Learn Amazon Marketing with Melissa Simonson of Empowery - Part 1
Things we mention in this session of Seller Round Table:
Join us every Tuesday at 1:00 PM PST for Live Q&A and Bonus Content at https://sellerroundtable.com
Try the greatest Amazon seller tools on the planet free for 30 days at https://sellerseo.com/
Episode 98 Transcript:
[00:00:02] spk_0: Welcome to the seller roundtable, e commerce coaching and business strategies with and er not and Amy Wiis. [00:00:13] spk_2: I'm excited. [00:00:14] spk_1: Hey everyone, welcome to the seller roundtable. We are here just Amy's here today and he has had some stuff come up so he will be here next week and we'll miss him dearly. Normally he starts this announcement, we're on episode number 98 and we're here today with the incredible, she needs no introduction. Miss Melissa assignments and welcome melissa, [00:00:43] spk_2: thank you so much. I mean I'm so excited to be here and I'm very, very excited to be on your podcast. Yeah, [00:00:48] spk_1: I know. I was just asking melissa before we hit the record button. I was like, why haven't you been on my [00:00:54] spk_2: podcast before? You [00:00:56] spk_1: had to have been on my podcast before and so, and she hasn't. So it's awesome that we have her here on the seller roundtable. Um well, welcome melissa and why don't you tell everyone a little bit about you and your story? So how did you get started in e commerce? [00:01:16] spk_2: Um Well, I mean I've told this story like from a bunch of different angles, so I feel like it's because each time I, I talk about me, I wanted to be like interesting, you know, I don't want people to just, you know, have to have to hear the same old story. So um I think that if I'm being the most accurate, then it would be accurate to say that um steve, my oldest brother got me into e commerce And he actually had his first shopping cart sale online in 1988. And when I was 15, yes, I worked for his company, he had like 30 employees, he had an only flooring store and also sold many other things online. This is back when Amazon came supporting, you know, online stores and said, you know, hey, you should sell stuff on our platform to, we could sell more than books, like way back in the day. And at that point we had to have like a whole basement full of programmers. There was like, you know, managing the website, you can just have a bit sharper faced or, and in an afternoon and call it a day, you had to have some serious money and investment and all kinds of stuff in your website and your listings and stuff. And I had to know html so that I could change the product. [00:02:36] spk_1: Oh my gosh, I can't even like I love the visual builders of today, don't you? I mean they make it so much easier to you. So you learned html. It's basically you got started helping your brother steve, which most of us have heard of steve, he's a great guy and as a ton of experience and then what happened. Yeah, [00:02:57] spk_2: So I mean then, you know, I was a teenager and so I would work for him in the summers and then I think when I was 18 um I carried on, so I was working remotely and so I did that for a while um but you know, I had a few opportunities present um you know at that time that I couldn't say no to, so I moved on and away from the E commerce a little bit and had normal jobs for a little while. Um I was married at 18, very young and um and then you know, I just kind of did normal stuff and then um you know after being married for many years and then the birth of my second son actually was the birth of my first month. Um We got really behind on bills, So fast forwarding now 7, 8 years I think, before I had my first son after being married and we got really behind the bills and I had been laid off because when I found out I was pregnant, that's when they laid off, like my entire department. That's [00:03:59] spk_1: right, not [00:04:00] spk_2: great. So I've been here a moment. That's good timing, That's awesome. [00:04:05] spk_1: Um [00:04:05] spk_2: So then, you know, I realized um this is gonna be really tricky to get hired. I'd never had trouble getting hired before, you know, I um I felt like I did fairly well in interviews. I applied for jobs, I felt over qualified for and skilled at. Um but in this case I could not get anyone to hire me because I knew I'd be taking leave within a few weeks, you know, of getting hired. And that was really tough because you know, I felt like I was I was leaving my fate in other people's hands and I did not like that feeling like it was just the worst. And I wanted to be in control of my own fate. And you know, I had made a promise to my son when he was born, I did this for both of my boys, but at the time I just had the one and I promised him on his first day of living that I would make sure he always had everything he needed and I would teach him to work for everything he wanted. And I felt like I was failing him right then because I couldn't get tired, I couldn't paper stuff. You know, I was worried about rent and then our power gets shut off and that moment for me was like, I'm done waiting for