E158: Using Amazon PPC and Giveaways to Create an Effective Launch Strategy

Creating a great launch strategy is key to being successful on Amazon. I interview an experienced Amazon PPC specialist who grew his enterprise into a seven-figure business through an Amazon launch strategy that played to his strengths and utilized some of the most helpful resources found on the platform itself.

Chris Nowak is the founder of My PPC Pal, a tool that helps ecommerce business owners get on top of their PPC campaigns. In this episode, he talks about his own Amazon launch strategy and how it can help put your brand and its specific products out there.

Once the products have been ordered, he prepares the content that goes into his listings. He employs the services of a professional copywriter to write the titles and product descriptions. A professional photographer is also brought in to shoot high-quality product images.

Here are the specifics steps for Chris’s Amazon launch strategy:

  1. Build a great listing. Use the main keywords that appear in your product titles and descriptions.
  2. Set up Amazon Giveaway. Enable the feature on your product listings (via the FBA settings) and promote giveaways on social media platforms.
  3. Tap into the Early Reviewer Program. Five reviews for $60.
  4. Craft your Amazon PPC campaign. Look for a ton of keywords and gradually prune them so you’re left with the best possible keyword combinations.

My PPC Pal is a great tool to use if you want to effectively manage your Amazon PPC campaign. Sign up for the one-month free trial and get a 15% lifetime discount on your purchase when you use the code ECOMCREW.

Other Resources Mentioned:

Rank Higher with Amazon PPC | Beyond the Product Launch

Amazon PPC Strategy – Step-by-step Guide on Saving Thousands of Dollars

Thanks for listening to this episode! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Happy selling!

Full Audio Transcript

Mike: This is Mike, and welcome to episode number 158 of the EcomCrew Podcast. Today, I have my friend Chris from My PPC Pal on the show with me. And you might be thinking that we're going to be talking about PPC for the most part. But that is not the case. Chris is a friend of mine that I've known for a while. We finally got to meet in person at the MDS thing that we did in Cancun. And as you guys know, I typically try to only get people on the podcast that I've met in person.

So now that I had a chance to meet him in person, a really cool dude, man, and he's one of the few guys that isn't really dipping his toe into the grey hat and black hat stuff. And he listened to our podcast that we did about launching products in 2018 the white hat way, and had some other ideas that he wanted to add on. And after talking to him about a little bit at the MDS summit in Cancun, I realized that we had to get him on here to talk about this stuff.

One of his ideas, I’ve already implemented since we recorded this thing which only happened a few days ago and it's definitely working. I don't want to give it away. So without further ado, let's get into it. Just one quick reminder, you can go to EcomCrew.com/158 to get to the show notes for this episode. If you have any questions for me or Chris, we’ll be happy to answer. All right, let's hop right into it right after this break.

Mike: Hey Chris, welcome to the EcomCrew Podcast man.

Chris: Hey Mike. Thanks for having me.

Mike: No problem. I think that we actually did a recording at some point. You were kind of like a guest star on one of our other episodes where we had other people come in. Is that right, is my memory serving me right?

Chris: Yeah, not a fun topic but we talked about the competitor black hat tactics that they use on us.

Mike: Yeah so brutal topic, but I think today more fun. We'll get you a full length episode. I actually got a chance to finally meet you in person in Cancun at the Million Dollar Seller Summit that we were down there doing. And you were one of the guys that kind of stuck out in the crowd because there was like a lot of black hat tactics down there. And I get it I mean, like, I get how this stuff is very tempting. And at the time that you're doing it, it seems like it's the right thing to do because it works number one, obviously black hat stuff always works. But yeah, I always say that it's a very binary conversation because it works great until it doesn't, and then it's just like the other side of the coin is pretty brutal.

So personally, I've learned my lesson from other things like Google mostly, Google Panda, Penguin, other types of penalties where you wake up one morning and your business is gone. And that's the thing that I want to avoid. So, yeah, I mean, getting a chance to talk to you, it was really refreshing. And I'm excited to talk about some of the tactics that you have here today on the podcast.

Chris: Yeah I know? Yeah, I think the same way really that I don't blame them because they work and they work great, right? You see some of the results people are talking about in the different groups using these tactics and how can you blame them for doing it. But then, really if you're looking to build a legitimate business, a long term business, if you have longer goals than just turning some cash over the next couple of years, then you have to look for other methods to use that's going to sustain you long term.

Mike: Yeah and I think that the black hat tactics, I’ve really put a lot of thought and effort into this. To me they're just — they only work as long as you're continuing to fuel whatever thing that you're doing, versus, the thing that we've been really working on is trying to legitimately like, not just in concept, but legitimately build and develop a better product that differentiates itself from all the other stuff in the marketplace and therefore converts better because it's a better looking listing, a better product, has some better features, naturally gets a higher review ranking, gets less returns.

These are all things that Amazon looks at for organic rankings and if you can work on that stuff and just focus on that and not think about the black hat stuff, I think that you can rise to the top without doing any of this.

Chris: Yeah, and that's really what we're going to talk about today, even my product launch strategy which is 100% organic, TOS compliant and all that. And it really doesn't matter if you just source a ‘me too’ product, right? You still have to be adding value to society, to Amazon world, to customers. You can't just launch the same thing that everyone else is already selling and expect that anything whether it's white hat or black hat to work.

