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Understanding Amazon’s Pay To Play Platform with Kevin King
I’m with the legend, Kevin King. How are you doing?
I’m doing good. How are you doing?
I’m doing great. Kevin King sells millions of dollars of product on Amazon.com via retail and other websites. He’s been a recurring guest in over 30 FBA and eCommerce podcasts and is a highly sought-after speaker at Amazon conferences worldwide. He also mentors sellers collectively doing over $500 million per year on Amazon in the Freedom Ticket and Helium 10 Elite Mastermind. He organizes the Billion Dollar Seller Summit. He runs a private group called AMZ Marketer Mastermind where over $201 million and up Amazon sellers share advanced tips, tricks and strategies. You can learn more about Kevin by listening to some of the podcasts he’s been on at AMZMarketer.com. Kevin, you have a very impressive resume and we’re going to talk all of that and all Amazon. First, I want to take a step back. Before you got on Amazon, before you got on eCommerce, even when you were growing up, what kid were you? Were you a straight-A student? Were you a rebel? Put some of that in perspective and did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I was a straight-A student. I was eighth in my class out of 800 and some people in high school. I went to nine years of perfect attendance. I never missed a day of school but I was also a rebel. If you asked my dad, he’d always say, “I hope I have a child one day that’s just like me,” because I was definitely a rebel. I was always out there bending the rules and finding a loophole. When I was growing up, my parents had contracts because if they would tell me, “You got to make your bed every day.” One day I didn’t make my bed. They’d say, “You didn’t make your bed.” “You didn’t say what time I had to make my bed” or “Still the day is left” or whatever. They ended up making these little contracts. They always thought I would be a lawyer or an accountant because I was always good with numbers.
Since the age of three, I was an entrepreneur. My mom would take me to the store at the age of three and I buy bubblegum. Back then, it’s like a penny for this big pink bubble that came in a little wrapper with a cartoon or something on it. I’d buy that and bring that back and sell it to the neighborhood kids for like $0.03. I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I’ve always been involved in some entrepreneur stuff from selling stamps, mailer to back catalogs to coins to whatever it may be. I’m 50 years old and the last time I got a paycheck I was seventeen and that was when I worked at McDonald’s when I was sixteen or seventeen years old and I delivered pizzas. Other than that, I’ve never worked a corporate job. I’m not a traditional person that’s trying to quit their corporate job and get this freedom. I’m reverse to that.
You’re working at McDonald’s and you’re delivering pizzas, did you just wake up one day and say, “I want something more? I want to be an entrepreneur.” How did that transition happen?
I was an entrepreneur during that whole time too. I was doing side hustle. Even in middle school when I was fourteen, fifteen. Back then there’s the Billboard Music Chart and Casey Kasem would come out with his Top 40 and I would listen to that every week. This was before the internet or before all that stuff. I would listen to that and write down the Top 40. I would listen to it on a Saturday morning from 10:00 to 1:00 and write down the Top 40. I would take it to school on Monday and say, “Does anybody want to buy the album?” If someone says, “Yes, I want the Diana Ross,” or whatever may be the album, “It’s number three this week.” Every Friday, my mom would take me to the record store and whoever had albums on order, I’d buy them and mark them up to $1 or $2. I thought I was doing well with $1 or $2 mark up and take them back on that following Monday and deliver them, along with a new updated Top 40 list.
I’ve been doing that all along. It’s just my dad put restrictions on me. Even when I was working at McDonald’s, he would say, “You’re in high school. You can’t work more than twenty hours a week.” I would always try to bend those rules and work 30. I remember one day I was working the drive-through and I wasn’t supposed to be working. My dad told me no more than twenty hours and this would put me at 28. I told him I’m going out to meet some buddies or something. I ended up parking my car in a neighborhood like three streets away. I thought I was hiding my car in case he drove by or something. It turns out, he had a suspicion. He drove into the drive-through and I’m on the little machine and saying, “Welcome to McDonald’s. May I take your order?” I hear my dad’s voice on the other side, “I like a hamburger and some fries,” or something. I’m like, “I got busted.” I got grounded for that. I’ve always been a hard worker.
You had these side hustles but how did you transition to full-time? Where it’s just you were making enough where you didn’t have to do the other jobs anymore? How did that transition happen?
