Learn how to sell on amazon successfully to beat the big brands: Norm Farrar, an established veteran in the world of strategy and business, is a branding expert. Norm shares how sellers can beat big brands on Amazon, build their own brand, establish customer trust, and use their branding to grow their product.
Amazing Selling Machine Free Training and Tools
Competing Against Big Brands
Creating a Brand and Building Customer Trust
Building a Brand vs. Just Selling Product
Creating the Customer Experience
When to Start Investing in Branding
Building a Brand on a Budget
Bad Customer Reviews and Refunds
Brand Building and Growing a Product
Quality of Logos
Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents
Beating Big Brands on Amazon… No Experience Necessary! – Video Transcript
Norm Farrar is an established veteran in business and strategy. An entrepreneur with a specialty in branding, Norm has dabbled in manufacturing and sourcing companies—all of which led him to selling on Amazon. During his interview Jason Katzenback, Norm shares how sellers can leverage the power of Amazon, level the playing fields, and compete against big brands.
Amazing Selling Machine has released a four-part free video training series, complete with 30 minutes of pure content and free tools to help people start selling on Amazon. The tools thus far have included a market research tool to help new sellers find products, a blueprint for sourcing a supplier, and the Rapid Ranking System that can help put a product on page one of Amazon in a few days. The fourth video of the series shows how sellers can get started right away.
Amazon levels the playing field when competing against big brands, who are just now discovering the power of Amazon. If a new seller and a big brand try to get on Amazon at the same time, they are both learning a completely new process.
Some brands think that if they have enough money to put behind their brand, Amazon will work for them. However, often it is not about money but understanding how the rankings on Amazon work and getting a product on the first page.
If you follow the techniques shared throughout the Amazing Selling Machine course, you can rank your product before the big brands, and beat them on Amazon.
When selecting a product and beginning a new company, focus on creating a brand. Creating a brand is all about giving customers something they can trust, and continuously building on that.
Build trust with customers with branding and images that relate to them. When you start to understand the rankings on Amazon and develop a professional looking brand, you will have an edge over the big brand competition.
Building a brand it not just about finding a product, selling it, and getting rid of it. Instead, create a high perceived value and sell your product above competitor pricing.
You can alter perceived value through the way the brand looks. Investing in a logo and label created by a professional company and spending a few cents more on packaging can create higher perceived value, and assist in building trust with customers.
Some sellers might not want to focus on getting the top sales in the beginning, and end up developing low end, low price products. The goal is not to be the cheapest brand, but the most trusted brand, and that comes from branding and customer trust. The same product with better packaging and branding can sell at the high end of the spectrum due to the customer’s perceived value of the product.
Everything is about the customer experience. If a seller wants good feedback and reviews, the customer has to like the product and see an incredible box with added features like a quote or a note.
The experience should be similar to opening up the iPhone—the packaging changes the experience of receiving the product. Even things like shrink wrap or a certificate of authenticity can build trust with customers and better the customer experience.
The first step to good branding is finding a good product. The next steps are to create a good listing and get the product selling. Once the product is selling, sellers can up their game and invest more money into boxing and packaging branding.
If you start with big branding moves in the beginning, it might hurt overall cashflow. Try making one change to the product with every new inventory order, (for example, product improvement or branding and packaging changes), to slowly begin the branding process.
Getting ranked on Amazon comes down to the quality of the listing. The cheapest way to start brand building is to have a title that reads well and a description with keywords customers are looking for. Sellers can also run pay per click advertisements and utilize the power of social media. Sellers can also partner with social media influencers, have them use and talk about the product with their followers, and increase traffic.
During the start of a business, there is nothing about your company or brand on the internet, so you have the chance to flood it with positive news. In the beginning, create a one-page website about the brand. This will assist in developing customer trust. Positive news can also come in the form of press releases and social media.
You must pay attention when you get a one-star review—refund that customer immediately. Let the customer know you are willing to do whatever it takes to make things right.
Customer service can make a brand. If someone wants a refund, do not think about it, just give it to them. If a product is getting too many refund requests, it means you have picked a bad product, and may need to select a new one.
The goal is always to turn a one-star into a five-star review. Remember, it is not your job to fight with customers, but instead, give them superior customer support.
In the beginning, create a brand name that is generic and has the ability to build out. Don’t limit yourself to one product, but go with a brand name that can establish lines of products. This will assist you in growing your brand in the future—for example, taking product lines and creating gift sets or increasing the cost of an item with parent/child variations (1 pack, 5 pack, 10 pack).
A quality logo makes a major difference in branding and sales. Unified fonts and simple, clean effects are what make for a good logo.
Sellers should know their company story and have a vision for their brand when developing a logo. Colors should reflect and makes sense for the industry.
Professional logos are not as expensive as one might think, and a professional logo can add value to the company if a seller were to ever sell it.
Because Amazon has services like brand registry that offer a specific set of services, it is important to make sure no one else possesses your company name.
