E181: How $150 Million Companies Win On Amazon – Tips and Advice from Zack Franklin of AMZKungfu
Over the past few weeks we've been posting updates on Chinese sellers manipulating Amazon. While black-hat practices are particularly pronounced in China, not all Chinese sellers rely on these methods to be successful on Amazon.
In this episode we are joined by Zack Franklin of AMZKungfu. Zack currently lives in Shenzhen, China, and he is a popular consultant for Chinese Amazon sellers. He has worked with a number of big Chinese companies helping them with marketing, software, and training. These companies rack up $150+ million in revenue individually, with one even getting acquired for more than $1 billion.
The majority of sellers Zack works with do not rely on shady business practices. While many of us attribute the success of Chinese sellers to black-hat practices, Zack argues that successful Chinese sellers are doing a couple of things we are not… and these are not TOS violations.
Chinese work culture
One glaring difference between the Chinese and westerners is their work culture. The Chinese practice the so-called 9-9-6, which means that people work from 9AM to 9PM, 6 days a week. It's not uncommon for Chinese sellers to keep working into the night without a day off, until they see their products on page 1 of Amazon search results.
The Chinese also work very fast. Most of the companies Zack works with have their own photography studio so they could get images for listings blazingly fast.
Smart and efficient marketing
If there's one thing we'd like you to take away from the episode, it's this: you can get 400 clicks to your Amazon listing for only $30 with Google Ads. Zack's clients were able to leverage a very simple technique to get PPC costs down and he talks about how to do it in detail in this episode.
He also talks about YouTube pre-roll ads, best ad practices, and the virtues of not giving discounts to customers too early.
Another tool in Zack's arsenal is Facebook Messenger. His clients find it to be a great way to get reviews and continue interacting with customers. If you want to know how we grew our Facebook subscribers to 50,000 people in less than a year, join our free Facebook Messenger webinar on September 25th.
Connecting with fellow Amazon sellers
Zack emphasizes the importance of meeting up with fellow Amazon sellers in order to learn from them. Chinese sellers are very aware of this and use it to their advantage.
If you want to reach out to Zack, you can do so by going to his website at amzkungfu.com, or emailing him at email@example.com.
EcomCrew Facebook Messenger Webinar
Thanks for listening to this episode! Until the next one, happy selling.
Full Audio Transcript
Mike: Hey guys the next EcomCrew free webinar is coming up on September the 25th at 2pm Eastern 11am Pacific. This month we're going to be going over Facebook Messenger for e-commerce, packing it full of lots of tips and tricks on how to utilize Facebook Messenger in e-commerce. We're going to be going over things for beginners, intermediaries, and advanced users, a little bit of something for everybody showing people how to get started with Facebook Messenger.
And again, if you've already done it, we're going to be showing you examples of how we've grown our lists to over 50,000 people on Facebook Messenger in under one year. So go to EcomCrew.com/webinar to sign up today. We'll see you there. Again, September the 25th, 2pm Eastern Time, 11am Pacific and it's 100% free of charge, Ecom.com/webinar. And now on with the show.
This is Mike and welcome to episode number 181 of the EcomCrew Podcast, so glad to have you with us today. Just as a reminder, as always, you can go to EcomCrew.com/181 to get to the show notes for this episode, ask any questions you might have. And I have a feeling that there might be a few questions that come out of this episode. My buddy, Zach is joining me today. He's someone that I met over in Hong Kong at the Global Sources Summit, which I'm not going to be attending this time, but I will be back there in April, looking forward to doing that again, and seeing Zach in person again in April. He's already told me he's going to be attending there as well coming up in April.
But Zach is one of these guys that I instantly hit it off with. He was one of the speakers at Global Sources Summit when I first met him about 18 months ago. And we go to these shows and if you're an advanced seller, it's hard to get a lot of tidbits out of these conferences sometimes. But his talk really kind of blew me away and I thought it was great. So we ended up talking out in the hallway for a couple of hours and like I said, just really hit it off and finally got the opportunity to get together here to put together this podcast. Now unfortunately he's in China and I'm over in the United States which means that there's the Great Firewall to deal with.
