Amazon PPC Strategy – 2020 ( For Beginners and Advance Sellers) w/ Brian Johnson

are you ready to scale and outsource your business okay let’s go welcome to the outsourcing and scaling show I’m your host Nathan Hirsch a show where we talk about everything Amazon shopify ecommerce and digital marketing let’s get started hey everyone welcome back to the outsourcing scaling show my guest today is Brian Johnson Brian how you doing today fantastic glad beer awesome we’re excited to interview you for those you that don’t know brian is a driving force in the e-commerce world not only is he achieve success of the online seller but he’s become the leading strategist and Amazon pay-per-click advertising over the course of his career brian has founded the Amazon PPC troubleshooting community Amazon PPC consulting Association PPC scope ad management software sponsored products academy training course and canopy management a management advertising agency for million dollar brands we’re gonna talk all about that and I’m excited to dive into PPC but first let’s take a gigantic step back what were you like growing up are you a rebel were you a straight-a student did you always know you want to be an entrepreneur let me hear that story um you know I mean I was I was gosh growing up I mean I guess I think I’d probably been a geek my whole life honestly as far as the entrepreneurial bug hits you know most of the time I actually was not a straight-a student you know I mean I was you know I’ve always thought myself to be intelligent and excelled at math and science but I my study habits sucked you know my ability to focus on one thing without squirrels you know running past me you know wasn’t always that you know was always great but I think Bobby entrepreneurial gosh man I must have been I don’t probably teenage years by 12 13 and I was looking just for for any kind of side business household that I could do you know I wasn’t I wasn’t as early as like selling kids to you know selling that kids selling candy to other kids at school I wasn’t that early you know but I certainly jumped in my early teenage years and would spend twice as many hours as I was in school or working or my own thing and so I just kind of I think that’s probably where I developed either my ability or my curse to be a workaholic so it’s it definitely requires more family balance these days in order to work around that but so did you graduate college did you get a real job after college or yeah actually I had a pretty pretty traditional route so I was actually in retail and wholesale management for gosh probably good ten years and then I did then I shifted over to more technical and I worked in fortune 500 for like software development and technical project management and that kind of stuff so I was kind of a hardcore I was more of an engineering line I didn’t have an engineering degree I actually had an e-commerce degree and so I think I knew back you know when I was you know 2021 that that was the path for me and that’s what I keep on coming back to so how’d you get into Amazon what year was it how did that come about well so I’ve been selling on eBay for about seven years and I was primarily doing drop shipping for a bunch of different banking equipment brands like Queens orders and money counters and that kind of stuff and the margins sucked you know in in drop shipping you know I was probably running you know maybe 15% margins and so I had worked on a couple of other like software projects related to the MLM community back years a years ago with some friends of mine Dave Koechner and some of his groups he teaches in the community as well and he had actually started up with cash was at ASM you know the amazing selling machine one or two – I think it was and that’s when he pulled me over to the dark side of Amazon I’m like oh no and I already test it you know it doesn’t work for my product line well that was my mistake because I was had the wrong product you know for what I was trying to sell on Amazon so yeah I came over during ASM – which was Yash was a four or five years now maybe yeah four years ago maybe and so yeah so I came over during ASM too and wash my own my own products primarily in the kitchen line and showed up happy as can be at the next amazing selling conference and I do recall sitting in the audience with you know I don’t know five 600 other people Jason Clayton gets up on stage and says you know hey here’s a wide-open opportunity and shows my competitor was one of those things was like my very first product just got crushed by you know 40 new competitors with within a month after that conference you know so we were talking before and you’re like

don’t ask me about warehouse fulfillment don’t talk about listing I want to talk about PPC I work with a ton of Amazon sellers and I feel like PPC is one of those things they they run away from they want to do everything besides PPC why is PPC something that resonates with you something that you want to spend your time and focus on well so when I in my when I was getting beat up on my first products I sell these days I sell basically an eclectic line of products that I usually have acquired from other sellers getting out of business so I kind of it’s my charity work if you call it but most of most of what I started doing Italy is I actually got into consulting pretty quick earlier than I should have honestly it was one of those things where there was some off Amazon brands that wanted to either like one brand wanted to improve they had they were the Beauty category and they had like 700 SKUs on Amazon but they like couldn’t get their head around like how to promote the right products how to manage that on Amazon so I started out essentially consulting for them doing everything customer service and setting up listings and the whole nine yards and one of the areas that I kept on coming back to was like okay how do I promote sales how do I promote sales you know Amazon has this