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Episode 90 Transcription:
[00:00:01] spk_0: Welcome [00:00:02] spk_1: to the seller roundtable e commerce coaching and business strategies with and er not
[00:00:06] spk_0: and Amy Wiis.
[00:00:08] spk_1: Mm Hey what's up everybody this is Andy are not with myself because Amy is not here today, but we have a really special guest. Today means back. Mina, Elias, he's back again. He's this is around too far. Uh, he's back, he's back. He's, I know that that he's uh up to his game on, on the amazon front. I know he start to your, you're starting to dabble into some some consulting and stuff now. Right.
[00:00:35] spk_0: Yeah, I used to always do that. No, not really. I don't wanna spend, I don't want to exchange time for money so I'm doing other things though, but I do consult Yeah, here and there. All
[00:00:43] spk_1: right, gotcha. Cool, cool. So, um, if people don't know who you are yet, uh, we always like to ask this, you know, kind of give us a little bit of background on yourself, you know, maybe where you're from, where you grew up, where you live now. Kind of your journey up to where you are now.
[00:00:59] spk_0: Nice, okay, I'll keep it super short. Uh so my name is Maria Elias uh A. K. A. The Egyptian prescription. I was born in Egypt and moved to Dubai when I was two, grew up there until I was 18. I moved to America to go to college, got my bachelor's in chemical engineering and chemistry. Got my master's industrial engineering, worked in the industry for five years. New product development for surgical devices, project management for mechanical construction, chemical safety. Um many different things eventually got sick of it because I felt like I was a slave. Um and even though like I was kind of you know going up the corporate ladder, that was my whole kind of uh you know that's that was my goal like work up become the boss. And then the boss brought me in and said do you want to become the boss? And then I said yeah of course. And then I kind of was driving home and realized that becoming the bosses at a company is the worst thing ever because you're gonna show up before everyone and then leave after everyone. And I was anyways waking about 4 30 in the morning and you know my day was nonstop, wouldn't go home till 9 30 PM after like mm and everything. So um I was like this is not a life I want to live and you know I can't even get married, have kids, anything like that, if this is my life. So started a supplement business. I've always been passionate about supplements. Um Ever since I was a kid like um I always tell the story, my mom used to go to the mall, I used to come with her and I tell her leave me A G. N. C. And I would stand at GNC for 22 hours literally like studying every single supplement just you know an addiction um in my cabinet, my supplement cabinet proves that. So um you know started the supplement business had no idea what to do or how to even sell it. Um I was just going to kind of sell it on like in gyms and stuff like that. But um I set up the business and everything. I mixed the ingredients myself, got a few samples going and then when my friends I gave it to our friends didn't tell them there was my company and when they said it was good I said okay I'm gonna you know everything is good, let me incorporate. I incorporated my business posted about it and then someone said, hey come to this Emma event, showcase your products, went there, people kept asking me where can I buy it? And that's how I got into amazon and says I lied to everyone and said it's going to be on amazon soon. So ever since then deep dove into amazon and got better and better and better and just a lot of like spending money, taking action um you know not spending money but like you know re investing money into education, you know wasted BBC, spend but not wasted because I learned a lot and then just kept growing and growing and growing and now I have multiple supplement brands. The newest one is neuro, it's a new tropic coffee alternative for people like us where you can get long lasting sustained energy from natural ingredients, boost your focus from like medicinal mushrooms like lion's mane and quarter steps and stuff like that has adapted in so it helps your adrenal glands lower stress and quarters all things like that and um you know just has a lot of good ingredients in it. So like a coffee alternative, not like a replacement. Just like you know if you instead of having so much coffee you could have this which is just as good. I don't want to drink coffee because I get addicted pretty quickly to coffee. Uh I have it once a week on saturday. So that's my guilty pleasure. But yeah so that's what I do now. I'm working on you know building uh my 18, I have five people on my team right now. They're killers and I want more and better and better systems and then uh you know continue growing hydra light, can you see this? Oh continue growing my main supplement brand which is uh you know supplements for peak performance athletes like myself, I'm an M. M. A. Fighter and then also continue growing other brands. And I love I love supplement brands, so I'm always gonna stay in the supplement space and uh you know maybe invest in supplement brands or just keep building new brands based on needs that I see in the market. I think the supplement graham is incredibly tarnished. Um A lot of bad things F. Y. I. To everyone, any supplement that you buy, No one, no one regulates it. So the FDA doesn't