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While some sellers may believe that giveaways are synonymous with Amazon product launches, Joe Reichsfeld, an e-commerce leader with 14 years of Amazon selling experience, is here to enlighten us on the science of doing successful Amazon launches WITHOUT giveaways. AND Joe also shares his innovative strategies for selling Amazon products on Pinterest – a growing external traffic platform that has 250 Million active users and tons of sales potential. These two hot topics are sure to interest Amazon sellers who want to innovate and supercharge their Amazon product launches.
In episode 27 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley Sutton, Helium 10’s Success Manager and Joe discuss:
- 00:45 – Joe’s Extensive Amazon Background
- 01:50 – Joe’s Strategies – How To Get To Page 1 Without Giveaways
- 03:10 – How Joe Prepares And Plans For Launches – His Business Plan
- 05:35 – Influencers – Their Impact On Launches
- 09:30 – Adding Value During The Launch Process – Prime Members
- 12:20 – Summarizing Joe’s Main Launch Strategy
- 13:40 – The Importance Of Warm Traffic And Built-In Trust
- 15:15 – Leveraging Pinterest – The #1 Source Of Free Traffic In 2018
- 18:10 – Understanding Pinterest’s Structure And Terms
- 21:20 – Pinterest Users And Their Buying Potential
- 24:00 – Creating Multiple Pins To Optimize On Pinterest
- 27:10 – How To Contact Joe
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Bradley Sutton: Today we’re going to talk to Joe who’s been selling on Amazon for 15 years. He’s going to tell us about his launch strategy without the use of giveaways, and also how to leverage Pinterest for Amazon sellers.
Bradley Sutton: How’s it going, everybody? Welcome to another episode of The Serious Sellers Podcast. My name is Bradley Sutton. With me, I’ve got my good buddy Joe Reichsfeld here who is an old school guy in the game of Amazon. He’s, how long have you been selling on Amazon Joe?
Joe Reichsfeld: Since 2005.
Bradley Sutton: Since 2005, before some of you guys were born. No, I’m just playing. Not that all. I can age shame a little bit because every day this year, knowing that my daughter is about to graduate high school, it makes me feel old. So Joe’s gotta couple of years only on me. Joe’s got a couple of years.
Joe Reichsfeld: I’ve got a couple of kids in college.
Bradley Sutton: Anyways, Joe, how’s it going today? What’s up?
Joe Reichsfeld: Fantastic.
Bradley Sutton: Where are you located, Joe?
Joe Reichsfeld: Scottsdale Arizona.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, so you’re a little bit better weather than us. It’s not raining out there. Is it? Like it is in California?
Joe Reichsfeld: No, not today. It was over the weekend, but not today. I’m in shorts and a t-shirt.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. We’re melting out here. Not because of heat or anything, but we’re melting because nobody knows what rain is here in California and we’re, what is going on with this rain here?
Joe Reichsfeld: When it rains, nobody knows what to do.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, right. They don’t know how to drive either. I swear here in California. So anyway, I wanted to talk to you about a couple of unique things that you are doing and teaching a lot of your students that I think is going to bring value to our listeners out there and one hot topic, no matter what year it is. Five years ago this was a hot topic. Now, it’s a hot topic is the topic of giveaways. And some people say that giveaways are the only way to get to page one. Me, I’ve done over probably 400 giveaways. I know that giveaways work, but at the same time, I’ve never gone out there and said that it’s the only way to get to page one or the only way to launch. I very well know that actually, the majority of people don’t use a giveaway. So for those people who aren’t aware of how to launch without doing a giveaway or how to get to page one, can you let us in on some of your secrets? How do you personally do it yourself or teach your students on how to get to page one without having to do a giveaway?