In college, I went to Texas A&M University. I have a degree in business from Texas A&M. During college, I was doing stuff on the side. Back then it wasn’t expensive to go to public college, but my parents paid for my college. When I was young, from all these jobs, mowing yards, painting street numbers on curbs, picking up cans on the side of the road or whatever it was, my parents said, “You’re making too much money as a ten-year-old or twelve-year-old or whatever. $200 a week is way too much money for someone that’s ten years old. They would make me save half of that.
That money turned out to be my beer and spending money in college. They gave it back to me as an allowance when I was in college. Every week they would say, here’s $200, whatever the number was for my beer and pizza money. That’s how it came back to me. In college, my first taste of probably better success would be a class called BANET 217. In Texas A&M back in the late 1980s, there’s a class that every business major had to take their sophomore year of college. You had to learn the BASIC computing language. BASIC’s hardly ever used anymore but it was a computing language and we had to learn the logic behind it. I had been doing some of that when I was in high school and teaching myself. One summer I stayed up all night, every night. I pretty much make my own little video game, programming and stuff.
I knew what to do so I started tutoring people and it was like, “My buddy wants you to do some too.” I start putting little flyers all over the campus and in the library. “Pull off this number if you need help.” $5 to $8 an hour or whatever it was. Pretty soon I would have ten or fifteen people at a time. I was like, “I can’t bring these to my apartment or meet them in a coffee shop or whatever.” I ended up renting a free room in the library and have ten or fifteen people in there at one time and I teach them. That evolved over the course of the year until I was renting out the Hilton Ballroom, a conference room that can hold 500 people because this class had about 1,000 people taking it.There's not always one way to do something. Click To Tweet
I would evolve them to where at the beginning of each semester, I would go to the registrar’s office and say, “Under the Texas Sunshine Act, I’m entitled to get the list of students who are taking this class.” They would give me the list on peel and stick labels with their address. I would go down to the copy shop and make a flyer. It says, “On these dates, right before their exams, three times a semester, come to the college station at Hilton. Pay me $15 ahead and I will teach you everything you need to know to pass the test. I will teach you in a different way than what your teachers are teaching.”
I would get 500 people paying me $1,500 a head three times a semester. I was able to do that for a few years until the professors kept trying to change it on me. I was making them look bad. Why did everybody having to go and pay me for a three-hour crash course, cliff notes on how to do this versus they’re not learning in the class. That was my first taste and then that evolved into when in college, my first taste into the internet direct marketing world, I told myself I wanted to do that. Because I had all this money, I was the guy that was supplying all the beer and everything for parties. A group of four guys in the apartment, I was like, “I had the money. Nobody else had money.” I was the guy that’s supplying everything. I got, “This is stupid, why am I buying beer for everybody and alcohol?”
I’ve taken a class in college in my sophomore year. I was curious. I’m right around 20 or 21, how to be a bartender. I want to know how to mix different drinks. You go and you take this class. In the class, you don’t use real alcohol. It’s just colored water with the real bottles. I was like, “I want to know what this stuff tastes like.” I went out and bought 50 different types of liquor for the bar that we had in our apartment. When people started coming because there’s free alcohol, I was like, “I’m not paying for this. Everybody’s going to have to pay their own way.”
I had a little Apple II computer that my mom gave me, an old school laptop. I programmed a little program on there to be a bartending program. I’d had recipes and I also run a tab for everybody. If you come and you want a Hurricane or you want a Margarita, it’s $0.50 or whatever it was and we’d have specials on Tuesdays. I had this little program and then I was like, “I should do something with this.” I started advertising it in the back of computer magazines on floppy disks. I was using the university’s computers to make the manuals and all kinds of stuff. That was my first foray into direct marketing.
I ended up starting a company in my senior year called College Lifestyle Company, which is a full-blown 32-page full-color catalog, with all kinds of stuff that you would want if you’re in college. Little nerf balls, blankets, dorm refrigerators and all kinds of stuff that college kids would want. I did that by direct mail and one thing led to another off of that. My background before all this Amazon stuff was in direct mail. I did a lot of direct mail. I did a lot of sourcing in Asia. I never went over to the source. It wasn’t as sophisticated as what is now, but I’m sourcing in Asia and Korea. I’m developing products that ended up into collectibles like baseball cards but with pretty girls on them instead of baseball players. It became a hot trend around the time of the Beanie Babies like girls in swimsuits and stuff. That did really well. This whole direct marketing thing, I’ve been doing it for a long time and product development.
