If you’ve been in the Amazon space for a while now, you must have heard of Anthony Lee. Andy Arnott introduces him as the Kim Kardashian of Amazon – simply put, Anthony is a major deal.
Anthony has worn multiple hats in the eCommerce space – seller, consultant, SAAS developer, and now a marketer on the agency side with Canopy Management. His fascination with data is the driving force of his marketing career – studying algorithms, ranking, and other technical aspects of eCommerce keep Anthony on his feet and consistently updated with the latest trends in the market.
Anthony is our guest in today’s featured Seller Round Table Episode with Andy and Amy Wees – where the three of them discuss eCommerce marketing, advertising, PPC, and new Amazon policies peppered with entertaining friendly banter. Have fun watching the episode below:
What Could You Learn from Anthony’s Data-Driven Insights?
Anthony goes through a wide array of topics that all revolve around the value of keeping yourself updated with eCommerce data trends. Get ready to learn things like:
- Why you should diversify your external traffic prior to launching your Amazon product
- How building a solid customer base outside of Amazon can get you initial reviews on a new listing
- Amazon return policy updates and their impact on your business
- How to use Hubstaff to track your marketing and advertising expenditures vis-a-vis their results
- Other worthwhile tools for optimizing your eCommerce business
Keep Up With The Trends – Lessons in Marketing
Can you look back 5 years ago and imagine exactly what life was like in eCommerce? It’s hard, isn’t it? It seems that the digital world has evolved with lightning speed that it feels impossible to keep track of its progression within the past few years. What was relevant, trending, and a hot topic 1-5 years ago may have already been forgotten by now.
Whether you admit it or not, marketing is an integral part of any business. And the basic objective of marketing is to stay relevant in the eyes of your target customer. That means keeping your product, your strategy, and your communications up to date with the times. How do you do that? That’s where the value of data comes in.
Remember this – if you understand how data works – A9 algorithm, ranking, market share, market behavior, among other things – you’ll never get lost. Your data is your true north. It should be where every aspect of your business begins, ends, and begins again. Data cannot be questioned – it is hard fact – but as you’ve seen in the last 5-10 years, it moves fast and changes faces quickly. The top ranking products in your category today may not be the same 1 month from now. Your target market’s buying patterns and behavior may do a complete 180-degree turn after 1 year. The covid pandemic has proven how one thing can cause drastic changes felt throughout the whole world. And now that major economies are gradually recovering from covid’s effects, we are witnessing changes all over again. That’s just the way it is.
The point here is simple – you need to study the data if you want your business to succeed. All the time. Constantly updated and understood. If you don’t understand how the A9 algorithm works, now’s the time to understand it. If you have no idea where your product stands in the rankings – you’re driving blind. So, do yourself a favor and open your eyes.
As soon as you get access to your data – and you’ve taken it all in – you’ll feel a lot more confident that every decision you make is the right path for your business. Anthony Lee and many other masters in eCommerce carry the torch for making data-driven decisions – now all you’ve gotta do is follow their lead.
Andy Arnott: Hey, what’s up everybody? This is Andy Arnott with Amy Wees, and this is Seller Round Table number 117. We have Anthony Lee – the myth, the man, the legend. Anthony, thanks so much for being on.
Anthony Lee: Thank you for having me. Again.
Andy: Yeah, absolutely. So if you have not heard of Anthony, his backstory on previous episodes, you can go listen to that. But for the people who have never heard of you before, which is I just don’t believe it. You know, it’s like not knowing who Kim Kardashian is, you know, in the Amazon space. So, Anthony, tell the people who don’t know the Amazon Kim Kardashian.
Anthony: You realize that you just built a psychological bridge between me Kim Kardashian though
Andy: Hey, you know what? You might like rap stars, you know, I’m just saying, you know, I’m just saying there might be some comparisons there.
Anthony: Okay. So yeah, the quick backstory, I’ve been in the space since 2014, a seller, a consultant. And I’ve actually worked for a couple of the big software in the space, I was with for six years, and then Helium 10 and moved away from SAAS, and now working with Canopy Management on the agency side. So I have access to a lot of data. I’ve seen a lot of data, I like to dig into the data, the A9 algorithm and ranking. It’s like my favorite topic in the world to nerd out about for way too long.
Andy: Awesome. All right. So you know, one of my favorite topics, not only the A9 algorithm, which I love SEO, of course, which I love. The other thing that I really love is launching, right? So that’s kind of where you started, Anthony. I would love to know how you’ve seen the progression of launch?
I would love to know how you’ve seen launch evolved, because that was kind of where you started as a seller, and even in the PPC world, that’s still a very big part of getting a successful product moving on Amazon. So how do you think, you know, launch has progressed? You know, what do you think today? What’s working? What’s not working? Where do you see the future of launch?
Anthony: Oh, man. So that’s actually cool that you asked that, because I’m totally putting together an article in a in a webinar on that topic, too, because it’s just fascinating.