advertising platform this is back when they broad match broad keyword mattress the only thing available back then and yeah that’s why I kind of went in there I started you know trying to learn it and figure it out and I realized it’s like okay nobody else has got any training nobody’s talking about this let me start a Facebook group just so I can start talking with a few other sellers and we can just kind of mastermind you know like a techno 1020 of us right obviously that has changed over the years as far as growth but that was the Amazon PVC troubleshooting group and I just kept on getting more and more into it and maybe a very analytical engineer type I you know I got into spreadsheets and just had to figure it out you know out of survival for what I was doing and I started getting to the point where people just kept on asking me more and more questions and it kind of it helped me to learn it faster and it kind of constantly challenged me and it still does to make sure that I’ve got the latest and greatest information so that because people are always asking me like what about this and what about that you know so I think it was it started out of survival and really has lost them to a lot more than I would have expected you know for as far as specialization so we’ll dive deep more into it but let’s talk about the basics of PPC someone who’s listening who’s a seller maybe they just launched their first product or they’re thinking about launching it what are the basics that they need to know in 2090 Wow I mean there’s a lot of different options I think most people what they do is they look at all the different options and realize like wow this is a huge learning curve and they don’t just start with the basics you know the first thing you’re trying to do is just figure out how to identify what the audience is you know motor sellers are going to say well how do I sell a ton of my product yeah that’s the desire but ultimately if you don’t know who your product who your target audience is and the search terms that they’re using to find you you’ve got no idea how to focus in on that audience any further not only with your listing optimization or your pricing or how you are relative to your competitors let alone your advertising so just starting out with an automatic campaign is a good safe bet for most you know use a basic there’s plenty of you know checklist as far as how to optimize you know ads you know on a weekly basis and it doesn’t require that much work anymore especially with the available software on the market you know start out with automatic campaign that’s a good starting point for somebody’s a complete novice who’s just getting started and then from there then worry about you know scaling up to manual campaigns and targeting you know keyword matches and you know and you know ad placement and all those other kinds of you know more you know intermediate to advanced level things you don’t need to learn all that starting out if you’re just if you’re brand new to the game start out with just the very basics you know simple automatic campaign start with that you mentioned understanding your customer and the keywords are searching how much time should you spend Gantt gathering that data is there a certain amount of time that you recommend or a certain way to go about it before you kind of go all-in with PPC well I wouldn’t say that I mean because PPC definitely feeds into that you know you can get a little bit information if you’ve got access to brand analytics but a brand new seller probably doesn’t have access to brand analytics yet right because they don’t have brand industry but the PPC gives more the insight as far as the specific terms that people as shoppers are using in order to find your product your ad in the first place and then actually purchase your product I’m as far as getting to know the product I think most of us as private level sellers we’re more opportunistic as far as the products we’re not like going have had a lifelong passion about this product line let me go and introduce it that’s very

rare most of the time we’re like going oh the numbers look good let me go to the source I know nothing about the audience or the product you know but ultimately if you are doing your due diligence in other words you are introducing a product to the market that has some kind of a unique aspect that people actually search for that’s probably kind of a critical error there is you know trying to you know introduce a product it’s like oh it has all these you know secondary benefits yeah you can’t market a secondary benefit you can mark primary benefits I would say you know you know it well enough but you you know you know the product well enough you don’t have to master exactly who the target audience is I think it’s more of a case of you know you throw it out there you try to separate it from your competitors now I simply just mirror what all your other competitors are doing trying to separate the product from you know so it stands out a little bit and then look at the advertising that’s probably the best source of data as far as the mindset of the shopper when they’re looking and that the click-through rates and the conversion rates will tell you are you getting in front of the right audience and is the audience actually want your product make sense let’s talk about the bigger sellers let’s say that one to five million maybe even more you we work with a lot of them you can Seoul with a lot of them what do you see that that’s working right now and what do you see that’s really not working right now that’s maybe a common mistake that people are making well you get to larger larger scale where you’ve got a lot of SKUs and a lot of SKUs I mean that can vary you know I mean we work with we work with clients that might have you know half a dozen products that do you know half a million dollars a month right you know it’s very narrow a set of key you know a really narrow set of products but they