regulate shit. You can I can literally take gummy bears, put them in a bottle, send it to amazon and say that this is elderberry gummies and I just got your money so that's why be very careful of where you get your supplements, don't just buy anything if any like you know it it sucks because um you know someone should regulate it because for the people who are doing good but for me my goal is to make the best supplements out there, I believe I can make the best supplements out there uh and I will continue to do so and then make a you know an impact in the supplement world, so that's that's about, that's me. [00:05:32] spk_1: Alright awesome, I love that. Um So what one of the things that I think that I see over and over again and this is what I keep trying to tell people is some of the most successful people in amazon are the ones who are super passionate about what they're doing right because if you're not then it's just it's just now instead of doing the 9 to 5 for your boss you're doing the 9 to 5 yourself, I've been caught in that, you know, when I first got on amazon, which I'll date myself, it was like 2012 and you know, it was just like chasing the latest products and you know, all those kinds of things that, you know, not really educating myself in terms of like, you know, 80 20 and there's just so much to learn and it's a huge disservice that there's still people out there who are, you know, selling the the amazon FB a millionaire, you know, Lambo lifestyle, which is sad because people jump into this thinking it's like this easy thing that they're just gonna jump into and, you know, I got a I got a friend or a buddy who's, you know, selling a ton on amazon and you know, it's it's it's sad because there's a lot of people getting in kind of chasing this money that doesn't exist because they don't have the background not like that but it gets harder every year right? Because you know especially since the pandemic all these giant brands now are like well we have to get online now. That's that's where the businesses so it's forced it's forced those companies to get online. So now when you're talking on amazon, you know PBC is getting super super competitive. Uh you know getting a launch out of super competitive if you're not super, you know if you don't differentiate uh really well you know the the chinese sellers are going to come in and they those guys Are working 24-7365. They're crunching data. They got a team of people just doing cure research. And I mean it's it's like David versus Goliath if you're a mom and pop in the U. S. And you don't get your stuff together. Um That being said, you know, kind of how to talk to me about your journey in terms of you know, differentiating yourself and then also kind of hedging your bets towards uh you know, some larger competitors like Gatorade being like ah we can spin off something just like this and rebranded and you know, now we've got this this so we can compete with this guy, he's only got five employees. Uh So I'd love to know how, you know, being a small business, how you stay agile, what you do in order to you know uh combat these large brands. [00:07:51] spk_0: Yeah, so um 1st 1st of all the large brands are not as hungry as I am, so I got that going for me. Um So for me, the way that I differentiated myself was I with hydro, like for example, um and I'll talk even about neuro too, so just you guys can kind of start getting the pattern of this. So I always start with what's the problem and I create a solution to that problem that is better than everyone else's solution and I make sure that there is demand for that solution. So with hydro like I was competitive, you know, endurance athlete, you don't have to be a competitive athlete, but you can be just, you know, someone who sweats a lot or or works out a lot. Um I was on Kyoto, I needed a lot of electrolytes. I looked online, there was nothing that did not have any sugar, Everything had sugar. The reason is studies have found that your body absorbs electrolytes much much better when they're combined with sugar. Amazing. However, there's also studies that show that your body absorbs it equally as well if it's combined with an amino acid. So I said, okay, I'm on Kiddo, I can't do the sugar, I can do the amino acid. And I picked taurine. Taurine is the most performance enhancing amino acid. So I put that in there, I raised the amount of electrolyte significantly. Most uh companies just have a little bit in there. Why? Well, because it does not taste that good. Okay, so it took me a long, long, long time to make something tastes good. It's still never gonna taste as good as a sugary drink, let's be real. However, You know, uh the reason that they put a little bit of electricity, they can say, oh we have electrolytes in here, why should we pay for more? But I needed a like a significant amount. Like your body secretes at least 2000 mg a day of like potassium or sodium. Now someone who's on Kyoto you secretive and more someone who's sweating and you know a lot of the gym security even more. I was like okay I need something that's higher than everyone else. I looked at the market supplements were too expensive. I said man this is so expensive, I looked at the raw ingredients, I said if I combine this myself it would be way cheaper and it you know and and so I said okay I want something that people like me can afford. Obviously not now but people like me when I was just a regular person competing and you know I I didn't want to spend $150 a month on supplements. I still don't spend that much because now I get it all for free. Uh But yeah I didn't want to spend that much money on supplements. So that's where the whole solution came is the problem was I wanted something no sugar and electrolyte powder to enhance my performance with high electrolytes, no sugar and a decent price. And so I created that and I made sure, you know, are people looking for electrolytes? Yes. Um obviously when I first started, I made sure just by like going around and asking and seeing if they're in stores, but now you have like helium 10 and you can do cuBA research and you can see that the keyword volume for like electrolyte powders like 40 50,000 searches a month. So with your very very similar things, the problem was uh Sammer, who I'm partnered with on this summer is a big amazon FB, a Youtuber. He said, you know I I have this issue with coffee, like I drink coffee and it makes me jittery and anxious if I drink it after 12 PM, it messes up my sleep, so, and I personally love to drink this something warm and whatever, like in the morning kind of while I'm working um but I don't want to drink coffee because I know it's addicting, so we said let's create a solution to that problem, which is something that can give you a boost of energy without the spiking crash, uh something that you don't need to keep drinking cup after a couple of something that won't give you the jitters or the anxiety or whatever, you know? And so we resolved all of those issues in that product and we made it tastes really good, we make sure it's all like natural ingredients, nothing crazy. Um and and that's it was a solution to a problem. We looked and we made and like this one, the keyword research was a little bit tougher but we went and looked a lot, you know, and and asked a lot of people and every single person that we talked to said, dude, I would love something like this because everyone knows that they got a coffee problem and everyone knows that they're taking drinking too much coffee. So if there's an alternative that is a little bit better for you, you know why not? And so that's how I stay ahead of my competition is because I'm like this is true competition and this is what amazon is becoming like you said, because now everyone's coming on no longer like long gone are the days where you can say, okay, you know, this product is doing good, I'm going to source it from, you know, stop it, It's done. It's over. This method is dead. The only thing that works is that you actually add value to the customer and you will be paid and compensated exactly directly proportional to how much value you're adding to your customers lives. So if hydra like give my customers a little bit of benefit, I would get paid a little bit of money, but if it gives it a lot of benefit, then I would get paid a lot of money. And obviously I want you to think about the companies that are like really, really killing it with certain products is because they're adding so much value to people's lives. Now once you've done that you have a product, you've differentiated, you are better than everyone else and and people want that product. How do you survive on amazon? Um Okay, well, first of all, you have to understand that those big, big, big big brands because they're managing so much, they don't have the time and the ability to go in and fine tune every single thing. So first of all, there's two halves to it. There's your, how much you're converting, like how convertible you're listening is and how many people are seeing or listening when it comes to how convertible you're listening is. Look at your unit session percentage, go to reports, business reports, unit session percentage at the left, uh not at the left side. It says detail page by child. A son, go look at that. Uh and you'll see exactly your unit 7% is your conversion eri if that's like not at least 20% that that means, you know, you can improve, you can, you can get better whether that's price reviews, uh, you're listening images sell the product better look more professional, all of that stuff. Remember some people, I see them like skipping out on listing images, and they're like, yeah, I got this listing images done for 200. I personally know for a fact, I can get my listening images done beautifully for 405. For sorry, for 250. Like 350 if I want to add professional photography on there. Okay. There's literally people out there, you can just walk outside. There's people just starting out their photography career more than happy. You know, you pay them $100 and they'll take 1000 shots of your product. Um You know, there's there's services out there, like no limit creatives dot com. Jeff is the owner. He's amazing guy out of Maryland. It's $240. Uh and I get my listing images. Beautiful, beautiful. People skipping on that right there, saving 240. And you don't understand that you can make $240 profit in like six hours. You know, like in six hours of the day you can make that kind of profit. So you're talking about listening images that will last a lifetime. Don't skimp on that, improve your conversion, right? So that's what the big companies are not doing. Big companies, they have a system, they're big, they have S. O PS. The and maybe someone's going in there. Remember big companies, their holistic, so they're on amazon, their own walmart, their own jet there on this, there on that. They're in a row, one there in whole foods. They're they're everywhere and they need to manage all