Learn how to grow your business at Sell + Scale Summit. Over 50 events & networking opportunities. Register today!

#361 – Post-Purchase Marketing Strategies

In this episode, we talk to Shawn Hart about his story and the unique marketing principles that helped him reach $153 million in total Amazon sales.
Share:
Helium 10 The Helium 10 Software
50 minutes read

Bradley sits down with Shawn Hart of Post Purchase Pro, an Amazon seller and entrepreneur who exited multiple brands and sold over $153,000,000 in Amazon sales, to discuss all of his unique marketing strategies and principles that helped his brands succeed. Shawn says that 41% of every dollar he sells on Amazon came directly from his post-purchase marketing efforts to their existing Amazon customers. In this episode, you will learn his strategies like building a customer avatar, why brand loyalty and relationships are important, making a mafia offer, utilizing an attention-getting marketing device, and more!

In episode 361 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Shawn discuss:

  • 03:00 – Shawn’s Backstory And How He Got Started In Entrepreneurship
  • 05:30 – Starting An E-commerce Business In 2005
  • 07:00 – $153 Million In Total Amazon Sales
  • 11:50 – What E-commerce Looked Like In The Early 2000s
  • 12:30 – How Shawn Got Started On The Amazon Game
  • 17:00 – Unique Marketing Principles To Build Brands
  • 22:30 – Customer Avatars, Brand Loyalty, And Relationships
  • 26:10 – Your Customer Is On A Journey
  • 28:20 – Making A Mafia Offer And How Can It Help Your Amazon Business
  • 37:30 – The Attention Getting Marketing Device
  • 41:50 – Get Bonus Content From Shawn
  • 43:00 – Catch Shawn At The Sell And Sale Summit
  • 43:30 – How To Get Your Kids To Be Interested In Your Business
  • 45:45 – How To Get In Touch Shawn

Transcript

Bradley Sutton:

Today, we talked to an e-commerce veteran who has sold over 150 million dollars online and exited 17 brands. He has some very unique strategies that have helped him along the way that I would say 99% of sellers aren’t using. How cool is that? Pretty cool I think.

Bradley Sutton:

Are you a YouTube blogger blog writer, course creator, or other kind of influencer or educator? Maybe you just have a network of people interested in e-commerce. Did you know that you can earn commissions of 25% for life for everyone that you refer to Helium 10, we’ve got many partners earning hundreds, even thousands of dollars monthly in commission from Helium 10’s partnership program. If you’d like to join our affiliate partner program, please go to h10.me/crushit and tell them you heard about it from the podcast. 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. We’ve got one of the most serious sellers out there, serious. As far as the numbers he’s done, not so serious as far as his sense of humor goes, but Shawn, how’s it going?

Shawn:

Man, it’s going well. So glad to be here. Thank you. I’m humbled to be on your show, Bradley.

Bradley Sutton:

Well, it’s great to have you, we just recently connected. I met you out at a conference in Mexico and this guy was throwing out a hundred dollars bills to people who were paying attention. I’m like, no, that’s what I’ve been missing. That’s why people keep dozing off in my talks when I go places, cuz I’m not giving them incentive enough to stay awake here. So I was like, I wanna bring this guy in the podcast. We’re not gonna, you know, give you a whole presentation here that that was pretty high level. And you also spoke recently at the Elite, but I wanted to focus a little bit on your journey because it’s pretty impressive. And then we can talk a little bit about some of your strategies, which I personally think are fairly unique.

Bradley Sutton:

You know, things that I haven’t really heard that in the mainstream, a lot of, you know, Amazon and Walmart sellers are really focusing on and that’s what this podcast is all about. It’s like, there’s not just one way to have success in e-commerce and we wanna get a wide variety of strategies that work for different people. And that might work for some might not work for others, but we can make the decision at the end of the day, once we get all these strategies. So first of all, let’s just start from where you were born and raised sounds like from your accent London I take it, is it, or?

Shawn:

You’re close, South Africa. No, actually I’ve come from central Indiana right outside of Indianapolis, Indiana racing capital of the world, but I’m pretty well traveled. I’ve been blamed for being Texan and Tennesseean and all sorts of things. So it’s called a lazy tongue Bradley.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Now, did you go to college out there too? Or did you move around?

Shawn:

We moved around quite a bit. When I was growing up, I started my first business when I was in high school, 16 years old. And so, that was pretty much, there was a lot of turbulence I guess, was the best way to put it in my teen years and my early twenties. So we did a lot of moving.

Bradley Sutton:

What was that first business?

Shawn:

Well, while I was in high school, I started a business importing, fresh cut flowers from south America and it took me a little while after I saw a couple of movies about Pablo Escobar. Why every single time my fresh cut roses come in from Columbia, South America, that US customs had to go through. ’em All to make sure, you know, there wasn’t any coffee hidden in the roses, you know what I mean?

Bradley Sutton:

Yeah. Yeah. Nothing extra in those imports. We got this 16 year old drug dealer, I guess there, like from–, thinking there. Okay. And then high school ended, what was your route right after that?

Shawn:

Well, so what I did is I went to high school for about six years actually, because my business was pretty demanding of my time and I’d already had two or three employees that I’d hired. So I got to the point where it was kind of funny. Last couple years of high school, I was only doing three classes in the morning and then I go take care of my business in the afternoon. So that’s why I said it was pretty turbulent, but it taught me a lot, you know, face to face person to person, belly to belly sales. It’s just great training for anyone who wants to be in business.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. And then did you go to college after that then?

