TAS 767 Proven Roadmap To Dominate Competition and Your Market (BAL Recording)

What does it take to go out there and grab a piece of the marketplace and call it your own? Is it possible to grow a brand based on a following you’ve cultivated? What role should your Amazon seller’s account play? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, you’ll hear from Scott as he introduces a Brand Accelerator Live session featuring Alex from Travel Fashion Girl. In her session, Alex talks about how she grew her brand from the ground up, why she decided to partner with other influencers, what it took to monetize her brand, challenges she faced along the way, and so much more. You’ll want to have pen and paper ready as Alex drops some helpful tips on this episode! 

Why you should trust Alex 

While you may never have met Scott, hearing from him week in and week out may feel like you’ve grown to know him and trust him. Scott wants you to extend that same level of trust to Alex from Travel Fashion Girl – and she’s earned it! 

Alex started TravelFashionGirl.com because she was frustrated by the lack of information for women available when she began traveling. In 2008, most packing tips were based around two pairs of trousers, four t-shirts, and three pairs of underwear – a packing list more suitable for a man as most were written by men. Recognizing the need for a resource that offered women a more precise and visual idea about what they needed to pack consisting of practical items with a feminine point of view – Alex went to work. To create accurate, relevant content, Alex spent over a year interviewing other travelers on the road before launching Travel Fashion Girl in August 2012.

As you can tell, Alex has been around the ecommerce community for some time now. You’ll notice that Alex uses much of the same brand-building strategies that Scott champions. Pay close attention to how Alex has created a growth strategy unique to her brand!

The right mindset matters!

How well do you handle adversity? Do you find yourself often frustrated and overwhelmed when things don’t go your way? Or do you keep your cool and find a solution that will work for all parties? The truth is, not everyone has the right mindset and skillsets to become a successful small business owner – but they can be acquired along the way! A successful ecommerce business leader will be ready to adapt to any situation that arises; they have to be flexible and eager to find a solution not quick to point out mistakes. To learn more about adopting the right mindset to succeed in business, make sure to listen to this episode of The Amazing Seller! 

Building blocks 

What are the essential things you need to get your business started on the right foot? Most people would say a pile of cash and good connections – while that would certainly help, you need the right approach! Each phase of building your business doesn’t have to be perfect; you just need to be ready to course-correct and learn from your mistakes. Think of each phase of your business as grades in school; each year builds on what you’ve learned so far – the same is true in business! Discover how Alex’s approach changed and adapted over the years and how she evolved into an expert business leader by listening to this episode of The Amazing Seller!

OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER

  • [0:03] Scott’s introduction to this episode of the podcast!
  • [5:00] Alex’s session at Brand Accelerator Live. 
  • [9:30] How did Alex start her blog? 
  • [14:00] Monetizing the brand. 
  • [16:00] Creating relevant content. 
  • [20:00] Using SEO to grow your brand. 
  • [22:20] Leveraging the data you’ve gathered. 
  • [32:00] How Alex is selling her own ecommerce products. 
  • [38:00] Connecting with social media influencers. 
  • [43:00] The mindset that has helped Alex build her brand. 
  • [46:00] Alex takes questions from the audience. 
  • [52:00] Closing thoughts from Scott. 
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TRANSCRIPT TAS 767

TAS 767: Proven Roadmap To To Dominate Competition and Your Market (BAL Recording)

00:00 What if you had the proven roadmap to dominate competition and your market, would that make it easier for you whether you

sell on Amazon, whether you sell on eBay, whether you sell on Etsy or maybe just selling on your own store? Would that be helpful if you answered yes. Well, you're in luck because that's what you're going to learn in this episode.

00:21 Well, Hey, Hey, what's up everyone? Welcome back to another episode of the amazing seller podcast. My name is Scott Voelker

and I'm here to help you build a future-proof business so you can create the ultimate freedom, but there's always a button you guess. You have to take what you learn in this podcast and take action and you can become the amazing

00:41 seller of your life. So if you're ready, I'm ready. Let's do this. All right. Well, I am really excited to be able to share this proven roadmap with you. And this roadmap is coming from a seven

figure business owner. And I did not say an Amazon seller because they're much more than that. And her name is Alex and she did a full session at brand accelerator live. And the only way that you were able to sit in on this was to either attend the event, which you should in the future by the way, brand accelerator, live.com and uh, it's great event. It's all about building your brand. But uh, the only way that you could get this is to go to that event or if you would have grabbed the recordings when we offered them. All right. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to give you this whole session that she did in front of about 200 people at our brand accelerator at live event.

01:38 The reason why I'm doing this, couple of different reasons, it's around the holidays. I want to give you a really nice gift and I

feel this is a great gift. This is something that can totally change your business but really also drive the point home of what I've been saying. If you take the time and the effort to build out your own assets and it really does come down to traffic assets and that's what she's done for the past six years now, six plus years probably at this point. And you're going to hear her talk about a little bit about how she got to where she is, but then from there she's going to switch it over to where she's going to give you action steps and take you through this entire process and what she's teaching doable rate now and actually it's more important now than ever because you guys have heard me talk lately about like people that are just going down the, I'm going to launch an Amazon product and that's going to be my business model.

02:34 Very, very, very risky. Now are you going to use that channel? Absolutely. She's using that channel but she used that channel

to really leverage her traffic and then have Amazon take care of all above the OB, the logistics and stuff. I almost couldn't say logistics there, so I want you to take this and listen to it. I want you to also probably relisten to it and take notes. And the other thing I want to say right here, a couple things before we jump in here is if you have not gone through our brand growth validation checklist, you are going to want to do that because what she's talking about as far as building out her business, her brand, every box got checked in that brand growth validation checklist. All right? I go through two live examples in that free training as well. So if you go to brand creators.com you'll find that there.

