#153 – This Amazon Seller Said No to College Debt; Yes, to E-Commerce and Clever Product Bundling Tactics

Episode 153 of the Serious Sellers Podcast hosts a 20-year-old Amazon seller who already has a few e-commerce tricks up his sleeve.

Increasingly, the e-commerce world is seeing younger sellers that have decided that their life path might not necessarily include a college education. Maybe it’s the stories of college students struggling to pay off astronomical student loans. Whatever the case; a significant number of baby-faced Amazon sellers are starting to make their mark on e-commerce. 

Today on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Brand Evangelist, Bradley Sutton welcomes Paul Savage, a 20-year-old Amazon seller with a few tricks up his sleeve already. Paul employs a cleverly suggestive technique where he shows matching images of products in his Amazon listings, resulting in multiple “add to carts,” and greatly increased sales.

Here’s an opportunity to learn something from the younger generation. In episode 153 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Paul discuss:

  • 01:10 – Paul’s Mind Control Product Bundling Technique
  • 04:15 – Rooted in Nature with Zero Interest in College
  • 05:45 – No Lemonade Stand for Paul
  • 07:00 – A Tax Return Leads to an FBA Product  
  • 08:40 – A Supportive Family Makes It Even Easier
  • 10:15 – Launching Products that Solve Problems
  • 11:20 – Does the Customer Need Another Option?
  • 15:00 – The Little “Wins” Add Up
  • 18:00 – Paul’s Scroll Test
  • 20:00 – Starting with the Knowledge that Amazon is Furnishing the Buyers
  • 21:10 – Paul’s Three PPC Campaigns; Scout, Manual and ASIN Targeting
  • 25:00 – How Long Does This Take?
  • 27:00 – He’s a Fan of Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program
  • 28:45 – Be the Additional Sellers for Your Own Product   
  • 32:15 – Search Volume Game Heroics
  • 33:50 – Paul’s 30 Second Tip
  • 34:30 – How to Reach Out to Paul

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.

Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:

  • Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
  • Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
  • 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.
  • Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation. 
  • SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.

Transcript

Bradley Sutton: This 20 year old Amazon seller decided to focus on e-commerce instead of college. And now he’s using a really neat technique in his images that helps them get a lot more orders of multiple quantities. 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 e-commerce world. I’ve got a serious seller on the line today, Paul, how’s it going?

Paul Savage: Hey, Bradley. Thanks for having me.

Bradley Sutton: Thank you for coming on here. Now, right off the bat. What I like doing sometimes is starting off with your absolute best strategy before we get into your backstory and actually with you, I’m going to dictate what I want you to talk about because it’s one of the reasons why I had you on the show. I saw you teach this and I’m like, well, that is such a no brainer, but is so powerful. Can you briefly talk about your strategy about having the images with two items? You know what I’m talking about?

Paul Savage: Yeah, absolutely. So one of my most recent products, it’s a macrame shelf and it’s a pretty niche high ticket item for a very specific audience. And what I did for one of my lifestyle pictures was I actually took a picture. I do my own photography. I took a picture of two shelves above both sides of a bed in a bedroom. Right. I’m using a little bit of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) there to direct the customer to add two to their cart. And several times throughout the week, probably, more like once a day, I’ll get someone that buys two at a time. So that’s a fun strategy.

Bradley Sutton: I love it. Alright. Yeah. That’s so cool. Now, did you have any actual data on maybe before you didn’t have that and then afterwards did it increase the number of dual purchases at all or anything?

Paul Savage: So I’ve never thought to do that strategically. It’s one of those things where it was kind of an experiment that you didn’t know you were running until you were running it. I’ve traditionally always done my own photography and I’ve never done anything like that. And I just happened to have two, right, because I had two samples from my supplier, from when I was building the prototype, I’m just checking out the quality. So I said, you know what, my girlfriend really likes this. I really liked the product. We actually hung it up in our own apartment and we loved them. So it was pretty organic. I just actually had that picture in mind. They were next to our bed and I did that and I had no data before that. So, it’s the first time I’ve ever really had a product that get multiple add to carts. And then I see people in the review saying, they’re going to recommend their friends these, they love these. So yeah, that was something cool that I learned from that.

