It’s almost hard to believe how big Amazon has become. But for those of us that have been paying attention, it is even harder to believe how much selling on Amazon has changed. But first, a little background on me.
I started shifting my attention from Google to Amazon back in 2013 because even back then, it was obvious (to me, at least) that Google would never disappear, but that it was a mature market. The opportunities were all there that had always been there. But there were very few easy roads to success in Google. Yet, I remembered the “good old days” of 2003 when Google AdWords (now Ads) clicks were five cents and we could easily get e-commerce sales worth hundreds in profits from them. Those were good times. But Google Ads are an auction, and it all evened out. You can easily still succeed with Google Ads, but you need to know what you’re doing, you need a good product, and you need patience.
Google SEO is not much different. I feel strongly that the last ten years have pushed SEO marketers to polarize. Most have listened and obeyed Google. They have gone almost completely “white hat” and obeyed. They “create good content” and they “get natural links”. This works, in general. It is also safe. You don’t get banned (usually). But you also can’t win at the really competitive markets. That’s where the polarization comes in. The really big money is in the competitive stuff. The competitive stuff is where the black hat marketers live. By the way, if you have a negative attitude toward “black hat marketers”, you need to rethink that. These marketers generally are not doing illegal or immoral stuff. Google likes to paint it that way, but it’s not necessarily true. They just aren’t obeying Google. As such, they find the tricks, they exploit them, they make a lot of money, they eventually get banned by Google, and they do it all over again, and again, and again.
Don’t worry, this post is about Amazon. Hang with me here. Read More
Wow. It’s been over a year since I’ve posted to this blog. I miss the good old days when everyone was blogging and I used this site constantly in an effort to keep in touch with colleagues. These days Facebook and Instagram seem to have taken over and sadly, people just don’t blog like they used to, in my opinion. Read More
As an update, I’ve spent the last month talking to a whole lot of people that want help on Amazon. If you know me, you know how much I enjoy helping others and training. But I have not really done any Internet marketing training for the last two years. The reason is that I’ve been focusing on Amazon. But now that I’ve learned as much as I have, I’m happy to be back involved in training.
So if you’re trying to sell on Amazon and need some help and mentoring, please visit www.TheAzonZoo.com to see what I have to offer. There should be a link at the top for “Getting Started” which will show the options we’re offering.
Getting involved at that level actually opens up the ability to work with me as well as my business partner, Ryan Courteau, who is excellent at Amazon financials, taxes, customer service, logistics, and more!
Welcome to 2016. It’s time to set some good business goals for the year. Here’s mine.
1. Double Down on Amazon
I’ve spent the last year and a half focusing on Amazon. At one point during the year, I wondered if that was a mistake. But more recently, I’ve realized that it’s the smartest thing I could have done as an Internet marketer and entrepreneur. Amazon is where the money is. If anything, I need to push it harder. At the same time, I need to have a healthy amount of diversification so that I’m not too reliant on one source for income.
2. Teach, Learn, and Automate
This was another grand revelation to me in 2015. The more self-examination I did, the more I realized that these are my true strengths. It’s what I do best. I now believe that the best entrepreneurs are not just the ones that manage finances and people well. It is the ones that know how to identify what they are best at and intelligently outsource the rest. For me, these three things are my sweet spot.
Put another way, if you combine points 1 and 2 above, that is where I need to be spending as much time as possible in 2016.
3. Win the War on Procrastination
What good are goals if you don’t look back at them?
Every year, I try to post on the last day of the year my grades on the goals I set on the first of the year with some comments. Here’s how I did compared to what I wanted to do…
1. Blog Every Day = A
I’m giving myself an A on this even though I did not do it all year. I did it the first couple months and it went very well. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. But after a couple months, I determined that it just is not a good use of my time.
Personally, I still think that writing every day is the best way to improve as a marketer. Yet, I’m working harder at business and entrepreneurship than marketing these days, so I stopped after a couple months.
2. Focus more on Business & Entrepreneurship and Less on Marketing = A-
I definitely did this. I’m trying my best to stay up on all things Internet marketing, with a special focus on Amazon in particular. But I’m more focused than ever on my businesses and doing the best I can with them.