other people to help me with it. I'm done trying to wait for someone to rescue me out of this, you know, I couldn't rely on my partner at the time to help out with that. And so I just stopped waiting and I put an ad on craigslist for a cleaning business, And um I got a call that day and I went and clean the house that day, and I came home with like $150 or something like that, used that to buy more um products put up more free ads because free marketing is best, I'm not a big fan of paying for marketing if I can help it. So um yeah, and that turned into a business that I run for about five years, supported me and my family um and you know, nice home and things like that and um and then it was sort of through that transition of, you know, that I was getting a divorce and some other things in my personal, I started to spill over into my business. And that's a really tricky situation, you know? Um Yeah, it's hard to keep those things, [00:06:14] spk_1: it's enough to run a business. Yeah. And you know, it's funny because amazing at home became this, we just use the domain name, right? Because I own the domain name, but it actually became really real because so many of us start our businesses at home at home comes along with our Children and our marriages and all the things that go along with it. And even if you have an office, if you're a business owner, you're working and you're working from home wherever you are, right? Like it is, it's very, it's a personal thing, you know, to own a business and I can I can definitely understand that, you know? Yeah. Really? I mean, right? [00:06:59] spk_2: You pour your heart and soul into something. And so when, you know, your personal life is, you know, out of balance, um there's no way for that to not spill over, or at least I haven't discovered uh and I thought I was fine. By the way, let's be clear on this. I was fine. Oh, I just didn't realize it was actually funny. My mom said to me one day, um she asked me a question about something and I just waved it away. I was like, I can't worry about that right now, I think about that tomorrow. And she was like, who are you? And where's my daughter? Because that has never been the way I approach anything. It's always like, let's do it now, because then I won't have to worry about it later. Um and that's just how I like to operate, but that I every little thing at that time was too much. And so, so that's when you know, I kind of was going through some stuff and um I stepped away from my business, got a regular job, I am not a fan of that and as it turns out, I'm not a good employee anymore. I don't like getting places on time. I don't like being stuck in one seat. I might not move for nine or 10 hours from my computer, but if I have to be there, that's a huge problem. [00:08:16] spk_1: Yes. Right. Yes. I'm absolutely with you. There was a point when I and all of us reach a point where we leave our jobs and we go into business and at this point you had already left your job and started your own business, sort of go back to that. But I remember distinctly like I was driving in my car one day and I just realized that I had reached the point of oh my gosh, I can never go [00:08:44] spk_2: back [00:08:45] spk_1: again for someone else. Like I'm past that point now. And so you were you were already there, huh? [00:08:52] spk_2: Oh I was so there and I didn't even know, I was just like, you know, I was again in the interview, I was like this is gonna be great because I have experienced as you know an owner of a business, I know what it means to invest in your business and really take care of your customers and stuff like that and knowing that gives me an advantage here because I know what is at stake for you guys and you know, a typical employee doesn't know that, but I was like also though, I don't want to sit here for eight hours so that's going to be a problem. So anyway, but I didn't work out as well as I was hoping, but I did learn something about myself and now I know the kinds of jobs that I excel at and the kind of you know the flexibility that I need and you know stuff like that, I had never for the entire life of my kids had a job where someone else was the boss until that moment. And so that was you know, not being able to to cause what I'm doing, run over to the daycare or something like that and you know bring you know they're showing tell whatever it is, I have always been able to do that and it was so awful to leave it in someone else's hands. Like whether I could run home and grab something or whatever, like that lack of freedom is no, no deal for me. Yeah, [00:10:08] spk_1: I think it also influences how we treat our own team because I know, you know, for me, everybody who works on my team, I try to be really flexible with them. You know, of course there's needs to be flexibility on both sides because they're working for a business that is constantly changing, constantly growing all the time. We're doing new things and you know, they got to be flexible, but I think that's also a really good lesson for us. Business owners. Imagine if you had to go back and work