I started back in the day when the very first kind of launch strategy that was widely adopted was to run the Facebook ads and then get a bunch of people in a Facebook group, and then give them free product because back then you could do 100%, off discounts. Give them a free product, and then it would boost rank. And then it evolved from there to just using email lists to blast out the coupon code. It was so easy to rank back then. And then it evolved into, you can no longer do 100% off. And then it evolved into weird things happen if you ever did over 90%. And then evolved into rankings just not sticking at all if you use deep discounts. And then it evolved into trying to push people more into full price.
And that’s when everybody started doing rebates. And then it evolved into all these various ways to route people into the rebate, because everybody doing search find or a single channel seem to diminish the effects. And now there’s probably a dozen different ways that people tell you to launch. Some people just say don’t do any of that only PPC, that’s all you need to do. And I’ve seen that work, too. But for some niches, it’s very expensive. Like, my buddy, Danny Macmillan did a PPC only launch for a really, really, really highly trafficked keyword. And he had to spend $1,000 a day and PPC to make it happen. But he did after a month and a half. That’s really expensive.
But that’s not how it is for every keyword. Now, optimization and efficiency of trying to make the platform as user friendly for buyers is humanly possible. Amazon’s got it to a place now where a lot of the super Blackhat stuff doesn’t seem to be as effective, it’s a lot harder to pull off. Obviously, there’s still people doing it, but I mean, these are very sophisticated operations because it’s not as easy. So not everybody could just go be super Blackhat. And I think that ends up being a good thing for the buyer.
So what we’re looking at now that seems to work is still full price purchases, you can still pull off rebates, but you want to really diversify the traffic. Make sure that it’s coming from a lot of different places. Ultimately, it forces the seller to adopt a more robust marketing plan. Like you’re looking at things like Facebook ads and Pinterest ads. You’re looking at things like email lists, you’re looking at mixing in there some lower discounts. You’re looking at influencer marketing, and buy one get ones. Ultimately you just have a lot of traffic sources and you have some actual sales going through. And then you have some actual customer follow up happening. And then you’re getting real reviews. And when you can set that up, this is what seems to be the best kind of environment for people who are doing launches. And I think all of that in parallel with PPC is the formula that’s working for us right now.
Andy: Absolutely. And Amy and I have been harping on people about this for years. Like, hey, it’s coming, PPC is gonna get really, really expensive, you’re gonna you need to send diverse traffic to Amazon. You were saying this too, years ago, you need to make it look natural. You can’t rely on Amazon PPC anymore or discounts or things like that. You have to do a kind of everything approach and hit it all at the same time especially during that honeymoon period with influencers, with Pinterest pretty much anywhere you can think of. I was telling people, anywhere that you can think of that you can drive traffic from on an Amazon launch you should be. Of course, there are some that work better than others depending on your niche. I always use the example of – you’re not going to sell office paper on TikTok but you you’re going to sell bikinis on TikTok, right?
Amy Wees: I have a follow up question about a launch. You know, something that more and more people add to messages today, just about this one subject. I think people are finding it much harder to get reviews now. Because it used to be we had all these tactics. You could ask for reviews, rebate services, and you could get away with it. And it was okay. And now, there aren’t a lot of review loopholes left to just get those initial reviews. Now, of course, you got to have your own launch list and then you don’t have a problem, because you can reach out to customers yourself, you can have that dialogue, which is what I always recommend. But would you agree, Anthony, as far as launch goes – I am seeing across the board, like the number one struggle is people will not have any reviews. And I’ll reach out and say, you need some initial reviews. And they’re like, I don’t know how to get them, I don’t know what to do.
So what do you think about reviews? What’s the future of reviews? And what do you think sellers are gonna have to get better at in order to have a successful launch?
Anthony: So first, let’s go over where the problem is, right? So when people are doing all these diverse launch strategies, here are the issues – you’re doing influencer marketing, you want to get the influencer audience to really dive in. So you give them something like a 40% discount. Three people try to leave a review for 40% Discount purchase. In the same day, Amazon goes, whoa, that has to be verified, sorry, boom, they can’t do it anymore. You do buy one get ones, which is like my new favorite thing to do now because it’s treated slightly differently than a 50% coupon. And then on top of that, you get 200% unit session percentage, but that still doesn’t count as verified. So those of us get shut down really quickly. You’re doing rebates, and everybody’s scared like holy crap. I don’t want to ask these people for a review, because that’s like a surefire way to get yourself in trouble. For the longest time, the best thing to do was inserts and now Amazon is cracking down on those, they’re actually suspending the listing and being like, You got to get rid of these before we can let you sell them anymore. And they’re showing the screenshot, or the picture of the actual inserts to they’re actually looking at these packaging, and everybody’s freaking out about that. And that was a great strategy up until two months ago.