03:25 And then the other thing is a little announcement here, depending on when you're listening to this, but if you've been

waiting to get into brand creators Academy, that's where we're doing a live open case study of building a brand. We're also having all of our members in there. They're being transparent and open with their brands and we're able to do deep dives and we do, you know, two monthly calls. We also do deep dives, like hot seats. We do a whole bunch of stuff and so many people are taking massive action in there. So if you are interested in joining us, be ready on January 6th, 2020 we're going to be opening for just a week and we only open enrollment a few times per year because the rest of the time we are in there rolling up our sleeves, building brands. That's what we're doing. All right. So if you're at all interested in, make sure that you go through the free training.

04:14 It's pretty much a must. It's mandatory if you will, to go through that even before you would consider joining. And the reason why is because when you join, we want you to be in the right

mindset. We also want you to have the clear vision of what we're doing here and understanding the key and the core principles of building out a brand. So make sure that you go through that. That's brand creators.com that'll give you all of the free training that I've created up to this point around this process. So make sure that you do that. But everything that that Alex has done is really following this blueprint as well. So sit back, relax, enjoy. And like I said, get ready to take some massive notes. Enjoy it.

05:21 [inaudible]

05:21 buddy. Hopefully everybody's doing okay after lunch. How are we all feeling now? Before I get started, I really have to say that

Scott's been saying some good and bad things about me and they're all lies, so please right now, forget everything he said

and as I share with you today a little bit about how I've built my business, how I've created a brand and how building that brand helped me launch my physical product business as well,

05:52 so, Oh yeah, that's what I'm doing and a little bit about me. My name is, I have a website called travel fashion girl.com that's

where I teach women how to travel in a carry on suitcase. It's a very niche website and I launched it seven years ago. We have a million monthly visitors, about 2 million monthly page views, and we also have a seven figure revenue as well, but it doesn't always start right there or actually it never starts with those numbers right away. You don't wake up one day and say, Hey, I want to have a website about packing a suitcase. It starts with a problem. So in my case, in 2008 I quit my corporate job, a corporate job that I really liked. Just so you guys know, I want to put that disclaimer out there. And I decided to take a three month sabbatical and I traveled the world that those three months ended up turning into nine years of living out of a suitcase and having perpetual longterm travel.

06:54 And halfway along the way, I realized that I had a bit of an issue. I was tired of carrying a big giant bag, all of all the wrong things.

And I set out to look online and research if there's any old school travelers in the crowd. I went to the lonely planet thorn tree forum back in the day because there weren't as many, or there weren't really that many blogs at that point or Instagram. A lot of information about what to pack. And the information I got was probably from a guy that looked like this, who was really, you know, couldn't really resonate with him, but he shared that I should pack three quick dry teas, one pair of convertible pants and three pairs of underwear that I could flip inside out every other day.

07:42 And I'm sure nobody here, male or female does that. So I'll give you guys that credibility. But I certainly wouldn't do that at just

to save some space in my suitcase. So I realized there wasn't the information that I needed. So as I was on the road in 2011 backpacking around the world, I started talking to other female travelers, other backpackers, and I started asking them, how did you pack, what worked, what didn't work? And I figured out that everybody seemed to have a similar issue. Nobody felt that they had done things the right way. So I found a problem in the market and I set out to solve that problem because I really wanted to help other female travelers avoid my mistakes. Because when you pack all the wrong stuff or you carry a big giant suitcase through the small spaces and the trains in Italy and Sera cases or whatnot, it really does create, make your trip a little bit more stressful.

08:38 So I shared this information, launched the blog on August, 2012 and it had instantaneous, um, positive response. We had 35,000

unique monthly visitors within the first six months, 100,000 within the first year, and it's pretty much doubled about doubled ever since then. So we have about 2000 pages on the blog now. And from the very beginning I was optimizing all the articles for SEO. So back in the day one blog posts, one keyword. So I figure the more blog posts you have, the more keywords that you'll have. Consequently, the more traffic, the more revenue. So, but you know, let's take it back a notch because it's always intimidating, especially when you're starting a new business. When you're looking at some numbers, numbers that seem unachievable and a business model that you're not familiar with. But remember, I was a girl. I was just a person that was traveling.

09:34 This is a picture of me on the first day of my 2010 round the world trip packing. I had a bunch of stuff hanging off of my

shoulders and a regular person that I uncovered a problem. I found a solution and I wanted to share my knowledge. I created free content. I delivered value. I wasn't there selling people at that point. I was just trying to help people. Well, I'm still trying to help people, but I marketed my content using SEO because there's no point in creating content if nobody's going to find it and also using social media, which back then the OCS, the SEO guys told me it would never weigh in on the search results because it was doing that. I was then gaining traffic, which then in turn I got an audience through my social media channels. I earned the audience's trust.

10:26 They asked me questions. I gave them information. I help them, and because a lot of people weren't doing it, a lot of people still

aren't doing it. I became an authority figure in this very particular niche. And as I'm hearing what people are saying, I'm listening to their questions, listening to their problems, and also to their advice. I discovered that there was, um, there was an opportunity for certain products, whether it was eBooks, digital products, or physical products, and I was able to then create products that met their needs, even using their input, what kind of an adapter, what's wrong with the adapters on the market, things like that. And in turn, it was a cyclical effect and I was able then to sell with integrity. So what I sold, I knew they wanted and that was very organic and I felt really good about that.

