Many Amazon sellers dream of achieving 7 or even 8-figure Amazon sales. But very few achieve the impressive level of success required to become a 9-figure Amazon star player, such as our next guest, Jamie Davidson of AMZ Insiders.
In episode 28 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley Sutton, Helium 10’s Success Manager welcomes Jamie to the microphone to share the advanced Amazon strategies and Amazon selling tips he and his company used to scale and subsequently catapult their e-commerce business. Jamie also educates us on other sales channels and marketplaces to consider (some of which you may have never thought of) in order to diversify your platforms and increase your revenue potential. And finally, Jamie shares why educating Amazon sellers is an integral focus of his professional career.
In this episode, Bradley and Jamie discuss:
- 01:10 Jamie’s Amazon Selling Journey
- 03:10 How Jamie Was Able To Scale His Business
- 05:15 Jamie’s Overall Strategy – Focus On Brand
- 07:30 How They Built Their Business And Brand
- 10:55 The Ultimate Benefit Of Building A Brand – Your Real Business Value
- 11:20 Jamie’s Approaches And ROI on Social Media
- 14:25 Best Approaches And The Appropriate Timing For Building Email Lists
- 17:00 Other Sales Channels To Consider
- 20:00 Fulfillment Options To Help Manage Your Sales Platforms
- 21:05 Jamie’s Retail Strategy And Decision To Exit Retail
- 22:35 Scaling Your Business
- 25:40 Advice On Choosing Suppliers – Get Multiple Bids
- 28:40 Getting Reviews While Staying Within TOS
- 30:05 Strategies To Optimize PPC
- 31:10 Maintaining Work/Life Balance As A Busy Entrepreneur
- 33:15 Why Jamie Focuses On Educating Amazon Sellers
- 35:00 How To Contact Jamie
Enjoy this episode? If you found this episode helpful, be sure to check out our previous episodes for more insights to become a successful Amazon FBA Seller! Don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on Google Play Music!
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- Get the Ultimate Resource Guide from Manny Coats for tools and services that help successful Amazon sellers dominate on Amazon!
- New to Selling on Amazon? Freedom Ticket offers the best tips, tricks, and strategies for beginners just starting out! Sign up for Freedom Ticket.
- Trying to Find a New Product? Get the most powerful Amazon product research tool in Black Box, available only at Helium 10! Start researching with Black Box.
- Want to Verify Your Product Idea? Use Xray in our Chrome extension to validate how lucrative your next product idea can be with over a dozen metrics of data! Download the Helium 10 Chrome Extension.
- The Ultimate Software Tool Suite for Amazon Sellers! Get more affordable Helium 10 tools that can help you to optimize your listings and increase your sales! Sign up today!
- Protect Your Amazon Brand with a Trademark! Protecting your brand from hijackers is vital. SellerTradmarks.com provides a streamlined process for obtaining a trademark for your business and shielding your products from fraud!
- Ready to Get Serious About Your Amazon FBA game? Helium 10 offers monthly training for advanced level sellers.
- Does Amazon Owe YOU Money? Find Out for FREE! If you have been selling on Amazon for a while, you may be owed money for lost or damaged inventory and not even know it. Get a FREE refund report to see how much you’re owed!
Bradley Sutton: Today, we’ve got a nine-figure seller on the podcast, and we’re going to ask him about how he was able to scale to that level and what strategies helped him get there. He’s even going to tell us about a marketplace that you’ve probably never even realized you could sell on.
Bradley Sutton: How’s it going, guys? This is Bradley Sutton, and you have reached the SSP, the Serious Sellers Podcasts. Now, when I first started this podcast, I told you I would be having conversations with sellers of all means. So, we’ve had five-figure sellers, or just starting out with six figures, seven figures. We’ve had an eight-figure seller, but now we’re going to have a nine-figure seller here on the podcast. Joining me today is Jamie Davidson from AMZ Insiders. Jamie, how’s it going?
Jamie Davidson: It’s going great, Bradley. How are you doing?
