Episode 2 – Top Underrated Strategies to Boost Amazon Sales in 2019 with Kevin King
2018 is over…and WOW, what a wild year it was for Amazon sellers! Now that 2019 is in full swing, sellers need to adapt to the major changes that were implemented by Amazon in 2018.
However, 8-figure Amazon seller and founder of Freedom Ticket Kevin King has a few tricks up his sleeve that has kept him successful through the recent changes.
Kevin has become as close to an Amazon master as one can get, and he has many golden anecdotes for new and existing sellers looking to become and remain profitable on Amazon in 2019.
In episode 2 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Kevin discuss the following topics:
- Introduction to Kevin King
- Kevin’s Exponential Growth in Amazon Sales
- How Kevin Successfully Manages Multiple Amazon Accounts
- The Case for Using VPNs: Can Amazon Shut Down All Accounts If Just One Gets Suspended?
- Problems With Malicious Sellers in 2018: Chinese Hackers and Hijackers
- How to Avoid Being a Target for Hijackers in 2019
- Kevin’s Product Launch Strategy in 2018
- SECRET HACK: Getting Big Sales Numbers, But NOT With Keywords
- Staying Away from Bad Amazon Selling Advice and Learn to Use Helium 10 Tools
- Product Targeting Ads is Highly Profitable
- The Future of Getting Onto Page 1 on Amazon: Pay to Play?
- Finding Lucrative Amazon Selling Opportunities Beyond Search Volume
- Top 3 Amazon Selling Strategies to Concentrate On for 2019
- Upcoming Helium 10 Elite Webinar for Advanced Sellers and Freedom Ticket for Beginners
Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.
Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:
- Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
- Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
- Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
- Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation.
- SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.
Bradley Sutton: Malicious activity on Amazon, predictions for Amazon changes in 2019, how Kevin King launched with no giveaways and no PPC and sold hundreds of thousands of dollars. What are his new hacks and strategies for 2019? This is episode 2 of the Serious Sellers Podcast.
Bradley Sutton: Hello everybody, and welcome to this first episode that we are having an interview here on the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10 and I’m very honored to have as our first guest here on episode 2 Kevin King. Now Kevin King has one of the most popular AMPM Podcasts before because of all his amazing hacks and strategies. So today, I have made him the first guest here so that we can get some amazing strategies for 2019. Kevin, how’s it going?
Kevin King: I’m doing great man. How are you? How’s everybody out there?
Bradley Sutton: We’re doing just delightful here in sunny southern California. Well, you’re in Texas, right?
Kevin King: I’m in Austin, Texas. That’s right. It’s about 72 degrees and nice today. Bradley Sutton: Oh, that’s pretty good. That’s pretty good.
Kevin King: Wait until tomorrow. It might be -6 degrees, you never know.
Bradley Sutton: That’s how it is over there. It’s kind of a bipolar weather there in Texas, Huh?
Kevin King: It is.
Bradley Sutton: How’s your Amazon sales for 2018? How was it? Was a good year for you?
Kevin King: It was awesome, man. I 10Xed last year. Everybody always says they want to 2X or 3X; I 10Xed! In 2017, I did $37 and last year did $370, it was freaking awesome man. I couldn’t believe it!
Bradley Sutton: Things are flying off the shelves. $370!
Kevin King: They were flying off shelves. I haven’t taken me a vacation, man. So this last time you’re going to hear from me for a while.
Bradley Sutton: How many zeros do we need to add to that number and in real life though? Come on, Kevin.
Kevin King: Uh, you might add a few zeros to that. Maybe one, two, three. I don’t know, a few. But no, sales were good last year. I have my account, you know. I’ve kind of shared my account publicly on the Freedom Ticket and I shared some of my products and as you may know, that can create a few problems here, and there. People start doing a few things that aren’t the best, so I’ve kind of migrated most of my stuff off of that account. I still do some calendars on there and this year my sales were up about 40% on that in the month of November and December. But then I have three other accounts: one’s mine and, actually four accounts. One is mine and three that I’m partners on that are doing some really cool stuff. One of those was seasonal products for this year. And so I’ll probably be doing a case study after the fact. I don’t want to talk about it too much right now because people maybe copy or try to study what I’m doing. But after the fact, this time next year, I’ll share the results on that. But I think we’re going to hit maybe $10 to $20 million on one of those accounts this year in gross sales.
