Join ASM Co-Creators Rich Henderson and Dan Ashburn as they share the most important with you on the Million Dollar Brands LIVE show plus interview two 7-Figure Amazon sellers who reveal their #1 secret!
Want to know more? Then do NOT miss this video! Learn how to succeed selling on Amazon! Check out the full video transcription below.
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- Building a Brand Around Your Niche
- Cultivating an Engaged Audience on Social Media
- Driving Influence Towards Your Brand
- Implementing Facebook Messenger & ManyChat
- How Michelle Got Started With ASM
- Tips For Engaging Your Audience on Social Media
- Comfortable at Seven Figures
- Starting ASM While Working a 9-5
- How Brandon Got Started With ASM
- Building a Brand on Instagram & Facebook
- Finding Out What People Want From Your Niche
- Increasing Your Brand’s Credibility
Rich: Hey everybody and welcome to our next episode of million dollar brands. It’s gonna be a really cool show we’ve got two seven-figure sellers on, and they’re going to share their like number one secret with you all! Also we’ve got the amazing Dan Ashburn with us, he’s one of my co-creators with the Amazing Selling Machine. Yeah, he actually helps create the content, the training, and all that kind of stuff. We’re gonna be talking a lot about brands today and also about building audiences. If you didn’t watch it, I think it was our second video or the third video, we talked a little bit about brands, and how important they are. Now we’ve changed our focus, in the past it was always we would just pick products that were profitable. Now more than ever what we’re looking to do all the time is pick a product and then you know build a brand around that product. So for instance, you might choose a kitchen item like a silicon spatula and then you would move forward with that by choosing other kitchen accessories so you’re building out a brand of related products.
The importance of that is it gives you so many different benefits and options. First of all your customers are all going to love your products since they’re in the same niche. If you for instance have a silicon spatula, a weightlifting glove, or gloves, and some other niche. Then you know someone who comes in and buys a spatula isn’t necessarily going to be interested in you know sports clubs or you know any other products. You know they might be but it’s a guess. If you have a silicon spatula and then you launch a French coffee press or something like that, they’re related, so the chances of them actually wanting to buy that increase you know tenfold. Basically it’s about cross promotion so you’re looking to be able to you know sell your products to your customer audience. If done right, they’ll want all your products and not just one of them. So you’re keeping everything in-house and it’s so so important like I say it’s a big change it gives you so many other benefits too. The odds are you’re gonna be able to use the same supplier, so you know ordering more and more inventory from one supplier, the more inventory you order the lower the price will become.
You can target lower competition products because you’re building a brand of products, you’re not relying on just one product. So instead of for instance, instead of having one product that makes you fifty thousand dollars a month, you can have five products that make you ten thousand dollars a month or even ten to make you five thousand dollars a month. The advantage of that is obviously that you’re not putting like all your eggs in one basket with one product. One of the things you really really need with your brand is actually building an audience. Dan’s actually gonna walk you through that, he’s gonna give you some tips on how to do it, and how to do it correctly and quickly. Then we’re gonna bring on our two guests who I think you’ll find have similar interest in this topic.
Building a Brand Around Your Niche
Dan: Cool so when it comes to building a brand guys you build out a range of products to serve that audience. When you focus on a specific audience, and sort of focus on their needs and what their desires are, and then serve those needs and desires with the range of products, it allows you to build a brand online that’s very focused. You know it’s like when you walk into a shop and you see someone, a sales representative and they just give you the standard sales scripts. Then you walk into another shop and they understand exactly who you are what you need, why you’re buying that product, and how you’re going to intend to use that product, what impact that products gonna have on your life.
You connect with that brand a lot better than the generic brand, that’s trying to sell everything to everyone. So when it comes to sort of creating a brand and releasing a range of products you can then carry that forward online and use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook groups to attract your ideal customer. Your target customer that you can then use to make your life much easier when it comes to selling your products on Amazon in the future. So I’m gonna walk through some very basic steps that you can start thinking about to create a brand and an audience online. I should say, that brands and owning your own audience makes launching, and getting product reviews much easier.