11:14 So let's talk about selling organically for a moment. How does that work? We're not all publishers, we're not all interested in

becoming publishers. So let me break down the online

12:13

ecosystem very quickly. So it's just a little bit clear. The blog is where I, how's the content? The free information that I provide, it's also a traffic driver because I have SEO. Then I also use Pinterest to drive traffic to my website. And Pinterest is not a social media channel. It really is a search engine. Much like Google. I then use the Facebook group where my community hangs out. They didn't want to go to the website. They didn't want a forum. They wanted us to be able to chat on the Facebook group, so that's where a lot of the core fans hang out with the engagement's happening. The Facebook page is where I'm kind of sharing my information and it's really targeting the 35 plus fans or truly where I've discovered that my fans are, or the website's fans and Instagram.

That's where the under 30 under 35 audience hangs out. YouTube, something new that I've been doing, I've, I'll share how I've been repurposing my content and lastly, the newsletter. The newsletter is really important because the people that bothered to sign up for my email list, those are the people that care about the products I have. Those are the people that will purchase a product. I can always count on those people to support and be excited and then become the raving fans. When I'm talking about free content, about how I delivered value. I created a really basic YouTube video back in 2013 that I was talking about how to use packing cubes. I wasn't selling packing cubes. I wasn't saying buy these packing cubes. I was really just showing people how to use them and they've now become one of the products that I sell. Now I'm doing this, I'm doing actually Facebook lives where the same thing I sell travel adapter and I'm not telling people this travel adapter is great because I'm explaining, well this is how voltage works, this is what you need when you're traveling converters versus adapters.

I also create guides with visuals, explaining, providing links, really thorough guides and in addition I have checklists and printables or eBooks like the travel wardrobe essentials, which is free that people can then get when they sign up to my email list. So this is all the free stuff I've created for the audience from day one, and I did earn revenue by providing value because every single time somebody purchased one of the products through my website, I gained commission, whether as an Amazon associate or through another commission program, I was able to get I think about four to 20% on every purchase and people were looking for me to do this. They were upset actually when I wasn't linking to products. So this was something that helped them and in turn also gave me revenue and as traffic

13:16

was coming in, later on I also added another revenue option, which was ad networks.

14:09 I'm currently using AdThrive and that's become one of the biggest revenue drivers for the business as well. I really wish I

had done it sooner, but the ad networks have allowed me to really monetize that traffic in a different way. So this is a breakdown of my revenue sources. As you see, a big chunk of that is Amazon associates. So my audience is used to shopping on Amazon. It's comfortable, it's easy to get prime, they love it. They can get basically pretty much everything they need for a trip. A small, a smaller piece of that, but still sizable for 14% is AdThrive. The ad network that I use rewardStyle is something similar to Amazon. It's where I promote products, go to Nordstrom, the department store, and then you'll see that the Amazon seller central has become 18% of my business. Now. That's something I didn't see and when I launched my physical products, I really did it to diversify my revenue.

15:06 I wanted to be able to have some other revenue streams come in and so far it's been doing really well. We launched just under

two years ago and we've been on Amazon for one year. Anatomy's a brand that I work with, the only brand that I work with, this is the commission I get and send out a little bit smaller, our eBooks now, the content strategy that I have in the beginning, I used to write my own content. I would publish five to seven articles per week. Then eventually I hired freelance writers. But what I love about what's happened now with my brand and with the community is that they are now creating the content for me on the Facebook group. I'm hearing their discussions and now they're involved. They're helping each other, which means I don't have to answer their questions. They're answering each other's questions.

15:50 So this is really great, especially for people that are in the eCommerce business selling a product that they're not familiar

with in a market they don't understand. For example, I know I met a guy that sold cassettes on Amazon because it was a great opportunity, but he had no idea why women would want to wear these tight corsets under their clothing. And frankly, neither do I. But in this case, even though I'm a girl and I wear mascara, doesn't necessarily mean that this particular topic was concerning to me. But having this community gave me direct insight and opportunities, and in this case, it's a content opportunity. I took other discussions about mascara's other suggestions and repurposed it into a blog post or my writer and editor repurposed it into a blog post, which I then optimize with

16:42

the keyword best waterproof mascara, which then would bring traffic in.

And the next time this popular topic gets discussed in the Facebook group or on another social media channel, I just share the link. So if someone purchases one of these products, I can then get commission. Another really simple content flow. Because at this point I'm all about how to maximize my time is creating Facebook lives. And I have to admit, I am very hesitant to be the face of my brand. I didn't set out to create travel fashion girl to be about me. I am not that travel fashion girl. It was really about other women. But what I found is that these started resonating with me every single time they saw a face, an experience tied in with a brand. They liked more Instagram pictures, they bought more things. We created a relationship. So I gave in and started using myself as face of the brand.

I started now using Facebook lives. I love Facebook lives because I create a multi channel content strategy with like 30 to 60 minutes of my time on Facebook live. I just do it as I would a webinar, have my light, have my phone set up and I just go through. I walk in and just say, today we're going to be talking about the best waterproof mascara is. I'm going to show you where to buy them, what the benefits are and what trips they would be good for. And I just start and I go like that is people show up on Facebook live and it doesn't matter if you have one a hundred or a thousand people watching. What's really important as that I'm treating it as a webinar. If people are asking questions, I incorporate them naturally into the conversation and I'm addressing them without saying, Hey Shannon, thanks for joining me from Iowa.

