Episode 65 – Expert Amazon Product Research Advice from the Founders of Nine University
For every high-level athlete, the ball has to stop bouncing at some point.
For Kale from Nine University and KT Nine, that moment came when he met the woman who would become his wife, and decided he wasn’t about to leave her to play basketball overseas.
That ball hadn’t stopped bouncing for very long before Kale would meet someone else who would ultimately help him change the way he, and now a great many happy customers, were going to be able to live their lives.
Today on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Customer Success, Bradley Sutton takes his show on the road to speak with both Kale and Taylor of KT Nine and connect the dots between that bouncing basketball, Amazon Product research and Nine University’s 100 employees and 4000 customers.
This is a story of how a new seller using FBA can go from making YouTube videos from a leaky basement apartment to running a small Amazon-based eCommerce empire.
First though, Kale is going to need to meet his partner and investor in his Amazon selling idea.
As Kale tells it, “Five minutes after starting my job in a windowless cubicle, I started Googling – how to make money sitting at my desk.”
We all know the first thing that was going to pop up in his search results, and he got busy selling on Amazon with FBA.
He had a great idea for a product and started moving forward, making good progress.
At that point, Kale met Taylor at church while weaving tales of Amazon success and certain eCommerce world domination.
Taylor wanted in.
Taylor had been majoring in entrepreneurship in college and was spending his time traveling on sales trips. Selling was in his blood.
Kale however had a very clear idea of his path and confidence in his product ideas, and said no.
Still, everyone knows that money is behind an Amazon seller’s ability to scale and when Taylor instead approached his soon to be partner about an offer of financial investment, Kale said yes, and the partnership was off and running.
By then, they had two products that were well on their way to carving out a healthy little chunk of Amazon financial rewards.
That is, until they received a cease and desist letter for both of their products. Essentially the eCommerce version of 100 miles per hour down to zero in the blink of an eye.
6 months later they were making 80 thousand per month, had established a well-received YouTube channel, and started Nine University, a product photography company, as well as KT Nine.
They both had promised each other they wouldn’t be one of those Amazon sellers who offer courses and “rip people off.” But, after seeing the life-changing effects of the financial freedom that selling through FBA afforded their customers, they had a change of heart.
Now, a quick look at their website shows pages of ecstatic Amazon sellers grateful for their assistance.
Listen in and find out how they have been so successful, why robots might not take over the world of customer service, and what’s behind their idea that PPC advertising is just a big brain algorithm at work.
In episode 65 of the Serious Sellers Podcast Bradley Kale and Taylor discuss:
- 02:30 – The Ball Stops Rolling for Everyone at Some Point
- 03:30 – A Big Yes to a Crucial Investor
- 05:40 – Their Products Crash and Burn
- 07:30 – The Common Denominator for Amazon Success – Tenacity
- 10:22 – Cool K9 Student Stories
- 15:35 – A Different Kind of “Successful” Amazon Seller with a Course to Sell
- 17:55 – Ideas are Cheap
- 19:40 – Execution + (A Lot of Time) = Success on Amazon
- 21:30 – Recording YouTube Videos in a Leaky Basement Studio
- 23:55 – KT Nine’s 7 and 7, and it’s Not a Drink
- 26:00 – When You Add in 200% ROI, Now You’ve Got Something
- 29:00 – PPC (Pay per Click) Strategy Tweaks
- 30:15 – Advertising Simply Represents Big Brain Algorithms
- 31:53 – PPC Doesn’t Work without Reviews, Great Images and an Optimized Listing
- 33:55 – Crazy Engagement Numbers
- 36:00 – Timeless Business Funnel Ideas that Still Work
- 38:20 – How to Contact These Guys
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.
Bradley Sutton: Today, we’re going to learn about a simple strategy for choosing products that sell on Amazon. It’s so powerful that one gentleman used it to go from being homeless to a thriving a six-figure business. It’s so powerful, we even added it to our own Helium 10 software. Say what?
Bradley Sutton: Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Serious Sellers’ Podcast by Helium 10. I am your host, Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that is a completely unscripted and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the ecommerce world. For the very first time, I am actually recording this podcast at a remote location. I am not in the state of California. I am in the state of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh to be exact, and I am at the office of Kale and Taylor. Kale. Taylor, how’s it going? What’s up? Thank you for inviting me here.
Kale: Dude, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh. Is this your first time?
Bradley Sutton: I think I’ve been here once before, but it must not have left a lasting impression, because I don’t really remember it.
Kale: All he’s been doing all day is blowing our minds with Helium 10 features. I actually kind of feel like a vegetable. I lost all my cognitive function after he exploded my mind about Helium 10.
Taylor: Dude, it’s crazy man. Where we’re out here. We’re so glad that you’re here obviously. Bradley, thank you for coming out. Obviously, we have this thing going on, and you’re helping us out, so I’m super happy that you’re here.
