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#187 – PPC and Keyword Strategies from a 7-Figure Amazon Seller

Here’s a wild story of a multi-million-dollar Amazon seller who found success after starting with just one dime.
Helium 10 The Helium 10 Software
46 minutes read

In debt and working at Apple as a manager for a tech support team, this episode’s guest found himself blamed for something that wasn’t his fault. He says that he felt so upset with his state of affairs that he told his wife, “We are going to build a new life for our family.”

Today on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Brand Evangelist, Bradley Sutton welcomes Seth Kniep, who very obviously went on to build a new life and did it one dime at a time. 

In 2014, Seth was so shaken by the financial situation he found himself in that he came up with a radical idea. Unburdened by ego after a series of economic downturns, he decided to see what happened if he started with one dime, and asked strangers to help him double the sum. He finally reached $400 which he used to first start an eBay, and later an Amazon selling career. 

Now, he’s a multi-millionaire Amazon seller and coach. Listen in to hear the whole story; it’s a good one. 

In episode 187 of the Serious Sellers Podcast Bradley and Seth Discuss:

  • 01:45 – PPC Product Research?
  • 05:00 – Seth’s Origin Story
  • 06:30 – Trapping, Basketball, and Seminary
  • 14:30 – When Did Seth Start with E-Commerce?   
  • 16:50 – Starting with Just One Dime
  • 17:30 – Cold-Calling Suppliers to Research a Trending Product 
  • 19:10 – Pivoting to Amazon 
  • 20:35 – His Urns Start to Take Off on Amazon
  • 22:50 – Losing 25K to Save $250  
  • 25:40 – What Helped Seth Scale?
  • 26:50 – Differentiation Makes Things Happen
  • 31:45 – Loving the Process of Teaching  
  • 34:15 – Seth’s Keyword Research Techniques 
  • 36:35 – Understanding a Buyer’s Motivation Through Keywords   
  • 40:30 – Why PPC is So Important
  • 42:05 – How to Reach Out to Seth

Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.

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  • Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
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Bradley Sutton: Today, we’ve got a big time seller who has one of the most unique and inspirational backstories having gone from literally just one dime to multimillion dollar Amazon success. He’s going to share some of his top strategies and his great backstory with us today. How cool is that? Pretty cool. I think

Bradley Sutton: Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10. I am your host Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that’s a completely BS free, unscripted and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the eCommerce world. And we’ve got a serious seller on with us today, Seth, how’s it going?

Seth: So glad to be here, Bradley. Doing really well. Thank you so much for having me on. And I just, my only prayer and hope is that everyone listening to this can get a massive amount of value for wherever they are in their entrepreneurial journey on Amazon or any other online platform.

Bradley Sutton: Love to hear it. And that’s going to definitely be the goal today. And just along those lines, let’s start off with a bang, we’re going to talk about strategies and your story throughout this episode, but I just want to like wet people’s appetites as far as the uniqueness of what they’re going to get from listening to you. So, something that, you know, Sean had told me before is like, you have got this kind of strategy about using PPC to find products that shoppers are buying. So, is it that no one is selling. So, is that true? You actually use PPC as part of a product research? Can you talk about that a couple of minutes?

Seth: Absolutely. Yeah. I’ll give you guys a quick overview of exactly how to do it. So, you start with a product, just a very generic product. Let’s say it’s a plant pot for people who like gardening and you buy 5200 of these at Walmart and you send them into Amazon. So it’s going to be FBA and you start running PPC campaigns on that product. What happens is, as the data comes in, it starts to show you what shoppers are searching. And in some cases what no sellers are buying. So, another I’ll just give you an example, a very super practical example. If you get over 10,000 impressions on one keyword and you go search the keyword, let’s just say it was a six ounce, like a really small, a six ounce planter’s pot. And you’re getting a lot of impressions on that over a 10 day period. Now, you know that there’s a demand for it, but if you look and find no one is selling that exact version, what you did is you bypassed having to look at what other sellers are doing in order to find a product that shoppers are hunting for. And as we’ve researched so many times Bradley, and we do these big surveys and we’re just constantly collecting data. What we’re finding is the number of customers hopping on to Amazon to buy, especially after COVID-19 is increasing like crazy. The sellers are too, but to be very blunt, a lot of these sellers don’t understand this strategy. So in other words, in an ideal world, if I can find a product that no one is selling, but customers are searching, I’m already a step ahead of the competition instead of me trying to make sure, Oh, I got to make my better, now I’m finding a product that no one is actually selling

