s incredibly important. You’re building something that you want to be able to eventually treat Amazon as just a channel. It’s just a sales channel like any other although it’s probably going to continue to be your most important channel as long as you’re thinking about Amazon long-term is just a channel and, yeah, of course, if you’re just getting started, it might be your only channel and that’s fine. You got to start somewhere. I get it. I know that a lot of your listeners on your podcast are kind of just getting started and might be like really intimidated by like this conversation. I would encourage you not to be. But you want to take an extra day or two and like write all this stuff down like I said, map out like the end in mind. Start with the end in mind like what I want to be like when I grow up kind of thing. It’s like I want to be a brand. I want to have products that people love. I want to have an audience that people are passionate for my products.
[00:22:27] Mike: I want Amazon to just be one of my channels. This is where I want to get to long-term. Okay. Like where do I start with to make sure that everything I’m doing from day one like fits into that puzzle and not just kind of doing things willy-nilly because like the one thing that you can’t get back is time and I think that this is still even though it’s still a long way to go and it’s eventually time is going to run out on this opportunity whether it’s three, four, five, ten years from now, whatever it is. No one has a crystal ball. And also like what can I be doing to differentiate from everybody else that’s following this like get rich quick business which is to just grab something off the Alibaba and make no changes to it, ship it in a polybag and next thing you know like you have the same garlic press that everybody else does in a crowded market. That isn’t going to work anymore.
So, like again, think long-term. Think about a couple of steps ahead, play chess when everybody else is playing checkers kind of thing. And while it again it is a little bit more difficult, it’s incredibly achievable and you can still do it with a small budget. That’s the thing I think that’s also cool and important here is that you don’t have to, you don’t need 100K now to get started. You can still do it with a relatively small budget and be doing all the right things.
[00:23:43] Scott: Yeah. And I think, I mean, depending on your budget, I mean, just start a little bit smaller but, I mean, you’ve kind of illustrated here today, I mean, really you can get started very, very affordable. And like I mean, you can test before you even really source a product like you just finding it where you’re going to deliver it from and then from there you’re just making the transaction happen. It’s kind of like wholesaling in a sense but you’re not even buying the product. It’s almost like drop shipping in a sense.
[00:24:10] Mike: It is. It is. It’s like turning a drop shipping business into a private-label business when you’re ready to do it like overnight.
[00:24:16] Scott: Yeah. So, I mean, you can literally have 10 products that you could test doing this exact same thing by just going and following what we just talked about here today. And if you were to test 10 products across the board in a brand, if you’re going to source 300 units a piece that’d be a more expensive. This way here you’re doing it, you’re not even making a purchase until someone else purchases. So, I think that it’s smart. I think it’s clever. I think that just for anyone, even that’s just struggling to get started like understand like it is a process and I’ve never said here once that it’s like you put something up today and tomorrow there’s money flooding into your bank account. I think we’re all smarter than that I think. I think we would love that to happen for the most part, but we know that that’s probably not the case and if that is the case, it’s something that someone is telling you because they’re looking at either a shortcut and if there is a shortcut, it might work today but it’s probably definitely not going to work tomorrow. And I think you’ve illustrated that even just with your Google story where they deindexed you and all of a sudden, your business is wiped out overnight.
And the same thing can happen with Amazon. Let’s face it. I mean, if you don’t play by the rules, they could totally do that. But I think you being able to go out there, create your own traffic source in a sense and get your intelligence, I think that’s the smarter way of doing it. I think it’s the long but kind of like the longer road as far as like it’s just you’re in the game now for the long-term. You’re not just seeing if you can go out there and make a few $100. If that’s the case, just go do retail arbitrage or go thrifting, do that whole thing like that’s what I would say. But if you want to do this and you said building a business and impossibly doing and exit later, that’s a whole another conversation and this business would be so much more valuable being able to do that. One thing I want to say too, Mike, is that a lot of people are only banking on the numbers that they see in Jungle Scout and I love Jungle Scout. I love Greg. I love the tool that he created but to me, it's a tool and it shows me the surface level. It doesn't ever tell me the history necessarily.