And I apologize to Abby and to our audience for making this a tough editing job and not being as good as some of the other episodes that we've done as far as quality but the content nonetheless is awesome. And just so you know, Zach is an Amazon seller, and a Shopify seller, and so much more. So, we cover a lot of stuff. We typically don't do these round robin grab bag type episodes, because they're hard to title and pin down. But when you get someone like Zach that just has such a wealth of knowledge, I feel like I'd be remised if I just pick one thing to talk about. So it's a little bit of everything, a little bit of something for everyone. And I think you guys are going to enjoy this. So, without further ado, let's hop right on to the interview with Zach.
Mike: Hey Zach, welcome to the EcomCrew Podcast, man.
Zack: Hey Mike. It's great to be here.
Mike: Definitely, I appreciate you coming on. We've known each other now for I guess about a year and a half. I think the first time we met was about a year and a half ago at Global Sources. I can’t remember if you were a speaker the first time that you've – I know you’ve spoken there several times, but you may have been in the audience or on stage, one or the other. You were there somehow. Or maybe I was the one in the audience and you were on stage, I don't remember. But we connected over there for the first time.
Zack: Yeah, I think that was when I gave my presentation about the rise of Chinese sellers that scared everyone in the room.
Mike: It definitely woke me up and we're going to talk about that a little bit today. But a little bit more back-story because I think if we are going to talk about that and just so everybody knows that is not going to be the only thing we're going to talk about today. Before we were recording this, you used – was it Zack of all trades I think is what you just said.
Zack: Yeah, as part of the faithful say like the one man army.
Mike: Yeah, I think it's perfect. So we're going to talk about Amazon in general, a little bit, Chinese sellers. We're going to talk about Shopify stuff because you're doing Shopify and some YouTube pre roll ads and talk about some stuff that you've done with — you work for $150 million Company as well, doing some consultancy. We're going to cover a bunch of things. So, I think that there's a little bit of something here for everyone. So I would definitely — even if we're talking for a couple minutes about something you're not interested in, just hit the fast forward button. We’ll probably cover something for everyone here. You're just a wealth of knowledge and we only have 30 minutes. I'm going to get right into it.
The first thing I do want to mention though, I'll give you a little bit of time real quick to talk about where you live geographically because I think that that's super important. This puts you right in touch with Amazon Chinese sellers or just Chinese sellers in general and what your background is, and what you do.
Zack: Great. So, I'm originally from kind of the Detroit area and I've been living out in Shenzhen for the last two years. I was invited over absolutely through one of the Amazon Facebook groups. I think it was the Amazing Seller. I ended up meeting this Chinese CEO and I knew basically nothing about him, and he gives me a call at 2:00 am and says, I want you to come to Shenzhen tomorrow, nice. I got some crazy stuff for you. So, I didn't know if I was going to still have my organs when I got here or something, I had no idea. And I just said all right, let's do it. And ended up being one of the top three Amazon companies that there are pretty much.
They own a lot of software for Amazon, they have more than 40, 50 brands for Amazon and they're basically they just got acquired for more than a billion USD. And so it's crazy one that an Amazon seller can hit that kind of valuation, which is only possible in China, and two that I ended up being senior management for a billion dollar company somehow. Then other than that, in China, I've been basically on my own doing consulting, doing software, doing marketing, doing training under the brand of AMZKungfu in Shenzhen for the last year and it's been going really well. We just released a new software to help Chinese sellers especially, but anyone can use it automate their PPC at scale.
So if you have 1000 accounts and you want to create, and 10,000 products, you want to create auto campaigns for every product, three clicks for 10,000 campaigns. Or if you want to automate your PPC, we allow a lot of cool ways to do that. So that would be AMZKungfu and we also offer training on AMZKungfu as part of like a free trial.
Mike: Cool, very cool. Now one thing you didn't mention was the timing of all this. So when did you first get over to Shenzhen?
Zack: Yeah, so I came over to Shenzhen about two, a little more than two years ago in July 2016, but it feels like 10 years ago.
Mike: Yeah, the time like compressed.
Zack: Yeah, Shenzhen speed is crazy. Shenzhen, the really cool thing about it is that words become action in under a couple of seconds. My CEO would say like hey Zach, can you open up an office in Thailand with like 200 foreigners? And I'm like what? And he would just expect me to just do that like you have two weeks, go. And for example, my girlfriend just left her old company and started a new company, and within two days she had all of her legal stuff set up, the company, the bank account for the first like $5,000 client, a full week pipeline, like her trade, she applied for a trademark, like website, all this stuff in less than two days. And that's just like the speed that people work here.