Before picking a company name, do a domain name search and see if the company exists. However, it is not necessary to start trademarking and copyrighting until you know you’ve found a viable product.
Jason Katzenback: Videos, the last few years, really, about what an awesome opportunity this is, and this whole opportunity is. It’s not MLN. It’s nothing like that. This is about you, yourself, being able to build your own business through building your own brand of physical products that you completely own, unto yourself, nobody else, that you start off selling by leveraging the insane power of Amazon.
Jason Katzenback: Now, the reason why you want to leverage Amazon is because it’s just a huge behemoth of an ecosystem of selling, shoppers, traffic, tools, everything that a supplier or a vendor or a manufacturer or a product owner would want to have at their disposal. Amazon is the second hugest, second biggest, second largest, company in the world now. I believe it just surpassed Google, and it’s growing nonstop. They’re estimating to be about 220 billion dollars over the next year in value.
Jason Katzenback: When we started, when I even started my own Amazon business, physical private business on Amazon, it was only estimated to be worth about 70 billion. It’s grown three times since then, and the amount of millionaires that are being created because of taking, tapping into this opportunity is absolutely insane.
Jason Katzenback: One of the reasons it’s absolutely insane is because Amazon allows you to level the playing field. Now, the purpose of this call is we’re going to talk about brand building with Amazon, and Amazon totally levels the playing field and we’re going to get into that, but before we get into that, if you’re watching this video now and you haven’t already watched our free training series on getting started on Amazon, please, please do so. Go to amazingsellingmachine.com, and you’ll come to this page you see right behind me.
Jason Katzenback: This is a free video series that we’re offering. Each video is about 30 minutes long and it’s pure content, teaching you exactly every component of the business. The cool thing, more powerful thing, is if you scroll down when you go visit these pages, you’ll actually notice you can enter your email address, and that’s because we give you some really powerful free tools.
Jason Katzenback: With video one, we give you a market research tool that will actually help you find products you could start selling right away. Then, video 2, which was released last week, we’re going to show you exactly how to find suppliers for those products that you find, and we even give you a road map to follow, a mind map, or a flow chart, that details everything you need to know. Watching that video, getting the flow chart, you would be able to start finding suppliers right away.
Jason Katzenback: Then, in the third video that was released yesterday, we talk about traffic, because once you’ve figured out your product and once you’ve figured out how to get your product, once you get it listed on Amazon, you need to get it ranking and getting traffic so you can get sales. In this video we map out to you our rapid ranking system where in only five days you’ll be able to get your product on page one of Amazon. We go into a lot of detail in this video, and the download gives you everything you need to be able to implement that traffic strategy yourself.
Jason Katzenback: Now, tomorrow at 12:00 noon, central time, we’re going to be opening up video four, and in this video, you’re not going to want to miss, because it’s going to show you how you can actually get started in this business right way, and there’s an awesome story in this video as well, too. So, please, tomorrow you can see here, it’s 17 hours and waiting to be open, so if you haven’t already been involved in this, checked out all the videos, downloaded all the free goodies, make sure you go and do that right after this call, because the value you get there is absolutely insane.
Jason Katzenback: Now, we’re going to get into the call, but just remember, with anything on this call, if you have a question, you have a concern, please leave a comment, but before we get into that, I’d love to hear from you all, so anyone on this call right now, wherever you’re from, just leave a comment as to the country you’re from. If you’re from the US, Canada, or anywhere in the world, we’d love to know where you’re calling from.
Jason Katzenback: My guest today is actually become a really good friend of mine. He’s a gentleman that I ended up meeting last year in my [inaudible 00:04:04], and since then, I feel at least once a month we’ve been connecting and he’s actually helped me in my own personal Amazon business with some cool strategies.
Jason Katzenback: Norm Ferrar is our guest, and Norm, thank you very much for being here.
Norm: Oh, my pleasure.
Jason Katzenback: Awesome. Norm, I’ve invited him a couple times to speak at our live event, and I remember the first time, I ended up getting the cue card of what I had to read to introduce Norm. Let me just say that he is a well, well, well established veteran in the world of strategy and business. Norm, maybe you could explain a little bit about your background and who you are.
Norm: Oh, man. I’m a entrepreneur. I know a little bit about everything, but just enough to be dangerous. My specialty is in branding, but getting involved with branding I learned that I wanted to understand other areas of the market place. I was able to get into manufacturing. We actually set up a couple manufacturing facilities, a family business. That was in Canada, United States and in Taiwan. Set up a sourcing company. Set up specialty packaging, and at the end of the day, everything I was learning was that perfect storm to get into Amazon.
Norm: That’s my background in a nutshell.
Jason Katzenback: I appreciate you keeping it short and sweet, but just trust me, the guy’s worked for huge companies. He’s just so knowledgeable so it’s a great privilege to have you on the call right now. Norm, the first question I want to talk about is something that I just mentioned a few minutes ago about the level playing field, and I know you work with a lot of sellers, you’ve got a lot of experience in this, you’ve been through this, you’ve been at our events. You really know the Amazon business side, the ecosystem. I’d love to hear in your words, really what that means by Amazon allows you to level the playing field.
