We are here with another handpicked speaker for the Professor's Pandemic event, Craig Romero, a 40-million dollar Amazon seller, to teach you the strategies and tactics used by underground sellers that are making around tens of millions of dollars a year. Howard was excited enough to go visit him down in the magical and mystical land of Texas, and until now, he still recalls how much money this guy makes on an annual basis. In this episode, he will share how he ranks his products, grows his products and brands, and selling it from start to finish.
Topics Covered In this Episode
THE FIRST EVER INAGURAL PROFESSOR'S PANDEMIC EVENT
Join this virtual mastermind event in the comfort of your own homes.
Introduce Craig Romero
Who is Craig Romero and how did he become a 40-million dollar Amazon seller?
The road to making 40 million dollars a year
What kind of skill set do you think that allows you to have this kind of opportunity to build these mega brands to sell?
Advice for Amazon Sellers
Building a strong brand and then leveraging all the tools that are out there that are available to every seller
Problems Amazon sellers have right now in 2020
What kind of problems do you see Amazon sellers are having in this 2020 pandemic time?
TOPICS THAT YOU WILL TALK ABOUT IN HOWARD'S PROFESSOR'S PANDEMIC EVENT
Choosing the right broker, know your business and understand your business inside and out.
what opportunities do you see for the sellers?
What opportunity do you see as a result of this current pandemic and opportunities for sellers beyond this pandemic?
What platforms do you see are an absolute must in 2020 and beyond for Amazon sellers to expand into?
Product Launching and Ranking
Craig's experience on launching and ranking with big investments
THE FIRST EVER INAGURAL PROFESSOR'S PANDEMIC EVENT
Learn more from Craig and other handpicked speakers during this virtual event
The Professor's Pandemic EventAre You an Elite Seller Ready To $CALE from 7 or 8 to 9 Figures?
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[00:00:00] Welcome to the Professor’s Podcast where we discuss the best strategies to massively improve the reach and bottom line of your business in the current virtual and economic landscape. Your host, Howard Thai, generates over $5 billion for his clients annually using innovative tactics, both on and off Amazon.
[00:00:21] Hey everyone, Hurricane Liz here, and we're back for another Professor's Podcast with me, as always, is my partner in crime, the man, the myth, the legend, Mr. Howard Thai. And Howie, we've got an incredible guest today that you were just describing all the luxurious things he actually did for you. Like this guy spared no expense.
[00:00:40] He knows who you are. He was excited to meet you. He wanted to network and mastermind with the best of the best. Would you want to tell the actual listeners out there what you did and why? What was all the fuss about you, Howie? I'm kind of like, I hung out with this guy in Mexico and I was actually turning, I was, Craig will be interested in all of this.
[00:00:59] I was trying to ditch Howie. I’m totally kidding by the way. So, Howie, tell us what was, what was all this lavish extent that Craig went to.
[00:01:10] Let me go back. I think it was a year or two years ago that I met Craig in the mastermind and one of these higher level masterminds that I went to, I think I was speaking at. And then we, then after a while he contacted me and we help them with some issues and then we, we became really good friends. He flew me and my wife out first class or business to, I guess it's Texas.
[00:01:33] And he booked like a five star hotel for us and we stayed there for a couple of days and we were every day, every, every meal. We had really good food. We went to watch a movie and everything. It was a lot. I met his wife and then we, we, we, we went through a lot of a cool bonding. We talked about the business and stuff and we almost got a, we almost got pulled over by a cop.
[00:02:00] Well, I'll let him talk about that part, Craig. Wow, that's, that's pretty crazy. Like, but Howie, there was one thing that you said there, then I was like, Howie are you sure it was Texas? Come on now, Texas? And, I'm from Texas, so I will say this much. Everything's bigger in Texas, the hair, the boobs, and apparently the amount of money you make. Because I heard Craig's astronomical projections for what he's going to make since he's been in Texas.
[00:02:27] It's almost like it's his good luck charm. And Howie are you sure you were in Texas? Are you sure? It's kind of like another land. I think it was. I think it was Dallas. Right, Craig? Houston.
[00:02:45] Yeah, Houston. That’s where I met him. Usually at night time I get kinda tired and I can't even think.
[00:03:02] Tiger beers straight from Hong Kong. I know all about the Tiger beer effect Howie. But anyways, just in case you guys want to know, we are interviewing Craig here and I'll do a quick intro here in just a minute. But he is going to be one of the 15 speakers for the first ever Professor's Pandemic event, and typically we do it in a real tropical setting.
[00:03:22] We knocked some drinks back as how he has become best friends with Don Julio. You guys would have heard me say that before. But the secrets really come out when you actually throw in some drinks and some people, you know, and obviously Texas, everything's bigger as Craig will tell us here shortly. But I want to remind you guys, because of the pandemic, we can't do that this time, which is extremely disappointing.