Mike: Yeah, I mean, that's really good insight. And I think — so if you're in a situation where you've been on the ground, boots on the ground just kind of interacting with this over the last two years. What else have you noticed? Obviously you just said things happen really quickly. But what are some other characteristics that you're seeing over there that is — because I mean, that doesn't happen over in the US. I mean, like there's — even though it's not your country, I mean, still you're not going to get a business established within 48 hours and get a trademark and all that. What are some other things that you're saying over there?
Zack: Yeah, I mean, if you want to just talk about general like work culture, they have the same called 996 which is 9am to 9pm six days a week, right? And if you're young, that's probably going to be your work schedule. If you're in any kind of like startup or e-commerce or tech, this is just kind of the normal schedule which most Americans would think it's probably pretty brutal, right? The Chinese don't want to like clock out at five and go home. If they're working and they really want to see the results and they want to put in the time, I think the quote I used at my Global Sources presentation was, “Roxy is saying I will work 13 hours a day, six days a week, every day until all my products are number one.”
And that kind of a lot of sellers are just being out works by anyone in Shenzhen, which is kind of just crazy because it's very easy to hire a lot of people that already have e-commerce talent, they have e-commerce training in university. And the training market here is absolutely huge. There are more than probably 40, 50 organizations that all have like 100,000 sellers. There might be some overlap in the sellers, but they offer a lot of training. There's events every day, and you can just run into Amazon sellers all the time here.
For example, this is one day of my life and it was absolutely unbelievable, right? So, I'm taking a taxi and I'm talking with my taxi driver about Amazon. And my taxi driver was selling LED lights on Amazon, my taxi driver. And then I get to a coffee shop, my favorite like Korean coffee shop, and I look behind me and I see Seller Central open on two of the laptops. So they're selling on Amazon and I talked with them for a little bit. And then I ended up getting locked out of my apartment, and the guy next to me like the apartment next to me was like a home office for this guy that was like eBay phone case supplier for drop shippers. That was the apartment next door, and then like two other girls from the room down the hall came over and they were Amazon sellers too, they were on vendor central.
So it's like impossible in Shenzhen to not run into an Amazon seller during the course of like a normal day. And this leads to a really cool sense of community and everyone is learning from each other all the time and it provides just for a lot of things that aren't possible. I noticed a lot of people talking about like, oh Amazon doesn't support American sellers because they aren't doing meetups here and they're doing meetups in China.
But the case is that like, it's only efficient to plan these kinds of meetups if there's enough of a density of sellers and they know people are going to go. In America, it's really difficult, I think, to have these kind of big events on a very frequent schedule. Even somewhere like New York, there's not going to be enough Amazon sellers to just fill up hundreds and hundreds of people. But in China they can do it every day of the week and there's still demand.
Mike: Yeah, so I mean you got people that are working 80% harder than you because they're working 72 hour weeks. You have a community of people that are constantly around you, so you're never more than a few hours away from the next meetup. And so you get this sense of camaraderie and working to go there, but also information spreads really quickly and all the things the tactics, even if they're — let's just because we're trying to keep it positive, we talked about this before because we did an episode about all the black hat stuff that China is doing over there. But that's just a small component of it. I mean, most of it is realistically they're just working harder than we are.
Zack: Yeah absolutely. All the Chinese sellers I've met, I mean, maybe I don't think I'm meeting the guys that are hijacking stuff. But everyone I meet, they just want to build a brand, build a real business, learn real marketing. And they might not know exactly how to do that, but they're really trying on it. In Shenzhen, they're actually, everyone is just talking, how do I build a brand? How do I have a sustainable business? We don't want to get shut down all the time. They're terrified of Amazon. And just like you Mike, they might have started off doing a lot of the kind of affiliate stuff for a lot of more non sustainable business and they realized the pitfalls and they say, okay, we want to build a brand. How do we do that?
Mike: Yeah, makes a lot of sense. So, before we move on to the next topic, any other insights for Chinese sellers?