Shawn:

No, actually I skipped that route and started hiring all my friends from high school. And you know, since then, I’ve never looked back. I’ve always created the value out there and been paid well for it. I have to tell you about my only job though. We can’t leave this one out. I thought you read the book though, Bradley? You didn’t read the book that we just put everywhere?

Bradley Sutton:

Not yet.

Shawn:

Haven’t? OK. I tell the story in the book, but basically, I got a job at 16 years old working at McDonald’s of all places, the only job I’ve ever had. So I put in a total of 16 hours in two weeks. And when I got my check for about $80, including the bonus, I was able to use that to go out and buy my first round of fresh cut flowers from a local florist, and then just started going up the chain, eventually making it right to the growers in South America. And that’s when I started importing and wholesaling the flowers. So it was a tremendous journey at the time. It seemed like it took forever, but looking back, man, it was just like, you know, lightning

Bradley Sutton:

Now. How, and when did was your first entry into the eCommerce world? Not necessarily Amazon, but whatever on the internet.

Shawn:

Well, it’s kind of funny. It was in 2005. I mean, I’d been in the internet, don’t get me wrong, but the first time I made a sale online, I basically built a website for a product that I discovered online. It was a UTV, like a side by side, you know, they’re super popular.

Bradley Sutton:

A what?

Shawn:

Now what you go back a UTV, a side by side, like a, like a rhino or like an ATV vehicle, but it’s with a steering wheel. It’s called a side by side.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Okay. Okay.

Shawn:

I gotcha man. They don’t have those in California?

Bradley Sutton:

I’m not into the outdoor things. I just stay in my studio pretty much all day. I don’t know. I don’t know what anything is out outside of my office.

Shawn:

Well, I identified the opportunity. So I used an old software called front page editor for Microsoft, which doesn’t even exist. Do you remember that?

Bradley Sutton:

That brings a blast in the past. I haven’t heard that word in 20 years. My goodness.

Shawn:

Yep. So I used front page and I created what would be equivalent to Bradley to an electronic business card with a giant toll free number ugliest website you ever seen. And that was my first round with e-commerce. So basically I said, here’s the product, here’s the price call to order? My phone started ringing crazy. And you know, eventually we were selling this $6,000 product over the phone via Google ads and a website. And that’s really how I started doing e-commerce.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. And then, and then, you know, we’ll fill in the gaps a little bit, but, but fast forward, you know, now 2022, like how, how much revenue have you generated from online sales from that first venture to now

Shawn:

Yep. Great question. So I stopped counting when we sold our last brand that we own, which was in April of 2020, right in the midst. COVID of course. When I sold that last brand, we stopped counting we’re 153 million in revenue of my personal products.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. And that’s just like in sales or that includes revenue from the sale of your different brands and businesses you’ve started?

Shawn:

No that’s sales.

Bradley Sutton:

Yep. Excellent. Excellent. Now, what was the most interesting, you know, obviously we’re gonna talk about Amazon and Shopify and things, but what’s the most interesting online business that, that you had other than the UTV there? So what were some other interesting non Amazon and non-mainstream things that you’ve been into?

Shawn:

So this is hilarious and it’s actually in my book, which I’m gonna have to grab a copy and get a little cameo in there and you’re gonna love the story. Okay. So I come across a product, it was called a miracle heater and infrared heater claimed a heat, you know, a thousand square feet for about a dollar a day in electricity. So I built a quick website at that point. I think I upgraded the Dreamweaver. This was probably 2008.

Bradley Sutton:

Yep.

Shawn:

I created website

Bradley Sutton:

Some college classes in that too. You’re bringing back all kinds of memories now.

Shawn:

Yeah. Way back, way back, man. Way back when you had dial up modem still, you know, you’d like, Hey, could you sign off AOL so I can make a phone call? No, yeah.

Bradley Sutton:

You’re aging yourself here.

Shawn:

Yep. Steve Case had it figured out for a while, didn’t he? So basically I created this website and I had an idea, Bradley. I wanted to sell this product that I’d seen these other marketers selling in a face to face environment locally. And I tell this entire story in chapter one and I saw this product and I’d always been attracted to demand, not really attracted to software proven out sales. If there’s a demand for a product. I know I can tap into that demand instead of trying to create the demand. So what I had done, I saw this advertisement in a local newspaper about a miracle heater, this small, you know unremarkable looking space heater, and the claim to fame was to cut your energy bill, 50%, save money on heating and heat a thousands square feet for a dollar a day.

Shawn:

Okay. And I didn’t go to save money on my heat. I went because the advertisement spoke to me, you know, I’ve been in marketing my entire adult life. So I thought, wow, this is something. So I drive across town and I go to this little farm store. And I noticed there was a line of people lined up. These farmers in a small community in central Indiana were buying these little so-called miracle heaters Bradley and paying six, $700 a piece for ’em and buying two at a time. Buddy. Now I’ve been sourcing products in China since 2002. And so I’m looking at this going, holy smokes, this thing can’t cost more than a hundred dollars. You know this is a great opportunity. I raced home, wiped out my big giant HP looked like a 31 inch screen laptop. You know, the kind that you can heat your living room with if you run it all day?

Bradley Sutton:

You didn’t even need that other space heater. Then if you got one of those,

Shawn:

Exactly. So I threw together this ugly website using Dreamweaver, and it was the same deal. It was, here’s a phone number call to order. And I put these heaters that I did not own. All right. I put these heaters on a website and I think I did it for $379 call to order. And I put a Google ad. I mean, just simple Google ad campaign where I was targeting some basic keywords within a few minutes after my first ad was approved, which seems like it takes forever. You know, back in those days it was like, boom, my phone rings. And it’s a call from Nebraska. I’m like, I don’t know anybody from Nebraska. They’re probably trying to sell me a car warranty, right? So I let it go to voicemail. My phone rings immediately again. So I pick it up “annoyed and I’m like, what do you want? I’m busy.”