Bradley Sutton: I love that. It’s real, it’s similar to a strategy we talked about in Project X, but with a different end game in that of what Tim Jordan called, like PPC test listings like, okay, you already sourced the product or you already found the, what you thought was an opportunity, but before going all in a private label purchase or manufacturing, you buy some from, yeah, like you said, Walmart or Etsy, throw 10 or 15 up and then start getting data. But with the goal of, Hey, of validating the demand that you thought there’s going to be demand. So with the impressions with the click through, but then also, getting some initial PPC bids because Amazon, as we know sometimes does not give you the right suggested bid, but I love that. That’s– you’re taking it to another level that we didn’t talk about in Project X is it’s actually just trying to find where there’s maybe some keywords that buyers are searching for, but they’re not finding what they want. That’s great. I love that. Love that. Now your company is called just one dime. And I know there’s a story behind that. We’re about to get into that, but before we even get to the– how you started the company, let’s take it back like I do with all my guests, because I love showing people how– it doesn’t matter what origin story we have. We somehow all end up in the same kind of eCommerce or Amazon ecosystem. So going back, where actually did you grow up? What state did you grow up in?

Seth: I was born in Dallas. I grew up half of my life in Mount Pleasant. It’s this little tiny city weighed like two and half hours, East of Dallas where people fry fish. And they talk with a very Eastern Texas accent.

Bradley Sutton: I don’t hear too much of that from you.

Seth: Let me ask you this. Do I sound Texan to you, Bradley?

Seth: That’s what I was about to say that like, I, you don’t like it. If I did know that you lived in Texas or I’ve actually, that’s why usually I ask, like, if I know somebody, like, I know you’re in Texas now, but then like, if I hear a strong accent, I’m like, okay, that makes sense. I’ve interviewed people from Boston or New York or something like that, but I’m like, wait a minute. I don’t really hear the Texas accent there. So, what’s going on there?

Seth: Right. Yeah. I actually, when I was 12 years old, we moved to Redding, California, which is about an hour and a half North or South of the Oregon border. And that’s why sounds so California. I mean, even my wife says y’all in Texas and she grew up in California, her entire life. Some, I don’t know why it’s like nothing against Texas. I love Texas, but I still have the California guy.

Bradley Sutton: Cool, cool. Yeah. I mean, I like it, I like all accents. I always make it a game to try and figure out where somebody is from. But yeah, you definitely sound kind of like me, like a Californian. Now growing up there, partly in Texas and then moving to Redding. When you’re 12, like eight, nine, 10, 11, 12 years old, what did you envision yourself becoming? Or like, what did you think you would be when you “grew up”?

Seth: When I was eight, nine, 10, 11, 12 years old, I dreamed that I would grow up and live on no electricity. I would live out in the woods. I’d be a woodsman, I’d be a Hunter and a trapper. I didn’t want to live off electricity. I wanted to be independent. I wanted to make my own clothing out of leather. And I, like, I got into this period of my life or that’s all I tried to do. I would hunt. I would trap. I would run around in the woods. I would try to chase deer. I would create my own moccasins and everything. So I was like this American native one of me, even though I definitely don’t qualify with my very, very pale skin and red hair. So, that was my dream. And then that somehow transitioned into basketball. And in my early teen years, I became fascinated with basketball and I started playing at age 13 and I always wanted to be a professional basketball player, and I work to my heart out, trying to succeed in that as much as I could for years.

Bradley Sutton: So, going through high school, as soon as you played basketball, then like coming out of high school, did you get a scholarship anywhere or did you go to college at all?

Seth: Yes, I went to Andersonville Theological Seminary. It’s a training seminary for people who want to go into full time Christian ministry. And then from there, I went to the master seminary, which is a training school in Southern California. And my dream at that point was to go into full time ministry. And one of my favorite things to do was to go to college campuses, walk up to random people, sit down and talk to them about apologetics, worldviews, evolution versus creation. Presuppositional apologetics, just all sorts of things. What are morals, that kind of stuff. I’ve always had a love for philosophy and how it motivates what people do today and how their values grow out of those beliefs. And then from there, I started to– went through a really, really hard time in my life. I got married. I was married when I was 21 years old. My wife was 18 at the time and we got pregnant on our honeymoon. We had our first kid, we had four kids in the first four years of our marriage. I’m not recommending this to anyone. Now looking back, I learned a lot from it and it was ultimately, it taught me a ton about life, but it was a really, really hard time in my life because there was so much I didn’t know. And I started building houses. I knew that from my dad, because of my later teens, he and I would build custom homes together. And we moved to Los Angeles where I started going to school there to get my master’s degree. And at that time, I was building homes. I in full time construction and over the next several years, we just really, really struggled in our marriage. I went from job to job trying to make enough money and there was just always stress. There was constant stress in our home. We would fight a lot. We would fight about parenting, finances, sex, all the main top big topics that couples tend to fight over or have conflict over and long story short. That brought me to a breaking point where I realized I’m going to lose my family if I don’t change. And I realized that the number one problem was me. Every day I stood in the mirror, I wanted to blame other people. I wanted to blame the world. I wanted to blame my parents. I wanted to blame religion. I wanted to blame philosophy. I want to blame all these other things. And I had to come to a realization that the real issue is me. And we moved to Austin, Texas, where I took a job as a telemarketer. And I got this job more out of desperation than anything. I hated it. Imagine your job all day long as calling people on the phone while they’re having dinner. And you’re supposed to convince them that they need to buy something that they don’t even know if they need, but looking back Bradley, that was probably one of the best training grounds I’ve ever been through because it forced me to learn how to sell. And I have a deep conviction that every successful Amazon seller has to know how to sell every person who starts a course or a membership has to know how to sell. And selling doesn’t always mean over the phone or in person. It could be just simply how you build out that Amazon listing. That is a form of sales. And so I fought so hard. And for me at that time, Bradley was desperation. We were $24,000 in debt and I’m sitting here thinking, okay, I’ve got to win at this. And I became the second on the team for telemarketing. There’s one guy there he’d been there 15 years and I could never beat him. And he’d always laugh at me for it. And I’d sit right across from him and say, today I’m going to beat you. It’s always close with him

