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#213 – Use TikTok as an Amazon Product Research Tool? This 7-Figure Seller Tells You How

Have you ever considered using TikTok as an Amazon product research tool? This 7-figure e-commerce seller and coach tells you how to do it!

The last year has taught us all a great deal. For those of you selling on Amazon, the challenges that the pandemic has brought have been balanced with sky-rocketing e-commerce sales. 

The Amazon ecosystem is full of stories of sellers who have adapted to the changes in a variety of different ways. Today on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Evangelist, Bradley Sutton welcomes Trevin Peterson, an up-and-coming 7-figure Amazon seller and coach. Trevin outlines the targeted strategies that allowed him to level up his Amazon business, buy a new truck and spend more time fishing and golfing. 

One of Trevin’s most fascinating tactics is the way he uses the social media platform, TikTok as a product research tool. Trevin says that Amazon sellers would be amazed at the number of product ideas that regularly pop up in the short online videos. 

To be clear, 2020 wasn’t all TikTok videos and afternoons at the lake or golf course. One of Trevin’s most important adjustments was his labor intensive, time consuming pivot to selling on Amazon with merchant fulfilled to adjust to the COVID restrictions. 

He enlisted the whole family to help him get the products out and was able to continue to grow his Amazon brand consistently throughout the year. 

Trevin says that in addition to his own success, it’s his students’ achievements that made 2020 a memorable year. This episode is jam-packed with tips for Amazon sellers of all levels. 

Don’t miss this one! In episode 213 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Trevin discuss:

  • 03:22 – TikTok has Exploded for Trevin
  • 05:55 – 60 Seconds to Grab their Attention
  • 09:17 – Trevin’s Best TikTok Strategy
  • 12:22 – Over 20K from a 200 Dollar Investment on Instagram 
  • 16:02 – How Did COVID Affect Trevin’s Amazon Business?
  • 17:10 – Pivoting to Merchant Fulfilled 
  • 23:08 – How Outsourcing Helped Increase Trevin’s Golf and Fishing Time 
  • 26:51 – Why Open a Second Amazon Account  
  • 31:03 – TikTok, Instagram, and Black Box are in Trevin’s Product Research Toolbox 
  • 32:10 – Brand Video Ads to Power Up PPC Advertising
  • 35:30 – What Does Trevin Have Planned for 2021?
  • 37:50 – Student Success Stories  
  • 41:58 – How to Connect with Trevin  

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

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

  • Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
  • Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
  • Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
  • Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation. 
  • SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.

Transcript

Bradley Sutton: Today, we’ve got someone back on the show who’s going to talk about what helped him scale up to over a million dollars of sales on Amazon, including some Ninja product research tactics I hadn’t heard of before, plus how he got 200,000 followers on Tik Tok. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think.

Bradley Sutton: Hello, everybody, and welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10. I am your host Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that’s a completely BS free, unscripted and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the Amazon world. And for the first time since 2019, we’ve got a guest back here on the show, Trevin, how’s it going?

Trevin: I’m doing awesome. I appreciate, and it’s always an honor to be on it — these episodes. I absolutely love them and I’m a loyal listener, so I appreciate the opportunity to be here.

Bradley Sutton: Awesome. Awesome. Thanks for coming back. If you guys want to get a lot of Trevon’s backstory, we don’t like to go through everything because we want to get to the new stuff, but, guys go to helium10.com/podcast, and then type in either Trevin or episode 89. And that was the episode he was in. And speaking to that, just to bring people up to– just in case, I don’t want people like cutting out here because they want to go back to that other episode real briefly. I remember, like in 2018 you had said, you were already like a six figure seller did about $300,000, and then you were on pace in 2019 to hit almost a million. Now I have a sneaking suspicion that you vastly surpass that in 2020. Would that be a correct assessment?

Trevin: Yes. And I mean, I guess you could say vastly surpassed it. So in 2019, I did literally almost to the dollars, like to the T a million dollars. And in 2020, I did $1.2 million between both of my Amazon accounts. So I did increase my sales by $200,000 in 2020.

Bradley Sutton: So you increased it, the amount you increase is pretty much like, almost like your entire 2018 sales. So that’s a pretty significant increase and that’s really, really cool now. I think the feedback I got from the last episode, a lot of people really loved how big of a loser you are– kind of like, not really a loser, but you had so many failures.

Trevin: I’ll take it.