Zack: I mean, I could probably write a couple books, but I think the best thing is just like Americans need to realize it's not just unethical, it's just you're being out organized and outworked and people can just create this sort of organization. And for American sellers, I think would be really useful to have a lot more third party things in the system. Like one thing I really love about China is they actually cover this with media, right? There's a venture capital backed company called Sift News and Sift News gets like five to 10 million hits per month. They do the biggest events all over China. And they have 80 articles about Amazon and e-commerce published every single day, right every single day.
The other thing would just be to meet a lot of sellers and in person. I think it's kind of lonely when I was selling on Amazon in the states. You feel a little bit like you're in a cave unless you're going out and meeting other people that are doing this every day.
Mike: Yeah, and even then I'm assuming, because I work really hard at networking and meeting, and talking with other people, but even then it's still at most like once a month or something. It’s kind of a special thing where you're basically involved in that almost every single day.
Zack: I can't escape; I go to like Hong Kong if I just don't want to think about the business for a day.
Mike: Right. And you're right across the border. So that makes it easy.
Zack: Mm-hmm, just 20 minutes.
Mike: Cool. All right, so let's switch gears a little bit and talk because I am curious, not everyone gets a chance to work for $150 million seller. So what do you see its scale there, and how do they do that? Because I mean it's crazy man, I can't even kind of get my head around being $150 million seller from where we're at today.
Zack: Definitely so you have two kinds. Like I've worked with a couple of companies at that level and you basically have two kinds of companies. One is going to be like kind of the typical Chinese Amazon company where it will look like the Canton Fair just kind of bombed it up a bunch of products. You will have every category there, like I need a brand name for a company that sells outdoor products, kitchen and bedroom, or like and health and beauty. And you're like, which one of those do you want to focus on and have like a name and a concept behind right, but they just have the products. And they will just diversify and just try and conquer that way.
And then you have the other guys, and these are the guys that say, we're going all in on one category, or one specific product that has the most search volume and we're going to be at the top. And that's who I like to work with a little more. And so these guys are, they're basically in the audio category. They have the highest search volume keywords on Amazon. And it's really a convenient thing because the products that can really do well on Amazon are ones that you wouldn't normally find a lot of options for in a normal store. And some of these are like that, where they're kind of more unique. You would want to buy something like this online. So the volume is huge.
Mike: Interesting. Cool. And I mean any other insights from your time of — because are you still working for that company that sold for the [overlapping 00:18:39]?
Zack: Yeah, yeah.
Mike: Okay, so you’re still doing it.
Zack: Them not so much. But I went in recently. I went in like two weeks ago and we talked. We had a small party. It was nice. For this company I'm doing now, just some other insights about how they work at scale. It's absolutely just incredible to see. So if I search for a certain main keyword and I look at the first seven pages, you can find us more than 40 times.
Zack: Okay, you will see the headline ad, the first sponsored ad, the second sponsored ad, the sponsored ad at the bottom, the sponsored ad in the middle of the listing. You will see six of our listings on the first page, like five on the second plus all the ad placements again. And so it's like taking up enough space on a shelf, you're just going to want to be found. And they've also just found really, really effective, and efficient ways to deal with everything involving ranking, reviews. And one really interesting thing is that they just hired a call center, and they actually just call the people that left a bad review which is not something that it's technically allowed by any stretch and means, but it works. They've got 30% of their negative reviews removed, which is something that equates to like an increase of like 100,000, $200,000 a day for them.
The difference for them, when the review score is like around 4.2 versus 4.3 is $100,000 a day. So just by taking these steps, it's really good. The other thing is they have a lot of problems that you don't have when you're a small company. If you're smaller, your volume of customer service messages on Amazon, it might be like 5, 10 a day, but for them it's hundreds or thousands. And we were able to use channel reply and Salesforce to come up with a really integrated customer service system. And so when you're at that level, you need to be able to centralize any part of your business and be able to outsource what's not important. So now we're finally able to outsource to America the customer support.
Mike: Interesting, interesting. And what about some of the things you mentioned as far as being efficient with PPC and their keywords and images. And I mean, because we only have 5 million or we’ll be probably like a six or $7 million Amazon seller [inaudible 00:21:25] the rest of our business. And I mean, this is like one thing that we just struggle with mightily keeping everything updated and as efficient as possible. How the hell do they do that at scale?