Good morning. T2 how's the weather over there? So that way I can reuse the same video on YouTube. So I have a video editor. Take that 30 to 60 minute Facebook live and repurpose it for YouTube. It can be anywhere from a five minute video to attend 15 minute video. I have that transcribed on rev.com and I like rev for transcription. It's just easy. I press two buttons and done, it's purchased and I get the the transcription really quickly and then after it's transcribed, one of my writers or editors will then take the transcription and turn it into an article with a flow. And of course before I'm going on Facebook live, I do have a general outline of what I'm talking about. So I love that content strategy and you may not want to be the face of your brand, but you can hire people or a variety of personalities to do this for you or influencers like me with an audience through really wanting to quick leap breakdown, a little bit of my content flow and start with an article I could traditional website.

19:18 And then from there you shared on social, you can use that same content on your ear to your email list on your newsletter.

And then when I see that a blog post topic is really popular, I then create a Facebook live about it so then I can share it on YouTube, turn it into social content and Hey, we've got a new video, there's a new Facebook live, more information for the newsletter. The other option that I like is a Facebook live funneling to YouTube. You can also extract the audio from your Facebook live and use it as a podcast episode if you want it to turn it into a blog post as I shown you, use it in your newsletter and share it on social. I'm all about maximizing my time and I did also touch on SEO. SEO has been a big reason why I was able to grow so quickly and it continues to be the main organic traffic driver.

20:06 I don't pay for PPC, not for the website. I don't pay for ads. I've done Facebook ads with Monica actually who's speaking this

afternoon. And that was a great way to add traffic to the website, but it's not the major part. And as you're able to see my traffic sources, you'll be able to see that. The great thing about SEO is whether I'm promoting one of my products or one of my affiliate products, I have the opportunity to rank that on Google. And Google is very similar to Amazon in the way that people are going on Google researching a product with the intent to buy. People are going to Amazon purchasing, but they're going on Google to find out what they should buy and comparison shop. So when people are finding my here, I know they're going to purchase and I'm actually ranking here for a branded keyword for another company.

20:52 So that's really impressive because they might know that Osprey is a good brand, but they'll go and look at my review and

then click the link and I'll get commission on that $200 backpack, which is pretty cool. So these are my traffic sources. You'll see about 80% is all organic. That's predominantly Google and a very small percentage of social and out of that percentage of social, a good majority of that is Pinterest. Despite the fact that I spend a lot of time on Facebook and I haven't really made an effort on Pinterest since 2016 it continues to be a big traffic driver and out of a million monthly visitors, I'd say that's really strong traffic and then the rest is direct, a little bit more minimal, but I can't stress how important SEO is to your strategy for content and ultimately the community is really important.

21:41 We have a product because if you're showing up to sell, buy this, buy that, they don't know you, why should they buy from you? It's kind of like meeting someone on the street and going

up to them and saying, Hey, buy my product or why they don't

22:26

know you. That's very informal and I don't think you do that on a date either in theory, but you know it's about a creating a relationship, so don't show up necessarily to sell people. Show to help people, give them how to information, give them free things. How can you serve them? Because in turn you'll be able to create revenue based on that. So I have one really key thing as an Amazon associate or as someone that sells other people's products on my website to get commission, I have data, unique data, things that people don't have access to, things like this.

On the backend of Amazon associates, I have 2000 pages on my website. I know what people are buying on every single page. I know what colors will quantity, what's being returned, what people like, what they dislike. I'm discovering new products to talk about on the website. I then can say these things are the best sellers, not based on what Amazon's telling me our best sellers. I know what's best selling for my own audience, which is that much stronger and it's that much more powerful because it's unique insight into my audience. So it's like I'm catering to them and they say, now I'll buy anything on your website because I know it's going to be good. I know it's a great recommendation and I'm not counting on Amazon reviews to tell me that I'm counting on their purchases. I can leverage this, which is how I create content and I've developed my physical products.

So first let's talk about affiliate products. So you may have a product, a physical product brand right now, and you're looking to expand. Maybe you do want to get into publishing. The great thing is if you're a publisher, you can actually monetize your business whether or not someone buys your product. So in this case, I discovered that these particular boots of brand I had no idea about were really people kept on recommending them. I kept on seeing them sold on Amazon and high quantity. So I decided just to buy the boots. I don't like contacting brands for free stuff because I just find it easier to spend the a hundred bucks. And if it works, I'll know I'll sell hundreds or thousands and make that money way more back. So it just makes it easy for me. So I went and did an unboxing video on Facebook live.

I said, Hey, I know you guys love these boots, so I decided to check them out for myself. I liked them. I tested them out and then I created a YouTube video really quickly, three minute video with my phone. Everything I do is simplified because I don't have time or the mental capacity to have all this equipment with me plus as a full time traveler, so I create a short three minute video that I was then able to turn into an article based on a product I already knew they liked. It didn't

24:51

have to be my product, but I knew they would buy it and I get commission on these $100 boots. I get about 8% when someone purchases. That's pretty cool. The other unique insight that I get as an Amazon associate, and I get to leverage my data for its physical products. Now this is really important.

It's something I didn't realize that I had versus just launching a product on Amazon because I knew that these three random products were selling on my site. Well, packing cubes. I spoke a lot about packing cubes because they're really would help me travel carry on only, but the adapter and the bra stash. There are things like I knew because of the data and I knew what people were interested in. These are the three products in my line. This is what I'm selling on Amazon. They look like they're not jointed, but it doesn't matter because I know that people are buying them. However, when I was looking to start a product line, I found that nobody would work for work with me. I wanted to partner with Amazon sellers, people that already had experienced selling their products on Amazon because I wasn't interested in learning a whole new business model and personally I don't like manufacturing.