So you’re right, everything that we’re trying is kind of being stopped. Ultimately, the only way that you can ensure that you will always get awesome, real reviews is like you said, you have to build your own list if you bring the customer from an outside source into Amazon, and actually build a relationship with them first. So they’re like part of following your brand. Then you bring them to Amazon, you can communicate with them outside of Amazon. And from that the conversation can go into leaving a review on Amazon, leaving a review on Google My Business because that’s something that you can also do that would be very beneficial for your business. You know, leaving it on Facebook, if that’s a big platform for your brand.
So that’s the beautiful part about having a relationship outside of Amazon. Bringing the customers to you first and then to your distribution channels, then you can build that up. Is there some risk involved? Yeah, if one of them leaves a review on Amazon and then tells Amazon that you ask them for it, but that’s like such a small risk. And ultimately, the best thing for your business, regardless of what the rules of any marketplace platform is, is to build a customer list and build a list of raving fans period.
Andy: Yeah, absolutely. So Anthony, what I’m curious about is – Amazon is constantly evolving. And it seems like lately, this is just my opinion, that it’s getting more anti-seller, right? It’s like putting more of the onus on running a business on the seller. So like, just today, I read about there’s a new agency policy change. I don’t know if you saw that. Once again, they’re pushing more of the liability, the risk, the kind of those issues to the seller. What do you think? Do you think Amazon is going to continue down that that path? And how do you think this policy change is going to affect sellers?
Anthony: I think that they’ve always been down that path. Of course, they’re going to continue. Do you remember back in the day, all the states were cracking down, like, Hey, why aren’t you taking a state tax? And all the sellers are like, because those aren’t our customers? And Amazon’s like, oh, yeah, yeah, they are right. Then on the other side, they’re like, no, they’re not. And that’s when the government finally said, Okay, Amazon, if you’re not sharing the customer with them, then we need you to handle this. So then what did they do? They were like, alright, well, fine. And they turned off all like, you don’t get their address anymore. They turned off phone numbers a long time ago, like they did all that in response to the fact that now they can’t force you to be the person that handles the tax. So they’ve been doing that forever, they’re gonna keep doing it. As far as this policy – the thing is, I’m not really sure how that impacts anything. If you add Amazon to your policy, does that somehow change the value of the policy in any way? Or what implications are there? I feel like there is some that I’ve never done that. I’ve never been like, well, here’s this giant mega corporation marketplace, we’re going to add them to the policy staff.
Andy: Right, and that is an interesting question because just with that post, they’re pushing that. They’re really pushing that you buy that insurance, and then they get to be a co-policyholder. What’s interesting about that is then now are you somehow business associate? And as a third party seller now, if you get sued does Amazon have million dollar policy. Can they now sue you and Amazon, which I I’m pretty sure they can now. Is that better or worse for Amazon in a way? I almost think it’s worse, because now they’re kind of saying like, putting their signature on part of your business, part of your liability. So that is going to be interesting, when that goes to court, which I’m sure it will at some point. That’s going to be an interesting battle.
Amy: Yeah, I have it pulled up right now, beginning September 1 2021, we are expanding our A to Z guarantee to protect both customers and sellers in the unlikely event, a defective product sold through Amazon causes property damage or personal injury. Beginning September 1, we will – 1) offer an efficient process for both parties to resolve such claims, 2), pay valid claims less than $1,000 and not seek reimbursement from sellers who have valid insurance. So, if you have insurance they’re not going to ask you for reimbursement. But if you don’t, could they ask you for reimbursement? And make it easier for sellers to buy insurance at competitive rates through Amazon Insurance Accelerator. That’s definitely new, right?
Anthony: Yeah. So it’s like the IP accelerator, right? They’re gonna have this portal of approved vendors, and what it sounds like is this is a direct response to the government basically saying, hey, Amazon, from now on, you’re liable for the harm done by defective products. And so how can they take total responsibility? This is how they get third party involved. So I have no doubt that this benefits Amazon in at least that way. So now, if something bad happens, they’re not the only one holding back. They’re like, hold on, we’re partners with this seller in this policy. I have no doubt in my mind that claims for over $1,000 will somehow push some of that onto the business that holds the policy to there’s just no way.
Amy: And it says here we are updating this requirement for sellers to have insurance. As of September 1, our business solutions agreement will require sellers to obtain product liability insurance, which was always a requirement, but in name Amazon as an additional insured once you reach $10,000, in sales in one month on Amazon. If you’re a new seller or an existing seller looking for a new policy, we’ve worked with an insurance broker to create Amazon Insurance Accelerator, a network of vetted insurance providers to help you easily and affordably secure liability insurance. So that’s interesting is like now they’re having this $10,000/month requirement. Once you reach that, then you have to have not only a policy. It doesn’t say you have to have a policy through insurance accelerator. But you have to have a policy that has Amazon named as one of the additional insured,
Anthony: I will say that I personally think that this is probably better for Amazon for claims over $1,000. But just like IP accelerator gets you brand stuff well, registered trademark goes through, I feel like for claims under $1,000 is actually it’s probably gonna be really good for sellers. Because Amazon’s just gonna eat that then sellers are like, alright, well, my insurance and Amazon will handle this. And I don’t even have like, I’ll get an email and I’ll know how.