Bradley Sutton: Is just kind of like an office Dwight versus Jim kind of thing?

Seth: Oh my goodness. That’s a really good illustration. Kind of like that actually. And I was always very extroverted about it and he was like much more quiet. So I would always like, he would like say these little snarky things. I was like, come on, man, we’re going to do this. And you put your numbers on this board, behind you on this white board. And it was always his name then Seth. And then everyone else, like month after month. And then from there, I saw this ad online. I forget where I even found it and it said, come work for Apple. And I thought, wow, like I love Apple products, Apple at that time richest company in the world, most profitable company in the world. Like, can you imagine working for a company like this? It took me until I was in my mid thirties to realize that. And what caused me to realize it was the turmoil I was going through in my marriage and in my finances and just into my identity, like I would go watch superhero movies because they kind of gave me a way to imagine what I would like to be like, I wanted to be a hero, but I didn’t know what that looked like. And so I thought, well, working for Apple, well, maybe that’s the next step.

Bradley Sutton: I love hearing all of these stories. You have one of the most diverse backgrounds going from wanting to live in the woods to basketball, to being a theologian, and then going to salesman and then now Apple. So at what point did you just like really come to like, wait a minute. E-commerce is the way to go.

Seth: So, I was working for Apple and as I mentioned, we had $24,000 of debt and that was mostly credit card debt. That was also partly car debt. We didn’t include a mortgage in that. And I got to a breaking point one day when my manager at Apple department blamed me, or tried to make me the scapegoat for a decision that my manager had made a mistake in. And in fear of getting in trouble with HR, I became the convenient person to lay the blame on. Even though I did exactly, as I was told, completely honored the system like step-by-step, I was very careful about that. And at this time I worked from home, it was actually a work from home position. I was a manager for, I moved up to a manager for tech support team. I started in sales and moved over to manager. And it was at that point where I was in the meeting and it was over video chat. And I remember feeling so embarrassed, not because I did something wrong, but just because I was being shamed in front of my subordinate, that I had to literally drag a window on my screen to cover my manager’s face because I felt just horrible. And it so happened, my wife was standing to my back right off of the video. She could see the stress I was feeling. And after that meeting, I felt completely dead. Like I was like, I can’t do this anymore. And so I turned to my wife, I’ll never forget she was to my back right. And I said, we are going to build a new life for our family. Like I’m done. We have to find a way. And looking back, I learned so much at Apple, Bradley. People hear me rag and Apple, like Apple is amazing company. I’m not saying that to make, in case they hear this like amazing company, but my manager sucked. She was horrible. She was like, she made my life freaking miserable. And yet looking back, I think God for it, because if that hadn’t happened to me, if I hadn’t suffered like that, I would not have made a choice to say, you know what? I’m going to do something that most people would call stupid. I’m going to take a dime. I’m going to walk around downtown Austin, Pflugerville all the Austin area. And I’m going to ask people to double it for me, just because I have this crazy dream that believing I can build multi-millions off of 10 sets. And someday that can give other people hope, who I know there’s a lot in the same situation, because if you take a dime, you double it 20 times, it becomes over a hundred thousand dollars. And so that’s when I started doubling my dime.

Bradley Sutton: You literally started doing that?