Bradley Sutton: Cool. Since I learned that strategy from you, I tested it on one, and I don’t have the actual data either, but it just seems right off the bat for this new product launch I’m doing on a case study where very similar to an existing product we already had, by including an image that had two of them. I seem to be getting more dual orders. I’m going to wait until this goes a little bit more and it gives him some details here. But I think that’s a great strategy. Now, let’s take it all the way back. First of all, is the way you pronounce your last name, Savage?

Paul Savage: That’s correct.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. I just want to be making sure it’s not fancy, like Savage, or something like that. So, how much do you get people doing the TikTok Savage dance when they hear your last name at all? You know what I’m talking about?

Paul Savage: I’m not too plugged into TikTok yet. That’s something I’ll have to probably–

Bradley Sutton: Alright. Yeah. For whatever reason, whenever I read your name, I think of– I think it’s Megan Thee Stallion has a song called Savage and it’s probably the most popular TikTok dance. Every time I read your name or I see your YouTube channel, that song gets stuck in my head, but anyways. All right. I’m just going to call you Paul. So I’m not singing that song in my head this whole time, but Paul, where’d you grow up?

Paul Savage: I grew up in Bristol, Connecticut. Home of Aaron Hernandez of the Patriots. That’s what we’re best known for.

Bradley Sutton: Ah, okay. Yeah. Alright. Hopefully things turn out a little bit better for you. Now growing up there, were you wanting to be a football player like Aaron Hernandez or what was your career aspirations as a youngster growing up there in Connecticut?

Paul Savage: I definitely was just rooted in nature as a child. I lived on a quite a bit of land and I spent most of my days outside. So, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up. And I think that worked to my advantage. I had zero conviction going into high school and even graduating. I didn’t want to go to college. I knew that for sure. I wanted to do something on my own, but I had no idea what I wanted to do. No sports interest. I liked fishing. I liked playing guitar, but as far as a career, I couldn’t tell you.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. I like it. I think the reason why I always ask these kinds of questions is because I know that there are people who have similar philosophy or upbringing as the very varied kinds of guests we’ve had. So I know there’s a lot of people who might be like that and wondering if they could ever become entrepreneurs. So, did you then not go to college at all?

Paul Savage: That’s correct. I was actually working a job. I got my first job when I was 15 years old, a little bit younger than most people. I was doing 40 hours a week at that age, but– so I was definitely didn’t have a problem with working hard. That was something I knew about myself from something my parents knew about myself from day one. I saved up $4,000 to buy my own car in high school, paid for it in cash. And yeah, I never went to college after high school. I got a job at Staples as a certified technician working on computers.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. Cool. So growing up then, is it safe to say that you weren’t necessarily one of those child entrepreneurs, like lemonade stands and flipping baseball cards and you didn’t have that bug early? Or did you have that kind of bug early on?

Paul Savage: No, that’s exactly right. I didn’t really have any real– you hear of stories of people who are making $5,000 a weekend at 10 years old. That was definitely not me. I was very normal kid and I didn’t really have any aspirations to do anything other than something that was my own, my first professional job I ever wanted to do. I remember writing this in kindergarten when they asked you, I said I wanted to be a professional bass fisherman.

Bradley Sutton: Ah, okay. Hey, that’s something new that we haven’t had on the show. So then what brought you to the Amazon ecosystem and when did this happen?

Paul Savage: So right after I graduated high school, I was doing the typical graduate thing, working quite a bit at a job that doesn’t pay very well. And simply just wanting, seeing– I grew up in an age that’s quite different from– we’re getting more and more people growing up in this age now, but it was really, I grew up around technology. So I was used to seeing people that had a lot more than myself, and didn’t have to work as hard as I thought I was working. So I was like, Oh, I want that. And then I stumbled across Amazon FBA videos on YouTube in 2017, peaked my interest and it was just an uphill from there.

Bradley Sutton: Cool, cool. So your first product that you launched, is that what you’re still selling? Is that the product you were just talking about with that dual image?