[00:03:45] Trust me, I feel it. I'm just itching to get out of my condo. But that's not going to happen. So what we've decided to do is to hold an online virtual event. It'll be the first Amazon, one of a kind, and you can pretty much get in there and watch from the comfort of your own home and you can wear pretty much whatever you want.
[00:04:04] All we do ask is you wear do wear a t-shirt. So if you decide to go a little nuts, underwear or whatever's fine down below, just don't stand up. However, we'll be more than happy to entertain you, number one, but also teach you the strategies and tactics used by underground sellers that are making upwards of
[00:04:24] Tens of millions of dollars a year on Amazon, and this guy is no exception. Obviously Howard was excited enough to go visit him down in the magical, magical, mystical land of Texas, which Howie can't even remember the city. But I will tell you what, he can remember how much money this guy makes on an annual basis.
[00:04:44] So Howie, without further ado, how excited are you to hear Craig speak? I’m pretty excited because he does what he does right now with the, what he, how he ranks his products and how he grows his products and brands and selling it from, from start to finish. We talked about it and it's really impressive how he plans for the exit.
[00:05:08] And actually, there's a little story about the exit that we just talked about. But I want him to talk about it to us. How, what, what he went through, what regarding selling his business. Absolutely. And Craig, you know, I think that's where we'll start. We'll usually have the guests start off with a two minute elevator pitch on who they are and why they'd want to actually speak at this wild event.
[00:05:30] But for you, as Howie pointed out, there is a certain element about your story that just makes it really exciting. It gets people motivated. It gets some energetic, and obviously it probably does the same for you. So you want to tell a little bit more about that story, Howie just talked about? Sure, sure.
[00:05:45] So I'm going to start from the beginning. When I first started selling on Amazon, and that was back in 2012 I had just recently sold a small software company that a partner of mine had put together back in 2010. In 2012 I exited that, and I had never been in e-commerce before. I've been in digital marketing since probably 1999 2000 for almost 20 years now.
[00:06:09] I've done digital marketing in the form of , I had an SEO company. I also had a small ad network and then a huge blog network of about 5,000 blogs. So I've been in digital marketing for awhile, but never done e-commerce. And in 2012, I decided to to dip into e-commerce and learn as much as I could. I was living in Austin, Texas at the time.
[00:06:29] I decided in order to learn Amazon, I needed to be somewhere where I didn't have any distractions, where I didn't know anybody. So I moved to a small cabin in North Carolina on 17 acres. I had internet connection and. Beautiful hiking and waterfalls. That was the only distraction I had, and I started to learn Amazon as best I could.
[00:06:45] And back then there were really no courses or no, you know, there wasn't a lot of formalized learning or tutorials, so I just learned the best I could from mostly the videos that Amazon had put out in the instructionals that Amazon had put out. After about six months, I felt pretty comfortable. I realized that I wanted to launch a product that I chose the product, I chose the industry.
[00:07:05] The way I chose the product and industry was through the software that I had developed in my previous company. It was a data mining software and I was able to capture market trends. So similar to what the software does now that we use on Amazon to find opportunity. I had a similar software that
[00:07:22] That data mine mostly Google and other search engines. So I was able to look at trends coming up. Excuse me, I've got dogs here too. Anyway, I was able to data mine some trends that I, that that made me feel comfortable in going into that space on Amazon. We were one of the first private labelers in the category that I chose.
[00:07:42] I don't think there was really anybody else other than like big legacy brands. In the categories that we were, that we launched in and we, we had the two top sellers in our category on Amazon, number one and number two in the main category for two years straight. So they didn't really, well, that captured a lot of, a lot of attention from international distribution and from retailers.
[00:08:04] I always think of Amazon kind of as a springboard. I know I've heard other people say this, but it's a springboard for launching brands that are truly good brands. I mean, a lot of people mark it on Amazon just to make a quick buck and they get in and out of trends real quickly. But we wanted to launch an actual brand that we could see doing well, not only on Amazon, but also in the retail space and in distribution.
[00:08:27] So with the success that we had on Amazon, it captured the attention of retail buyers and of distributed, distributor, distribution partners. Back then, Amazon didn't have a lot of credibility like it does now, where retailers and big legacy brands now look at Amazon as a way to expand growth, but back then it was so new.
[00:08:46] They didn't really know how to view products coming out of Amazon, but we were getting about a hundred percent, 95 to a hundred percent of our sales. Some of them were coming on Shopify back then, but most of the sales were coming out of, out of Amazon. We started gaining traction in international space, distribute, distribution partners were coming forward and we were locking in those relationships today. That brand, let me go back a little bit.
[00:09:10] We thought about selling that brand about three years after launching it, we had some really significant and valuable offers, but the business continued to grow significantly outside of Amazon, so we pulled it off the market. We got an offer, I'll just say, I won't give the value, but it was 10 X our EBITDA and our EBITDA was really strong, so to get 10 X EBITDA is a really, really strong offer.