Bradley Sutton: You had so many failures, but you did not give up. So guys, go back to episode, listen to a lot of his failed products he had, but look, what happens when you stick to it. Like don’t give up just because your product doesn’t work out that way. If Trevin would have done that, he wouldn’t have made, or grossed over $2 million in the last couple of years. Now, before we get into the Amazon strategy and what helped you increase the sales and scale up to where you are now, let’s talk about just something else. The last time we talked about how you were really growing your YouTube community, but if I’m not mistaken, I’ve only seen like glimpses of this. I’ve never actually seen your channel or anything, but Tik Tok is where you really grew in social media last year, right?

Trevin: That is a hundred percent correct. And it’s absolutely exploded my business on the side of social media and coaching. And that side of the business. I started Tik Tok in 2019. I’m pretty sure, literally one of my first videos posted was the week of me doing the Helium 10 podcast, back in 2019, I went– I kind of went off and on, I was consistent for like three months at the beginning and I grew it pretty quick, but then I got distracted with the pandemic thing. I didn’t really dedicate much time to it. And just back in November 2020, I decided to rededicate my time. So it’s only been like two, three months and I’ve grown to almost 200,000 followers in a span of two months. And so it’s really exploded and it’s been super fun, making stupid videos. Some are super educational, some are just absolutely worthless, but that’s just kind of the fun part of the platform. I don’t have to be super professional. I can just be who I am and that’s me just having fun and talking about random things that I enjoy.

Bradley Sutton: So, I mean, what’s your strategy? I mean, did one thing just go viral and that’s how you were able to get a lot of followers, or did it just grow gradually? And if so, like what kind of content were you doing that allowed you to scale up that much in just a short amount of time?

Trevin: So the first, when I first started posting, what caught people’s attention was my Tesla. I have a Tesla and it’s my baby. And I loved making videos about it. And it was kind of the trend to show what your Tesla did. So I showed it in autopilot. I showed it, how it can drive itself with the summon feature. I showed just random, different features like that. And I grew a decent following with that. I grew like 20 to 30,000 followers talking about that.

Bradley Sutton: Good grief. I have a Tesla. And I never thought about that. Shoot. I have like 10 followers on TikTok.

Trevin: You’re doing the post a picture of your Tesla doing something stupid. And people are like, Oh, that’s so cool. I want to follow you. So that’s how I started. And then from there, I was like, why not implement a little bit of Amazon because that’s how I was able to purchase my Tesla. And so I started talking about my business and that’s when I just got a ton, a ton of traction and people were super interested, not just because of the Tesla, but also how I was able to purchase it. And I started making tutorials and as you know what, TikTok, you only have 60 seconds. And so these tutorials, you’re trying to grab their attention as quick as possible, and you have like five, 10 seconds to grab their attention. And then you can talk about a little hack with Amazon for the other 30 seconds. And so that’s what I started doing. And that’s when I started to see the massive growth and ever since then, I’ve just kind of, when I have a cool idea, I am like, Hey, I’m going to put this on TikTok. And sometimes it goes well and other times it doesn’t, and that’s just kind of the name of the game of the platform with TikTok.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. So, I mean, obviously with you, you started it on a more personal basis and then also to help with like, your status as an influencer, I guess, in the Amazon world, just like you did on YouTube. But like now that you know what you know about TikTok, like do you think that brands or like private label sellers would be able to start something that could actually help their Amazon business? Have you known anybody to do it on that side? Or if not just, what would your strategy be for that?

Trevin: So, honestly, I had an aha moment back. It was probably May of 2020, and Tik Tok was just exploding. And all of a sudden my sales on my Amazon account started exploding. And I’m like, what is going on? Like, why are my sales just through the roof? And I kid you not my wife’s little sister sent me a video and was like, Hey, is this your Amazon product? And I was like, yeah. And that video had over like a million views. And just from that video, it just blew up my account and I’m like, what in the world just happened? And so that’s when I was like, man, I need to dedicate more time, not just inside my personal brand, but also with my Amazon products. And so that’s when, I’ve been talking with my students about this strategy where you can find products that way you can launch products that way. And it’s been a great way for brands, not just personal brands, but actual product brands to get exposure from TikTok, just with the virality of the platform.

Bradley Sutton: Interesting. Okay. So, did you ever create a TikTok that’s just for your brand?

Trevin: I didn’t, I probably should. And it would be smart too. It just takes a lot of time and I’m involved in so many different businesses and I actually started a sunglass company with my brother-in-law and we actually have a TikTok account for that brand. And I’m not dedicating a ton of time to it, but it has helped us generate some cells. And that’s kind of where we’re leaning towards with this brand in 2021, we’re trying to focus on TikTok. So maybe next year in the next couple years, if we have another episode, maybe I’ll have a better case study with my own personal brand, growing TikTok for it.