Bradley Sutton: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Now let me ask you something. You mentioned having multiple accounts, you know, yourself and then you’re also partners with the others. Now how do you manage that? Did you get permission from Amazon to have multiple accounts or are you using what other people do is like having separate VPNs or how were you managing multiple accounts?
Kevin King: Yeah, no, I get permission. I have it in writing. I did it, you know, a few years ago before I was really even selling as FBA. I used to buy a lot of hard drives on Amazon. I had a business where we put a lot of the content on a like one terabyte USB hard drives and we would actually sell that content, you know, for like $400. And so I was going on to Amazon and buying like a $50 one terabyte hard drives. And then basically just copying the content. I had like four computers going just round the clock with coffee and stuff, and then since selling this stuff for $300 or $400. So I was having limitations put on my accounts. You can only buy [so much], people are putting limits, you know. You can only buy five of this hard drive or whatever. And I was like, “Screw that man, I need like a bunch.” So I just went and opened up a bunch. This is like in the early 2011 or 2012, somewhere around there. So I opened up several other Amazon accounts, business accounts or whatever, just so I could buy with different email addresses and whatever. And Amazon, after about a year, caught onto me and all of a sudden everything got shut down. I wasn’t doing an FBA then, so, you know, I wasn’t seller, so it didn’t really affect me. There are buyer accounts, but still, nevertheless, they shut me down. And so ever since then I’ve played a completely by the rules and I get permission on all these separate bank accounts, separate ownership, separate companies, everything. There’s no crossover [and] not selling the same products or any of the same stuff. It’s a 100% above board.
Bradley Sutton: So then on your computer or your laptop or whatever, you freely just interchange, you know, which Amazon account you’re logging into?
Kevin King: Yeah, actually, I don’t do a BPN — I don’t do anything. You know, you hear stories about people that are out there, and they’re at a conference at an Amazon conference. “Oh, don’t log in on the Wifi, you’re going to get your account shut down, or when they’re traveling to China or somewhere. No, that’s all bulls#!t, man. That’s never been a problem for me. You can log in from [anywhere]. Amazon doesn’t just track your IP address. They know, I don’t know what the exact number is, but 20, 30, 40 maybe even more data points about your computer. They know the Mac address, they know your fonts that are installed. They know a lot more than just an IP. And so I’ve never had a problem. Never worry about that. I’ll log in from anywhere in the world and it’s never been an issue. And I can just switch between accounts no problem. Even in sometimes, you know, some of those accounts I have access to, I don’t even have to log out of one to log into another. They’re up there in the top, in the corner and you just toggle between them just like between my Amazon US, Amazon Canada, etc. They’ll just show up as another brand up there, and just toggle between them. So as long as you have permission and do it right, play by the rules, it’s no problem.
Bradley Sutton: All right. Now let me ask you something though. One reason that I think that some people still want to do those VPNs and such is that if they do do it where they have the full permission from Amazon to have multiple accounts, kind of like you did. What if one of those accounts gets suspended for whatever reason? What I think I’ve heard from people is that they’re afraid that since they’re all linked together (like let’s say they had five), all five accounts will get suspended because they know that it’s tied together.
Kevin King: No, it doesn’t work that way. They’re separate. That’s like saying if you have a bank account at Chase bank account and one of those bank accounts as your personal account and the other account is your wife’s account and you’re a signer on your wife’s account, but you don’t own it. And say the IRS or somebody comes in and puts a freeze. They can’t freeze just because you’re a signer on that account, you have to be an owner on an account or a co-owner of the account. So it’s the same thing. I mean, I’ve had an issue in the past with my US-based account. It’s never gotten suspended, but there was an issue where some of the funds, you know, couldn’t be withdrawn for a while until I sorted out this issue. That did not affect me anywhere else. You know, on any of my other accounts in Canada or anywhere else. So no, I think that if you’re doing some funny business or you’re doing something and you’re up to no good, then you absolutely should worry and lose sleep about it. But if you’re playing above board, then no, it’s no big deal.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Well that’s interesting to me cause I know that’s something that a lot of people had asked me, so that’s great to know.
Kevin King: I mean that’s my experience. I’m not going to say it’ll never happen to somebody. But no, as long as you [have] separate companies, separate everything. Yeah. If one goes down it shouldn’t affect the others unless you’re doing some transfers between them. You know, product transfers or something that’s fishy. No, you should be fine.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. So another thing you mentioned a couple of minutes ago I wanted to touch on. You said, oh yeah, back in the past, you know, you would give out to the Freedom Ticket people, your Amazon accounts, but then, you know, some people might do some shady things. Well, one of the biggest things that has been in the news and that is on sellers’ minds for 2018 was all of these things that people are attacking other sellers. You know, sellers attacking sellers, seller on seller hate. You know, they would go and give a bunch of bad reviews. What are some of the top things that you have seen that like seem to come out of nowhere in 2018 that never was a problem in 2017, 2016, but that malicious sellers are doing in order to try to gain a competitive advantage?