Bradley Sutton: I’m doing delightful. You and I met at a Bar Mitzvah that I put on a while back. Now it is an inside joke. I was actually – we had a Helium 10 social here in Irvine, California, and Jamie flew all the way out from Atlanta to join us and hang out, and that’s where we first met in person. He’s a really great guy, and I’m excited to have somebody of your caliber here because you are somebody who has started from the beginning just like most have. But unlike the majority, you have reached this level of success. That’s so impressive. And today, I just wanted to talk a little bit about some of those journeys along the way and ask for some advice you might have for other sellers. Does that sound cool?
Jamie Davidson: Absolutely.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. All right. Now, one thing, correct me if I’m wrong, but one of the first markets you’ve gotten into was cell phone cases, right?
Jamie Davidson: That’s correct. Yep. It was cell phone cases and iPad when the iPad became big as well.
Bradley Sutton: Nice. All right, cool. Now, I think I might have told you this, you might’ve forgotten already, but my first kind of entry into Amazon wasn’t for myself. I just work for a company who was into it. I was a partner. I was like the logistics guy, but actually, they got their start on cell phone cases. Now, this was around, I don’t know, I want to say Galaxy S3, Note 2 days – so around the end of 2012, beginning of 2013. And now here’s the thing, they actually were very successful. I don’t know; maybe you’ve heard it. Have you ever heard of the Selto cases back in the day?
Jamie Davidson: Yes, I have heard of them. Yep.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. See even Jamie just heard of them. They kind of had crazy success at the beginning when they first launched the S4 case. They were selling of each color, something ridiculous, 500 to a thousand units a day. Now what had happened was my partners, they really didn’t know much about Amazon. They were just selling in general or making listings, but they just had a great idea. They’re like, “Hey, let’s do 3-D imagery and let’s make the cases. The images are like this.” And they were one of the first ones to do that. And because of that, I think they had a huge success. There was no such thing as giveaways back in those days, but just organically, they got to that level. Now here’s the thing, I obviously do not work for Selto. I don’t think there’s Selto anywhere. That model just failed. They just got so successful, but since they didn’t know what they were doing, they didn’t try and expand on it. Just gradually, it went down and down as the competition went up. But you kept going. So what are some of the things that you did? How did you still stay relevant and how were you able to scale a cell phone case business? Because this is going to be interesting to me because we failed at it.
Jamie Davidson: Sure. Yeah. That’s interesting. There’s kind of contacts from a few years back. And then, we think about it. How are we thinking about it right now in 2019 because again from kind of both frames of reference – your point of an entrepreneur and starting from scratch and build into a good size business, it’s a – form that lenses people were, “Oh, we’re of a large size, we’re really big.” From another lens, “Hey, there’s lots of big brands out there and big companies and corporations.” And from that perspective, yeah, we are. We’re definitely a good size, but there’s certainly corporations and big brands out there that, especially now that we’re moving towards Amazon, are focused on Amazon that are even much bigger than us. So it’s kind of having both lenses of how are we going to be relevant and competitive even going forward in 2019 and ’20. But then, for the point of this looking back, and obviously there are lots of people on both sides of the things, whether you’re an entrepreneur starting off or whether a few years in, or sell them 5 million, or whether you’re managing a hundred-million-dollar brand, maybe for one of the big companies. It’s kind of that whole spectrum of things. But, from us, there’s a couple of dynamics. I’ll give you just a short answer, and then you can tell me where you want me to take it. But early on, of course, the opportunity was different back then as we know back in 2012. The people that were on Amazon weren’t as competitive, but it still took lots of hustle, a lot of focus. For us, what we’ve said is we’re not, and I’ve kind of said this I think before, we’re not kind of a hack-focused company, right? We’re at a size and a scale. We’re not spending one hack here. We will implement things as we see that are worthwhile. But that’s not really what we’re chasing. We’re really running a business. And so we think of ourselves as a product-design company, a brand focused. And even for those that we coach and teach, even when they’re smaller, we tell them, “In this day and age, we think you should really be a heavily brand focused and think about it that way even when you’re first starting off.” But with that said, we grew quickly early on with a good product. Over time, we’ve had to make sure our product is really of good quality. And I don’t necessarily think people focus on that enough as they think about making money on Amazon. But once we grew quicker than what we would grow today – once we got to 5 million, 10 million – a lot of it became the systems in place. Right? So when you’re managing, we’ve got a couple of hundred employees, and we’ve got an operation in Atlanta, Georgia, with about 40 employees on the warehouse. And then, now we have a couple of hundred employees over in Shenzen, China. All just in the last couple of years. But then it becomes much more about what systems we have in place to run to manage this operation. And so, I think similarly. If you’re growing a business to $5 million or a couple of million dollars in Amazon, you have to start focusing. Because there can be two individuals and both grow a business to call it 5,000,000, and one person focused on what the hacks were, and another one’s figuring out how to run their business and how to make sure they have systems in place to manage their inventory to make sure their sales tax squared away. Kind of all of the long list of things you got to do to be successful. And, that latter description, I think it’s going to be more sustainable, but I’ll stop there and be happy to go any direction with it.
