Episode 20: Ian Smith

Ian builds Facebook ads and messenger bot flows for brands on Amazon. He’s got his finger on the pulse, he understands the importance of funnel development, and the foundational pieces that are required as a brand to build sustainable success.

– Why customer lifetime value is important in advertising

– What type of product he thinks people should be focusing on now

– Why you shouldn’t over obsess margins on your first order

– China knocking you off your perch on Amazon

– Why you’ve got to drive traffic from off of Amazon to win on the marketplace

– Owning the customer journey

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Click here for the RAW unedited transcript
[0:00:00] George Reid: Welcome to It’s Aways Day One. My name is George Reid, a former Amazonian turned Amazon consultant. Each week on the podcast, you’re gonna hit industry experts, brand owners on Amazon employees share their answers to the basic yet fundamental questions. You should be asking yourself about your Amazon business. Now let’s jump in. Hey, guys, new episode today with Ian Smith, who is a guru when it comes to building out many chap Bach Flows and Facebook advertising campaign specifically for advertising. We’ve structured it a little bit differently today, gone for a 14 minute episode. So instead of actually me following up on the back of his answers with more questions, we’re looking to make a little bit short, a little bit sharper, just to play around with things to see what the audience likes. Another final point before we dive into the episode is coming up very, very soon. We’re thinking of launching. Next week is a brand new little idea I’ve been working on over the last couple of weeks called Amazon Creatives. Essentially, I wanted to pull on a regular basis exceptional content that I see on Amazon, which could be graphics relating to the images and the listing, it could be the A plus. It could be an advertising campaign, a storefront packaging, whatever it happens to be. We wanted to pull that all together and put it in one place. So in order to ensure that you’re going to get notified about this, you wanna make sure that you’re following me on victim or joining my email list, which is launch part academy dot com forward slash emails and you can sign up to those emails. They’re gonna be really, really exciting. Really, really beneficial for anybody who wants a bit of inspiration, wants to cut out the noise of everything we’ve got going in our world and just focus on one thing which is creating exceptional Amazon content. This is gonna be the place for you. But without further ado, let’s jump into today’s episode. I’ve been asking these questions a lot, Teoh a number of my guests. And it’s kind of how we discussed about earlier on this very basic questions that a lot of sellers need to be asking themselves. But I think it’s important to understand. You know, experts like yourself who I appreciate your views, your opinions and thoughts. I like to get it from different perspectives, and you certainly offer a different opinions. I wanted to fire them towards you today and kind of get your 10 cents and some of these basic questions in

[0:02:21] Ian Smith: mind. Yeah, for sure, man, Let’s jump into it. What’s the first question?

[0:02:25] George Reid: Okay, so question number one is what one thing would you be doing right now to create sustainable success on

[0:02:32] Ian Smith: Amazon? So I tell us to a lot of my clients that are wanting to add products to their current product line. And basically it is to find a consumable product that is made in the USA. Has a long shelf life can be sold tow women age 30 to 65 because women in that age range do a lot of shopping and they actually have the money to spend. Unlike a lot of women in their early twenties, they do shopping, but they maybe don’t have the abundance of money yet because they’re not yet old enough. And then, ideally, the product can be approved by all ad platforms, So Facebook, Google, Amazon PPC. So it is add friendly type of product. But the reason why consumable is best is because you have a longer and larger lifetime value of your customer, so you have the ability to have that customer come back and you can get them to buy again and again and again month over month over month if it’s a monthly type of supply products. So it really helps you to with that customer acquisition cost right? So if you are paying, let’s say, $25 to acquire the customer. If you can get your lifetime value, let’s just say over a year’s time. If they spend $200 then to acquire them for $25 and you know that they’re going to spend $200 roughly, UM, then that’s going to really help you be profitable when you’re running your ads. Amazon, PPC, Facebook, Google, All that kind of

[0:03:56] George Reid: stuff absolutely love that answer. And it’s interesting because you echo my opinions massively. We could talk about this all day, but I want to try and keep on point today and rattle through these questions. I’m sure we’ll have a follow up after this at some point, but let’s go straight onto the questions so we can pack this full of much value is possible. If you could hire just one individual to help a brand, then what would their skill set be and why?