Bradley Sutton: It’s great to meet. This is actually the first time I’m meeting you in person. Now, it’s not my first time seeing you, because you guys have been bombarding me with Facebook ads for as long as I have been involved with Amazon. You guys are like superstars, in my opinion. You guys have the best ads that I’ve seen on Facebook, and I definitely want to talk a little bit about that later and what you guys have done, but I want to start back with what I always like doing and going to your origin stories. I know very little about your origin stories. First of all, it’s the first time I’m with somebody who’s taller than me. So how tall are you?
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, I’m a shorty compared to you, but you were a division one basketball player.
Kale: Yeah, I played basketball at Northwestern University in Chicago, Drake University in Iowa, and then Duquesne University here in Pittsburgh. I met my wife here and decided to stay. It’s kind of the whole thing. Do you want me just to tell the whole story really quick? I know people are busy.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, I want to hear it.
Kale: Thirty-second interesting story.
Bradley Sutton: Go ahead. You can have a little bit longer than 30 seconds.
Kale: Okay. I played basketball—you know, very high level. I wanted to play in the NBA like pretty much everyone wants to do, and at some point, the ball stops bouncing. For me, it stopped bouncing when I met my wife, and I thought, “I can’t go overseas and leave this woman.” I stayed here and got a job as a business consultant at Duquesne University, helping people start businesses, which is kind of ironic considering what we do now. But five minutes into the job I’m sitting in my windowless cubicle. I’m sure many of you guys listening have been in this position where you’re working for someone, and you’re not making enough money, and you’re sitting there, and you’re in a windowless office, and you’re like, “What the hell am I doing with my life?” And so, I started googling online “how to make money at my desk.” Right? And so, I find Amazon FBA, like many people listening to this podcast have done, found that it’s a legit business model, found that you can actually make money. I started selling cornhole lights. First product was cornhole lights, did $20,000 a month in my first three or four months, and that’s how I met Taylor. I actually, showed him the products at church.
Taylor: Yeah, it was funny. Kale and I met at Church, and Kale was at church kind of talking about this Amazon business, this thing that he had started, and it was crazy because I’ve majored in entrepreneurship in college. The job that I was working at the time—I was actually traveling all the time. I was gone three, four, five days a week doing sales. And I heard Kale talking about this, and I asked him to go to dinner with me. We went to dinner, and I asked him all these questions about Amazon, like, “How are you doing?” “How’d you find your product?” All that kind of stuff. And basically, at the end of that conversation, I literally asked Kale, “Hey, Kale, could I come and do this with you? Are you looking for a partner?” And Kale, what did you say?
Kale: I said, “Hell no.”
Taylor: He really did. He said, “Absolutely not.”
Bradley Sutton: You said, “Hello no” in church?
Taylor: Oh, no. It was at dinner.
Kale: Thank goodness it was at dinner. I just didn’t want to give away equity. I thought I had something crazy going.
Taylor: And then, the next question was, “Okay, well can I invest?” And at that point in time, especially people starting an Amazon business, the only thing that ever holds your growth back in an Amazon business once you kind of start to understand it is cashflow, so you can launch new products, you can reinvest more and restock, all that kind of stuff. And so he said, “Yes.” And I invested some money. Kale at that point, he had cornhole lights up. He’d actually launched a second product that was these infant pillows.
Taylor: A side-sleeping, infant pillow.
Bradley Sutton: What year are we talking about right now?
Taylor: Fall of 2017 yeah. Fall of 2017 he had had those two products up, and so basically those two products, he was doing 20,000 to 25,000 a month. We did all this paperwork, like LLCs and signed documents and everything. Right. And then, I’m not kidding, the day after all of the work was done, my money was in Kale’s bank account. All the investments were done. We got a cease and desist, because cornhole lights are patented. And then, the FDA put out a thing about how you’re not supposed to put any infant pillows into cribs. And Amazon took all those listings down too.
Kale: Everything crashed and burned. But I had a business partner, great news there.
Taylor: From there on out, we obviously went and built our Amazon business. Our claim fame I guess is that by January, so it was right at six months from when I had come, we hit 80,000 in revenue a month. Six months it took us to get to 80,000 a month.
Bradley Sutton: How many products was that 80,000 revenue?
Taylor: I think at that point, it was 11. Right? It was like 11 or 12. We can talk about what we did and how we did that in a second. But basically, we did that. And then, we went on to somebody’s YouTube channel. People started hitting us up. We started our own YouTube channel. We started our own program. We started a company that does product photography. Listen, I don’t know if I can do a promo. I don’t want to say any names, but Bradley just told me I could. We started our YouTube channel, KT Nine for Kale and Taylor, quit your nine to five job. We started a company called Honey Badger Boost that does product photography listing optimizations. We started a course around Amazon FBA called Nine University. And now, literally a year and a half later, we’re here sitting in an office talking to the best software company in the world.