Zack: The crazy thing is that they're not efficient, they’re just [inaudible 00:21:40]. So what's really interesting, every Chinese company I've ever been in will have at least their own photographer, potentially their own 3D render person, and they'll have like a studio setup in-house, right? So if they want a photo, it's going to take them five minutes and it's already there. Every company has this, every Amazon Company I've ever walked in China has like at least one photographer, a 3D render, Photoshop. Most of the Amazon sellers know how to do Photoshop themselves for their like lifestyle images and they're just incredibly quick.
So they're able to push out the 3D renders, they're able to push out everything and get really good models as well in the UK and stuff like that. So they're very, very aggressive with the photos, very aggressive with the keywords. One really interesting thing, they have put keywords everywhere that you can possibly imagine on these listings. If you even look at the legal information, you will just see it's actually just keywords. It's incredible how much space they have found to do that.
And when you just can push one product for so long, that's the ranking manifests just add up. But it comes into problems when you have like a new like a sequel product to the original best seller. If people are searching for that best seller by name, it just doesn't work as well when you have a new product. It just doesn't have the huge search volume.
Mike: Makes a lot of sense, yeah interesting. I mean we have our own photographer and we have graphics guys and it still seems like it's not as efficient as it could be and we're constantly — you realize our keywords aren’t optimized as well as they could be across all of our business. We tried, obviously the top listings we're always focusing on but some of them are kind of the redheaded stepchild, and we realized that we could be doing a better job of existing listing. It's actually the big thing we're going to be focusing on over the next three to six months actually trying to do a better job with that, but it definitely gets difficult. It's interesting to see that they're able to do that at that scale.
But I think, again, it comes down to they're working 80% harder. Their cost of labor is cheap so they can…
Zack: Have 100 people.
Mike: Yeah, they have hundreds of people at it. And that definitely makes a big difference. So interesting, cool. So I want to switch gears again and I apologize, we didn't talk about this in the pre interview. So I hope I don't catch you off guard here. But the thing that you talked about when I first saw you speak, or maybe it was the second time you spoke was — or maybe we were talking about in the hall, I don't remember. But we were talking about Facebook Messenger and Facebook bots and stuff, and this is something that I'm very passionate about these days. Actually our next course is going to be about Facebook Messenger and stuff. I'm just curious if you could rapid fire here maybe one to three tips of how you're using Facebook Messenger and chat bots these days, and as an Amazon seller and then also just as Amazon seller.
Zack: Great so yeah, ManyChat for me has been working really well because they've added a lot of new features that made things that were really painful to do very easy. I work with a lot of brands at the same time, and when they're able to have like the one click templates to just copy most of a bot over to a new page, that opened up a lot of doors for me. And so I've been able to test a lot of things at scale and over a lot of different brands to see how things work. It's been going really, really well. The click through rate is still very good, the open rate is great, people are taking action.
For me the point of ManyChat that's always the most difficult, essentially Facebook made some changes to kind of prevent comments fading or any kind of like telling people to take an action and then having them take that action. Because for about a period of like three weeks when chat bots were really knew, my entire Facebook notifications would just be like 300 comments, from those 300 comments from this and it's really hard to kind of organize your inbox, right? Like ManyChat seems really great. But your Facebook chat support system needs to be really robust, because it's going to go through hell immediately.
If you're doing this at scale, and you start getting thousands of messages, you need to figure out like, what do you do? And it's still a little bit of a buggy platform. And so you need to actually like when you're setting up the flows, make sure that it opens the conversation so that way you can go in and you can see what happened, because sometimes a button won't work, or a link won't work, and they're going to be asking you why, and you're going to need to have like a manual system to handle that. But I've also noticed that ManyChat ads are great in situations where like in email like an EDM like MailChimp probably wouldn't send my email. If it's a little bit too like on the hard sell side, I can use ManyChat and it will go through, but if I use email I'll get flagged immediately.
So ManyChat is a good way for me to push it a little bit. And that's been for me where it's been useful. But I think people are still a little confused about how to use it as a customer because typically I have only interacted with a couple of brands that have used this.
Mike: Yeah, that’s true.
Zack: But it makes it still really new and interesting. I thought by now it would have been a little bit more played out and we would see open rates go down, we would see it be a slightly more normal thing, but I think it's just on the edge of what people are comfortable with on the seller side. And so I don't think that it's been really abused. I think it's still working quite well. It's been a great way to get reviews; it's been a great way to get initial launches. And it's been a great way to continue interacting. But you need to have everything set up really well. You need to make sure, just go through like when I was a kid, and I would get like a like a new TV or something. And I would just get the remote, I would just click on every single button until I knew what everything did, right?