I’ve been selling on Amazon since 2001 as a third party. I have a seasonal counter company. It’s a separate business from my Amazon business but we sell on Amazon. They were buying wholesale from us. I started the FBA stuff in 2015. Amazing.com was doing ASM 3 or 4. They’re doing a little four-part video series to promote it. I watched those. I was like, “I don’t need to pay $5,000 to take this. I know all this stuff. This is right up my alley. Everything they’ve talked about, I know.” I started listening to the limited number of podcasts that there were at the time and digging into Facebook groups. I tried to get a grasp on everything a little bit more of the particulars and took off from there. I launched a bunch of brands and that’s how we have us now.
You’ve had a lot of success in Amazon and off Amazon. Are there any failures that stand out, maybe an Amazon failure in the early days when you were figuring it out?
I’ve had plenty of failures. I always say success without failure is luck. There’s always a story behind it. I’ve declared bankruptcy in the 1990s off of one of my other companies. I had to rebuild from that. I’ve had a lot of failures as far as Amazon. My first two products were in the beauty space. I’m a guy, what do I know about beauty stuff? Those both didn’t work. There have been plenty of failures, missteps and doing things wrong that I’ve had to recover from. Everything I touch doesn’t turn to gold. There are plenty of issues along the way. I actually may write a book. With one of my other companies, I’ve dealt with a mafia where I had to sleep with baseball bats at my side. I had my life threatened. I had to check underneath the car for those remote starters before you start it up. I’ve been on photo sets for one of my other companies where a tiger mauled a model and dragged her by her foot across the studio all on videotape. I can tell a lot of stories.
What motivates you? You were an entrepreneur at a very young age and I also know that you’re very passionate about teaching people. You said that you were doing that back in college. I know you’re doing it now. I always see you’re getting back to the different communities. What motivates you passed all those failures and to keep doing more and more and then even to figure out new stuff? I think it’d be pretty easy for you to sit back and say, “I’ve had a lot of success. I don’t need to go run this summit or I don’t need to speak at this event.” What keeps you going?
I enjoy helping people. I’m one of those guys that back when the TV show American Idol started, I would watch that show, not because I’m a big fan of music or I want to be on the show or be famous. I’ve always been the guy that’s been behind the scenes. This is a change in the last couple of years where I’ve been the guy speaking on stage. I always liked to be the little puppet master, the guy behind the scenes that was pulling the strings. More of a producer role. I enjoy watching shows like American Idol and stuff because I enjoy seeing someone who is a little diamond in the rough. They got what it takes, they’re just in the wrong situation and the wrong time. They need that one little break or that one little push or that one little nugget of information. I enjoy seeing someone like a Carrie Underwood on that show becomes a little girl from Oklahoma and now she’s a huge superstar. I liked that process.
It’s the same thing with teaching people on Amazon. I get frustrated because there are many people out there that are scamming. There are many people, all the Lamborghini guys and there are many people that are teaching or maybe they tried to sell on Amazon and it didn’t work for them. They’re like, “Let me start a course to try to make some money.” They don’t know what they’re doing. There are some good courses and there are some good people. I’m not knocking everybody but there’s a lot of crap. There’s a lot of misinformation on Facebook where someone will say, “What about reviews? Can you put your URL on a package insert and stick it in?” Seven other people will say, “No, it’s against TOS. You can’t do that.” I’m like, “It’s totally fine.” There’s so much misinformation. That’s why I started to do the teaching. It started with Manny. I’m friends with the guys at Helium 10. I don’t have anything to do with Helium 10. It’s not my company. I’m not a partner with them. I’m a partner in the training side of it.