Kevin King: Yeah, I mean, most of this, I mean, what a lot of people don’t realize, and I just saw this stat a on one of the the big a stat websites just this week, actually 40% of the top sellers on Amazon, actually over 40% of the top sellers on Amazon US are based in China. And that number, that’s double what it was two years ago. It’s 15% in 2016 and 2018 it was more than 40% of the top sellers are based in China. And so, I mean in China especially, I mean this happens some in eastern Europe and some other countries too, but the predominant problem is over in China, you’ve got a lot of hackers, Russian hackers and stuff, but the biggest issue is really coming out of China. I mean, it’s so huge over there. I mean, the biggest event in the US for sellers I think is like the one that Amazon did last summer in New Orleans–those conferences. I think it’s 2,500 people or something like that, maybe 3,000, somewhere in that vein. You know, Amazing does one that’s got like 1500 people. The Prosper Show has like 1300. Then everything else in the Amazon space in the US is down in the single digits. You know, usually 200, 300, 400, or something. But they just had one in Ningbo in early December, like the 7th or 8th of December. More than 10,000 people showed up in Ningbo. This is not Shenzhen or Guangzhou or Hong Kong–this is in Ningbo. Over 10,000 people traveled over there to go to an Amazon seller event and another like 30,000 or 40,000 streamed it live. It’s crazy what’s happening over there. So their culture in China is completely different than ours. You know, we just talked about play by the rules and don’t open multiple seller accounts and everybody’s always afraid in the US. You know, “Is this against TOS? Can I put an insert package, insert kind of do this and that. In China, that’s the furthest from their mind. They’re like, “What can I do to get ahead of the next guy?” You know, they’ve got 1.2 billion or whatever the number is of people and it’s super competitive, so they’re willing to win at all costs. It’s a whole different culture. And to them, cheating is okay. For us, cheating is like, “No, I’m not going to have my hands tied and go to jail. I’m going to be publicly shamed.” Over there. It’s a complete opposite. This is how you win at business is you cheat. And so what’s happened is there’s been a whole culture come up over there of hackers in China that are doing all kinds of crazy stuff. You know, I think there was like 1.2 million new Amazon accounts opened last year (seller accounts in the US), but most of those never even sold a product. A lot of those accounts are being used for malicious stuff. You know, somebody, some guys over there and have 20,000 buyer accounts and they do all kinds of crazy stuff. They were using vendor central accounts because Vendor Central basically is your Amazon. If you have a Vendor Central account, you’re like God. So with a Vendor Central account, it’s a major loophole that Amazon needs to close. And I think they’re about to where you can actually go in there and change someone else’s listing. They were doing stuff with zombie listings where they can find out products that have been out of stock for a while and go take them over and take over the reviews, doing all kinds of merging and splitting. It’s crazy stuff that as Westerners were just like, “Holy cow, how do you compete against that?” And you don’t.
Bradley Sutton: How can you? How can you protect yourself against some of that stuff?