[00:26:15] Scott: It does but it doesn’t tell me my history that I want to know. Because, there could be people like you that are spiking the algorithm because you have a big list and all of a sudden, I look at the numbers and I go, “Oh wow. Look at this, it’s selling $800 a month. Cool. I want to go ahead and sell that.” But I didn’t know that you had a list and then you just launched three months ago and the reason why you ranked so well is because you have a list and I’m going to have to compete with that list.
[00:26:36] Mike: Yeah. Let me throw one more thing out there that’s even more dangerous than that is that what if someone just ran a lightning deal? What if somebody is giving away those products at 99% off and is losing their ass. It doesn’t show you that in Jungle Scout. So, yes, I mean, you’re right. It’s absolutely just a tool. And so, one of the things that we do look for and I’m sure you’ve talked about this before and I certainly know that Greg does but like look for depth in the space. So, if you see one product selling 1,000 units a month and everything else in that same keyword search or niche is selling 50 a month like be alarmed. There’s probably something going on there. Yeah. So, but you’re absolutely right. I mean, there’s like a big danger on just taking that Jungle Scout data as carte blanche and just like going out and betting your life on that data. I would be a little bit worried at that. It’s a great tool. It’s a great starting point but use your brain.
[00:27:30] Scott: Yeah. I mean, one easy thing, I talk about this quite a bit and whenever I do a workshop I’ll talk about this, it’s like I always go and look at something like CamelCamelCamel or Keepa and I look at the history of that product or that brand and I’ll look at their BSR, I look at their pricing and that just gives me some Intel and it also tells me, did they just launch like three months ago? And I think another thing that would be alarming for me is that if I’ve seen like there are 10 sellers and some have 600 reviews, some have 300 reviews and then there's someone that has two reviews and they’re selling more than everyone else. I got to wonder now like wait a minute here. Like something’s not adding up.
So, then that’s where I go, and I would look at the history and I would look at trends. I would look at all that stuff. So, it’s kind of like you’re trying to look at a history on that product or on that seller to see what’s going on there. And again, I think people they just want to look at the top of the product or as far as like the data and they don’t want to dig down deeper. So, that’s what I always tell people. You got to dig deeper and you got to do your own research and not just with one tool.
[00:28:37] Mike: Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. I think that’s incredibly important. I was going to say especially if you’re just getting started, I think that no matter what like you’re going to have yeah, so, I mean, I would just say, yes, period, and be the end of story.
[00:28:50] Scott: Yeah. End of story. All right, man. Well, hey, this has been awesome. I didn’t know how long we’re going to go. I know we could go about another hour or two, but we’ll probably have to have you back on just to get another update and maybe even dig into a little bit more even on just like your process for sourcing and all of that stuff. I know you just got back from China. You got back from another trip over there.
[00:29:10] Mike: Yeah. I was over there almost a full month. I spoke at the Global Sources Summit and then I went to phase 2 of the Canton Fair. I went over to the Philippines for a few days to our office over there and then came back into phase 3 of the Canton Fair. It was a pretty awesome trip as far as productivity goes.
[00:29:26] Scott: Yeah. To wrap up though, and I think another little nugget here for people. I actually just brought this up to my team who were in the process of building a new brand ourselves and we have been out for like seven months. And after, you and I have a conversation the other day and we were talking a little bit off there on very similar but we just didn’t go in as deep as this, but you were saying like really moving forward like you’re looking at just launching a ton of products and you want to launch like product after product after product and you said, “That’s really to me the name of the game is really like, ‘How can I go ahead and just really cover the entire market but then also spread it out so you’re not dependent on just one SKU for five SKUs?’”
And I think that’s important because I mean even with just a handful of SKUs. If you have 10 SKUs, you’re going to find out that one day you get maybe 8 on one and 10 on another and 20 on another and then the next day it might be the opposite. And so, now you’re starting to see that you’re getting steady sales but they’re kind of like a little bit here, a little bit there and then the next day it’s a little bit different. You’re not depending on just that one and if you run out of inventory, it’s not that big of a deal. It is but it’s not as big of a deal as if it was just one SKU that you’re banking on.
So, I took that away the other day. I brought it back to my team like a reminder. We need to look into doing this. Now I’m not going to get as aggressive as you because I think you said something to me like one a week like it’s insane. But you have a team also in place, a bigger team than I do that’s dedicated to just that. So, it makes it easier but even for us I’m like one product a month should be minimum like we should be able to handle that. And I think that that’s doable. But just talk about that really quickly, then I want to wrap up, but like why do you think that’s so important to be able to do that in a brand as far as like multiple products?
