Andrew Maff has lived and breathed marketing for 15 years now (and going) – by first setting his foundation in traditional marketing platforms, then riding the digital marketing trend as the world evolved and embraced eCommerce more and more. Andrew heads a team of marketers at BlueTuskr – a full-service digital marketing agency helping eCommerce sellers fully optimize their marketing efforts on various platforms online – and also hosts The Ecomm Show – a podcast focused on eCommerce marketing topics. We were lucky to have Andrew as a guest at The Seller Roundtable where he introduces himself by sharing how being in a band got him into marketing in the first place and how his father’s Amazon business introduced him to the world of eCommerce marketing – apart from great tips for marketing your products off Amazon, of course. Watch below:

What Could You Learn from Andrew Maff?

Andrew shares his expert off- Amazon marketing POVs, do’s and don’ts, hacks, and insights gathered in his many years as an eCommerce marketer. In this video, you’ll learn things like:

  • Why a lack of preparation and research can spell doom for your brand
  • Why diversifying your marketing funnels is a must for growth
  • How to build your brand’s voice, imagery, and story in various platforms
  • Why ‘high quality’ is not a good product differentiator
  • Why your Amazon listings, social media channels, and website must work synergistically to drive conversions
  • A step-by-step guide to marketing off-Amazon – 1 – listing, 2 – storefront 3 – social media, 4 – blog, 5 – fully-optimized website

Marketing Beyond Amazon – Why is it Important?

Did you know that 60% of Amazon traffic originates from search? Now, let’s pause for a second and try to grasp the vastness of cyberspace and the multiple marketing platforms beyond Amazon – social media apps, blogs, videos, shoppable websites, and more. If you catch our drift then you must realize by now – there are so many opportunities that you may have not explored yet. Think about all those potential marketing funnels out there – from top to middle to bottom. There is always a way to reach out to your customer – whatever stage of the funnel they’re at.

So – how do you begin? Where do you start? Well, as always, research is vital.

Perhaps you’re wondering whether you need help from a market research agency. The truth is – while there is no doubt that a research agency can offer you something valuable – more often than not, the data that you need are all readily available to you online. You just have to know where to look. The secret is to always go back to your target audience – what type of communication resonates with them? Where do they hang out online – Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest? What are their pain points related to your product and how does your product solve them? What type of content do you think is most valuable to them?

As soon as you have studied all available data, the next step is to figure out how to drive traffic to your Amazon listings. Remember – the purpose of off-Amazon marketing (for now) is to convert and bring them to your listing where they’ll see all the wonderful benefits of your product, your unique selling proposition, and social proof – Amazon reviews that establish your credibility as a trustworthy brand. Think about marketing off-Amazon as building an ecosystem for your product – where the brand voice, story, and imagery are consistent and are driven towards a unifying theme that will get your customer to convert.

So before anything else – do a brand audit. Do you feel that you have a great brand presence on Amazon and that it’s ripe to extend the message beyond the platform? Or do you feel your brand presence isn’t delivering as it’s supposed to and perhaps could benefit from some tweaking? Be honest with yourself and start from there.

Once your brand is polished, you’ve studied your target audience – memorized every fiber of their being, and you feel you’re finally ready to diversify your marketing funnels – you’ll know what to do. So long as everything starts from a solid research foundation, things will fall into place. Just trust the process.

Transcript:

Amy Wees: Why don’t you start by just giving us a little bit or as much as you want or as little as you want about you and you know your background where you’re from all that fun stuff?

Andrew Maff: Sure. All right. So let’s say I started in E commerce marketing about 15 years ago. So my dad actually owned a company that was one of the first companies that was actually invited to start selling something other than books on Amazon. They turned it down, and I love picking on them for it to this day. But I’ve pretty much been in ecommerce marketing since then. I’ve been in-house at a few places, but I’ve been primarily on the agency side of things. In 2016, I started an agency with someone in late 2019, we ended up exiting that. And then in early 2020, I started BlueTuskr, which is what I’m doing now. And so we are a full service digital marketing company for E commerce sellers. We work primarily with sellers that are looking to diversify, whether it’s away from Amazon or to Amazon or away from Walmart or to Walmart, or eBay or Wayfair, or really anywhere that they want to be. I’m currently outside of Philadelphia. I’m originally from South Florida. And I feel like that’s, that’s the gist of it.

Amy: So what got you interested in marketing in the first place? So you’ve mentioned selling books, that kind of thing. But what got you interested in marketing and traffic, like what got you excited about that?