Shawn:

And this little old lady says, “is this where I called to, to order a space heater?” And I was like, “holy smokes. It’s working”, Bradley. I quickly took her phone, her credit card over the phone using my wife’s credit card system and her medical supply business and processed a card for three of those heaters, cuz that was the limit and was like $1,400 total with sales tax and shipping. And I hung up the phone and I thought, holy cow, there’s something here. So I sold 1.6 million worth of these heaters within just a few short weeks and had no inventory. So I had to take our customers money, fly over to China, put a deal together with a factory to expedite ocean freight over to Indiana, and then distribute the heaters. Obviously, we had to give a lot of refunds because it took about nine weeks to deliver. But that was my first experience with this, the sheer amount of traffic available to us online

Bradley Sutton:

Guys. Don’t try and do that today. Do not make an Amazon listing when you haven’t even sourced the product yet and have no idea how you’re gonna get it to customers, but this is still a good story, but we’re not saying that this is the strategy to use for your Amazon business. Well, I like it. Any other cool stories from those days? Yeah.

Shawn:

Well, just to reiterate what you said, it was a different ballgame back then. You know, we were processing the cards and you know, it was all into fine print, six to eight weeks delivery and all that. Obviously, we can’t get away with that today. But yeah, I actually that business, I built that business for about three years, see, 2008, I sold out the private equity in 2011, had three young children still in diapers. And so mom and I took a vacation and you know, I hung it up retired for the second time in my life. At that point I was 36 years old, traveled around the country a little bit, and got tired of changing diapers. So when we finally settled back in, it was September, August or September, 2013.

Shawn:

And I’d started dabbling a little bit with Amazon because I had sold my warehouse. And when I sold the warehouse, we had all this extra product. I had 90,000 square feet at the time. So I started going on Amazon as a shopper. There’s always this button, that’s calling my names that “Sell one like this.” So I finally listed a couple of products, bang, they sold. So I thought, holy cow, I’m not the only one buying on Amazon. So short story long we’re on vacation at our house in, in Orlando. And my kids are playing with these little rubber, like these rainbow loom rubber band bracelet making kits. Do you remember those?

Bradley Sutton:

Yes, yes, yes.

Shawn:

Yeah. So the brand name was rainbow loom, but they were selling on Amazon, all these generic names for like $17, $19, $25. Well being the king of sourcing, I thought, well, heck I could probably get that for a dollar. So I started bringing those in and selling them. And at that point I was piggybacking on all these different listings that were like generic, you know, non-name brands. And so my whole theory here, and again, I’m not advocating this, this is just from ignorance, I did this, I thought I’m sharing this buy box with 10 other sellers. This kind of sucks. What if I could be five of those 10 sellers? And then I get half of the action. So I opened up all these seller accounts and started processing transactions where I was basically competing with myself, but I was owning the buy box 50% of the time. So that was how I got started in the Amazon game, but I still hadn’t started taking it serious yet.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. All right. So at this point, were you just, you know, was this your only kind of extra income, obviously, you know, you were sitting pretty from your proceeds from the previous businesses, so it’s not like you needed the money, but, but was this your only endeavor as far as into the labor I guess, was, was working on Amazon or did you have other streams of income that you were doing?

Shawn:

Well, no, just from investments because, you know, I just exited that business a few months prior. So what happened was the guy who is now my business partner with our company Post Purchase Pro, Seth, which I think you’ve met him virtually, Seth had worked as an intern in my company when before I sold my marketing business, that we were doing heaters and other things. And he reaches out to me and he says, and this was probably October, November of 2013. He says, Hey, what are you doing? I’m looking for a mentor, man. That text was a lifesaver Bradley, cuz I was bored outta my mind, man. It’s like, it’s in my blood. I have to be productive. I can’t just sit around and change diapers all day, nothing against moms to change diapers, but I’ll take my job any day, right?

Shawn:

So Seth says I need a mentor. And I said, well, let’s meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee tomorrow for lunch. So Seth leaves his job. He’s working in a cubicle at the Simon properties there in Indianapolis and he meets me at Starbucks. So I pull out my laptop and I proceeded to embarrassingly, tell him that now I’m selling rubber bands outta my garage. And I’ve done about a quarter million dollars in sales. You know, in the last couple of months with these rubber bands and it was embarrassing because when he worked for me, I had 140 employees, 90,000 square feet, you know, we’re doing yeah, a couple hundred thousand a day in revenue. So it was a little embarrassing, but I showed him my seller central account and he says, wow, these are your sales. Are you profitable? I don’t know if I’m profitable, I’m just doing it to have something to do.

Shawn:

You know, I know I have a garage full of rubber bands and Amazon pays me every 14 days. So I told him what I was doing. And he goes back to his cubicle apparently and puts it to work because he calls me that night Bradley. He says, “Hey, you’re onto something here.” So what’s going on? He said, “I went back to my cubicle. I opened up a solar central account. I listed a couple of staplers I had on my desk for sale and they sold.” He goes, “we need to talk again.” So short story long again, Seth and I decided to team up, I’ll sell down my inventory. We’ll partner up in January 2014 and we’ll leverage the Amazon opportunity to identify, launch and grow scale these brands up to what we consider a maturity on Amazon and then sell off the brands. And that’s when we started our business.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Now, we’re kind of coming towards the modern times here and strategies that we can actually use and things, but talk, first of all, a little bit about–, you to me are one of the experts on a lot of customer psychology and things like that especially coming from the non Amazon background. You come from, you know, like you said, marketing your whole life. And so you have a different perspective than just the people who are just starting on Amazon and might not come from that world. So like what are some of the principles that you’ve been implementing, they’re like marketing principles on how you, how you kind of built brands up and what you think is like unique in your approach as opposed to like the typical, the typical Amazon. So not that the way the other Amazon sellers are doing is wrong, but I think it’s safe to say that your approach is definitely unique in the industry.