Bradley Sutton: No. Yeah. Well, one thing that stuck out to me that you just mentioned right there is about building a brand, and I know that’s one thing that Selto did. In the beginning, yeah, they had some brand recognition, because, hey, everybody – all those thousands of people – who had the S3 Selto case, they upgraded to S4, and they probably looked for a Selto case. But then that number just died down and down. They have no kind of brand building and all. It sounds like you guys did. So what were some of the things that you did to build your brand in order to stay relevant?
Jamie Davidson: Yeah. So, two things. I remember last year, Jason, one of my co-founders, fellow cofounders, we were with our team in China. We were having this discussion with our head of marketing, Michelle, and Jason, the one way we built a brand, of course, we sold a ton of product, right? So he’s like, “Hey, we didn’t go in it from that.” The strategy’s important initially, but we built a good product. We were aggressive in our marketing, and we got it out there a lot. We have two kinds of primary brands for our accessory business. But people got to know the brands because we sold a lot of it, but over time, even in the last two years, it’s different. Because of course even all the tools available or even the social platforms and everything else has evolved much differently than what we were thinking about it back then. Now as you think about Instagram and YouTube, probably especially Instagram, the last 24 months is that influencers and people see your product in action. On Amazon, the use of video too, or Amazon wants to evolve to make sure their experience is keeping up with how people are interacting with things and other platforms. So, from that perspective, we also stayed in the brand, we went up until just a couple of years ago. We really never sold in any other category other than that. Right? So sometimes, there are newer sellers or back in the day, people would teach people to just find the opportunity to sell this, sell that and all these different categories. So we stayed really focused on one category. Now we do sell in other categories. Pet supplies and some other things, but it’s totally separate brands, right? Those are separate businesses, but we really treat each one as a different category. So, I think, for one thing, we think we should stay focused on one brand. Maybe two in one specific set of categories to sell on. But then, as I said, we now build YouTube and Instagram. We hire influencers. We do all of those things aggressively. Because nowadays, as you know, Bradley, it’s just very different than even for three or four years ago in terms of how that works. And, then also we just think about it in terms of Amazon itself, right – in terms of all the benefits you get on Amazon. You’ve got to be in the brand registry, you’ve got to work to get there as quickly as possible. And that’s all about getting your brand trademarked. And with that, we always think of it’s kind of a video game. As you get into it, Amazon kind of unlocks additional features. Both once you get the brand registry, but also when you hit different tiers of sales, Amazon will offer you different marketing packages and different ways to do things that a lot of sellers don’t even realize is out there because they never got that far. Maybe they gave up, they didn’t realize that as you grow, Amazon is going to step in, and try to help those that they see as the most successful. And the kind of the last thing with that is the other reason to focus on brands because Amazon really cares about brands more than it ever did, right? So Amazon wants quality brands. Again, they’re competing first, Walmart and Target, and all the other competitors out there. So the more they can feel like they’ve got cool brands, exclusive brands, or things of quality on the platform, the more they’re going to help you. And so, all those reasons we think that’s going to…
One more thing would be when you go to sell your business because that’s where the real value is to, right? When someone looks to buy your business, whether it’s a small brand or bigger, it’s really about, “Hey, have you built out a brand?” And that’s where you’re going to get a nice payday at the end.