[0:04:21] Ian Smith: So I I’ve always kind of wondered this, like when I’m expanding my team in the agency on. By the way, if you don’t know, I run Amazon Marketing Agency. It’s called Evolved Media. We run a lot of Facebook ads and build up messenger box for a lot of Amazon sellers. So just my plug in there. If you want a book of free consulting, call with me. Head over to evolve media dot agency. But but the position I would talk tell you is copywriter. A copywriter is so versatile in all the different ways that they can help you and your business. So writing product listing copy they could write Facebook ad copy. Google Ad Copy email Copy Messenger bought copy. They can write copy for your product descriptions and infographic copy inside the product images. So there is a lot of benefits to having a really great copywriter. That’s the one position that I would say, like really, really get that person trained up, get a highly talented person in there because they can potentially bring the most value to your business and really helping you move as much product as possible and really help you

[0:05:24] George Reid: scale your business. Yeah, it’s so true. Like the water, no matter what staged on that funnel, whether it’s the top of the funnel and awareness And how do you grab someone on a Facebook page right the way down to the bottom of funnel hot buyers? How are you going to convert them? The copyright to kind of worth a weight in gold, and you can certainly see those who have done it themselves. Right? Anyway, we continue Andi not necessarily related to skills, but what bad recommendations do you hear in your area of expertise?

[0:05:55] Ian Smith: So I hear a lot of people talking about their early margins, you know, when they’re trying to launch a business. And I even mentioned this before I said, You know, a product with great margins. Well, it’s like when you launch and you have your first run with your first inventory run in launching your product on Amazon, don’t be so concerned about your product cost your cost of goods, you know, if you buy a smaller amount of inventory. Let’s just say 100 units, you know, maybe a couple 100 units or something. Um, that’s not going to give you the best cost per unit when you’re buying an inventory, right? Because the manufacturer wants you to buy thousands of units. Well, don’t get wrapped up in trying to buy thousands just to get your margins Super get on the front end. Why don’t you buy a small sample size whatever sample size you’re comfortable with, and then start selling those And maybe you even are losing money in the beginning. But you’re starting to get data. You’re starting to get rankings reviews. You’re starting to figure out, you know, Is this product even worth pursuing? How is the ads? How are the ads performing with it? What’s your cost of acquisition? So you’re you’re collecting data, but you may be, you know that you can always go back to the manufacturer and negotiate them down to a fraction of what you’re paying before. So know that you can get your cost better. But in the very beginning, for your first inventory run, don’t worry so much about the cost being as low

[0:07:21] George Reid: as possible. Yeah, I think a lot of that probably comes down to validation, right. I think people get over over excited and do this monstrous order because they want to save X percent on the front end. But you haven’t got any validation of that point or not enough validation that the product is gonna be a winner. The only risk on the flip side, and we will go on to the next question. But the only risk is, if you get two smaller number, you go out of stock. You potentially lose any momentum. We’ll continue that discussion for another day. Okay, Next question. If you had 10-K, then to build an amazin business, you’ve already got that product. What would be the first thing you’d look to invest in?

[0:07:59] Ian Smith: So you already know me. I’m gonna say Facebook ads. We do a lot of Facebook ads and messenger Bob build outs and stuff and the message about build outs. I mean, I guess you could say labor. If you’re not gonna be the one building out messenger bots and and doing that stuff yourself, then you’re gonna have to pay to hire somebody to do that for you. So I would say labor costs, hiring me and my team. We could be an option. No, but But if if you could do everything yourself, ads are going to be the number one thing that I would recommend to put that money into. So Facebook ads and Amazon PPC Because you’ve got to get the wheels turning. You got to start telling thousands of people about your brand and about your product and your value proposition, your features and benefits, all that kind of stuff. So what better way to do that than with ads?

[0:08:42] George Reid: Yeah, obviously, traffic is always going to be the lifeblood off it on bond. Without it, No matter how greater product or how great the copyrighting is, it’s gonna be very difficult to scale without that immediate traffic. Okay, right along to the next. What do you think? The biggest threat to an Amazon businesses right now? Or brand operating on Amazon, if you will.

[0:09:05] Ian Smith: I guess I would say to so one Is China knocking them off? Okay, so this already happened with a couple of my clients, and again, that’s why I go back to my first question of use a manufacturing. It’s a little bit tougher, um, to to knock off, maybe. Ah, skincare product or hair care product? Um, in China, Um, maybe not. I don’t know. That’s debatable, but China is definitely going to try. People in China are gonna try to undercut you, especially if you’re getting your products from China. You may just have your own manufacturer try to undercut you and sell in the US if your margins are insanely great, right? Um, the other thing threat to Amazon sellers is Amazon itself. Just being pigeonholed in that one platform and not also selling on walmart dot com and eBay and your own Shopify store. Don’t just get stuck in just being on Amazon. Try to diversify and have multi sales channels to have your sales come in from, and so that you can try toe own more of your customer data because if all your customers or just Amazons customers and they’re not yours, meaning like they don’t buy from your shop. If I store you don’t have their email address, you have no way to reach them, you know, then your business isn’t super valuable, and it’s hard to even call it your business. Really? Because it’s kind of Amazon business, those Air Amazons customers. So

[0:10:28] George Reid: I think back to the sustainable success without that data without owning that data, it’s very difficult to see something sustainable. Eso saying that And it ties really nicely. I think, into that second point about Amazon and owning more data. How important do you think it is right now to drive traffic from off of Amazon rather than just focusing on platform?