Seth: Yeah, literally I got up to $400 just for asking. And then I took the $400. And at that time I remember going to my kids’ plays and singing events at school. And I would sit there on my iPad. One that I had one when I worked for Apple, for my sales and I would just research everything I could on how to sell an eBay. In my mind, eBay was the way to go. I didn’t know much about Amazon at that time. Ebay just felt easier maybe because I had sold a guitar in there before, way back in the early two thousands. And so I’m researching everything I can and I’ll never forget what’s his name, Pat. Pat Flynn. He said the riches are in the niches. And I was spending all my time looking for a product in the sports health, fitness category, because I love sports. I love fitness. I work out, I run, I like to be outdoors a lot. One of the reasons I love being in Austin. And I remember in his, literally in the back of my mind, I’m hearing him say the riches are in the niches. Okay, I’m in the wrong category. What is the most unlikely category someone could possibly go to? And even though all my instincts were fighting against it, I found this category called cemetery. I do not have some strange fascination with death, but I figured who in the world says, Hey, I’m going to build a business office cemetery. And so I started looking under funerals and cemetery products, and I found these little cremation urns, and I researched and found that they were selling really well by just a few top sellers on eBay. So, then I started researching online. I found this website called DH gate. Hadn’t heard of it before, started researching. They seem pretty legit. And I use the $400 from my dime that I had received just for asking and use it to purchase my first set of eBay products, which would soon become an Amazon product and notes to me.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. So, it started off on eBay or first started off with that one dime turn into 400. He became a product on eBay that transfer to Amazon. What year about are we at right now?

Seth: So we, I started doubling my dime. The idea hit me in 2013. I started doubling it in 2014 and it was toward the end of the year of 2014 when I started selling it. And there’s something else I want to share that a lot of people don’t know. So, during this whole transition time at Apple, when I knew I needed to do something different, this is even before I started selling on eBay. I found a list of suppliers. I found it online and it was hundreds of suppliers. I don’t remember the exact number, but it was like 900 and something or close to a thousand. And every single day I sat down in my chair and I would call 70 of them every single day. And I hated it. I was like I said, I would tell myself, you’re going to glue your butt to the chair. You don’t feel like I don’t care. You’re going to call and I will call them on the phone. Maybe my telemarketing helped a little here from the past. And I would ask them the same question. I would say, please tell me what are the top three products in the market today? And then I would record my results in a spreadsheet. And within a few weeks, the overwhelming winner was vapes and e-cigarettes. Now obviously some suppliers they’re just trying to get rid of extra inventory. I knew that some are going to give you the product that they’re going to make the most profit on, but I kept hearing vapes and e-cigarettes, vapes and cigarettes. And as a former pipe, never a cigarette smoker, but a pipe smoker. I understood at least a little bit what nicotine addiction was. I had some friends who were heavy smokers and who coughed a lot and I got it. And so that man, like, if this is an alternative to help people get off smoke, why not? And slowly but surely I started to get sales. And my biggest month was over 400 in sales and realizing 400. Jesus is not going to pay off $24,000 of debt. Let alone support a family of six people. That’s when I started driving for Lyft and Uber, and this is still working for Apple Bradley. So I would work all day for Apple. Then I would get in the car and Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and sometimes other days a week I would drive downtown Austin. And I would drive around drunk people until three or four in the morning until all the bars closed.

Bradley Sutton: How did you get more capital in order to kind of scale up, because if you’re just going off of the 400 bucks or just your earnings or whatever, I mean, especially if your Uber was all going to debt, how were you able to get your products to sell?