[00:09:32] We didn't take that offer because we thought we could continue to grow that brand and build value off of Amazon, which is what happened. Let me know if I'm going too in, too long here too. You can cut me off if it's going too long. No, you're good. We'll keep going. Okay, so yeah, so we kept that business. We didn't sell it today.
[00:09:49] The 85 to 90% of that revenue is now coming off of Amazon from distribution partners that we have internationally. We don't focus that brand so much on Amazon because that space is just become super competitive on Amazon, but we don't really need to focus as much as we used to because all the, all the revenues coming off of Amazon anyway, your Amazon business is super easy.
[00:10:09] We don't have to worry about reviews. We don't have to worry about all of it. No suspensions and things that you typically deal with on Amazon. It's just a repeat orders every month we fulfill them, ship them. And they pay 50% upfront. The other 50% is paid before it shifts, so it's a super simple business model.
[00:10:26] In the meantime, during that phase, I also launched two other brands, or actually three now, but we're following that same method. It's a methodology where we're finding products that there's always going to be competition on Amazon, especially now it's more fierce. It's more strategic in how you formalize your launch.
[00:10:44] Back in the day, you could launch pretty quickly without a lot of, you didn't have to do any real rebates or giveaways. You could just do some discounts and it was much easier than it is now. It costs a lot more money now because you've got to do so many different things related to the launch. But we're now in the middle of trying to sell our two
[00:11:01] Brands that we launched three years ago, and that's probably the discussion that you guys want to happen today is where we're at with that, with that sale. Okay. So, yeah, like I, you were saying that you were likeselling your brand and everything. And then you told me that you actually. It was so high that it went so good so well that you guys should pull it out the market.
[00:11:25] Was it the same story as you just said? Right now it's similar to what's going on now. We haven't pulled the current business off the market yet. We did get an offer back in February, which is a good thing that we didn't sell then. The buyers actually had a hard time coming up with the full financing.
[00:11:43] They were going to put a portion of their cash up front to buy and then they were going to finance the second portion. Covid hit obviously that's tough for a lot of people. Trying to get financing and a merger and acquisitions kind of changed a little bit, but Covid I think actually increased the value of our business because more and more people are shopping on Amazon now than ever before.
[00:12:02] I think a lot of people that never used Amazon or didn't use it regularly now understand the value and the convenience of it. They can press a couple of buttons and a package arrives at their doorstep the next day, which they didn't realize they could do that. And now you have thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of new, new shoppers coming on to Amazon daily to use the, to utilize that convenience.
[00:12:24] And so our business is in a category that's grown almost four times since February now that Covid has hit and more people are shopping online. So it's a good thing that we didn't sell back in February because the value of the company has gone up significantly since then. However, we have gone back to market since that first offer came through and that that funding didn't happen for the buyer.
[00:12:44] We went back to market, their exclusivity ran out, ran out a couple of weeks ago, and we've had tremendous amount of interest. Now we expect to get four to five new offers on the business within the next 45 days, and now that value has gone up so much that we're just going to have to play it by ear. If we, if the buyer that we're working with or that we consider.
[00:13:03] gives us an offer that is valued where we feel the value is strong through the rest of this year based on our current growth, then there's a potential, good potential that we will sell. Because, I'd like to take some chips off the table and use some of that capital to grow another brand that we just launched two months ago in a different category, but it'd be great to.
[00:13:23] Out of all these years of selling on Amazon and building all these businesses, I've yet to take any chips off the table, so it'll be kind of nice to be able to do that. I'm getting older. I just had my 50th birthday last week, so I'd like to kind of start slowing down rather than continue to grow at this pace.
[00:13:37] But it's also exciting to be able to do that. So Craig, so you're making about like 40 million this year. This year potential could be close to 40. We had, we have something interesting that happened too. We had a couple of YouTubers that blogged about our product. Yeah, they're from South Korea and it just so happened that that's such a big South Korea, such a big market for digital and online sales, that those videos went viral.
[00:14:03] Our product sales went up, not only because of of Covid, but also because of these bloggers that blogged about our product, and we didn't hire these bloggers. They just use the product and it worked well for them. So those videos went viral, but we also had some distribution contracts come through from South Korea.
[00:14:20] We chose one distributor based on their ability to grow the brand, and that's equaling, their first PO purchase order on our product for the first time, their initial PO was $2 million. The distributor says that that could happen on a monthly basis. If that's the case, we'll see that putting a lot of weight into that yet, but if that's the case, that's an extra $24 million.
[00:14:41] A year just from distribution. So we're kind of falling in that same path that my other companies did, you know, several years ago where we started to grow much quicker off of Amazon. But again, Amazon was a springboard. We gained that recognition and brand equity on Amazon. So it's a really important thing to remember.
[00:14:59] If you build true brands on Amazon and they do, it just opens up your overall potential offline and through other channels. Okay. So what kind of skill set do you think that allows you to have this kind of opportunity to build these brands, these mega brands to sell. I, you've asked me this before, Howard, and I don't have like a, a secret or I don't have a, I do have a method.
