We all know Q4 is a crazy time of year. It's difficult to decide where to hone in and devote your attention, money or time. In this Episode we speak with Norm Farrar of Private Label Legion about the advantageous power of influencers & other brand building techniques to put your best foot forward this Q4 season.
[00:00:07] Chris: Hi everybody. Welcome back to Seller Performance Solutions. Our wonderful podcast here at ecommerceChris, I'm Chris McCabe. I'm here with Leah McHugh also of ecommerceChris and our special guest today, Norm Farrar of Private Label Legion slash Lunch with Norm slash every place celebrities in the Amazon space show up because he is very, very well known and identified easily in public so thanks for joining us, obviously hectic, crazy time of year. So we appreciate your time coming on the podcast.
It's been a lot of crazy news. Crazy talk about how to get yourself properly marketed, given the tug of war going on, let's say between you and your competition, but also Amazon's murky messages that sometimes are not so murky, but sellers are trying to interpret them in a favorable way and then they come to experts like all of us for answers. So you've got a bunch of clients you're trying to get them to focus, right? This is the time of year. They gotta hone the message. What do you start with, where do you begin that conversation? If they're not sure where they should devote their attention, their money or their time.
[00:01:18] Norm: Probably just getting the word out. And one of the easiest ways to do that is with Amazon under Seller Central, the customer experience tool, where you can just blast out to people and offer or any of your repeat customers or people that have hit that follow button. That's so important now on post or on live.
Amazon's trying to build a brand community. And if you can do that, well, why not hit people that already love your product or that listen to your live? You can let them know that you're available either for a discount or you have a new product that's coming out. Whatever you'd like to target all within terms of service of course.
[00:02:00] Chris: And this Amazon posting is another big thing that people are paying attention to. Do you see that people understand it and appreciate it and know what to do with it? Or are they just kind of going to you and saying explain to me the best way to utilize this relatively new concept?
[00:02:13] Norm: Complete under utilization right now. So it's still a new tool in the toolbox. They're not using it. You talk about Amazon posts. That is another very underused tool where you have that chance somebody sitting on the fence. You have a pattern interruption and you get people to interact.
I was talking to you just beforehand talking about a chef. So you go out to different chefs and every Monday or Monday, Wednesday, Friday, you post a chef posing with a knife, with a recipe. People engage. They don't have to be polished images. They can be lifestyle, images, or benefits or whatever you like, and you can easily repurpose social media posts. And probably the best thing that we do is we'll put a contest out there and people buy our products, tag us, and then we can go and utilize their Instagram account using an app, like Repost take that, and we post it into an Amazon Post.
It's awesome. And the other thing that you could do staying on sort of the post live, like building a community, is very inexpensively build up those followers by driving traffic over to your page. So over to your storefront or over to your brand feed and get people to follow you.
There's no harm in that, like going on to Facebook, probably being the more expensive, but Instagram or Pinterest, or, you know, any of the user platforms and tell people that one of the tricks I heard, I heard it today was on my banner. When you go into your store, have the arrow pointing down to the follow. It's sort of like a call to action.
[00:03:57] Leah: Yeah. In terms of engagement on the follow button, their analytics for that aren't so great right now. Right? So it's difficult to see exactly what's being driven through those posts?
[00:04:07] Norm: Yeah but you know what? There is a trick. Like ecommChris. Okay. So in the e-com network we've been in e-comm forever, but every time you click, every single time you click, you lose over 50% of your audience.
Amazon made a little tough to go from a post to a purchase and they do show you the clicks that you're making. So you can see. Okay, so many impressions. The first click. Okay. You lost 50%. The second click. Okay. Now you're you're into it. So you've gone from that first post that shows either logo or image..
Okay. Pick image. You go to the next one. Oh, you click on the summary to purchase. It takes you to the product page. Now you have to purchase that's four to five clicks. Well, what's left? It's a captivated audience. So for me, I don't have insights to this, but I would think that it's a captivated audience and your engagement rate would go up at that point, which at the end of the day, your conversion rate goes up.
[00:05:11] Leah: Which then drives the rest of the Amazon algorithm on your listing.