Bradley Sutton: All right, that’s great. Now you talked about building social media a little bit – YouTube, Facebook. What has been giving you the best ROI, I guess, or the best bang for your buck as far as social media? Will you say it’s videos, or unboxing videos or building a community on Facebook. What helps you guys?
Jamie Davidson: Great question. All this stuff has never been cut and dried for us. We debate this stuff, we have different opinions around it sometimes because it is not always easy to directly measure it as it is easy to measure. Your ACOS when you’re using the Amazon PPC platform for example. So some of this stuff is a little bit longer tail in terms of the payoff and what’s working. But what we found, it depends on your category and your product, right? So if you’re in the fitness field, or my friend Brad does some on Amazon with lady boss. They built a huge community and they sell and they’ve got a huge following because of that. That’s awesome. If you can build a following off of Amazon in some way and add value, then you can deliver your product that gives you a ton of momentum. But in some cases, like for us, the cell phone case is a little tougher that time. So, we have to – what you described, things like unboxings, people – do some fun. We tried to add some humor. We’ll do videos where people are driving over crushing phones. We do drop tests from different things. So if you can kind of–
Bradley Sutton: Put driving, hold on, hold on, paint that picture for me. What are we talking about? Do you have a video of a car crushing a cell phone?
Jamie Davidson: Yeah. We’ve had different influencers out there. They’ll drive and see if it holds up. We did that at the CES Conference last year that we were part of. So we had brand new iPhone 10s, and actually, we won with our $20 case. They kept raising them in front of a couple of hundred people and dropping them and it was videoed, and see at what point it breaks, and our case holds up.
Bradley Sutton: That’s awesome.
Jamie Davidson: So you can imagine me – you think about stuff. It’s kind of one or two categories. Do you either provide a kind of educational or insight about a product that can be a little more serious especially with people online? Is there a way to entertain people in some way with your product? And so again, that can be through just creativity, humor, whatever it may be. On Amazon itself, there’s not a lot of room for that. So speak with these other platforms. Find a way to kind of build a bit of a personality – just like you all do with Helium 10, and the work you all do just with your brand. People don’t realize that you can build kind of a personality to some extent off of Amazon and tie it back. So for us, it’s Instagram and YouTube. We do have our Amazon store over time too. So just with your brand, you’re trying to point people back to your, again, back to the brand. But yeah, those are the primary ways. We’re doing it, but we’re still learning, right? That’s only been the last probably 18 months. We’ve really been focused more on that. And so, we’re still testing new things and seeing what is going to help us get to that next level of growth.
Bradley Sutton: All right, cool. What about an email list? Building a list and being able to retarget? Do you think that that is something that is important to brands starting up? And if so, what’s the best way to build and maintain such a list?
Jamie Davidson: Yeah, that’s a good question. It’s something that we definitely leverage on because we don’t; we do sell on a lot of other platforms beyond Amazon. We’re on 30 other platforms with our products. Again, this is just scaling your brand, and then directly through our own website, through our brands. But even that being said, it’s still 90% of our cert. Yeah, probably just under 90% of our sales are through Amazon, whether it’s in the US or through the international markets. So we are a very dominant, heavily weighted towards Amazon. So, the email lists. It’s not necessarily what we’re coaching people, to begin with. It’s not the first thing we’re focused on. We’re more focused on “get your brand, be successful on Amazon.” I would say it’s probably possible, once you get past that, maybe the million-dollar mark in sales. So, you can start to kind of add that dynamic to it, because you also may add a Shopify site, distribute your brand. There are different ways; you’ve got to be careful obviously on the Amazon side – not to violate terms of service in terms of collecting email because Amazon wants to keep people within that platform and within the Amazon kind of ecosystem. But, for us, we’ve done it through warranties primarily. So, for lifetime warranties, people go to a website, they give us their email, and we build it that way. But there’s no question as you build an email over time. Again, I know as you guys know it as well too, email and then nowadays it’s evolving into chatbots and things like ManyChat where the open rates are better. For us, we have, because we constantly have new products, because there are new phones that come out and there are opportunities for us to launch new products. So we definitely leverage it for announcements. If our websites, if we have sales or special things, we can push that out there. So I think it’s nice to have it, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a strategy for Amazon from day one, but as you grow past seven-figure market marked, then definitely.