Shawn:

It’s definitely unique. And, you know I’m glad that this is not scripted because so many of these are scripted. So this is great. Your audience is gonna love the story. So here’s how it is out of complete ignorance. Bradley. When I started the Amazon arena, I put a huge amount of value in creating a relationship with each customer and building a customer list. In my previous business, our business literally depended on having what we call backend marketing, meaning I would not have survived, let alone be profitable if I didn’t have a backend system and backend, I just mean everything that happens after the initial sale. We now refer to this, you know, as post-purchase marketing, meaning after the initial purchase. So we were building email lists through our product launches and the idea was to leverage the email list to get reviews and help rank our new product launches, right?

Shawn:

So here’s what happened. I don’t know. Do you know our friend Charles Livingston, Dr. Charles, who? Founder of Life Boost coffee. So he’s an Indiana native. He was in ink magazine last month with the fastest growing company. So him and Matt Clark have this coffee company, you know, it’s called Life Boost. He walks into our office mid 2014. And as he’s sitting there just mining his own business while we were taking care, we’re getting ready to do lunch. He noticed this big pile of warranty, registration cards, postcards sitting on the desk, like in the reception area, because we actually had a physical office back then with employees and everything. And he says, “what is this?” I said, “well, these are warranty registration cards from this betting product. We were selling a pillow at the time.”

Shawn:

He goes, “wow, this is amazing. People actually send these in?” We said, “yeah, about 20% of the time.” He goes, “what do you do with it?” I said, well, we just put ’em into a database. And our goal is eventually we’re gonna use that to get product review so that we can rank new products.” He almost slaps me right in the spot. He goes, “are you nuts?” “So what do you mean, Charlie?” He said, “do you realize how valuable these email addresses are?” And I said, “no, talk to me. What do you mean here?” He goes, “dude. My entire business is built on email marketing and follow-ups because they have a continuity program. It’s a coffee membership.” He goes, “these emails are just the most valuable asset that you could have in this business.” I said, “well, what do I do with it?”

Shawn:

He goes, “don’t worry about it. I’m gonna show you.” So Charlie goes out, he creates our very first brand avatar known as the Sleepy Panda. You can look it up. Original Bamboo Pillow was the brand name. He creates this sleepy Panda. That’s hanging out on a bamboo tree or a bamboo Bush or whatever you call it. And he sends out this one email, all right. He just completely does it for us. You know, he is a cool guy. So the next day after he sent the email, apparently I didn’t, I’d forgotten about it. You know, I said, “okay, just go do it, Charlie.” So I’m boarding the plane in in Georgia of all places, you know, like everything goes through Atlanta and Seth calls me my partner. He goes, he goes, “man, what did you do? I said, what are you talking about?”

Shawn:

He goes, “log into the Seller Central app.” So I pull up the Seller Central Seller app on my phone and it’s blowing up. I mean, the sales are just spiking. I mean a product that does $600, $700 a day. Now it’s done $20,000 in like the first hour he goes, “what did you do different?” I was like, “I didn’t do anything. Shut the account down. We probably got hacked. Something’s wrong.” I said, “what are you guys doing different?” He goes, well, “the only thing I can think of is Charlie. I think he sent out an email about the Sleepy Panda”, and sure enough, Charlie’s email did over 20 grand in sales, the very first send and the list Bradley was only 25,000 people. So 25,000 person list from a warranty, registration created an additional more than $20,000 in revenue in our Amazon account. Like immediately with one send. Obviously, I was sold.

Bradley Sutton:

Yeah. Wow. Again, we as Amazon sellers who have only been selling an Amazon, you know, we might not even think about, you know, email and follow up and post-purchase because we know how strict Amazon is about on Amazon communication, you know, and, and we’ve gotten less, you know, we never really had email addresses from Amazon, but you know, there was a time where, you know, you could get addresses and things like that and kind of build journalists. And even that kind of, you know, slowly went away cuz Amazon’s very, very protective over communication. So you gotta think outside of the box, it’s not that, oh Nope. You know, it’s impossible to communicate with a seller or with buyers within terms of service. So I’m just not gonna do it.

Bradley Sutton:

No, there are different ways, and people who don’t come from the email marketing side and they don’t understand the potential of how powerful having a list, not just a random list. I mean, there’s people who just buy random list out there and they can still get money outta that. But this is a, you know, list of people who have already been proven to interact and be interested in your, in your brand. So then you saw that it was successful. So then what was the next steps for you guys to actually you guys actually do it instead of, you know, just having a friend do that one off for you.

Shawn:

Of course. So then we started putting a tremendous amount of effort, Bradley creating a customer avatar and brand loyalty and a relationship with every one of our brands. Now, Seth and I have created more than 53 successful brands on Amazon. We’ve sold 17 to those businesses to date, but sometimes we’ll package those together more than one brand, small deals, you know, as low as 450,000. And I think our biggest deal was just north of 10 million, so all over the place. So what made those businesses so valuable so quickly and so successful was the fact that we discovered and you’re ready for this, 41% of every dollar that we sold on Amazon came directly from our efforts to our existing customers, our post-purchase marketing efforts. So obviously we put a lot of effort in into doing that. And so Seth and I, because we’ve always liked to, to give and train and share the opportunity.