Kale: Yeah, it’s crazy.
Bradley Sutton: That’s awesome. I love that story. I have interviewed a lot of people. I know you guys haven’t listened to every episode of the podcast, but it just really boggles my mind that people can come from so many different backgrounds and come to the same kind of success because that’s the bottom line. There is no prerequisite or some special degree you need to have in order to give you a chance to succeed on Amazon. You can take a salesman; you can take a basketball player. I’ve had people who are engineers; I’ve heard of people who were almost homeless, and they end up making money on Amazon. And the common denominator? You guys have a lot of students. What is that common denominator? Because, again, it’s not some special education. It’s not your genes. What’s the common denominator for success to help you guys get there and that helps a lot of your students get there?
Kale: Literally, if I had to call it one word that just came to my mind is “tenacity.” They just can’t stop working hard. They can’t stop going for it. They refuse to compromise. They refuse to actually settle for the life that 99% of the world has settled for. Those are the type of people we look for, and Taylor kind of played it off cool. We have this small little course or whatever, but the truth of the matter is that Nine University has a hundred employees. We have over 4,000 clients, 4,000 customers. Our people will make over $8 million this year on Amazon. And the ones that are doing the $8 million, I can tell you right now, they all have same thing. As I said, they have tenacity. They came into the program; they didn’t know what the heck was going on. Some of them had already been selling on Amazon, but still didn’t know what the heck was going on. Kind of like I did at the beginning, and they refused to stop, and now they’re just reaping the rewards. It’s honestly humbling to watch. We don’t do it for the money at this point. We do it to kind of see these people crank, right? Make money. It’s amazing!
Taylor: It’s work ethic. That’s all it is. If you can get up in the morning and you can work and you can smash any objections, smash any excuses and just do it. It’s work ethic; that’s what it is. Like you said, it’s not about knowledge. It’s not about this. Guys, I mean, obviously Bradley talks about this a lot, but we’re talking about Amazon here, a fricking trillion-dollar company. And guys, look at the stats, look at Jeff Bezos shareholder letters. Go and look at the fact that 60 to 70% of every single thing sold on Amazon is sold by a third party. Go look at the fact that if you look at the stats and Jeff Bezos’ shareholder letter, the third-party sales is growing way faster than first-party sales, and Amazon is investing money into that. It’s where I believe I could be misquoting this, and I apologize if I do. Just yell at me if I misquote this, but I believe on Jeff Bezos’ last shareholder letter, he said that 53% of Amazon’s profit comes from the third-party sellers’ group. And so that’s not saying, obviously Amazon is making a bunch of money, but that’s also a whole bunch of people. Normal everyday people like me, like Kale, like Bradley who are going in there creating businesses, and they’re creating legacies and changes in their entire life. And it’s incredible.
Kale: You can tell, we try to teach people how to do this right? We sell it pretty good.
Bradley Sutton: I love it. I love it. Now again, you’ve got 4,000 students, and not every single one has hit it big on Amazon and a lot have failed. But let’s talk about the successes. Let’s talk about the successes and failures, but what are some cool students’ stories? Again, one thing that I always tell people, it’s like, “Guys, seven figures is not the only thing that equals success. Sometimes, we get this ingrained like, “Oh, if I don’t hit $1 million in sales, I’m not successful.” Success means different things to different people. What are some unique stories from some of your favorite students? It doesn’t have to be some big money-making thing, but maybe somebody who didn’t know what they were going to do with their life and then they found Amazon, but can you guys give me a couple of cool stories?
Taylor: Yeah, you want Gary or Nick first.
Kale: Does that need to be the top two? Can I take Sean actually?
Kale: This guy is on top of my head because within the past month, the guy comes into the program. He was already doing $10,000 a month on Amazon. Pretty cool business. But he was telling us, “Look, it’s not profitable. It’s a fun little charity I’m running, but it’s not profitable. He comes into the program. Fast forward a month after we give them advice on PPC and images and all of the things that you need to scale, now he’s at $27,000 a month at a 50% profit margin. So crazy story that’s actually changing someone’s life. You taking Gary or Nick?