I tried manufacturing a lingerie line when I was 19 it didn't work out well and I didn't want to do it again. That's not what I do. I do marketing. I don't do design and product creation, but all the Amazon sellers that I turned to or that were initially interested in working with me, they shut me down. They shut me down because certain third party programs that were not going to mention told them that my products were not the right Amazon fit. They told them that packing cubes are really competitive. The travel adapters weren't enough high in margins, that they were saturated in the market and they wouldn't work and the bra stash. Yeah, well that was a good product, but it didn't really have the demand on Amazon so they didn't want to work with me. That was very discouraging. However, what I realized down the line is it didn't really matter what was selling on Amazon because I didn't need to rely on Amazon to sell for me and they were right.

I didn't have an FBA. It wasn't the ideal thing. It wasn't bamboo sticks or whatever opportunity there was that is that you're told is high in revenue. I knew what the audience was buying and that was golden as a publisher, and even if you are not interested in, because having a website and creating your own audience, you can leverage other people's audiences because a vast majority of influencers or publishers like me do not know the strategy and I don't understand why more eCommerce brands don't look to partner with people that already have an

27:29

audience. You build a brand, but you don't have an audience. They have an audience, but they don't have a product. It seems like the perfect marriage, and in this case I said, well, to hell with it, I'm going to do the packing cubes anyway, and despite the fact that they said it was competitive, I've been on Amazon now for about a year.

I have 186 something reviews, four-and-a-half stars. I have a premium price tag. It's very expensive in comparison to the other packing cubes on Amazon, but it doesn't matter because I'm not relying on Amazon. I'm not doing PPC. Because if I did, people would see my product and then think, well that's three times or two times more expensive than the Chinese brand that's being sold, so I'm going to go with the cheaper option. So luckily I found that that actually didn't stop me from creating sales and I'll share those numbers with you right now. And as far as the reviews go, I also didn't give away free products. So right now PR product revenue to date is about $297,000 so far for 2019 my net profit, and that's so important is to know the net profit because you hear a lot about six figure months, seven figure months, whatever that is.

But sometimes it takes a lot of money that you invest in ads and free products to actually earn your profit. So I'm at a net profit so far about a hundred thousand dollars and in just about a year and a half a year or two years, my business has the physical product brand has become 18% of my revenue. So that for me was pretty successful considering it really was a side hustle for me, not my main business. Now I told you guys that these guys told me my products weren't right for Amazon and they'd never sell. So I was really discouraged and I personally don't want to get into 90 day funnels. I've got to make this email marketing campaign, whatever thing. I don't have time for that. So I decided just to go on Facebook live and say, Hey, let's see if these products will sell. So I sent out an email and told the audience that I had built over the past several years that I had a major announcement.

I created an event invite on Facebook because when you have a Facebook live and you create an event invite, then Facebook will remind people that there is an event, they'll promote you for free. And the benefit of this presale is not only did it validate my idea, not only was it easy to launch, I just went up there and did a 60 minute video, shared people shared with my story, my why, the pain point and everything. But it was so simple. I had immediate sales and then I also would have future sales as well. I didn't have any competition because people were only looking at my product. I was able to reduce the risk drastically because I

29:19

didn't have to invest any of my own money. And I also then had a waiting list for the people that didn't buy in this two week period.

30:06 I had a waiting list. So when the products actually hit Amazon, they went in. I had a rush of buyers. So that was really cool

because then I think in turn it takes you from the 30th page down in Amazon to the third page a little bit quicker than I would have gone otherwise. Lastly, remind, the biggest thing is I'm not depending on Amazon for sales. That's massive. So with a one hour Facebook live in November, 2017 and about four three to four emails that I sent out, I had a $17,000 product launch. I had the money and then was able to produce these products and my idea was validated. So for me that was very successful considering I'd been shot down for physical products. And just to show you how simple this was, and I know that my numbers as far as a publisher goes, maybe not on Amazon as a seller, but as a publisher, they may seem larger in my community, might seem larger, but I really did the minimum because I wasn't confident about what the product was that I had.

31:05 So imagine if you did incorporate all the strategy strategies you did do the 90 day launch, you had four week period and really

strategic content promoting it in advance. You would do much higher than I did with a smaller audience. But my four email sequence looks kind of like this announcement one week before letting people know at the during or at the end of the event, Hey, this is what I launched in case you missed it. You have two weeks to buy it. Then two days before 48 hours left, make sure you get it and this is your last chance. So it was really simple. I should have done more. I should have created way more emails, way more buzz, but I didn't. It's still worked. One quick thing I really want to share with you guys on this page is one of the email strategies that I incorporated this year last year was that I resend my emails.

31:53 So 48 hours after I send the email, I then resend to unopens 48 hours later and you could just see this shot up my um, the total open rate to almost 50%. So that's been a good strategy for me

so far, especially because some people say that email list building is dead, but that's where your core audience is going to be. So I've shared with you my sales strategy using my own audience and I know a lot of you guys don't want to do this. I'm going to also share with you the additional sales strategies that I'm implementing now to sell my physical products. Number one, SEO SEO on your website, SEO in your content or SEO in other people's content. In this case, I've got packing cubes. I've

created an article about packing cubes, how to use them. I've ranked it on Amazon, I'm up there competing with Amazon, with [inaudible] bags with other retailers, but I managed to get up there and that's pretty cool, but from page for packing cubes, but I'm also looking, well, what other publishers are, are ranking for packing cubes on the first maybe even second page because if they're that close, maybe they'll move a little higher or for long tails for packing cubes, best packing cubes, travel, packing, cubes, travel, whatever.