Andrew: I was always really interested in traditional advertising. Even as a kid, like I remember the earliest memory I have, I think I was like 11 or 12. I was at a restaurant and I picked up a Heinz ketchup bottle – and on the back of it, they had like this contest of like, submit a commercial and they might use it. I ended up like sitting there at the table and just rattling off ideas, going like “Yeah, but their audience wouldn’t like this.” , and they probably wouldn’t let me do this with it. So I just sat there and I just kind of realized, like, I’m pretty decent at this. So it was one of those things like you know, kind of leaned that way in college and all that fun stuff. But then, in between when I first started in marketing, which was an E-commerce with my father, as I mentioned, I was actually in a band for years and we used to travel all over the country and I had to figure out how to promote ourselves in the beginning. Then it got to a point where other bands started asking me to help them, then the venue started asked me to help them with anyone that came their way. And I actually ended up starting my first agencywhich was more on the music promotion and advertising side for tours and artists that pivoted into basically like hospitality, which kind of got me a little bit into retail. Then obviously as we got further into, you know, as time went on, I started I ended up getting back into E commerce and I’ve been there ever since.

Amy: Wow. A lot of the marketers that we talked to especially in eCommerce industry started as sellers themselves and then they just got really excited about marketing. So you have been excited about marketing since you were a kid and you started marketing for people kind of follow that passion and then we moved in and out of various industries and ended up in Ecommerce. So – do you have experience as a seller? Have you sold your own wares before? Or have you just followed the marketing path?

Andrew: My own personally, I guess technically we had merchandise and stuff as a band. But that’s about it. My own personally, I never owned my own myself, but I have been in-house more or less as a partner in a couple of different places. But yeah, to me, the reason I’ve always really liked the Ecommerce approach, honestly, is because I got so tired of being reliant on a sales team. I, you know, most marketers, if they’re strictly marketing, they go b2b, because lead generations is a little bit easier. But I got so tired of sales teams not being able to close anything. So I was like, I’m going to ecommerce where I’ve started, and where I can actually like, make sure that the deal closes, so I can see the whole path through, and then even how to keep people coming back in mind. So Ecommerce has definitely pretty much been where I’ve been for. I started 15 years ago, and I think I got back into it. And I’ve been in it for I think, eight or nine (years) now.

Amy: Amazing. And how did you first hear about or get into the Amazon side of E commerce?

Andrew: Oh, well, originally 15 years ago, when I started with my dad, his business was the first one that was offered to sell something other than books on Amazon. And so I got to kind of dig into like, what that was gonna look like. I was young, I was still in, I think I was, if I wasn’t in high school, I was early college, it was a long time ago. And so that kind of got me interested in selling products online. But then, fast forward, probably about five or six years, I ended up in-house somewhere for a while, at a company that was pretty far into eight figures where selling 80% of our revenue was on Amazon. So I had to learn Amazon solely. I was really good at off-Amazon stuff and was kind of helping us diversify a little bit. But I had to because that was obviously our our bread winner, I had to make sure that I focused on it. And that was where I really started to learn a lot about it. That was about like seven years ago. And then you now you kind of don’t have a choice.

Amy: Yeah, that’s so true. I mean, 50% of the major ecommerce platform traffic belongs to Amazon. So it’s, it’s a big player, Walmart is trying really hard to catch up. But you know, my Walmart sales are any indication. Like, they’ve got a little ways to go, right?

So let’s talk about branding. What do you think are some of the fundamentals that folks should be thinking about in order to set themselves up for success? Especially when it comes to marketing their brand, or even pre-marketing their brand and building that list beforehand? What do you think some of those fundamentals are that you’ve seen are really successful building blocks to building a brand?

Andrew: If their end goal is to, you know, sell the business or something along those lines, then they really need to hone in on the brand aesthetic. So like, whether that’s the brand voice, the way the brand looks like, they need to know not only the product that they’re selling, obviously, but also the customer that they’re trying to target and then what they need to sound like and look like to entice that customer to shop. There has been countless sellers I’ve worked with, and it’s I swear, there’s always a handful every year, where they’ve been around for a year, and then realize like, Oh, we didn’t really do any market research before t now we need to adjust our brand, we need a new brand name, we need a new, we need to change our colors, we can change our voice, we need to start targeting this person. They start pivoting all the time, and never sit anywhere to really decide like, Okay, how do we make this work kind of thing. So there’s just not enough preparation, in the beginning is what I tend to see is the biggest problem with getting started.

Amy: Yeah, I would agree. As a consultant, I work with a lot of people that either come through my program and find a product and we focus on the customer first and then we sell to that customer. And a lot of the other programs are focused on product first, find a product that’s selling really well and then you know, make your differentiations based on bad reviews or whatever your thing is. That person goes to market and they have no idea about the mind of the customer that they’re selling to or when that customer makes a buying decision. And so today, you know, I was on a call on a coaching call and, and you know, this person was thinking about launching a product. And I said, Hey, you know, this is actually not a good idea, because it’s a saturated market. And this person had differentiated in a way that really wasn’t going to matter to that customer who’s looking for this particular thing, right, the saturated keyword. And, you know, there’s nothing wrong with competitive saturated keywords, if you can get to page one with your differentiation, and you can keep converting, and now all of a sudden, people are looking for your differentiation. But if nobody’s looking for what’s different about your product, and you can get a good medium to longtail keyword in there, you filling out stuff. And the other thing I’ve seen people do you know, is they just get really wrapped into this product, but they know nothing about the customer. They aren’t using that language, or they’re not taking them through a story that helps that customer understand that key question, why is this for me? Right? If you don’t answer that question, then you know, the customer is just going to move on to your competitors with more reviews, better pricing, whatever it is, right, even if they have a worse listing than you. So I love that I think it’s so so important.