a job now, what kind of boss would you want to be? What kind of boss would you want to have? And so I try to always be super flexible, like I let my folks work from home a couple of days a week if they want to and you know, as long as we got everything on track and you know, there's that level of trust, it's like why not? Like I want them to have to be happy here and to, you know, to to want to continue to help me grow, you know, they need to believe in that mission and so I think that's something that all of us business owners can learn about hiring are well [00:11:12] spk_2: and I think it's good for management, but it's not so good just and a human level to know like you can be really bad at something and like have eyes on you watching you fail and Slaley and just do terribly and you can buy into that or you can look elsewhere for your strength because it's obviously not there, you know, you could have someone who is very, very talented and I consider myself talented in in a few different respects, not dang still, but in a few different things, but if I had just bought into other people's opinions of me or you know, something like that, and instead of turning to a strength and leaving that weakness behind, that would have really crippled me for a while, you know, that would have been hard to move past and I probably, you know, easily could have accepted some other position and just called myself a failure and just dave mediocre, you know, and that would have been such a shame. [00:12:10] spk_1: Yeah, I love that. So you decide you're not a very good employee and then what happens? So [00:12:18] spk_2: for after a while, so I started doing some things to get some strings with income. Um you know, so I was working for myself again, I was doing freelancing, I was doing some remote work stuff, um even transcriptions, like all kinds of stuff I could do with my house and have that flexibility back. Um and then steve contacted me about empowering, so at this time it was just an idea, nobody, you know, there was no firm plan um or even a specific date of release or announcement or anything like that. Um It was an idea. They had kicked around at stevens mastermind and they said, you know, this would be better if we could put this on a larger scale and if we could have, you know, a world full of entrepreneurs that were connected instead of just one mastermind so that all the masterminds come together, all of the entrepreneurs come together and then we have one voice. We're all and it would set a beautiful idea. He contacted me to see if I was available if I would be interested and I loved it. I was down from the moment he talked to me about it. I was very excited because it's such a beautiful thing to add to the world and it is also something I realized that I needed, um you know, through that job experience, I need to believe in what I'm doing, I need to be passionate about it because I can't just do work and be fine. I need to I need to live, work is such a huge part of your life, especially as an entrepreneur, you need to love what you do or you're just hating a huge chunk of your life. So, um, so that was a really big deal to me and so now being able to um you know, I consult my time, so it's still my business, I'm still able to be flexible um but working for empowering for the majority of it is I I couldn't be more excited about it, [00:14:07] spk_1: I love that, So, I mean the beautiful thing about empowering for those of you who have never heard of empowering, you can go to their website and check it out, but it's basically a meeting of many different entrepreneurs and in the e commerce space and um they have vetted services and everything and it's a non non for profit, right? So, um you can get involved for very little and no money in some cases and they do lots of events um and, you know, it's a really great thing, so definitely check that out, so, um you know, obviously there's it's good in this space to know that there's people that you can trust, because there are, I think in all spaces it's good to know that there's people you can trust because you know, there's always whenever there's money to be made, there's also people willing to take your money and set you up on a bad path. So it's awesome to have trusted services like empowering, very good. So let's talk about specifically, let's talk about marketing. So tell us a little bit like you were talking about free marketing. So what do you see as people trying to get started selling online, whether it's amazon, whether it's Ebay, whether it's, you know, what do you see as I think marketing is one of the biggest struggles that people have, right, because the list their product and you know, so what do you see as the core foundation for marketing, If people are wanting to get started selling online, they're wanting to get get moving with a product based business, whether they're selling their products or someone else's products, what do you see this kind of the core struggle and things that people should learn to kind of their foundation that they should have. [00:16:00] spk_2: Um I think I think