Kevin King: Well, as of right now, if you don’t have–if you’re selling a lot on Amazon and you don’t have a Vendor Central account, you’re screwed. You’re at risk because if you have a Vendor Central account, at least you can go and switch something back without having to go through all the channels of Amazon and plead your case and wait weeks or months or something. But I think that’s going to change because Amazon at some point this year is going to the Integrated Seller account. Basically Vendor Central and Seller Central are going to merge and there’s not going to be separate accounts. And so there’s going to be one account. And I think when that happens, that’s going to fix some of this issue. There’ll always be another issue that pops up, but I think it’s going to help. I think that’s a good thing because I think it’s going to help in some ways, but it also might be a bad thing because I think as third-party sellers, we’re used to having a lot of control over our pictures, over our bullets, our titles. I think some of that’s going to go away this year. I think when this integrated account, I think you may start seeing that Amazon has to approve more stuff when you upload your pictures. They’re not going to post in 15 minutes. Or your bullet points–it’s going to go through a human approval process or maybe a machine first. And that, you know, it’s the machine. It’s kind of like Facebook ads. A machine takes a look at it and it looks okay, it goes. If there’s anything suspicious, it gets kicked out. So I think that’s going to hurt and everybody’s going to have to play by the rules more in including all these Chinese hackers. But they’ll always find a way. And for them, they got burner accounts. They just burned through them. They don’t care. It’s about getting in fast and get out. So the thing is, how you compete against that is you stay away from commodity products. You don’t go after these commodity low ends. You know, what all these courses teach is under two pounds and this price point, whatever. You stay away from that stuff. And you start sourcing outside of China. In addition to the tariffs, you know, the 10% tariffs that are in place right now. The increase on that’s on hold at least temporarily with Trump and the Chinese government doing some negotiations and we’ll see what happens. But start to look outside of China because if you go to sites like say 52 WMB, 52 woman-Mary-bravo.com, and they have the version of that in English, you can source from like 30 different countries. And so if you find products, you know, if you’re sourcing out of Germany or out of Guatemala or somewhere like that, your chances of these Chinese guys hijacking your listing or competing against you goes far down because they’re not going to mess with that. They’re going to go do what’s in their backyard. And so that’s one of the big opportunities I think that’s out there is quit sourcing everything in China. China is easy, the wheels are greased, it works really well. It’s a little bit more trouble sometimes when you go to another country, but you can really differentiate yourself and eliminate a lot of the problems by looking at some other places to source.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. That’s great info. How many products did you launch last year?
Kevin King: How many did I launch last year? I launched, between all the accounts, probably about 40 or so. In my personal account, about seven new products in my own personal account.
Bradley Sutton: Do you have a set launch strategy that you’re using? Are you still using the giveaway method or have you kind of pivoted and are using other ways or what’s your go to strategy for launches these days?
Kevin King: Well, I do a combination. For example, like at Christmas, I had some seasonal items–some calendars is one of my items. I did no launch, no giveaway, no lower the price and raise. I just stuck them up on Amazon around the middle of November and you know, sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of them with zero launch, zero PPC, zero everything. But what I did on that is I made sure that the listings were clean. Instead of these big huge titles–long titles and long bullet points and everything–I didn’t do any of that stuff. I kept everything in the bullet points extremely short. The title [was] straight to the point on the keywords I was targeting. And then I made sure I use the right keywords and the subject matter field and the backends. And I did very well with those products.
Bradley Sutton: Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on. You did a launch with zero PPC and zero giveaways and sold hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Kevin King: Yeah, it’s three different calendars. Just three different calendars that are seasonal. So you know, there’s a short window, so it’s a physical.
Bradley Sutton: How did you get visible? How did you get on page one of important keywords?
Kevin King: Well, some of these are not super–there’s a lot of long tails are not super competitive. And then here’s the trick–here’s the magic point. And you know, it’s one of the little hacks or little secrets that a lot of people don’t realize is that everybody is always so focused on keywords and all so focused on what are people typing into that search bar. But what most people don’t realize is about 40% of what happens out there, what’s sold on Amazon, doesn’t come through search. It’s not about keywords. It’s about being on somebody else’s page. Over 40% of the sales come from, you know, the “customers who bought this also bought that” or, or you also have the sponsored ads column down there and stuff. Amazon will automatically puts you in some of that stuff if you put the right keywords and you do your listing correctly. So you know, if I’ve got a calendar that features a beautiful woman, and I’m going to actually start showing up by having the right keywords and the right phrases–it’s something I’ll teach in, you know, I’m not going to teach it right here. It’s worth too much money to teach right here, but you put the right stuff in there, you’ll actually start showing up, [but] this might not work for highly competitive products. So you know, if this is a Garcinia Cambogia or something, this is not going to work for you. But for the lower end stuff that sells, you know, I’m selling–some of my accounts are selling a hundred a day. And these are calendars that I charge $19.95 for, that’s the retail price on Amazon. My landing costs a $1.52. So you can [spend] next to nothing to fulfill them. So you can see what the margins are on that. It’s crazy ridiculous. But by doing that, I started showing up in some of these other calendars’ pages on their “Customers Who Bought This.” There’s also one that says “Customers Who Viewed This.” Not just bought this, but viewed this also viewed. And so by getting into those positions with the right keywords and the right phrases (which I use Helium 10 Cerebro tool to figure this stuff out), then you start showing up in these places. People see you. They type in, you know, “sports illustrated swimsuit calendar,” and they’re like, “Oh, what’s this one down here? This one looks more interesting.” And I made sure my imagery, my covers are like–they just pop off the page. You know, that main image just pops. It’s like your eye has to go to it on the page. And by doing that, it’s just starts to snowball. And so I was selling, you know–some days I think my best day was close to 150 to 200 units on each one of these. I never spent a single penny on PPC. I never did a launch. I never did a giveaway to my list. I never did anything. Just put them up and did it right.