Amy: How do I even use my insurance in the four years, since I’ve had private label and started with an insurance policy. I’ve never had a plan.
Andy: I’ve never had a claim but I had one customer contact me once who said that one of our products did damage to some property of theirs. And luckily, they were cool. I was just like, Yeah, I’ll replace it, here’s the money to replace it. But yeah, I’ve never gotten an insurance claim either. But I think now Amazon can go to the press and say they do everything, as much as they want to say, Oh, we’re helping sellers. There’s always an underlying…
Anthony, like you said, it’s better for them. You know, they’re getting all this flak about liability and cheating and all this stuff. So, in the press, Amazon has a really bad image, right? When it comes to you know, whether it’s taking care of their workers, whether it’s, putting mom and pop out of business on Main Street, all these things. And so I think this is them trying to be like, well look at how awesome we are, press, we’re making sure that everyone’s safe. And you know, so that’s my opinion. But yeah…
Amy: And down that same road of where none of us have ever had a claim and all of our years of selling with this new A to Z guarantee is going to end. Is it going to encourage and make it easier for more people to file claims? And now suddenly, maybe there’s some back end way for Amazon to make more money out of it. Because if the claim is over $1,000, not only they’re gonna get kicked back from all these providers. Oh, man. Oh, wow. We just backed yourself into a corner. Yeah.
Andy: Right. But Amy, what I see here, though, is now that if Amazon’s going to eat the majority of the A to Z claims, which are under 1000 bucks, which I think in that same post that said 80% are under 1000 bucks. I guarantee you they’re going to start pushing back way more on that because in the past as a customer, you do an agency and they would just go yeah, here’s your money back. Like pretty much no questions asked. Right? I bet now, there’s going to be probably a lot more hoops for the customer to jump through in order to get that refund. That money back. That’s just my guess.
Amy: It can have the opposite effect, though. Because if I go to file an A and Z claim, and I go, Oh, have you been harmed in some way? Like here, file a claim through our AZ file claim process. Well, right now, if you go to A to Z, you don’t see anything about filing a claim.
Andy: Yeah, they buried it too. I don’t know if you’ve noticed because my wife, Molly, just had like an issue – I can’t remember what product it was. And she like tried to go into like file the A to Z and it’s like, buried now. You almost can’t even find it at least what she said she could like, barely find it. So once again, it’s gonna be interesting to see how it plays out. But I agree with you in terms of depending on how they play this, it could be ripe for abuse. So we’ll wait and see. I guarantee you if it gets abused, they will issue a new update a couple of months from now saying hey, we’ve updated this policy to you know, $50 is now our new max or whatever. You’re gonna pay the difference or something. So yeah, like the carrot before the stick, right?
Anthony: They could also backtrack it if customer response is too negative, though. Like if they start giving pushback and then the next thing you know, New York Times comes out with this big piece about how customers are leaving Amazon in droves. Guess what? Zip that one back up. Because that’s how they roll.
Andy: That is. Yep. So yeah, it’ll be an experiment, I’m sure. So Anthony, let’s change gears here. Now that you’re at a PPC management company, I feel like we would be doing a disservice to not talk a little bit about PPC. So, one of the things we were talking about a little bit before we got started was how pretty much every seller, you’re talking to his complaining about skyrocketing PPC costs. And you said that, with Canopy, you guys have a lot of data. So you’re able to actually prove whether that’s true or not. And you said you have been taking a look at that data. I would love to know where you see the progression in terms of PPC costs and how you think that’s gonna play out for the rest of the year.
Anthony: Okay, so well first, you know, to a little clarity on what prompted this. There have been some talks up leading up to Prosper. There was a few different sellers in network, and then clients and whatnot, who were like, Hey, what’s going on? Because they just gotten off of probably one of the best years ever. COVID spending is through the roof, Prime Day was pushed to October. So it’s like back to back all these events, then when we get off this last Prime Day, and then stuff kind of turns into crickets. Which is funny, if you actually saw the webinar that we did about Prime Day, one of the things that I brought up was, hey, you know, don’t get too excited, because this might not look as good as you think it’s going to after.
Anyway, so a lot of people are freaking out, like, what is going on? Why are ads so high? Why are results so low? And then we get to Prosper. And then you got all of these agencies talking about costs through the roof, I mean, historically across like clients, an extra 10%, since a year prior. And the Marketplace Post recently came out with this article about the rising costs of Amazon advertising. Anyway, if you look at the data, so I looked at our partner data. Not only that, but PPC entourage has a Community dashboard, you can literally look at the past two years of data. And if you put it all together, and you look at it, on the one hand, you got people saying See, every year costs go up. And this was to be expected, right? While the real estate was undervalued, it was going to slow you up. This is what happened with Facebook ads. This is what happened in Google ads. This is what’s happening. The Snapchat ads as we speak, Pinterest ads will eventually get there to the point is though, is if you look at the charts, though, things are going up.