If you’re wondering what products to release next you’ve got a whole list of your ideal customers, your target customers, that you can go out to and say hey what product should we develop next? And they’ll tell you exactly what products you should be releasing. So I’m going to share my screen here, so as you guys can see on my screen, Anchor actually started out as a brand then leveraged Amazon as a sales channel about four or five years ago. They’re pretty much a household name in loads of major retailers they don’t just sell on Amazon they’re all across social media they have their own website. But the point here is that they’ve developed a brand that they started and then expanded off and with that they then created their social audiences as well. So if we have a look at a basic brand Facebook page there’s multiple elements, you’ll have come across these all the time, you’ll see them in your news feeds for all the brand’s that you love. One of my favorite, Lululemon, which is a brand of clothing and I follow these guys on social media. I’m always engaging taking them up on their flash sale offers and they’re 50% off for a day. I absolutely love the clothing brands.
But maybe you’re looking to develop a cycling brand. So let’s say it’s a very specific subset of cycling. So we search for cycling on Facebook, we click on pages, and you’ll see tons of topical based pages that have a substantial following. So you’ve got like, I love cycling, that’s that’s a very generic one, cycling tips, it’s got two hundred eighteen thousand likes. If we had a quick look at that and junk on there what we should find is on the page is a constant stream of relevant content that that audience is going to resonate with and connect and engage with.
Cultivating an Engaged Audience on Social Media
As you develop this engaged audience you can then direct them, direct that influence towards any activity you want. So let’s say you’ve got a product launch coming up, you can use the audience that you own and you’ve built to say hey I’m releasing this cycle pump or this bike pump next week. Would you like to take part in the launch promotional offer? Everyone that says yes, you make a list of them, and there’s a list of people that will go and order your products when you launch that product which is going to give you a velocity on Amazon. It’s going to help you get your initial reviews on Amazon and it’s going to move you up the search results because that’s the way that amazon works. So a really good example here is cycling, away from pages because pages have got less and less impactful in recent years because of the way that Facebook’s algorithm works.
When a page posts it doesn’t reach as many people ,another great area to build an audience is Facebook groups, so if again we search cycling and we click groups you’ll see this group here that has cycling advice. Thirty-one thousand members and there’s over 50 a day in that group. So this is a really good way I’ve started researching an audience as well. Jump into these groups, join these groups, and join that conversation. Look at what sort of posts and conversations have been held here and then maybe consider starting your own group, because again you sort of cultivate and nurture those relationships with the people in that group, your ideal, your target customers.
When it comes to launching products asking for reviews, getting feedback on what you should release next, you’ve got your own audience that you can leverage and rely on. Another area would be Instagram, possibly more important nowadays in terms of ability. You search anything on Instagram and there is an engaged audience there, cats of Instagram for example.
Rich: Yeah have you ever met someone who thinks cats are OK? I haven’t, you either love cats or you don’t like cats, and there’s a tip from me there in a passionate market.
Dan: But yeah an Instagram account here, it has 10 million followers like absolutely crazy. Obviously this is an extreme case but imagine you started an Instagram account and started posting relevant content, started using the relevant hashtags, and over time start building that audience that you can leverage. You can build a Facebook brand page in 5 to 10 minutes, it’s a really simple process we teach you how to do that and it’s the same with an Instagram account. You know it’s literally you just go and sign up for an Instagram account with your name in there, pick a title, and boom you’re away. It’s just a simple way of reaching out you know. We do also obviously build a website, but again it’s a really simple website, and you actually find that you’re doing that more from the point of view of just um you know making sure you look legitimate. Where the actual action is, is where you actually get your customers in sales outside of Amazon. It’s on places like Instagram, and Facebook.
Driving Influence Towards Your Brand
Rich: Exactly another reason we’re doing this is so that we can drive that influence towards our brands and our objective of launching products, gaining reviews, and getting more product insight. Because as you build your audience, as it grows in size, the launching products in the future becomes way easier because you have your own influence that you can direct however you want to.