Speaking of that, what would you say is the best process somebody can go through to get to know that customer to figure out who that customer is that they’re selling to?

Andrew: Market research, for the most part is usually the easiest way to do it. And honestly, when I say market research, I don’t mean like, go hire a company to do a whole like, sit down and walk like you don’t have to go through those steps anymore. It’s 2022, you can throw some stuff online and figure it out. You know, there’s, there’s a couple different approaches. But there you can figure out the general market you want to go after and then develop just some content around it and start to build a community. And then literally just ask them. I know people that started Facebook groups before they started launching products, and they just asked them – what do you guys want? And they made it. But you can also think about the product that you’re selling. What is your differentiator? Who is that actually going to resonate with? Because sometimes when when someone goes like, oh, you know, I’m going to launch this, and this is why my product is going to be different. I’m a pessimist. So I always sit down and I go like – why didn’t that competitor make it this way? There might be a reason here. And so if you’re going to differentiate, you want to know – well, then who am I going to target and then find those people and talk to them? Because you know, there are those diamonds in the rough where like every like how many people have like cooler water bottle businesses now, like everyone and their mother has started one. And it’s like, I would never have guessed that some of those were able to differentiate as much as they were. But to your point, as you mentioned before, launching something like that strictly on Amazon is a nightmare because standing out from everyone is incredibly hard. There are so many times I’ll talk to a seller and they’ll be like, “Oh, I you know, I created this product and and you know this and this and this”, I’m like – what makes you different? We have better ingredients or we’re higher quality or we’re more durable. I mean, we’ll put that stuff in the images but if you’re more expensive and people have to take the risk now and there’s just not enough social proof opportunity that you can kind of force on Amazon.

Amy: Thinking about a water bottle for example. It’s expected that your product is quality. So what else do you have to bring to the table? Like yeah, but ours is better quality. Okay, so what? It’s expected that your product is good quality period, you know, and just because you have good quality doesn’t always mean the customer is going to be willing to pay more. For better quality when there’s another water bottle with 20,005 star reviews right next to you that seemingly looks the same people seem to love it right. It’s so hard to convince them so I love it. I think it’s so important. I love how you mentioned like you don’t need to hire a big market research firm. Just get out there. Look on Pinterest, look in Facebook groups look at conversations people are having. I love to look at blogs, I like to read, you know, what are what things trending in copywriting? What things are trending in blogs? What questions are people asking? Google makes it easy for you. They say people also ask. And it’s like, oh, okay, that’s what people are wondering about. That’s their pain points and their pain points lead to decisions. So I love that. That’s really, really great advice as far as foundation. So let’s talk about once we got our product going, and it’s selling well, and you know, we were starting to really grow our brand, we might have a few different products in our line. And you know, we’re making a name for ourselves. What now, what is fundamentally important now in terms of moving the needle for us.