of that stuff. So I want you to think about like, you know, your life and how, how much there's so much stuff to manage. And there's certain things that like, you kind of like, let's slip through the cracks because you're like, well get to it later. So as a small guy, you can afford to go in and and make sure that every single one of these things is optimized. So that's the first thing Now. The second thing is BBC, driving traffic to your listing is very important. Again, those big companies have a massive amount of skews, massive amount of keywords. Most of them are probably using, um, solutions like software because they have so many excuse and you know, it's just not sustainable to do something for them. It's not sustainable, uh, to rebuild an entire system. And again, they are, they have amazon PPC. They have facebook ads, they have google ads, google shopping ads, they have retargeting on Snapchat, Pinterest, you know, linkedin uh, instagram facebook. Like they have so much going on that they have to do the 80 20 rule, which is What's driving 80 of our, our sales, let's focus on that. Let's put all of our energy into that. And so with you, you only have amazon PPC so you can really focus on that and you can go and and look at every single keyword you can launch. You know, for me, I'm launching campaign after the next after the next right now. I think I have like 1400 campaigns for for for a sense for hydra light and so and it's 10 keywords per campaign and I'm just launching, launching, launching all of the small, I'm just, I'm nonstop discovering keywords and I'm launching campaigns for these keywords. I start with a like a lower kind of bid, big budget, like at least $100 maybe like a dollar 50 bid. And I'm optimizing every single day, you know, not every single day optimizing every single day I'm looking for nuclear words to launch. And even if they're getting 10 searches a month, if one, if I convert one a month, if I do that over 10,000 keywords, that's 10,000 sales. So that's the way I look at it. They're not looking like that. They're like, there's no way I'm going to have an employee spend their time doing that when we have google ads that need fixing and uh, you know, google shopping ads and adwords and, and this and that and native ads and so many different things. So That's how you can compete with the big people. That's how I compete with gatorade optimum nutrition. All these guys, I'm not competing at the big level, I'm not competing on the keyword electrolyte powder where you know, I have no chance against, uh, not that I have no chance, but a lot of the people who are like this general buyers, they're gonna be like, oh, liquid ivy, 24,000 reviews. Bye. Why would they buy mine? But someone who's writing A natural electrolyte powder for women under 30, you know, maybe 15 people a month are searching that. But I really want to be up there when those 15 people a month search it and I can make that sale. And if I can duplicate that 1000 times, that's 1000 sales. So, you know, that's the kind of the way that I go about it. I [00:18:26] spk_1: like that. Um, and a lot of people, uh, you know, really don't realize that, you know, there are some advantages to being a smaller company, right? You can be super agile. You can, you know, to launch a new brand like you did, you probably did it in, you know, six months if Nike wants to launch a new brand, you're talking years, right? Because they do so much research, so much red tape, whereas as a little guy, you know, you can do lots of little tests, whether it's PBC, whether it's product launches, you know, that's what people don't realize when I started out. Um, you know, back then it was a lot easier. But you know, I just had a goal to launch a new product every week, which sounds crazy. But you know, back then I was like, pretty much everything I put up would make money. So why wouldn't I try that? And then I would, I would just go up and put it up and then see what works and what didn't work and then, um, you know, double down on the stuff that was working and kind of let the stuff that wasn't working die off, just sell out of it. Um, so there are, that's, there's some great points there. What are, what other things are you doing besides PBC to get the word out of your product are you doing? You know, pr stuff are you doing? Um, uh, influencers, are you going to live events? I guess that's not too frequent these days, But what, what are you doing to get the word out? [00:19:33] spk_0: So a couple of things, the main thing that I'm doing to get the word out um, is I am going into where my target demographic is. So right now I'm focused on hot yoga gyms, crossfit gyms. Um, and I'm going in into like the instagrams of the gyms around me. So I told my employee start with Marina del Ray, I want you to go marina del Rey. Uh, you know, uh, venice santa Monica, Malibu and then apply it already. El Segundo that you know, and just all the way all of these cities and I want you to find out everything, Get the instagram of every single crossfit and how yoga gym out there and then I want you to go into the tagged photos and I want you to find the men and women who are really good at taking pictures. Uh, you know, I have friends, female friends especially who just normal, very normal people when she takes a picture of me man. Do I look like I like belong on the cover of a magazine, like without doing anything. Like it's crazy, but they know how to like, just naturally, like not that they