Dan: So I just did a quick search, ok so I found “cycling babes” so this is awesome. It’s a group of female cyclists, 88,000 followers, very active here you can see there’s good engagement. I mean the early-mid 20,000 watches on that video alone so it’s a very highly engaged Instagram and whoever owns this Instagram account can direct this influence however they want. The biggest secret in marketing in 2019 is he who controls the eyeballs ultimately wins. With an Instagram account like this, with that much following, you can get the eyeballs and you can direct them wherever you want.
Rich: Yeah good, no I’m just gonna say like a lot of our most recent success stories, that this is literally how they build their brand out. They got you know incredible amounts of revenue and it’s all with Instagram. Ann Ferris, who was on I think last week, she’s you know doing incredible amounts of money and most of her work is done on Instagram and it’s just posting little little pictures and stuff like. There’s no hard work to it whatsoever, sorry and I know I’m saying this is everything but it’s just that simple. The big thing here is a lot of these big companies like Dan showed you, although they might have a Facebook presence or something like that they don’t interact with the customers and it’s just such a simple thing to do now. Most of you on here probably have a Facebook account and you you know you talk to your friends on Facebook or you look at all this crazy political stuff that’s out there and probably just delete it or move on, but you know you can interact. It’s literally just, I just type a few words, hit a return key and you’re interacting with you know like in this case what is it two hundred and seventy nine thousand people. If this company puts an image onto Instagram with a link, it’s potentially reaching two hundred and seventy nine thousand people. To do that in the past you would have had to like build an email list you know, it would have been so common in a way to do it and also open rates with this kind of thing.
If you get a message on Instagram or Facebook you’re far more likely to answer it, read notifications showing up.
Dan: Exactly I mean a great example here, whoever owns this Instagram account, yoga, directs that at women. This post here, this video which just might even be the owner of this page has that twenty nine hundred views and as it’s the most recent post I go and see that in like the last 24 hours or so. You have to think what you could do with twenty nine hundred people? Directing those eyeballs towards your brands and you know with stories too. Once you’ve got this sort of following you could use all the swipe pop actions, and you can say hey new product launching next week, swipe up to be part of the launch campaign and get 70% off. These are the type of things you can do when you own your own audience instead of relying on someone else’s audience that you have no control over.
So Instagram is a great place, YouTube’s another place I’m going to dive into deep. We cover all of this inside of ASM 11 including the proven strategies, tactics, and techniques for building these accounts and directing that influence towards launching products and making sales on Amazon. YouTube, you type any sort of market, tea, making teas, another great market with loads of videos here. How to make the perfect tea, and strain, the different types of tea, and if I went over to channels I would most likely find channels with millions of subscribers. So if you’re more into video YouTube’s a great place to start but throughout all of this we’ve found the most effective way of building an audience. Take action, and then you can direct them in any way you want to launch products, get reviews, generate more sales, cross-sell, get feedback on products, like unlimited opportunities.
Implementing Facebook Messenger and ManyChat
Also it’s a combination of Facebook Messenger and a tool called ManyChat. So Facebook Messenger is incredible, Rich touched on this a little bit earlier. Email, only about 10 to 20% of the people that you email actually ever open it, if you’re any good at what you do. You click them, and right away you click delete.
90% of the people receiving Facebook messages are opening those messages though, and most of them open them within about 3 to 10 seconds. So as a brand owner trying to market your brand, that is absolute gold, so how do we do this? We’re using a Facebook page, we can put posts out for things like special offers, discounts, launch parties, that sort of stuff that directs those people into Facebook Messenger. But then we need a way of managing those subscribers and that’s what Manychat does, it allows us to manage those subscribers, send the messages inside of their Facebook Messenger inbox. Give them maybe promotional offers or let them know about something that’s happening. Ask them for feedback on a product. So you can see where this is going, so it’s about creating and building, and then coming up with a very clear simple strategy to direct the influence of that audience using a platform like Facebook Messenger.
That’s what we recommend. Inside ASM 11 we go through exactly how to set this up with proven templates, campaigns, and this becomes part of our launch strategy for launching products on Amazon. Not the only part of our launch strategy, but a very effective way of getting and gaining more products reviews on Amazon. So should we talk about special guests?