33:10 We know whatever it is. I'm looking at the different options and I'm contacting these publishers and saying, Hey, I noticed that

you have a blog post about this particular topic and I just launched this new product. I wanted to share it with you. Let you know that, that these are the reasons why it's unique, different or that your customer base might like it. And also one thing that I see so many eCommerce brands that do contact me like this. What they don't say is also we're on Amazon, so if you're an Amazon associate, you can earn commission. That's great because I know automatically they've done the work for me. This is a product, these are the benefits and I can make money off of it. Now some publishers will tell you no. They'll say yes or they'll charge you for it and depending on where they're ranking on that for that keyword in the volume, you may or may not want to pay them, but in this case, I have a few influencers that I've contacted and they didn't charge me or they decided to include me in their list, so now I'm tapping into somebody else's audience and I can also have different revenue streams coming from different publishers, not just mine because I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket.

34:21 What if Google decides to penalize me for whatever thing for whatever algorithm change they might have, I can then

distribute my my options. Now another way sell my physical products is through my own email list. Or you can also pay to have your product featured on other people's email lists. I take advantage of this email of my newsletters. It's called the frequent flyer. We started doing that a couple of months ago and people really liked it and I say, Hey, our products are now available. They're sold out. We have only 20 pieces left. I create scarcity and people always buy, which is great, or it also showed them that there's the demand. I actually haven't minded that. A lot of times my products sell out because it creates a demand for them, a scarcity. They know that if something, if they see something, they should buy it and I'm not depending on Amazon to to sit on a high ranking spot, so that's pretty cool.

35:14

I like that scarcity tactic as well. I'm also able to promote my Amazon affiliate blog posts. I showed you guys earlier, that boot article I made, so then I get to create double revenue on this newsletter by also getting commissioned for that. Also do that same thing on the blog posts and lastly pro like this, I'm promoting another brand, not mine, an affiliate, but this could be you. You could also reach out to someone with an email list that you don't have and ask them how much it would cost. I sometimes when you're investing money outside of PPC, outside of ads, you'll be surprised at how little overhead it might cost you to create evergreen content. So starting a new product, you're going on Amazon standard route. I'm sure a lot of you guys know how that goes. It might go on Kickstarter, go to the Kickstarter strategy to market a brand new products.

You can then create your own website like I've been talking about so far. Or you can work with someone like me, not me, but someone like me that you can utilize their audience. And this is a really good example about how I used, how I've worked with influencers despite the fact that I am an influencer. I looked up for the last holiday season, I looked up the best travel gift guides on Google, troubled gift guides, the best travel gifts, gifts for women, stuff like that. And I decided to look to see on H refs, kind of like you look at jungle scout for me, for Google, I use HRS and I determine who is ranking for these keywords. I contacted food fund travel. They kept on popping up in the top of the search results and I said, Hey, I've got this new product, which would you be interested in featuring it?

Mind you that I'm not sending these bloggers or influencers,

any free products. For the most part, they're already making money like me. Just featuring products that they may or may not have, may not, may or may not own. This is pretty cost effective as well. Again, no, yes, or they'll charge you. In this case, Meg said, yes, did not charge me, and then it turns out that my product was one of the best sellers in her gift guide. So it's also really good to get feedback from the bloggers because now I have a testimonial that says your product was the best. I've got social proof, so when I target other bloggers, I'll now be able to show them that they can make money if they feature my product. Also, I know that food fund travel is a prominent blog, so if I did want to strategically gift her a free product, I knew that she'd be more likely to accept and even give me a product review, a review that she might charge thousands of dollars for because she already knows that she can monetize my products.

So I'd like to diversify my options as maybe you've noticed, and I still want to work with influencers, but travel bloggers, travel

38:46

influencers, they're inundated by people like me contacting them and sending them either products or letting them know, Hey, include me in your guides. So I thought, well, what other type of bloggers and influencers would be able to utilize my products? I thought maybe no Disney bloggers, maybe family bloggers and with the packing cubes because of their unique organization, system, organization, influencers. So one of my team members researched some prominent YouTubers that were talking about packing cubes, but that weren't about travel. The organizer over here, we reached out in December and said, Hey, we saw that you have an article about PAC. Oh, you have a video about packing. Would you be interested in checking out our new product? And she said, yes.

She says, sure, I'll make a video for you. And I thought she has 30,000 subscribers. It's not a huge amount, but it's a micro- influencer. She has a loyal audience and you can tell by the likes versus dislikes. We have about a thousand she had about a thousand likes within a week of publishing that video and only like 40 dislikes, which was awesome. So I know she has a loyal audience. She did this for free. It took her three months to get to the review, but I didn't pay her to do it. And you have to remember, you can't ask people, Hey, I'll send you this $10 product and you make me a review. You're basically asking them to work for you for free. So keep that in mind when you're looking to work with influencers as well. So why this is powerful. I shared with you how I created this really pretty crappy video about packing cubes back in 2013 but it's evergreen.