Bradley Sutton: Oh, okay. Something you just mentioned in there that stood out to me was the 30 channels. Now, I think most of us are on Amazon. Okay. Maybe a few of the other marketplaces. Next logical step. Okay. Maybe Walmart, Jet, maybe some e-bay. But Groupon, possibly. Target, it’s something new. So, they’re off the top of my head. It’s still less than 10, so without having to go through all 30 – oh, Shopify of course. But without having to go to all 30, what are some of the other channels? Actually, sellers of any level can. It’s not, “Hey, you have to be an eight-figure or nine-figure seller to be able to sell on different channels.” This is something that sellers of any level can start looking at too. And maybe there’s a couple that they’re not great humongous income generators, but it’s still income for an existing product you have. So what are some of those other channels that maybe some people aren’t thinking about?
Jamie Davidson: Yeah, and by saying that, what we do is we definitely are mostly focused. Our organization in total is really focused on Amazon, but we’ve got a guy here who’s been with us for a long time, and he focused, he pretty much manages all of our other platforms combined – all the other marketplaces. So it could be Staples or it could be an office. All of these, there’s a lot of other retailers out there that have marketplaces out there. Jet, was purchased by Walmart. And then there are some of the deal sites that you mentioned, Groupon. Those are the ones. So when we look at it, it’s not – we’ve done okay and made some money on it – it’s not our big focus. It’s more about any way we can distribute our products and have relationships in these marketplaces. Ebay is definitely one of our big ones. So, I don’t feel bad. Honestly, some of the lists I’ve got to keep up with our guy. We’ve got the list in the office for these other sites.
Bradley Sutton: Oh, that’s cool. Staples, I didn’t even realize Staples had a third-party marketplace on it. That’s just something that you don’t think of.
Jamie Davidson: Yeah. And some of them are Mexican. There are some other international places where we go where, again, this is kind of where we go back. If you can have a good category of products, then great? It doesn’t have to be amazing. It doesn’t have to be as big as our cell phone accessory business, but you just kind of niche down, and if it’s a good product then you can really just kind of heavy focus on distribution and managing that side of it. Whether it’s Amazon and then working through these other channels. Again, when you go to the exit and sell, they add a lot of dollars in value to your brand that you’ve established with some of these other marketplaces. You’ve got to be obviously smart about it and see; make sure you can be profitable in it. And, we don’t view anyone as a magic bullet, but as we added lap in the year, sometimes we were, “Oh wow, these other channels we’re pretty.” They are not massive for us, but they do add up and we have a decent profit in it. So…
Bradley Sutton: Most of these other channels, maybe in all of the other channels, you guys have to fulfill by a merchant, right? It’s not that they have their own fulfillment. Actually, maybe Walmart does nowadays, but most of these, if there’s an order that comes in, do you guys ship it from your warehouse?
Jamie Davidson: We do in some cases, but there are third-party providers that can do that for you. But if you were to chat, we use a channel advisor for some of this stuff. There’s a, I think, I’m trying to traffic some other ones. I think we’re on New Egg, Overstock, Wish. I’ve mentioned Jet already. There’s a bunch of them out there. So there are tools out there that make it kind of reduce the burden of managing these other platforms. So, there’s definitely opportunity again; it’s basically distribution channels for your products.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Yeah, that’s really cool. And I think there’s nothing wrong with dedicating most of your emphasis on Amazon. Obviously, that’s what Jamie does, but don’t get so laser-focused that you don’t miss opportunities, because if you have an established brand that might as well be distributed to other channels. So that’s pretty cool too. So, how about retail? Are you guys in any big box stores at all?