The Helium 10 Elite, which used to be called Illuminati. They approached me a couple of years ago about this idea that they wanted to do this advanced training because there’s all this stuff for new people. I said, “I don’t know. I don’t have time. I’m working on my business.” They kept coming back to me and say, “We want you to do this or be involved.” I said, “I will give it a shot.” Thankfully, I did because that’s a very successful business now. It’s very lucrative but at the same time, I enjoy helping people. When people say they saw me on stage or they saw something in the Helium 10 Elite or whatever. A few years later, they message me and they say, “I saw you on stage at Amazing.com. I took something you said to heart and I’ve made some changes in my business and now my sales are up three times where I was.” That’s where I get the passion is trying to help people see things a little bit in a different way. It’s not the cookie cutter way. I have a different approach and a different way that I look at things and that’s what I try to help people open their minds a little bit. There’s not always one way to do something.Put out a good quality product and good instructions. Do it well and you cut down on the problems. Click To Tweet
One of the things I noticed about you is you’re always coming up with new content. I would see you at two conferences 30 days apart and it’s new material. Illuminati, when I was there, you’re always up-to-date on stuff. How do you do that? You have a ton of stuff going on. How do you get information and then have enough time to stay up-to-date with everything that’s changing in marketing, in eCommerce and Amazon?
It’s difficult. I can’t stay up on everything. There’s always something but I’m pretty well-connected. That’s one of the reasons I do all the conferences. I meet a lot of people. I’m connected to a lot of different groups. I’m connected on a lot of different forums and I know a lot of people. When I’m at these conferences, we were out to dinner or something, someone’s like, “Have you heard about this? Have you heard about that?” Sometimes people will say, “You know how to do this but this cannot be discussed anywhere.” There’s a lot of stuff I can’t talk about. I totally honor that. There are things that people are doing little tricks and they don’t want it public. If someone says, “Don’t say that,” I won’t say that.
Some of it I’m doing and some of it is natural to me. I’ve done enough presentation. Preparing a good quality presentation either for stage or for a webinar or something is a lot of work. It’s not something you can knock out usually pretty quickly. I’ve done enough of them now where I have like ten hours’ worth of stuff. Every month if something new comes out, I can add it. You saw me 30 days apart and it was different. I try to make sure that no two presentations are the same. If someone’s sitting in that audience that has seen me talk like ten times, they’re like, “I heard him talk about that before. I’m going to go outside and then grab some water and wait for the next speaker.” I say something and they’re like, “Wait, he hasn’t said that before. That’s something brand new.” I try to mix them up to make them always feel different and fresh. I don’t take the same presentation and repeat it.
Let’s talk about Amazon. We’re in 2019. I got in 2008. You said you got in around 2015. Where is Amazon at now? What’s working, what’s not working and where do you see it going in the future?
I got it in 2001. I have one of those old school accounts where I get daily withdrawals. I don’t know if you have that too since you got in 2008. 2015 was the FBA model. Where’s Amazon going? I think it’s only going up. A lot of people always say, “Is the gold rush over?” I don’t think so. I think it’s better than ever but it’s not easy like it was three or four years ago where you could just stick a label with a logo on something, on a plastic bag and sell. It’s a true business now and you’ve got to approach it like a true business. There are a lot of bad players. There are a lot of bad apples. There’s a lot of gaming the system going on. There’s a lot of crazy stuff going on, especially in the sub-1000 BSRs, but there are still tremendous opportunities. I don’t think there’s any other business model out there. You hear all these people that are doing ClickFunnels or they’re doing drop shipping or Shopify sites and all this other stuff. You hear some of these success stories. There are some over there, but there are a lot more success stories selling on Amazon.
ClickFunnels has their 2 Comma Club, which means you’ve sold $1 million. You sold $1 million worth of product through ClickFunnels. That doesn’t mean you made $1 million in your pocket, you may have negative money in your pocket. It just means you made that much in sales. I was at a ClickFunnels event in Nashville and there are 443 people that have done that. When we take a look at the same thing on Amazon side, how many people sold over $1 million worth of product on Amazon in 2018? It’s 23,172 or something like that. Some of those are big businesses, but so are some of the ClickFunnels people that are doing it.
The opportunity is way bigger and more sustainable. It’s a great time to get in Amazon. If you’re selling on Amazon, it’s a great time to do it. Are there mistakes you can make? Yeah, there are things that people do wrong. They lose their butt. Probably 90% to 95% of the people that try to sell on Amazon fail because they’re not doing the math right. They’re not doing the numbers right. Selling on Amazon is not easy. A lot of these courses and a lot of these gurus and these YouTube videos make it look like quit your job and retire next month and sit on the beach. It’s not the case. It requires a vast skill set. I’m fortunate that I have most of those skills because of my past. Most people don’t have that. They have to use services like FreeeUp or they got to hire people to fill in those gaps and areas where they aren’t good. I’m lucky I have a supportive wife so I can work quite a bit and I work smart.