that this is one of the biggest areas where reading is like your best friend because there's a ton of books out there on marketing. Um there's some that are spectacular and I feel like the ones that are the best that speak to me and that I think are on point, they have an element of psychology to them, you know, of human behavior and that's so key. Like there's one book I don't even know that it's meant to be for marketing. It's called The Power of Habit. I talked about this book all the time because I can't get over how good [00:16:32] spk_1: I went and read it after you mentioned it and I I thought it was really great. Yeah. [00:16:39] spk_2: And then there's another way it's called Contagious. It's about why things catch on. You know what what makes something go viral. So I think I think that the first thing that people need to, you know, examine when they're looking at how to market whether it's a product, whether it's their service, whether their life coach, it's you know, I need to think about this differently and and part of that is, and I'm gonna forget the name of this. There's a concept where you, whatever it is, whatever your limit is, you tend to spend that much, if you have this much time, you'll tend to spend that much time doing something. If it's you have this much of a budget for money wise, you know, for your marketing or whatever, you'll tend to spend that much money, but if you it's our Parkinson's theory or something like that, I [00:17:29] spk_1: can't remember, I'm sorry, [00:17:31] spk_2: I think of it later. [00:17:32] spk_1: Okay, not like you're on the spot or anything. [00:17:36] spk_2: Okay, Parkinson's Law or something like that. Well, look at it, but anyway, um essentially means you are going to take as much as you are allotting for yourself. So I usually just say zero, what can I do with zero? And I do all of those things and that is it accomplishes quite a bit when, you know, it helps also that empowers non profit. Um, and so we don't have a ton of overhead to work with anyway. Um, and in the beginning, especially, it was being funded solely by steve and you know, the co founder, that's how empowering was surviving was just money was being fed in and this is why this has not happened yet. This is why a co op, like this has not taken place yet because it's very expensive for the founders, you know, and it takes a while to get where it's supporting itself, right? So, um anyway, with this being a nonprofit, I just assumed I had little or no budget and so I started to pay attention to the kinds of things that were working when we were going to events and you know, we're networking and we're talking with people all of a sudden now empowering was becoming a little bit more known and when one time I forgot to send a notification or an email, two members. And so I did a quick facebook Live, hey guys just wanted to let you know, this is on monday, it's now friday side and give me more notice, blah, blah, blah. But what happened was this Live did better than 95 of all of my other posts I've ever done. Um so I was like, oh, jeez, and I was very scared of, like speaking in public and recording videos and all that stuff. That was terrifying to me. So I was like, oh, crap, like, you have to do more of this, And it took me a while to actually get to where I could do that. Well, my earlier videos are [00:19:31] spk_1: Not great. Yeah, and he always talks about how, when he was super uncomfortable with being live, he did a challenge where he forced himself to go live every day for 30 days. And it just, you know what, it just, even even if you're just going online for five minutes to talk about something, and I think that's so key, especially for our audience is mostly private label, some wholesale sellers, um we do have some retail arbitragers as well, but um, but I think that's so key. No matter what you're selling, whether it's a product or service, start with zero, like Melissa son, you don't have to spend money on facebook, You're already on facebook. Go find your people. I think the core foundation is, you know, like, I love what Grant Cardone says, find, I'm going to go find my buyer. Where's my buyer? Who has my money? And it's [00:20:27] spk_2: already groups and stuff like that on facebook that have your target audience. Why are you get in those groups? Talk to those people, they want to talk to you, They want to know what, you know? [00:20:35] spk_1: And I think the scary thing is that people, they don't want to be sales e right, We've all grown up to kind of be afraid of, we don't like the salesperson, we don't want to deal with the sales person. You know, our parents didn't want to deal with the sales person. So I think that's the thing that scares people the most is that they don't want to be that sales person. But if you just go into it truly wanting to connect with an audience and truly wanting someone's feedback about your product or um or your service, I think that if you go into it with the attitude of value first, you're always going to get value in return right from the customer. So I think that I love what you said