Jamie Davidson: Yeah, good question. So, we used to be, and again, this is where it differs. We know we have plenty of other brands, and now we have some with our AMZ Insiders. We have kind of some bigger companies, hundred-million-billion-dollar brands that are wanting to leverage on some help. And most of those guys are in retailers, right? They’re kind of going from retail and trying to figure out how to go to Amazon without frankly pissing off. There are retailers in Walmart cause pricing comes in. We pulled out of retail years back. We used to be in Best Buy and Walmart and even Lowe’s for a while. Some stuff. But for us, we just found we were just better and stronger at managing our e-commerce side of things. So, we just stay focused on that. The other dynamic for us, which is a little counter cause I know a lot of people out there kind of teach about the packaging and make sure it looks nice and to some extent we want that… In retail, you have to focus on a lot more. Whereas with our business, because of the amount of volume of what we do, and we really focus on keeping our things, our packaging and how it looks is as simple as possible and kind of minimalist as possible because we want it to be as cheap as possible. And with that approach, it just lends us well to kind of sell on Amazon and stays focused on that because of the retail side just a little bit of a different animal, and we didn’t really need to focus on that to grow our business.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. And then, now, speaking of growing your business, obviously, you guys were able to scale at a rapid pace. Now, it’s not like everybody has the means to scale to nine figures or even eight figures or seven figures. But I believe, I’m assuming, that the principles that you guys use as scaling are something that can be applied even as somebody tries to scale from $1,000 a month to grow their business gradually. So what’s some advice you can give from an expert like yourself on what principles to use when trying to scale?
Jamie Davidson: Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, I absolutely agree because it’s again, right now, an interesting time in 2019 where there are, like I said, big brands that are kind of coming down. I see this convergence. You have these new sellers or people that have a little bit of capital behind them. You have these big brands that are all coming towards the 3P. So Seller Central as opposed to selling at Vendor Central or Amazon buying the product from them and the platform’s the same, whether you’re $100 million brand, a big brand trying to come to sell on Amazon, or whether you’re brand new starting from zero. So in terms of that, coming from different places and there’s kind of different advantages, the things I would say is that if you’re starting small is that things come around. I mentioned this earlier. Of course, I’d say, “Stay kind of uber-brand focus even when you’re small and just mean it.” Again, that can mean just, “Hey, don’t go into five different categories, but pick something and think about how you’re going to build three or four related products.” All related so they can help each other. Kind of related products and as you go into the brand registry, you stay tight there initially. And then, the other thing that I would say from early on is — that’s why there’s a guy and we were on a Facebook community – it’s like Amazon Insiders or Amazon Insider-FBA seller or something. In that group, we had someone. They got started; they sold their business in less than two years. He’s one of the first members of the group, and he sold it in less than two years. But one of the key things he did well is that he had some experience in a retail environment, and it probably wasn’t a massive business. He might have sold, he might’ve gotten to a million, maybe a million and a half dollars in sales. But what I like about it is that when you start your business, I really do think you should think about it as if you’re going to sell your business. Right? If you’re going to sell your business within 24 months, it’s because of the way you run your business. Yeah. It just creates discipline in terms of these things about. I would say that growth is important, but it’s also important that you’ve got an accounting of your business and you understand that you’re profitable or not. Obviously Helium 10, right? Tools that you’ve got a suite in place that, hey, you’re managing your business with that. So those are the types of things I think are important along the way. You can pick up the hacks here and there, and I’m sure it probably could be from a million podcasts or other details out there. There are good things. You’re the one that, I would say in terms of when you get up and running, is on the supplier side. Well, the first time you’re out there getting samples, everything else, you’re not, maybe you don’t have a ton of leverage negotiating. But I would – once you kind of know what you’re doing and you’re coming back for your second order or third order – I would definitely spend time getting multiple bids. And even on Alibaba, now they have the thing where you can put the quote out there so everyone kind of bids on what you’re looking for. That’s one where definitely you can often find much lower prices with a quality supplier over time, and you’ve got to keep working on that because when you cut your supply and cost down by 20% or 25%, then it all flows to your bottom line, and it really allows you to sustain and grow.