[00:31:09] Mike: I think it depends on your goals. I mean, for us, I’ve set a goal of we want to grow as quickly as we can. The reason being is that I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life. I started my first business right out of high school and I see entrepreneurship as a journey. It’s never just straight up a mountain. There’s a lot of valleys and peaks, and I feel like what we’re doing in e-commerce is one of those once a decade type of opportunities so I’m just starting from there.
With that said, like to me like taking advantage of it the best I can while the opportunity is still here is important to me. So, like that again, just the approach I’m taking from it. So, I think you have to start there to understand where I’m coming from to start with. So, and then it’s just like what’s my long-term goal? Well, my long-term goal is to become like a mid-eight-figure company and then eventually, obviously, sell. And if we’re going to be on this 200% to 300% growth per year even just looking at a couple of years out, we’re going to be 25 million, 30 million. Okay, well then what do I need to go to do to be able to get to that number? Like, I mean, you have to actually start thinking in terms of how does that actually happen? That’s a big number.
[00:32:16] Scott: That’s a huge number. Yeah.
[00:32:17] Mike: Yeah. And we’re at 5 million, 6 million, 7 million right now. So, how do we get from there to there? Now you can only grow so much with marketing like all the stuff I talk about with Facebook and kind of growing your brand and etcetera. There’s only so much growth that we’ve been able to achieve over the last like three to four years doing this with the marketing component and that’s usually about 25% per year and in talking to other people and looking at the other established brands out there that are happy to grow a 10% per year. If you think about like big large publicly traded companies that are growing at that rate, they’re doing really well by just doing marketing alone. So, I know we can’t get there just doing marketing, but I know that I can get there by spreading a wider net by having more products because Amazon is an intent-based search platform. So, if I’m not covering gaming mouse and gaming keyboard and gaming mousepad, all these different just using random things then I’m missing out on those sales. And if I can start to rank for something like gaming mouse as is, for instance, I’m now able to capture all that traffic, all those keyword searches.
So, I’m just trying to eventually cover more and more keyword opportunities and not necessarily multiple products in the same exact keyword space which we’ve done a little bit and had some success there but the way that took to this hypergrowth is in this business in my view is just launching more and more products and we’re at the point where, yeah, I mean, it’s nuts. We have to be basically next year, by the middle of the year we have to be at a point where we’re launching a product a week and that is no easy task. I mean, it’s not just no easy task from just finding the products but making sure that we don’t sacrifice on quality or cut corners on packaging or some of the things that made us really successful. It means having really well-researched listings that go up and we’re hitting that boom out of the gates that I was talking about earlier because that’s a part of our success and making sure that we’re staying on top of PPC.
[00:34:18] Mike: And like all the customer support that comes out of it, and as we’re growing, I mean, we’re at a total of 14 people on our team now. That’s going to continue to grow and making sure that – it’s tough. I mean I’m not saying that’s going to be easy. I have made a big high-level higher to help with this because I know, again, kind of just looking at where the end of mind is, we’re going to need a C-level person to help out with this and we’ve brought that person on to help with all this. And I also encourage everybody out there, I talk about this every time I go speak, live comfortably within your own skin, realize that it’s taken me four years to get here. I started with hundreds of thousands of dollars of my own money because I ran another business before this that was really successful, and I was able to do what I’m doing, and I don’t necessarily look at the other people that are doing more than I do and go, “Man, I wish I could be doing that because that’s a very dangerous game to play in business and in personal.”
Like you can be like, “I need to have this car, this house, or this watch because everybody around me has these things.” It’s dangerous. So, I mean, I enjoy talking about this stuff and I want to help people get to where I’m at and continue to grow but be realistic in the fact that this stuff takes time. This is a capital-intensive business. This is a longer road type thing and just be comfortable with where you’re at and as long as you’re improving from where you’re at year-over-year then you’re doing good for yourself and that’s what I look at. I mean, we continue to grow. Even I look at this last year and we’re kind of end-of-the-year, I’m like, “Man, we could’ve done this or that or the other,” and it’s frustrating because every one of us wants to be an overachiever but at the end of the day when I look at last year’s sales total to this year’s sales total, we doubled. Through all the chaos and everything else that you want to talk about, we still doubled from last year and that’s probably the best you can hope to do as a business. That’s a pretty good spot to be in. So, again just trying to put things in perspective and be realistic I think is kind of the bottom line point I’m trying to make.