Norm: Well, first of all, one of the most incredible things that’s happening right now, are the big brands are just discovering. They don’t understand Amazon. First thing is, they’re trying to get onto Amazon, and you’re trying to get onto Amazon, and as long as you do the right things, you’ll probably get in rank above them.
Norm: They have a lot of money to put into, and a lot of the times it doesn’t take money. It just takes everything that’s in this video series that I’ve heard about so far, understand how to rank and just follow the instructions. If you do that, and you have a great product, well, first of all you got to find that great product. Second of all, is you’ve got to really create the brand. That’s the difference. The big companies have a brand. If you’re going out there and saying, “I’m Bob’s store,” nobody’s going to buy your product.
Norm: If you go out there and you spend the money, get a brand and it looks like it’s a real product, people will buy it. They just have to trust that you’re a real brand.
Jason Katzenback: It’s so true, and… oh, sorry, I was looking at something. It looked like a guy. It’s about building that trust, but what I have found myself, and when I got started it was back in 2012. I remember I got into the health supplement market back then. I’m not in that market anymore, but I got into it back then, and it was actually a raspberry ketone supplement, and the number one raspberry ketone supplement, I had the exact same product as that person, but I just changed the label, and what I did was I made the marketing look a lot more like it was a natural product. I added some variation, and I found out later that that product, while I was still selling it, but that was my actual manufacturer’s brand, that they were selling them there. And not only was it my manufacturer, but it was also the top brand at the time selling that product, and I absolutely obliterated. I would estimated that I was getting a minimum of three to four times the sale volume as they were, and my price was around $25, they were selling it for about $12.
Jason Katzenback: It’s all because the perceived value people got from the branding. The branding looks more professional, the wording’s more professional, the images really relate to the people. Norm’s absolutely right. A lot of these big brands, they’ve got no clue how to use Amazon. They just think like, just put it up there and things will happen, and that’s not the case whatsoever. Yeah. Great for adding that.
Jason Katzenback: My next question then is, what does it mean if we’re setting focus on building a brand, what does that mean versus just selling products?
Norm: Okay. To build a brand, if you’re going to go out there and you’re just going to find a product and sell it, and just try to get rid of it, liquidate it, blow it out, that’s one thing. But if you want to get that high perceived value, and you want to get everybody else is selling it for $5, $10, $15, and you want to get to $29.95, you can, but you just have to build that trust.
Norm: What goes into perceived value? It’s all the little things. It’s the way that you look. If you’re going to Fiver, and you’re spending $5 on a logo, you’re going to get a $5 logo. If you’re investing in your brand, and you’re making something look really incredible, and you get that and you put it on your label, and you don’t make your label look like a book, like go to a professional company to get a label done, or at least have it done where you’re not writing your whole history on the label and if you have an incredible package, a lot of these brands, they miss out on the packaging.
Norm: You spend 15 to 25 cents, and you get $4 or $5 more. A lot of the times, the biggest mistake that I hear when people go through and they’re launching their product, they’re concentrating on the bottom dweller. They’re not concentrating on trying to get the top sales, and it’s so easy to do. Let everybody else go and get the $10 sales, exact same product.
Norm: We do this all the time, where you can sell the same product in a different package, put a nice little card in it, and then sell it for $23.95. It happens day in and day out.
Jason Katzenback: It’s so true, and sometimes I almost feel like I have to tell people, “Get out of your own way with that.” They’re like, “Oh, I could never sell something for that!” Why? At the end of the day, if you were selling a product that is a good product and you’re giving them the customer support, which is a big thing we’re going to get into, and they’re willing to pay that and be happy, why would you not take it. It’s a business about being profitable. It’s not about gouging. It’s about creating a product that is worth the price that you’re selling it.
Jason Katzenback: Oftentimes I’ll hear people say, it’s “Oh no, I want to try to be the cheapest selling product on the market, so everybody buys me.” I know my wife has actually said this to me before. She has not bought things because they were too cheap. The price was too low, where you’re like, “If this one with these reviews is this price, and that one’s that one, I’m kind of leaning towards the more expensive one”, because it also adds a level of quality to that in your head.
Jason Katzenback: Remember too, with Amazon, it will flush out the fakers. It’s not like we’re telling you there, “Oh, charge an exuberant amount.” No, what’s going to happen is if you charge too much for the value of your product, you’ll hear about it. You’ll hear about it fast. But, you usually won’t, if you have a good selling product, charge what people will pay. In fact, I’ve been giving instructions to people to start, “Raise your price. Raise your price.” Because they’re stuck at things, and they’re thinking it’s going to actually lower their sales.
Jason Katzenback: It will either have no effect on the sales, or oftentimes their sales will actually increase because of the raised price because of what it actually does to making your product seem more valuable. Not guaranteeing you that’s going to happen every time, but don’t ever go in there, as Norm said, with the bottom-dwelling mentality, because the bottom dwellers don’t have the money and resources to pay, so you want people that are going to be repeat customers. You want people that are going to pay a premium.