Joe Reichsfeld: Giveaways, our strategy, there are lots of different strategies you can take different strategies, and mix them together to accomplish your goals. Or, in the case of giveaways, it’s giveaways and PPC or the general strategy there. And there are other ones where they– that don’t involve giving things away. Most sellers that are launching with giveaways, give away more products on one or two days. Actually I actually– one day of their launch. Then I have on over 7 million products over the last 20 years. I was selling before at Amazon of a regular website. I don’t, we don’t do giveaways. We might give one or two units away. That’s it. We don’t drive ranking with giveaways. What we do and what I teach people, is being prepared. We start the process before the items go into production. If you were trying to get venture capital, you’d have to do a business plan before you actually go to production, cause you need the cash before production. So you’re doing a lot of the research that sellers need to now don’t even start until they launch. You’re doing that. We do that 2, 3 months ahead of time. And so we’re breaking down the competition, we’re getting the keywords that are being used. We’re finding out where the other sellers are selling both on Amazon and off. We’re looking for niches, we’re looking for audience information. We go through all of that, at least a month to 6 weeks before a product launch and we stretch out that learning curve. So our learning curve, our goal is that on launch date, the learning curves over or ending, not starting, we launched to a party. We don’t launch to freaking out. What am I going to do? I didn’t plan for tomorrow. So, we get the ball rolling ahead of time. And when you do that, when you, for lack of a better term, have a business plan that far out, you have a pretty solid set idea of where you’re going ahead of time. A business plan is your path for 12 to 18 months. And I ask people often online whereas they’re launching if I give you this and you have to fill this out for funding, can you fill this out today? And I get no a lot. Business plans are a pain. There is a lot of work. It’s a lot of research, especially that far out. Sometimes you don’t even know the product, but you do know that product really well when you’re done. You really know, you have an idea of how many it’s going to take to break even. How many you need to order, how many you’re going to need to reorder, how long that order’s going to last based on your velocity. You’re not messing around with that stuff. Through doing that, we’re also finding influencers and connecting with influencers. We are finding relevant groups, and getting some involvement. There’s no matter how you look at it, big giveaways or not, there is opportunity costs and some costs involved. With this, it’s more effort, time and effort, which is money, pain, and labor. If you’re not doing it yourself, you really have a much better hand on things. So, our goal is on launch day, that word locked and loaded. We have influencers all lined up to drop. We have our mailing list that we’ve been developing, ready to go. During this time before launching, we’re involved. We have people that are getting involved in relevant groups on Facebook, on Instagram, wherever. And they’re not selling because they don’t have a product to sell at that point. They’re getting involved. They’re getting their name out there, show them when we do launch within a couple of days before launching, they tell their story to the group. They explained to the group, this is who I am and what I’m doing and why I chose this product. And they ask for support or they do something with the influence. So, on launch day we cut the influencers loose, we drop our mailing list over the first five days. We unleash our relevant groups, the people in our groups. That’s what drives our sales and drives our forward momentum.
Bradley Sutton: So with these, are you still giving out any kind of two-step URLs, or this is just strictly relying on actual sales velocity to help drive you up?
Joe Reichsfeld: A little bit of both. We do not use the two-step URLs and two-step URLs are pretty effective, but we– they don’t seem to be as effective as they were. We pushed everybody through the opt-in. I’m a firm believer of not wasting traffic, so we push everybody through an opt-in, which has the Pixel to develop our re-marketing list or buyers list and our lookalike audiences to grow our future. That’s our future. We want to build a mailing list. If Amazon– something happens tomorrow and all of a sudden Amazon is not able to sell your product or you get suspended, you have no buyer’s list. What do you have? All you have is the value of your inventory, which was as hard as these people were to sell. That’s not good. That’s really not good. I– what happens if tomorrow morning you wake up, there’s an announcement that Facebook bought Jet and Facebook is going to go live with Jet at noon, and these are going to be 5% instead of 15 because Facebook makes the revenue off the ads. How long is it going to take Facebook and it’s 22 million monthly logins to hurt Amazon and it’s 22 billion logins to hurt Amazon, and it’s 2.6 billion monthly logins. You don’t know what where have is, how did the sellers on Amazon announced to their loyal buyers, hey, I’m moving on Facebook, I can offer you a better deal on Facebook. These I’m not getting charged the fees. You don’t have a buyer’s list.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. So then with that list though, basically you still are trying to drive your search term rankings as opposed to a giveaway. You’re not having to give away or you’re not having to do like 80% off coupons and 90% off. When you’re targeting a list on the launch, or just after the fact, are these full price sales are starting or are you offering any kind of coupon at all?