The black hat, I've even heard issues with them doing launches with that type of thing giveaways because everyone is launching the same product, using the same tactic at the same time and eventually it diminishes the returns. So that is number one is start with a good product and add value to the world.

Mike: Yeah I couldn't agree more, so that's why again I wanted to get you on the show today. Before we really dig into it just maybe two minutes of background, a couple of questions, you're a seven figure seller, right? I mean, this has been a tactic that's helped build a pretty legitimate business for you.

Chris: Yeah, so I mean this is really, I used to when they had the like when it was allowable to give away a product in exchange for the review back before October of, well was that 2016?

Mike: Yeah.

Chris: I would do small; I would do 10 or 20 units. So it was like already to my customers, but it wasn't like 100% review rate but they were known, like that was kind of the idea. But then as soon as that update happened, I started using this tactic, this launch strategy really, and that grew at that time my business and I think that was October 2016. So I just crossed over like the million dollar mark for the previous 12 months in the July of that year. And so this really grew me from let's say a million a year upwards to like four million a year.

Mike: Awesome, and how long did it take you from like when you got that email in October of 2018 to perfect the strategy that we're going to be talking about today?

Chris: It really started working from day one. They didn't have the early reviewer program which we're going to talk about when it first happened. And so I was just mainly using Pay Per Click when that happened, and I actually had product launching like that following month. And so I just dove into like full pay per click launches. And then as Amazon added these other things that we'll talk about the early reviewer program and Amazon giveaways, I don't know when that one came about, but I didn't discover it till later. So really, it was like 100% Pay Per Click for me after that point. And then, I added in a couple of these things we're going to talk about.

Mike: Okay. And I'm just curious; we're going to talk about this a bit later as well. But one of the things that you developed along the way was My PPC Pal. Did that kind of start at that same juncture as you were figuring out PPC for Amazon at this time, or was that something that happened later as well?

Chris: That started about four or five months later when we actually started development on that. And so it was kind of tied to this because I got really heavy on my spend on pay per click where my own account I was spending $1,000 a day on pay per click. And then I actually had told a couple of select people about it and then they ended up actually hiring me. So, I was running a seven figure Amazon business and then consulting for others on Pay Per Click. And I said, this is kind of silly, let me like automate this Pay Per Click stuff with a software. So that's how it was kind of developed.

Mike: Got you. Yeah, I’m definitely interested to talk about that as we kind of move through this. So, cool. And then just one last question, obviously, I'm sure you're like most sellers, you don't want to talk about like specific products, but in general, like what niche or niches are you in, just to kind of give people an idea for how this is working in your niche?

Chris: So I actually, I recently sold a business, so one of my first Amazon businesses. That was in the overall like the baby niche, and then I have other stuff that I'm part of in sports and outdoors, home and garden. I don't touch any like topicals or vitamins or anything like that.

Mike: Got you. Yeah, I mean, I think the reason I asked the question is kind of a loaded question because I know that you were in multiple niches. And I also know that we're also in multiple niches and I've seen this work across the board. I mean, that's kind of the thing is there's a lot of things that we've done. Like for instance, like our contest and giveaway strategy that I've talked a lot about has worked really, really well for ColorIt and it's actually working even better for Tactical. I was just looking at some stats earlier today. I can't believe like how cheap we're getting leads there.

But for like our baby products, it doesn't work, like we were paying like two bucks a lead, it was just nonsense and we've stopped and we're now doing some other strategies. But this like kind of white hat approach that we're going to be talking about today really does work across the board.

Chris: Yeah, and I've listened to your launch strategy and I'm actually going to incorporate it into mine in my newest company that I'm launching here. And it sounds it's really interesting, like the Facebook audience targeting. So, any of that additional stuff that Mike talks about on his launch strategy is actually like complimentary to mine which is 100% on Amazon.

Mike: It's ironic to find that you say that because we're going to do the exact same thing, we're going to be using some of this giveaway stuff in ours. So without any more fluff and build up to this, let's get into it. I'll turn it over to you, what's like your 1, 2, 3, 4 like kind of step process here? You got a new product, it's on the boat, it's on the way here, where do you start? Let's start from the beginning of like when the strategy starts for you and kind of go through the progress.

Chris: Yeah so it starts once — I always pay like a professional copywriter to do the listing. So that is kind of done after the product has been ordered, right? I've done the sampling, I've done all that that, it's kind of like approved in my head to be a product. And so I'll start outsource then things like the product photography and the listing creation. And once that's all done so I have my base because he does like the initial keyword research, creating titles and stuff like that. So once I have all that, then I'll start creating this because you need your main keywords to let's say build your pay per click campaigns.

So the three things involved in it are we're going to talk about Amazon giveaways. I want to say Amazon giveaways, it's like on Amazon, their platform, click a button on Amazon. Com. This is like a giveaway blast service. The next thing is the early reviewer program which I'm sure you've heard a lot at lot of, but we'll touch on that just real quick and then my Amazon Pay Per Click kind of strategy which is really heavy spend in the beginning and kind of the way I set up my campaigns.

Mike: Perfect, so one quick thing I mean just a quick jot down here, but do you have any recommendations for — you mentioned you said about the copywriter and the photography. I get asked this all the time like where to go do this, but I never have a recommendation because we have these people full time on our staff. Is there any place in particular, do you have a guy that you can recommend or is it just he's your guy and you don't want to give him up?