[00:36:18] Scott: Yeah. I think that I’m glad that you said that, number one, because I know some people would be listening and go like, “Mike, is just way far down the track.” But I mean the big thing here is that like you said like you came out of another business and you kind of had your feet to the fire so to speak where you had to do something because that model wasn’t going to work for you anymore and you didn’t want to have to go through that again anymore so you kind of had to reinvent yourself and kind of start from scratch which you did and now that you’ve kind of built some systems in place, now you’re starting to hire, now you’re starting to build a team. Now you’re starting to scale faster in a sense because you have more hands, but it didn’t happen overnight. You’ve been doing this for four years in this space. And now you’re starting to get systems in place and you’re starting now to be able to plug in and kind of give people tasks and now you’ve even hired someone up that’s kind of running the operations and kind of like even being like just a higher-level person on your team which helps tremendously.
So, I don’t like people to get intimidated because of your success and your story but in the same breath I know that a lot of people like, “Man, I would love to be where Mike’s at.” I get it but there’s always someone that’s going to be a little bit further ahead than you, and in this case, you just need to get started. You just need to prove it to yourself that you can do this, and you have to just understand there’s going to be bumps on the road. I know that you can kind of say that. Even just with the Google thing. I mean there are bumps in the roads there like you’re like, “Oh my God, everything’s great,” and all of a sudden next day it’s bad. So, it’s there. I just want people to just be aware of that. And I think that was great saying like just be comfortable where you are but in the same breath, you have to be able to push yourself. I mean, you want to like 3X your business but you 2X it so okay I did okay. But most people would love to have a 2X growth over every single year. So, yeah, I appreciate you saying that.
[00:38:16] Scott: All right. Guys. Let’s wrap this up. What do you say there, Mike? I mean, man, we can go on for hours and I’m sure we’ll have you back on but what do you want to leave people with maybe that are just getting started or even that are maybe they already started. They’ve been in it for a year and they’re just not seeing the level of success that they want at this point. What kind of advice would you give those people?
[00:38:38] Mike: Yeah. I mean, I think again the things that I kind of wish that I got sooner in this business was thinking brand first because I came from an affiliate marketing background where it was just basically you throw up a webpage. You get X number of percentage of people that just kind of click through and you make money after a percent of people and it wasn’t really necessary to build the brand and have all those other stuff. So, I mean, I think that the sooner you can get started thinking a little bit bigger picture even though it’s tough for and it’s a little bit more intimidating, you’re going to be in a better spot. So, I mean and if you’re hitting a headwind, I mean, evaluate what that is. I mean are you in a niche that people aren’t passionate or you just don’t have the margin or you have some systemic problems in your business and there’s nothing wrong with like realizing that and moving to a different niche or doing things differently or starting over in a different niche, although, don’t be quick to do that because a lot of times like the best you can do is to continue to work on what you’re doing and just figure out what those pieces are.
But, I mean, one of my favorite books is called Who Moved My Cheese? And I think that Scott was just kind of talking about this where we had the Google thing happen, we had when we’re doing online affiliate marketing, we had some government stuff like, I mean, every year in business there is at least one or two or three major things that the average entrepreneur or person would just give up and go back to like getting a regular job. So, you have to be able to deal with that stuff and if you don’t have that kind of personality then you probably should go back and find a job is my number one thing. So, make sure you have the guts and the grit to deal with these types of things but, yeah, I mean just try thinking, I mean, I think that after over 20 years of business and looking back at the successes I’ve had and what does better, when I’m looking to make money with the easiest possible path is when I have the least success and when I think longer-term and build better products and better sites and better content or whatever it might be, I end up doing better even though in the short term it’s a lonely place to be.
[00:40:45] Scott: Because typically when you’re starting a blog with really great content, you’re writing to yourself or if you are starting an e-commerce business with really good products, you’re selling them to no one but yourself. So, it takes time to kind of get over that hump and just stick with it is kind of what I would say there.