[00:05:15] Chris: I like how we're entering a new phase of influencer involvement. It's not just freebies and things like that. You really going to have to grab people that are interested in promoting the product in a certain way. Right? Not necessarily the quickest and easiest way. You have to be a little creative. And I guess that's my next question is, do you think we're entering a new era of influencer use and other kinds of marketing that maybe people didn't utilize as much in the past? Because they were so hung up on the kind of gimmick of the moment or the trendy thing to do that they heard about somewhere?
[00:05:50] Norm: What I like is it's coming back down to really traditional marketing. And how do you get the word out? It's not the next shiny object and people who are following the next shiny objects, it only lasts for a small period of time. Yeah. So influencer marketing is fantastic and you don't have to spend a lot of money.
A great person who killed it with influencer marketing was Paul Barron when he set up repeat customers, turn them into influencers and then said, Hey, how would you like to be a brand ambassador? And they all had their little networks, like not over 10,000 followers, very small. And he's got this huge group he received, this is how powerful it can be in a period of six months over I think he said 11,000 images, but when he first started getting going it took him a bit of time to get 3000 images. But 3000 images. What can you do with that on Amazon Post?
[00:06:47] Leah: Right. Exactly. And I think it's human psychology as well. If they see a lot of other people sending in pictures and you want to send in your pictures too , people like to be a part of something and a part of the cool crowd for lack of a better term.
[00:07:00] Norm: But influencer marketing is great. There's lots of ways to do it. And I think it's part of your brand culture. If you can build that influencer base out that people want to be part of your brand. Like let's say it's a beauty product. I don't know if you guys know Joe Martin who just sold BoxyCharm. He only used influencers. He only used influencers and high-end. So he went to the Kardashians. I can't afford a Kardashian. But he went, they loved it.
[00:07:30] Chris: Half a Kardashian, maybe?
[00:07:34] Norm: Maybe their toenail.
[00:07:36] Chris: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
[00:07:38] Norm: He sold his company recently for $500 million. Wow. That's not everybody can do that, but people loved what he did and because Kardashians did it. All these other high end influencers love the product.
[00:07:53] Chris: We got a monster budget for influencers. What's the kind of scaled down version, would you say? If somebody is just looking to kind of get maybe not for Q4 this year, but just to get the wheels turning in the right direction, even for next year, what would you say?
[00:08:06] Norm: A lot of the up and coming, like the people that are trying to become influencers or who don't have any idea that they're an influencer, maybe there's a dog product. My wife posts pictures of our dog all the time. If somebody were to approach her and say, Hey, would you like one of my products or whatever, and she'll take a picture with the product and put it on her feed. Well, that's these little buns. She's got a following of a hundred or 200 people.
The nano-influencer is I think the small Amazon sellers dream. They're very inexpensive from nothing because they don't even know they're an influencer. $10, $25. Very inexpensive, depending on the platform. If you're on Tik-Tok, next to nothing. If you're on Instagram, it'll be a lot more. But you can go out and search out these people and you can also go on the internet.
I did it today. I was talking about bully sticks and I just wanted to do like dog influencers. And I went in and one of my clients that has these spiritual jewelry. So I was looking for influencers for them. I went on Google, didn't have to look very far. There was a whole list. I was published on Google.
These are your top influencers for this type of market. So they're going to be more expensive, but if you go and you just easily search for people under 10,000 users or followers, they're a dime a dozen, they're really a dime, a dozen.
[00:09:36] Chris: I like the idea of dogs as influencers themselves. Like we're probably interested in cat influencers
[00:09:42] Leah: Chris doesn't spend a lot of time on the internet.
[00:09:44] Chris: I've looked at a lot of cat videos now. I've been thinking a lot about cats as influencers in terms of, people follow the cats and then they also understand which products that cat is around your picture with or using. Forget the dog owners and the cat owners. Let's focus on the cats themselves and what they enjoy. They get stronger following than any of us do anyway, at least on YouTube videos, right?. Simply because we can't be as engaging and entertaining and some of those cats can be in a video . We can try.