[00:15:25] The method evolves as Amazon evolves, as we all know, Amazon's dynamic. It's a dynamic marketplace. It's never static, but I try to keep up with trends in terms of marketing. I follow a lot of a lot of top marketers such as yourself. I follow a lot of software platforms that help sellers on Amazon, and I just try and stay in in the know.
[00:15:44] I don't really have any particular skill sets or secrets of my own, but I think consistency and I think my strengths come in the form of branding and brand equity. I think I'm good at building brands in terms of consumer demand. I find, I can find products that consumers are looking for and I also can brand them well, which I'm probably giving myself a lot of credit here, but I think that's my secret, it’s being able to build a strong brand and then leveraging all the tools that are out there and available to every seller.
[00:16:13] And then just maintaining consistency. I've had some brands or some products that didn't do well over this time. I've watched some that, you know, certainly were failures, but you learn from those as you grow. I haven't had all successes on Amazon. But I haven't had enough successes that make this worthwhile, and I've certainly been able to do well for my stuff, so I've been thankful for that.
[00:16:33] Yeah. You know, Craig, you've had a lot of success, like you said, both on Amazon and then expanding off it, and not just with an Amazon business, but another business as well. So my question to you is, you're typically like you're really underground. You've really not done a lot of speaking from what I've understood, so you've got a lot of real tactical information that you could share with people.
[00:16:51] What three to five topics do you feel that you do want to share and you want to talk to people more about that could potentially impact their business as much as it's impacted your business? I think, like I said, I don't have a lot of secrets that I, that I use to grow my business. It's mainly coming from
[00:17:08] Consistency and making sure that I'm following. I subscribe to a lot of webinars. I subscribe to a lot of podcasts. Some of them make sense and some of them work for my business and some don't, but every nugget that I do get, I try to implement it. Be consistent with that. If I were going to recommend anything to a new seller, I would just say that, you know,
[00:17:27] there's a lot of resources out there that we can name possibly if you'd like that are helpful. I wouldn't follow every new shiny object. I would find something that works and work on that and focus on that until you see some success. Don't go for the top dollar right out of the gate. It's hard to do that.
[00:17:43] It's expensive to do that. Running a launch on any product now is much more complex than it used to be, but I think consistency is probably the key there. And this you, you, you talked about my speaking. I've never spoken before. I've never given any advice on growing an Amazon business. This format works well because I don't think I'd want to get up on stage and do this, but doing this virtually by all means, it works well for me and I feel confident doing that.
[00:18:07] So thank you for asking me to do this. But I think consistency and following, pick somebody that has done something well with their Amazon business and try to follow maybe through podcasts or through webinars, try to follow the advice that's given there. And that's, that's mainly what I've done. So surprisingly, I don't have a ton of secrets to share here.
[00:18:26] Yeah. You don't, I think it's, I feel like it's one of those spots where, you know, we all reach a certain level of knowledge and Amazon, especially if we're participating in masterminds, listening to podcasts, getting training and doing all that we can. But I think there comes a certain level or point that you get to where you don't feel like you really have much to give, but it's the complete opposite of that.
[00:18:47] You actually have so much to give and you just don't realize it because you're, you're basically it's, it's in you pretty much, and it's kind of like similar to, you know, after so much you listen to your significant other, your wife, your husband, your lover, whoever. He listened to talk and talk and talk, and it's kind of like the same thing.
[00:19:05] It almost becomes, you don't even really have to listen to what they're saying. And they could be like, honey, what did I just say? Even though they're testing you to see if you're listening, you already know it, but it's, it would be one of those instances I kind of feel like, so I feel, Craig, that you actually have a lot more.
[00:19:20] To actually share or give, and your knowledge is pretty vast compared to some of the people that that are listening. And I feel that you actually have a lot more to give them what you're actually letting on because it's almost like unconscious competence. I certainly do know Amazon well. I know the ins and outs of Amazon.
[00:19:39] I'm very comfortable inside of seller central, you know, after, what is it, eight years of selling on Amazon. I've probably gone through every pitfall you can think of on Amazon. And I've had issues that have been difficult to overcome within Amazon, but you know, it's persistence. And I think if I can give anything, it's probably inspiration knowing that, you know, I've had some of those failures along the way, but I went to my very first mastermind a little over a year ago.
[00:20:03] I've been selling on Amazon for eight years, so I've, I've mostly learned from a lot of other successful sellers, little bits and pieces, little gems, and I follow a couple of podcasts. That one being Howard's of course, I think it was a great opportunity to meet Howard, and that was one of the reasons I brought him to Houston, so that I could really engage with him and have that bond that, you know, I think is important with somebody who's so knowledgeable, much more knowledgeable than anybody else I know, relating to Amazon and just business in general.
[00:20:31] So, you know, those relationships are certainly valuable networking. I'd never really had that, that drive to network in the Amazon ecosystem before, or Amazon seller ecosystem before. I've actually worked with my dedicated account manager in Amazon in Seattle. They brought me to Amazon in Seattle. I never really got a lot of value out of those.