Seth: Yeah. So as I mentioned, I found my first supplier in DH gate and I purchase the inventory posted on eBay, nothing happened for days. Then one sale comes in. Then a few days later, another sale comes in and I started asking myself like, what am I doing wrong? I did everything I was trained to do from this booklet and all the other research I had done on my iPad. And then I thought one day, you know, why not try Amazon? So I went ahead and I just created my first listing for Amazon. I didn’t send these into Amazon yet. I was too nervous. I was like, no, I can’t. How can I trust Amazon? I didn’t know them well. And so it just felt weird to me to have Amazon fulfill the order, not to mention an additional, what, 15, 12, 15% in fees. So, I sent them in and I waited. Now, while I was waiting to see if Amazon would do anything. This is when my wife and I decided to strip our house of everything we didn’t need. So we walked through, we had a little note pad with us and we’d write down, we don’t need this. We don’t need this. Here’s a Keurig machine. Well, we don’t need that. Here’s this. Well, we like it, but we don’t need it. Here’s creepy teddy bears in the closet. Don’t need that. Here’s a weed needer . Well, we don’t need that. Who cares about the weeds around the tree? As long as we mow the grass, like literally we had mountains of clothing and shoes we didn’t need. And so we would take those and we would list them on Craigslist, on Facebook marketplaces, anywhere we could find online. And we had people coming to our house all the time, or sometimes I’d drive downtown to meet them and do the transaction there. If I was, if they seemed a little more shady and then when the products wouldn’t sell, I put them in a bag and I would walk door to door, selling them to our neighbors. Now this was hard because there’s always that fear. Well, what are my neighbors going to think of me as? And I had to get over that and say, you know what, who cares what they think? You’re doing this for you and your family. Then one day I get a notification in my email from Amazon that says I sold an urn. And I was like, wow, this is cool. So, I packed it up and I used a And I shipped it in. And then the next day two, and then the next day five, and then within a few weeks we had cremation urns selling 10 times a day at around $10, profit a pop. Now, again, I know it’s got a huge money, especially for some people listening to this. But for me at that time, I went from a dime, $24,000 in debt. Now we’re profiting around a hundred dollars a day. In my thought was, I’ll never forget the first time I received our deposit from Amazon. I thought if I can do this once Bradley, why can’t I do this a million times? And so I started taking all that cash that we received from the turning our house practically into a ghost town and selling everything we didn’t need. And we used it to launch another product to Amazon. And then every time we made profit on our Amazon sales, we would port right back into Amazon and we just kept doing this and doing this. And then I look at my vape e-cigarette business. That’s just like flailing, like it’s $400 in one month. Woo. And I was like, okay, I need to cash out big. Maybe I can cash out enough to pay off our house. Wouldn’t that be amazing? My wife’s like, yeah, let’s do it. I sold it for $35 in a day $35. Because you could sell entire stores and eBay. And I didn’t know about, I don’t even know if the flippers, how many of them existed back then? I didn’t know about other online platforms. I just thought this is what I’m going to do. But then I looked back to the, okay, I learned something. And then I built another e-commerce store on Shopify, which was for jewelry. And this one, I just wanted to try the whole build and flip. And so I built up an organic following of around 2000 people and I sold it for 500. I was like, Hey, we’re moving forward. Perfect direction. Exactly. And then every penny I made, I put right back into launching more products, and that’s when the store really started to grow like crazy. I want to share one thing that I think a lot of the listeners will appreciate. And this is why listening to people like Bradley and Helium 10. And just one dime I think is so important. I lost around $20,000 in my effort to save 250. And it was be– I had this product. It was a toy. I’m not sure specifically what it was, but it was a toy. It was getting us around 20,000 a month, which was good. And like, it’s amazing for me. And we had a new batch. It was our second batch. And we, the first time we had a product inspection done and the second time I thought, you know what? I don’t need a product inspection.

Speaker 2: I trust them. It was great the first time. Well, when they shipped the second batch to Amazon’s fulfillment center for me, I didn’t realize that there was a problem with the toy. It’s like an electrical toy for parties and families and kids and stuff. And all of a sudden I start getting these returns and these complaints in A to Z complaints and chargebacks and all this stuff, I didn’t even know existed. I didn’t know what a chargeback was. Someone claiming fraud. I didn’t know what A to Z. That sounds kind of good to me. No, here’s an A to Z claim against you boy. And so all of a sudden I’m dealing with a store whose health is degrading because the reviews on my seller account, the feedback is dropping, it’s plummeting and I’m getting these warnings from Amazon. I went to the bank, I took out $20,000 in cash. I put it on a table and I made a YouTube video out of it. And the videos like horribly recorded and not great editing. This is back I edited my own videos. And I didn’t know what I was doing, but I made the point this 20,000 is because I tried to take a shortcut instead of getting the right knowledge. First, I’m not saying don’t take risks. Of course, we may take risks. My vape e-cigarette store completely failed, but that was a good failure because it taught me something. And it really tested me to say, Seth, are you in this for a quick return? Or are you in this because you literally want to change your life?

Bradley Sutton: That’s a good story. I think it’s important that people can understand that. It’s not a case of, Hey, don’t try to shop around for a good price with suppliers or something, but you need to do your due diligence and shortcuts or hacks. They’re not going to give you long term sustained growth or success. So, that’s really important for everybody to hear. Now, you were hitting your stride in the, I don’t know what we call it. The late 2010s is that what we call the, you know, like it used to be so easy back in day, Hey, I’m a child of the eighties. I’m a child of the nineties. Now. I like, I don’t even know what this, what to say anymore, but so 2015, 2016, you’re doing well, other than your mindset and all of your life journey, what were some of the strategies that you think set you apart? And it could be strategies that don’t even work today, but what set you apart in those days that allowed you to scale to that seven plus figure mark pretty, pretty quickly?