Taylor: I might take both. I can do them real quick. This guy named Nick, he was actually also already selling, he was doing about $20,000 a month. He came on literally in like May, June of 2018. The course had only been around for literally like 30 – 60 days. He came in. He was doing 20 grand. He literally came into the program for us to help him with PPC. That’s why he came in. We talked to him a little bit later. He wasn’t making any profit. His PPC was running him into the ground. He was a nurse; that’s what he did. He was working graveyard shifts and literally, he told us, it’s actually on our YouTube channel, our interview with him. He actually started Amazon FBA, because he liked this girl, and he wanted to buy a new BMW to help him impress this girl. So that’s why he started Amazon. He came into the course in May. By September, five months, he was doing about $120,000 a month on Amazon. Obviously, at that point in time, he could have bought the BMW. He did not buy the BMW, because he wanted to keep reinvesting, keep growing this business. Now, what Nick literally does is Nick travels around, I talked to him just a week or two ago. I don’t hear from his nearly as much as I did last year, because he’s traveling with that girl. And his Amazon business runs itself. Another amazing story real quick is Gary Hutton. We have this guy named Gary in our course. He’s amazing. He came in and when he actually came into the course, his life was going great. He had a great job. He had a great family; he had all this stuff and it was great. He just wanted to basically create something that could really, he could leave a legacy for his family. Literally, a month or two in, just honestly, I’m not going to go into any details because that’s his story. But a bunch of personal things happened, a bunch of a tragedy hit, and literally, he lost everything. He lost his job, he lost his family, like literally, lost everything.
Kale: He sent us this email and he was like, “I wish I was kidding.” And I think the picture is on our website somewhere, but basically, he’s like on an air mattress with his dog, a laptop, and it literally looks kind of a storage unit. This is where the guy was holed up.
Taylor: He was homeless, and he told us he had this choice to make; either he could go and just try to get the fastest job he could, flipping burgers somewhere just to make a little bit of money so he wouldn’t be homeless. But he wanted to put every cent he had into Amazon, because he knew that he could change his life with Amazon. I remember, honestly, I’m not an emotional person. I never cry, like anything like that. I remember on Christmas Day, literally, we got an email from him. Christmas Day of 2018, we got an email from him, and it almost brought me to tears, because he sent us a picture and it said, “Hey guys, I just wanted to thank you, because I still don’t really have a place to stay. I’m still sleeping on an air mattress, but I was able to go and buy a microwave so I can go to the grocery store and buy frozen TV dinners and warm them up, and I can eat that.” Like it was crazy. And then now, fast forward a bunch of months, obviously worked his butt off. He killed it. Now he’s doing like $30-$40,000 a month on Amazon.
Kale: He chose to propose to his girlfriend in Tahiti.
Taylor: Living the life. He bought a condo, or he bought a duplex somewhere in California that’s super nice. And he renovated the whole thing because that’s what he wanted to do with his time. And then he actually renovated the one next to him for his mom. He’s just being able to live his life and do what he wants to. And he went through the utmost of absolute tragedy and terribleness. But he fought his way through. And so that story we like to tell all the time. We talk about it on YouTube; we talk about it to our students, because what that showed us was it doesn’t matter what you’re going through. And it doesn’t matter what your excuses is. If you put the work in, you go and you give it your all, you can have some success.
Bradley Sutton: That’s an awesome story. So many people out there, they always try to ask you when they hear somebody who quote-unquote, “Oh, this person was successful in Amazon.” And then they started the course, or they started consulting. Why would they do that? Guys, that should answer your question right there. I mean, the ability to help people, I have that a little bit at Helium 10 in my position being able to see people’s lives change. You know, for those who don’t know, I used to be a Zumba fitness instructor, and then, I had women and men who over a year of taking my class would lose a hundred pounds, and then, they come to me, they’re like, “Oh my God, you’ve changed my life. Guys, trust me. I was not being a Zumba instructor for the $20 an hour, that 24-hour fitness was paying me. It was not for the money. You know, Kale and Taylor here are not doing courses and stuff for the money. They’ve got plenty of money. But guys, it’s stories like that that’s priceless. And so, I’m really happy you shared that now.
Kale: One thing about that real quick, because it does bug me when people, even when Taylor says the word “course,” I get mad at him cause I’m like, “Dude, quit calling it a course.” Because this is not. Whenever we started selling on Amazon, I swear to you, one of the first conversations we had was, “Bro, we cannot sell out. We cannot be those course guys who just start a fricking course and try to rip people off and make money.” It was the last thing we want to do. Because you see the Lamborghinis; you see the girls with their boobs out on Instagram and Facebook and they’re trying to get you to buy their program. And we were like, “These guys don’t even sell on Amazon. This is ridiculous.” Right? And so, when we made 9 University, we made a conscious decision that it wasn’t going to be just another course; it was going to actually be something that could provide people that life change. And that’s why we do things a lot differently. We have six live streams a week with six-figure Amazon sellers. You can actually ask a real person a question. Instead of just watching videos, we include all the software that you need. We have photography that you need. It’s like, it’s not really a course. Honestly, it’s more of a lifestyle program where people are together and moving in the right direction. I just want to say that because, and I’m not defending myself. You guys can think whatever you want about us. Like he said, “We don’t need your money.” The thing that I just want to say is that this was born out of a desire to get more success like Gary had yet that that’s the truth of the matter.