Shawn:

We started the local meetup group in Indianapolis. It used to be called Amazon Seller’s Alliance, but I turned it over to someone else. I think they’ve changed the name since then. So we started sharing this opportunity and a lot of people are saying the exact same thing that you alluded to there. Well, you’re not allowed to speak to your Amazon customers. Well, that’s not true. You’re not allowed to reach out to your Amazon customers and market to them through the Amazon platform. But if your customer reaches out to you as a seller, as a brand owner, because they decide they want to engage you and do more business and follow your brand, that’s a totally different story. And that’s why, you know, I would challenge you Bradley to find any consumer package product for sell on Amazon, any national name brand that doesn’t have some contact information either in or on the packaging, if not both.

Shawn:

See what we do is we flip the script. We’re not asking for something from our customer. I’m not sending you to a webpage and saying, Hey, leave me a review. Let me give you a free product. Let me twist your arm. Let me manipulate the ordering process or the review process. We’re saying, Hey, “look Bradley, before you open this product and use it. You might want to go check out this safety video that shows you how to avoid the top seven mistakes that our other customers have made using our product.” This is customer service. This is a value. This is what Amazon wants. This is what they love us for. And that’s the difference.

Bradley Sutton:

Yeah. Excellent. Excellent. All right. So how does this affect your product research? You know, like everybody has their own methods of product research and what means opportunity, you know, to them and not, but is your product research limited where in like you kind of like completely avoid niches or kinds of products where there’s not really an opportunity for post product. Like for example, if you’re just, you know, selling, you know Phillips screws that are for a specific kind of industrial thing, like I can’t imagine that that would be an opportunity for some kind of marketing or is it just you’re able to do this method with, with any product?

Shawn:

Well, almost with any product each product has a unique offering. Obviously, I don’t need to tell you what not to do with a claw hammer. You know, if you hit yourself on the thumb, it’s gonna hurt. So we take each product and we look at that differently and we try to come up with something that makes sense for that particular category. But when it comes to product selection, like you said, it’s easy if you build the brand around a person, not around a product. You see what a lot of sellers get wrong, in my opinion, Bradley. And you know, I don’t know everything, but we’ve launched over a thousand products on Amazon to date. So I’ve made a few mistakes. And what I see sellers get wrong is they’re focused on the product. And when they do find a product that sells and it’s making money, what you don’t understand is that you’re just one step, just one stepping stone, along that customer specific journey.

Shawn:

It’s about the customer. It’s not about the product. And if you stop and look at it and you ask yourself, maybe, Hey, what is the next most obvious purchase that this customer’s gonna require after they purchase my pillow? Maybe it’s a sleep mask. Or we used to sell a weighted hula hoop. You know, a weighted hula hoop was a brand new product. The demand was crazy. No one was meeting it on Amazon. When I launched that product, though, it took off almost immediately using some of the strategies that I’ve shared with you in recent sessions. But what we understood was that that customer was on a journey. Bradley, you’re not just gonna go out and buy a weighted hula hoop on a whim, right? You’re on a journey. Maybe it’s fitness, maybe it’s weight loss, you know, or whatever. So what is the obvious product that you may purchase before that?

Shawn:

And what is the obvious product that you probably are most likely purchase after that hula hoop? Maybe it’s a gym membership. You’re on a fitness journey. You need some running shoes, you need a heart rate monitor. You, maybe you need a yoga mat, a water bottle, you know, whatever. And I think where sellers are getting this wrong, when it comes to product selection is you just find a product that’s hot, you launch it. You say, okay, me too. I’m gonna get a piece of that market. But what you don’t understand is that there’s a real person on the other side of the transaction. If you give them the right opportunity and you create a scenario where they want to engage with you, you can create brand loyalty and an asset also known as a customer list that you can easily leverage to launch your next product and each subsequent product after that. Does that make sense?

Bradley Sutton:

Yeah, absolutely. So we got about 10, 15 minutes left here, but you had like an hour and a half presentation about some of these strategies. And were kind of talking in general about it, but I wanna dive in on a certain aspect of it. So I’m gonna leave it to you. Like which part of this do you think we can cover in like the next 10 minutes that you think that people can take away some actionable intel here.

Shawn:

I know exactly what to talk about. I call it my Amazon listing value stack and in the book, which I’m gonna share with, you have some sitting over here, we talk about making a mafia offer and a mafia offer, you know, at the end of the day, it’s an offer Bradley that a customer can’t say no to. All right. So I couple the mafia offer on Amazon with list building. So I’ll give you a real quick hack on how you can build a massive list at the same time, create a listing on Amazon that can’t be competed with. Is that fair enough?

Bradley Sutton:

It sounds good. Yep.

Shawn:

All right. So what we do is we take the product that we’re selling and we will pair that product with other non-competing products that we can find through affiliate networks. And then we create a value stack inside the listing. So for example, and I think I shared this example with you in LA, right? So if you wanna sell, say a pizza stone, instead of launching the pizza stone, we’ll launch another product that’s in the same category, but it’s a lower barrier product. In that scenario, we used a pizza cutting wheel because Amazon shows that they’re frequently bought together or, Buy it With type of section now. So we launched the pizza wheel at a breakthrough price, but to add so much pressure and value to the pizza wheel listing, we paired that with an affiliate offer where dominoes pizza was allowing us to give away a coupon where you as a buyer could cash that in or redeem that for a free pizza at dominoes.