Seth: Yeah. This is such a great question. And it’s very difficult to answer and I’ll explain why, but I will answer it. On one side, if I listen to everyone and everything, until I come to a very solid conclusion based on all the research and then make my decision, I will never start because there’s always something else out there. We have this guy who is learning Facebook ads at a very deep level on our team. And one day he looks at me, he’s like, man, look at all this training, look at everything I’m learning. And he goes, but these two guys are contradicting each other, but these three guys are contradicting each other, but she’s contradicting her. And my response was at some point you just have to do it and you have to take the risk and be okay that you’re going to fall along the way. Because like Proverbs says a righteous man falls seven times, fine. Get up again. You keep going, you got to show yourself grace. The other day I was doing a live on Instagram and someone said, well, where do you get your positive energy from? And I said, I show myself grace. I realize that I’ve made a lot of horrible decisions in my life and I’m still blessed. And I have to show myself that grace and receive that grace, and live in that grace and show other people the grace. The one thing there’s no excuse for is giving up. So that’s a very, I know that’s a very broad answer. Now, I give you more specific, differentiation. And we like to call it here just one dime, better initiation. So, and it has to be better initiation that is visual. So in my opinion, there are three levels of building an Amazon brand. First I, the customer must fall in love with the listing. Well Seth, I use titanium screws. They’re so cool. No one cares about your titanium screws. Show me something that visually I can see makes your product better in one photo at the very beginning, I can immediately see, well you do a two for four deal or for those of you guys who like to use the numbers on your main photo, which we can talk about, but like I’ve broken so many rules. But that’s sometimes how I learned to write the ones that work, the ones who don’t. So the first thing is visual differentiation. Can I quickly see on the main picture that your product is superior just by looking at it? I can tell by the color I can tell the thickness, the material, something is within a second. I can see it.

Bradley Sutton: Is there an example of that you can give, like, obviously you can’t, you don’t want to give away your own products, your customers probably like a specific example of a specific product. And then boom, you know that the, it was successful because of that differentiation.

Seth: Absolutely, bamboo. Back when bamboo started to explode and it was the trendy thing. You don’t have to say bamboo to know it’s bamboo. In most situations you can tell by the color and the look it’s bamboo. Now, again, that’s not the best example because that was a bit trendy and Bamboo’s not kind of settled down to people who actually know the benefits of it versus those who just jumped on the bandwagon. But that’s something that’s visual. So, there’s this one guy we have he’s one of our students, what he did Bradley is he couldn’t afford to differentiate his kitchen knives. Like he, he didn’t have the money. He was like, if I do that, I will not have any profit left. And we always recommend take that profit divided by the revenue. So you’re a minimum of 40% profit, no matter what pre PPC, that’s our rule of thumb here. And so he’s like, what do I do? I said, well, try this. What if you just do perceived value in this situation, not real value. And he’s like, well, what do you mean? I said, well, if I go to a listing and I have to, or I go, I’m sorry. If I go to Amazon and I searched kitchen knives or high quality kitchen knives. And I see two listings pop up just to give a sample. One of them has okay, packaging, but the knife looks badass. The other one bad-ass knife, but the packaging looks a lot better. You can actually get by on really amazing packaging without spending a fortune more. If you’re willing to deal with the higher MOQ that retail packaging always requires. And so all of a sudden this guy, his store has exploded needless to say, he’s a millionaire today. Now that’s not the only part that got him there, but that kind of thinking, he differentiated visually. And this goes back to the other thing I wanted to share. I want my customers to move from loving the listing, to loving the product, to loving the brand. In other words, I want them that love to transfer over to the brand. And once they love the brand, then you have an option for an exit strategy. Now, I have not done an exit strategy other than my amazing e-cigarette store and other Shopify store with 2000. So I don’t speak to that with confidence. I, we have students who’ve done it. We had one who did it for over a million and 500 thousand. And that was just from his Amazon store. He was also had a brick and mortar retail sales. But my point is if I can get them to love the brand, okay, I’ll give an example. I’m willing to share. So Sigrid fitness, it’s one of our brands and this entire brand started with value for people who love fitness, Sigrid fitness, anyone can go Google it and find it. What it does is it provides home exercises for people who are looking for, what’s funny about it. We did this before COVID-19. We didn’t know. It was like very, it was very serendipitous that it worked out this way, but it’s all about providing a love for the brand. And so, in the past and what I’ve done mostly up until within the last year or so, is I would start with love for the listing, then love for the product once they experience it. And then they love the brand, total transparency for anyone listening, I’m happy to share this for people to say, Oh, well, you’re just saying this because you’re a coach. Well, last year we lost a hundred thousand dollars in just one dime. And we’re super public about this. I’ll share all my numbers. We lost a hundred thousand. I did over four and a half million on Amazon between 40 to 60% profit margin. And just to be fair, that’s pre PPC, Bradley. So, you’re probably looking at like 20 to 35ish. When all of a sudden done net after everything else is spent, we teach because we literally love it. We literally, maybe it goes back to my days in apologetics and ministry in philosophy. I liked the engagement. I enjoy it. I think it’s fun. But my point is, if you can get someone to love your brand, because you did something for them that is a value without any product at first, then later you introduced the product. All of a sudden, you now have a flood of people who are like bees to honey going for the product because you already built the trust. And I’m not saying everyone should start that way. In fact, if I was, if you stripped me naked, took all my money, took my car, took everything and threw me on the street. I would start just like I did last time. Just with more knowledge, I would start with the product and move it up. But why not try to reverse that? Because then, you can scale faster. Your splash is bigger, your sales grow faster and you get a bigger market share instead of growing with the competition. You’re ahead of the competition before they even knew what was coming.