I don’t worry about some of the little things that some people are totally anal and they hire a person to do. People always say, “Kevin, why don’t you job out your customer service? Why don’t you hire a VA for your customer service?” People always say that’s one of the first things you should do. I say, “Why would I hire someone to do customer service when I have three emails to answer a week?” Two of those emails are from people wanting to sell me some service. I just have to click a little button that says no response required. I’m exaggerating a little bit but it’s no big deal. I put out a good quality product. I put out good instructions. If there are needs to follow-up or to explain something, I do it well and you cut down on those problems.
I’m not trying to cut corners like many people who are just throwing something out there quickly. I don’t have those issues. That’s what I mean by working smart. I don’t need that. Also, if I had hundreds of products, that would be a different story. Some of these people that are managing hundreds or thousands of SKUs, I couldn’t do that. I deliberately keep my SKU count under twenty. I have seventeen active. I deliberately keep it small and lean because I’m not trying to grow a $100 million company here. That’s not my goal. It’s not about how much money I can make, it’s about how much money can I make to live the lifestyle that I want to live. That’s all I need.
Let’s talk about spending your time because you work smart. You work with a lot of Amazon sellers. There are many different things you can do. You can focus on your Amazon business, off Amazon, you can go to conferences. There are lots of different things inside your Amazon business. Where would you encourage people to spend their time or break down their time?
I’m able to go to many conferences. In 2018, I did 26 conferences and people say, “How do you do that and run your Amazon business?” It’s because I worked my butt off in 2015, 2016 and 2017 to build it. I could not have gone to all of these conferences in those years and built the company at the same time and built the product lines. I built it up and now it’s just changing out something here or there, adding a new product periodically. It’s almost on autopilots so I’m able to ride that wave. I’m getting ready to do a partnership with another company. We’re doing some eco-friendly stuff. We’re going to be launching a whole line of stuff made of 100% ocean waste products and that’s going to require some time.
The second half of 2019, you’re not going to see me out as much. I’ve got to stop and I’ve got to focus on building that because it’s a tremendous opportunity. I wouldn’t have had that opportunity if I had been out there meeting people either, so it goes both ways. I recommend people to focus on Amazon and Amazon only. Don’t get sidetracked with Shopify and drop shipping. You need a basic website. You can maybe set up a basic Shopify just so you have it, but don’t put hardly any energy in there. Amazon is where it’s at. I hear all these people say, “You shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket on Amazon. You need to diversify.” I say, “Stay on Amazon.”Go after an avatar, a type of person, or a lifestyle and not a product category and your chances of success will be higher. Click To Tweet
If you’re starting on Amazon in the US, focus on Amazon in the US. If you want to expand, expand Amazon Canada or Amazon Europe or so forth because you can repeat the cycle which you’ve already known. You don’t have to re-learn a different way of marketing and re-learn a different wheel. I sell in Walmart and I sell on eBay. They pale in comparison to Amazon Canada. Amazon Canada is small. If something happened to my Amazon account in the US and they got shut down for whatever reason or suspended, I would be up to a creek without a paddle either way. It doesn’t matter. I’m on the board of advisors for 101 Commerce, who’s buying 101 different Amazon businesses over the next few years.
Richard, who runs that, I’m not involved in buying or looking at these, but he’s like, “If you diversify, that’s great. That will add some value, but it’s got to be more than 30%.” If more than 30% of your total sales are coming from Amazon then it does add some value, but if it’s less than 30%, who cares? To be honest, unless you’re doing something bad, you’re not going to get suspended on Amazon. You might have a temporary thing here or there, but unless you’re doing something that you shouldn’t be doing, and not everybody always admits that, then you shouldn’t be permanently banned. There are always ways to get back. Amazon is so huge right now that it’s so good. I would go all in on that.