[00:20:53] And you know, I think that having those networking opportunities with real sellers, not necessarily if you're a top seller and maybe you have an account manager. Sure, they can be helpful at times, but not nearly as helpful as just knowing some of the other top sellers in the ecosphere and just being within the, I think immersing yourself is one of the things that I do every day.
[00:21:14] Every day that I wake up and I do my routine, but then I jumped into work and it's, it's pretty much all based on business and Amazon. How can I make my business better? How can I make my brand better? And branding is, to me, that's such a, I know a lot of people talk about that and it's hard. It's like style.
[00:21:33] Branding is like a personal style. If you have a personal style that works for you, and you're able to convey your style in a way that's, you know, how would I put that? Either way, branding also works the same. You want your branding to stand out, you want your branding to make people feel comfortable with your product.
[00:21:48] And I think that's where, you know, it's, it's, it's hard to learn branding. It has to come from within and you have to understand who your buyers are in order to appeal to them. So I think that's something that's really valuable. You can always launch a product and do well on Amazon, but the brands, branding isn't strong.
[00:22:05] You're not going to be able to compete at that next level where maybe you have the opportunity to go offline and into distribution and retail. So I was asking a lot of our speakers, what kind of problems do you see Amazon sellers are having in this 2020 pandemic time? You know, I think a lot of it revolves around ranking at launch.
[00:22:28] I think I've noticed search volumes double, at least in a couple of the categories that I watch. Search volumes have doubled in the last month and we're now in end of May. I think that's because again, a lot more people are shopping online. I also see that being a challenge because let's say, let's say you're doing a launch and you need to show, you need to show volume sales volume at a certain level.
[00:22:52] Well, if search volume increases, that means your, your sales volume needs to increase in order to achieve those rankings. So, you know, it just becomes more expensive for someone who's launching a product nowadays, and you've got to also show that you're sending traffic to your listing from so many different sources.
[00:23:08] You know, back in the day, you could just send Facebook or you could just send a Google traffic, or you could be a much more simple launch whereas now it's much more complex. And Howard, I know that you're, you're working on something now that could help with that. It sounds like you've got some, some tricks up your sleeve that could potentially help with that.
[00:23:27] I would certainly be interested to learn, but I think that's probably one of the challenges right now with a search volume and more competition increases on Amazon, it becomes more difficult for sellers to get to achieve those top spots when they're trying to rank. Yeah, absolutely. And you know, I think like, like I was saying again, Craig, earlier, I find that when I hear you talk, you actually have a really good, I would have bet you would have a good stage presence.[00:23:52] So I think it would actually do well for you to actually speak out there and you're extremely motivating. It's so motivating to the point that I actually forgot to ask you a very important question because I was so blown away by what you were saying and taking some notes. But that question is, with this knowledge, like you grown so many different brands, you have the experience of getting into negotiation with actual companies to purchase your brands and things of that nature.
[00:24:17] What Three to five topics now, I know that you said you really, really didn't feel like you were a hardcore expert. You just had a huge knowledge base, but based on that huge knowledge base, what topics or three to five topics do you feel that you would talk about? I've gained a lot of of skillsets recently when I've taken my business to market, and I think choosing the right broker.
[00:24:43] Is a big help as it's super valuable to have somebody on your side that can help you, not only bring offers to the table, but also field field offers based on your criteria. So we have a certain criteria that, you know, the type of buyer that we want, the type of deal we want to take place and without the broker that we have and are doing a tremendous job.
[00:25:04] If you want, I can, I can certainly plug their name. They, they've been in the Amazon ecosphere for awhile, Howard, is that okay if I mention who we're working with or should I? Yeah. So it's the FBA, the FBA broker. We chose them because they're super knowledgeable about Amazon businesses. They're bringing buyers to the table who fit with what
[00:25:24] The type of buyer that we're trying to link with, and they've been super helpful in making this happen. So if somebody is going to take their business to market, I would highly recommend speaking to them and see if they're the right fit. But that's one of the things I would highly recommend is making sure you choose a broker that that fits for your business.
[00:25:42] You've got to understand your business inside and out before you go to market too. I know a lot of discussion and topics evolved around selling your business these days, but you really have to know your business when you go to market. The buyers are gonna, you know, run super heavy duty diligence on your business, your finances.
[00:25:59] I have a CFO for all of my companies. It's one CFO. He kind of runs my companies and my personal CFO, so that makes it easy. I'm not a finance guy by any means. So having the right finance person or people behind your business is really helpful because when you go to market. They're going to tear you apart.
[00:26:15] They're going to look into your finances. They're going to get close to running an audit, if not running an audit, which means everything has to be in place. So if there's any kickback from the buyer, based on your finances, it could derail the entire sale. Or it could just slow things down to where, or it could de-value your business if they uncover things that didn't match up.