Bradley Sutton: So then do you think, I mean, what do you think would work better? Would it work better to do that like creating your own brand related TikTok? Or is it more of just finding the right influencer? Like that person who just did it on their own? Obviously, you didn’t pay them because you didn’t even know what happened when that one thing went viral or is it just finding, not having your own TikTok, but just trying to find people who already have established followings and get them to make a funny video about your product or something.

Trevin: So you could do it both ways. I mean, it’s easy to find an influencer, pay them a couple of hundred bucks to make a TikTok video. The only thing is you don’t know. I mean, it’s not a guarantee that it’s going to go viral and so you could be spending a couple hundred bucks and it may not do anything. And I actually had that happen just a few weeks ago. I paid, it was $200. The TikTok video got like 50,000 views, but I didn’t really see huge, massive increase in sales. And so a thought process would be as if you have time on your hands, why not go create your own TikTok account? And you’ve probably seen them where they’re like my favorite Amazon finds part two, and then they go to like part 525. And you could do a similar TikTok account to that and just promote your own products. So it’s not necessarily a brand, it’s not your TikTok brand, but you’re kind of the face on there, but little do they know that you’re only promoting your own products. And then if opportunity comes, you could also have another second stream of income of brands reaching out to you to then post about their products. So that’s kind of the way that I would go about it, unless you have just a massive brand and you can make really cool engaging content with it. If you have a product like that, then I would consider dedicating just a hundred percent of the TikTok to the brand. But if not, then maybe do it. The other route of the Amazon finds part two and all the way up to 500 or whatever.

Bradley Sutton: Okay, excellent. Excellent. Now, you mentioned just something briefly there, like you’ve even have a strategy for product research that starts on TikTok?

Trevin: Yes. So if you want me to dive into it, I can talk a little bit about it.

Bradley Sutton: Sure I mean, that’s completely, I have no idea. What about– I’m pretty much a savvy individual when it comes to product research. I love trying to find unique things, but like, and I definitely know about TikTok, but then I’ve never actually said the word TikTok and product research in the same sentence. So I’m very curious what you have for us.

Trevin: So if you go to TikTok and you just go type in like hashtag Amazon finds, there are 5 million different videos of influencers doing my favorite Amazon product part two or part four. And you can just scroll through those and you’ll be surprised that some of the products that they’re sharing have product opportunity on Amazon. So you’re basically getting ideas from these influencers that they’re finding these random products for you. And then what you can do is once you see something that catches your attention, you’re like, Hey, I’m going to go research that a little bit on Amazon. And then obviously do the verification process with the Helium 10 software and whatnot, but that’s how you can generate and come up with different ideas that you wouldn’t have originally thought of is just by searching hashtag Amazon finds.

Bradley Sutton: Pretty cool. That’s like something I had never even thought I’ll have to definitely get into that. What about other social media? Like, has there been anything else that you’ve leveraged social media in your personal or Amazon business? Be it influencer marketing or Instagram or Facebook ads or Google or something new that worked for you in 2020?

Trevin: Actually, I did. And I almost hate to share this with people, but I’m going to try to bring as much value as humanly possible. There are Amazon accounts on Instagram that just post about Amazon products and they have massive followings and you can reach out to these brands on Instagram and you can pay between a hundred dollars to a thousand dollars depending on the post. And I actually did a total of six of these posts with between different Instagram accounts and my best day of 2020, I did over $20,000. And it was from one of these influencer posts and it just absolutely blew up. And I was like, man, I paid it, no joke, $250. And it led to over $20,000 in sales.

Bradley Sutton: How did you find that person?

Trevin: It’s the same thing, go to Instagram type in hashtag Amazon prime, hashtag Amazon products. And you can find different Instagram accounts that are posting about products. You can reach out to them. There’s some accounts that are a hundred percent dedicated to just Amazon products. There’s bloggers, for example, that maybe your product fits the particular brand. Like if you’re selling some sort of makeup item, there’s tons of makeup accounts or bloggers that are talking about makeup every single day. And so you reach out to them and you try to work out a deal to see what you can pay them in order to post on their story. And that’s what’s crazy is this particular account, it was a back-to-back story post and that was it. It wasn’t even posting on their feed. It was a simple swipe up of, Hey, check out this product, swipe up if you’re interested.

Bradley Sutton: So it’s definitely good to make sure they have at least 10,000 followers, right, because it’s the 10,000 followers means that you can do that swipe up. Right.

Trevin: And I mean that if they’re going to do a feed post, I mean, it’s not as important, but the reality is it’s more steps for the consumer. I mean, if they’re doing a feed post and they see a cool product, they then have to click on their profile and then they have to go click on the link and then it leads into this and it’s just more steps and a story post. They can literally just swipe up, takes them to Amazon and boom they purchase. So it’s just a less steps. So a story posts, I’ve seen be a little bit more beneficial.