How Michelle Got Started with ASM
Rich & Dan: Yeah I think so. I think we can bring them on now. I think we’re gonna start with ladies first right? Yeah so we have Mrs. Michelle Benson joining us here on the call. So for the audience, how long ago did you get started with ASM? Also you know what were you doing before that?
Michell: Well before all of this I was in commercial marketing and PR for many years in London. Then I had my first experience with owning a business. I joined a franchise model and I ran that for about three years and then I had my first online experience when we launched our own dress company. So that was my first introduction to online selling, and then I found ASM 5 that really just started me on this incredible journey.
Rich & Dan: And Michelle at that point what was it about selling physical products on Amazon with ASM as opposed to doing a dress company, what was the shift for?
Michelle: Yeah so when I had the dresses I realized how hard it was to drive traffic to the website. I mean it was just impossible and it was so expensive so we started to list the dresses on Amazon and I pretty soon realized that there was more to this game than met the eye. Like why am I on page 1,000? You know how do I learn stuff and it was just through a coincidental conversation that somebody recommended ASM and I signed up. I joined, I flew to their live conference in Vegas, and yeah then I quickly ditched the clothes and the dresses. I realized there were easier things to sell, yeah and that’s where it all started, and yeah I’ve enjoyed success after that.
Rich & Dan: So hopefully you know, you’ve bought that person a drink since then. Because like going back to ASM 5 we certainly didn’t have training for Facebook Messenger, it didn’t exist, but like we didn’t really touch on Facebook or any of the other platforms. So like how did you get in, you know, how did you start learning about the industry? It moves so quickly, so whether you’re ASM 5, ASM 9, ASM 11 you don’t have to worry about coming in too late because it’s always something new and the game’s changed so everyone’s constantly new and changing with it.
Michelle: When I started with ASM 5, you’re absolutely right, you talked more about finding a product, looking at the keyword, finding a product, and just getting it live on there and that’s what I did for about 18 months. I really learned my craft, I was sourcing really random products, but products that were really competitive, they weren’t my forever products but I learned a lot with them and it was probably about 18 months after I decided that it was really working for me. I come from a marketing and PR background and I really didn’t enjoy selling stuff from China, just questionable about it. I didn’t love it, so I decided to stop, and I decided to go back to what I knew. What I wanted to create and that was my own brand which was where I started with the dresses, and that’s when I kind of sold out of all of my current listings. I even cut off some profitable ones because it just wasn’t working where I was going. I quite organically, I came across some products that fitted in nice to a niche. They started to develop their own audience and the brand really just grew and grew from there.
I found more who my avatar was, who my customer was, what my color palette was, what my messaging was, what my voice was, and it’s just grown. It’s become easier and easier and you know, you were going back to all of the things that’s easier once you have a brand, but for me the most important part was my clarity in my head. I wasn’t thinking of 500 different products, and 500 different people, and 300 different suppliers. I was just thinking of one brand, one audience, you know and all of the products fit nicely within that and it was for me, it was that quiet down of my own head that really enabled me to just you know scale this business to where it is.
Rich & Dan: So Michelle today’s live session million dollar brands is what two seven-figure sellers share in common, and we’ve probably let the cat out of the bag here, that one thing is audience. Yeah building and creating and owning your own audience that you can direct the influence of any way you want. So can you just talk to the point of sort of when you realize the importance of building an audience and owning your own sort of subscriber list that you could direct? You came across that and then I know that you were sort of one of the first sellers in my world, anywhere that I know of, that really mastered this for the Amazon business and the Amazon brands. Just talk a little bit about that point in the journey and so the realization that you had with that.
Michelle: Yeah so when we started doing some social media on Facebook, and by no means am I a social media expert, and I’m you know, I’ve never heard of Manychat before so I’m not techie in that way at all. We just started getting a lot of engagement on our Facebook, a lot of messaging coming to and fro, people were hungry for our products they wanted to know what we were doing next and it just like you say it grew organically through that engagement. I just knew that we were onto something here. We had an audience that was hungry for what we were giving them, and again it was somebody in there in the industry that mentioned the word Manychat to me, never heard of it, decided to go back to the office, locked myself away for a couple of weeks and found out what an incredible tool this was. All the while we’ve been manually messaging everybody on our Facebook page, you know on messenger. So that’s when again it was new to me but I took the time, I learned it and lasted it and it’s yeah it’s been an invaluable tool for scaling up the audience.