Bradley Sutton: So when you were doing your product research to find this and you know, thinking about, you know, launching–did you already have an idea that this was a product that could have been launched that way and that’s why you didn’t do PPC or that’s why he didn’t do a giveaway. Like there were indicators that said, “Hey, you know what, for this one so unique that I might be able to get away without having to put money into it.”
Kevin King: Exactly. It’s the uniqueness of it. It’s completely unique. There is no other one. There is no way someone can counterfeit this or hijack it. And then there are a few–I mean, I’ve sold some of these before in the past or there is a little bit of people that are actually already in their mind. They’re like, “I want to buy the calendar for next year. It’s hanging on my wall, so let me go see if it’s there.” But they’re typing in brand specific names on that rather than general keywords. But you can do–that’s why people always say [that] Amazon is dead. It’s saturated. It’s over with. You can’t make money. And that’s total bulls#!t. It’s better than ever. You just gotta do it right. You can’t follow, you know, these stupid idiots. They’re doing youtube videos and selling courses with Lamborghinis and crap and listened to a bunch of that s#!t. I mean, the opportunity is there. You just gotta know how to analyze.
Bradley Sutton: You don’t drive a Lamborghini, Kevin?
Kevin King: I don’t, I have a Toyota and it’s not a fancy one. I mean, I could buy a Lamborghini if I want to, but I’d rather spend on traveling and eating a Kobe beef and other things [and] having better experiences. But anyway, so no, the opportunity is better than ever. It’s just that you’ve got to look at the data, you’ve got to use the tools. I mean, you know this as Helium 10 that the tools are powerful. Even with the changes, and maybe we’ll talk about that, the change that come, they’re still super powerful. But 99% of the people that are paying that $100 a month or whatever, don’t know what the f@$k they’re doing. They don’t know how to use these tools, and they’re not using them right. And I know you guys are making a good effort to show them and you’re doing an excellent job in the videos and stuff that I’ve seen. I’ve gotten feedback from people and showing people, “Look, this is how it works, this how I do it,” with your AMAs and all that stuff. But people still, they just don’t get it. I don’t understand it. It’s not rocket science. It’s data and it’s math. It’s just knowing how to look at it. And I think too many people are just still looking for that home run; that “I want to quit my job tomorrow and go drink margaritas with Jimmy Buffett in Jamaica or something.” I mean, I don’t know. But, I launched another product that did at Christmas was a seasonal. I was testing it because I’m doing a big, like I said, big seasonal thing this year. So I actually went out, and I just want to do some tests. I knew I wasn’t going to make money on this. So that one I did spend PPC on. It was Christmas candy. So I actually went just to test this. I found–I didn’t order anything from China (next year I will), but I found some tins on some like clearance, like Christmas tins that had like–one of them had snowmen on it and one had a Christmas Santa. They’re like metal tins that you would put, you know, like square. They would hold–I figured out they would hold two pounds of candy. So I went to Sam’s warehouse and right before Thanksgiving, they had like a Hershey’s kisses, a big old bag of those like three pound bags for like, I don’t know, $8 or $9 or something. And they had a couple of other candies in there with special wrappers for Christmas, the green and the red and whatever. And they had a couple other candies, so I just bought three different types of candy, mixed them together. I didn’t do a whole lot of these, you know, I did like $10,000 or $20,000 in sales on this, but I just wanted to get the keywords and the testing and I did.
Bradley Sutton: Hey, a lot of our listeners would like to have $10,000 or $20,000 in sales.