[00:26:32] So, you know, I think that's primarily the, one of the main things you need is to understand your business inside and out. Have somebody, if you're not a finance person, have somebody that is a finance person that's dedicated to starting with you when you launched that business. That way they understand it from the, from the ground up or bringing somebody in that can go back to your day one and understanding your business to that point of sale because otherwise.
[00:26:55] You could run into some issues there and it could slow things down or it could completely derail the sale. So that's one bit of advice, a bit of, bit of advice that I can give is making sure that you work with the right broker and totally understand your business in terms of finance. Okay. So I know I just asked you about the problems people are having and how about the opportunities in 2020.
[00:27:18] Well with those problems of, of higher search volume and more difficulty in, in, in ranking, in launching, you know, there's the opportunity there to, like I said, I've seen search volumes double just in the last 30 days. So you know, that just, if you can maintain those positions or gain achieved those positions in rank, that just means there's twice as many buyers potentially looking for your product.
[00:27:40] So that's certainly a big opportunity now. But with the opportunity comes, it's challenges. So it's a much more difficult to get to those opportunities if you don't have a strong plan and strong branding in a, in a, in a wonderful product or fantastic product to launch. No, I know, Craig, we've been talking about a lot of off of Amazon, and I know that you said that
[00:28:01] You kind of had some experience doing that with your other business and then now you've launched obviously tons of brands on Amazon, some successful, some not, which is, I feel like that's really being transparent because I think a lot of people don't share the failures on Amazon. Like I, for one, I know I've failed so many times on Amazon, but because I do so much more on it, I keep having a ton of success.
[00:28:24] But my question to you is based off of your experience off of Amazon. What platforms do you see are an absolute must in 2020 and beyond for Amazon sellers to expand into, you know, I've been getting a lot of interest for some of our products, not only in other marketplaces for Amazon. I see that, Howard, correct me if I'm wrong here, but I see that the, what is it was, I'm trying to think.
[00:28:46] Japan is a big network as a big marketplace, but also what's another Asian marketplace there, Howard, that may have just opened up for a brand, Amazon Singapore, right. Singapore I think could be a potentially big one. They speak English there. So if you're a [00:29:00] US seller and you don't want to deal with the translations and the issues that come along or the challenges that come along with that.
[00:29:05] I think Singapore, you know, that's an opportunity because the buyer population, they're so used to purchasing online. You're probably going to get a lot of traction there with minimal effort because of the lack or the, what do I want to say? There’s no need to translate your listings there. I'm also seeing a lot of traction coming in from international distribution.
[00:29:26] I think a lot of international distributors are trying to find Western products that can sell well in their, in their foreign countries. And if you're, if you're showing up well on Amazon and you've got great reviews and your rankings are standout, there's a good potential for you to attract that, to attract that international.
[00:29:45] I think also running, I tried this back in the day and it worked well. We ran some press releases that we translated into local languages for other countries. Saying that we were, you know, our products were coming to those countries. We also had one where we had a very small distributor back in the day that picked up, maybe, you know, a couple hundred units of our product.
[00:30:05] But I wrote a press release that said we sold out in that country and I translated into that local language, you know, selling out, sure, it was only a couple hundred units. Is that true or false? It's true because we actually sold out. Right. But that gained a lot more traction from bigger distributors who were placing bigger orders because they saw that, you know, this is a product that sold out in our country.
[00:30:25] It must be popular. So that was a trick that I used back in the day. So you might try that. You might try writing a press release or having it written then translated. You don't want to lie, of course. But you know, I certainly. Push the envelope there in terms of what we, what we were capable of capable of.
[00:30:41] But it worked. And now in that, we're now, we are the biggest brand in that category, upcoming brand in that category, in that country. It's Saudi Arabia, I'll say the country. So it worked really well. Now, you know, the entire middle East, we have a really big presence there. The GCC is one of our biggest buyers of international in terms of international distribution.
[00:31:00] So that's a, that's a. I guess that may be one of the secrets that I have. I kind of forgot about that, but that's something we've done in the past. That helped, helped a lot. Well thanks for, thanks for coming on and cause I know you didn't want to be, it's kind of hard for you to speak on stage, so you're, you're, you're interested that, Oh, you're interesting that we can get you on line here today.
[00:31:23] I just wanted to see if you have any other final words for our audience here. You know, I think if you're launching a product now with the, with the increased volume, search volume on Amazon, I think you need to pick a plan. My plan would be to don't go after that top high volume keyword. Go after a keyword that's going to bring in 30 or 40 sales a day.
[00:31:43] You'll need, it'll be less expensive. It's less complex to do that. Focus on one or two keywords in that lower to middle range. That way you can subsidize the money that's coming in from those sales can subsidize your future growth where you can go after those bigger keywords, you know, and chip away until you get to the top.
[00:32:01] The highest volume keyword. It's going to take some time, but it's certainly not going to be as expensive than it is if you've gone after that top keyword and it won't take so long. So try and gain some small, get some small gains under your belt before going after the top tier keywords. But I think that would be my advice, especially now with search volume increasing on Amazon.