Bradley Sutton: That’s awesome. Now let’s flip it. And in this case, we don’t need to use names, but what are some common denominators from the failures? I mean, because no matter how good you guys are, no matter how much you want to help people, guess what, there’s going to be people who just have bad luck, or they just don’t execute. But what are some of the common denominators that people should look out for that you saw in your students that resulted in them not being successful on Amazon.
Kale: You said the right word. And one of my favorite words is “execution.” Ideas are cheap. There’s a lot of information on the Internet. Don’t buy our program. Literally, don’t buy it. Go on YouTube and Google what you need to Google and figure out how to sell on Amazon. There’s a lot of information out there. The problem with that is that most people do not execute at the level that is necessary for success, and that’s in all walks of life. There is just this 1% of people that execute at a way higher level, and we designed our program to make that a little bit easier, but it’s still hard. It’s still very difficult to execute at a 1% level to tell you that you can have a 1% business. Does that make sense?
Taylor: Yeah. I think that it’s the level of execution effort that you’re willing to put in that a lot of people aren’t, and that comes from a lot of different things. There are people out there in the world who are selling courses and programs for Amazon FBA that are promising things that just straight up aren’t true. They’re promising that you can make a certain amount of money in a certain amount of time that’s not right, and it’s also actually illegal to market something that way. There are people who are telling people that Amazon FBA is this kind of get-rich-quick scheme where you just, you put some money in and then Amazon just spits you a whole bunch of money out. And that’s not how it works either. What I would say is, just to add onto what Kale said, is not only is it a certain level of execution, but I would say it’s the amount of time that you go with that execution, because there are lots of people who will come in and they’ll try something and they’ll work really hard at it and be really interested in it and really passionate about it for a week. Okay, five minutes, two days, a week, two weeks, a month, two months, six months. And here’s what I’m going to tell you. That’s still not long enough. It’s still not long enough. Guys, I said earlier on this podcast, and we’ve proven this over and over again, right? It took us six months to get from zero to 80,000. We did not go from 80,000 to 160,000 the next six months; we didn’t. Okay, but we went from zero to $80,000 a month in six months. Guys, you don’t understand, at that point in time, I had a full-time job. Kale had a full-time job. I was married. Kale was seriously dating and then engaged. We’re both super involved in church. We didn’t have employees. We didn’t even have VAs. We had nobody. It was us. We were putting stuff on credit cards. I’m not suggesting anyone should finance or put anything on credit.
Kale: I put $50,000 on credit cards to start this company. I posted on Instagram this morning that my credit score is like 783 as of this morning. And I know that maybe some of you guys have 800, and you’re like “Your credit score sucks.” But to me that was a huge moment, because I remember back a year and a half ago when my credit score was 450. I have 50k on those cards and me and you were looking at each other across the desk. This thing we started might bankrupt us. Yeah. It was crazy.
Taylor: And guys just a disclaimer, we’re not saying anyone should go take out credit cards and put $50,000 on it. But we had a level of desire, and we were willing to take that huge risk, which is what it is. And for us, it paid off. I literally remember this whenever we decided that we wanted to start a YouTube channel, and this was way before we had a course or anything else. We wanted to start a YouTube channel and just help people out for free. We went and rented this little studio that was in the basement of this place in Pittsburgh called Squirrel Hill. And it was like this room. And we eventually left there because there was water everywhere and it leaked. So that would give you a just kind of an idea of where we were at. But I remember going there; we would literally go to work every single day and I would travel. I was going to Harrisburg or Philly or somewhere in New York. And then at night, every single night from six o’clock until midnight – 1:00 AM, we were in that studio working on Amazon business; trying to just even get one subscriber on YouTube at that moment in time was like literally amazing. And then I remember I got so excited when we went from four subscribers to five subscribers, and I was like, “Yeah, we’re finally in five subscribers.” And Kale was like, “Yeah bro, that was one of my accounts.”
Bradley Sutton: And now you guys are at 20,000.
Kale: Yes. We post on YouTube every once in a while. We’re going to post an interview with you and it’s going to show like hacks with Helium 10 and it’s never really been about the Gary V Mindset of let’s post as much as possible and have this awesome social media presence. No, what we’re trying to actually do is help people actually build an insane company so that they tell everyone else so that we don’t even have to market it. You know what I mean?
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Now we talked a little in general terms about what’s success, what’s failure, but with all of your students, I remember you guys told me this, and this is actually something leading up to Helium 10, but you guys told me something that you found was a common denominator both in your business and in your students’ business about some kind of metric that you guys would use that really changed the game for you guys. Can you talk a little bit about that metric?