Bradley Sutton: Yeah, I like it. I like it. I think that’s super important. And just taking a couple minutes back, I liked that part about the differentiation. Sometimes people are just so focused on the product and to make a better kitchen knife, you might have to double the cost of it. Hey, I’m going to have a titanium handle or whatever, but to make an amazing packaging, we’re talking about maybe 40 cents more than your original packaging, but the impact is the same. If not more, you can’t really tell from just a picture, Oh, that’s titanium versus stainless steel. But you look at the background at some amazing package. And you’re like, the impression you get psychologically is like, Whoa, this brand is next level. All of a sudden, it’s just like, subconsciously, there’s this trust when you see something, I love that tip. Now let me just switch gears a little bit and talk about keywords. Something that I always try and teach in my videos is I think a big mistake that a lot of Amazon sellers make is they use tools like Helium 10 to do their keyword research and rightfully so, but they’re thinking too much about the algorithm or relevancy, or things having to do with Amazon and metrics and things. And they’re not thinking enough about why they’re searching for those keywords or who’s actually searching for those keywords. So, what advice can you give, like what do you teach your students as far as how they should approach keyword research?

Seth: Yeah, that’s awesome question. My favorite example of this Bradley is there are five major freeways that come into Austin and over 20 million people a year minus COVID-19 to pit that Dixon 2020.

Bradley Sutton: Less, I think this year.

Seth: This is the what’s next year. Mine is that there’s over 20 million people who have is Austin every year because of the music and also the growing film industry and entrepreneurial-ism and three things that I personally love. So there’s only five ways to really get into Austin if you’re coming from any other major city by car. Well, I like to think of those freeways as keywords. In other words, there are pathways to a product. So one of the first things we teach is when you launch a product, go for a product that actually has more keyword options, because as a general rule of thumb, all other things considered equal. The cost for your PPC is going to drop because there are fewer bids. The bidding is spread out amongst, let’s say as an example, a thousand people instead of a hundred people. And so if I’m– I have this amazing painting and I have a hundred people in the room and they’re all bidding on it. Well, yeah, that bid, the cost for it could go up quite a bit. But if I have a thousand people, it’s going to go up even more. But if I have multiple paintings, now some of those people would be bidding on one, some on the other, in a parcels it out. So, the first thing is I want a product and we teach this that has a lot of keyword options. And I totally understand that that also is going to depend on the category and the industry, and how long it’s been out for the cost that, and I get that, but when it comes to keywords and this is not going to be anything new, it’s not novel, but I still think it stands true, Bradley is what my competitors are using. And their title tells me a lot, not just about keywords I can use, but the psychology of the customer behind them. And in other words, if I imagine sitting next to Bobby McGee or Lucy, Pickleberry, they’re really cool people. You meet them someday and they’re searching on Amazon for a product. Why did Lucy Pickleberry pick facial cream? Why did Bobby pick a lubricated non oily facial cream? There’s a reason, one where he grew up. Two, what his needs are. Three, his gender has an impact. There’s a lot of different reasons, people search things. And when I understand that it’s like a keyword is like a path into the heart of the customer. Now, I’m understanding their motivation. And this is why we do what I think is a weird strategy. And the different coaches on my team actually teach different strategies. And that’s what I love about PPC is there’s so many different things you can do with it, but I just want to share this one other thing that your audience will really appreciate. We’ve put our long tail keywords as broad match. And this is the launch later on, as we optimize, this is going to change, but we put our long tail keywords is broad match. And then we take what we call, we made it up, but a medium tail keyword, which would typically be a three word keyword as phrase match, and then a one or two word keyword. In other words, a short tail keyword as exact.

Bradley Sutton: So, almost the exact opposite of what other people might teach. Interesting. I like it.