Mike: Yeah. You were like me.
Zack: That's what you want to do when you get a new marketing tool is you just want to click on everything. So you want to click and see like, okay, how can I use the menu buttons more efficiently? How can I use these sort of integrations? How can I use custom fields? How can I use tags? And every time you get a new marketing too, you just go through like that and look at everything. How can I use this? Is there a trick here? And that's kind of the simple process it takes to be great at marketing. You just have to do this for a long time. And you'll figure out a lot of tricks that people aren't doing on ManyChat that are real useful.
Mike: Good advice, I agree. I mean, I think I don't know, I think maybe we're from the same generation or just the same cloth or whatever, where, I don't know, like growing up, it was the same way. It wasn't just the TV remote, but like Windows 95 or Windows whatever the first Windows, like it was Windows 3 or whatever the heck it was when the first version of it like kind of came out. I'm just clicking on everything. When I was back using DOS, I would type in every command and figure out what it did. And it's the same thing today. I'll log into ManyChat and I'll click on every single thing and figure out what the heck it does and try it out, and just kind of have that that intuition that definitely helps with technology.
I mean, you're not going to break anything. I mean what's the worst thing that can happen right? I mean you got to be careful with something like ManyChat in one regard because you can get your Facebook account shut down for doing some of the broadcast and stuff or…
Mike: But if you guys you haven't had your Facebook account shut down yet, then you're not a real marketer. Keep that in mind.
Mike: I agree.
Zack: I just got one shut down yesterday. It took like — we were setting up my first campaign for a friend, and then it's like only active campaigns can create accounts. I'm like already, it took like 10 seconds. My friend posted a video recently. I don't know if you saw like Oceans 12 what they have like I think it's like the night Fox that's like going through all the laser security at this museum to like steal stuff, and they were just joking, they're like this guy is the advertiser. And he's like dodging and dancing through all these lasers. And they're like, this is what it feels like to set up a Facebook campaign in 2018. And it's really true. It's such a touchy system now.
Mike: Yeah, I'll give you a funny one from today that we had. We had an ad disapproved. I mean, it wasn't as much as getting our account shut down but we had — and we can't get it approved. But it's — they're saying it’s too sexually suggestive. And it's, we have a mermaid coloring page on one of our coloring books and they're saying that because she's like in a bikini and it's a coloring book.
Zack: You know what you should do; you should put like a black bar over the mermaid.
Mike: Yeah, that's funny.
Zack: Which actually makes it more suggestive.
Zack: But these kind of like information gaps, adding blurs, putting like a black box over someone's eyes really can increase the information gap without it seeming too click baity. But if you want it to be really click baity too, you can use a lot of native ads, which is the last really untapped traffic source for Amazon sellers. No one is really playing around with it too much, because it's really hard to track and kind of expensive to test. And it's a very easy way to get your product to CNN and Forbes and put them in front of a lot of big customers.
Mike: Yeah, yeah, and the part that I hate about them is that you can't track them. So as a marketer it always makes it difficult. It’s is like, is my spend here being effective or not?
Zack: Yeah, it's really hard to tell, especially if you're trying to throw a lot of traffic at your listing and you're just sending native ads, Google ads, YouTube ads, Facebook ads, pop ups, and you're just trying to see what works. I think Amazon is trying to come out with a new Amazon attribution pixel, which should make it really easy if they can just tell us the basic statistics and things on the back end because Amazon's ad market is now $2 billion or something like that, or went up like 139% year over year which means that we're all paying a lot more for Amazon ads, but it means that they want to really show the big boys, hey, like your ad spend is effective here. And so it looks like they might be coming out with attribution.
Mike: Yeah, that would be a game changer for me personally because I know that I would be a lot more willing to spend, even a smaller guy I'd be more willing to spend money on Amazon or outside of Amazon ads because I just don't know. And like I said, we're doing that same thing. We have influencer marketing. We're doing Facebook ads direct to Amazon. We're doing Facebook as the landing page that jumps off to Amazon or Google AdWords that we send and you just never know like which one is the thing that's actually performing the best. You can make something…
Zack: Exactly. You see something is but you don't know what.