Joe Reichsfeld: No we’re not offering any kind of coupon, but we might do a value-added, some sort of added value when we’re getting involved in these groups beforehand, we will look for ways to add everything about eCommerce and competition, particularly in some categories on Amazon is setting yourself as apart from everybody else. The common goal or the common method these days is to set yourself apart by doing this giveaway. A lot of these people that are coming through on these promos are not going to buy from you again. They might not be your normal type of customer or normal kind of buyer. They might not come back without another giveaway. That’s not my target market. My target market is whole priced prime members and looks at the demographics of a prime member. Somebody your age, married kids, nice home, steady career, nice cars. They don’t want to look cheap to their neighbors. Really, they’re willing to pay a little extra for added value. So we look for ways to create value, be it PDF, recipes, packaging, different packaging, something to set us apart from everybody else. I work with brands, so it’s a little different than the Alibaba sourcing, but brands have competition from their competitors as well. But we look to make an impact and set ourselves aside. I’ll go– if there are 45 people selling a product on a listing, I don’t want to be on that listing. There’s only going to be a couple of people at the top, first of all. But I want to set myself aside on our goal with every listing is to create enough of a difference to be able to have our own listing. Even if there are a few other sellers on it. Who cares? I don’t want 45 on there. That’s ridiculous. That’s a losing proposition. So, we’ll find a way, sometimes it’s through bundling, to set ourselves aside and offer added value. Now on the prelaunch, it’s a video of other users of our product. And, a fashion PDF when it involves clothing or something. We might put together a fashion PDF of ways for a woman to take her leather jacket and make it a fashion statement when she goes out. Have a model, and put some pictures in there. Somebody making a leather jacket look fashionable. And that’s how we spread the opt-in. That’s how we get the opt-in.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, so in a nutshell then, correct me if I’m wrong, but before we actually launched a product, you’re doing a lot of research, you’re trying to build a community, get some influencers ready so that once you do launch, you hit the existing list that you have with the news about the launch. Trying to get that sales blast, you get the influencers to push the product. And this initial sales velocity and sales volume, whether it’s going to two-step URL or not, it’s going to help push your sales velocity. It’s going to help push your rank up with the keywords and then, going forward, you’re still doing re-targeting. You’re still trying to build a community as it were around. So that’s going to help you to re-market to them, possibly build off of the success of that brand. If you have a brand that’s in a certain niche, well, if they bought a full price, a product that you already have, then they’ll probably be likely to buy another product, a similar one that you’re about to launch in that niche. Does that kind of in a nutshell, or one of the strategies that you use?
Joe Reichsfeld: Yes, that is really the main strategy and the difference between that traffic and standard traffic you get through Amazon. This is warm traffic. Traffic comes via an influencer or comes via a personal recommendation, a friend or yourself from your own involvement in the group, that’s called implied trust traffic. That’s warm traffic, it’s cold traffic that doesn’t know who you are. They’re going straight to your listing and they’re not looking at what everybody else is selling it for. They’re not going in searching for your product. They’re going right to the listing. So there is already a warm function to the traffic and there’s built-in trust. People that are coming from an influencer, that’s what you’re using the influencer for, because people in their group trust their opinion, they trust that they’re going to recommend the products so they’re not looking for that justification that you get when you’re just searching on Amazon and you’re looking at 35 different sellers, which listening do I go through, so that you can get around a lot of mistakes driving your own traffic, especially if you have a warm list or you have a good mailing with us. The people that are on that list, the lifetime value of a list member is 10 times the initial purchase. That’s money, and Amazon towards a bone to sellers, and to see sellers into thinking that I’m making it big because I sold a hundred of these or 200 of these as the initial purchase on Amazon saying, Hey, thank you. You did all the work. You did all the effort, you made this first sale. They’re our customer now and we’re going to get that other ten, and we know what their behavior is, and we know what they like to do, what they prefer.
Bradley Sutton: Talking about this too, you were mentioning how another way that you leverage, I guess it can be considered definitely social media. Is Pinterest also to drive this outside traffic? Now that’s something newer that you’ve just been doing in recent times, but why do you feel that Pinterest is kind of an untapped market for sending traffic to Amazon.