Seth: Exactly, exactly. And the reason it’s worked really well for me and our students and many of our coaches is if, let me just give an example. So let’s say that the keyword is, non oily face lotion. Okay. That’s a long tail keyword. If I put that in as broad match, I understand why some people are like, wait a minute, you might get a lot of other different versions pulling up and they click on it and it was a waste, shouldn’t you make that exact match? Well, the reason I prefer it to do this way is the chances of someone searching an alternate of that very detailed keyword are low. It has so many keywords in it already that I have found when it is a longer keyword, especially when you get up to like four or five words that the majority of the searches are highly relevant. Therefore, I’m using it as a hunter. It’s going to find me products. I’m sorry, it’s going to find me keywords that I didn’t even know to rank for. And that goes back to the other PPC testing I was talking about. And I know that Tim Jordan’s talked about as well, which is awesome is it’s the same concept. I’m not only using this to get sales and to get organic ranking eventually after my sponsored ranking, but I’m doing it as a hunter. It’s going to give me other keywords. And the reason it won’t cost me as much is because even though broad match is going to result in a lot of more varied results, it’s so detailed. It’s hard for someone to search something that wouldn’t meet that criteria. Now, if I go to the other extreme and let’s just say, for example, Bradley, I’m doing a short tail keyword. It’s just facial cream. So, super short tail keyword, the reason that’s going to be exact match, assuming I know there’s a high demand for it. And it’s very targeted is because exact batch costs more. It’s more expensive. Therefore I don’t want a lot of variety being searched for that keyword because it’s going to raise my ACoS. So therefore, by being shorter and more broadened meaning, but shorter in length, the only time someone searches is when I want some, the only time someone searches is when I want it to show up for them as an impression. And then they click on that and therefore the chances of them buying are higher. And again, this is how I like to launch. Then later on, we start to adjust based on our ACoS and what keywords are really doing well, which ones are just kind of sitting there, you know? And, but again, this strategy, I think it should be talked about people should be teaching this because it freaking works.

Bradley Sutton: I love it. I love it. Now we’re going to get into your 3o-second tip in a little bit, but just real quick. I want to give a message out to everybody. My producers have been telling me to do this, but guys, thank you all for listening on whatever platform you are, but if you’re on Spotify or on Stitcher or Apple podcast, please go to your podcast platform and hit the review. Let us know what you liked about this episode, or just in general about the podcast. What can we improve on, please leave us a review. No, you’re not going to get a gift card, like the bad sellers on Amazon. We don’t incentivize podcast reviews either, but anyways, just wanted to throw that out there. Let’s go back to you real quick, Seth, what we usually close the shows with is what we call the TST, or the TST, 30-second tip. I mean, you’ve been giving some cool PPCs and keyword strategies. What is something though that that’s also unique, very actionable, but that you can say in 30 seconds or less?

Seth: I believe that PPC is the number one most important thing to learn for someone who is an established Amazon seller or has been selling for a little while. I believe it’s the most important thing after you learned suppliers and sourcing, you get used to it, marketing, you get used to it, but the PPC is so key. And the number one hesitancy or fear involved in that is, Oh my goodness, I’m going to be spending money. And I don’t know if I’m going to get a sale. Am I willing to have $400 being spent on PPC a day? Just so I might get a sale. And my response is, are you doing this for today or for your future self? Because if you’re doing it for your future self, you’ll spend more. Now you get more aggressive. You start getting higher ranking. You get a lot of data, which gives you a ton of margin to optimize with what you have. And then later you’re ACoS goes down like crazy. In other words, your advertising cost of sale. And as a result, you start making money. And I believe that principle is true for every single successful entrepreneur I’m willing to lose today. I’m willing to get beat up today. I’m willing to fall on my face today so that tomorrow I can taste the sweetness of margins so that I can do the things I love with the people I love.

Bradley Sutton: I love that. That’s very inspirational. And throughout this episode, I love how you’ve carried this episode. Usually I have to really be able to pull someone out of their shell, but you make my job easy. I could have just been kicking back here with margarita is because I love interviewing you make you make my job a lot easier. Now, Seth, there’s a lot more stuff I wanted to talk to you about. We’ll have to invite you back on the show next year, but in the meantime, how can people find you on the inter webs either to get more about your story or to learn about your training, et cetera?

Seth: Sure. If you go to, we had a lot of people say, Hey, don’t use that word. It sounds like a charity. We’re not a charity, but I never want to forget where we came from. Just one and one is spelled out There’s a ton of free resources and training and help you can get right there.

Bradley Sutton: Awesome. I appreciate your time coming on the show, Seth, and we’ll definitely keep in contact.

Seth: Awesome. Thank you, Bradley. Nice to be on the show, man.

Helium 10 The Helium 10 Software Suite will allow you to gain an unfair advantage over your competitors as it was designed and battle-tested by Amazon's top sellers. So if you want more sales, more time, lower PPC costs, and if you want to discover hidden keywords your competitors don’t use then start using Helium 10 -- the same tools top Amazon sellers use on a daily basis.


One response to “#187 – PPC and Keyword Strategies from a 7-Figure Amazon Seller”

  1. that was awesome , im from pakistan ,a beginner ,super excited about your helium 10 and its data haha and amazon , it will surely help us , you guys are diong grate especially bradly you. thank you man

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