Andrew: Alright, so here’s, here’s my thought process behind this. And every time I have this conversation, I always get people that are like, I’m never doing that. Why would you do that? And then recently, Amazon released something and I go, ha, see, I was right. So I set this up real well. So basically, I always see a lot of sellers – and the way that I would do this as well, which is you launch your product, spend the time and the money on making the listing look great. Because if you land there, and you’re pitching, like we’re high quality and better ingredients, and all this stuff, like you better have a really cool video, you better have some great images, because that’s the only way you’re going to stand out. Right? So your market research is kind of on Amazon, because while it’s expensive, it’s not as expensive as launching a product and launching a website and starting to advertise off Amazon. So I see Amazon is a great area to also do your own market research and how viable the product actually is. Let’s say you launch a product or a product line, we have all your products on Amazon. You start to get some traction, like okay, I’m starting to get some sales, things are looking good. The next thing I suggest is obviously get your brand registered and make sure you build out a storefront, start driving traffic with sponsored brand ads over to the storefront and put up on your on the storefront the actual ability to purchase directly from the storefront. See how many people you can get to purchase through the sponsored brand ads. So now you’ve kind of proven out that your storefront can convert, this is where you go, okay, now we start this test. Start with depending on your product, Facebook ads, tick tock ads, Google, it’s going to be dependent on your audience. So it’s back to know who you’re targeting, then drive the traffic to your storefront. And see if the storefront is still converting, the best way to look at this, which is how I always suggest is you can use a custom source URL and all that fun stuff to you know, check it directly. But with Facebook or Google, there’s no connection, so you can’t actually check conversions. So what I always say is just look at how much you’re spending in Amazon ads. And let’s say Google Ads combined. And then whatever that percentage increase you just had is make sure that your revenue goes up by that same percentage, and then you’ll be that much more comfortable. Like, okay, this is working right. So now we’re starting to drive off Amazon traffic to the storefront, we’ve proven that the storefront works, and that we can drive off Amazon traffic. Obviously, you’re gonna want to develop like, save, set, save up, start to hold on your profit, build capital, then develop your own website, start to and put the money into your website. Don’t go cheap on a website, because cheap is expensive, it will cost you so much more money. If you have a garbage like themed templated site that just doesn’t work. So you drive all the traffic to the site. So now on your website, underneath your buy now button, you add an available on Amazon button or available on Walmart or eBay or Wayfarer, whatever, and let them go directly to your listing. You want to have your pop ups and all of your extra extra bells and whistles on your website that you can have for them to convert on the site. Because obviously you want to keep the customer data, your margins are probably better. And you know, you can retarget them and all that fun stuff. But you’ve proven that your reviews and everything on your Amazon store or on Walmart or wherever you are, are, are working. So let the consumer who’s not familiar with your site and not familiar with your brand, yet be most comfortable wherever they want to be. So they’re most comfortable shopping on Amazon, they know they can get in two days, let them go. You’re just building that relationship, you can still retarget them, you can put a conversion tracking code and all of those buttons, and retarget anyone who went to your Amazon store, and you could actually just send them back to Amazon with ads or you can pixel them and retarget them to benefit. Give them some kind of other opportunity to shop on the site. Right? So now you can see, okay, you’ve tracked those clicks on those buttons. And if I’m losing you at any point, let me know. So you’re tracking those clicks on those buttons, right? You can see like, Alright, I got 10,000 clicks on my Amazon buttons over to my web over to Amazon, my listings average a conversion rate of 20%. That’s X amount of that’s X amount of orders, right? So now we can get an assumption that I’ve driven that many orders to Amazon. You can also do the affiliate codes and literally count it if you wanna do it. that way, but then now you start testing you, okay? I’m guessing I got X amount of sales on Amazon or I know for a fact, because I went through the affiliate program. And now I want to see how well I can get this site to work. Just hide the button for a little while, see how it goes with just the Buy Now button, keep driving your traffic and see if you can get your own website traffic or your own website revenue to increase from there. And now you’ve started to develop your own brand. If it doesn’t work, just put the button back, it’ll be fine for a little while, do some more testing to figure out what else you got to do. And now you can go back to the brand. So you’re kind of easing yourself into basically having your own website, because one of the issues that a lot of people don’t realize is when they first start a website, they don’t have the option for people to shop where they might have already known you. And you’re wildly biased on your own website. Everyone assumes that you can control your reviews, which you can, you made your own website. So of course, you’re gonna say it’s the best, it’s the most durable, it’s the best ingredients, blah, blah, it’s incredibly biased. So by allowing them to go check out your other reviews, or go somewhere else, besides a place that you control can actually improve your brand because they get a lot more trust behind it. Plus, you can loop in like influencer marketing, all that fun stuff. So you’re not as biased when you’re saying I’m the best. My favorite analogy is always, if you’re at a party, and I were to walk up to you and be like, I’m awesome. You and I should talk and you would be like, No, you’re kind of weird. And then you would go away. But if like 15 people came up to you and said, Hey, Andrew, super awesome, you should talk to him. Eventually, I got to talk to this guy, I got to know why he’s so awesome. That’s because a lot of other people were telling you that I’m cool. But if I tell you, I’m cool, it’s not cool. So it’s the same concept of basically easing yourself out of Amazon onto something else and testing it, but then letting the existing social proof do the work.