Chris: No, both of those people, they are local people that are like friends of friends, and they have jobs like this is their profession in the industry. So, I could find out if I could recommend their companies, but they do like work on the side for me, so to speak. I mean they're just hard to get the work done anyway that I don't want — if I give them to 10 other people they’re going to…

Mike: That’s always my concern too. I mean I feel the same way if I had a guy I'd love to have a company that we can recommend at some point that does this. It's tough, it's hard work getting the copywriting done. The photography seems to be easier because we just have a great graphics team and they kind of get it now because we've gone through so many iterations but the copywriting is definitely not super easy. Okay so step one then is obviously build a really great listing which I talk about all the time.

So you're doing all your keyword research and getting — like you're like me, I mean you're not waiting until months down the road to get this stuff right. I mean day one when you launch the listing is tip top shape from a copywriting structure and photos and infographics standpoint.

Chris: Right yeah. I mean I might spend let's say $1,000 on a listing just between photos and copywriting and all this stuff. And you do that from day one because it really like the clock starts ticking the second your product goes live. And that's the other thing too is I always set my like start selling date in Amazon and that's the key with this is don't be impatient. Like if you're going to rush in your product let's say it's going to arrive 6:25, don't set your start selling date for 6:25 because there's still going to be that checking period.

Nothing kills conversions worse from the first couple days than like people see, oh this will be installed on 6:30, over now, you’re just going to lose conversion. So, be patient, wait the extra three four days that it takes to get fully checked in. Once you see enough stock is checking, it doesn't have to be 100% on that. If you sent in 100 units, once let's say 50 units are fully checked in; you’re kind of good to go and like start this whole strategy and change your start selling date to the current date. So I kind of have all this stuff lined up in my head to go, and I'll just kind of go through right the three things that I use here.

Mike: Okay yeah, so I guess the next step would be giveaways?

Chris: Yeah so yeah setting up the giveaway is the one thing you have to do is you have to enable it on your FBA settings. I actually told someone about this and then they were trying to find it on their product. And I always assumed it was on every product, but unless you enable it through your FBA Settings, then it won't show up on your products. But basically, once that setting is enabled, you go to any of your listings, you scroll to the bottom. It's kind of near like below a lot of everything, I think it's even below all the reviews and you'll see like setup a giveaway. It's called set up an Amazon giveaway.

It will show kind of a picture of your product and you just click the setup or giveaway button. Then it takes you to the next page and it's going to ask you how many prizes do you want to give away? So I usually do 10 or 20. Now it's going to show you the cost. You're actually going to buy these units from yourself with your company card, but remember like you're getting back your profit for it. So really you're just paying like the FBA fees and plus your product costs, so this is a legitimate way to get product into people's hands, maybe you get some reviews about it and then I kind of going to go through a way to retarget thousands of people who didn't win.

So, I set up generally 10 to 20. I think the most you can do they allow is 30, so you can do anywhere 10, 20, 30. You can then on the next page you're going to set up, basically you're going to be able to put in your company name, you can even put in a company logo to start doing branding with these customers. And I always choose, there's four options, there's a sweepstakes, there's a random instant win, lucky number instant win which is actually the recommended setting, and then first come first serve.

And I do use that lucky number win, why, because that ensures that you get all these other people that you can retarget basically that didn't win. So, the way you set it up is I usually set it up is let's say I did the 10 winners, so now every 250 people that enters wins. Now you can take it a step further. And if you have, let's say a video on this product on YouTube, or a video about your brand and then this product, you can post that video on YouTube. And then to enter the contest, people have to watch that YouTube video.

So this is like further branding now. All right, you're getting your brand in their hand; you're talking about how cool the product is. And if you have a really cool product now there's people that aren't going to win and they're going to say I still want that product because they watched your two minute video on the product. So, I set it to every 250 people will win and I do 10 winners normally. So, that basically ensures that 2,500 people are going to watch my video. Obviously there's other stuff you can do like retargeting and so on. It kind of goes further and further.

And then you select the maximum days of giveaway. I think they've extended it now. It used to be seven, but I think they go up to 10 now. So, whatever the maximum is, just allow it because that will give more time for more people to see this giveaway and enter and watch the video.

Mike: Okay and do you do a public or private discoverability thing here, do you do private or public?

Chris: You always do public because private is like if you — and you could do private if let's say you have a large Facebook group and you want to set this up. But you need enough people in that Facebook group trying to get 2,500 people to enter, so you would need 25,000 maybe.

Mike: Yeah, and we have that so that's interesting. I did this a long, long time ago and never really revisited. So it's interesting to hear you talking about it because it seems like it's working well for you.

Chris: Yeah and they actually they have improved it a lot because I used this when it first came out and it really sucked then. They didn't have all this other stuff. One of their options used to be like, share on Twitter and who uses Twitter in my opinion, right? So and they've completely gotten rid of that option now even, so like now they're smart. They realize people are doing this because they want to promote their brand and stuff like that. And that's why they allow you to do the videos now on YouTube.

Mike: And so I guess the next thing I'm curious about is how do you retarget to them then?

Chris: Right so it's actually right here on the giveaway page. So, like on the next page that's where you actually select its public or private. So I always select public unless you have like I said a huge Facebook audience. Maybe you could do a private one just for them and then a public one just for this on Amazon. But what you do is right here it allows you to set up a normal coupon code like you would have. So you would set up a coupon code. And I always do this to my organic profit. So it's kind of like also my target ACOS.