Taylor: This is funny. So this goes all the way back to the very beginning of our Amazon business, and this was when I had just come on board, the cornhole lights and the baby pillow were taken down, and we had literally like $2,000 or $3,000, and we were like, “We’re going to find every single product that we can find. We’re going to buy 150 units; we’re going to throw them up on Amazon. We’re going to see what sticks.” I do not advise that strategy. It’s a terrible strategy, but I remember guys, we had multiple Google sheets and spreadsheets of this product has this, this product has this. We would do all of this stuff and threw all of that through going on YouTube, helping people, helping hundreds of people. Now thousands of people. What we discovered was a metric that we call seven and seven and that has completely changed the game for our Amazon business and for all of our students.
Kale: It can be confusing, right? You hear 50,000 podcasts from 50 different software providers, and they’re like, “Look at BSR; check out their ranking, how many pictures they have; check out their monthly sales; the monthly sales need to be x. The reviews need to be x.” Everyone seems to have a different answer, right? And the cool thing about it is we actually trial-and-error this crap and figured out which ones worked, right? And what we figured out, and long story short is that if you look at the first 10 listings on any search keyword, if you just go on Amazon.com right now and check it out, you can pull-up wireless charger. The first 10 listings is what we’re interested in, right? Because we want to get into the top 10 for a good keyword, right?
Kale: And let’s say to get into the top 10, let’s simulate how many sales we need to get there. And we figured out that if seven out of the top 10 products are generating over $5,000 in revenue, then that’s a market that is worthwhile, that has enough demand to be justified for you to go into. The other thing that obviously was important is competition because there’s a lot of markets like wireless charger, ton of demand, crazy competition, right? You need the reviews to be low. If seven out of the top 10 have less than 75 reviews, that qualifies under our metrics, seven and seven. If you have both of those sevens over 5,000 under 75, you meet our seven and seven score. And it really just simplified product research for us. It might not be the end all, be all. Obviously, Helium 10 has a billion tools that can add more depth to that research. But this is kind of the initial filter that you’re like, “Oh there’s 50 million products on Amazon. Let’s get it down to a reasonable level.” And that’s kind of how we got it.
Taylor: I can give you the third metric that we tell our students Bradley if you want it.
Bradley Sutton: What is it?
Taylor: The third metric would be seven and seven, and then basically the metric to decide which seven and seven you should go with or what you’re going to do there is 200% ROI. Okay? So, obviously you can’t do this right off the bat. You have to go find a supplier, usually negotiate with said supplier, figure out the math, figure out what your landed cost is, what shipping is, all that kind of stuff. But if you can find a seven and seven product that you can get 200% ROI on, I obviously can’t guarantee anything, but I’ve yet to see one fail. Honest to God, in our thousands of students, hundreds of if not thousands of products, I’ve yet to see one fail in terms of lose money, seven and seven, 200% ROI.
Bradley Sutton: That’s awesome. And guys, guess what? That is the reason why we actually have now incorporated the seven and seven into Helium 10 X-ray. As I’ve always told you guys, all of our tools in the last year and a half or so, all of our new functions, it comes from you guys. It comes from our users, like what you guys are looking for, what help you need. For example, one of my favorite things in all of Helium 10 right now is a Cerebro multi-ASIN search. That was something I used to ask for. And then, we finally implemented it when one of our friends Tomer Rabinovitch from Israel, outlined how he was using Cerebro and then that’s why we implemented it. When I first heard this from Kale and Taylor, I was like “Whoa, that makes a lot of sense.” And it’s not just two guys who had this idea; like they said, this works for their students.
Bradley Sutton: They have never seen it fail. What we did was we incorporated it now into X-ray. So, guys, if you are using X-ray right now, hit the chrome extension at the very bottom. There’s a settings button, hit that settings, and you can toggle it with our original success score from Helium 10 or you can toggle it to this new metric that you’ll see right there and that allows you to see that seven and seven score and there’s another feature from Kale and Taylor that we also implemented that talks about related keyword. It’s going out there and finding other related keywords. Whether it’s a click of a button, using auto complete on Amazon, and then instantly you’ll be able to see other related keywords of that seven and seven score. Guys, make sure to check that out. I’m not even sure if this has been announced yet by the time this podcast has come out, but I wanted to announce it on here to definitely use this because this is not just some random idea here. This is something that their students have tried and tested. Thank you guys for bringing that to us, and I hope that our community’s going to find use in that as well.
Kale: Thanks for adding it.
Taylor: Yeah, I hope you guys, I hope anyone listening to this, anybody using Helium 10, you guys find a ton of use, a ton of a great products from that. We’ve always seen it work, and it this is only took us, like we said, it took us months to get here. It’s not something we came up with off the top of our heads and just went with. It took months and it works. I hope you guys kill it.