Amy: I love it. So let me just see if I can break this down the Amy way of what you just said. You’re saying when I have a brand, I have a couple of things going on on Amazon, getting some sales going and looking good – I should make sure that my storefront is legit. And then I do some maybe some headline search ads, or some brand ads leading to my storefront on Amazon. I start there. And I make sure that my storefront from those ads is converting. If it’s not converting, I need to make those adjustments. Keep going, keep split testing because it’s in Amazon’s playground, and it’s easy. I know Amazon, I’m good to go right? Then once I get that going. Now I know Amazon customers are converting well guess where 50% of customers come from that don’t go to amazon.com? A lot of people just assume all the customers go to Amazon. No, only 51% of people go direct to Amazon to buy. The other 49% come from off of Amazon. on sites like TikTok, Facebook, and actually 60% of them come from search, which most of that is owned by Google. But either way, what you’re telling me to do next is now that I know that my storefront is going to convert and I have a nice little URL that I can drive people to, I can now use ads because people love Amazon. So depending on my customer, I pick my social media platform that my customer is most likely to be on. And I start running some advertisements to my Amazon storefront. And I see if those things are converting and now I get some more data I keep you going I’ve got on Amazon traffic, I’ve got off Amazon traffic. My storefront is converting and my brand is looking good. So then what I do is then I can actually start working on my website, making sure it’s awesome. But what you recommend on the website is either through Amazon’s affiliate program where I can have my own little button there, I’m going to offer them the option to buy it on Amazon from my website. But what’s wonderful about that is I’ve already proved that on Amazon, I’m converting and I’m giving them the option to you know, know who who I am on Amazon on a site where they know and trust, right? So I’m doing both of that, but I’m explaining the data so that I’m capturing the  the customer and who they are and I can retarget them off of Amazon and keep visiting them. Because it does take at least I think 12 touches nowadays in this digital world to sell a product right? Or to have a customer make a buying decision. So I’m running my traffic, I’m pixeling my data. If everything’s going good, then I can try to take that bite on Amazon button off of my website and I can try to start converting on my website and playing more with that. But until then, if it doesn’t work, I can just put the buy it on Amazon button back because it doesn’t hurt anything and I’m still getting that pixel data. That is a really great way for people to get their feet wet without having to worry about building this huge website from the start and figuring it all out.

Andrew: It was about only about a month ago, I think that Amazon released that their Beta testing the Buy with prime button. So Amazon made their own button, I used to make these phrases like Photoshop and upload them. And we got to add all the cookies and stuff or all the tracking.

Amy: That has little shopping carts on Amazon.

Andrew: Exactly. So what they created is a JavaScript code now that you can take embed on your own DTC site and it just links to whatever product you’re taking from it right now, they’re beta testing it and you can actually go and request to get alerted once it’s available. But Amazon knows that they’re linking over to it. And in fact, I actually just did a podcast like two hours before this with Ben, the CEO of privy, and he was telling me that they actually talked about that button on the last Shopify quarterly. Review, revenue investment, quarterly. So remember the quarterly call for their stocks, about stuff with all our partners, everything I’ve been trying to jig, that guy. So they talked about it, and they were like, oh, you know, we’re all excited about it, and all that stuff. And I actually think that it can help because it’s going to allow Amazon sellers to ease into going to their own website. And then there are companies out there where you’re not going to be able to take that button off your site, because people would rather just go to Amazon. There are certain products that some people sell, that if you can’t get it in two days, they may not want it. And to be able to do that is really hard until you get to a certain size, and then you have 3PLs all over the country. And that’s a different story. But there are some customers, some clients where that’s the case, and they have to pull it back. But otherwise, I think it’s a great way to be able to ease into it, where you’re essentially bootstrapping it. So if you’re loaded with capital, and you got some investment, you want to go make some cool site and go balls to the wall right away have at it. But I think that’s a great way to kind of just take baby steps and do it.

I love it, I think it’s very, very smart. And it makes a lot of sense. And one word of warning for new brands, you know, you may want if you only have one product, and it’s your first product, you might want to work on ranking that product and getting some, you know, just doing sponsored product ads, because those are the ones that actually make you before you start doing sponsored brand ads. Because it’s it’s harder to convert a storefront with just one product, if that product is not like something extra special that you know, people can’t get anywhere else. So but yeah, once you get it going, and you got a couple of products, maybe a couple of variations of you know, your existing product, that’s a really great, you know, I want to call it a funnel, right? Because it kind of kind of is a funnel on its own. It’s almost like a sales funnel, right? But it’s great way to start on Amazon, you know, get that interest, hone it down, and then start building another funnel on your website, that you can actually get that data. So love it, love it. Love it totally gonna just Yeah, try it. Okay, so I mean, I think that that’s a really great way to think about traffic. Um, what are you seeing working today in terms of off Amazon traffic? So some of my favorite sources of off Amazon traffic are, of course, Google ads to Amazon, because it’s just, you know, so stupid cheap, and it just converts like crazy. And it ranks you on Amazon like crazy. But what are some of your favorite techniques for driving traffic to your brand off of Amazon and on Amazon?

Amy: I love it, I think it’s very, very smart. And it makes a lot of sense. And one word of warning for new brands, you know, you may want if you only have one product, and it’s your first product, you might want to work on ranking that product and getting some sponsored product ads. Because it’s it’s harder to convert a storefront with just one product, if that product is not like something extra special that you know, people can’t get anywhere else. So but yeah, once you get it going, and you got a couple of products, maybe a couple of variations of you know, your existing product, that’s a really great, you know, I want to call it a funnel, right? Because it kind of is a funnel on its own. It’s almost like a sales funnel, right? But it’s great way to start on Amazon, you know, get that interest, hone it down, and then start building another funnel on your website, that you can actually get that data. So love it, love it, love it.