So let's say I sell a unit through organic search, I would make 40% margin, I'm going to give 40% off on this coupon. So it's basically like a breakeven sale. Again, I'm just paying for the product cost and the Amazon fees and this is again to get the sales going in the beginning, to get the product out there into people's hands, hopefully get some initial reviews in the beginning. So I would set up a coupon, just a regular promotion in my Amazon dashboard and call it whatever 40%, I use a spatula as an example. So, like 40 off SPT or something like that, whatever the number of characters are.

And it actually allows you to post that code in there and it says, include your Amazon.com sales promotion for entrants who, and you can say either lost, they won both, or basically don't include it. So, I always do it for just the people that lost, right? Because the people that won, I guess you could do for both, there's no harm. If there's only 10 people, maybe they want to buy additional for their family members. I'll actually try that next time. So, I'm going to go ahead and say to do both. You plug that coupon right in there, there's a validate button, it validates to make sure that coupon is active.

And what you can do then is you also set this coupon code. So, let's say you start this giveaway today, 6/20, you make it last for seven days. So it's going to end 6/27. So essentially, on 6/27, this email is going to go out to the 490 people that didn't win. So then you can set this, you set this promotion to say it expires, it's valid from the 27th for 10 days. So, then in your messaging to the people that lost you say, hey, 40% off, I'm sorry you didn’t win but here's a 40% off coupon, it's only valid for the next — and you can even say 48 hours to make it like a sense of urgency.

So, I think I've done up to like a week, like it's valid for a week. And you'll get people that claim it. Now, obviously only some small percentage of the people claim it that lost, and those are the people that watched the video and that liked the product. A lot of people on Amazon, they just look for giveaways to get free products, but it still helps the sales. This is just part of like boosting the sales, but also some of them are going to end up being your target people because there'll be looking for products and they'll run into yours and say, oh, there's a giveaway on it.

Mike: Got you. Okay. And so I'm kind of following along with you here like on the side and fill everything out here, but I'm not getting that option of emailing only sellers out there. But I don't have a valid promotion here. So I guess after I hit click the validate button that's when it would give me the option to contact people who didn't win.

Chris: Yeah, so once you set it up, then it kind of shows you, there's like a preview page. And it shows you, all right sorry you didn't — there's a post entry, and it's either the winner or like the losers. And it says, sorry, you didn't win. And then you can add like a promotional message, which is shows optional at the bottom, and then you're able to type in that promotional message. And that's where you say, sorry, you didn't win. But here's a 40% off coupon that's valid for 48 hours.

Mike: Okay, yeah that's awesome. I mean, it's actually kind of ingenious. I mean, you don't even really need a huge percentage of people to take advantage of this to start really moving the needle.

Chris: Exactly.

Mike: Now, in your opinion, do you think that the giveaway items that you do actually count towards like your sales velocity and in rankings as well? Like if you're giving away 10 or 20 items, do those count as sales?

Chris: Yeah, so that's, I mean, that's the craziest part. And I think they might cut it off eventually. But as of right now, from what I can see, because the first time I did it, I was actually on a plane, I forget where I was flying. And I panicked because I'm setting up this giveaway. I'm on a plane and I refresh my Amazon page and I saw, oh my gosh, I just sold 10 individual units of this brand new product. And I was all excited and I was like, wait, no, that must be the giveaway. And I was like, oh crap, they're going to like lip the account because I use my company credit card, I use my name, all that. I just use my same account basically.

Mike: But that's what you would do anyway. I mean, it doesn't make sense that you would separate that out.

Chris: Right, now and then that's the whole thing is this is allowed, it's legal, this is what they want you to do giveaways. You're paying them for the product, you're paying them for fees and this is kind of a way to get your product out to customers that they can track. It's not off their grid so there's no shady thing going on with it. And so yeah, as far as I can see, you get not just like a single sale with 10, you get 10 individual sales.

Mike: Interesting. Yeah, when we ran — and like I said, I only tried this once and it was a long time ago, and it was on an existing product so I didn't have any way to know that. But like it sounds pretty definitive based on what you've said. If it's a new product, you just launched it. You saw 10, boom, show up. Those two things go hand in hand, very interesting. Now one thing you didn’t — maybe you missed it, or maybe I missed it. I'm sorry.

How do you get the word out about the giveaway? Is this something you like you're driving Facebook ads to or to your email list, or on your social channels? Like how do you get the word out to the giveaway besides the Amazon organic part of it, because it's public? So they're doing something somewhere to show this for you. But is there any like additional exposure that you're trying to get this?

Chris: Yeah, so we would always share it to our Facebook groups that we had for each brand. So if you have a company page and then also just like a niche page, and we would share to those and that would really help. And those are obviously way more targeted than just the people looking for free stuff. But there are like I said, there are people and Amazon will email people optionally, like daily giveaways like, here is today's giveaways. And they can just kind of opt into all of them, right?

And so they do a lot of promotion around it. But yeah, you definitely want to send it to your audience as much as possible. I've never tried like a Facebook ad to the giveaway, that'd be like an additional step but just shared it with audiences, email lists and current brand followers.