It's been selling for me affiliate revenue since then. I'm now able to insert my own links to my own products in that video. Likewise, she will continue to have this. Her audience will continue to grow because that's her. YouTube is her main focus. So now I have content that I can share on social against social proof and different revenue streams. And because I have a background in marketing and I still believe in marketing traditional marketing, I do use experiential marketing in addition to online marketing with experiential marketing. I'm a sponsor at conferences and if you decide to be a sponsor at a conference, please do not bring a table and your pamphlets and expects people to go. Expect people to go and speak to you, create an interactive experience. That's what experiential marketing is all about. We have, we bring over a photo booth. Hey, you want a free picture?

You can do people love pictures. Why? It's a no brainer. They'll publish it on Instagram for free. So I'm getting free marketing, whether it's an influencer or a potential customer, they're

41:25

sharing my brand. So here, just give me your email and you can have a free picture. I'll send it to you and that's how I'm doing gorilla marketing, collecting emails, old school style. Also, I'm gifting at my booth because I find it so much more effective than just giving your product and putting it in the general gift bag because people don't have a chance to interact with you, learn about you or you don't get a chance to get their email in exchange for that gift bag and people see these pretty packages and they come and they ask about them. They love that. So create an experience and doing these for conferences. People have actually invited me to the conference and not charge me to be a sponsor because I'm giving their audience value, which is a really nice surprise.

But for the photo booth experience and I'm targeting really niche conferences, female travel influencers, and also consumer conferences as well. So that's been pretty cool. An example of how this has worked for me is I did a conference in LA, only about 50 attendees and I didn't pay anything for that particular sponsorship or that particular conference. And Hey Ashley, Renee, someone that came up to the booth really was excited about the photo booth, went and did a video, shared the photo booth, picture on her Instagram story. Little did I know she had over 70,000 Instagram followers and she charges three to $5,000 to work with brands, but I gave her packing cubes. She then went back home to her hotel with another influencer and talked about how to use these packing cubes. Create a whole Instagram story like four or five videos giving me free access to her 80 70 80,000 followers for free.

That's very powerful and I love these opportunities because I'm getting access to people I wouldn't normally get access to and that's what I really want to impart on you today in these strategies is you don't have to feel overwhelmed about starting a whole new business because starting a website and publishing is complete something completely different to what you may already be doing, but you also don't have to be intimidated by higher numbers because I do know people that are just coming into the market and they're totally knocking me off the search results, which I'm not okay with, but I see what their strategies are. They're eCommerce brands, they're building websites, they're creating really good content and it is possible to come in now versus seven years ago when I came in. So don't be intimidated by that. Ultimately, the biggest thing, and one of the things that has really helped me grow the business over the years is really remembering your goals because when I launched the physical product brands, I told you that people discouraged me and they said the products wouldn't work.

Speaker 4:

43:26

But remembering why I wanted to launch the products helped me get through that. And you've got to decide are you chasing the next fidget spinner, do you want money with selling? I want some cash now are you trying to build a business and flip it if you want an opportunity like that or what's your why? My why is to build a long lasting business. My why with compass Rose travel accessories is to spread my bets in case travel fashion girl doesn't end up working one day or I could also repurpose the packing cubes and sell them to other markets as well. So there's a lot more opportunities. In that case in 18% of the revenue has been awesome. My goals were to diversify income stream, build a long lasting brand and all I wanted was what's the worst that I did? I could actually want from this brand $5,000 in profit that would sustain my lifestyle, scuba diving and living in Playa Del Carmen and that's what I would be really happy with.

That was my minimum goal. And I'm very excited to say that by taking action that I've now have a really pretty successful, at least for me, for the minimal effort that I'm, that I'm taking with it, I've created consistent revenue. 18% of my business so far this year, our projected gross sales are almost $500,000 half a million dollars, not too bad. So pretty stoked about that. And then the profit is slightly more than the $5,000 profit a month that I was looking for. So remembering your why and don't get caught up in the numbers. Don't get caught up in the six seven figure everything because those numbers are not always what they seem. They're always gross, they're not net. So don't be intimidated by other people. Remember to listen to their sales strategies and listen to how to create a funnel, how to do this, but remember to apply it to you and your needs. What makes sense for your business? Because you don't need to take action on everything you see. Just apply it to your own business. And if the past 40 minutes you missed what I said, pretty simple, create value, create a relationship, and those two beautifully create organic sales. So thank you so much for having me today. I really appreciate it. You guys need to get in contact with me, Alex at travel fashion, girl.com and I will be taking any questions now.

[inaudible] there.

Hey, hi. I have a yoga brand and I work a lot with influencers already, but I want to actually create a product with an influencer. But I'm super nervous about reaching out and saying like, Hey, I know you have this giant audience and I would love to help you create a product. So if, let's pretend for a second that I had a some sort of travel accessory and I'm reaching out to you, what would you want to hear from me to let you know

46:47

that I'm serious, capable? Like what would you think would make a good impression on you? The biggest thing that nobody does is asking us. We're also running a business and when people approach us, it's always, what can you do for me? Give me this. I need this from you versus this is what I can offer you. I can offer you a potential new revenue stream, the opportunity to make 20 to 50% more or whatever you're currently making.

I can add more money to that. Talk to them about what they, what you can do for them and ask them what can, what kind of product, if you will ever want you to have a product, what would those things be? What would you like it to include? Really make it about them and build a relationship with them as well. So that waits two way. Talk about percentages as well. That's a big thing that people don't speak about because I want to know, well why should I give you my time? Are you looking to give me like 5% of flat fee? You have to, you can do that as well. I know that bloggers will receive flat fees to participate with brands. As a creative director, they'll help you cocreate a product and then you can then also have them as the marketing, whatever, to promote it to their audience. So there's different ways. Ultimately ask them what they need.