Paul Savage: No. So my first product I ever launched was in 2018 and it was a mobile game controller. It actually– I’ve started learning about Amazon FBA, and in the end of 2017 kind of died off from it for a while. Went back to work, just forgot about it. And then actually I got my tax return in 2018 for working my little job there. It was about $1,300 and I said, Oh, you know what, no excuses now. I have plenty of money to do this. At the time. There was a ton of videos about how to start with a thousand. I was like, perfect. I could start with a thousand, have 300 left to create my company. I’m golden. So that’s really where it kicked off that. And then April, I decided what I was going to sell May 1st it launched. By June 1st, I had made 15,000 in sales at 18 years old.

Bradley Sutton: I love that. I love that. So at what point did you stop working at Staples?

Paul Savage: About 24 days after that product launched.

Bradley Sutton: I love it. So what about, you’re 18 years old, I’m sure already some family members, I know some family members are always supportive, but there are old school family members. You maybe had an uncle or grandpa somewhere who’s like “not going to college? What in the world?” And then now you’re quitting your job, so did you ever get that kind of pushback from any friends and family? What are you doing with your life?

Paul Savage: I’ve had a super supportive family. My family was pretty– they kind of letting me grow on my own and not really raising me if that makes sense. I have good morals and I think my family did a good job of letting me learn mistakes for myself. I was never really pushed too hard to do anything, which was great. So my immediate family, of course my mom, my dad, my sisters, They had no problem with what I was doing. They were actually excited and pretty happy about what I was doing and the direction I was taking it, they weren’t skeptical at all. But I do remember a discussion with my grandfather who was like, you know what you should do. You should get a job working at a factory and then you can make real solid money. And I was, at this time I was an ignorant 18 year old making $10,000 a month in profit. And I was like, yeah. Okay, sounds good.

Bradley Sutton: Cool. Yeah. I guess sometimes it’s showing them your profit margins, that what you’re actually making. But I think a lot of, especially younger people, we have a lot of younger listeners on the show, even high school students. And maybe wondering like what am I going to do? The typical path is somebody graduates high school. You go to a four year university, you’re 22 years old, still perhaps living at home, and have $150,000 worth of debt they have to pay off. As opposed to you, you’ve been making have enough profit to cover somebody’s entire education every year from the time that you’re 18. So there’s no necessarily right or wrong way to do it. But I think your story definitely shows that, Hey, this is definitely a way to do it. It’s not– the college route isn’t for everybody, let’s just start talking some unique strategies that you might have had on Amazon. So flipping the script though. We’re talking about what has given you success. Is there anything that you did that made you fail at a product, or like, “Oh my God, I tried this and it was so bad. I hope nobody else does this.”

Paul Savage: Yeah. So the first real commonality I found amongst sellers that are extremely successful and sellers that are tend to be failing left and right, is that sellers that are extremely successful, tend to launch products that solve problems, and sellers that are unsuccessful seem to launch products that copy their competitors. So, right away, I kind of picked up in that mentality and I only fell into this once or twice. So my first product went extremely well. And my second product did not go well. I was like, Oh, I got this. I’m super good at this. I’m 18 and launched a product. Nope, no problem. I’m killing it. I could do this just 10 more times. I’ll be a millionaire. That’s not really how it works. So I just started launching– I launched it into a really competitive market where I just deploy the same strategy that I know how to do bundled. But what I didn’t realize was that there was listings with thousands of reviews that had tons of momentum. And I was coming in with a bundle that anyone could care less about that they could easily get on page one as well. Thinking that just because I had had a success before that everything I touched was going to turn to gold. So yeah, I think people need to realize about going into markets, is that I always teach this one question you should ask yourself, does this customer need another option? And if you can’t honestly say that they need another option, it’s probably best to just keep hunting because there’s over 70 million products on the Amazon. I always try and launch products that Amazon is going to boost me to the top. Instead of me having to fight Amazon, fight my way to the top. I want to be propelled. I want Amazon to drive traffic. I want them to accelerate my growth instead of trying stunt my growth.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. So you’re looking for products that solve a need, how do you do that? How do you find a product? How do you know– how do you differentiate something that solves a need where one that doesn’t?