about just starting with zero think about all the places that you could go online and do that top of funnel marketing or you can just tell people about it when you said we had no budget for empowering, but we wanted to tell people about it without being sales, e or whatever, right? Just kind of, hey get out there and then you record this one video and you get all these views and so much more attraction and you're like, okay, well that's working. I think that's like [00:21:47] spk_2: formula do more of what works and less of what doesn't it? It couldn't be more simple, you know, [00:21:52] spk_1: yep. So exactly, you double down on what works. It's the same thing with amazon PPC, right? If we don't optimize it, if we just let that one keyword run away with all of our budget, well then we're going to be disappointed and we're going to go that costs too much money and it didn't work. But if we discover those little key words that are converting for us and we put our money there and we take the money away from this stuff that's not working. Suddenly, if we've optimized our ads, we've gotten in front of the right people and we're making more sales profitably. So I love that. Start with zero. Okay, got it. And what about, um, you know, and then double down on what's working, what are some of your favorite free forms of marketing? [00:22:35] spk_2: And I mean, right now it's got to be clubhouse. I mean, that's, it's one of my favorite things. It's, it's nice to connect with people. You know, it's been such a desert of conversation this last year. And so to be able to just have a group of people that you have missed for at least a year that you could just jump into conversation with a talk shop. Like that's a beautiful gift alone just by itself. But you know, if you're being intentional, like we talked about on the wizards of income podcast together, if you're being intentional and you are actually coming in with a system tracking leads, you know, and you know, it, you know what I call it, tracking leads, It makes it sound sales and stuff. But really what I'm doing is I'm connecting with people while I'm on there and I'm following up with them to see if they could use more help, if there's anything else they need. If they got their question answered fully, you know, that's just being nice and kind giving of my time and also trying to get something for the co op in return as in a new member so we can continue to help entrepreneurs and increase the network that we have created so that we can have a lot of voice more leverage. [00:23:43] spk_1: And the key is really in the follow up, right? It really is in the follow up. It's like having somebody who visits your website and then you follow them with a facebook ad after that and they see you everywhere because you've done that. So the key is always, or you get an email from someone or somebody is listening to you on clubhouse and you follow up with them via instagram message and say, Hey, so great having you in our room. It was awesome to meet you. Is there anything else I can help you with? You're giving them value and they might have something that they need help with and if they don't, well then that's okay to at least the art is in the follow up and you did that. So I love that. So for those people who aren't aware of what clubhouses, this is something that's kind of new. It's like a new kind of social media platform where it's only available on iphone right now, which is kind of frustrating for our android users. I'm an android user, You guys just so you know, here's my Samsung Note 20 that I use. So I actually my little hack for clubhouse as I put it on my ipad and that we're just fine. And so, but what it is is it's like you're walking down the hallway in a college and all these interesting conversations are going on in these rooms and you can go into any of those rooms and sit in the back of the room and if you want to, you can, so you don't have to a mute your mic or anything like that. In fact, you won't even get the opportunity to unmute your mike unless you're on stage as we call on stage in clubhouse. So you would raise your hand, there's a little raise your hand icon and you can raise your hand and you can talk. So for those of you who are shy and are wanting to get your product or service out there and you're wanting to get into facebook lives and stuff like that. Clubhouse is a great way to practice because you know, you can get in some of these rooms, it can be super intimidating, but just raise your hand and foot pops a little button and you're not on video, it's just voice. So you don't have to worry about looking weird or fumbling or stumbling or whatever and you can just talk. So clubhouse is a really great way to build an audience now. [00:25:59] spk_0: Thanks for tuning in to part One of this episode, join us every Tuesday at one PM pacific standard time for live Q and a. And bonus content after the recording [00:26:08] spk_2: at cellar round [00:26:09] spk_0: table dot com, sponsored by the Ultimate software tool for amazon sales and growth seller s c o dot com, and Amazing at home dot com.