Bradley Sutton: All right. One quick thing more about Amazon before we move really quickly to ads. I mean, I could probably be here for an hour because you guys got so much good stuff. You mentioned about one of your success stories about helping them with PPC. What are some, just generally, you don’t have to say specifically, but what are some general PPC strategies that you can give us? Like things that you have seen, the people who come to your program who are already doing PPC but are able to become immensely profitable just by tweaking some things. Like what are the common mistakes that you see people doing? Or what are the tweaks that you do to help people turn it from breaking even or losing money to being profitable just by optimizing their PBC?
Kale: Yeah. Well, PPC is all about keywords, right? You’re telling Amazon, “I’m willing to pay for a certain keyword more than I’m willing to pay for x keyword, or I’m willing to pay for the keywords in x market more than the keywords in y market.” Right? And that’s really the battle. The number one thing we do when people come in is we get them to arrange their keywords properly in their campaigns. One of the things we teach, and it’s way too complicated to explain on a podcast, is pulling keywords from a bunch of different software, including Helium 10, and popping them into these PPC campaigns and separate campaigns. And then, you’re basically split testing. You’re finding which campaigns work better for your specific industry. So that’s the gist of it. And then again, it’s one of the things we recommended, which is why we’re super excited that you guys are coming out with this soon. I didn’t know if I wasn’t allowed to say that or not. But software, guys, let’s be real. Paid advertising in general is a huge algorithm. It’s a big computer somewhere, a brain that’s way smarter than our brains. It has way more processing power than one human brain, and it’s almost impossible for one human brain to optimize a campaign and create a successful campaign that way. We teach our students to utilize software; use that stuff that is out there that can react on a minute by minute basis, 24/seven. It never gets tired and it always responds to the bids as they go during the day.
Taylor: Yeah. Real quick, like some tangible things, right. First off, based off what you see on the Internet, automatic campaigns are basically always going to be garbage. I won’t say always, always, but a lot of times they are. We have previously actually only been using automatic campaigns to find keywords and do some low really, really low bid stuff. But now, with Helium 10, we actually don’t even have to do that anymore. But it’s using manual campaigns. Some of the other things is a lot of things that some people don’t understand or don’t know is that there are actually different costs for PPC based on different, I guess, categories. I’m on Amazon, like some of the different categories would be a broad match, a phrase match, or an exact match. Exact match PPC campaigns actually costs you less than say a broad campaign does. Okay. And so it’s taking words that you know convert from a broad, moving them to phrase, moving them to exact so that your cost goes down, which means your ACoS cost goes down, which means you make more money. So there are just some easy little tangible kind of tips and tricks that are very easy to implement straight off the get-go that can make some immediate impact.
Kale: And make sure you have reviews and make sure you have good pictures and make sure your listing is optimized. Pay Per Click doesn’t work without those three things. Guys, there’s so many people that come into our programs, and they’re like, “I’m spending $50 a day; I’m spending $500 a day on PPC.” And that makes me feel bad for them. And I’m like, “Your pictures are terrible. Your listing doesn’t have the right bullet points. You have not used any sort of software to optimize those listings at all. Your review count is three and your top competitor has a thousand so like what do you expect them to do?” They’re going to buy that one, right? So just simple stuff like that.
Bradley Sutton: All right, completely switching gears. Like I said, the way I knew about you guys was because of your Facebook ads, and now you guys have some of the best Facebook ads. I mean the yoga one and then there’s ones where Taylor’s jumping out of a closet full of boxes and hurdling – racing scooters left and right. I mean you guys have cool things. Now do both of you guys work on this together or just one of you guys? Who was a drama major in school or how do you guys come up with these really cool ideas that really work?
Kale: 100% honesty is I usually think of the overall idea. I’m going to have Taylor do x, y, z. But the key to it is that Taylor is just funny for some reason. For some reason, people want to click on; I never have the intro. You’ll see rarely am I the one who is the attention grabber. And you guys should know this for any ad you’re running, it is the most important part. If you don’t grab someone’s attention in five seconds, especially in this day and age, you don’t get to talk to them. Right. And so, they love Taylor’s face. He’s just that type of guy. And so, I think of all the most ridiculous ways that I can get Taylor to grab attention, like, he’ll fall out of a closet, he’ll open my car door and scream crazy things. I don’t know, it’s just, it seems to work.
Bradley Sutton: Now some of these seem to have ridiculous amount of engagement and likes and things. Do you guys know of any of your stats off hand? I swear I’ve seen some, and I was like, “Is this number real?”
Taylor: Yeah. I’ll give you two reasons for that. Okay. One is really a basis for our ads and two is actually what we’re doing. The first reason why we have so much engagement on our ads is because we’re real.
Kale: I think he asked for stats.