Zack: So you can’t really scale it. But sometimes it's still really good to just send a huge massive traffic at your listing. What I've been finding recently is that the conversion rate doesn't seem to matter as much now. Before it used to really seem like if you sent a bunch of people to your listing, and they didn't buy that it would be more of a bad thing. But I think now, I mean, it's not 100% sure, but it seems like conversion rate doesn't seem to matter as much.
So I feel more comfortable throwing more traffic at it. And one of the things I've been doing is just on Google, on AdWords, just a simple search campaign because a lot of people I noticed were just searching things like buy coffee mug, Amazon and buy this Amazon. They're specifically looking to buy things on Amazon, but they're searching on Google. And so we were able to just harness a lot of these clicks because people were just not bidding on them.
And we set up a max bid of like 10 cents and we're getting a lot of penny clicks to the listing of people that are interested in buying from Amazon if they had the same keywords, but without that, we’ll send them over to our Shopify sites. But if it's just they're directly looking for Amazon, we're just going to send them straight there. I don't even put like in between page or anything. I just send them straight to Amazon. We are able to send like 400 people to our listings at less than 30 bucks a day.
Mike: Yeah, man it's like a really amazing tip and really easy to set up. So, I think if you made it to this point in the podcast, it probably just made your day because cheap traffic to your Amazon listing, 400 clicks for 30 bucks. I mean, complete no brainer. I mean, you'd have to have a completely abysmal conversion rate for that not to payoff. And the reality is I mean Amazon’s conversion rate is something stupid like 40% as it is.
Zack: It is incredible. That's the number one benefit of Amazon. My Shopify conversion rate, like you make money on it, but it's not good.
Mike: Yeah it's like 3% versus 40.
Zack: Yeah, it's absolutely like a stupid difference. If you can just send traffic to Amazon and make it work, you'll make money even with the 15% cut?
Mike: Yeah, I definitely. I agree. All right, there's one more thing, we're like completely out of time right now. But there's one more thing that I wanted to get into because we're also playing with this. And we were talking a little bit before recording, something we just started playing with, I don’t know about four to six months ago, something in that time range which is YouTube pre roll ads. And we've been developing a lot of video assets. And the one thing that we've been trying to do is be able to reuse those assets because they're tough to make. They can be, they're more expensive, etc.
Zack: Yeah, it's expensive. You want to — like a lot of people just make influencer content for kind of one off promotions. And this is not really the best way to leverage it. So what we've been doing now is every time anyone comes to our website, what we do is we put them in more of an evergreen funnel. And what this means is it's basically time based custom audiences. So you have like, okay, people that were like saw your website yesterday, like people that it saw two days ago, people that saw it five days ago. And so, you can kind of take them through this almost like an email sequence. So you kind of take them through like a journey of showing them different benefits every day.
So if you have like a product with a lot of features, or for example, if you're doing ColorIt and you have a lot of different coloring books, you might not know exactly which thing might make them go over the edge and say I want this. And so you can just, both with carousel ads and the funnel or just video ads too. So you want to just do the research for them because people are naturally going to do this kind of research, they're going to look at reviews. You might as well show them the reviews that you want them to see or your influencer content.
And so what we do is when they go, we have two funnel setup. And our goal is not to be super obnoxious. So the first Facebook one, we'll show them a carousel with like a couple of benefits. Then the next day we’ll show them like a review written in like a credible publication. Then the next day we’ll show them another review, then another like benefit, then a small video. And then finally, we'll give them a discount. We're not going to give them a discount too early.
Zack: And for Google, it's also really useful for YouTube pre rolls because we can just show them all this video content we've been doing. So, if you have all these YouTube reviews and you don't know how to use them, you can actually promote any video on YouTube as an hour's campaign. And so you just boost these so that when people go to your website the next day that they'll try and watch a video, and they'll just see like one pre roll from you. And you want to be a little bit subtle. You don't want to just hammer them so that every ad that they see is you and your product or YouTube reviews. And you can even target not just on the retargeting, but you can actually take your review videos and put them before videos of reviews for competitors.