Jason Katzenback: These are the people that are going to be those best customers. Great tip. Do you have more to add?
Norm: We’ve talked about this case study before, but we had a product that didn’t sell anything. This is a client, and didn’t sell anything for 18 months. $1000. We ended up putting 25 cents into packaging and changing the bottles a bit. I think it was about a 45 cent investment. The guy did not want to go over $9.99.
Norm: First month, just by changing the packaging and the colors, went to $8,000. Second month, $28,000, third month $67,000. We ran out of product. He topped out at $23.99, and after the fourth or fifth month, the profit he made was $71,000. If he would have kept it with the same units at $9.99, it would have been $2,100. Same product, same amount. Just played with the price and it ended up being 45 cents in packaging.
Jason Katzenback: Yeah, if I can get anything to really be drilled into everyone’s head that’s looking at this business model, is know your math. Math, math, math. If you want to look at what your profit margins is, what your costs are, and then you need to figure out how to get the price to a point where you’re making profit, and often times it’s really simple. It’s just looking at the competition, seeing what the complaints are about the competition, and then making your product better based on that.
Jason Katzenback: It can be simple things. Just by even the labels. There’s so many little, little tricks you can do that can add so much value, so that’s fantastic.
Jason Katzenback: Do you have more, or do you want me to move on?
Norm: No problem. I can talk forever on this.
Jason Katzenback: Keep talking then.
Norm: Oh, you want me to keep talking, okay. The other thing you can do, and I love this about the products, and this is where brands can’t do this. You can be decisive and do this. Go out and do the little things that the brands don’t do. Go and see what your competitors are doing. Order it in. See how it comes in.
Norm: Everything you do on Amazon is about the customer experience. If you want good feedback, they have to like that product. If they open it up and they see this incredible box, even though it’s a quarter, and opens up and there’s a cord in it, and it’s really nice, and there’s a note. If it looks like an iPhone, I get excited opening up my new iPhone. Oh, why? Because of the packaging.
Norm: Same thing with this. I don’t care if it’s a plastic shoe stretcher. If it comes in a nice box, you’re going to have a really great experience. The other thing is, the little things. Their psychological things that people don’t realize. If you’re getting a supplement. You were in the market. Put a safety seal on. Shrink wrap it. Just make it where people feel secure without having to think about it.
Norm: Those are the little things that you should do. Making a certificate of authenticity. A five cent piece of paper, a two cent piece of paper, saying that it’s certified to be authentic by your brand. These are the little things. You just have to think outside of the box, see what the competition is doing, and just do something a little bit different.
Jason Katzenback: With that question, what about people that are just starting out. Because you know, cash flow is king. If you don’t have cash flow to start out, and someone hasn’t really proven a product yet, what do you think the phase of brand building is. Like when do you really get serious about brand building to the point where you’re really put a lot of effort into it versus just trying to test markets? How do you approach that?
Norm: I think some of it, a lot of it, is just education on how you go into the first purchase. Because I just had a client today that was talking to me about buying a small amount, it’s a beauty product, a small amount of product. They bought rigid boxes out of China that was going to cost $1.75. I took it. I did a micro-corrugated cardboard box, exactly the same container, but I got it to ship flat. It ended up landing for probably around 35 cents.
Norm: Right there, you can invest a lot more money. Check around. Talk to your suppliers and see if there’s any options that you have. Maybe at first you don’t go into the big box. Maybe you put it into some sort of bag. Look at size. If dead sea mud. 16 ounce dead sea mud. A few years ago, $59. Last year $29. How do you compete against that?
Norm: Go get a four ounce tin, load it up with mud, make sure it looks better than the competition and sell it for $24.99. There’s all sorts of ways that you can be competitive on Amazon.
Jason Katzenback: Very cool. One thing I guess I wanted to really emphasize that you just said, like maybe a plastic wrap, so when you’re first getting started, like let’s say you can only afford 100 units of your inventory. The last thing I’d want you to do is say, “Oh, no, I’d better only get 50 so I can invest in better branding.”
Jason Katzenback: As Norm said, you can just use a poly bag and just make sure that the first step is a good product. If you have a good product, and you get it up on Amazon, you do a good listing, you do good images, you get it selling. Once you’ve proven it’s sells, that’s when you really want to up the game.
Jason Katzenback: I’m so surprised at how many times I order a product, and it just comes in a poly bag. Remember, we were actually looking at doing these towels. They were going to be these really nice dish towels, and when I ordered the competition, it came in a vacuum bag, just this cruddy bag. It looked like I ordered it for industrial use. It didn’t say anything. It said, “For your home.”
Jason Katzenback: On the contrary, in our brands, we want it to be so that the box itself it comes in, could be a gift box, and we get complements about that. Our products become really good gift products because of the packaging. Like Norm’s talking about. But, if we would have done that right out of the gate, we would have probably hurt ourselves in a lot of ways.