Okay, so I mean, I think that that’s a really great way to think about traffic. What are you seeing working today in terms of off Amazon traffic? So some of my favorite sources of off Amazon traffic are, of course, Google ads to Amazon, because it’s just, you know, so stupid cheap, and it just converts like crazy. And it ranks you on Amazon like crazy. But what are some of your favorite techniques for driving traffic to your brand off of Amazon and on Amazon?

Andrew: For off Amazon, it really depends. You have to know what your customers doing. So like Google is a middle of funnel, sales, paid ads channel, so if your customer knows that a product like yours exists, and they’re actively searching for it, Google is perfect. There’s nothing else I would suggest. If you’re basically providing a solution to a problem that maybe someone doesn’t even know exists – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tiktok, right like now you want to go to your top of funnel social channels where you can showcase your product a little bit more, or maybe your product is searchable. However, it’s incredibly visual. And you need to show the differences and not just hope that someone’s going to click a search ad or something like that because if you’re driving traffic to Amazon, you can’t do shopping ads. So there is no real visual, although they do have the image extensions and stuff like that. But either way, there’s not enough there for you to work with if it’s a very visual product. So that’s where I would usually suggest doing social. The other side of it is we actually just did this webinar was just last week. We did want on like E commerce blogs, and all this stuff that most people that have these blogs are missing out on. Keyword research, linking and all the articles and all that fun stuff. So like the basic SEO stuff that everyone and every person who’s ever done SEO kind of knows. The stuff that most ecommerce sellers miss out on is all the extra bells and whistles you can add to a blog. So sometimes what I’ve seen a handful of times I’ve seen some sellers do is they’ve actually will create, instead of doing a big investment in their website, they’ll actually just start their website a little bit, and they’ll just do the blog, and they’ll start creating content, start getting ranking. But then what you want to do is you want to optimize that blog, as much as you can, obviously, you want to link to your products, that’s very standard. But you can also create, you can have your pop ups that  have a discount only exclusive to people that have visited the blogs to go over to Amazon shop there, you have your sidebar, you can go through all that. But some of the stuff that I see people always miss out on is that we create our own display ads and run our own ads on our own blog all the time. So if a seller is doing some kind of article about, let’s say, a water bottle, but they sell a ton of other stuff, we’ll have like a clear CTA of like this water bottle and the click, it takes them straight to Amazon. It’s like a picture and it looks like a display ad but it’s their own product. It’s a great way to kind of get that organic traffic because blogs are an asset, right? Like, yeah, ads are fantastic. But that’s the day you’re like, you know what, I don’t want to run paid ads anymore. But if you just constantly invest into SEO, that’s an asset. And that’s there forever, as long as you just kind of tweak it every now and then. So having that kind of approach is what I’ve really started to see work the best just because CPCs are going up 25% year over year, something like that. So like the cost per acquisition is anyone who’s got an average price product, which is between like $20 and $30, for their average order value, they’re gonna get priced out in the next two or three years. So by not having like a strong content approach and not being so reliant on paid advertising, it’s the same concept of – tou can’t be so reliant on Amazon, you have to diversify, you can’t be so reliant on Facebook or Google, you have to find a way to diversify, and get sales in from other places. And I think that SEO and content creation is starting to really help sellers showcase that they are a thought leader in the space, or that they have the knowledge to justify why they’re selling their product.