Bradley Sutton: Well that’s all awesome. And you talk about is being able to lower some of your manufacturing costs. Now, I remember you had said before that one thing that helped you at the beginning was that one of your partners was actually a native Chinese speaker, and since you had gotten a lot of your products from China, that really helps. So how important is that? How much do you think that does help as opposed to trying to use some translation or chat tool with a language difference? Does it make a big difference by having either a friend or boots on the ground in China doing these negotiations for you?
Jamie Davidson: I don’t think it’s — nowadays — that important unlike during my initial time and Jason. Jason, he was my next-door neighbor and we still live close to each other, but it was an early on advantage there before. The reality is that now, I had someone call on my phone today a supplier over in China who’s just got a hold of me, and he speaks English. So most of them are from over there because they want the US market in their business. You’re going to have someone through WeChat, whatever. They’re going to be able to communicate for the most part. Now when you were in China. Yeah, there’s definitely a lot of people that do not speak English, but usually, most of these people are going to have somebody that does. Now, as you kind of get to the next level and maybe as you get to, I’ll say, 5 million plus or 10 million, the ability to go over there I think is important as well as being able to have some connections and relationships. But really, it’s not that hard because again, you can hire translators, you can help people. If you put the time and effort to it, it’s not a roadblock nowadays because, on their end, they want to make it as easy as possible to do business with you as well. But there is an advantage to actually going there and establishing that relationship. We do have suppliers; they come here and we’ll meet with them here. Maybe they come to a big event, we’ll meet him, but the bigger point is that the relationships do matter. Just like you guys with your business, relationships matter. So whether it’s in China or whether it’s here, if there’s an opportunity to meet with people in person, that definitely strengthens the relationship.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. All right, let’s do some rapid fire now just without having to talk 5 minutes about 10 different strategies. In 30 seconds or less, what is one thing that sellers can do to help get more reviews? Where do I begin? But try and think if you only had 30 seconds. Elevator pitch, you have 30 seconds to tell a new seller, “Hey, do this and it’s going to help you get more reviews.”
Jamie Davidson: Yeah. So for reviews, it’s a tricky one. This year, we’ve had to be really careful with ourselves. We used to be really aggressive with different tactics. We had to pull back on those. Make sure you have the basics in place in terms of an e-mail responder. I think Helium 10. I think maybe you have a new tool for that as well too. Definitely make sure you have those in place to the extent you build email lists, chatbots, and tools that you can use to follow up with customers, and encourage people to buy your products and/or if they have bought your product to leave reviews. So use external resources to the extent, I would say email and chatbots or ManyChats, where you interact with your customers, and then–
Bradley Sutton: Perfect. Time’s up. That’s 30 seconds. All right. Yeah, that’s very valuable. All right. Another one, 30 seconds or less. And Jamie can attest to this; I did not give him a warning. He cannot prepare for this, but sometimes the things that come to your mind the first are usually the best things. That’s where they want to tell you this. I was going to do this before, but all right, 30 seconds or less, a good PPC or good PPC strategy, or just a rule of thumb, principle, whatever, that’s 30 seconds or less, what’s going to help people make PPC more profitable for them?
Jamie Davidson: I would say with PPC, one is through review changes and everything else with Amazon. We put an incredible amount of focus on PPC this year and make sure that it’s a heavy focus for you. We have a team that does manage this for us, but it is evolving. Amazon is focused on it more. So things like the auto bids up to and down. I know we use that. We’re passing different strategies around keywords and also looking at, not only keyword but also managing the product placement and take advantage of anything else they offer you in terms of Betas or bigger packages to test more kind of PPC strategy within Amazon.