Rich & Dan: What would you say before we go, you know maybe showing a tip or two for the audience watching what would you say the biggest impacts of sort of focusing on building creating your own audiences, being on brand, owning your business?
Tips For Engaging Your Audience on Social Media
Michelle: Yeah well you have the resource at your fingertips so if Amazon changes the rules you’ve still got an audience you can reach out to. It could be as simple as you know, hey guys what do you call this, what would you type into you know Amazon if you were going to buy this, because sometimes you just don’t know what that is. You could ask them, you could put two designs in front of them and ask them to choose which color they’d go for, again obviously with the promotions, the ranking, you could do you know your own promotion codes to launch your product. Anything like that, but the real bonus is just that you’ve got them at your fingertips. So if you need to achieve an objective your audience can help you to do that.
Rich & Dan: Yeah I mean I think one of the, you know, we are going to obviously ask you some tips but I think that was a key tip there where you’re saying you know you put something in front of them and ask their opinion. Like just asking what your audience’s opinion is, it makes them feel part of your brand, and once you’ve got them in that position you know they’re going to be raving fans forever.
Michelle: Yeah and you engage with them on something like that and then suddenly you’re having a conversation and before you know it you turn them into a product tester for you, they want to test the product for you you know and it just leads places.
Rich & Dan: Yeah it’s amazing how natural conversations can can go somewhere else and I think that’s one of the really good points you raised there Michelle. Now this industry changes quickly, so we’re constantly updating the training to make sure we’re all ahead of the game. But with these changes, those that don’t take this seriously and invest in building their own audience fall behind. Like I say in ASM 11 we go step by step through proven strategies for doing that. While others are scrambling trying to figure out where they’re going to launch their next products, how they’re going to launch it, where they’re going to get the reviews from. You’re not, you’re not stressed, you’re sat their quite comfortable focused on which products to release next, because to that audience I have that relationship with that audience and I think that’s a good point. So Michelle just sort before we move on to the tips piece, where are you at now in the financial level of business?
Comfortable at Seven Figures
Michelle: Sure, well we are comfortably at seven figures. We’re hoping to achieve eight figures at the end of Q4, scale the brand, exit the brand, and yeah possibly to do another one.
Rich & Dan: So hang on so I know I don’t want to miss that right there. So basically you’re saying moving forward like you might have eight figures, but you know you think you might go on and sell the brand and then start another one? So I want to ask you first of all, obviously the flip side of this thing I mean if someone’s just getting started with this let’s say they’re in a ASM you know they’ve found the product, they’ve launched their product, they’ve started to build their brand a little bit. Like what tips would you give them in terms of like building an audience?
Michelle: Yes so stay true to your brand you know, what brands do you love? They’re not gonna sell you, you know for example a pair of slippers one day and then sell you an accessory for their car the next day. Stay true to your brand, think about those views that you can add, that service to that customer. So it’s customer before product, yes you have to back up the product with keyword research and make sure that there is a demand on the keyword but if you know that your customer is gonna like that product then put it in front of them and they will stay true to your brand. But back it up with keyword research because at the end of the day we are on Amazon and there has to be that demand and you have to be able to rank for a keyword. So yeah just keep an eye on brands that you love, look around you, how are they talking to you, what colors are they using, what images, what other products are they adding and you can literally copy that to develop your own style. and just bring it onto Amazon.
Starting ASM While Working a 9-5
Rich & Dan: Michelle if you were trying to build this business around a nine-to-five job, is there one platform you would advise starting on? What social platform would it be?