Bradley Sutton: Sure. So I love the saying, “to know is to sell.” So you can’t sell products that you don’t know what the product is solving, what that customer is buying that product for. So to me, I love objective data analysis. I never want to leave anything to chance. Chance will come in and it’ll play its role no matter what, but for me to make a decision, I want to use principles that are backed by historical data. So I want to go into keyword research tools like Magnet, and I want to go and I want to look for trends of customers looking for things. And then when it pulls up, a search term is all on Amazon. I want to see that the results that those customers are looking at are poor quality results. So I want to see what I call lack of high quality competitors. So I’ll give you an example, this product that we’re talking about with the dual orders, right? The macrame shelf. When I found that market, I’m not looking for anything extravagant. I think that’s where people go wrong too, is they try and blow it out of the water with every single product. You don’t need a hundred thousand search volume to make a living off of one product. This customer was searching where a thousand customers per month are searching for macrame shelf. I remember when I found was actually only 800 and it’s been growing as a trend. And, but when you click onto macrame shelf, you get to Amazon and you see all these awful, awful listings, no one had a white background. We’re talking fulfilled by merchant looking listings, eBay looking listings. I was like, Hey, that’s only 800 customers. But there’s a few other search terms that people are looking for this product. And that’s enough for me to say, if I put a professional listing that blows everyone else out of the water here, I’m going to be able to grab a majority of the market share here. And then that’s what I mean, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. When I’m saying, I want something that Amazon’s going to accelerate to meet at the top. They want to provide their customers with very, very good results, right? Amazon’s never going to show awful options to customers unless they have to. So if you come in with a fully optimized listing, fully optimized photography, a strong PPC campaign, right? Your competitors aren’t going to stand a chance. And it is the fact that there’s a lack of competitors that makes it so easy to come in and dominate like that.

Bradley Sutton: How do you get your message across to the customers though that your product really does solve this problem? Cause you can have the product that solves a problem, but if you’re not conveying that in the messaging, it’s not going to hit what your target is. So are you doing it mainly in the images, in the title, in the bullet points, all of the above, what are you doing?

Paul Savage: I’d like to rephrase that a little bit differently. So it’s not that I’m solving a problem for this customer because they’re really only looking for a piece of home decor, right? So it’s not like they’re using this as a tool. It’s not like they expect some utilization out of this product. It’s really just, they’re looking for a specific product. And the problem that I’m solving is that the results are not good. So I’m actually solving the problem of becoming the first high quality competitor. I like to go for these markets that are very easy to get into. And that’s one of the strategies that I liked so much because all these little wins really add boosts to your confidence with launching more products. So it’s lie, instead of trying to go into a market where there’s fundamentally something wrong with a product and you have to spend $10,000 on a new mold and you have to rebuild it. And then on top of that, the customer doesn’t even know it’s better until they purchase it. That’s a little bit of an issue. And now you have a marketing issue. How do you get that across? So to your exact question, I would say don’t be so focused on solving problems, just be focused on providing a high quality product, because there’s two different differentiation styles, right? There’s differentiation to the customers. Once they get it in their hands, that’s something like packaging, insert card, quality of the product, but then what’s going to get them to buy it, it’s called value capture. So you have value creation and you have value capture. A lot of entrepreneurs and creative people are really good at value creation, right? We could spot an issue and say how to solve it, but we’re lacking ingenuity is in value capture. How do we get the customer to actually purchase our product? So I’m not actually looking for fundamental issues to solve. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel. I don’t even want to reinvent products. I actually want the products and going to be selling, to be pretty much good from day one. I just want to solve the problem of they’re looking for, it’s not being supplied. That’s really what I’m looking for. And once you have that clear end goal, you can easily go look for that. Hey, what’s something that a customer is searching for that there’s low quality results for. I could come in and be the higher quality results, simply with amazing photography and professional branding.

