Selling on Amazon

How to Jumpstart Your Ecommerce Store and Earn Your First $10,000 of Revenue Outside of Amazon

By November 14, 2015 September 26th, 2017 29 Comments
 

How to Jumpstart Your Ecommerce Store and Earn Your First $10,000 Outside of Amazon

If you’re already selling on Amazon, you’ve probably wondered what’s the next step? How can I grow my business and my brand even further?

The answer is to take the brand and products you’ve already created for Amazon, and expand by launching them on your own ecommerce store.

The Ecommerce Opportunity is Huge

In the third quarter of 2015, total ecommerce sales were $101 billion. Amazon.com accounted for $17.1 billion, meaning that $83.9 billion dollars were spent outside of Amazon.com, directly on the ecommerce sites of various brands.

Amazon vs. Other Ecommerce

How can you grab your piece of the action?

The first step in launching your online store is to pick a shopping cart provider. There are tons of options out there, but we recommend Shopify, it has a ton of features, is easy to set up, and has plans starting at just $19/month. They power over 175,000 stores and are the clear leader in ecommerce. Save yourself the headache of comparing 100 different cart providers and go with Shopify. You’ll thank me later.

But there’s plenty of advice out there on how to design an ecommerce site. Our topic today is how to drive sales once you have your store set up. To do that, I’m going to introduce you to my 3-step method for working with influencers to drive traffic AND sales to your ecommerce store.

What is an influencer?

An influencer is anyone with an audience who can influence the behavior of that audience. Influencers can build their audience in all kinds of places, here are just a few examples of influencers you may have heard of: Tim Ferriss, Logan Paul, Mike Rashid, and Michelle Phan. All have built huge followings on their own blogs, Instagram, YouTube, or Vine.

So why are influencers important? They’re important because they have an audience, and if you want customers for your online store, you need to go where the customers already are. Which brings me to our 3-step process.

Step One: Borrow

Your first step is to get your product in front of an influencer’s audience to borrow that audience’s attention for a minute. Most influencers are open to product placement, and many will even do it for free if you pitch them well and your product is relevant to their audience. Look for bloggers, instagrammers, and YouTube stars in your niche who your customers already look up to. What types of influencers are your potential customers already looking up to? Those are the influencers you need to work with.

You can also let influencers come to you. There are a number of marketplaces for influencers that have audiences and who are willing to showcase your brand – for a price. Check out FameBit, TheShelf, Kickstagram, and Tomoson, all will allow you to connect directly with influencers in various niches who are willing to promote your brand to their audiences. You can also do direct outreach – grab a contact email address from their website and make your pitch. Try to describe why their audience would care about your product and why your product can make them look cool.

Once you’ve got an influencer interested, send them a free sample of your product so they can use and review it. Your goal is for them to make a post, picture, or video saying how much they like your product. Here are a few examples of promotional influencer posts:

Influencer posts

But you don’t just want the influencer to recommend your product – you want their audience to take action. Which brings us to Step Two!

Step Two: Bait

Once you have an influencer showcasing your product to their audience, you need to bait their audience with an offer to get them to engage and potentially purchase. Two popular types of bait are a coupon code (“Get 15% off by using code TIMFERRISS”) or a giveaway (“Enter your email for a chance to win a $100 gift card”). Both options allow the influencer to deliver value to their audience, and allow you to bait their audience into interacting with your brand.

Your single goal from being featured by an influencer should be to get their audience to give you their email address. I typically drive all traffic from an influencer to a dedicated landing page offering a 25% off coupon in exchange for their email address. This has the dual advantage of giving a coupon to people who are ready to purchase now, while capturing email addresses for people who may not want to purchase right away, but may be interested. My lead capture form looks like this:

Discount Lead Page

Even if you don’t get the sale right away, you now have hundreds of email addresses from people you know fit your target demographic (because they were following your influencer) and who are at least somewhat interested in buying from your brand. Which brings us to Step Three!

Step Three: Close

After the influencer’s audience has taken your bait, you might already have closed several sales just based on the discount code and the influencer’s recommendation – hurray! But you’re not done yet. You still need to close the sale with all the other people who gave you their email address but weren’t quite ready to buy. The best way to continue to sell is with what’s called a “drip campaign”. A drip campaign is a series of emails you “drip” out to your email list over time to convince them to buy. A great drip campaign for addresses obtained through influencer marketing looks like this:

  1. Immediately – Deliver the bait (the coupon you promised them). This will let you capture the people who are ready to buy right away and just wanted to enter their email to get the coupon.
  2. 24 hours later – Send a content-based email talking about some unique attributes of your product. This is a sales-focused email. You know they’re already interested, now you just need to continue to convince them how great your product is. Also make sure this email includes a reminder of the coupon they already have.
  3. 48 hours later – Send another content-based sales email which further outlines how great your product is. This is also a great time to highlight any other influencers you’ve worked with that also recommend your product. Again, remind the potential customer of the coupon they still have outstanding.
  4. 1 week later – Escalate your offer. At this point the potential customer knows about your brand and probably has all the information they need to purchase, so give them a little push over the edge. If you initially offered a 20% off coupon, offer them 30% off for 24 hours only – give them the push they need to make a purchase, and add some urgency with a deadline.

Once you’ve written the above four closing emails, you can reuse them over and over again with as many influencers as you can find to work with. Your entire goal becomes finding audiences and groups of customers who are already out there, borrowing those audiences, baiting them, and closing the sale through email.