Michelle: I mean I hate social media personally. I you know, I really didn’t go on it, but I’m from a generation where it was Facebook so I’m comfortable with that and that’s where our audience is. We’ve tried Instagram, maybe we could do more with Instagram, but I just haven’t pushed it as much because I’m not as comfortable with it. But our audience seems to like being on Facebook, so go where your audience are having the most engagement with you, and also where you’re comfortable as well.
Rich & Dan: Yeah great advice cool, yeah I mean I guess to come back all the way to where we started. First of all I apologize the training wasn’t better for ASM 5. I mean obviously this whole explosion of social media. I mean not just people using it but obviously how it’s being used now especially for businesses and everything. But to go back to ASM itself obviously we’ve got people on this call you know, we do we are in the middle of a launch now, if someone was like on the fence trying to decide should they or shouldn’t they, I should think what kind of advice would you give them?
Michelle: I would say be realistic. This ASM is a really really solid grounding everyone needs that good solid start. Where you take it is up to you you know there are no strings attached you’re not on you know you’re not tied to it. You can take it where you want but it’s a really solid training ground. But I would be realistic, this isn’t you know just invest 500 pounds and you’re gonna be rich overnight. It’s hard work, it takes focus, it takes dedication, but you know in your gut if this is something you want to do, and you just need to have the right training to get started then absolutely I would say go for it.
Rich & Dan: Yeah believe in yourself, trust in yourself a hundred percent. Yeah well Michele thank you so much for taking the time out I know it must be what 9:30 or 10 o’clock something like that so much thanks to Michelle.
Michelle: Yeah I’m trying to stay awake like late tonight so I can actually sleep when I get there.
Rich & Dan: So yeah I’ll see you in China next week right?
Michelle: Yeah well I’m unfortunately I can’t go to China but if I don’t see you before that maybe we can organize a meet-up in London or something because it’s always great hanging out with you!
How Brandon Got Started With ASM
Rich & Dan: Thank you so much, so our next special guest is Brandon. Brandon thank you for taking some time to join us today on the show so should we start with your backstory? Brendan how long have you been selling? When did you join ASM? and where are you at now? Let’s start there.
Brandon: So since 2014, I joined ASM in the early days, the Wild West days, and right now yeah just trying to scale up.
Rich & Dan: What did you do before selling? Before joining ASM and starting your brand and selling on Amazon?
Brandon: Yeah so I was in corporate America I worked for a popular toilet paper company so very glamorous business able to do some freelance, that’s how I started my business early on.
Rich & Dan: So that was good, so you decided you’d had enough for the corporate world and you quit and then you found ASM? Did ASM inspire you to quit?
Brandon: Yeah I had a friend introduced me to it, and I purchased the course with a business partner of mine, a couple business partners at the time, and yeah we just got excited about a new opportunity. I had dabbled, similar to Michelle, I dabbled in doing some e-commerce stuff I tried selling furniture and other saturated markets couldn’t quite get it. This just seemed like a good foundational educational system for me.
Rich & Dan: So I know there will be a lot of people watching this call Brendan that maybe they’re going through some emotions battling back and forth in their head whether they believe they can do this. It’s obviously stepping outside your comfort zone, and I’ve found in my own journey that success lies outside of your comfort zone. What was going through your head when you sort of made that commitment to being successful, to starting a brand and sort of leaving the corporate world into the unknown world of entrepreneurship?
Brandon: I think goes back to where you guys left off of Michelle. I mean you gotta believe in yourself. I really think it comes down to understanding what you were built for, believing yourself, and taking the leap. You know I mean obviously it wasn’t, it was a little bit calculated in that you know. I had some money that I could invest, and I made sure that I made smart moves in the process and had some plans to make money outside of it with graphic design. So you do need to be practical, similar to what Michelle said, but at the same time you gotta at some point you’re gonna have to take some risk in starting your business.
Rich & Dan: So absolutely let’s bring it back to the point around social media and building an audience. When did you realize the power of sort of developing a brand? Building a brand and then creating an audience that you could leverage for that brand? So when did you hit that realization and how did that show up for you early days and 7 things like that.