3. Do a Great Job for my Clients = A-
Three years ago, on January 15th, 2013, I announced here that HIPPO Internet Marketing was closing. After ten years, I decided to stop taking clients and focus on my e-commerce sites. Shortly after that, I went to Ephricon as their Director of Client Services for about a year.
Two years ago, after Ephricon became Straight North, I took some Internet marketing clients, but mostly just those that I already had a relationship with already. I never opened up Hippo Internet Marketing in the sense that I started taking clients. But now, after three years of being “closed”…
HIPPO Internet Marketing is Open again!
In fact, I’ve started to redesign our website at www.HippoIM.com!
(I love the fact that my office is the main picture on the home page.)
In early September, I made the decision to start investing in switching our e-commerce websites over to the Shopify platform. Historically, we’ve used several platforms, most notably Volusion. However, it’s becoming more and more evident that Shopify has come out as the strong leader in e-commerce platforms.
Basically Shopify is to e-commerce platforms what WordPress is to blogging platforms. There are several others out there, including Volusion and Big Commerce. But Shopify is not only leading, but making a strong push to drive far ahead of the others.
I’ll post my thoughts and feelings on Shopify on my newly recreated consulting site soon. But in short, I’ll say that it’s amazing easy to build a site on this platform. It’s also easy to extend it to do all the extra things you want to do with their Shopify Apps system.
The whole process was extremely painless and we were able to go live in less than three months. Not bad for an entirely new site with about 200 products, new images and new content. The new site is named Bellman Cart Specialists. Although we’re trying to sell online, the real push for this site is to promote that we are expert consultants on the topic. We’re hoping for more leads as opposed to online orders with this site. We’ll see.
What happens when you spend most of your time on one business? The other business may start to notice and feel neglected or sad. Well, probably not. But it does seem that way.
For the past six months, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time building up our Amazon business. I’ve been working hard not only on the business itself, but also trying to build up the training needed for a couple of our students and our new sub-business which is run by a partner, but co-owned by our business. If that sounds confusing, it is. It involves lawyers, accountants, and all that fun stuff.
But in the meantime, my fantastic sales people have been very active with my e-commerce business of over 12 years now which sells bellman carts online. But the more you focus on Amazon, the easier it becomes to take your eye off of Google.
Years ago, Google was all I talked about and thought about, practically. When I worked with a few agencies, I wrote about the Google algorithm changes, Google remarketing, and how Facebook likes affect Google.
But the truth is, Amazon is now as much of an opportunity for online marketers as Google is. So we’re focused on both. The trick is spending the right amount of time on both. Both businesses and both platforms, Google and Amazon.
If you read this blog at all, you know I’m spending most my time working with Amazon these days.
Amazon.com was founded 20 years ago. It now has 209 million users, 89 warehouses, 1,000 warehouse robots, and spends $160 million on Google search ads. Amazon sold $89 billion in 2014 and they sold 426 items per second on Cyber Monday. There are 2 million marketplace sellers and only 7% of Amazon’s sales are come from selling books.
Want to learn how I am taking advantage of this opportunity and growth market?
I’m going to give a lecture and presentation on the topic on April 9, 2015. It will not be recorded. If you’d like to attend, you can sign up on the Charlotte SEO Meetup page. If it shows as full, be sure to join the waiting list. (People generally cancel at the last minute on this group. No biggie.)
Here are some interesting news items about Amazon in January 2015 along with my comments.
In 2014, Amazon’s stock price fell 18% While Nasdaq overall was up 14%.
Nothing too scary here. However, Amazon’s insisting on growth over profits actually resulted in an interesting Q3 in 2014, which ended on September 30, 2014. In that quarter, Amazon posted a $544 million loss on revenue of $20 billion. They (Jeff Bezos in particular) just don’t care about profits as much as growth. In a strange way, that’s good news for those of us trying to grow our businesses on Amazon as well.
See the GigaOm story here which quotes the Reuters story here. Read More