Mike: Okay yeah, very interesting. I can promise you like I said that we're in the process right now, we’re going to launch some products, I'm definitely going to try this. In the old days as we were talking about I was comfortable giving 99% off coupons. This seems like a much better way to do it and then that and it's a white hat way of doing it. They're kind of almost promoting it. And I'm actually even wondering here when you go set up the giveaway if you can almost like incorporate like a super URL type thing for like you search for spatula, but a spatula or whatever when you go to the page and set the giveaway that way, if any of that, like passes through. That's hard to know.

Chris: And I definitely I do that. I don't know if it works or not, but I 100% do that.

Mike: Very cool. Okay awesome, well yeah I mean I appreciate the tip on this, and it’s something we're definitely going to incorporate. I’ll definitely follow up with our audience, maybe get you back on as a follow up, and talk about how this is going to work, because we have something like 10 products launching in the next six weeks. Everything just kind of showed up at once for our multiple brands and having this incorporated is definitely cool.

Chris: I’d be glad to

Mike: Cool. Yeah. So let's go through — is that basically the gist of the giveaway part? Are we…

Chris: Yeah, that's pretty much it.

Mike: Okay, so let's move on to the next step, which is the early reviewer program. That's something that we've talked about before on this podcast. It's always like really great to get someone else's perspective on it. I mean, you're using it and it's a part of your strategy here. So I'm going to extrapolate even though with my small brain and say it's something that works for you and so just talk about your experience.

Chris: Yeah, I mean, this is like the smallest point I'm going to touch on. But it's a super simple way. It's $60 for five reviews. And I've literally never gotten anything below a four star from the early reviewer program. Again, that ties into launching good products. If you launch a crappy product, I would imagine early reviewers even will ding you and they'll give you one star, two star. So it does all go back to it. But it's just a super easy way to get those first five reviews in. I've heard people sometimes only get one or two. I have always gotten five and it's for 60 bucks. So, really easy, they made it easier to set up now. It used to be something like Excel file upload and…

Mike: I mean that was maybe one of the dumbest things I've come across in business. It was like you need to download this Excel file, put one ASIN in the file, re-upload the file. It was like, okay. Yeah, that was actually pretty funny when they had it that way. But yeah, I mean, I agree we've had equal success. I mean, it's been four or five star reviews just like you said. I mean we do make high quality products. I think that does help. But we've actually been averaging either three or four somewhere in that range, we never get five because once you hit five reviews, they cut it off.

And we typically get like we’ll typically get one like organic review somewhere in that early range. But you're holding your breath like every hour like waiting for that first review to come in. So like any way that you can get that done quicker, it's certainly worth 60 bucks. I mean, like, My Lord, I'd pay $60 for one review. Don't tell Amazon that but that first one is worth so much money.

Chris: Yeah. And sometimes you'll get a competitor that has some way to buy your product and leave you a bad review right away. These will be the honest buyers come in and then you can try to go back and it's hard to get those removed. But you can get that negative one removed if you feel it's provable that it's a competitor, but this will help get some real reviews and better generally positive.

Mike: Yeah, cool. And then the big thing left at the end here PPC. Let's dig into how you're initially setting it up. I did a podcast, a full length one about this and you and I talked about it. You said you do something similar but probably not exactly the same. So let's talk about your strategies here.

Chris: Yeah, so basically, I like to look for a ton of keywords. So for every new product, I start an automatic campaign, then I will also do product research and I'll bid on sometimes upwards of close to 1,000 keywords right off the bat in like a manual broad campaign. And then I'll slowly right over time, similar the way you do add the negative keywords to kind of get rid of the junk, take the best performing ones, promote them to phrase and exact match. And over time you're left with basically like a bunch ASINs in your automatic campaign. The broad will sometimes be like super generic terms, and then your phrase and exact match are your long tail ones that are converting.

So that's kind of like the overall of it, but I start my product research and I use a whole bunch of tools. I have an article on My PPC Pal that we can maybe reference. There's a bunch of free tools on here, I don't like to try to sell my service and try to sell other tools and all that, but the paid ones work great too. I use some of them myself. I won't mention them because I don’t want to be selling a bunch of tools but there's a bunch of free ones too. The free ones are like I said listed on this article that we can share unless you want me to mention them right now.

Mike: You can mention them, it's fine as long as you're using them and you're not associated with them if you are just disclosing because we always have to be open about that stuff on the podcast.

Chris: Yeah, no, I'm not associated with any of these. These are ones that I personally use. So, Scientific Seller, Zon Words, KeywordTool.IO and Keyword Tool Dominator. Those are all free. Obviously the Google ads and all that, like those are additional but these are more Amazon specific ones that I kind of listed there. And the idea is you get as many as possible, you eliminate all the duplicate, and then you eliminate the single like plug terms. So for example, if we're talking about the black spatula, if you bid on a keyword like black, you're going to get destroyed because black can show black wallet, black shirt, black anything. So, you eliminate those one word really generic.

If you're selling baby products, eliminate baby by itself because that could convert for anything. But as long as it's like two words and it's relevant, you're really good with those to start manual. Now I go through a whole thing where I start my bids lower on the front end, and then I kind of let My PPC PAL or you can kind of do it manually, but you want to basically eliminate some of the junk as some of this stuff just it might convert to trigger a competitor’s listing and it's not going to cover for yours. And it could be something like this is my exact product I'm selling, and that could be as simple as things like because you have no reviews yet.