Joe Reichsfeld: Pinterest is the number one source of free traffic in 2018, and it’s going to continue to be. So Pinterest is a search engine, is a visual predictive search engine. They’ve been working very hard on the algorithm and on different things on Pinterest over the last 12 to 18 months. And, it’s not just a photo sharing site anymore. I started researching Pinterest in October for this workshop that I put together. And since then, since I started in October, I had to rewrite it two times because major changes to that Pinterest was that Pinterest rolled out. They rolled out communities, they rolled out video pins, they rolled out full-width video pins, they rolled out carousel pins, all kinds of different things that have changed. Pinterest, if Amazon search is Google in 2010, Pinterest is cool search in 2006 2007. Pinterest is looking to content creators to help it classified material. Who are content creators? Content creators or writers, and sellers. Content creators are sellers. We have all these sellers on Amazon. What do you have your pictures, your images of your product? That’s content when you make– moving forward, when you’re creating the images for your listing, you should also create some Pinterest optimize images as well. So Pinterest is looking at sellers as a content creator. So when you sign up for Pinterest, you get a business account that designates you as a content creator. Pinterest wants you as a content creator to be the first one to pin your new contents. So by doing that, you’re saying to pin Pinterest. This is quality content that I created, so they brand your name on that pin and your logo’s always with that pin and you’re also saying to Pinterest, this is what this pin is about. Pinterest is relying on you to tell them how to classify it. So now you’re creating the structure. By doing this, you’re creating the structure on Pinterest. Pinterest is made up of categories and within those categories are topics. categories or top level keywords, they’re your broad keywords, the topics that are within those categories would be your specific keywords and your long tail phrases. Pinterest feeds, it’s all really is, it’s feeds. RSS feeds lots of them. Every category has an RSS feed. Every topic is an RSS feed. As a user, when they sign up for Pinterest at first time, the end of the signing up, Pinterest says follow 5 things, 5 topics. Choose 5 topics that you like, and you go through and you choose by topics. When you log in from that day forward, every time you log in, your screen is filled with the most engaged pins from those five topics plus anything you’ve searched recently, the most engaged pin from anything you searched recently. So your– these people, users, they’re following these feeds. Remembering the old days, you had to up the RSS feed readers, where you’d sign up for a feed from a blog, and then you go into the feed right here, and that’s what you see. That blog, everything is coming out on that blog or every product if you chose a product feed, well that’s really in theory what Pinterest is all about. So let’s say you sell kayaks and your top-level board is going– might do outdoors for sports. You might do outdoor sports for Brad as the name of your top-level board. Boards within boards on Pinterest are called sections. So within that board, you have sections, you might name one of them, kayaks, another one kayaking, canoeing. And the third one water-sports. Well, those three terms are specific topics out of the Pinterest topic list, you name your pins and your boards, topics and category names. For those topic and category names, they get deep on Pinterest. Toward they then become the long tail. So then what you might miss sections that you have within those sections might be kayaking gear, kayaking accessories, whitewater kayaking. And within those sections you have under kayaking gear, you have pins, kayaks themselves, kayak clothing, kayaking paddles. And those pins are SEO to those terms. So when somebody goes in, people on Pinterest, they’re seeking out products. He– 93% of Pinterest users have indicated they go to Pinterest to plan purchases. Of that 93%, 85% of Pinterest users have indicated that they’d made purchases based on what they’ve seen on Pinterest. 85%, not just about recipes. Interest used to be 70, 30. In the last 14 months, interest has gone from 70% women, 30% men, just 60 40. 60% women, 40% men. And the average sale of a product that is being sourced on Pinterest is 59 bucks. Pinterest lies at the second highest referral rate of any social media after Facebook.
Bradley Sutton: So then this referral you’re talking about is the image, or the whatever the pin itself. Is that a link or there is there in the description there’s a link that takes the user to Amazon, or how does that work?