Building a Brand on Instagram & Facebook
Brandon: I saw brands blowing up on there, and I also realize how I used it as a consumer, so getting started with ASM starting a product wanting to eventually start a brand not just wanting to start generic products. I sort of had that mindset from the get go, so I really was focused on okay I’m gonna start a brand it should be on something like Instagram or Facebook to get that message out and get my brand presence out there. So that’s what really drove me to get on Instagram and start engaging, start sort of getting my brand presence figured out. You know hit the road, and hit the ground running.
Rich & Dan: It’s really interesting because thinking back to when you started and everything, how long ago that was, you must have been you know one of the few people at that time on Instagram actually using it to build your brand, you know to help you make sales and stuff like that. So that’s quite impressive that you were ahead of a curve like that, but what is it specifically about it now because obviously now it’s a lot more saturated and well not saturated but there’s a lot more people doing this. Like you know what is it, what is it about it now that actually you know appeals to you so much?
Finding Out What People Want From Your Niche
Brandon: I definitely think once you get an audience similar to what you guys were saying, I think to be able to bounce ideas and new products that you’re coming out with, color variations anything like that off of your audience is crucial. I think it’s huge in launching a product and you can really get an assessment of what people are looking for in your niche, and it just allows you to engage with your audience as well. I mean there’s a ton of influencers you know not all influencers are creative people. I mean like the influencer game on Instagram has become saturated as well. But there are some really good people that just want to collaborate with brands to get their content out there, to add value, to do things like that. So it’s just trying to engage with those people, find those right people that fit with your brand and your message and trying to add value to them, and then sort of working out a collaboration sort of relationship with them to help you know get the message out to everybody audience.
Rich & Dan: So how does that show up tangibly? So let’s say I just started a cycling brand, I may be serving female cyclists specifically what would you advise me on how to sort of get started on Instagram and still maybe start posting relevant content the relevant hashtags how would you reach out to these influencers, find them in the first place, where does someone get started with that?
Brandon: Yeah I’d say from a macro, I mean it really comes down to a credibility play. I think a lot of people especially the way I like to consume things, I like to understand who the brand is and like I might go to Instagram first. Similar to the way people Google search something or do things like that, you kind of find out what the brand is about before you invest your time and money into them. I think right now the way I would use it, I mean, I guess you definitely want to be relevant on the hashtags and things like that. But there are so many tactical numbers type things, it’s really about the connection points, and you getting into the DM of people finding people that are posting relevant content. There are a ton of people on Instagram that specifically post tutorials, they post relevant stories, they post a lot of relevant content around the marketplace that you’re trying to serve so you try and you’re looking for those people that are posting relevant content. Then you’re also collaborating saying hey like I had this product that also fits that need that you’re serving with your content. Let’s let’s do some work together and go out from there and I guess going back to your point about how to connect with them is I would use the direct message you know you. Find somebody, reach out to them, and say hey I’m a brand, I feel like we’d be a good fit because you serve the market in this way and I serve the market in this way, and then that’s our conversation. As easy as that.
Rich & Dan: Yes so basically what you’re saying is like you’re not just going on to Instagram, posting your own stuff, and hoping people come and look. You’re actually actively looking for influencers and for those who don’t know influences. It just means they’ve got a big following, whether it’s on Instagram, Facebook, wherever it is. I’m sure you’re looking for influencers to increase your influence of your brand basically right? And crazy isn’t it like you said it’s like they’re serving the industry of the market one way, you serve it the other way, together it’d be a nice collaboration. That’s golden advice right there. Having developed this brand on Instagram and using it to really fuel your brand on it, on Amazon, what’s the competitive advantage of doing that? Why does that give you the edge over a competitor that’s selling on Amazon?
Increasing Your Brand’s Credibility
Brandon: I think it’s a credibility play. I mean if you want to go to metrics specifically, I can tell you over the years I can sort of correlate the number of brand search keywords that are attached to the main keywords, and it’s grown over time. It’s grown over the year so, which means that some sort of external factors going into that. So the thing that’s scary about Instagram, and why most Amazon sellers don’t get on Instagram at first is because it’s somewhat not measurable. It’s out in no-man’s land and you don’t realize that it’s going to be sort of a halo effect. Credibility that you create when people are doing maybe an initial search on Amazon, they find your brand, maybe you connect with them in some way, but then they put it in their cart and then they go check your credibility later on.