[00:41:02] Scott: Yeah. No, I agree. Well hey, Mike. This has been awesome. I appreciate you coming back on, brother. I always love chatting with you and picking your brain because I know you’re in the trenches, deep in the trenches. How could people get a hold of you if they want to learn more about what you’re up to or if you have any questions?
[00:41:18] Mike: Yeah. I mean, probably the easiest place is at our blog and podcast Ecom Crew, Ecomcrew.com. It’s also a twice-weekly podcast and my partner, Dave Bryant, writes a ton of really great content there. If you want to reach out directly, you can hit us up at email@example.com and, again, we talk about this type of stuff in the podcast week in and week out. Scott, you were nice enough to just come on the 100th episode that we just had so appreciate you doing that with me and we both have been on each other’s respective podcast and definitely appreciate coming on here and you come in and doing mine.
[00:41:48] Scott: Yeah. I appreciate it and I just love hanging out with you and watching you kind of learn these new games that you come up with just to try to take people’s money when they’re partying. Greg Mercer.
[00:42:02] Mike: You have to have a Uber rating by the next time I see you, so I can bet on it.
[00:42:06] Scott: I will do that. Hey, I don’t know. Did you see that Uber ride I put up that we had when we were in North Carolina? Did you see that footage?
[00:42:13] Mike: No.
[00:42:13] Scott: Oh my gosh, Mike. All right. What I’m going to do is I’m going to drop in the show notes to this episode so if anybody else hasn’t seen that, I’m going to drop it in there. It was the most amazing Uber ride I’ve ever had. It was borderline wrong, but it was so funny, and I mean this guy did it right and talk about how to differentiate yourself between the one Uber driver to the next. This guy he did a fantastic job. He had his rolling and I actually had to censor it a little bit. But anyway, I’m going to drop in the comments. I’m going to send you the link, Mike. You got to check it out. It was a blast but anyway I’m sure we’ll be in touch and we’ll be hanging out at a conference somewhere but, anyway, I want to thank you. I appreciate it. And I’ll be in touch and, hey, have an awesome fourth quarter and an awesome 2018 because I know you’re going to be blowing things up. So, thanks again, Mike.
[00:43:02] Mike: Cool. No problem, man. Thanks so much.
[00:43:05] Scott: All right. So, yes, that is a wrap on the two-part podcast episode that I did with my good friend, Mike Jackness. As you guys can see, he is a really smart guy and someone that it’s cool to kind of rub elbows with and kind of pick each other’s brain and it’s really cool too because you can hear that the things that we’re talking about are doable. Like we’re not talking about black hat. We’re not even talking gray hat. We’re talking about like building mostly like a brand and if we build a brand then we can communicate with people that are interested in our products. There’s a good way that we can give Amazon what they want which is sales and then from there we can start to get them, Amazon, to show our products when people are searching for them. I mean, that’s like the secret sauce.
So, you guys have heard me talk about list building now, gosh, for probably the past 12 to 18 months. I did a free workshop on that if you want to see exactly how we are doing it and very similar to how Mike is doing it. TheAmazingSeller.com/buildlist. I’ll link that up in the show notes as well. You can see that and, again, I’ll remind you of the workshop for really getting started and following our little five-step roadmap that we’ve recently used to build a six-figure brand, multiple six-figure brands and heading towards seven figures as we speak, and we did that in less than 12 months, and that workshop is at TheAmazingSeller.com/workshop. If you want to catch up with Mike, head over to Ecomcrew.com. Check him out. Let him know I sent you. Let him know that you enjoyed this two-part series. I’ll probably have Mike back on again just because I love talking to the guy. When we talk, I just hit record and we kind of go through and discuss what’s happening. And he’s just an awesome guy and just so knowledgeable and he’s definitely in the trenches which I love.
[00:45:05] Scott: All right. So, guys, that's going to wrap it up. The show notes can be found for this episode at TheAmazingSeller.com/465. All the show notes, the transcripts, even that video I talked about of my Uber ride will be there. I’ll embed that in the show notes if you want to check that out. Pretty crazy ride. And, yeah, anything else there that I feel is valuable, that would be a resource about the things that we talked about will be at the show notes at TheAmazingSeller.com/465, and episode 464 was part 1 of this and that’ll be linked up there as well. All right, guys. So, that’s it. That’s going to wrap it up. Remember as always, I’m here for you, I believe in you, and I am 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. #TakeAction2018. Go get them.
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