[00:10:14] Norm: Absolutely.
[00:10:15] Chris: What else would you say isn't being talked about? I'm sure you interact with a lot of peers, maybe you agree with most of what they're saying publicly, or you've got your own ideas. Of course. What do you think isn't being discussed that much? Whether it's among people who are just laser-focused on PPC and nothing else. This is the busiest time of year, right? So what are people missing that they either should've thought about already? Maybe even things that they could still employ if they get going on it quickly.
[00:10:42] Norm: One of the biggest things that people don't look at or they go into the wrong ones is gift guides. Like getting into Cosmo, getting into Vogue, getting into those are the upper scale, but then you have every website, every news site, any site that associations, they all have gift guides. And by going out there and approaching the gift guides, a lot of them are free. A lot of them, you just have to supply a product so they can show, they put it up there. A lot of them are affiliate based, like Wire Cutter. If they show your product as being number one , you're going to get a lot of business. And they're going to make a lot of money. But that's at least the last time I had a product on Wire Cutter, that was an independent based a review. We never sent anything in. They found our product, they put it on and four times a year, we would have a huge bump in sales, all because of that. I know for us that Buzzfeed, Huffington post Field And Stream, Men's Health, GQ, Cosmo, Vogue. Those are all incredible ones to get involved with. That's probably the biggest thing that people are missing out on, introducing pre-holiday sales. Don't wait for the holiday, tell people that they can save money or drive them over to either Amazon or your website for a sale.
Use that digital coupon to show that there's a sale to o. that's a great tool that you can drive people to click on. It could be a higher priced item. You give them a bigger coupon and it looks like it's lower than the higher perceived value, you can get sales that way.
And the other thing that I like doing is if I have an email list, I utilize my email list, but if I don't have that email list, going onto Facebook, driving traffic, driving real people, not discount clubs, real people over to my website and on my website I'll have something that's not available on Amazon.
So I'll have cherry almond soap. And through that I'll say check out our Amazon site. Here's the link. Boom. And now they go over to the Amazon site for the product that's on sale. And now I've got people going over to Amazon. I would rather people go to Amazon because I've got a captivated audience then.
I love them coming to my website and buying a product off of there because they're my customer, but if I can get them over to Amazon, I know I can get them into a subscribe and save or something like that.
[00:13:10] Chris: Some of the functionality.
[00:13:12] Norm: Yeah. So those are a couple of the things that I can think of right off the top.
[00:13:18] Chris: Great. Well, I know there's been tons of hot topics lately. We didn't consider their recent policy clarification or seller forum posts to be huge news. Ha have you heard from a lot of people about that or did you just sort of tell them, look, this was already in place before it's just better understood now? That's kind of the message we've been giving people.
[00:13:38] Norm: It's clear now, so that's what we've been telling people is the same thing. Take a look, you can read inbetween the lines, but I don't think you have to anymore. People used to say, oh, very vague, no.
[00:13:50] Leah: I think some of that was wishful thinking, like oh this technically is not a rebate, it's a gift card.
[00:14:02] Chris: Just a quick disclaimer from Ecommercechris. We don't believe that most policy pages are clearly written, so that's our caveat. But on the other hand, it's been pretty clear for a while, what thereafter with this whole issue. And the rest of it was just colorful interpretation.
So we're also very against overly favorable interpretation of Amazon policies that fit right into the definition of what you want it to say versus how they interpret it. So we don't necessarily agree with how Amazon interprets policy, whichever policy it might be. But we also accept the reality that if it's clear how they're interpreting it, we don't recommend that people color outside the lines too much.
But, yeah. Great. Thank you so much for joining us today. I know you're a busy guy and it's November. It's very, very peak holiday right now. So we appreciate that you joined us today. What's the best way for people to reach you with all of their great questions about what they've heard today?
[00:14:58] Norm: Sure. Just reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or if you want something simpler email@example.com.
[00:15:09] Chris: Awesome. All right. We look forward to speaking with you again. Thanks Norm Farrar for joining us.
[00:15:14] Norm: You are welcome.
[00:15:15] Chris: Talk to you soon.