Rich & Dan: Yeah that happens I do that as a consumer.
Brandon: So you have to think about it as more of like a macro effect and a halo effect, versus a one to one you know this equals this sort of relationship. When you want to launch a product I’ll get some reviews, but it helps having that Instagram account, but I don’t post to story saying swipe up to get 50 percent off.
Rich & Dan: Right and do you use like Facebook, do you use Pinterest? Any of these other social platforms or do you just focus completely on Instagram?
Brandon: Not too much into Pinterest yet, but yeah I mean Facebook’s definitely a go-to as far as creating some follow-up sequences and doing some things like that to re-engage and then try to keep people engaged that way too. Instagram is a very personal platform, it’s like if you have a brand, if you understand your audience, I love what you guys talk about because you talk about understanding who you’re trying to serve first, and then going deep, and Instagram is a great place for that. If you know your audience, and if you get into a product niche that you can talk about and have a conversation about and add value to, then you can really start telling personal stories. You can give personal credibility, and offer sort of a personal effect to your brand presence on Instagram too. So it really kind of creates that more one-to-one connection versus some other platforms that don’t allow you to have a great sort of vulnerability or connection like that.
Rich & Dan: Right very cool, you actually do enjoy it I mean obviously it’s profitable for you, but do you enjoy it?
Brandon: It’s wildly profitable, yeah I mean do I have some outsource? Not really outsource but some employees and stuff they help me research some of the things and collaborate, obviously you have to have a person that’s good with understanding context in the relationship building, and keep a conversation, and understand your product and what you’re trying to accomplish. So those are important factors. It’s not something that I would ever hire out for a virtual assistant or get cheap you know labor or anything like that. It’s definitely something that I have pride in to to make sure that somebody can have a fluid conversation and has my sort of brand essence in mind when they’re having conversations with these people.
Rich & Dan: Yeah listen, thank you very much for coming on that was stellar. Just one more thing, so I want to ask you one question, and it’s quite important. I am not familiar with Instagram, I don’t use a lot, I Facebook and use messenger so if someone has decided you know maybe they watch this interview maybe you inspired them and they decided okay I’m going to use Instagram. Like if you give us a couple of tips or give them an idea of the best way that you would approach it?
Brandon: Obviously at a macro you want to add value, so however you can try to add value to that market’s products is probably the easiest way for everybody. If you’re not creating a lot of content or not good at blogging, things like that, then trying to create a direct relationship with either influencers or other people posting good content that have a large following is the way to go. If you can connect with some of those accounts and do a giveaway with them to sort of grow your audience, that’s probably the best and most quickest way to start. When you get into the later sort of posts and engagement, you’re gonna want to start creating some sort of content that people can relate to and consume to keep them glued to the account. Otherwise you’re just gonna have an open-door sort of following if that makes sense.
Rich & Dan: Yeah absolutely. So yeah listen Brendan thank you for coming on, it was great, always great to have you on again. We’re gonna see each other in China next and I’m looking forward to that. Thanks for sharing your experience and advice to everyone viewing at home. So if you are viewing at home guys, you obviously see there’s one thing in common between these two seven, almost eight figure sellers. Did you hear that? They invest in in developing a brand that served an audience, if you have passion for an audience, and you understand that audience, then you can constantly talk about that.
One solid piece of advice there from Brandon that was really key. You could have a conversation with that audience, then it just creates so much more depth in your brand, it gives you much more of a competitive advantage because you’re not solely reliant on Amazon. So what if something changes or maybe gets a bit more competitive? You have your own influence that you can direct. You want to keep it relevant, you want to aim to collaborate, and you’re looking to build an engaged audience that you can then direct. This is all stuff that we cover inside of a ASM 11, we break it down into step-by-step strategies, stuff that we’re running in our own businesses. We’re testing across all the accounts, all the brands I’m involved in. From how we launch products, get reviews, and sort of stay ahead of the competition using the audience’s within our brands.
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.