Joe Reichsfeld: You link the– you put in a link in the description which links the image, you link the image to your content. Might be Amazon. It might be a blog post, just depends on what your content happens to be. But yeah, for Amazon sellers, you put the link in the pin and you connect it to your product page. Now you also– for me, the goal is always building the mailing list. I’m going to juggle my lengths and so I have some of them gone through an opt-in. Not all of them will go straight to the product page where–
Bradley Sutton: So you can get their email address and add them to a list then.
Joe Reichsfeld: When you see somebody, they write a blog post and they post it on Facebook, and then they pushed the sand. They report the same post, the next day on Facebook, and then they read post the same post the next day on Facebook, all about the same blog post. Or they do that on Twitter. They’re doing that wrong, what they should do is you take your blog posts, well, most blog posts have multiple points in them. That might be a list. These five things to accomplish this. Well, when you repost that blog, you should do a different point from the blog each day, not the same point and the same post. That’s how you bore your followers and drive them away. I don’t want to see the same post every day, but give me 5 bits of information from that post, and I’m going to stay connected and I might even go back to that post and read the whole thing. Well, that’s Pinterest wants you to create multiple pins per product or content piece. So your 5 images on your Amazon listing. There are your multiple content pieces right there. Lifestyle images. Even Pinterest is– we want a lifestyle image, those selling product, people want to visualize themselves using the product. How’s the product going to benefit me? Yeah, that’s it. You show me a raincoat in the container, in the wrappers still sitting on a table. It’s all stacked up. 100 of them. That’s, I can’t visualize wearing that raincoat and that raincoat keeping me dry. But I might, if you have a model wearing a raincoat, so you take your five, you create an Amazon listing. If you create, let’s say five images, the same time when you’re having those made, you tell the person that’s making them, I need those optimized for Pinterest as well. Same five images. You can put your brand name on it. You put it in the sizes that Pinterest prefers. You put some text overlays on it, not a lot, but some text overlays on it, SEO, everything. And now you have your pins to go along with it. What do you do? You take your first pin as you post your listing, take your first pin and you can get to the most relevant board that you have on Pinterest. You just create content and send a signal to Pinterest. Now let’s say we’ll go back to the kayaks. Kayaking example. Your goal on Pinterest is the feed. You want to be in the feed. You want to be at the top of the feeds. Outdoors, the feed for outdoor and the outdoor category has 8.2 million followers. The feed for the sports category, I want to say has 282 million followers. This is some godly numbers. Imagine if you got into two or three of those feeds with your first or second pin and popped up. Now granted 8.2 million people aren’t going to see your pin because they’re not all on Pinterest at that moment. But what’s 1% of 8.2 million? What’s a 10th of 1% of 8.2 million? A lot of traffic is what it is. It’s a lot of traffic.
Bradley Sutton: All right, that’s interesting. That’s something that I haven’t heard about before about leveraging Pinterest. Usually, people just focus on Facebook, maybe Instagram, or different things. But that definitely can see how it could be a great free source of traffic. And, as we all know, Amazon loves outside traffic, so I’m sure you could go on and on about how we can use Pinterest, but you help your students do that currently. So if people want to reach out to you to contact you to get some more info about either launching without giveaways, or about how to leverage Pinterest with your Amazon business, how can people contact you or how can they find you?
Joe Reichsfeld: eCommerce-optimizer.com we have a free workshop. It’s all about Pinterest right now. It’s worth taking. I would definitely suggest as part of keyword research for your listings, don’t overlook Pinterest. Pinterest is warm traffic. These people are seeking you out. You’re not seeking them out. They’re seeking you out. The half-life of a tweet is 24 minutes. The half-life of a Facebook post is 90 minutes. The half-life of a Pinterest pin is 153,000 minutes. When you stop a PPC, your ad goes poof in the wind. When you stopped any advertising, it goes cooked in the wind. On Pinterest, when you stop anybody that’s saved at that promoted pin, it’s still there and it’s still clickable and it’s still savable by other people. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Bradley Sutton: All right guys, there you have it. Pinterest with Amazon. Maybe you haven’t considered that, but consider that and contact Joe at that website that he just mentioned in case you want to find out more information. Joe, as always, thank you very much for your time and hope to see you in person one of these days soon.
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