Bradley Sutton: How do you qualify or quantify that you’re doing your research, you find a good keyword using Black Box, Magnet, Cerebro, whatever. And what’s your go, no go metrics that you’re looking at to say, Hey, yes, there is opportunity. Or, yeah, this is a problem that I can solve, or this is a need that I can fill. But the competitors who are ready there, they’re doing a pretty dang good job. So I’m going to pass on this. So how do you decide, how do you swipe left or right when you do this?

Paul Savage: Yeah, sure. So that’s really important, right? I always say that product research is in the hard part product analyzation, and product development is the hard part. Knowing whether to say yes or no is ultimately what’s going to make you successful in this business model. We can all look around this idea. I’m sure you could look around to your– look around this room and find a product idea instantly. So product research isn’t hard. So quantifying what to sell, there’s something very specifically I’m looking for. So I want at least about a thousand customers to be looking for my product, right? If there’s 25 people looking for it, it’s not worth my time. Okay. So at least, right, at least a thousand for the main phrase, if we could get around that number, then that’s where I’ll start from. So generally with research, I’ll start looking for phrases that a customer is looking for at least a thousand times per month, okay? And then from there, when I go to that market, Amazon’s going to give themselves away, right? Because we know how powerful Amazon’s algorithm is. If there’s a lot of listings for something and they’re high quality, where are they going to be at the top? Are they going to be hidden on page 10? They’re going to be at the top, right? If there’s high quality results, they will be ranking for that product. So all I’m going to do is– I call this the scroll test. Here’s where we can get into some real metrics here. When I scroll through the search result of say, macrame shelf, I searched that on Amazon. Now I’m looking at the results. When I scroll through there, I want to see that there’s less than 50% occupancy of good quality listings on that page. And what you’ll find a lot of the time is Amazon gives itself away in the sense that there might be random things ranking for that search term that aren’t the right product. So if Amazon doesn’t have enough results to even fill up one page, then you’re looking at a possibility, okay? That’s where I’ll generally start from.

Bradley Sutton: Yeah. I like that. It’s very similar to what we saw and why we had so much success, for example, with the coffin shelf in Project X. I remember when Tim Jordan and I were looking on this high search volume keyword of coffin shelf. And then we see on the very first couple of lines, there’s skulls and books and things that have absolutely nothing to do with the coffin shelf. We’re like, Holy crap. There’s definitely some opportunity here. So I think that’s a great piece of advice. Now, you’re talking about being on the top of page one, you’re talking about making sure that you’re visible to customers. We all know that PPC, as you said, plays a role in that, but is that your only method of being able to get visible in front of customers when you launch a product? Or what are your methods that you’re using for yourself or that you teach your students for helping to increase their keyword visibility or ranking in organic search on Amazon?

Paul Savage: Sure. I think one of the reasons that we all sell on Amazon is because they’re delivering traffic for us. We’re going to deliver 95% of our traffic. Let’s just go start selling a website, right? Because then we’ll avoid all those fees. We could use a different fulfillment centers. It’s not really the issue– what I want is for Amazon to deliver traffic directly to me. So what’s important about– and that’s why I start from knowing that there’s customers looking for this on Amazon, right? Notice that’s not something I’m saving for building my listing. Hey, let’s go see what search terms are getting socialized so we could use those to rank, right? No, I start from this standpoint of knowing exactly what my customer is looking for. So then if I know exactly what they’re looking for, and I know that there’s a lack of quality competitor’s ranking for that. And it’s going to be very easy for me to take a very high quality photo, put it on the front of my listing, optimize my listing, and then rank it using only PPC. So I take a very organic approach to getting to page one. I just use PPC and pricing strategies.

Bradley Sutton: Interesting. Do you have a different strategy for PPC during “launch phase,” as opposed to what your maintenance is? Are you going super aggressive in the beginning or basically what you start off with your PPC is how your campaign structure is for the lifetime of the product?