Amy: I love that idea. One hack that I often give people is some of the top search results on Google belong to YouTube. And YouTube would be a great place, what would we do at amazing at home, every time I create a new YouTube video, I have my team go back through and SEO the heck out of that YouTube video. And then they also make sure that they write a really great blog post about it, they embed the video and put it on our website and put all the great tags not only on YouTube, but also on our blog. So now not only do we get those top hits for YouTube in a Google search, but we also get those driving direct to our, our website as well. And then if you go back through your YouTube analytics, and see what your top videos are, your top video views are and stuff, you can often also relate to that and you know, create a couple of different blog posts from that angle. And now you get even more traffic, you know, people going to that. So I love that. And another hack that I learned from I think it was Norm Farrar talked about how every time you do a YouTube video or a post like that, you can also publish that to Google My Business, which has a huge rating on Google. So that search result for that highly rated YouTube video is now also in the Google business search results. And then you’ve got your blob results that you’re just basically using that same content repurposing it multiple times. So you know, sometimes just picking those pain points and then also doing your research specific to the platform. So if you wanted to rank highly for a blog, do your research for what people are asking questions about, answer those questions in your blogs, right use some of those phrases because that’s going to help you. But then also on YouTube, research the titles, make a really great thumbnail, make sure you’re using the right tags. I love the tool Keywords Everywhere.  It’s just a Google Chrome extension, but Keywords Everywhere is free. And then you can pay like $10 and you get like a million keyword credits, but it follows you across the internet. So if you’re on Amazon, if you’re on Google, if you’re on Pinterest, if you’re on YouTube, you can actually see for top YouTube, if you bring up that video, it’ll show you what tags that person used in the video, all of that. So that that way, you know, you could do that. I love what you said about using your own images, making your own little ads, I’m gonna steal that too, so much gold today, I’m totally going to do that. I think that’s such a great idea. You know, I’ve done pop ups and stuff. But a lot of people get super annoyed with pop ups, and they have these popup blockers. But I love that you can just create your own little image that looks like a little ad. And you know, it’s a clickable button – super easy to do on a blog post. So I love it. I think it’s really, really smart. And you can even do a short YouTube video that leads to a longer blog, or you know, a lot of people that do recipes and stuff, they’ll drive traffic, they’ll create the short video about the recipe, then they drive traffic to their blog, and then they have offers there, you could do the same thing. So you know, if you sell a cocktail set, you can make a really great homemade Margarita recipe and then drive back to your blog. And people are getting downloading the recipe, making it a printable recipe. But right there, you have your little image of your cocktail set. And you know, have the little Amazon badge on there and people get all excited like, oh, I need that too. Let me check that out. So love it. So many great hacks today. Andrew, you’re just I’m totally enjoying this  – love every minute of it. I feel like we’ve covered a lot in terms of marketing. But I feel like I want to get like a little bit more juice out of the lemon because I know you have like so much more in there. So tell me what besides  – I love the organic – but is there anything else on the organic side that folks should be focused on? I love starting your website with a blog. I think that’s super smart. What do you think? What do you think about WordPress versus Shopify?

Andrew: For Ecommerce sellers, Shopify.

Amy: Okay, even for blogs?

Andrew: Blogs aren’t that bad. You can redesign them and get them to function better than the way that you know. Shopify gives you a bucnh of apps to make it better. I’m not buying the whole, like WordPress has better SEO than Shopify. I just don’t, it doesn’t make sense to me. We have countless sellers that are ranking top pages over WordPress sites all the time. And was like, I just don’t believe it. And from a functionality standpoint, like all the extra stuff that you would want to have like, yeah, but you know what, you can also just develop that stuff in the Shopify, it’s not that complicated.

Amy: The one thing I don’t like about Shopify is that it Shopify will nickel and dime you to death, like, at the time you add all the apps and everything else, you are paying a lot of money for Shopify. So are there any hacks you have for us to avoid your Shopify store costing you more than your ad spend every month on Amazon?

Andrew: What I usually tell my sellers is it’s a lot less expensive to find a developer at a bare minimum, and just to consult and just ask them and be like, I’d like to add this functionality. What do you think it’s going to take? And then ask them about building it out yourself. And I know, it’s like, okay, that could be really expensive, in which case, alright, don’t do it do the app. But the problem with adding on all of these different apps is obviously the cost but it slows your site down.  So the overall buying experience isn’t gonna go as well. The problem with going with WordPress, is that all of these plugins aren’t controlled by WordPress. So if they have an update, and you update a plug in, it could break all of your other plugins. And then you got to get a developer to go in there anyway. At least with Shopify when they do an update or something like that. It’s clear it’s concise, nothing breaks. I’ve rarely ever had anything break on Shopify site. So if you can, if there’s some kind of small functionality or like, Oh, I just want to be able to add in this, then you can usually have that developed in, or you can go the app route. But then I usually still have a developer, integrate the app, and then have them like clean up all of the unnecessary code that some of these apps have, in which case, at least at that point, you’re just using the bare minimum of the app, it’s not slowing down your site too much.

Amy: So what you’re saying is that there’s a way to develop a lot of the functionality that comes from all of these paid nickel and dime apps on Shopify. Instead of having to add 20 different apps that are each $10 or $20 a month, on top of what you’re already paying $50 a month for Shopify, you can develop a site that’s very functional for you without you having to add all that extra stuff in. And, you know, you might not have to add on all and it works that way for WordPress, too. So I don’t know why I would be surprised. You know, WordPress is the same way. Like if you, if you have a developer, you don’t necessarily have to add all these plugins, you know, you can make your existing plugins just work better for you. Okay. So, as we’re coming to the end of the show here, we like to ask, what is something that you’re listening to that you’re reading that’s keeping you motivated?