Bradley Sutton: Now, do you think they’re Amazon affiliates too? Because I mean, that seems like awfully generous to be able to, okay. I was about to say, because I was like, how in the world I’d be wanting to do to get more money than just 200 bucks, but they’re getting money from you plus they’re getting money on the backend from Amazon.

Trevin: Exactly. And that’s the only downside. It would be cool to be able to, for example, throw a Helium 10 Gems link in there. So when they’re swiping up a branded URL.

Bradley Sutton: Yea.

Trevin: If you could do that, that would be great because then that would help. But a lot of the times they want to get the, they want to double dip. They want you to pay them and then they also want commissions on the backend. And honestly, I have no issue with that. If they’re bringing me sales, I’m not going to complain. And I’m sure if you paid more and said, Hey, I’ll pay you $2,000 to use this link. I’m sure they would, but I’ve just let them choose their link. And it also helps increase my organic sales the next day. And it helps me rank for other keywords, even though that URL wasn’t necessarily a brand specific URL.

Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. Cool. Well, this is great, great stuff. You always bring the fire. So I appreciate that. Now, just in general, 2020, how did the pandemic affect your business? Some people sales went way up, some people who were like, obviously selling like airplane, neck pillows or travel-related stuff went way down. What about you?

Trevin: So that’s kind of my biggest learning lesson of 2020 is we actually just purchased a house. It was on March 13th, it was Friday the 13th. I’ll still remember this for the rest of my life. We closed on our house and that’s when everything got shut down and I’m thinking, what am I going to do? Can I afford this as my business going to go to the pot? And I was stressed in for the first few days, my sales were super slow and I was like, man, this is not good. I got to figure something out. And so I ended up going in and getting creative and things got shut down and I was willing to pivot. And I ended up doing merchant fulfilled for almost two months. Because with Amazon only shipping the household essentials.

Bradley Sutton: Yup, yup.

Trevin: I had to make that pivot. And as soon as I made that pivot and started shipping out orders myself. I mean, it sucked, I was working probably four hours a day with me, my wife and my mom. I love my wife and my mom. They were with me every step of the way, helping me fulfill orders because if I had to do it myself, there’s no possible way. I mean, I was getting two to 400 orders a day trying to fulfill that all myself, it just was not possible. And as soon as I made that pivot, my sales just boomed. I mean, I think, I don’t know the exact numbers. I wish I could pull it up real quick, but March, I can’t remember what I did maybe 50, 60,000. And then the next month, as soon as I made that pivot, I did over $130,000 that month. Almost doing all merchant fulfilled.

Bradley Sutton: You had your factory send you the product directly, or how did you even get it in your house?

Trevin: Yeah, I had my suppliers sent it to my house and luckily my suppliers were still running and I was able to get a lot of inventory quick and then I just started fulfilling myself and then by kind of July. So it was basically April and May and then part of June, but by July I was back to normal, not fulfilling my orders. But that’s kind of what I had to do. And that’s was the biggest effect in 2020, but I was able to grow my business even more than I did the previous year, because I was willing to make that sacrifice and willing to do what other people aren’t willing to do.

Bradley Sutton: And that was your product like small, under a pound or?

Trevin: It is. It was a super small product and that particular product to kind of fit inside, I guess, the pandemic limits. I was one of the very first people to start selling this particular product. You’re probably familiar with a lot of these products. I’m actually not selling them anymore, but they were face masks lanyards and face masks cases. And I absolutely crushed it for like three, four months. And then it just kind of got really, really competitive and I moved on, so I made a lot of money, got out and that was kind of the pivot that I had to make.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. So then, being in smaller items, you were using then the postal, the postal system, I would assume too.

Trevin: Yea. I was.

Bradley Sutton: And how did you use like the– did you buy it from Amazon, the posted you use stamps.com, or how did you print all those labels?

Trevin: All the labels, I purchased through Amazon. They have great rates. I didn’t feel the need to go anywhere else. And it was easy. I clicked a few buttons and I had my label printer and I was printing and selling orders and it was super easy.

Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Okay, cool. So, that sounds like me and back in the old days, I can, 2015, that was one of my first starts, I was working for a company and we were, we were doing like three to 600 items a day. And then that was like, that was their main business model. They actually did that more than FBA. So like they actually bought this, it’s like a 15, $20,000 machine where it was phone cases. So it was still small kind of like your things. And then it was super cool, like it connected to Amazon. And then not only, it wasn’t just that it printed the label. It opened up a bag, like it was a bag feeder and it opened it up, it printed the label right on the bag. And then I dropped the product in and then I like do a pedal with my foot to like close it and it heat seals it, I mean, it was, I could do like 400 items in like one hour. It was insane. But guess what, guys, the people who could pivot like that are the ones who are crushing it, especially during the pandemic. And we don’t know what’s going to happen in 2021, and the pandemic might be coming under control the next couple of months, people get vaccinated. We have no idea what, what the future holds, but who knows what could happen in the future where we’re at Amazon just says, you know what, we can’t accept new products. Or what if this thing about the 200 quantity limits persist? Well, guess what guys, you can’t replenish fast enough, just relying on FBA. You’ve got to be able to do stuff like Trevin did and be able to fulfill it on your own. So that’s very interesting.

Trevin: Yeah. And that’s another big thing that I had to pivot with is that 200 limit. I was kind of exhausted of fulfilling my own orders and I’m sure I could have done a 3PL and I could have hired a team, uh, and I could have done that, but with this 200 limit, now my strategy is even more different than it was six months ago. And so every, I mean, Amazon is always rolling out with different changes, different limitations, or there’s new restrictions. And that’s kind of the name of the game with Amazon. You just got to roll with the punches. You got to be willing to adapt and adjust. And if you can do that, you’re going to succeed with Amazon.

Bradley Sutton: All right, guys, quick break from this episode for the BTS. Remember, that can mean anything. You want it to be Bradley’s 30 seconds, or if you’re an NBA fan, maybe it’s the Bucks, Timberwolves, Spurs, whatever it is, here is my 30-second tip of the episode. If you’re creating an FBA listing, all right, so fulfilled by Amazon. Not that you’re going to be fulfilling by yourself, always make sure in the edit listing to turn on the gift message available and gift wrap available, this costs you nothing. But what happens is, if somebody wants to make this a gift, they’re going to see that as an option where they can pay Amazon like five bucks or eight bucks or whatever it is in order to gift wrap, put a gift message. Again, costs you nothing, Amazon charges and directly, but sometimes that could be the difference of you getting the sale or one of your competitors getting the sale.

Bradley Sutton: Now let’s just take a quick pause from the strategy. We’ll definitely come back to that, but you’ve mentioned a couple of things Tesla, brand new house, et cetera, et cetera. Talk a little bit more about other things like how has selling on Amazon and what you’ve built kind of changed your life. What are some things that you did in 2020 that probably five years ago you were like, there’s no way I would be doing that five years from now.

Trevin: I mean, it’s looking back on it. It’s like I get the chills thinking about how far I’ve come in, just a short three years. It’s insane what hard work, dedication, persistence discipline can do for you. And if you just put your head down and get to work, you can turn your dreams into a reality in 2020. That first week I was a little scared, but after that, I mean, I was making more money than I’ve ever made in my entire life. And it was absolutely game changing and honestly, come July, all of July and part of August. So for almost 45 days, I went out, bought a brand new truck and I went fishing almost every single day. So I just lived my dream and I love fishing, and that’s what I decided to do. And, I also, in between fishing, I would go golfing, but that’s what allowed, that’s the time freedom that I have because of my Amazon business and the money that I’ve been able to generate has enabled me to basically go out and do things that I absolutely love doing. And those were some of the best memories that I created in 2020. And I’ll always be forever grateful for Amazon and the platform that it’s given me to build a business that has completely changed my life. So, I can only speak good for the things that that I’ve been able to do. And it’s all because of Amazon.

Bradley Sutton: Nice, nice. Now, I mean, you obviously mentioned utilizing family labor or with your wife and mom for packaging, but just in general, like, have you hired? Do you have any full-time employees? Do you have any part-time employees, you have virtual assistants, like who’s helping you day to day on the business so that you can just go take a fishing trip and do things like that.

Trevin: And that’s something really important for people to realize is there’s a lot of things that you can outsource and have somebody out to do for you. So, you aren’t having to do the little tiny tasks that are just tedious and annoying. And a few of those things that I outsourced and hired was a videographer. So I have a full-time videographer that edits all of my videos and that alone saves me probably 15, 20 hours a week minimum.

Bradley Sutton: Did you bring somebody out?

Trevin: I did. And that was a good buddy of mine. And I basically just paid him to come with me at that time.

Bradley Sutton: Trevin he’s got like his own entourage here. Like it was like reality TV being filmed while we were recording the podcast. I remember that. Yeah.