If you want to do Shopify, that’s a different business model. That’s a different skill set. That’s a different everything. Some people say, “I want to be able to control the customer and make the customer mine and I want to build a brand.” That’s great. There’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s a different business model than selling on Amazon. It’s a whole different thought process. It’s a whole different everything. Amazon’s a great place to launch. You can build a brand by starting on Amazon. Maybe you don’t know what the brand is going to be. You don’t even have a name for it but you start selling on Amazon and you learn how this eCommerce works. You learn how it’s shipping and all the whole system works. You weed out some stuff, “This product here, people don’t like it. I thought it was a good idea. They don’t like it. I’m getting bad reviews, but this one over here is doing well. Let me add something to this and this.”
It evolved into a brand that appeals to a certain avatar and a certain lifestyle. That’s why you shouldn’t restrict yourself to a certain category because people buy electronics, they buy beauty and they buy dog stuff. Go after an avatar or a type of person or a lifestyle and not a product category and your chances of success will be higher. That’s why people always say, “You should just sell on one category. Don’t try to go across categories.” I say, “No, absolutely not. Don’t limit yourself in the beginning. Throw some stuff up against the wall and see what sticks and then evolve from there and build a brand down the road if that’s what you want to do.”
I like that approach. I’m always a big fan of starting small and adjusting in the market. Whatever is working you put more money and more time into and whatever is not, you pull back. Let’s talk about product launches. There are lots of different gurus or people out there saying, “You should do this or you shouldn’t do that.” What’s maybe something that a lot of people are preaching that you wouldn’t do and what’s a better way? I know you’ve launched a lot of products. What’s your mindset behind the product launch?
There are many different ways you can launch a product. The thing I don’t do is I don’t do any of the black hat stuff on launching a product. I don’t use any of these services that will get you onto page one without even getting any sales. I don’t use any of these services that will do rebates. I don’t do any of the review group stuff. I don’t even do friends and family. My approach is slower. I’m not going to come out of the gate and be on page one in week one. It might take me a couple of months to get there. I’m doing it more organically and more through a heavy dose of PPC. If it’s a dog product in my dog niche, I might use some of my current customers to help juice it a little bit through some ranking URLs to help move it along.
I might run some Facebook stuff with ManyChat and that kind of thing to help jive a little bit. Last Christmas I was able to launch a product with no PPC, no giveaways, no outside traffic, no emailing my list, just by creating the listing properly and by finding a product that’s in demand. It was Christmas so it was seasonal. I couldn’t sell this product year around. It’s three SKUs and in the month of December, I made a $51,000 without ever doing a single launch, single giveaway and no PPCs, just by creating a proper listing and knowing how to do the proper research that people could find the product. It worked really well. There are a lot of those opportunities too, but you got to know what you’re doing. You got to know how to set the listing, how to find those up, and how to use the tools. The tools that are out there now are amazing. That didn’t exist even a few years ago. They keep getting better and better.
Now with the release of Brand Analytics data and incorporating that into some of the tools like Helium 10 or Viral Launch or some of the others, it’s incredible what you can do. Whereas a few years ago, we’re more of a guessing game. Some people got lucky and some didn’t. Now the data is abundant and it’s amazing what you can do if you know how to analyze and how to do it. You can find those opportunities where you don’t need to do a huge launch. I don’t go after big saturated stuff or heavy stuff. Amazon in 2016 was something like $120 billion to $130 billion in sales. In 2018, it looked like $240 billion to $250 billion. It’s somewhere around double in just a couple of years.
What used to be 4,000 BSR two years ago, which is on the cusp of maybe selling ten to twenty units a day, now it’s 7,000 or 8,000 BSR, but it’s still selling fifteen, twenty units a day because Amazon has grown so much. There are plenty of opportunities there and you stay off the rate. I’ve never had a hijacker in many years of selling. The only problem I’ve ever had is I think it was Viral Launch or ZonBlast, one or both of them. Back in 2015 and 2016 people are doing online arbitrage where they had multiple accounts on those services. They’re getting stuff for $0.99 and then turning around and selling them for $40 on my listing, but they only had two or three units. I was able to wipe them out or they sold them really quick. That’s it. I’ve never had counterfeiters because I choose products carefully. I differentiate the products with packaging and with the way I do the listing, it makes it difficult. I don’t play up there in the class five rapids where all the Chinese hackers are selling. I’d rather be down here in the class one or class two, just float in my canoe rather than worrying about getting flipped over all the time and having to climb back in.