Shawn:

So not only are you buying a pizza will for $7.99, when everyone else is $12.99, $19.99, but you also get a free $17, medium pizza from dominoes. What that does is it makes that mafia offer it. It creates tremendous value. It doesn’t cost you anymore. As a seller, doesn’t cost them many more as a buyer, but it makes your product stand above all others out there, jumping up and down screaming, Hey, buy me. You’re not gonna find a better offer out there. Not to mention, Bradley, dominoes has to deliver the pizza. When your customer redeems it, you don’t have to touch it. You don’t have to deliver it. You don’t have to support it. And then dominoes pays you $1, $2 or $3 as an affiliate commission for helping them build their marketing list. Here’s where it gets beautiful. How does your customer get the free pizza?

Shawn:

Well, you have what we call an attention, getting marketing device that rides along inside of your pizza cutter or whatever you’re selling and says, Hey, you qualify for this free gift. Whatever that gift is, scan the QR code text here, or go to this URL to claim. So that URL takes them to your landing page that you’ve created where the customer can’t just grab his coupon code. He’s gotta opt in with a phone number or an email address, whatever makes sense for your business. And then that redemption code is then sent by email. So the next page says, Hey, we’ve just sent you an important email, Bradley, go check your inbox. This is what it looks like. So you go to your inbox, you grab your redemption code. Next time you’re out. You drive by a dominoes. You stop in, you redeem that coupon for a free pizza.

Shawn:

What did we gain? We gained you as a conversion, a click through and a conversion on Amazon to spike our ranking in our sales velocity, right? We’re showing Amazon that we’re important that we’re relevant, that we’re trustworthy and that our listing is converting. Number two, we collect your email address, now we can market other pizza products along your customer journey. And then dominoes as a customer, you get a free pizza, which is tremendous value. And dominoes collects you as a customer for their marketing list. Everyone wins and those less savvy sellers out there are left in the cold. Wondering how in the heck you beat them at their own game with the same product at a lower price. They’ll never know, but only you and I know the secret, right?

Bradley Sutton:

So then the process, if we were to break it step by step, like if we’re thinking about the product research or you know, initial research to find out what is gonna be your main product, maybe the product that you find is that, that pizza stone, but then instead of just going in and launching that, what you do is you take a step back and say, all right, what is maybe more of an entry level product? You know, that people who would be interested in this pizza stone would be interested in that’s where you go with that pizza cutter. And then that one, at that point, you launch that first, but you’re not trying to make money. What you’re doing is you’re trying to get brand followers and gather email addresses. And then, so after you decide what that secondary product is, now you go maybe bring in some kind of offer from outside. Like you said, the free dominoes pizza bundle it. And then by the time you build up your list and have, you know, have a good customer list. Now at that point is when you are ready to launch your original product research, which is that pizza stone.

Shawn:

Exactly. Exactly. And then you have the product.

Bradley Sutton:

Now, with the pizza stone, are you still doing any kind of bundle or at this point you’re just fine offering the pizza stone because you’ve got this list of customers.

Shawn:

Well, we’ve identified the pizza stone Bradley as a, as a possible opportunity. That’s a massive opportunity on Amazon, but the problem is it’s highly competitive. It’s heavy, it’s high MOQ, and it’s just high barrier to entry. So the idea is to take a step backwards and find something that’s easier, get some low hanging fruit, generate a ton of sales. And then for those opt ends, you use those opt ends to launch a pizza stone. With that pillow business. We talked about earlier, we sold that, when we launched that pillow, we didn’t start with the pillow. We started with a sleep mask, you know, cheap cut and sold product that we sold for like $4.99. We sold 250,000 sleep mask so that we generated a buyer list of 50,000 cuz we had about 20% opt-ins on our landing page. So now we have 50,000 customers who already now like, and trust us, that’s who we launched the pillow to. This works every single time. It’s what all the big companies are doing. There’s a reason why does McDonald’s want you to download their smartphone app? Why does burger king want you to download their app? They don’t want to give you a free Whopper. What they want do is market to you in the most personal way possible. And that’s your phone, it’s in your pocket.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Now, you know, some people might hear a number that you just threw out there about 20% opt-in rate and call some of my initials, BS on that. Like that might not seem reasonable as some, so obviously, that’s not random. You guys have some techniques you’re using how in the world are you in this day? Like me personally, I don’t often almost anything like, like, you know, I barely look at, you know, the package I get and Amazon and a lot of my follow up, you know, people are following up, you know, I don’t really look at many of those. So, so my percentage personally, as a buyer is, is definitely not 20% of whatever people are trying to get me to do something I’m doing it. So how in the world are you guys able to maintain product at their product? It’s very a 20% opt-in rate.

Shawn:

It’s very simple. You make a mafia offer. So let me ask you, you were with me in Mexico, right? There were 38 people in that room when I made the offer. All right. Three of them were AV people. So that leaves 35, right? Including my guys. How many opt-ins do you think I got when I made the offer, did you opt into my offer?

Bradley Sutton:

You gave me the book already, so I didn’t have to opt in on it.

Shawn:

We had 30, actually. It was more than that. No, it was, we had 34 opt-ins you’re gonna make me go to sin lane and see.

Bradley Sutton:

So more than 20% you had like 90%.

Shawn:

Yes, it’s all about the offer. Here’s what you have to do. You have to make an offer that screams, Hey, this is too good to be true. You better jump on it. It’s going away tomorrow. If you’ll remember. When I made the offer in that presentation, I said, what you’re seeing right here, you’ll never gonna see again. In fact, we’re removing these slides from the presentation to law.