And then there was a sharp decline in 2020. And now it’s even higher than it was in 2019. Everybody’s kind of freaking out. And the thing is, though, is if you look at the swings, in my opinion, this is a normal market correction. If you look at the swings, this is how stuff like that looks. If you look at housing prices, if you look at currency, if you look at stock indexes, every time there’s an unprecedented swing low, there’s always a larger than normal correction, and then actually levels out. And that’s what I think is happening right now. I don’t think some people have said this, they believe that one day costs across the board be over 50% and sponsor product ads will no longer be profitable. I don’t think that’s going to happen. And the reason is, because there’s no reason to believe that these unprecedentedly high levels, which Yes, I will admit, like what 41% – 47% increase from last year. It’s absurd. And then a pretty decent increase from 2018 as well. I will admit it’s really high. But there’s no reason to believe that that’s just the trajectory. Right?
I think we’re gonna see correction even from this high, because it looks like a market correction. And why would there be a market correction? Well, think about it in terms of the way the market has played out. We saw the best CPCs in a long time last year, because due to the pandemic, everybody was shopping online, everybody was buying stuff they usually never buy online. It was nuts. We’ll ride around Prime Day, which is like everybody’s favorite holiday. The restriction started to ease and everybody was getting out of the house again. And here’s the thing. I think that people are still going to buy more stuff than they used to online, nut not this past quarter. Probably not the next’ quarter either because oh my god, you can finally go to the mall. Like, people that don’t ever shop at the mall are shopping in the mall right now because they haven’t been able to in over a year. Right? So people just don’t want to be in further computers. So we’re seeing that correction, because everybody’s like, forget this. I’m tired of being here right now I want to go somewhere else. That’s my take.
Andy: It’s interesting. I mean, you can see that across many different things, do you I mean, you know, the highest ever people going camping and doing all this, like outdoor adventure, because they’re like, Wow, I just was locked in my house for a year, I hated that. So what’s the opposite of that? The other thing is, you know, it’s just mentality, right? If like, if you’re at a seller conference, and everyone’s saying, like, Oh, my God, the A cost is out of control, I’m gonna start turning down or turning off ads, just like the stock market, just like crypto. It’s all driven by either fear or greed. So like, depending on what side you’re on. So if people are starting to fear that they’re going to spend too much on ads, they’re going to start dialing back, which will naturally bring the market down. So I completely agree there. I think that’s a really interesting point.
The other thing that people do need to realize is Amazon is constantly spinning up new ad spaces, new ways to advertise on Amazon. And it’s so funny, because to this day, there’s still so many people who are not using Amazon coupons, right? I’m like, like, even if it’s 5% or $1 off, you get that orange flag. Like, why not? Why aren’t you doing that with combination, or with your ads, which also gives you a lot of better placement on ads – in terms of the ads will say like this is on sale, or get $1 off or whatever. So I think that, water flows downhill, so people are gonna start getting more and more creative.
The other thing I want to mention, I love that you said that there was a progression, all of a sudden, it was like, Oh, if you put Google ads up, you’re gonna be a millionaire. And then it was like Facebook, then it was Instagram. Now, it’s probably like Tiktok. I would say it’s probably these new platforms, it’s trendy, right? So if you want to jump on there, once again, though, if you’re selling coffee paper, sorry, TikTok’s probably not going to work for you. Unless you’re funny, unless you can do like $1 shave club kind of thing. So now it’s full circle. People. I haven’t seen this for a couple of years. Google ads, dude, you want to talk about cheap ads right now. And not only that, but you know, people are searching for something really specific. They’re seeking it, they’re not just being shown it. So you have the much bigger intent there. So yeah, I’ve been saying that for a few years now. And I think that a lot of people that I’m talking to that are getting really diverse in their traffic, are the ones who are going to continue to succeed on the in the Amazon world.
Anthony: I was just gonna say on the on the Google Ads front, this has actually been touched on. So it’s interesting, because I’m really big on doing all of these crazy launch flows. And I was doing rebates for a long time. And I was pushing for everybody to push people to a Google page, because I’ve found all of these wikis from 2018, where internally, Amazon was saying, you know, they had this whole team dedicated to optimizing all of the catalog pages for Google. So they even admitted that they want conversions to happen from Google, because it’s very important for Amazon to rank for Google. So I did that. And then shortly thereafter, Sellertools was telling everybody, hey, send them to YouTube, which is Google property. And then Casey Goss and THRASS here was coming out saying, Actually, we’re running Google ads, were seeing huge results in rank. So they were doing these sneaky redirects with URLs to mask it and make it look like it’s a Google ad, even if you’re not running Google ads. But moral of the story is, everybody that’s on this has been telling people to push people to Google, because Amazon really cares about the traffic that comes from Google.