I love the different approach because I’ve interviewed a lot of Amazon people. I don’t think anyone has that exact Kevin King approach that you mentioned. Let’s talk about PPC. PPC has been incredibly profitable for Amazon. It’s going to become only more features. Where do you see PPC is going? What’s your PPC strategy?
I think Amazon’s going to become much more of a pay to play platform. It was $10 billion in 2018 or something like that. It’s probably going to double or triple this 2019. They’re introducing more and more tools. They’ve been behind the curve on Google and Facebook for a while but they’re starting to introduce more of that. Some of the big brands are now starting to pay attention to Amazon. Wall Street brands have been doing big TV ads. They’re going to start diverting some of that money. They don’t care about ACoS. They don’t care about some of that. It’s branding for them. They’re going to be taking up more of the real estate. There’s a good chance in the next year or two that organic may start on page two on Amazon. Maybe there might be a line at the bottom like there is now “The customers who do these also like these.” That’s where the organic shows and everything above that are paid.
Amazon’s not going to take your money just to take your money. You got to have pay plus conversions. It’s got to make sense. It’s becoming big enough and there are enough people starting to spend money there. I think the PPC component is going to be a much more important component to success on Amazon in the future. To me, PPC is not hard. A lot of people can’t get their head around it. My course, the Freedom Ticket, which is for new people, that seems to be a stumbling block for a lot of people. They’re like, “I need a good PPC course.” Anybody can do PPC. It’s not hard. It’s just math. That’s what makes it hard for people. I look at PPC too. I don’t even look at ACoS. I don’t care about my ACoS.
I want to know what my total cost is. If I’m selling 100 units and 80 of those are organic and twenty of those are from PPC. That PPC ACoS might be 100%. Maybe if I’m selling the item for $20, maybe it’ll cost me $20 to get every single one of those sales. A lot of people would maybe cut that off and say, “I want my ACoS lower.” I don’t care. It’s helping prop me up and get me the exposure for the other 80. I would take those costs of $20 x $20, $400 and I would apply it to all 100 of them. My ACoS is $4 over $20 sale. It’s 20% ACoS across everything. I looked at my numbers like that. Amazon can’t give you that data because they don’t know your costs. You have to use third party tools or Excel or whatever to get that. That’s how I analyze it, which is different than what most people do as well.
PPC is super important. Amazon is going to be introducing some new tools soon, some new ways. They get the video coming up. They’re doing the live video in beta like a QVC. They’re going to be able to run video. You have video show up on keywords. They tested this a few years ago but I think it’s coming back where instead of you bid on a keyword, you bid on barbecue gloves. Instead, just having your picture up at the top and the sponsor. In some of the listings, there’s going to be a little video that plays because you bid on your video that has barbecue gloves on it. That potential for the people that do it right is huge. Someone who does a good video and gets a video ad can convert at a much higher percentage than someone just clicking on a still picture. The opportunities are going to get better and it’s going to cost more to play.
Kevin, thanks so much for joining us. Where can people find out more about you? What do you have going on that you’re excited about and that you want people to know about?
If you want to know more, you can go to AMZMarketer.com or Helium 10, our training for advanced people. If you go to Helium10Elite.com. FreedomTicket.com is where I teach new people how to sell stuff. If you’re new at this business, there’s a webinar there that’s worth watching. If you don’t want to buy the course, it will show you a lot of cool stuff on keywords and everything.
Thanks so much for joining us.
No problem. I’ll see you next time.
- Freedom Ticket
- Helium 10 Elite
- Billion Dollar Seller Summit
- Viral Launch
- 101 Commerce
About Kevin King
He sells millions of dollars of product on Amazon.com, via retail and other websites. He has been a recurring guest on over 30 FBA and e-commerce podcasts, and is a highly-sought after speaker at Amazon conferences worldwide (spoke at more than 20).
He also mentors sellers collectively doing over half a billion US dollars per year on Amazon.com in the Freedom Ticket and Helium 10 Elite Masterminds. He also organizes the Billion Dollar Seller Summit, and runs a private group called AMZ Marketer Mastermind where over 200 $1 million dollars and up Amazon sellers share advanced tips and strategies.
You can learn more about Kevin and listen to some of the podcasts he has been on at amzmarketer.com