Bradley Sutton:

Yep. I remember that.

Shawn:

Scan the QR code. Look in the room. Were you in there? Every single person had their phone out. There are two people in that room who didn’t opt-in. I’m still looking for ’em. If you figure out who they are. You gotta make an offer. That’s about the customer. You have to make an offer that says, Hey, this is a tremendous value. You can’t pass it up. It’s not about you, the seller. This is about them, the buyer. What’s in it for them? I don’t know if you’re giving away a VIP package. If you’re opting into an extended warranty, if you’re showing me how to use the product, how not to use the product, it has to be strategic. It’s not one size fits all. Every single product. Every offer is unique.

Bradley Sutton:

One thing that I noticed that also helps is not just the offer, but sometimes maybe they don’t even see the offer. You know that there there’s a, there’s a percentage of people who just like, Hey, I’m just looking at the title. Here’s the price. I just need this product. I’m gonna get it. I didn’t even realize they’re offering free dominoes or something. But you guys are doing some pretty unique things on your insert cards where you showed me a couple of insert cards. Like I never even, I was like, how is this even, I didn’t even know this is the thing.

Shawn:

I have a pile of them right here? Would you like to see?

Bradley Sutton:

Well, just describe it. Most of our listeners there’s a few who are watching this on YouTube, but most are just listening. So if you can just kind of like verbally describe what some of these are.

Shawn:

Well, first of all, don’t call it a product insert. There’s so many Facebook groups out there that give product inserts a bad name. Oh, I heard about a guy who heard about a guy who heard about a gal who got her account shut down. Well, yeah, dummy. They’re asking for reviews and a product insert. That’s a, no-no. What we do is we call it an attention getting marketing device. This is a device that demands attention. Maybe if you have a supplement product, we put a sticker on top of the bottle. The sticker is a bright red sticker. And it says stop before using this product. See important safety instructions here. Well, hello. That screams value, right? That’s customer service. Yep. When you got ready to open our compressed bamboo memory foam pillow, it said stop. Before opening this pillow, go check out this safety-in instruction video that shows you how to avoid the top three mistakes that our other customers have made using this product.

Shawn:

When you open one of our products, it’s about the presentation. I don’t care if there’s a business card, this is a stupid product insert that I had recently in a product it’s even in what I call broken English. It’s it’s written by a Chinese supplier. If you’re satisfied with good, please give me five star. This is stupid, man. What’s in it for me to give you a five star review, tell me what Shawn gets out of the deal, our product, our attention, getting marketing device gets more attention than the doggone product that you bought. It literally jumps out at you when you open it. You know, some of the inserts I shared with you live, they would just bounce outta the box, you know, and like, whoa, what is this? And it’s a mafia offer.

Bradley Sutton:

Cuz they literally just bounce. Like he gave one. I remember he was just holding it. You open the box and this paper like literally jumps into 3d form and like pops out of the box and it falls on the ground. It was pretty crazy. You can’t, you can’t miss it.

Shawn:

I have it somewhere over here. The marketing inserts I got ’em all over the place, but yeah, when you slide the insert, boom, it pops out and it’s an offer. It’s like, Hey, read me. How can you ignore that? Yeah. You know, especially if it’s bright, red has a stop sign on it. It says caution, you know, anything, anything you can, you can use to get the customer’s attention and always, always, always make it about them. It’s never about you remember? As a consumer, I’m selfish. My favorite radio station is WFM. What’s in it for me. I don’t care about Bradley the seller. I care about Shawn, the buyer. So make it a no-brainer.

Bradley Sutton:

I love it. I love it. Are you, you know what you know we have a lot of Helium 10 users, obviously who listen and, and they’re familiar, maybe not familiar with our tool called Portals. And so that’s our landing page builder. And we also have a Follow-Up tool. And so what I’d like to do, you know, Shawn, I wanna connect you with some of our product managers. Let’s see if we can get like a template, and sometimes we put somebody’s name on it, like there’s a couple of people from the space who actually have their name on our tool on some of these templates, we’re gonna have the Shawn Hart template on maybe, you know Insert or on a Follow-Up and, and let’s connect you guys after this call and see how, you know, how Helium 10 can help with this process because this is something I would venture to say 99% of sellers are not using some of these strategies you’re talking about

Shawn:

For your video Watchers. Here’s that insert. Watch what happens. When you pop this out pay, attention’s gonna happen quickly. Boom.

Bradley Sutton:

Boom, two boxes come out.

Shawn:

Completely customizable, put something on there that gets my attention. Screams opt in because I’m gonna get tremendous value. So that was for your video Watchers.

Bradley Sutton:

I love it. I love it. All right now, I mean, you talked about that offer for that you had for Mexico. And then I saw you had one also for our Elite workshop. You got anything for our listeners today. So we can like put what we’re talking about in practice here.

Shawn:

Absolutely. First of all, I want you Bradley to finish this book, Private Label Millionaire Secrets. Because as soon as you do–

Bradley Sutton:

Now that I will, now that I had you on the podcast and you’re like, people think it’s BS that I say, oh yeah, this is unscripted. And, and like, I don’t wanna know these things before. Like obviously I knew a lot about what you talk about just cuz I was there, but I’m like, I wanna stop there because I wanna find out stuff. And today I found out stuff that I wouldn’t have known or I would’ve already known about if I had read the book, but now I got to learn about it with everybody else. But, yeah, now that we’re, you’ve been on the podcast now I can actually sit down and read the book. So you’re giving people the opportunity also to read the book.