Trevin: So I brought him out because there’s things that I’m just not good at. And one of them is editing and that’s something that I had to outsource. And for the first I want to say year and a half, two years, I edited every single video and I didn’t get better at it. I sucked. And so that’s when I decided to outsource somebody to edit my videos. And that saved me a lot of time. Another thing that stressed me out in 2019, and also, I actually, it was mainly 2019 was my bookkeeping. I was just, I had no idea what I was doing taxes. I had no idea I kind of got screwed because I was dumb and I didn’t seek for help. And I just thought that I could do everything on my own and I didn’t manage my books very well. And I ended up paying the price at the end of the year, trying to backtrack and calculate all my expenses and whatnot. And so in 2020, I decided to hire a full-time bookkeeper to manage everything for me. So now I actually have four bookkeepers that manage all for my different businesses.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. Interesting. Interesting. Okay. Now, one thing, speaking of different businesses, I know in Amazon itself, you mentioned that you even have like a couple of different accounts. So what motivated you to have two different accounts? And then did you do it through Amazon or are you keeping them like completely separate?

Trevin: So a lot of people ask me this and the number one question is, Oh, that’s against terms of service and it’s not, if you do it right, and you get approved by Amazon and you have a legitimate business reason, you open up a new LLC, a new bank account, the products are separate. It’s a different brand and there’s a business reason behind it. You can open up a second account. Now, not everybody can just go open up 500 accounts. Like if you just opened up a brand new account 30 days ago, and you go try to open up a second and a third one, Amazon’s going to see something fishy about that. But I had had my account for, it was almost two years and I had really good credibility on that account. And so requesting for a second one, I got the stamp of approval from Amazon. And so I opened up that second account and that there was a few reasons why I decided to open up the second account. The first one was I wanted to kind of diversify my portfolio. I kind of stressed about what happens if one product gets shut down or if I do something wrong. And that was me just being stupid back then, if you just abide by Amazon’s rules, your Amazon account is not just going to get shut down randomly. Now, back then, I was really concerned about that. Now I don’t even ever worry about it because I don’t play in that gray area. So that was the main reason. And then the second reason is a lot of people– I have a YouTube channel, as you guys know, I teach people how to sell an Amazon. A lot of people were like, well, you started back in it was end of 2017, 2018. You got lucky. I don’t think you can actually build a business. And so what I decided to do was open up a brand new account from scratch and show people that, Hey, I can start on a budget and grow it to six figures with the knowledge that I know now. And I was able to do that in the first year of opening up that account. So those were the two main reasons that I opened up the second account.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. Cool. Now another question I had, you obviously since day one, I remember when you were just getting started Helium 10 obviously played a big role in your Amazon business. Like you– we came out with tons of different things last year, be it the ads tool for PPC or inventory management, or new filters for product research or keyword research. If you were picking this like one or two things that is newer from Helium 10, that really helped you, either in your research or your maintenance or whatever, what do you think that would be?

Trevin: This is an easy one. It’s the Black Box, Keyword Product Research tool. That is by far the best tool to do product research hands down. And that has helped me find more products, then I know what to do with.

Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. Cool. Speaking of which, how many products did you launch last year?

Trevin: I lose count. I need to go back and look at them, but between, I do know between August 2020 to the end of November, I launched six products in that span and all of them are doing fantastic. And then obviously before with the pandemic, I launched a few products in between they’re doing merchant fulfilled. Like I talked about, so I would say I launched at least 12 new different products in 2020.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. Were there any that you did that were because of that, like Instagram hack that you told us about earlier in the episode, or what’s like your– do you have a go-to product research strategy? Like these are the same way you always use or is it a variety of different things that you’re doing?

Trevin: It’s a variety and anytime I see something that catches my attention, like how my brain works is it doesn’t ever stop. So 24/7, I’m always thinking about products that I could potentially launch and different ways to finding products. And so basically just throughout my day-to-day life, I’m always thinking about that. So there’s not just one thing that I do every single time to find my products. It’s kind of a mix of everything, but I would say between Tik Tok, Instagram, and then the black box, those are where a lot of ideas come from. I mean, you get a tons of ads of people drop shipping. And a lot of times those drop shipping products are trendy before they’re trending on Amazon. And so you can get an ad and then you can be like, Hey, how can I do this on Amazon, but do it even better. And so different things like that is how I go about it.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. Excellent. Excellent. Any unique PPC strategies that you’re doing? I mean, I think everybody knows that there’s no– there’s not just one exact blueprint for success with PPC. It’s an animal that performs in different ways in different accounts and different products, but it was there anything that you tried in 2020 that you’re like, wow, this was really worked out for me.