You're the new guy on the block, you don't have questions, you listing is just not kind of there yet. It's not built out yet from organic perspective where you start to get reviews with keywords and customers answering questions about those keywords. And so I find that even you can load let's say 1,000 keywords on day one, bid on them and half of them might get paused over the first three months. But then you go back and you restart all those exact same keywords, and they convert better because now you have reviews, you have questions, you have people answering questions related to those keywords and reviews about those keywords. And so your listing just converts better for the exact same keywords it didn't convert for in the beginning.

Mike: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I mean, it's like one of those things that's like obvious but you might not think about without talking about out loud, right?

Chris: Right.

Mike: So I'm really interested here because we do approach with something a little bit differently upfront and I want to get your take on it. So when we launch, we're only doing the automated campaign. I really struggle with this with our internal like SOP. And the reason we did that, my feeling is we're going to put all the effort into the listings, so like all the keywords are going to be in the back end, they're going to be also in the front end, be in the title, description, the bullet points, and Amazon is like really good at bidding on all the terms that you would come up with to put in a manual campaign anyway.

And I was struggling with like again, trying to systemized this and put it in a procedure that like one of our VAs can handle in the Philippines and do this at scale so it's not like just overwhelming because like it's actually become a full time job for her now. So, we elected to just let the automated campaign run for 60 days and start with a little bit higher bid. It sounds like you start with a lower bid, and worry about getting the stuff in the manual campaign after we see it registering in the automated campaign.

And the way that I used to do it was kind of the opposite. I used to start with putting keywords in a manual campaign because I know there's like obvious keywords that I want to be bidding on. Like, they're just like, you saw a spatula, you obviously want to sell like black silicone spatula, bid on that keyword. But again, it was becoming a lot more laborious. So, I'm just curious if you think it's worth the effort, and kind of like what the results you've seen for putting that upfront effort and building those manual campaigns out from day one, versus just letting the automated campaign kind of do its magic.

Chris: Yeah. So I've never launched a product with just an automatic campaign. So I can't speak to that. But I go as far as I'll even bid on the other match types from the get go on those words, like you said, words like, that's my product. I'm just going to skip over it. And if it performs from day one that's great, which some do and some won't. Usually the ones that won't are the most competitive ones. So, if you're selling a spatula and you say best black spatula, you're going to get destroyed because the top guy with 2,000 reviews is bidding on best black spatula.

But once you're able to compete with him — and I break mine down in phases, again, in this article I'm referencing where I kind of say you start at 50 cents to $1 on your bids. And this is kind of going with you're going up against like these big competitors on this product, right? If you have something completely unique, patented and all that, of course this does not kind of like apply. But if you took a product, you tweaked it a little bit, you made it a little bit better, this is kind of what applies. You're still going to compete with the guys that are selling the older version let's say of their new product.

So, I start the bids low because you just don't compete day one when you don't have like I said, the questions, the reviews, people who bought it and now they're sharing it with their family. They come over and they say, hey, where'd you get that spatula? Oh, here is the Amazon link to it. So, all this stuff builds up over time. And while you don't have that in place, like everything's fighting against you. So, if you go out swinging for the fences, you certainly can do it. You can bid $3 a click, $4 a click on every keyword; thousands of keywords from day one, but you'll burn a lot of money finding which ones work for you.

So that says why I bid on a lot but I start low and then through each phase I raise it. So once I get let's say my first 10 reviews, I'll take that 50 cents to $1, I’ll raise it to, let's say $1 to $1.50 or $1 to $2 depending on the product. And then I kind of go all the way up to where basically once I have like 75% or above 50% of the top competitors reviews, then I'll just — you can raise your bids as far as you're comfortable at that point is what I found. So let's say the top guy has 200 reviews. Once you get to 100 I found there's kind of no difference and you're on a level playing field with him.

Mike: Yeah and I think that one other thing that could really hurt you if you go with that strategy of bidding $4 a click on like everything across the board, your conversion rate is going to probably be…

Chris: Terrible.

Mike: Terrible, which can actually hurt you in the long run more than help you. Yeah, it's cool to see the sale, but you're creating a bunch of bad data in the background for all that which is not good.

Chris: Exactly yeah. And so that's why yeah, there's a lot of things that tie into starting with the lower bids like I do, but the overall is that you don't compete with any other listing day one on your brand new listing. So, the idea with it is you're targeting thousands of keywords, and by bidding low you're only going to pick up on the stuff that all of your other competitors are not bidding on, therefore it's cheaper. So that's kind of the whole idea with the strategy but then to manage thousands of keywords, it's impossible to do manually. And so that's why I built the software to automate it.

Mike: Yeah, so I mean, that was actually my next question. Let's talk about the software because I actually, you were nice enough to give me a free trial of it for a while and I used it, but we've talked that we use a different tool. It's really like I actually think it's better than what we use, it’s just it's tough for us as a bigger company now to just move around.

Chris: Right yeah, switch everything over.

Mike: Yeah it's new SOPs, I'm like you got to train like a bunch of other people. But it's cool stuff. So, let's talk about it for a few minutes like exactly what does it do and why should people like go get this thing.