So you can even make ads for your products and put them right before people who are looking for reviews on competitor products. Or if they're looking for the problem that your product solves, it's a really good place to kind of put that pre roll ad. And we've been seeing that it's not expensive and we've been able to drive a lot of traffic, and we've been able to actually even launch a couple products just with the YouTube ads. Yeah, the important thing for us is thinking when do we offer people a discount? I think too many people just go straight to the discount as the way to incentivize someone. And it's not really good when you're training your customer to think like that. I think of like a Bed Bath and Beyond, everyone had those like coupons.
Mike: 10% off coupons or 20% whatever it was.
Zack: No one walked into that store expecting, I'm going to pay full price. And if you can train them to think more luxury, I mean if you think of like a Porsche dealership, the guys and chasing after you saying, get 10% off now, as soon as you walk up to the car. The only time they're going to throw that at you is if you're really on the fence, and you're already in the middle of signing. You don't want to throw out these discounts too early. And so by reusing your influencer content, you have another thing that you can show them that's not just, hey, come back for 10% off. And it can be pretty effective because people need six, seven times of seeing your brand to really trust you.
And so this way by making it so that they see you seven or eight times over the course of a week, and they see something different each time, it's very useful. And the way that you set this up with custom audiences based on time based is incredible because what this really means is that no one will see it twice. It's evergreen. You don't need to think of it like a normal Facebook ad where you're just running it until the frequency is high, and people are just burned out. The great thing about doing it based on time is that people just don't get burned out, because they're only going to go through this thing once or twice. So it's like doing an autoresponder, but doing it through ads instead of through email.
Mike: Right. So I mean, they might miss certain components of the funnel, but they're never going to see certain components of it more than once.
Zack: Unless they go back to the page that initially triggered that funnel.
Mike: Right. That makes sense. Yeah, cool, man. Well, I think this has been awesome conversation. Like I said, it's kind of a little bit all over the place. We don't do these types of conversations often because it's hard to kind of pinpoint one subject, but when we get someone like you, the Zack of all trades, it's I think important to talk about a bunch of different things. So I definitely appreciate you coming on and doing all that. I can also say we've been working on some of these pre rolled out stuff and it's been working well for us over the last couple months. We haven't used the strategy you just mentioned. So now I'm anxious to go give that a try where we break it up a little bit more granularly.
But YouTube pre roll stuff is still cheap comparatively to everything else out there. So, it's a great strategy.
Zack: Yeah, it really is. I'm looking forward to talking with you about it at Global Sources. I think you're going to be there, right?
Mike: I will be there in April. I'm not coming to the October one.
Zack: Okay, I'll see you in April. It's been awesome to finally be on Ecomcrew. This is one of the three podcasts I actually listen to on a regular basis. So, this has been great. For any users that want to kind of get in contact with me, you can find me at AMCKungFu.com, or you can message me at just Zach.F.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike: Cool, just repeat all that just so people that might have not got it all just they get all those, the email and the website.
Zack: Cool. I'm sure it'll be on your website.
Mike: Yeah, we'll have it on the show notes for sure.
Zack: Yeah, so look on the show notes. But you can find it at AMCkungfu.com or on Zach.F.email@example.com.
Mike: Perfect. Thank you so much Zack. I really appreciate it. And I look forward to our paths crossing again, either in April or before then.
Zack: All right, sounds good. Cool. Have a great night Mike.
And that's a wrap folks. I hope you guys enjoyed the 181st episode of the EcomCrew Podcast. I want to thank you guys again for your support and listening to us week in and week out. I love the positive comments we've been getting. And after my latest plea for some reviews, we got a bunch of new reviews in and I enjoyed reading every single one of them. I want to thank those of you who took the time to do that. Again, I really do appreciate it. I know it's a pain in the rear end. So thank you for doing that. It really is appreciated. When we have time, when we have a little bit shorter episode, I'm going to try to read some of those because I do appreciate everyone that comes in. But until the next episode everyone, as we always say, happy selling and we'll talk to you soon.
When creating adwords do you use your amazon affiliate link? Or do you just direct link to your product listing?
Hi Bas – I suspect zack’s using an affiliate link although can’t confirm 100% for sure.
what is the approach with a sponsored ad account that is a “Lasagna”? Meaning it has layers of previous account managers, strategies, and campaigns. Where do you start optimizing? What concern do you place in optimizing or removing old, established campaigns or ad groups?
How are they gathering the phone numbers of the customers for their call centers to reduce the negative reviews? What’s your point of view regarding ToS on that point?