Jason Katzenback: A big important thing here is constant evolution. I know there is a guy who just spoke at our last event, he said, every single time he does a new inventory order, he makes sure that there’s a new change in the product. Some sort of improvement, even the slightest thing. That’s really the secret here, because if you think you can come out, throw one product up there, and just walk away and make millions, it’s not going to happen.
Jason Katzenback: Now, you might get very lucky, throw a product out there, and it takes off, but it will start getting competition and it will fall again. Brand building is also very long term game. It’s just getting you in the right mindset, that you’re not in this business just to make a quick buck. You’re here to create a legacy, to create a brand, and a brand is what people want to buy.
Jason Katzenback: I knew that from company perspective, too. When you have a brand, a big company with a nice brand behind it, there’s people that are willing to pay millions of dollars for that. By focusing on that right from the get go, you’re really setting yourself up for long term success in a lot of ways with this business.
Jason Katzenback: All right, so I want to remind everyone if you’re on this call, please, if you got any comments, leave them, please like and share this post. Please, please, please. It helps encourage us to keep doing these. And last but not least, I’d love you to share where you’re from. I see a few shares already in here, so just let us know where you’re from, and we’d love to just do a shout out for you.
Jason Katzenback: All right. I have one more question. I also just want to remind everyone to check out the free training series at amazingsellingmachine.com. We’ve got three videos live right now, with some fantastic downloads. You get access to really powerful software tool. You get access to a full flowchart of our sourcing procedure, plus you get access to another document that is a roadmap for helping you really dominate Amazon by getting your product listed, and not only listed, but ranked very, very quickly. You’re going to want to check that out again, at amazingsellingmachine.com.
Jason Katzenback: We talked about succeeding with the brand. You’re going to have to see you want to have a good product. You want to have great images and you want to use all the image locations available on the product. You want to have a good listing. You want to really make sure that you’re addressing the points. But, outside of that, how can you build a brand on a budget, Norm?
Jason Katzenback: When you’re saying you’re competing, like let’s just say you’re competing about Nike. They’ve got billboards and everything. How can someone not have to spend a fortune to really build their brand and get the word out?
Norm: On Amazon, part of the reason that you don’t get ranked is because you have a terrible listing. Some of the things, I should have mentioned this before, when you’re putting up a listing, I always do the Brady bunch. You throw it up there with your competitors, and if three or four people pick your product all the time, then you’re doing something right. That’s the cheapest way, because before we launch anything, we don’t want to put up an image.
Norm: We want to make sure that everything, the key words are there, the title reads well, bullets are there, backend is all done, and then once were ready we go and we launch the images.
Norm: The other thing is just going out and trying to get some PPC, running some of the PPC. Now, I don’t think this is the right call to talk about PPC, but just going in there and driving some traffic that way, that’s probably the easiest way.
Norm: Other things that you can do. You can do things locally, and you can do it on social media. Social media is a great way to get your brand out there, and you could just let people know what’s happening. You can go to influence your marketing. Influence your marketing is an incredible way for you to get your brand out there. People have never heard you and you can get influencers to blast it out to people who follow them. It could be a contest, it could be just something they’re blasting out on their social media.
Norm: The other thing, and this just happened today. This is incredible timing. I did a product launch in a very competitive market. It wasn’t supplements but it was something competitive. I only did a handful of giveaways and I did 20 press releases, and we’re on page one for this incredibly complicated product, and we’re just killing it, and it’s only been a couple of weeks since this thing launched.
Norm: Anyway, people have to look at other ways of doing marketing. A really good press release, not a free press release, but a good press release, will get you a lot of authority links. A good influencer, you’ll get a lot of traffic. There’s lots of things that you can do.
Norm: You can get influences to do a video about why they love it. You can tell them what to say about it, and then when people see it on their social media, you can repost it. There’s all sorts of things that you can do to bring very inexpensive attention to your brand.
Jason Katzenback: Very cool. It’s making me think, there’s different areas that you can really focus on for each kind of component of your business. Like for example, when you’re brand building, you start on a budget, and you do things like a perfect example for me is just publishing content on the web. Doing a few press releases, doing a few articles on different article sites. Using sites like Weebly.com, a free website tool where you can build a website. Because what’s going to happen, and I remember this very much, is I didn’t build a website right away, and I didn’t focus on anything like that with that first raspberry ketones product, and I remember actually having a complaint saying, “I couldn’t find this anywhere online, makes me nervous. I’m not sure if I want to buy it.”
Jason Katzenback: Right away, I was like, “Oh.” So, I just flooded the internet with stuff about my product, and sure enough it helped. You got to think, think of yourself. When you’re going to Amazon, first of all you see this product that’s a known brand or your product, and they have the same amount of reviews, or maybe your product even has a higher review, but then, if they go to the product, and you’re assuming that they’re just going to pick the brand, but they’re not.