Kevin King: Yeah, but I spent $6,700 on a PPC on something on this because what I was doing, I was playing with the product targeting. You know, the new tool, the new ability and the sponsored ads where you can actually target other people’s products. That’s gold. You know, we talked about a minute ago that 40% comes from other people [and] other product pages. So using that new tool and if you’re not familiar with it, it used to be an AMS only. You had to have a Vendor Central or Vendor Express account to use it, but now it’s available in Seller Central. But you could actually go into a manual campaign and you can choose, I think it says “Beta,” and you can choose the “Targeting” option and you can target other ASINs. And by using tools like Cerebro in Helium 10, Black Box and some of the other ones that you guys do, you can figure it out which ones to target. And I was doing some testing, some of them didn’t work. Some of them work really, really well. So I was trying to figure out what, where should I–which one should I try to tag along for next year? How should I try to position my product for next year? Because if I’m making a lot of sales off this Godiva chocolate one, see and study what they’re doing. Okay, I need to do something like that next year because then I can take a bunch of their sales away. That kind of thing. And so my costs were higher than what they should have been because I was just testing and I ran a lot of PPC to test. But now I have the data. So next year I’ll be able to come into this and hopefully do $500,000 to a million dollars in sales off a couple of things. A candy.
Bradley Sutton: That’s incredible. That’s incredible. So have you given up altogether on like doing the giveaway method for launches or you still do that? You know, like using 2-Step URL and sending people to search for a product?
Kevin King: I still do some of that. I don’t do nearly as much as I used to. I don’t use any of the services anymore. But I will use my own lists. Sometimes I will use–I’ve experimented with some ManyChat and some Facebook stuff. But I’m trying to pick products where like the one I gave you the counter example where it’s not as necessary. I think that’s the future. I think those are going to start to have less and less effect. I’m not saying they’re going to go away. I’m not saying they don’t work. They still work. But I think Amazon is going to become more of a pay to play platform especially. I think you’re going to have to start paying to be on page one and it’s not going to be giveaways. It’s going to be PPC. You’re going to have to prove yourself through PPC. And I think over the year to two years, I think you’re going to see that dramatic landscape dramatically change. Amazon’s going to probably just be changing the way the pages display and you’re going to have to buy space. Just like if you go to the grocery store and you want to be at eye level with your box of cereal. So when the mom pushes the the cart through and the kids sitting there in the basket crying, he can see his little Flintstones Pebbles or whatever right there and he stops crying. And they’re paying for that. If you’re on the end cap at your local supermarket, that ain’t free. You know, you’re paying for that. So I think Amazon’s page one is going to become more and more that way, especially as the big brands come in and especially, you know, Amazon now has with their [own brands.] Everybody knows about Amazon Basics. That’s one of their private label brands. But Amazon has like 130 private label brands in all the categories. It’s not just Amazon Basics. And they’re given that stuff more and more space. Some of these brands, you don’t know that they’re even Amazon. You’re like looking at it like when you’re doing an Xray or something, you’re like, “Oh, there’s some other FBA seller.” But no, it’s actually Amazon. And so they’re pushing down more stuff. So it’s going to become more of a pay to play. And I think if you’re not prepared to do that, you’re going to be at a disadvantage. So, unless you go after stuff that you know, sells two a day, you know, and nobody is looking at. You know, and I think that organically, we’ll be there. There’s gonna be a lot of money in that. And that leads me to another little thing is that people–too many people want these home run products and you know, my best selling a BSR–during the holidays here, some of my in-office products, these calendars, I got up to like 300 BSR or something. But that’s not normal. That’s seasonal. But most of my products are in that 4,000 to 10,000 BSR range. And I don’t have problems with counterfeiters or hijackers or anything. I’m not selling a hundred a day on most things, but I’m not having to do a lot to sell 15 or 20 a day and I’m happy with that. It makes me enough money to do what I need to do without a lot of problems. With those products, people need to start looking a little bit deeper. And if you’re using like Black Box, Cerebro and tools like that to really dig in and find [something]. If you’re going to sell–Manny always uses the example of a tactical flashlight. If you’re going sell a tactical flashlight, don’t sell a “tactical flashlight” and don’t sell a “tactical flashlight for left-handed people.” You know, that would be the next niche down. Sell a tactical flashlight for left-handed security guards. You got to get–if you get it down to that level, and by using Magnet, Cerebro, Black Box and Xray, you can pinpoint, if you know how to use those tools properly, you can pinpoint those opportunities. And there’s tens of thousands of them out there. Too many people focus on search volume. Too many people, you know, people are worried about, “Damn, now what’s with the search volume? You know, six or seven of the tools out there, including, you know, you guys, had like real search volume for a while and now that’s gone. And you still have the historical and you can make some assumptions off of that and that definitely is better than nothing.
Bradley Sutton: Well you yourself have been selling on Amazon what, like at least four or five years?
Kevin King: Yeah. Since 2015.
Bradley Sutton: Search volume wasn’t around more than 15 months ago. So like does that mean all your launches before search volume failed because you didn’t have that visibility?