[00:32:20] Yeah, absolutely. Great, great advice overall, Craig, I think for me, some of the things that I found that were pretty fascinating about you that I've not heard anybody else talk about, and I am pretty much like an Amazon information whore, pretty much I can admit to that. I know some other people would say I was a whore at other things, but Amazon information is certainly the number one thing that I am a whore about.
[00:32:43] And the fact of the matter is, I've rarely heard anybody talk about international distribution, especially at the scale you've been able to actually take it to Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and I'm pretty sure there's a lot of other channels, so that's something that to me is fascinating. How about you Howie, what did you find that Craig said that for you was like.
[00:33:02] Wow. And again, I know you've heard it before with him, you, you went down to Houston, you were living it up and all that good stuff Howie but, even though you don't remember the place, that makes me wonder how much you had to drink while you were in Houston. But what exciting things did Craig say that you have not heard?
[00:33:19] Well, I did stay there for like two or three days, so I really did talk to him a lot and I heard most of what he does. I'm sure there is some stuff that he doesn't want to say that he told me about. But yeah, it's really interesting how he does his ranking, how he ranks his product and launch it. And like last time he told me he spends over a hundred thousand dollars just to rank one product.
[00:33:43] Was that right Craig? Yeah, it's probably going to be close to that. Especially now this is a 2020 launch where, you know, it's a lot more complex to do launch. You've got to send traffic from so many different sources. You've got to show Amazon that your product indeed deserves to be ranked at the top.
[00:33:58] You've got to show that sales velocity that matches other products that are already maintaining those top ranks. So to show Amazon that, you know, you've got to, you've got to move a lot of products and it's got to last through, you know, at least I would say close to sometimes 30 days. You've got to move product at that velocity.
[00:34:13] So in order to achieve those rankings we had, we were fortunate enough to go after some of the bigger terms right out of the gate. So that certainly, you know, costs a lot more. I gave some advice earlier where you don't want to do that. If you have the funding to do it and you have the skillsets to do it, then.
[00:34:28] By all means you can do that. But we're also going after some of the smaller middle terms at the same time, just to help solidify rankings across the board. So there's different strategies based on your skillset and based on your finances. But I think, you know, spending a hundred thousand dollars on a launch today, and in this age of, depending on the complexity and the search volume, you know, it's certainly.
[00:34:51] It's certainly what I want to say. It's not something that a lot of people have the, have the appetite for, but we certainly did. And so hopefully we can, we're, we're, we're in the middle of that launch now and we're starting to see some traction, so we're doing what we can. So hopefully we'll get there.
[00:35:06] But thanks for having me on, on today, guys. It was really nice. I appreciate it. Hopefully you guys learned a little bit. So I mean, when you, like you just said, you don't just throw, throw everything at that Amazon, all these signals from left and right everywhere, and then just get with good conversion rate and good signals.
[00:35:25] And of course you know what Craig is doing right now is something that he's been doing for a long time. He knows Amazon, so I'm not expecting like the new people to come in and it's not a hundred thousand dollars for a product to launch something. It's just, it could be less, but he wants to go aggressive.
[00:35:42] He wants to go make sure that what he does is best meant that you get onto the first page beyond the top three with what his, with his investment. No, this is a for sure thing because he knows how to do it. You know? I'm just telling, letting everyone know that it's not for, it's not like every single product really mean to spend that much. But because Craig is in some kind of niche that is very competitive, he, you know, you gotta think about it like advertising the big brands, the big guys, you know, the a hundred thousand is nothing for big brands.
[00:36:13] You know, for those big guys like let's say Sony TV, or I mean Samsung TV coming out, you know, advertising. They're not going to only advertise a hundred thousand dollars probably advertise millions and millions, you know? So, and that's what I'm saying, Howard. And that's the thing. A lot of our competitors are those big brands that have really deep pockets.
[00:36:32] So we're going up against brands that, you know, we have to kind of do the same that they would do. They don't, I would have to say that they don't have quite the skill set yet on Amazon, but I think that's coming. I think a lot of the big brands are now seeing Amazon as a viable channel to grow their business, especially with retail having been shut down over the last couple of months.
[00:36:51] Due to Covid, you know, a lot of those brands were suffering in retail, and now that they see Amazon as being such a viable channel, they're going to start spending the money that it takes to maintain those, those rankings on Amazon. They're going to start figuring it out. I think that's going to be a challenge too.
[00:37:07] We hadn't touched on that, but I think some of the bigger legacy brands with really deep pockets are going to start to become some of our competitors. Some of us Amazon sellers who you know, typically never had to compete against. Those brands are probably going to start seeing a little bit of that more in the future.
[00:37:21] So what I'm, what I, what I'm seeing is, yes, it's right. I see a lot of big brands coming onto the market and very aggressive. I'm talking about, they're using tons and tons of money just so that they can conquer. For example, HP Printer cartridges, they're like throwing everything there they got on money-wise over to PBC and they're just kinda like killing it because no one's going to be able to even be having these spots on there because they're just like throwing so much money at it.