Jason Katzenback: For some reason, Amazon doesn’t work that way. People that shop on Amazon are very frugal shoppers from the perspective of they want to look at the reviews, they want to read the description. They want to do all that stuff, but if it’s something they’re not familiar with, they are going to look outside of Amazon to learn about it. This product, like, “Hm. Let me check Google and see what it has to say about it.”
Jason Katzenback: Because you’re a new brand, there’s going to be nobody else talking about your product so it’s your opportunity to flood the internet with positive news about your product, which starts the brand building process. Then, you want to use Amazon’s internal tools.
Jason Katzenback: The other thing, actually Norm, you mentioned this part. Then you got to think from brand building, once they have the product. Norm, maybe you can give some tips, just from a brand building perspective, how do you help build your brand through the customers once they receive the product?
Norm: Well, let’s say once they receive their product, we use a tool called Manage by Stats, so we track the customers, and any repeat customers we’ll try and target on Facebook, and then we’ll get them onto a list and try to target them whenever we’re doing-
Norm: Or you could offer a coupon, or if you’re doing new products, you can just target that client. The other thing that you can do is when you send out your package, they receive it, either on the outside of the package, you can put a QR code, and that QR code could take them directly over to your website, and also on your packaging, make sure you’ve got that, your website and your social media, on the package. No problem, it’s not against terms of service, and then you can just click on the QR code, it could go to a landing page, and that landing page could talk about a VIP page. It could be instructions. It could be a lot of different things on how to build the brand.
Norm: I try to get people, like I don’t mind selling on Amazon. I love selling on Amazon. That’s where everybody goes and searches, but I really like when I start to see people coming to my website and buying product as well. Then they’re mine. Then, I own the asset. That’s something that people starting out, build up that Amazon business. Get in front of them.
Norm: The most important thing that you can do building a brand, is live your brand. Make sure you’re your own customer service. If somebody says something, get on it. Like, if somebody gives you a one star review, why did they give you the one star review? Refund them immediately. Don’t even think about it. Refund them, and then try to find the order and send them a message saying, “Hey, I’m so sorry, we’re a small business, blah, blah, blah. We’ll do whatever it takes to make this right.”
Norm: You’re always on customer service. That’s probably the biggest thing that you can do.
Jason Katzenback: Yeah, I can’t argue with that at all. Your customer service can save so much. I hear this a lot. People say, “Oh, this person asked for a refund, what do I do?” Give them the refund. At the end of the day, if you’re getting such a big refund percentage that you can’t be profitable, your product sucks. There’s no two-ways about it. Amazon does not get that many refunds.
Jason Katzenback: You might, you could sit there and say, “Oh, what if this person’s a scammer?” Well, you’re going to waste so much time worrying and trying to figure that out, that you’re not focusing on your business. Chances are, it’s not a scammer, and this person is going to be so happy that you did this, that they could very well buy again. So many people I know that’s like the way this was handled, they end up turning that one star review to a five star because of that.
Jason Katzenback: Now, a big important thing there. Don’t get angry. Don’t get frustrated. Remember, the customer is right. Even if you think it is complete bull, whatever this person’s complaining, remember your job is not to fight with this person, because that just makes you look bad. Give them superior customer support. You’re absolutely right.
Jason Katzenback: Another thing that you hit on that I think is a really important takeaway for everyone here, is build your own brand and your own assets. We’re telling you to leverage Amazon, because Amazon’s huge, but at the end of the day, if you’re not sitting there collecting your own data, because Amazon does not give you certain details of the customer. You get some details but not all of it, but you want these people being in a communication pattern with you.
Jason Katzenback: That means getting them to like you on social media, follow you on Twitter, opt in to your email list. Because what you’re doing as Norm said, even if you just focused on using a great tool like Manage My Stats to be able to get the audience created in Facebook. Now you can very low cost, you’ll find that your costs are rock-bottom between getting a new customer, is now you can keep your brand in front of their face. You can constantly show them promotions, [inaudible 00:29:08] you got a new product, so let’s say I’ll keep using my weight loss supplement thing.
Jason Katzenback: If all of a sudden I come out with some sort of exercise equipment, and I already have this audience of people wanting to lose weight, now I have a perfect target audience names that are already familiar with my brand name, that now I can start showing my ads to. Very inexpensively, or if I have a mailing list created as well, now I can email them, get a mass amount of sales on Amazon because I give a discount, and it helps you really take off new products.
Jason Katzenback: Because I think that’s something important to mention here, too, Norm, because we’re kind of talking like building a brand with one product. What does the power of brand building when it comes to wanting to grow your product line?
Norm: When you’re looking at a brand, that’s one of the first things I’m looking at. If you’re going in there and you’re getting something that’s only a one-off, then you’re limited. If you’re going into the beauty category and you come up with more of a generic name, because if you take a look, Amazon competes with you. They have all sorts of generic names out there, and so they can build out these brands, whatever brand that you’re doing.