Trevin: Honestly, PPC is one of those tricky things. And in 2020, I tried 5 million different software’s. I tried automation software, and there’s not really a solution to the answer. It’s just more testing and trying in some works and some doesn’t, but I will say the biggest thing that has changed my PPC campaigns is brand video ads. Every time I run a video PPC ad, they get the best ACoS, and they drive the most sales period. So if you’re brand registered and you don’t have video ads running, you probably should consider doing that.

Bradley Sutton: So, is that one of the things that you’re a videographer is doing for you?

Trevin: Yes. So, I have a– that’s actually a separate videographer. My full-time videographer does my YouTube videos. And then I have a good buddy of mine that I went to high school with that is very talented with a video that I’ve been paying to do my product videos. And that has really changed my PPC game. I was sometimes struggling some months, it was insane. Like I was super profitable. My ACoS is super low, but then other months it’s like, ah, it’s just not as good. But as soon as I turned on these video ads, It didn’t matter what time or how much or what keyword I targeted. They always convert it.

Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. So what’s, I mean, you don’t have to give us your exact blueprint, but what are some of the high level things, as far as your strategy for video ads? Like, do you have a certain target as far as length goes, do you do anything in the beginning of the video to like really get people’s attention? Or is it, I’ve seen some ones out there that they just put a product like on this pedestal that turns around 300– like, what do you call those things, lazy susans, or whatever it is, and then that’s it. Or other people just basically, it’s like a slide show of just images from the listing.

Trevin: Slideshow with images, I’ve done that. And they were great. Okay. You have a slideshow with images, with a music and overlay text. Those actually perform really well, because what happens is when they’re scrolling, they’re not necessarily listening, some have their volume on. So that would be a big tip that I have is make sure that you have texts that people can read easily because as they’re scrolling, they’re like, Oh, this is the perfect thing that I’m looking for. And then they continue to watch. And a slide show with overlayed text is super easy to follow. So those actually work really well. And I actually have quite a few video ads with simple slideshow videos that you can go create, or even on fighter, you can pay somebody five, 10 bucks to create a slideshow video ad for you.

Bradley Sutton: Cool. There’s one thing that I’ve been, I saw once, like when this first came out, like maybe nine months ago or a year ago, whenever a sponsored video ads came out and I’ve never been able to find any and maybe it’s like not– it maybe is against terms of service or something. That’s why it’s not there, but it really caught my attention. I was just browsing a keyword and then, I’m scrolling and then it looked like, just like a search result listing, but then like, I forgot if it was a dog or something like popped up out of nowhere. So what happened was they took like a screenshot of what an Amazon listing searches that would look like. So that’s what you thought that you were just scrolling through the search results, but it was really a video. And then like, it just like shocked me. I was like, what this dog came out of this Amazon listing. I was like, genius. So I got to find that. So if anybody knows where that is, let me know.

Trevin: I haven’t seen anything like that before.

Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. All right. What’s on the agenda for you in 2021, it’s obviously still pretty early. You hit your goals last year. Once you get to this kind of level, sometimes it might be a little bit difficult to think, you know, like the big thing that people are looking for is like, Hey, I want to hit seven figures. We’ll, you’ve done that already. So, how do you keep setting goals for yourself so that you don’t get complacent in your business?

Trevin: So if anybody knows me, I can’t sit still. I consider myself a serial entrepreneur, always looking for new opportunities, and sometimes it hurts me. Sometimes, it’s good. So I am involved in a lot of different businesses. Obviously I have my two animals and accounts and my– in 2021, my second Amazon account, I am very focused on growing. I have four products in the pipeline that I’m looking to launch on that. So I’m excited to grow that one. I’d love to hit seven figures on my second account this year. Obviously with TikTok growing, I’m dedicating a lot of my time on TikTok, just because I have a lot of traction. And then I actually started– it’s been like a month ago or so. I actually started my first software company with two of my business partners. And it’s kind of related to the Amazon space, but not really. It’s called course ranks. It’s a review platform for online courses. So, think of Yelp where you want to look for a restaurant. You go to Yelp and you read the different reviews and you see what’s going on. You go to Amazon, you read the different product reviews. You see what product is good. That’s the same exact thing that we’re trying to do with online courses, because there’s not really a one place where you can go to get this information. And I absolutely love courses, but you just need to make sure that you get the right course from the right source. And I use the analogy of rate my professor. I went to school only for a year, but I lasted a year. And every time I used rate my professor and I found a good professor with a good rating, I thoroughly enjoyed that class. But when I found a professor that had a bad rating and I had to take that class, that class sucked. And so that was kind of the thought process is why is there not something like that for online courses? And so that’s a huge project and a project in 2021 that I’m really excited and optimistic about. So that’s kind of what I’m up to in 2021. So, it’s a lot.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. Any cool success stories from any of your students? I remember I went to a– I was in Salt Lake and so I did a meet up there, like last second out, of course, my favorite restaurant in the Western States, the Red Iguana and somebody who came up a Helium 10 user, it was one of like, one of your buddies. It was actually– he plays for like Real Salt Lake, or some major league soccer team or something like that, went to school with you or something, but like so he’s like, yeah, yeah. My buddy told me about Amazon, but from him or anybody else, like any cool stories to relate about a student who has really started crushing it, it came from nowhere.