excel well in those areas you’ve got others that have hundreds of SKUs hundreds of products that they’re constantly trying to market and they’re generally grouped together you know there’s usually a theme of some kind but a lot of times what the bigger sellers are doing is they are doing a huge amount of testing you know they must say they’ve got a hundred products that they’re selling they’re introducing 20 30 40 new products just so they can find five they’re going to continue with got it they’ve gotten to the point where they can invest in that test get you know a small bath you know a smaller batch and a smaller batch me Moore’s probably a thousand units right of a product throw it out there and see you know test it with ads and just other general promotion and see if they see what sticks and then they focus back in that’s the kind of the key is they continue to they they test but then they focus back in on what really is going to provide the biggest return for makes a lot a lot of sense um you you hear a lot of sellers talking about budget or ACOS what’s your mentality there and is it the same across the board are you customizing a plan for every seller I mean it’s yeah it’s done it’s definitely custom we’ve got our own proprietary methods when it comes to campaign structure and management but the it works very well for us generally you know budget is secondary I would say for sure you know we continue to focus on first of all the the technical analysis that would be looking at metrics like the click-through rate of the conversion rate to tell us how well we’re getting in front of the right audience and then how well we’re actually converting that audience to a sale that’s primarily going to see that through the the sales funnel metrics of the click-through rate and the conversion rate beyond that well there’s a lot more contextual analysis that usually is language that is used by the shopper and the audience that’s where you really have to learn what the audience is and what the product is you can’t simply just look at it from from a spreadsheet and just understand it and manage it well you have to go beyond that of course let’s say that your seller and you’re interviewing a PPC expert a PPC agency maybe it’s on the free up platform maybe it’s off let’s assume that they’re not working with you what questions would you ask that expert that guru that agency that consultant to get a better feel of whether they’re the right fit for your account or if they actually understand what they’re doing well I mean I would say that I mean coming in with you know first of all they’d have to come to me with a plan that says I’ve looked at your account I understand where the strengths and weaknesses are relative to the market and here it basically tell me what strategies that you intend to use in order to hit the goals that I have already stated right I want to increase sales I want to increase profitability I’m gonna launch few products whatever the case is you should be coming to me and saying not not coming with like yeah I’m gonna manage your account you know using best practices it’s like if you don’t come to me with some kind of a plan you know even if it’s an outline as far as the strategies and kind of project where you think it’s going to what we’re going to win and where we’re going to struggle then I’m not gonna trust that you understand my product well enough in order to hand it off to so that’s yeah no I like it our

requirements would be a lot higher than where do you see PPC going yeah I mean I started at selling in Amazon 2008 PPC wasn’t really there it’s obviously burst out of the scene it’s a big part of selling now or just tough to be a big seller without maximizing PPC where do you think it’s headed in the 2019 and beyond well I think it’s going to get a lot more you know a lot more rich as far as the content you know one of the things that we certainly see year over year is some of the features that are available through some of Amazon’s higher-end paid platforms you know the DSP and you know that used to be called like the AMG you know advertising typically though those more like Amazon’s own in-house agency type of features and tools being able to run videos being able to target demographics those are all things that aren’t currently readily available to the average private label seller through seller central but I definitely think that we’ll we’ll see a lot more that typically AMS is going to be you know basically to advertising amazon.com platform is typically going to be the one that’s gets the first kind of the beta features and then they’ll roll out to seller central over time there’s some features that amazon has done like the the sponsor display advertising which they keep on changing the name over time you know they’ve been beta testing that for two years now you know and some private label sellers just got it you know in the last week and like when hey here’s a brand new feature it’s a yeah well it’s been around for two years but Amazon’s very slow on some of those but kind of to your point I guess is I definitely see it evolving more into some of the feature sets that we see through like say Facebook advertising or you know YouTube or Google AdWords is the the ability to target more demographic information and to interact with more you know have more live content like video what would you say to someone that struggled with PPC over maybe they’ve done it they’ve tried different things they’ve tried different experts different best practices over the years what advice would you have for that well I mean there could be a number of reasons it could be a troubleshooting issue that they need to figure out you know is that is it a product problem versus an advertising problem most of its most of what I see is I see a lot of settlers that have picked up a suggestion or you know basically a suggestion from you know course say over here and podcast be over here and somebody posted