Norm: If you’ve got xyz.com, or .club or whatever it is, and it’s just a generic and you can build it out, then you can bring out, let’s say, a soap line, a body lotion line, whatever type of line.
Jason Katzenback: You’re into beauty supplies. I can see.
Norm: But, you know, if it’s a supplement line, or a wellness line, you want to make sure that you can sprout your line. The other thing that’s extremely important, take a look and see if it can be reoccurring revenue. Also, make sure that if you’re expanding this out, let’s say it’s soap or let’s say body lotion, you can create a gift package.
Norm: You can take that, you can drive it back to your website, or you can create a separate [inaudible 00:31:14] that takes the two products and now you can do a gift set to offer the person. The other thing I was going to say, I just seen this about a couple of weeks ago. We changed one of our clients’ listings, and I didn’t think this would fly, and it’s a really low dollar item, and I wouldn’t recommend low dollar items. This was $9.99, and not the same product I was talking about before.
Norm: We were trying to figure out, okay, how can we get this up to a $30 item? We came out and we did, this is a notch above maybe just getting into Amazon, but a step to look at. It’s called the parent-child variation, and we just took a one pack, a five, a 10, and a 25 pack. The 10 pack we were able to sell at much higher, I think it was 39 bucks or something. It ended up outselling the $10 pack.
Norm: Way more profit for the client. All you’re doing is offering the exact same. You’re expanding your brand, because, here’s the thing. It’s going into business now. The [inaudible 00:32:27] side of things. People are actually buying it for other things, not just for household.
Jason Katzenback: Nice. Very cool, very cool. One of the other things with brand building, too, is logos and stuff. What do you think, because often times I hear nightmares of logos. Do you think the quality of your logo really makes a difference? Just curious to your perspective.
Norm: Major. I see it all the time. People will send me their logo, and it’s just, oh, my gosh. There’s 20 different fonts. You’ve got this huge effect in there, you can’t even read it. You want to make it clean. The way that I come up with a logo is completely different than the fired guy.
Norm: When you think about it, you have to know your company’s story. That brand’s story. What is it all about? You have to have that vision for that brand. Where do you want to go? Are you going low, medium, high? Where do you see this? Is this something you’re going to sell? Is this a legacy for your family? At the end of the day, you put those two things together, and kind of understand where that logo is.
Norm: Take a look at your competitors. Time to come up with colors. In the food industry, you don’t want to use pukey looking colors. In the wellness industry, greens and blues. Make sure, if you want it sheik and elegant, black with gold highlights. Things like that. Then, it’s don’t mix up the fonts. If you’ve got 20 different fonts, it’s going to look terrible.
Norm: The absolute biggest thing that I can tell you, you don’t cheap out on your logo. You don’t cheap out on your images. And probably packaging as well. Surprisingly enough, even going to the next step for a logo designer, a true logo corporate identity person, isn’t as expensive as you think. You got to remember, that logo that might cost you 500 bucks, it might cost you 750 bucks, it might cost you 250. At the end day, when you go and sell your business, that logo that you paid $5 for at Fiver, that little piece that’s called goodwill, that people are going to give you tons of money for, are they going to give it for that $5 logo, or something that’s really incredible. It’s just an investment.
Norm: If you really want to build your brand, that’s where you invest.
Jason Katzenback: Very cool. Now, you hit on something, and I see a question come up about it, too, about building a website. One thing I want to make sure everyone’s not worried about is, when you’re getting started, the reason why we tell you to start on Amazon is because it’s so easy. Now, we recommend everyone, as soon as you get a product up, you should create like a one page little website. Something simple, just to have up there, but don’t start creating Shopify or eCommerce store where you’re trying to sell, because you’re not going to be able to focus on both.
Jason Katzenback: Really, just focus on your Amazon listing, but know you cannot link your website from your Amazon listing directly. Amazon wants you to keep everything in the ecosystem of Amazon, so if you’re asking, I see that question, if you’re asking from like an SEO perspective, absolutely not. They don’t want you doing that, and if anything, it will lower your sales.
Jason Katzenback: One thing with eCommerce and sales in general, you want them to take the least amount of actions as possible. You’ve got this highly optimized Amazon listing that Amazon is constantly testing, constantly optimizing how to sell from. I have products that literally get 30% conversion rate. It’s not that way all the time, but it’s well over 25% all the time, so in my opinion, why would you want to be sending that traffic somewhere else? It’s a high converting page.
Jason Katzenback: Now what Norm says is it’s great once you start getting traffic to your website, because at that time, now you’re building a brand. Now people are looking for your product. Now, you’ve proven your product out on Amazon, and you can start selling on your own website, doing targeted advertising to that, and take advantage of both things, but when you’re first getting started, really keep your website to a minimum.
Jason Katzenback: Because at that time too, you don’t really know your full branding yet. You’re still trying to figure out the story. You’ve got it all mapped out but you might find once you start selling your product, your targeted demographic is completely different than what you thought. You might think you’re selling to 40-year-old males, but you find out your primary customer is 28-year-old females, and you just really don’t know that, especially when you’re getting started, until you actually get your product up and selling. Just something to keep in mind.