Trevin: Yes. So, yeah, he’s a good buddy of mine and he’s actually now working for an Amazon agency. So me introducing him to Amazon, then it got him in the foot to a job that he absolutely loves. So that’s super fun to introduce people to the space and then them the process, and then have success in their field. Another student, I had a coaching call on a Saturday morning and this couple they’re from California, and they’re absolutely crushing it. They have two products and they kind of had to do the same exact thing that I had to do. They had to adjust and adapt because what the 200 unit limit, they were selling a hundred units a day of one particular product, and they’re selling it for 25 bucks. I mean, they’re absolutely crushing it. And then not to mention their sec– their other product that they have, that’s doing another 25 to 50 units a day. And so like the students of mine, they’re doing more in revenue than I am. And I’m like, this is incredible. And so hearing stories like that, seeing people go from absolutely nothing to, I mean, doing over three, $4,000 in sales a day, even in the 2021 Q1. Like that’s just mind blowing. So it’s cool to see stories like that. And they’re not common. I’ll be a hundred percent honest that not every single student will come up and do $5,000 a day. But hearing stories like that, and even getting stories of people doing 250 or $500 a day, that gets me excited.

Bradley Sutton: Super cool. Now you’ve been giving us a lot of different strategies and things throughout this whole episode, but something that you were one of the first ones to start this last year, you were in the first ones when we started this new feature that we call the TST, or the T S T 30-second tip. So what is something that you haven’t mentioned today, or in the last episode that you can say in 30 seconds or less, that’s going to be a great strategy for our Amazon seller listeners out there.

Trevin: At the end of the day, there’s 5 million different tips. There’s different strategies, there’s different hacks, they’re all great, but it all comes down to whether or not you take action. And I’ve seen this time and time and time again, people will listen to these podcasts. People will listen to YouTube videos and they’ll have all the information, but they won’t take action on it. And so, as silly and as stupid as that little tip is, if you aren’t willing to take action, don’t expect anything don’t expect to change. And that would be my biggest tip is 2021. You can’t be scared. You just got to go out and make it happen. And if you can do that, you can for sure turn Amazon into a full-time business, a side hustle, whatever the case is. So that would be a little tip, but on the Amazon side, just briefly, I would say, invest in a brand registry and product images. Those are super crucial to optimize your listing. I mean, your images, that’s the first thing a customer sees when they’re scrolling on the page. And if you don’t have good professional images, then you’re basically setting yourself up for failure. I mean, I’ve seen people spend three, $4,000 on a product. They spend another thousand dollars in launch, but they’re scared to spend $300 to get professional images. If that’s you, you need to get your priorities, right. Get professional images. And then with the brand registry, you’ll be able to even improve that listing that much more with the A-plus content. So that’s what I would do.

Bradley Sutton: Cool. Excellent. All right. So like, how can people find you on the inter webs? Like maybe they want to check out your TikTok or see about your coaching and courses that you do, things like that. How can they find you?

Trevin: If you’d go search on Instagram, Trevin Peterson, it’s just @TrevinPeterson for all my social media handles. I actually finally got that changed. That is something that I’ve been working on getting it used to be Trevin.Peterson, but I finally got the Instagram username without the period. So it’s just Trevin Peterson. And then on TikTok, it’s Trevin Peterson on YouTube, it’s just Trevin Peterson as well. So you can find me easily on all of the different social media platforms.

Bradley Sutton: Awesome. Awesome, Trevin, thank you so much for joining us. You’ve brought a lot of great strategies and we’ll see you probably, hopefully in 2022, and let’s see what cool, and new, and exciting things you’ve done this year.

Trevin: Awesome. Thank you.

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2 responses to “#213 – Use TikTok as an Amazon Product Research Tool? This 7-Figure Seller Tells You How”

  1. Was an absolute honor being on the serious sellers podcast again. A lot of my Amazon FBA success is all thanks to Helium 10! I can’t live without their tools and highly recommend them! Hope you all enjoy the episode!

  2. loved the session with Trevin P , tik tok and instagram are genius …I’m launching three products now on amazon.com and want to leverage all this incredible insight ! such an energetic and brilliant guy who rolls-up his sleeves and takes action !

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