I’ve seen this process take at least 10 brands I know of personally from zero to over $1 million in ecommerce sales in their first year, with NO reliance on Amazon. Not only will influencer marketing jumpstart your sales, you’ll also jumpstart your ranking in Google, since you’ll get tons of quality backlinks to your site. Influencer marketing is the single fastest way to launch your ecommerce website from zero to six figures, bar none.

Now is the time to take action. Set up your Shopify site and reach out to your top 5 niche influencers. Got questions? Comment below!

ecommerce store

29 Comments

  • Garfield George says:

    This is amazing it sounds simple and excited, what I need to know is how to find the influencers and how to influence them to take your products and advertise them. Thank you Bill for sharing these tips.

    • Beckster says:

      absolutely brilliant strategy – why did I not think of that. Will implement now from this day forth!! Thank you for sharing.

    • Lance says:

      Same here. What are the best ways, practices, and platforms to find these influencers?

      • Hi Lance – I recommended several marketplaces in the post that you can use (Famebit, The Shelf, etc). You can also just google for blogs in your niche and reach out to the best ones. For Instagram, take a look at http://websta.me to help surface the post popular influencers and hashtags.

        • Barbara Eaton says:

          GREAT strategies! Thanks!

          The formula you gave above “n the post that you can use (Famebit, The Shelf, etc). You can also just google for blogs in your niche and reach out to the best ones. For Instagram, take a look at http://websta.me to help surface the post popular influencers and hashtags.” is to capture the attention of the influencer in hopes that they’ll repost, retweet, or whatever what I have left on their blog?

          Also, is your term an influencer, similar to Gladwell’s “maven”?

          Thanks for sharing your wisdom and expertise!
          Barbara

  • Anand Gupta says:

    Thanks for the insight. Whats the recommendation for people who are outside US and wish to use shopify to sell ? Where and how do we ship products from ?

    Thanks

  • Nico Mendia says:

    Thank you Bill. What an amazing information

  • Nwachinemelu says:

    Hi Bil…
    This is awesome. Can you help me? Do you offer services? Please advise. Thanks!

    • If you’d like to know a lot more on how to get started step by step, check out my Amazing.com course. I dig much deeper into influencer marketing and a bunch of other tricks you can use to boost your sales. And for the next 30 days, the entire course (20+ hours of video) is less than half the price that I usually charge for a single hour of one-on-one consulting – just $200!

      http://amazing.com/ecommerce-product-to-profit

  • IQBAL U AHMED says:

    Thanks for the strategic vision.I was a professional, Now from this day forth to start business and will try to implement by sharing your strategy. .

  • Ricardo says:

    Thanks for the info.
    How do you set up the follow up emails, to not send any more if they buy, on email 2 or 3?
    Do we use single use codes? Or open codes? (if that´s how you call it)

    Thanks again.

    • Correct Ricardo – drop them from the drip campaign once they’ve purchased. That way you won’t be escalating a coupon for someone who has already purchased.

      Single use codes can be hard to setup, so I recommend using a coupon code that looks unique, but actually isn’t. So make your coupon code something like “VD4NE5” and call it “your personal discount code” – but then everyone get the same code. Most customers will never figure it out, and it’ll save you a lot of headache actually setting things up 😉

  • TABETHA Barrett says:

    Thank you Bill but I I’ll need to know how to get started. I don’t know much in this category but sounds interesting .

  • Ray says:

    One of the few blog posts around that actually add value. Great job and many thanks.

  • Geane says:

    I am not yet selling a product on Amazon but once I am up and running I will certainly be looking at setting this up. Great idea. Thanks for sharing.

  • Joe says:

    Hey, Bill.

    Nice tip on the influencers. It seems much better than banner ads or commenting with a link.
    I’ll be incorporating that nugget soon!

  • Ryan Karlson says:

    Hey guys correct me if I am wrong but to answer a few of your questions if I recall correctly he said to make the coupon code an Open Code, because regardless you want to be able to make a sell whether it is now or in the future. Just don’t leave an open ended code out there of like 50% off or more unless you can still make a decent profit margin. The point being is if you are willing to give 25% off to get some sells once you might as well get as many people to buy from you if you are still making a profit. Anyhow just my thoughts from what I remember. Good Luck to Everyone!

  • Hugh says:

    Hi Bill, great material! Hey, I live in Germany, are you familiar with the opportunities over here?
    Also, I could supply German products to the US market. I lived in the US till recently.
    Any recommendations?
    Hugh.

  • Serge Martial says:

    Very awsome, really happy to discover this incredible way. Hope i will find out in your course. Congratulations!

  • Nilo says:

    Excellent write up…….actionable and simplified! Thank you very much, Bill.

  • Brandon says:

    Fantastic content Bill! I heard you speak in Vegas and this is a nice refresher. I am already looking at the influencer sites and plan on launching very soon. I am in a highly competitive niche and this will be a perfect marketing strategy to not just use once, but to make it a part of my continuity marketing plan. Thanks again for your insightful information.

  • Irfan hussain says:

    Wow this what I won’t to know about for long time you made my life easier
    Thank you so much

  • Gulam Maskati says:

    Great information! I am wondering, who fulfills the order through e-commerce platform? Sorry for being ingnorant, but selling through Amazon means, Fulfilled by FBA. But selling through our e-commerce stores (I am not based in USA), who does the fulfillment?

    thanks,
    Gulam

  • Kaleb says:

    I have to say that this is a fantastic strategy, very simple and effective. Can this strategy be applied to selling digital products (ebooks, software, etc.)? Do you need to follow any other special tactics for digital products?

  • Juli says:

    Hi Bill

    Thanks for the great content! Can you share the emails you use for your campaigns? Thanks! Juli

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