Jason Katzenback: I just want to see, I think I have- From a branding perspective, what do you recommend with trademarks, copyright, patents, any of those kind of things. Any comments?
Norm: Well, especially with Amazon right now, with brand registry, if you wanted to get into those services that really do help sell a product, it’s always good to make sure, right off the bat, that it is available. Go in, check to see the name is available. If it’s not available, or if the .com’s not available, or there’s a couple of others, like dot store, dot shop, dot club, you can check and see if those domains are available.
Norm: If they’re not available, abandon. Go. Run and get something else. If you can’t see it, if it’s in the name search, if it’s already taken, then just forget it. If it’s not, you want to just probably go a little bit farther.
Norm: Trademarks aren’t as expensive as they used to be. I remember dropping, like it was 25 hundred bucks years ago. You have to pay for a trademark. Now, I’ve seen them, not if you do it yourself, it’s a bit cheaper, but you’re a bit more exposed, but you can do it for $600 to about $1000.
Jason Katzenback: Yeah, I think it was about 600 when we did it. But remember too, I want to remind everyone, you don’t have to worry about any of this stuff until you start getting your product selling. Like, when you’re getting on Amazon, the last thing you’d want to do is all of a sudden pay for this other stuff and then find out a month later, like, “Geez, nobody even wants my product.”
Jason Katzenback: Get it up, get it selling, and once you’re like, “Yes, I have a winner here,” that’s when you really want to start implementing all of these things, so I just wanted to add that as a point. Great point.
Jason Katzenback: I don’t have any other questions. I mean, we’ve pretty much covered everything that anyone, which makes sense. The big thing to remember about branding here, and this is why we tell you, you’ll hear people say, “It’s best to start with a product you’re passionate about.” But, at the end of the day, you want to be passionate about your products.
Jason Katzenback: I’m going to tell you two different things here. Being passionate about your product doesn’t mean that, “Oh, my goodness, I have to love these supplements.” Whatever this is. Omega3. Like I’m such a health nut, I believe in this product, I can tell you everything about how this product effects your blood, I’m a health nut. No, we’re not saying that.
Jason Katzenback: What being passionate about your product means, is that I’m passionate about this product. I know that I’d be proud to sell it to anyone. I know what goes into this product. I know who my customer is, so I know this product. You’ve got to remember when you’re starting out, if you’re picking a product that is completely out of your realm, you know, if you’re a 22-year-old guy that has never had any kids, and you’re trying to sell baby products, that’s going to be hard. But I’m not saying you can’t do it, but you just got to remember if you have no relationship to the product, nothing about it, no interest, it’s going to be a lot harder to be really enthusiastic about your product, about your brand, because you’re not going to sit there and want to shout about your brand, “I have the best baby blankets in the world!”
Jason Katzenback: No, because that’s not who you are. You got to remember, the products that you pick, you need to be passionate about them from a perspective of making sure they’re high quality and really, really good, but it’s also a lot easier in life if you start with products that you’re familiar with, that you’re okay to talk about. Because a lot of this is with customer support, with marketing, everything, if you can write the initial, especially when getting started, if you can write the content, if you can give guidelines, if you can actually do a lot of the leg work initially, it will save you a lot of money, and it will be able to help you give a much better customer experience.
Jason Katzenback: Did that make sense how I said that Norm?
Norm: Yeah. I think a lot of people, they what if things to death. I should say, what if things to death, and they do it all the time. Get it out there, and even if you’re only going to get 100 items or 500 items, this is a learning experience. This is your task. You go in there, you learn, you understand, you absorb, and guess what? You might make a little bit, you might make a lot. If you do it right, you should be making some money.
Norm: The next one that you bring out is going to be that much better. You’re going to be able to take everything that you learned, and apply it to the next one, and the next one and the next one. It’s always a learning experience.
Jason Katzenback: Excellent, excellent. Well, Norm, I’m not going to keep you much longer. We’ve been on this longer than I promised you. I thought it would only be about a half an hour, and I know we could talk for many more hours. I want to remind everyone, first of all, thank you Norm for being here.
Norm: [inaudible 00:41:45]
Jason Katzenback: Everyone give a like to this post in the comment for Norm taking time out of his day to do this for us free-willingly because he just believes in what we do and he’s a good friend. Also, for anyone on this call, thank you, thank you, thank you. Make sure you check out theamazingsellingmachine.com, we’ve got that free training series, and you’re going to want to stay tuned for noon tomorrow, central time, where we release video number four, which has some powerful information for the helping you get started with this business model.
Jason Katzenback: On behalf of everyone here at The Amazing Selling Machine, I want to wish you a very good goodnight, and Norm, again, thank you very much.
Norm: Oh, my pleasure.
Matt Clark is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Amazing.com, a serial entrepreneur, and investor. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNBC, and Entrepreneur.com.