Amy: Yeah, and I mean, not only that, when you look at the referrals, sources of external traffic, you can pull up the Alexa site and look at referrals or 60% is coming from search. You can’t ignore that. You just can’t. It’s like easy money. It’s right there. The traffic is telling you where it is. And that unlike your audience needing to be on Facebook, or needing to know your audience super well on Google. Everybody’s on there. There’s no like, oh, I don’t do Google. I mean, some people do Yahoo. Okay, fine, whatever. But some people do Bing. But for the most part, people go to Google to shop on any huge domain like Amazon.
So we we’ve recently set up our brand referral bonus with our Google ads. We have Andy to thank for our Google ads because he’s got me on Google ads like years ago, when nobody else was doing it. And he’s like, Amy, you have to do that. So I always tell the story about how and he’s the one who got me into Google ads, but it’s actually really easy to take advantage of this new brand referral bonus. But, anyway, we’ll see how that works. Since Amazon attribution has always been kind of clunky. We’ll see if it’s really going to track these conversions. But yeah, I agree. It’s so smart.
So I actually want to switch gears a little bit. And I am being selfish because I want to talk about tools. Anthony was telling us how he’s been stuck in a HubSpot nightmare. I mean, for the last week or so two weeks to a month. And I was telling you, Anthony, I tried to set up HubSpot for my websites. And it’s just so confusing, because there’s so much that it can do. And it’s like so compartmentalized in what it can do. You have to kind of like set everything up. So Anthony, tell us what you love about HubSpot and tell us how ecommerce sellers, especially on their websites, might benefit from using a tool like HubSpot.
Anthony: So, I don’t have robust experience with a bunch of different CRMs. I will say that there’s probably comparable ones out there. But what I say about HubSpot is probably transferable to other CRMs. But ultimately, CRM is really good for a seller of products online. I say that because it doesn’t have to just be physical products. If you’re venturing off into digital like most people they kind of fall into this mindset of we’re either going to have like Shopify pages, we’re either going to have listings with an Add to Cart button and then a shopping cart solution, or we’re gonna have a funnel. The problem is tracking attribution is huge. And a lot of people don’t realize that until they start like they venture out into running ads, right? So they’re starting Facebook here and then they like some Instagram and then maybe even some Google and then next thing you know, they’re like, Okay, well, I’m getting traffic, I have no idea what converted to what and how it got there. This is the problem.
So to save yourself from that nightmare, the best thing to do is find a way to close the loop so that it’s easier to track. So what I’m doing for Canopy and setting everything up in HubSpot is our landing pages are made in HubSpot – similar functionality to Click Funnels, there’s probably just as much that I hate about it as I do Click Funnels. That’s I mean, that’s just par for the course. We’ll talk about how all software sucks like, oh, like literally, period, all of it. But it does the job. So landing pages made. And then that way like there’s there’s a lot of visibility there. We do a bunch of webinars. So there’s an integration with Zoom. So that way, webinar activity is also tracked, right. The only people that are going to be in the webinar are people who have given their email address. And once that happens, the length of the webinar like whether or not they went to it at all, how much of it they watched is all kind of assigned to the contact card. And that’s a wonderful metric to track because then you can create automations. I used to use Active Campaign, but it has limitations. So now, HubSpot workflows is really cool, because we can do things like send out an email for people who only watched 10% of the webinar. Other things to workflows based on lists that people opt in. So, all the forms are being switched over.
Amy: This is why I feel like it’s such a nightmare to set up because it’s like so many things. And I’m like, What is this? So I noticed HubSpot will automatically pull in. So you’re using MailChimp. And you have a website. Right? What it’ll do is it’ll connect to your website, it’ll pull in all of your contacts. And what I like about it as far as what I’ve set up so far is I like that I can click on any of my contacts and I can see who’s spent money with me, how much money they’ve spent, whether their a return customer. And I can set up notifications to tell me if they left the site, if they were on there and they were looking at something they left and I can send them a follow up. But what you’re telling me is that with all basically HubSpot has an integration for everything that you’re doing. And then instead of you having to go to Zoom for a webinar, because you have to go into zoom webinar management, right? Instead of having to go into zoom webinar management, now it’s all in one dashboard connected with your website connected with your contacts. And now instead of you having to import this into Mailchimp over here and then go, they watched this much of the webinar, this is when they visited your site, after that, you follow it, you send a follow up email, this is how many people clicked on it. Normally, I’d have to go to MailChimp, and see how many people clicked on that email. But instead, now I have one centralized management solution. So any customer whether they’re just a brand new lead, and they haven’t done anything with me yet, they just visited the site, or signed up for my mailing list. Now I can track everything that they do, the areas that they visited, the things they’re most interested in. And I can use all my external tools, and from one place manage them. So if I’m an Ecommerce seller, and I’m trying to do better with my Shopify site, not only can I follow all my customers and everything, and send follow up emails, but I can also manage all my ads from one centralized place instead of okay, let me go over my Facebook dashboard.