Bradley Sutton: Awesome. All right. You see, look at that guy. Even in one minute, we can get some valuable insights that are going to help you guys. One of the last things I wanted to talk about today was just somebody of your level of selling you. It usually takes a unique personality, the dedication of work. I know people at this level in different industries, and they’re just so die hard and you got to have that entrepreneurial mindset. But what happens is, and I’m going to fault for one of these days, that people with this mindset sometimes do not have the whole work-life balance thing in place. Now, you’re a family man, you’ve got three kids, I believe. Now, on your journey to nine figures and regardless when you were at seven, eight, nine figures, how did you maintain that balance between giving your family enough time and dedicated enough time to scale your business?
Jamie Davidson: Yep. It’s a good question. I would say is we just accepted that it wouldn’t be in balance at times. We just integrated it sometimes. The pluses, the minuses is that we, from back in the day, we have more ability to include them. We’re traveling more, and I’m still working while we’re traveling. It’s a balance. It’s a hard balance. We say we’re not necessarily that good at it, but it lends itself in both of my partners. Jason and Brad do the same thing. We do a lot of traveling with our family, but we also work a lot, and it’s not perfect, but you got to kind of find out what your priorities are for me and my partner as well too. For me, part of the motivation for doing this stuff is that I can be at my kid’s school during the day. I can go to spend time with them. At the same time, we are traveling a lot and doing different things, and sometimes you’re away from them, but it’s not perfect. But I do think a lot of this stuff lends itself to have a better balance. If I was working a corporate job and traveling all over the country, I would not have control or the ability to interact with the family as much.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. That’s good. That’s great advice, Jamie. Now you add AMZ Insiders. You guys help a lot of students learn more about Amazon; you do a lot of education there. Now, some might ask, “Hey, you’re making all this money on Amazon. Why spend the time to do this side thing about education?”
Jamie Davidson: Yeah. For us, two things. One is we’re not going to be in the Amazon business forever. We may exit in the next year or two. So that’s stuff we’re working on. You’re always looking for the next challenge. But, for us, honestly, it was funny because we were really hands-down focused on Amazon for all these years as an operator. And I did have a background as a CEO of an education company, and the training, and that kind of stuff. We looked at it and we said, “Man, a lot of the people that we see teaching are not — there’s some good quality, we have some good friends — but we thought, we feel we’re really qualified to help people with this. And, you all do with Helium 10 and provide great tools and do a great job. I felt that for the long-term, this seems that we should be able to help people if we can really provide value with what we know. And, so that’s really it. We think that this is a big market. There’s plenty of room for lots of people to be successful. Whether you’re running your business or you’re providing software, or you’re coaching. And we just think that we’re well positioned to stick with what we’re good at, which is teaching people what we know. We’re not trying to build software, we’re not trying to do other things, but we can help people who fall on our path. And so that’s the thought, and we do it from a financial standpoint. We think it’s a big market over time. And, recently we’ve just been focused. We’ve helped a lot of smaller people. It’s called amzsmart.com, but that’s for businesses and companies and brands out there that want our help. We’ve gotten more focused on that too. So yeah, that’s the reason we think there’s a good opportunity and we think there’s a lot of ways to go for everyone involved in this space, whether you’re a seller or a software provider. There are lots of good things happening.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. So amzsmart.com is one way that they can find out about that business. And what about the basic training is amzinsiders.com or what’s the website?
Jamie Davidson: Yeah. If you go to amzinsiders.org, that’s our workshop. You can get our free workshop and kind of walk through how we did. Follow the process that we followed and see if it’s a good fit to help. But, the amzsmart, as you said, that’s really specific for sometimes you have big companies and brands out there that want it — it’s a little bit of a different need, but that’s what that is. Yep.
Bradley Sutton: All right. Cool. Well, Jamie, thank you for taking your time out and giving us all the insight and knowledge about your experiences. And I’m sure everybody will find that beneficial, and we’ll look forward to hanging out at the next bar Mitzvah that I throw.
Jamie Davidson: Absolutely. Bradley. Appreciate it. Thank you.
Bradley Sutton: All right, thanks. Have a good one.
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