Chris: Yeah, it's a — again, the reason it was built is kind of for this strategy, right? So, the first thing I tell people if they come to me and they have one product, and they're bidding on the top 20 keywords is this isn't your software. And if you have one product, this is something that you should actually be doing yourself, even if you're bidding on thousands of keywords, something to at least learn, so you understand it, so you're not reliant on like the software in the future. I'd love you to be relying on it, but like the honesty is it's a optimization automation tool.

And so, we have three levels built in like three kind of preset algorithms in there. And we call them simply like — we call them conservative, recommended and aggressive, and that's really if you come to us and you're like, I don't know really where to start. My Pay Per Click has kind of been lost since day one and I’ve never had a system to use. That's just a way to look at it and think of it as really like moderate, conservative, and — sorry conservative, moderate, and aggressive.

And so that's kind of like just how do you think of your ad spend? Do you want to be really aggressive and maybe have a higher ACOS but generate more sales? Then you turn on to aggressive. The moderate or the recommended is kind of really what we found with that algorithm is that it lets your product sit organically where it should sit. So, like if you have subpar images, if you have higher pricing than others, if you have subpar listing content, worse reviews like that will just place you organically where you belong. Versus aggressive you can actually fight those things but you're going to pay to fight those things.

So, that's again it all starts with a good listing, good photos, good product. So if you have that down, if you really think, gosh, my product compared to all the others in the niche, the listings are on par, the pricing is on par, you can come in and click recommended and basically we take over your optimization. So we'll raise and lower your bids, we’ll add the negative keywords, we’ll pause stuff that's not converting and we're just about to launch the feature where we're going to take all those basically the positive keywords.

So if something was converting in your automatic campaign, and we're going to transfer that over to the manual and start bidding on that on like the next graduated level. Or if you're a larger seller, let's say you already have rules set up in your head or your team already has rules set up where if a keyword reaches X ACOS we're going to pause it. If it's X, but it's not this high, let's say it's 30 but it's not 50, we're going to start lowering the bid to try to correct it. If it's below a certain ACOS like let's say it's 5%, those are like super winners, maybe you can drive more at home, we're actually going to raise the bid.

So we allow you to do like a fully customized setup. You don't just have to use one of our preset rules, and if you want more control we definitely like recommend the custom setting, because then you can go back, let's say, you start pausing things when they hit 40% ACOS, and you're saying like, well, that's working great, but maybe I can go 45%. You'll actually have control of that, versus using one of like the preset settings that we have. So basically, it's not a golden ticket, right? It's not going to take a product that's been suffering, that's been getting one sale a day and take it to 30 sales a day.

What it is, is it's part of a sponsored product strategy, that if you let's say you — everyone gets to a certain point where it's either let's say it's five products, but they're bidding on thousands of keywords. It may be you need to outsource that task, right? Or larger organizations when you have thousands of skews, that's impossible to manage in my opinion without outsourcing it or having software to do it. So kind of that's who it's targeting. But it also been helping, we've had people where it's their first product and they go to launch it, and they have no idea what they're doing on pay per click. And they literally followed like my exact steps on my article and then turned on the recommended setting. And they had like an awesome launch, started selling 25, 30 units a day.

Mike: Awesome.

Chris: So it works for you too. But I always like to tell people at least try to learn it yourself. If you want no part to learning it, we're fine with that. But…

Mike: No I think it's important to learn in my perspective. I mean just to know that you don't want to do it. I mean, like it scales, you’re just like, oh my god, this is like impossible and you realize you need software to help you with this. And I mean the results for us is it's saved us thousands and thousands of dollars a month in PPC spend and our sales have actually gone up by doing this, because we're bidding higher on the stuff that works better, and we're lowering all the crap, like the stuff that we’ve been wasting money on.

And the end result was like, I mean, the Nirvana of making more sales by spending less money, which that's really hard to get in business. And yeah I mean I think that it's really, really important. And so where can people find this and how can they find you?

Chris: Yeah so if you just go to MyPPCPal.com, everybody gets a 30 day free trial so you can try it for free, see if you like it. We will set up a code for all of your listeners that if they want to continue after free trial, we’ll give them a discount for the lifetime that they use it. And they can if they get into it and they have questions, you can just — we have a help button, you click on that email, just ask for Chris and they'll forward it to me.

Mike: Okay you want to mention the code now. I know we're on the spot here recording live, but do you want to pick a code and by the time this goes live you can have it ready?

Chris: Yeah, I mean you pick the code. You tell me what you want it to be.

Mike: Let’s make it EcomCrew and make it easy.

Chris: Okay, so we’ll set it for you…

Mike: All right, E-C-O-M-C-R-E-W, and go over to MyPPCPal.com and give it a try. Like I said, I've used it, I think it's great software. I think that if you have more than — in my opinion if you have more than five listings, you need to be using software like this. I think that that's like the maximum like any one person can manage and get it anywhere near as good as machine learning. And past that, it's even if you have like an unlimited amount of time, at that point it gets unruly.

I mean, like it's really hard to keep track of, okay, I just raised the bid on this keyword. I lowered it on this one. Then look at the next period and like what the sales was of that, and like it gets so out of control so quickly. And the end result is you're bleeding money, and for no reason. I mean, and this software will like more than pay for itself. So, definitely…

Chris: Yeah, and that's what we — I mean, literally, if we find like one row of keywords, so the lowest plan gets you 10 skews and that's $49. But then we'll give you an additional 15% off if you're a EcomCrew listener for lifetime. So it's going to be under $50 for up to 10 ASIN's which I think is a great value. We don't charge you, a lot of the companies will charge you based on your ad spend and all that. We don't believe in that. I'm an Amazon seller myself and I like to pay flat fees for things not fat fees, flat fees. But yeah, so we did a flat fee pricing and yeah so it will be like under $150 for up to 10 ASINs. So I do think it's a good value.