Sorry. Hi. Um, I have a question on like how you're getting your influencers. I'm having problems with kind of what she was saying. I'm getting influencers to respond back to me. So is there any specific metrics also that you use on like who you should be targeting for influencers? Like should I only be targeting, you know, certain, um, you know, uh, Instagram followers or should I actually maybe target maybe those first, those [inaudible] um, Instagram follow, you know, people first or like how, what's your, your thoughts on that?

I'd say for sure do not look at the numbers like mine. Like don't reach out to me and try to, you know, sell me olive oil or give me all the oil that I won't be able to sell for you. Or even with the higher volume numbers. Really what you want to look at are for bloggers that are very niche, micro influencers are really popular with brands right now. People with about a thousand to 5,000 under 10,000 Instagram followers for example. And remember, well, what kind of product do you have? I was speaking to my chiropractor the other day and asking him, well, why are you trying to have an Instagram account? I'd say that the majority of your customers are probably over 30 over 35 so they're on Facebook. So depending on what your product is, also think about what social media channel you want to use and look at their engagement numbers, aren't everything.

48:55 Look to see if they're responding to their readers, how the, or sorry to their audience, how the audience is speaking to them.

Because with trust, that's really how they'll be able to sell for you. And it's a quantity game as well. The more people you reach out to make it personal. Please don't say high travel fashion girl, like look up my name, you know, hi Alex. You know, I saw that you talk about packing. I've got this new suitcase and it's really unique because right away don't lie to me and say I'm a [inaudible] fan. I love this blog post of whatever. Really just be genuine. You want to take the time to work with 'em to get to know the influencer. And personally for me, if I have a budget, let's say I have $10,000, I might split that up like $5,000 to work with a mid to higher range influencer paying for certain things might be cheaper than you might think. And remember it's evergreen content. I'd pay for blog posts or a video on YouTube. I wouldn't pay for an Instagram story or an Instagram picture. For me, Instagram doesn't really drive sales because my audience shops on Facebook, that demographic shops more. So I didn't spend that much time there. Um, and remember to also mention Amazon associates if you're on Amazon, let them know that really key points.

50:11 Yes. Hi Alex. Thanks. Thanks for the presentation. Um, if you were to start all over again, uh, what are the three things that

you would have focused on

50:26 SEO still? That was major, that's been a major, that was a blessing to learn SEO from day one. So that 100% would, I

would not change that, but I would go in with a bit more strategy. 2012 there really wasn't as much information about the breadth of information there is now. So I think now there's a big advantage because you can te courses go to conferences like this, get a mentor. That actually was one of the most important things as well for me is having a mentor. Luckily I was able to find someone that saw potential in me and said, I don't want you to pay me. I just want you to pay it forward. So now I mentor somebody else that also has potential and for me it's all about giving back. But a mentor you can also decide to work with someone specifically. It's worth investing in your business because they'll be able to expedite your growth. They'll be able to see other opportunities you might not be able to see. And lastly, hiring people. When I started hiring people, I was able to spend more time working on the things that brought me money versus working on the smaller details, administrative stuff. Every time I've hired an invested in my team, I've always grown.

51:35 Hmm,

thank you guys.

[inaudible] what it is, what it does, what it is, what it is instead of getting on internet.

All right, well there you have it. Hopefully your your light bulbs are just flashing, boom, boom, boom. With all of these different ideas and these things that you can do either in your existing business. Now here's the deal. If you're listening to this and you're already selling on Amazon, but you're like, you know what, I'm, I'm at risk of something happening there. I need to build out my external channels. Well then this is for you. Okay? Then you need to be doing this. All right? If you're starting from scratch, well you would start here and then you could bolt on some products later. All right, so we're not saying we're anti Amazon at all. I mean, Alex is doing really, really well with Amazon, the physical product brand that I talk a lot about as the new brand, which is about two and a half years old.

Now we've bolted on products, right? And we bolted on additional assets that bring in traffic, but we've really switched our focus to building traffic because that turns into money. You can monetize all of that traffic and there's different ways that you can do it. And we talk all about that inside of the free training and inside a brand creators Academy. So once again, little reminder, if you have not gone through the free training, make sure that you do. Make sure that you validate your market, your brand, and you can do that by heading over to brand creators.com and then also if you are at all interested, if this is before January six 2020 make sure that you get on that wait list so when we open you have the opportunity to join us if you are ready and if you would like to be part of our brand creators Academy community. All right, so brand creators.com that's the simple way to get over there and get that free. Make sure that you go through it and this way here you'll have a really, really good idea of what you need to do. What are your next steps to building out your business and your brand?

All right guys, so that is it. That's going to wrap up this episode. As always, remember I'm here for you. I believe in you and I am rooting for you, but you have to. You have to. Come on, say it with me. Say it loud. Say it proud. Take action. Have an awesome, amazing day and I'll see you right back here on the next episode.

[inaudible]

53:59

Oh Hey guys, before you go, I wanted to ask a quick favor. If you have not yet left a review for us on iTunes, if you could do that, that would be amazing. I read every single one of them, even the one stars and yes, they're going to be there. You can't make everyone happy. I understand. But if you've gotten any kind of value from this podcast, it really helps me to get fired up to see what this podcast is doing for you. And it also helps us reach more people by you leaving a review on iTunes. So if you could do that, that would be amazing. And while you're there, if you haven't subscribed to the podcast, do that as well. This way here, you'll never miss an upcoming episode. All right? So if you could do that, that'd be amazing.

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