Shawn:

Yep. All, yeah. Read the book. I mean it’s cheap, it’s 99 cents on Kindle $3.99 in paperback. We didn’t do it for the money. You know, it’s just a tremendous value. It’s my Magnum Opus when it comes to writing, my first book stinks. So this one’s great. So I have something special for your listeners. First of all, my partner and I, so we do a weekly podcast published every Monday. It’s called the Post Purchase Podcast where we talk specifically about strategies that we’ve used to build our businesses. And more specifically how we use post-purchase marketing. Like we’re talking about here today to build a list and things like that. So you can find that on any of the platforms, Post Purchase Podcast now for anyone listening today, all right, I’ll allow you to watch a complete video walkthrough of what I call the Amazon listing value stack.

Shawn:

And three more secret strategies that’s helped my partner and I hit 1 million in sales within the first 18 months of starting out on Amazon. We didn’t take any formal courses or anything. We created all this stuff on our own. I’ve still not purchased an Amazon seller course. So you’re gonna love it. You can get that at postpurchasepro.com/brad. And these are like I said, the Amazon listening value stack, which we alluded to earlier, you get an in-depth view of that as well as three other core strategies. That’s really been the cornerstone of our success at postpurchasepro.com/brad for Brad.

Bradley Sutton:

I love it. I love it. All right. So, guys, this is great stuff and hopefully, Shawn is coming out to Sell and Scale and you’ll see me. He’s kind of hard to miss he’s about 7’7″ and you know, you can definitely hit him up. He’s got the post-purchase pro shirt, wherever he goes. So hit him up for more of these strategies. Now, one last thing I just wanted to, to kind of mention here, you know, you brought your–, is it 15 year old son?

Shawn:

15 year old son, Cash. Yeah.

Bradley Sutton:

15 year old son, you know, with you on some of these trips and have mentioned that he’s running now his own businesses online. So number one, how did you get him interested at a young age to like, be, even want to start his own business? And like what advice can you give to other parents out there who like, you know, Amazon sellers, you know, they want get their family interested in these things too, but it’s not always you know like my kids couldn’t care less about, I mean, I make them work and put FBA labels and stuff like that, but it’s not something they’re really passionate about, but how do you get your kids interested in becoming entrepreneurs?

Shawn:

Well, it’s not something that comes naturally. I actually have four children, three younger ones. Cash is the oldest of the younger batch. He’s 15. And I think this is the big mistake that I see other parents make is we’re not willing to take our children out and put them in the mix like you see, I brought my son to Mexico. I brought him to LA to meet you. I’ve taken him to China three times. We used to do the China trips. I had this kid writing purchase orders at 11 years old buying product, regardless of whether they sell or not just for the game of it. And the secret, I don’t tell my son this. He doesn’t even care about the money. The money is irrelevant to him. He wants to be in the game. He wants to create value and prove that he can create funnels.

Shawn:

This kid’s doing SMS text marketing, he’s doing backend email marketing. He’s building massive list with his physical products business. And he doesn’t care one single, I mean, he doesn’t put any effort in making money to him, it’s just a passion. So I think it lives in him because I’ve exposed him to people like you Bradley and other amazing, brilliant entrepreneurs out there. And he sees what’s going on. So for him, it’s normal, you know, it’s normal for a kid that doesn’t grow up around that. It looks strange, you know, it’s foreign to them, like he’s going out here trying to raise a half a million dollars from a local investor. Not because he needs the money. It’s because he wants to challenge and Bradley. He just doesn’t know that he’s not supposed to go ask for half a million dollars from a local investor. He just doesn’t know him better. And I love it. I love watching him grow as you can see, I’m just crazy proud of him. And so my advice is put ’em in the mix. You know, a lot of people won’t even take the kids to events. They leave him with a babysitter. I’m with mine 24/7 man around the clock. He’s actually right outside the door there watching me do this.

Bradley Sutton:

I love it. All right. Well, Shawn, thank you for so much for bringing your value and the unique viewpoints and, and strategies and, and one more time. What’s the link and how people can find you on the interwebs and, and get that offer from you guys.

Shawn:

The number I wanna leave you with Bradley is 41%, historically of 153 million that we sold on Amazon 41 cents of every dollar came from doing post-purchase marketing with a customer list. You can get all this information at postpurchasepro.com/brad. There’s only one hiccup. We just asked for an email address because we wanna give you ongoing value, opt out anytime you want, but I put that together, especially for you and your audience here. And I cannot thank you enough. My heart goes out through the entire community. I love what you’re doing here. We’ll support you any way we can. I’d love to come back, Bradley.

Bradley Sutton:

Thanks. I appreciate it. All right, we’ll see you later, Shawn. Hopefully in September.

Shawn:

Thank you.


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, Spotify, or wherever you listen to our podcast.

Get snippets from all episodes by following us on Instagram at @SeriousSellersPodcast

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.
  • Helium 10: 30+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon or Walmart 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.
  • SellerTrademarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.
0/5 (0 Reviews)

Everything for your business on Amazon.

Find out more about our products by signing up or speaking with one of our
Customer Success representatives today. With us in your corner, you can enjoy
more sales and increased engagement from your Amazon business.

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

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Try our other products!

Xray – Product Research, inside the Helium 10 Chrome Extension, helps give Amazon and Walmart sellers a bird's-eye view of a market as they browse.

  • Free Trial with 20 Requests
  • Starting at $39/Month

Scribbles – Lets sellers add the best keywords to their Amazon Seller Central frontend and backend to make sure their listings are totally optimized.

  • 30-Day Free Trial
  • Included in the Platinum Plan ($99/Month)