[0:10:51] Ian Smith: Yeah, I mean, it’s super important. It’s everything, you know, being able to drive traffic off of Amazon. Um, it’s gonna help your ranking, right? It’s gonna help you with owning mawr of your customer because you’re owning more of their customer journey. So they’re actually seeing your product, your brand first, then they’re purchasing on Amazon. You also have the ability to re target and follow up down the line. You. Hopefully you’re getting their email address during that process, or somehow in the process. Maybe after they buy from you. But getting them in your Facebook custom audience is so that you could maybe retarget them down the line and be able to, you know, when you launch new products, hit them up. Try to get them to buy your other products or if your product is a consumer product, getting them to buy that same product again and again. Yeah,

[0:11:38] George Reid: obtaining those touchpoints is kind of a nice why I always view it doesn’t matter if it’s a chat bar or an email, but nonetheless very important saying that, though, when we’re looking about that external traffic, what mistakes you see most making when they’re advertising on Facebook.

[0:11:55] Ian Smith: So I would say they don’t split test enough. They don’t, you know, have enough campaigns running our audiences like that they’re targeting. They don’t have enough ad creatives. So different images. They’re not just testing enough strategies, and then the biggest mistake is they don’t actually retarget. So they think that everybody is just going to see one ad and then they’re either going to buy or not buy. Well, people need to see, like, 10 or 20 ads, and then they feel comfortable enough to buy. You gonna build that familiarity so retargeting is huge. You need to be hitting these people over and over and over and over, kind of like nagging them, so they’re annoyed of your product. Even That’s when you start to really see the results come in of people jumping off the fence and turning into customers

[0:12:41] George Reid: mhm on that being said then. Obviously, we spoke about Facebook and advertising on Facebook being a great tool to help with your ranking and Amazon. But what other strategies are you implementing right now to help with that ranking boost? So rebate

[0:12:55] Ian Smith: programs, for sure, using messenger bots for rebate programs. Those are really great because you’re getting them as a messenger about subscriber. You’re getting their email address. You’re owning more that the customer data and the customer journey right, so rebate programs work really well. Pixel filings. If you haven’t heard of picks, if I It’s a great link strategy that will get them. You can put your Facebook pixel in there, and you can help them with ranking. You can actually save 10% if you use the coupon code. Save 10. That’s 10 little inside hack. If you do want to sign up with pixel five, but definitely anytime you’re sending traffic to Amazon, use pixel file links because it also will open up the Amazon app if they click on it from their cell phone, like a Facebook ad from their cell phone or even an email. It will then open the Amazon app, which will greatly increase your conversion rate.

[0:13:45] George Reid: Nice on my final question that on it does kind of speak kind of keep on this topic of funnels is how could brands create operational efficiencies with their funnels right

[0:13:55] Ian Smith: now? So just re engaging, right? So, using messenger bots and email address, um, marketing, hitting them over and over weekly with content with offers, um, talking about new products, talking about exciting things that your company is doing, just even wishing them a happy Mother’s Day Happy Father’s Day. You know, keeping up with the holidays and stuff, just just staying top of mind and hitting them over and over and over. Um, content is a great way to do that. Just, you know, something new happened with this. You know, Amazon just released some cool new thing. Amazon’s prime day has been moved. Or maybe you have three tips on how to do X y Z, and you could just give them pieces of content. That’s a great way to give them value. Not sound like your sales and annoying and just stay top of mind to remind them that you’re around

[0:14:44] George Reid: absolutely in loving those answers. Thanks so much for your time. Hopefully, that’s challenge you a little bit, but you rattled about pretty quickly, So perhaps not. But let’s let’s catch up soon. Hopefully, it was good.

[0:14:56] Ian Smith: Yeah, yeah, thanks, George, for jumping on this video with me guys again. If you want to book a free consulting call with me, head over to evolve media dot agency. Thank you so much for watching this video. Leave a question in the comments below and click that thumbs up on and turn it blue. Thanks for watching. I’ll see in the next one. Hey,

[0:15:12] George Reid: guys, just a quick one. If you are enjoying the podcast on either have some actionable next steps or new ideas, I’d really appreciate if you could one subscribe to the show and leave us a review. Thes are really, really important to us. As you probably know, being in the Amazon world, aunt to if you’re looking for additional support with your brand, head over to the website, it’s always day one dot co dot UK. Where we’ve got links to other resource is as often our guys speak soon

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