Anthony: Yeah, that was the other thing I liked about it, too. It integrates with Facebook and Google ads, right. So just today, I saw a contactthat clicked on one of our Google ads. But that put them on our mailing list, right. But they didn’t take they looked at our service page. And they didn’t take any more action, but because they were on our mailing list through the Google ad. Then when I sent out the hey, we’re having this webinar, promo email, and clicked on to that, they got onto that list. Now they’re on the webinar list. But it all started with like the origin was the Google ad, which I thought was really cool that I could track. So then, if they become a customer of a service, other than what was marketed on the Google ad, I’ll know that it was indirectly involved there, because I’ll see that you know, the lead source. So that’s a really cool thing. And I think that’s the biggest advantage to CRMs is being able to kind of see what the activity is, where they came from, what your marketing efforts are actually working.
And then other than that, through that I found another third party service that I’ve now integrated with HubSpot, which is Jot Form, which is like my new favorite thing.
Amy: Yes, I love Jot Form.
Anthony: So one of my things is I’m all about chat flows. I prefer a chat flow. But one of the things that I like is conditional formatting. And then when the surveys like serves you one question at a time, it doesn’t look like this big old form, right? So they have that capability on Jot Form. And so I went ham on that, like all the questions on our website, I was just like, Nope, we’re turning these into conditional flows int Jot Form. And we’re saving all of that to every contact. Now we’re going to have this robust like dossier on all of our leads. And it’s awesome. And I actually started using that myself, too. So I have Snapchat ads running to a conditional form and Jot Form basically sending people to a BOGO offer for one of my products. So that’s outside of HubSpot. That’s actually just because I really liked drop formula. So yeah, there’s a bunch of really cool tools out there. People should be investigating if they’r running businesses.
Amy: I like it. So very cool. So people should be considering a CRM doesn’t have to be Hubspot. Hubspot’s actually free. You can try it for free. But it is confusing when you first go to set it up because you’re like, what is it doing? I don’t understand how do I do this. So that’s definitely hard.
One other tool that and I’d love to hear some of these other tools that you just love for productivity. We were talking before we started about Asana. I’m addicted to Asana. I used to use Google Tasks. I used to use Google all of the whole Google Suite, but it’s very disorganized. And I would have trouble like tasking my team and messaging my team. What I love Asana, you can do tasks, you can message, you can attach a Google Drive link. You can use Clockify inside so you can track which tasks you’re spending the most time on. You can look at your team’s dashboard. Like it’s basically replaced all of my other individual tools. And we’re all in one central place now and it’s so helpful and it’s also free. So I absolutely love it. What about you in terms of productivity? Is there some tools that you love, Anthony?
Anthony: So I’m most familiar with Monday. I don’t know if Monday has a free plan. I’ve seen Asana though, that’s really awesome to have a free plan. That actually probably makes it the winner. But I know there are a lot of similar functionalities in Monday. And that’s the one that like everybody, everybody that I ever worked with is using. So I’m used to that interface.
Ultimately, task management in general, you know, you will get to a point like so before, when I had a small team of people that was helping me in Taiwan, I forgot what it was called. It was like my task or was some like open source free version of basically the same thing as like a Monday or an Asana. That was crucial. So I definitely think if you’re ever at a point where you have more than one person, which is you working for you, you should definitely be managing their tasks in some kind of software. And it’ll be a lifesaver, I believe. So yeah. I’m glad that you got Asana to work for you. All I remember, in the brief time that I ever saw Asana in action, was a buddy of mine showed me his Asana board, and all I saw was like, his little face, and then a bunch of colors. And I was just like, Oh my God, you have way too many tasks. It was scary. I was intimidated. I was like, I can’t I look at that, that’s gonna give me anxiety.
Amy: Yeah, I know a lot of my team members, they use ClickUp before and they really like ClickUp. And so they’re kind of struggling through like switching over to Asana. But I’m more of like a list type of person. But what I’m struggling with right now is integrating fully like using my productivity tools in my CRM, like those are the two things that I’m trying to get better at. So you know, it’s great to hear that you’re struggling through that. And now I have a buddy, I can call up. That would be awesome.
So you know, Andy, and I always ask about, you know, what it is that you’re listening to? What is it that you’re reading? Like, is there anything that you’re doing right now that’s keeping you motivated, keeping you focused keeping you know, your head in the right spot?