Paul Savage: Yeah. I could lay out the exact structure right now. I have three campaigns at the launch of every product. One is going to be an automatic, low bid campaign. So you’re basically going to tell Amazon, Hey, go find me a bunch of customers that like this product, you do the work. I’m not going to tell you what to do, but then I’m going to set my bid for that for something like 25, 30 cents. All right. So we’re not bidding a dollar, we’re not bidding $2. We’re really just trying to capture a lot of long-tail keywords with that. Because with the nature of that bid structure, 30 cents, 25 cents, you simply– you won’t show up as a top result for competitive keywords. So all that campaign is going to be able to do is go find you a bunch of unorthodox keywords or maybe misspellings or long-tail keywords that a 30 cent bid would have some appeal to a customer or even make it onto page one. So I think of that like my scout campaign, that’s going on and it’s collecting me data. That’s going to actually collect me exactly what my customer search terms are going to be. And that’s a little bit more for maintenance later on. We’ll talk about search terms. For my second campaign, I’m going to have a manual campaign. This manual campaign is going to be highly targeted and it’s going to be just about 10 keywords, okay? Very big on not wasting ad spend, trying to rank for things where my product doesn’t belong, okay? We happen to have something in common here. I’m selling a macrame shelf. You’re selling a coffin shelf, the shelf nature of our product isn’t common. So it would be wise for us to both try and dominate our own niches instead of trying to rank for shelf. Would you agree?

Bradley Sutton: Absolutely.

Paul Savage: So I don’t think it’s wise to take a list of 125 keywords and dump them all into a manual campaign. I’m going to go, okay. Hey, show me everything that has the word coffin and shelf in the keyword phrase or the word coffin and decor in the keyword phrase. And let me just– let me take that most hyper-targeted keywords that are very specific to my product. So now I know these customers are interested in my product. If my product doesn’t sell, it’s my fault. It’s the product’s fault because these are the right customers right here. I know that. So that I’m going to make a broad in a phrase ad group for each of those, and it’s going to be these same exact keywords. Phrase is just a little bit more targeted in the broad, almost like another scout. So that’s going to help me to collect more customer search terms. And then lastly, I’m going to do an ASIN targeting campaign. So I want to take just about five to 10, again, very targeted. Cause if we have a lot of competitors, you probably picked the wrong product. So you really should only have a handful of good competitors you would even want to rank against. So I’m going to take a list of my competitors’ ASINs, and I’m going to show up as the number one spot underneath their listings in the sponsored products below that listing. So what that does, a lot of people don’t realize this, a lot of sales are going to come off of those sales pages. Okay? So I think something crazy. I don’t have the exact number, but it’s almost 80% of sales are going to come off of product sales pages, not off of search results. So rarely does a customer click onto one product and immediately buy it. We’re going to say about 20%, just for the sake of this conversation, and the other 80% of the time they’re scrolling through– before you can even make it to the reviews, you end up looking at more products. Amazon’s very good at delivering you options, or they don’t want you to leave without buying something. So I want my product to be showing up underneath my competitor’s products. So if I truly did my duty of creating a perfect listing, then I’ll be instantly more appealing to that customer than this low-quality listing. And so I could actually steal my competitors’ sales right from under them. And that’s my strategy for PPC. Those three main campaigns right there. That’s been very successful for pretty much everything I needed to do.

Bradley Sutton: So then, how long in your experience does it take using this kind of organic method for you to show up towards the top of page one, what’s the fastest or what’s the slowest it’s taking?

Paul Savage: Sure. So this is where market research initially and product research really comes into play. If you’re trying to rank a product, let’s say French press, right? You’re trying to rank that product. You’re probably looking at a few months of hard PPC spend or a month, at least before your organic listing is showing up, right? You could get your sponsored listing wherever you want it before your organic listing is showing up in those pages. But honestly, for me, within the first week for a lot of these products, if they meet the criteria we discussed in the beginning of this podcast, they should be ranking within just that grace period of about two weeks.

Bradley Sutton: Interesting. That’s good. That’s good to know. Now how much of a factor does reviews play in it? Some people say, Oh no, you shouldn’t turn on PPC until you get at least a few reviews. I personally don’t agree with that, but what about you? Do you wait at all to start your PPC until you can get some reviews? And the secondary question is, how are you getting your initial reviews? Are you using early reviewer program. Are you sending email automation to people asking for reviews? What’s your methodology there?