Andrew: All right, well, listening to I’m gonna shamelessly plug myself. So we have, we have our own show, we have the Ecomm show. We interview ecommerce sellers. And it really is like, even though I’m shamelessly plugging it, it’s crazy to hear their stories. It’s not like we just sit there and just ask them, like, How’d you get here? You know, what steps did you take what struggles you had with now? We’ve had  six or seven different Shark Tank people on there. So that’s always a fun conversation. And it’s always very interesting to hear someone’s story. And my ending question that I always like to ask is what motivates that entrepreneur themselves? Like, what is it that gets you out of bed that keeps you working on your business? Because everyone’s different. Some people are financially driven. Some people really like what it does for their customers. Some people just think it’s cool building stuff like it. There’s so many different answers I don’t even know if I’ve gotten the same answer. I’ve always found that very interesting. And then reading. Right now I’m reading two books right now, I’m reading The Messy Middle, just just because I need to right now. And then I’m also reading Gary V’s new book, just because as a marketer, I feel like I have to or he might come find me.

Amy: Be afraid, be very afraid. Read it, or else. He’s very good. Okay, so the Ecomm Show is your podcast. And, you know, I think it’s okay to shamelessly plug yourself because, honestly, I know Andy and I, since we started this podcast, I mean, we’re on like, Episode 150, something now we’re almost at 160 episodes, we might even be there already. Who knows. But the point is, I learned so much like just spending this hour with you, has been wonderful, I got so many gold nuggets. And as an entrepreneur, you know, I don’t always take the time to listen to podcasts. And you know, I’m always reading books, but it’s these conversations that we have with other sellers that we have with other business owners when I go to events, you know, and 10x is my business every time because it’s just like, these little nuggets that you learn in the conversations and the networking and you know, the people that you meet, and so having your own show it really does make a huge difference because you meet so many people and you learn so many things. And then you know, your networking is kind of also enhanced because you go to events and stuff and people are like, Oh yeah, I was on your show, or I listened to your show all the time. And I learned this and it really changed, you know my business or change this for me. So I 100% get it. It’s more than just a shameless plug if it actually is believable, because it’s a huge impact. So very cool. Well, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your company and you know what, specifically what you do and how people can contact you?

Andrew: Yeah. BlueTuskr – you can go to our website bluetuskr.com or on every social channel, it’s the same username. We’re a full service digital marketing company for E commerce sellers – so we essentially act as an outsourced marketing department for most of the sellers we work with. Strictly ecommerce. We tend to focus on sellers that are on multiple marketplaces or obviously their website, or at least someone that’s trying to get there. And then yeah, or you can also email me andrew@bluetuskr.com. I’ll answer any question you got. That’s why I’m here.

Amy: And then what about that podcast that you mentioned? The Ecomm Show? How do people listen to that?

Andrew: So you go to the ecommshow.com. It’s also on the BlueTuskr website. We also film it. So it’s on our YouTube channel, but we are on I think every podcast platform I can think of. So whichever one you like, I diversified.

Amy: Well, I would expect that from a marketing company, you got to hold you accountable for that. Well, that’s awesome. Thank you so much, Andrew, for being here with us today. I learned so much. And thank you for giving all the gold that you gave away to our audience today. I’m definitely going to try some of it. And I’m going to reach out and I’m going to join your slack. You have slack for ecom sellers. I saw that.

Andrew: Oh then there’s sellers.slack.com. So that is so basically what we did, actually, so this came out of just like necessity, I was in multiple, like Shopify groups, some of the Shopify Plus ones, even though they’re gated, and all that fun stuff. And then I was in a couple other slack groups. And they’re all like, littered with vendors. And it’s just mostly people just chatting. So and it’s just people plugging their own stuff, like I made an app, I did this, I did that. And it got really annoying. So what I did is like, Okay, I’m gonna create a Slack group that is gated, so you have to apply to get in, you have to prove that you’re an Ecommerce seller. And then we allow you in, you’re on it, we’re on a two strike policy. And BlueTuskr does not post in there at all, unless it is something that happened that we did not publish. So if Shopify did something or Amazon did something like, Hey, we found this, this is cool. We really just do it for our own market research. We sit there see what people are talking about. And then we go well, we should write a blog about that. That’s, that is the reason that we have everyone who goes why do you have this go really just because I need blog ideas. And then outside of that, it’s just only ecommerce sellers. There’s even like private channels in there for seven figure eight figure sellers, Shopify Plus sellers so that they can they like to hide in their own corner and just talk to each other. So we let them do that. But yeah, it’s awesome.

Amy: I love it. Very cool. Yeah, I’m, I’m a little picky about my Facebook group, too, because it’s so many of the Facebook groups, you know, there’s 50,000 people in there, but it’s a lot of like, VA is and I don’t have any problem with VAs. But the problem is, where can sellers talk? Then? You know, because otherwise, like you said, it’s just people just pitching their services, you know, and it just becomes like, Okay, I’m not actually getting the advice that I need. So, you know, we do the same thing. Like if you’re pitching your services, or you know, just giving purely bad advice that shows you have no experience as a seller like you’re gone. Okay. So I love it. Very good. Awesome. Andrew, thank you so much, again for being here. And thank you everyone for listening to this episode of The Seller Roundtable. Don’t forget to rate review, subscribe, and we’ll see you guys next time. See ya!

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