Anthony: Well, there’s a couple of different things for like business in general. So I actually signed up through my business account, an Audible account, and I just, I write it off, because all of the books that I get are business related. And I feel like that’s allowed. So, so I have
So what you know, I get a credit every month, and I just got a new business related book. But most of the time, it is on studies revolving around behavioral science. So I did pretty much every book ever written on behavioral economics, and now kind of branching out into the other ways that that plays on behavioral sciences. But overall, that’s really cool. And I got these amazing waterproof earbuds so that I can listen to that in the shower every day. So that’s the routine, listening in the shower. Nobody’s bothering me. So my full attention is on this thing for as long as I’m going to be in the shower. So that’s fun.
And then the other thing more Amazon related. So I don’t know if you guys saw but Danny McMillan put out this awesome presentation couple of weeks ago, where he found this presentation on YouTube called The Joy of Ranking – it was by somebody that works on the team that helped develop relevance for the A9 algorithm. And her paper was published in 2016. And put on Amazon.science, and then somebody made, like, referenced it in another paper, and then she did a presentation on it, which was saved to YouTube. Anyway, so he just kind of recapped everything and then gave some ideas on how he interpreted it. Well, that sent me down a rabbit hole. And I’ve looked up every single article on amazon.science and on the internet as a whole, not just about A9, but about decision trees and search algorithms and relevance algorithms. And let me just tell you, that is quite the rabbit hole to jump down. In jumping down that rabbit hole, I found this completely obscure Russian task website that has like a huge Filipino community that was all excited about it because it’s a way for them to make money. But essentially, if you go to the task website, they have the amazon.com tasks in this particular task. So Amazon has you do is they have human checkers that are checking for relevance, mistakes on listings, right. So in order to take those jobs, to pass with flying colors, they’re very version of a test to make sure that you understand what they mean when they say search relevance. So I went through it and screenshotted every page so I could see what Amazon is telling their human checkers. Search relevance is, that was fun, too. Anyway, so this is what I’ve been basically breeding for, at least like the last probably two weeks.
Amy: Wow, that is so interesting. I would be interested in checking out that website. I recently took a service business masterclass. And it was so eye opening to see how to hire people from other countries in their local IT using their own local websites and stuff. And that just like opened up a whole new world for me, I was like, Oh, my gosh, you know, it’s not just Fiverr and Upwork anymore, right? Or onlinejobs.ph, right. There’s so many local websites that are in these individual countries of people looking for work, and the people looking for work. They’re really highly educated. They’re awesome. But they don’t know how to get to like the Upworks stuff, right, like you can’t see beyond their local community. So it just learn about all of these potentials. And so that’s how I learned about how to squat and some of these other things, too. So it’s very cool to see that definitely have to go down that rabbit hole a little bit. I love good rabbit holes. We had Danny on the show a couple of weeks ago and we did go down some good rabbit holes. That was fun. Well, I think that’s pretty much it. Anthony, you know, we always have fun having you on the show. And we should tell people how they can get in touch with you
Anthony: It’s super easy, because I’m on all the social platforms. And my handle is the same at @AnthonyLee991. That’s literally Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok Snapchat, YouTube.
Amy: I have one more question. How do you keep up with all of those social media platforms?
Anthony: On my iPhone that I get notifications on, I’ll check them. And then when I post, it’s literally just down the line. Like I have it in a row. And it’s like, here, here, here. Here. Here
Andy: It’s the entrepreneur toilet work, right? Tell the truth. Anthony, we know you’re on the toilet doing those social media posts.
Amy: I don’t know if it’s just entrepreneurial. Did you see that guy that went on Shark Tank. It’s a toilet timer for the phone of the guy sitting on the toilet.
Andy: Oh my god. That’s so funny. We have my wife and I just rewatched This is 40. And you know, because, you know, I’m in my 40s. She’s getting close. And we’ve literally like laughed through the whole thing because we’re like, oh my god, we can relate to so much of this. The dude’s like hiding in the bathroom for like, she’s like, keep it in here for like two hours today. And he’s like, I’ll be out in a minute. Leave me alone.
Oh, my God, you were in for a treat. And you need to message me and let me know. Because if you don’t think that, that if you don’t think that movies funny, then I don’t know. We’re gonna have to we’re gonna have to have an intervention.
Anthony: Okay, well, I’m gonna watch it though. And then I will let you know.
Andy: All right, yeah, let me know. Let me know what you think. Because it’s classic. It’s a good one. All right, everyone. Well, thank you so much for joining us. If you are on live stream, we’re going to end that now. We’re going to see if Anthony can stick around for another five or 10 minutes Will’s call us you know, the after show. This is like, you know, when you come into the Zoom meeting, it’s like going into the VIP room, right? Because at the end you get to you get to see stuff that everybody else in the room doesn’t get to see. So if you haven’t done so yet, join us every Tuesday two or 1pm Pacific time. So roundtable.com forward slash live, you get to jump in the Zoom meeting, you get to ask questions you get to if you want to unmute and you know interact with us via video or audio or however you want to do it but we would love to have you guys. So we’ll see you next time on the seller roundtable.