[00:37:51] You know? Right now I've seen that, yes. There is these big brands going on, but if you're looking at it, the real skill sets are the people like Craig and like other or a lot of our mastermind members and probably a lot of the listeners here are so much better than a lot of the big brands that are selling right now.
[00:38:12] But you got to watch out. They have money. They might just throw in the PPC. So PPC is very important nowadays. You need to make sure you know how to play play with PPC because the positioning, the amount of position for organic, it's going less and less. And like before, like like maybe like a couple months or a year ago or half a year ago, you can like an organic, you can be in spot six.
[00:38:35] Uh, or you know, or Spot three, and you'll get all the cells, but you know, but now maybe with going spot three, you're probably equivalent to spot limit at 12, because of all the other widgets that they have. Yeah, that's true. Yeah. It's weird how some of the search results pages. Are laid out now compared to how they used to be.
[00:38:55] It's not weird. It's just interesting because you know, like you said, the widgets are kind of getting in the way, or in this first few positions. Some of them are coming from recommendations for Amazon bestseller or from, I'm sorry, Amazon's choice. And then the others are coming from Amazon influencer program.
[00:39:09] So those take up a lot of space, a lot of real estate at the top of the page there. So you know, PPC. And those two widgets that I just mentioned certainly are, I consider them to be competitive spaces. Because even if you're ranking well, that doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be in the position where you're going to be found well.
[00:39:26] So that's something to consider too. But you're right. Some of these legacy brands have unlimited spend on PPC. They're driving up the cost. That's going to be another factor in, in launching in the future. And even right now, we're seeing that where it's becoming more and more expensive, and that's part of the cost that we're having to incur.
[00:39:44] During this launch is ensuring that we're able to compete with some of those brands who are just spending a ton of money and losing money. They don't care. They can lose money for a year more just to, you know, to grab hold and get a foothold in those, in those categories. Yeah, absolutely. Great points, Craig, andI think you said it very elegantly.
[00:40:02] You said you have to have the appetite to do it. I say it more a little more crude. I'm a little more critic. I say you got to have the guts or the balls to do it, and having guts and balls are two things that are required if you're going to sell on Amazon because of the shitstorm of things that can actually happen, and there's two other things really, you need the whole recipe for success.
[00:40:23] Although a lot of people would argue that it's a lot more. But it really is just number one, having the guts to do it. And number two, taking a chance on just doing something instead of overindulging on information and things of that nature. So hopefully we provided to you all some tactical information that you can take and start looking at ways to advance your business by looking at international options and things like that.
[00:40:47] And hopefully you have the guts to take that and put it into effect. And, one of the places that you can do that at is the Professor's first ever online virtual Pandemic Event, which will be held at the end of the month on the 29th and 30th. Craig, as you met today, will be one of the 15 underground speakers that have pretty much all not spoken anywhere before.
[00:41:07] So if you want to find out more information about that, go to a9mastermind.com/ppe and or if you're just ready to take the plunge and invest in yourself It's a9mastermind.com/secure-ppc. So before we say goodbye, I just wanted to thank Craig for that immense knowledge that he just dropped on us and for having the guts to, like he said, putting his money to the test and then kind of almost sharing the tactics with us.
[00:41:36] But Howie, what do you have to say to Craig and for the people listening about this event at the end of June. Well, I'm like a lot of these speakers right here is like once in a lifetime kind of speaking because they're not really out there like trying to teach people their knowledge and their secrets.
[00:41:55] So this is the one, once in a lifetime that you'll hear all these big sellers coming out and talking and speaking about all their skillsets and all their techniques that they're doing to rank products or to, you know, other things like selling businesses or whatnot. You know? So it's, I believe that you guys should jump on, join the PPE event with us and hopefully we'll see you then.
[00:42:21] Yeah, absolutely. Now as Howie said, these guys have luxurious tastes it's not going to just be Don Julio. You're going to have to buy this guy outside of this event. If you see him out in the street and invite him for dinner, you're going to have to wine him. You're going to have to diamond, and you're going to have to do all sorts of things just to get his attention.
[00:42:38] But here on the first ever online virtual professor's pandemic event you get to not only hear Craig talk about one of these exciting topics that he laid out here for us today, but you can ask him questions in the Q and A. So I'm excited to see him. I want again to thank you so much, Craig. I know your time is money because you've got a ton of businesses to manage.
[00:42:58] So get out there and go make that money and the rest of you all, I hope you do the same thing. Get out there and make that money and we will see you again live at the event, June 29th and 30th. A9mastermind.com/ppe. See y'all later. Thanks for having me, guys. Thank you, Howard. Thank you, Liz.
[00:43:15] Thank you for coming. Welcome to the Professor’s Podcast where we discuss the best strategies to massively improve the reach and bottom line of your business in the current virtual and economic landscape. Your host, Howard Thai, generates over $5 billion for his clients annually using innovative tactics, both on and off Amazon.