Mike: Cool yeah, and just one thing I always like to full disclosure here, I mean that is not an affiliate link. We don't want any money from Chris. I appreciate you coming on and you’re just a cool dude. I think it's good software that we want to promote and I appreciate you helping out our community with the code, and you didn't pay to be on the podcast selling like any gimmicks like that or anything. I just think it's good stuff.

Chris: Yeah no, we just had a lot of tequila and [overlapping 00:47:38] and talked about launch strategies.

Mike: I want to end with one last thing I wrote down a long time ago at the beginning of the conversation and didn't get a chance to mention it again. So, I'm going to go back to like hit the rewind button here 30 minutes. One of the things that you said, I just want to hammer home to everybody. You said you spend about $1,000 developing your listing between the copywriting and the photography and stuff. And this is something I think that I don't know what it is. But like, this is something I see in commonality across a lot of sellers.

They put all this effort into developing the product and doing the product research and getting samples and going back and forth and back and forth. And then they just like they think that they're done at that point and don't put the effort at the end into creating like a really high quality listing. And I don't know, I wrote that down as a comment just as like obviously, you're doing that right and that's really helping your success. And in my opinion it’s probably like a large part of your success because we've attributed that now to a large part of our success, now that I've realized how important it is to get that right from day one. And I just wanted to mention it again, because I think that it's really important.

Chris: Yeah, no, it really I mean, it's equally as important as your product. So, you source this great product and you've made improvements, and you have to portray that in the listing, all right? If you have crappy images or you didn't build out a listing that talks about these awesome features that you added, nobody is going to know. They're going to look at it and they're going to say, that's a crappy photo, they’re not going to click on it. So you have to — and I think part of it — I don't think it's the people's fault, I think it's a lot of the bad information out there, the launch of product with $1,000.

If you want to do it right, it requires more than that and it's not it's obviously you guys  talk real results, real stuff, but there's the Lamborghini kids and stuff like that out there that are just that are selling their like the get rich quick type thing. And that's the issue is that you treat it like a real — and this kind of goes into my whole strategy of like white hat thinking long term is it's a real business, treat it like a real business. And that includes if you're not a professional at it, don't try to do it yourself.

Mike: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I couldn't agree more. Well, Chris, we're way over time man. I appreciate your time and for coming on today. Thank you so much for doing this and best of luck with all your stuff moving forward. And let's catch up again soon.

Chris: All right, thanks Mike.

And that's a wrap. I hope you guys enjoyed this episode with Chris from My PPC Pal. And I want to thank him again for giving a special offer to the EcomCrew community. Definitely a really cool guy, definitely check out his software and try out some of his ideas. I can tell you the whole thing with the giveaways is something that we're going to be doing probably with every single launch moving forward now. We tested it out on our recent launch which we had the new number one bestseller badge for right now which is so awesome.

We're able to do this time after time. Everything that we talk about in our courses in EcomCrew Premium is just working so well. Being able to launch these products to being number one bestseller is a really good feeling. I did everything the white hat way and continue to do that. But these giveaways are cool because I just did a test one day with two people, two giveaways and we had 800 people sign up in like a couple of hours and then offered them the discount and we had a few people take advantage of that.

So we're going to be trying this at scale later in the launch process. We're early on where things always work well for us. So later on the process we're going to be doing giveaways probably 10 or 20 a day, and seeing how that goes to kind of keep our momentum going. And this will be after we get a couple of reviews hopefully and things like that, but definitely the giveaways through the Amazon platform, a quick and easy way to continue to get momentum on brand new items as you're launching the white hat way.

Again EcomCrew.com/158 to get to the show notes for this episode. I want to thank you guys again for listening to the EcomCrew Podcast and supporting us. Don't forget to leave us a review on iTunes, and until the next episode, happy selling, and we'll talk to you then.

Michael Jackness

Michael started his first business when he was 18 and is a serial entrepreneur. He got his start in the online world way back in 2004 as an affiliate marketer. From there he grew as an SEO expert and has transitioned into ecommerce, running several sites that bring in a total of 7-figures of revenue each year.
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Brandon Navarro
5 years ago

awesome thanks guys!

Alar Huul
Alar Huul
5 years ago

Here are my notes from the podcast. Please comment if you feel there is something important missing, thanks!


Dave Bryant
5 years ago
Reply to  Alar Huul

This is fantastic! Thank you!

6 years ago

Hey the amazon giveaway sounds like a good Idea but how do you buy the item for a giveaway? Can’t find it on my listing.

6 years ago

Another incredible episode Mike. Packed with actionable insights to help us grow and reach more happy customers. Love it! Keep up the amazing work.

Hershel Mittelman
Hershel Mittelman
6 years ago

Thanks for the wonderful White Hat launching strategy, that makes so much sense.
I had followed your steps and set up an Amazon giveaway I chose the Amazon lucky winner option,
but the problem is that there is no retargeting email option there
Maybe you mentioned by mistake the wrong selection by setting up the giveaway?
Thanks in advance

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