Kevin King: No, not at all. I mean, it was great to have it. It’s cool to have it. You know, you use Cerebro and you know, [you] put in the 10 different ASINs of your competitors in there and see where people are ranking and use that matrix. If you know how to do that properly, you can pinpoint with like 90% accuracy the keywords that are converting. And a lot of times people focus on big keywords. Like, “Oh, this one’s got 50,000 searches, or this one’s got 20,000 searches.” It’s not about search volume; it’s about conversions. A keyword that has 20,000 exact searches a month. It might be a great keyword, but you know, the keyword that has 300 searches a month might be a better keyword because the one that has 300 searches a month probably has less competition, number one. They might have a 50% conversion rate, you know, 50% of the people that are searching for that. So 150 sales off that–you get in position one or two, you’re going to grab probably 75% of those sales versus the one that has 20,000–it might have a 2% conversion rate. So it might be only 400 sales coming off of that because people are typing that in and then they’re wandering off the page and go into something else, you know, or whatever. So you don’t need that volume; you need–if Amazon quit showing you where things ranked, then we’re screwed. But as long as they keep showing you where stuff is ranked, the gold is in your pocket to dig. I mean I’m not worried about it. And it’s just a mind shift. And too many people don’t quite understand that. And it’s a little bit more work sometimes, but it’s there.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right, well that’s good to know. You know what, Kevin, I mean, I can’t believe we’ve been at this almost 30 minutes and you’ve dropped a lot of knowledge on us right here. And even a couple of things I wasn’t aware of. But I have promised, you know, the listeners, I want it to get Kevin King’s top three hacks for 2019 Amazon sellers. So what would you say are your top three?
Kevin King: Oh Man, I think, well, I mean, you know, hacks are great, you know, and like in the Illuminati Mastermind. You know, our training that we do every month for a high level sellers at Illuminatimastermind.com. If you sign up for that, we give you a PDF called “99 Hacks” and we’re going to be opening that again soon. I’ve got another PDF called “99 More Hacks.” So people are going to get those, but hacks are cool and people love them, but they’re usually short lived. You know, they work a little bit, but it’s really not what you should base your business on. You should base your business on core fundamental things. So, you know, in choosing the right product, on creating a good listing. Like I said earlier, where I didn’t have to do any PPC or anything because I knew how to create the listing properly to get the exposure. And then either knowing how to launch the product, or get it positioned and then rinsing and repeating. But I mean, I think you need to start looking, you know, outside of that traditional launch stuff and the giveaways, the steeply discounted giveaways, and start looking at more on the PPC side. And more on product targeting side. I think that’s there’s major opportunity there and I think that’s going to favor Amazon and it favors the buyers.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, so instead of top three hacks, maybe top three strategies. So, what would number one be taking a closer look at PPC for 2019? Would you say that that’s definitely like maybe top of the list of what people need to to do?
Kevin King: Yeah, and yes I do. One thing about, you know, about keywords is people oftentimes will create these big huge keyword lists and they’ll come up with 500 different keywords for their product and they’ll try to jam them all in their listing and put them everywhere and make sure every little word is in there. I don’t do that. I’ve seen some of the data, you know, that Amazon releases to vendors and stuff like that. And there’s some high-level data that you can actually see if you have a vendor account. And you could see that most sales for most products (there are exceptions). But for the vast majority of products out there, 90% of the sales come from three to eight keywords. Between three to eight. The long-tail keywords might account for about 10% of sales in most cases. So if you can figure out what those three to eight keywords are by using the proper tools, like the reverse search on Cerebro and match what the matrix says, you can actually do very, very well without having to spend a lot of money on PPC necessarily–going after all these keywords and casting this huge wide net. Do that later. Focus and figure out what those three to eight are, and get your positioning and maybe start in the middle. Don’t start the best one, start in the middle or at the bottom and work your way up. Just treat it more as a slow process rather than an overnight sensation. And you can have really, really good success. So by using PPC to do that and the new tools that they’re introducing, and they just introduced a new one, I think just in the last couple of days, whereas it’s got dynamic. There’s dynamic PPC now where you can actually adjust the bidding based on different things. It’s a whole new setting that just showed up. I haven’t played with it yet, but they’re getting more sophisticated and I know this year they’re going to allow you to start, instead of bidding per click, you’re going to bid per sale. So it’s gonna be like Ebay. On Ebay, you have like a little slider where you can say I’m willing to pay up to 20% of the selling price. It’s basically a “set a cost,” and that’s coming to a from Amazon this year and so some additional stuff. So I think that’s where, you know, as a strategy, you need to focus on mastering that.