Kale: Really quick. I mean, I think our most famous ad is like 25 million views or something, but overall, I’d guarantee you, we’re over a hundred million at least for paid ads for sure. Should I tell them how much we spend on ads? It’s more than most people pay for their houses.
Taylor: We spend a lot. We’re definitely over a hundred million views total on paid advertisements between Facebook and then Google and YouTube. In terms of actually having engagement and having people come in and comment, biggest first step is that we’re real and we’re genuine. You’re never going to see an ad with us where we’re standing with a Lamborghini in front of a big mansion and a bunch of girls with no clothes on in a pool. You’re not going to see that from us. One of our, honestly, most successful ads we’ve ever made was literally us standing in a random alleyway in downtown Pittsburgh yelling at a whiteboard and just being dumb and laying down on the pavement. And then, honestly guys, there’s a lot of tips and tricks behind actually running ads.
Taylor: Like think about this. Somebody is way more likely to watch, like, share, and comment on a video if there’s already social proof on it. And so, there are ways where you can actually run ads to get likes and shares and comments. And it’s not illegal, it’s not wrong, it’s not unethical. You’re literally using the platform as it is designed to be used. But you know, some of the things we do, we’ll run stuff to get engagement, likes and things for a couple of days and then put it out to our actual targeted audience so it would already have some social proof that it can generate some buzz; that kind of things. There are also some tangible things that you can do to help that.
Bradley Sutton: That’s awesome. And the number of students you have… Obviously, word of mouth is big, but I would assume that these ads were the backbone of how you were able to scale your business so fast. It was Facebook ads, right?
Kale: Yeah. Facebook ads, Google ads. It’s funnels that have been working since the beginning of time. Whether it’s a video sales letter where you’re teaching someone exactly what you’re going to sell, what you can offer them basically and then you’re offering them the chance to either get on the phone or purchase your program right then and there. It’s just simple stuff that again, it comes down to execution. No matter what we tell you. I could literally tell you our whole funnel, our whole Amazon; most of our stuff can be talked about and summarized in a couple minutes. But the actual execution behind it is what has taken us months and what has actually made the difference between us having a multimillion-dollar company and people that just make YouTube videos.
Taylor: When you talk about scaling and execution, there’s two things that you have to always keep into consideration, right? And it’s two kind of ways of scaling and ways of executing. One is going to be all robots, computers, automation, and the other one is going to be real genuine, actual people. Okay. And most people in the ecommerce space, let’s be real. They’re looking for the robots, the automations, the software that can do everything for them so that they can work for a couple of hours, set something up, and then make money while they sleep. That’s the dream. That’s the pitch that’s been put out. And one of the things that we focused on in all of our funnels, in our ads, is that we want to be real. We always want to have real people, but our funnels have real people throughout the entire thing as well. When somebody joins our course, every single person gets a welcome phone call with a real person. They’re actually all current students of ours; we do things like that. That has helped us scale, helped us spread our word of mouth that involve real people rather than just always relying on automations and software to do everything for us.
Bradley Sutton: All right guys. Well thank you so much for the time for having me out here and then also taking the time to come on the podcast. Really amazing stuff that I know a lot of our audience is going to find a lot of benefit in. We’d love to have you guys back next year on the podcast. I want to see where you guys have brought 9 University and your whole business to. I always love following up, so we’re going to be working together a lot. I know in the coming months, so I look forward to that. But in the meantime, again, I’m sure a lot of people might have some questions they might want to contact you. How can they reach you? How can they find out more about what you guys do? What are some websites you can give where they can reach out to you guys?
Kale: Like I said, our business is actually very simple. Just go to 9university.com. There’ll be one button on that screen basically. And it says, “Show us your best free training.” Or it says, “Show us your free training.” It’s a 25-minute video. We make sure everyone who comes into the program, regardless of if you’ve been selling on Amazon for 20 years or you have no idea what Amazon is and somehow, you’re listening to this podcast, you just need to watch this 20-minute video. And then if you were like, “Wow, this is interesting, I like this.” You can actually book in a call with one of our people, and they’ll just walk you through it. You can ask them as many questions as you want. What’s the program like? Is this for me? Is this something I can be successful at? And they’ll just basically walk you through it and see if you’re a good fit for the program. It’s really simple.
Bradley Sutton: All right guys, thank you very much for this, and thank you for this Jimmy John’s sandwich that you guys bought from me.
Taylor: Jimmy John’s, if you ever want to sponsor us, we’re here.
Bradley Sutton: All right guys, we’ll see you later.
Bradley Sutton: Quick note, guys, don’t forget that regardless where you are listening to this podcast, whether it’s on your iPhone or on Stitcher, on Spotify, that you hit the subscribe button so you can be notified every time we drop a new episode.
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