up on Facebook or Reddit you know some strategy and they picking picked and choose you know because they don’t have anything to Sala dated ideally it what I would recommend is they try to reduce the number of voices that they’re listening to you know and to simplify don’t you know don’t make it more complicated simplify it more no there’s really kind of focus in on what is it that I need to get out of this and how do I focus advertising to achieve that and most most sellers that get overwhelmed by it it’s because they’re trying to do too many things at once and they don’t have the experience or the training in order to to do it well what are your thoughts on automation verse having an expert actually manages is there a time where you should only use software is there a time where you should only use an expert is it always a combination of both I think it’s a combination of both anymore you know it’s definitely this is an evolving area I think it’s got a lot of room for improvement I’m certainly there’s there’s plenty of systems out there as you know artificial intelligence what they’re calling artificial intelligence it’s more like just machine learning and automated rules you know we’ll even use even within our own agency or software it’s like we’ve got you know automated rules that you can set up in order to automate the really basic tasks that you want to do every few days right so I think that that definitely benefits I think it works fine for the most common technical analysis kind of changes but where it fails typically is the contextual analysis no that was really understanding the flavor of the audience and the products that’s usually where it falls flat and usually under performs or over spends you know so I think I think from a from a standpoint of the technical analysis I think software gets you you know fifty sixty percent of the way there if you are a full brand and you actually have an audience that you know of that you want to target I think the software is gonna let you down yeah let’s talk about the brand how does your PPC strategy change when you have someone that really has an engaged following is growing a brand opposed to someone who is just has maybe that that few products that they’re selling on Amazon yeah so more of an established brand is going to have also have brand recognition this tip we’re gonna have off Amazon marketing and traffic generation as well that could be anywhere anything from you

know retail we’ve got clients that have you know they sell nationally on retail you know breaking border but then they also do other they sell in other platforms they they have advertising outside of Amazon all these things that you can outsource right but the the brand recognition typically increases conversion rates for products and so generally the strategy is going to change a little bit because we could be a lot more aggressive when it comes to terms that have a higher conversion rate because of their brand especially when it comes to competitive at in other words our PPC strategy will change to be a lot more aggressive against competitors and against query market share from competitors for branded terms in for brands that have the higher conversion rates because they have a competitive advantage that they can then leverage and a lot most of those brands they come in they haven’t even started using all the different ad types and strategies available that they could be using Brian what did I miss any any last PPC tips that you want to share with the audience you know what some of the things that you know some of my the this year it’s kind of funny is that you know you do this – I’m sure is that you know the speaking engagements that you have you know in different conferences and stuff is the message tends to change based on where your heart you know most compels you right this year I’ve been really big on Perret oh you know no one’s really focusing in on what are those you know where can you spend 20% of your time and effort in order to get 80% of the result you don’t need a hundred percent now that additional you know 80 percent of work in order to produce you know 20% additional benefits can’t give you a competitive advantage but most sellers they don’t need that right now they don’t need to spend several hours each week doing certain tasks when they’re not any good at it they really should be outsourcing it or they should be limiting you know focusing their efforts – what’s the 20% of my effort that is going to produce most of the results that I want without overwhelming my time make sense Brian where can people find out more about you and what are you most excited about for the rest of the year you know what my focus is pretty heavily on on my agency canopy management we we certainly were building a fantastic team here and so we’re doing a lot of great things second I would say my my next core responsible products Academy we actually took a year off but now we’re actually bringing back sponsor products academy 3.0 later this year I haven’t announced win yet but that will come back later this year our our software as far as like say PPC scope that’s our that’s our software has been around for for four years we’re actually we’ve got a major update that’s coming out but I would say most of the interaction most of the community is going to be through like say the Facebook group you know the Amazon PPC troubleshooting just cuz there’s you know there’s 15,000 you know sellers out there you know I mean it’s it’s a good community and and all we’re talking about is you know is advertising you know so it’s a good is a good group to be in elevate guys check out Bryon’s group check out his agency Brian thanks so much for having it for coming on pleasure thank you for being here yep hey everyone thank you so much for watching did you enjoy this content if so click like leave us a comment and subscribe to our channel so we can continue bringing you great content all about higher