Bradley Sutton: So number one: PPC, then number two: trying to really get your narrow focus on those three to eight converting keywords. And then what else would you say is one more thing that people should concentrate on?
Kevin King: The money and selling on Amazon is made in the sourcing. It’s not made in the selling, it’s made in the sourcing. And so because of this Chinese problem and until that gets fixed or it starts to subside dramatically, which I think is not going to be anytime soon, I would seriously consider looking at sourcing outside of China. You know, go to 52wmb.com or use some of the other conferences or other things and source from outside of China because you’re going to have a major competitive edge by doing that. And you’re going to eliminate a lot of these problems with counterfeiters and hijackers. The Chinese are always going to be able to beat you on price. You know, you look sometimes at these listings and you’re like–I’m not saying don’t ever buy from China. There are good places to buy in China. At the Canton Fair and there’s people there that aren’t on Alibaba. There aren’t everywhere else. There’s some good sources, but it’s consider, at least in part of your portfolio, get some stuff from outside China because you’re not going to have much competition on most of it because they’re not going to go there and they can’t beat you on price. You know, you see Chinese sellers selling for, I don’t know how they’re even making money. Yeah. They’re making it so low that some of them aren’t. They’re just cycling cash and it’s like a Ponzi scheme or something. I’m not sure. You don’t want to mess with that stuff. So started looking at other avenues outside of that. I think there’s a major opportunity in licensing, a major opportunity in patenting. I’m actually doing a licensing deal. My wife set up an Amazon account and I’m teaching her right now. And so her first product, or actually an NCAA licensed, college licensed stuff. So she can come into the category she’s in, which is competitive and immediately stand out and nobody else has that license. And if they do, it’s totally counterfeit and will get shut down immediately. So there’s opportunity–a major opportunity there too.
Bradley Sutton: All right guys. So there you have it. There’s some top three things. Actually he was kind of like three and a half. He gave us a little bonus: four maybe. You’ve got to concentrate on your PPC, concentrate on making sure you find those three to eight keywords and also look to sourcing outside of China and then look to other ways of private label by doing licensing or other things. So you had mentioned that if people do want other kinds of hacks, even though you know with the full knowledge that some of these might be temporary, you give those out in your high end training, which is an Illuminatimastermind.com. So guys, if you’re interested in that, make sure to go to that website and take a look at that. But for those who are brand new sellers, you know, if they just want a kind of “A to Z” course on how to sell on Amazon, that’s Freedom Ticket, right?
Kevin King: Yeah, exactly. The Illuminati Mastermind, it’s not open right now. We haven’t opened that–Manny and I haven’t opened that up since July of last year, but we’re getting ready to open that again shortly. And then so if you’re interested in learning more about the Illuminati, there’ll be a webinar when we do it and we’ll open it back up. Just go to Illuminatimastermind.com and enter your email address and that way you’ll get notified when it gets open. It’s really made a difference in a lot of sellers there. And like you just said, if you’re brand new or maybe just getting going and got a couple of products, if you go to freedomticket.com, that’s a course that I have for new sellers. I do a weekly Q&A pretty much every Monday I get on a live call with all the people there and I answer every question that comes in live. You can pre-submit them if you want, if you can’t be on it and watch and listen to the replay. But I answer every question. And then it’s 60 video trainings and it’s kept up to date. But even if you don’t want to do that, go to freedomticket.com. There’s a webinar there that’s on a replay. You can just sign up for a time. Watch at least the first hour of that, you know, the second hour we talk about how you can join the Freedom Ticket and maybe that’s for you, maybe it’s not. But I guarantee if you watch the first hour of that webinar, you’re going to learn more than you will on any YouTube video or a lot of other courses. So at least take the opportunity to do that. I think it will help you and your business, whether you’re new or you already been selling, I think you might get some good insight from that as well.
Bradley Sutton: All right, well Kevin, as always, it was great to have you on here. You dropped some major knowledge bombs on the listeners right here. And so guys, I hope you guys put some of this into practice so that you can crush it in 2019. And Kevin, I hope you have another 10X year. Maybe you’ll get to a $3,700 this year.
Kevin King: Hey, let’s do it. We’ll do this again next year and I’ll tell you where I’m at.
Bradley Sutton: All right, it sounds good. Thanks a lot. Kevin.
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