studied the, you know, rule of the two thirds or like it's just like, naturally like they know how to hold the phone and take an incredible picture and so there's tons of people out there, especially in Los Angeles, and so we go into their account, we like a few pictures, we go, we comment a couple of compliments and as soon as we get a reply that means that we can dm them, because if we d m them it'll show up, it's not going to go to message requests. So with the M them and the way that I do it is I have a text and I say it's like a regular standard texas is hey, my name is Mina, obviously, like I don't say I'm the owner, I say, hey, my name is Mina and I work on the social media team for Hydra Light. We noticed that you take really good pictures and we're looking for incredible content creators like yourself. We'd love to send you hydra like to try it out. It's a sugar free electrolyte powder that really helps, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Um and and if you like it and you're happy, all we ask in return is just to send us some content. That's it, you know, nothing high maintenance. And so most of them, I think uh just last week we message 350 people about 50% we sent the product to and about uh 50% of that so far have sent us images back. So, um, you know, I'm, so this is what I do. I get the content from them. Number one, Obviously it helps me on my instagram, but I don't need 70 pictures on my instagram. You know, that's like at least like two months worth, right? So what I do is I have them post 10 stories every single day and then tag the people and what that does is if a company post something that I'm in like a picture that I took and tags me. What I do is I share that picture like you know, it just look at the story and once you add the story, everyone sees the name hydro like you know, go high, go hydraulic. And so I'm getting a lot of brand awareness like that. Uh, and it's definitely, you know, this is a slow approach. People might not have the patients to do that, but it's planting a seed. Okay. It is pretty much like you're not gonna get the tree, you're not gonna get the fruits right now. But I'm planting the seeds that I'm watering them every single day and with time I'm going to see the fruits of my labor and I have that kind of patience. Um, you know, so that's number one. Number two is I sponsored uh, my mm a gym black house. That was one of the best decisions I made. Now obviously sponsorships are going to be a little bit different depending on what you're selling. But I found a gym that already had an existing photographer and videographer. And so they were already taking pictures and videos and all I had to do was I say, listen, I'll pay to put my logo on the boards. All I want is a video a month and you know, content. Uh, and I even bought under armour shirts like really good. Like fitting like mm a shirts that I would wear when I trained, which I do wear when I trained. It says hydro light and it has the black house logo on it, you know, to to kind of represent the team because obviously I wouldn't want them to wear something that doesn't represent the team. And so from there I am literally getting an insane amount of content. And then as people are taking pictures or whatever, it's, you see hydra light everywhere. And so it's it's just brand awareness that's paying off. I think a couple other things. Articles, I am consistently reaching out to blogs, blog sites and I'm offering, I have a copywriter and I'm offering to write a guest post on their blog. We do all the content and everything. All that we ask is that we subtly um, mention our product as a recommended product with a link to amazon. And sometimes we even offer to insert their affiliate link. Obviously any blog that knows what they're doing has an amazon associates account. We say, here's the s and give us an affiliate link, plug it in here and whatever commission you make will double it. And so will pay you more. And so that's getting us a lot of back links and Ceo, I just started that recently. So it's, it's been doing all right. Again. Nothing is like significantly measurable. Can't say that I have paid that much in commissions. Um, the final thing that I'm experimenting with a stick talk and I still have not figured that out, But I really do think the Tiktokers our Tiktok did a cool thing. Right? First of all, you can get a lot of reach, but they allowed people to very effectively become like video editors and content creators. So I'm looking for people who are good at Tiktok and I'm willing to send them the product to create content for me. And then I'm also willing to pay people who are athletes or whatever to post that content. So if I find a hot yoga, uh, like a girl from a hot yoga studio and she like does really good tick tocks, I'll say listen, I'll send you the product that's really good for hot yoga. Do a tic tac with the product. She's probably going to get 10, 15 K views on the video and then I get a really well edited, you know, Tiktok style video that I can post on my take that. But I can also just post on my social media. Thanks for tuning in to
[00:25:52] spk_1: Part one of this episode, join us every
[00:25:54] spk_0: Tuesday at one PM
[00:25:56] spk_1: pacific standard time for live Q and A. And bonus content after the recording at cellar round table dot com, sponsored by the ultimate software tool for amazon sales and growth seller. S C O dot com
[00:26:08] spk_0: and amazing at home dot
[00:26:09] spk_1: com.