Paul Savage: Yeah. So I personally don’t think that you should wait to turn on your PPC. For me, if my listing is good, I don’t think, there’s plenty of customers that personally bought things that haven’t had reviews before and where this works especially well is in these markets that we’re talking about, where there’s already a lack of high quality competition. So maybe just a very good trustworthy looking listing will be enough for them to purchase it. They might not need that social proof. One thing that I like about a listing when it has no reviews is at least on mobile, you can’t really tell, you almost forget that it doesn’t because it doesn’t say be the first to leave a review until you scroll down and it’ll over 50% of sales are going to come from that. So I feel it almost goes over a lot of customer’s heads when you have none. But yeah, I launched without PPC, without reviews. I think it’s important just to get customer traffic and yeah, people looking at my listing and then methods for gaining reviews. I like to use the early reviewer program, $60 for five reviews, at least at the time we’re talking about this. Amazon’s kind of get those reviews for you essentially. And if you have a high-quality product, you shouldn’t be worried about what their star rating will be. They should be five stars. And then after that, I always turn on some email promotions. All right. So I want to set up a sequence so that once my customer receives their product, I am making sure that I’m sending out an automated email to say, Hey, thanks for ordering from us. Would you mind leaving a review? Of course, staying within TOS when doing so. And then of course, what was really nice is last year they added the request review button and manage orders center. So I use that button and that works phenomenally. Honestly, if you– I feel like people get too caught up on how to get reviews instead of just making sure you’re getting enough sales. If you get a lot of sales for a high-quality product, the reviews will come.

Bradley Sutton: In general, there are different schools of thought as far as building a brand on Amazon, or just trying to focus on the next shiny thing and just write wave of demand until it dies and then moves on to the next thing. So what about you, what’s your strategy going to be this year? Are you trying to build a brand and expand out on that shelf to another kind of home decor products? Or are you just always on the lookout for whatever there is demand regardless of what niche it’s in?

Paul Savage: I think both strategies work. Okay. So I don’t have so much conviction in my home decor brand that I wouldn’t sell a tool. Actually, one of my newest products right now, is a tool or tools on home improvement or that I wouldn’t sell seasonal items for summer or Q4 oriented products? I think what a lot of people do is they self-sabotage though in thinking that every one of their products needs to be new and exciting. So a lot of people will lock down one good product, okay. 10K a month, 20K a month, whatever sales, right. They have this one product. And then for some reason, they go and they just completely move gears and they try and sell something else. It’s like you were doing so well there. Why don’t you take 10 out of the first 60 listings on that page, in that niche, right? There are going to be more listings. And those other listings are going to sell well as well. It’s unavoidable, right? There’s a growing demand for your product. There are more sellers that are going to come in. Why don’t you be the additional sellers that come in? I’m really big. And this is a lesson that I didn’t learn until really recently. And this is something that I’ve noticed in reflection upon how my Amazon business has gone is the successful product that I’ve had. I’ve wished that I would have to take them more seriously and built a brand around them. So we’re talking about myself here, a seller who’s been up to this point doing the opposing strategy of really bouncing around and just seeing what works, right. We’ve talked about party supplies. We’ve talked about a shelf. We talked about tools, right? So I’m coming from a background of someone being that way of selling, but what I’ve noticed is that I’ll walk into these, not literally walking, but I’ll be doing research and I’ll find a market where it’s like, wow, there’s one seller in this market that has 16 listings in each one of those listings ranged from five to 15,000 a month. They’re doing it right. All you have to do is make a slightly, you know, different size shelf. And then you’re in a different shipping tier. And then you can make a different color shelf and then you can make this right? Use that existing knowledge you have of that audience, right? You already have optimized PPC data for your product, make a variation of your product and launch that and then make five more and launch those, right? Make sure your– I want to take 50% market share whatever I’m in if I’m in a small market and then maybe move on to something that’s new and exciting. Yeah. Don’t give up on it. A branding opportunity just because you had one success.

Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Okay. Before we get into your 30-second tip, I want to play the– something we do with our guests called the search volume game. And, every time that I start on a recording, I’m thinking of what keywords am I going to pick. And right before we hopped on, you were asking me about how I stay awake after staying up until four in the morning, writing a blog. And we’re talking about caffeine. And I remember you had a video a while back about how you used to be addicted to coffee or something like that. And so I’m thinking some caffeine-related keywords. So how this works is I’m going to give you three keywords that are searched for on Amazon that have caffeine in it. And I’m going to give you three search volumes. Obviously don’t have bang it open, no cheating. Let’s just see if you can match the search volume to the keyword. All right. So the three keywords are caffeine pills, caffeine gum, and caffeine powder. All right? The three search volumes from lowest to most is one of these keywords is searched for about 3,700 times a month. Another one’s about 6,000 times a month. And the one that is searched for the most is a whopping 23 or 24,000 searches per month. So which one is least to most, again, the three keywords are caffeine pills, caffeine gum, and caffeine powder.

Paul Savage: I would say that the caffeine gum has the least amount of searches.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. And the other two?

Paul Savage: Caffeine pills, I’m going to say have the highest search volume and caffeine powder has 6,000.

Bradley Sutton: Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. All right. Wow. This is like two out of the last three episodes, somebody got it right. And that’s after previous, only 10% of people actually get them all right. So you got them exactly right. Caffeine pills are 24,000. Caffeine powder, 6,000. And caffeine gum, 4,000. So what is this– Did you give up coffee yourself and caffeine or do you still do caffeine?

Paul Savage: No. So I tried to stop my dependency on caffeine. We should put it that way. I was someone who was drinking three, four lattes a day. And that’s– whatever, 400, 500, 600 milligrams of caffeine every day. So I had a dependency on it, for sure. And I was getting– not feeling too good if I didn’t have it. And I was like, Whoa, okay. If we just rephrase this, if this was any other substance, right. I was drinking four or five times a day. And then I didn’t feel good when I didn’t have it. We would call that an issue. So I was like, why is this any different? Right. Okay. I need to drop the dependency here. the brain is the best chemical factory in the known universe. So I’m going to depend on that to create my energy. And it’s been phenomenal. So I’m not– by all means. I’m not against having a coffee. I and my girlfriend will actually treat it like a treat now. So we get a coffee once every Saturday. And that’s my one little caffeine treat for the week, but yeah, I dropped it as a daily thing.

Bradley Sutton: Cool. Now let’s go ahead and get into our “TST”, which stands for TST, 30-second tip. You’ve given us a lot of tips throughout this episode, but what is something that you think you can say, and in less than 30 seconds, that’s maybe unique to you and your students, but very actionable and very valuable for our listeners.

Paul Savage: Okay. Here we go. So what I would look for is I would look for a product that has– there are three versions. There are three exact things you need to know. Okay. You need to have search volume, your exact search term needs to have search volume. I would say over a thousand. The second thing that you want to look for in a high-quality product, cause you want to look for the fact that it’s going to have a lack of high-quality competition. The third thing that you want to look for is the fact that you’re going to be able to increase your perceived product value over your competition to make it a no brainer to purchase your product.

Bradley Sutton: Awesome. All right, Paul, thank you so much for joining us today. If people want to reach out to you for more of your strategies or see some of these videos I refer to, how can they find you on the interwebs?

Paul Savage: Sure. @PaulJohnSavage on any social media and Paul J. Savage on YouTube.

Bradley Sutton: Awesome. Paul, I’d love to reach out to you next year around this time, and let’s see how you grew out that shelf product and also what other products that you’ve launched in the next year or so.

Paul Savage: Sounds good. Thank you for having me. I’m looking forward to it.

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One response to “#153 – This Amazon Seller Said No to College Debt; Yes, to E-Commerce and Clever Product Bundling Tactics”

  1. Hey Everyone,

    I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast, I was happy to have received the invite and had a great time chatting with Bradley about my favorite amazon fba tactics.

    Please feel free to ask any questions about anything we covered in the podcast, I’ll be checking in to answer them!

    If you don’t have a question I just have one favorite to ask of you, comment your favorite part of the podcast!

    Wishing you the best of luck selling on amazon this year,
    Paul J. Savage

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