Amazon External Traffic Growth Strategies w/ MaverickX Founder Ben Faw – #49

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The Brand Builder Show
Amazon External Traffic Growth Strategies w/ MaverickX Founder Ben Faw – #49
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One of the most effective strategies for growing sales on Amazon right now is utilizing external traffic to boost organic ranking.

Amazon even incentivize you to do it by offering a 10% Brand Referral Bonus. But how do you get started? And what KPIs should you be focusing on?

In this week’s episode of the podcast we speak to Ben Faw, founder of MaverickX – a company entirely focused on external traffic campaigns.

We talked about:
💡 How Ben built and sold BestReviews for $100million
💡 Why driving traffic to Amazon is essential in competitive markets
💡 Keys for success when deploying this strategy
💡 And a whole bunch more!

Episode Links

Check out MaverickX
Connect with Ben on LinkedIn

Talking Points

  • 0:00 Introduction to Ben Faw
  • 1:06 How Ben Faw Started in the World of eCommerce
  • 4:24 How Working For Big Companies Helped
  • 8:09 BestReviews Backstory
  • 12:38 How MaverickX Came About
  • 18:15 Effective Strategies That Drive Traffic
  • 21:08 What Is MaverickX And How They Can Help Your Business
  • 23:25 Google Ads Best Practices and Ingredients For Success
  • 33:37 Other Key Strategies For Success
  • 39:05 Word of Advice For Amazon Sellers
 
Ben Donovan  00:00
Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of The Brand Builder show. And we’re going to be in for an interesting conversation today we’re talking all things, external traffic driving external traffic to Amazon, which is a huge factor for success on the Amazon platform in 2023 and beyond and to talk through that we’ve got my namesake Ben. Great name, by the way. Great to have you on the show. Thanks for joining us today.
 
Ben Faw  00:25
Thanks for having me here. Ben. It’s a I think whenever you can collaborate with other people with the name Ben is high probability of a good outcome.
 
Ben Donovan  00:33
Absolutely. Absolutely. Good stuff. Well, well, I’m yeah, I’m really excited to dive into the conversation. I know a little bit about your background. But enough, I know a little enough to make this a genuine grilling of a conversation to find out more about, you know, your history, what you’ve done. I know you’ve done some big things, which I’m really excited to learn more about, and some bigger things on the horizon as well. So why don’t we kind of run it all the way back to your start in the world of e-commerce, give us a bit of your origin story.
 
Ben Faw  01:06
Awesome. Yeah. Thanks, Ben. So to make the long story short of how I landed in E commerce, start with undergraduate at West Point Military, a stint in banking at UBS. And then stint at Tesla Motors prior to going to Harvard Business School. And while those weren’t e-commerce, I think they set the conditions for having some understanding of logistics and understanding of finance and understanding of supply chain, which is where I worked at Tesla helping launch the Model S back when it wasn’t the cool kids company, which seems to be somewhat out of favor in real time again today. But those things I think helped set me up for both Harvard Business School as well as E-commerce, which at Harvard Business School met my actually prior to met my eventual co founder of Best reviews, Mom show. And then while we were at Harvard Business School, we started working on that project that became best reviews. And that was the very, very direct hands on e-commerce role. For me, that kind of got me into the industry, really, I did about a year and a half at LinkedIn full time, while working on best reviews on the side, and then went full time with that late 2015. And just for context, best reviews, grew to become one of the largest independent review sites in the whole US ecosystem of Amazon. I think at one point in time, we were definitely a top five Amazon partner in the associates program, so driving, you know, many, many, many billions in total of sales, to Amazon. And so that was a wonderful experience. We’re fortunate enough to sell that a couple of times once to Tribune Publishing, and then kind of the remainder that we owned, we sold to NexStar, circa 2020. And then from those experiences, ended up moving to an advisory role in that business and 2019. started, you know, started to experiment with new projects. We were fortunate enough to grow several of those businesses staying in the E-commerce ecosystem. And then most recently, I’ve actually been working on MaverickX, which I think will we’ll speak more about, but that’s kind of the background of how I came from not an E-commerce into E-commerce to knowing something about this niche part, Ben that you alluded to, of traffic from outside the Amazon platform into the Amazon platform. And best reviews was was very, very good at that from, from a skill set perspective. And from a results perspective driving again, you know, billions and incremental sales for Amazon, and indirectly, for brands that sell on Amazon as well.
 
Ben Donovan  04:03
Obviously, lots to unpack there. And I do definitely want to talk the majority of our time about driving external traffic, MaverickX, et cetera. But just on your history, there’s some pretty big names, you know, Tesla, Harvard, business school, LinkedIn, military. Do you feel like those kinds of roles in those companies have played a part in the success of best reviews?
 
Ben Faw  04:25
I 100% agree with that sentiment been the the one thing I would say is that if I had sat down when I was 18, or 22, and and or, 27 and tried to build out a career path and said, Oh, I’m going to need to know a little bit about this, to succeed at this and so forth. Maybe I could have come up with something really compelling. But instead it was, I think, a mixture of good fortune and kind of trying to be somewhat strategic and hard work that I’m And I’m just very grateful because I completely agree that the experiences of each one together have made me I think, far more effective, I think, and probably far more successful than I would have been had, I just jumped into best reviews at age 22. With with none of the other experiences. And you see it in a couple of different specific examples when you’re going to talk, particularly when I was early on, at best views, we’re going to talk to a partner about anything, whether that be Amazon, or whether that be someone for distribution. You know, we weren’t nobodies. While we really were Nobodies, they took us a little bit more seriously, I think because up to your point, military, the Tesla, the Harvard Business School, these whether good or bad, these signals of trust, and signals of credibility really helped open some doors for us when the business itself best reason was still very nascent.
 
Ben Donovan  05:59
Yeah, I think because a lot of our listeners will be dreaming of having their own business and wanting to create control of their time, all of these kinds of things, which are great. But they also sometimes underestimate the value, I think of a periodic period of employment in a high performance company that because you can learn so much in those roles. And too many people run away from those because they want to do their own thing when it can, as I think you’ve obviously alluded to, can be a great asset to you and your career.
 
Ben Faw  06:31
I 100% agree. In fact, when people come to me with a deep interest in entrepreneurship, a very high percentage of the time, my response is love for you to be an entrepreneur, if that’s where you want to be. I’d also love for you to consider working at a company in the industry, an ecosystem that you’re so excited to build something in. Because to your point, there’s a combination of things, very few businesses that are successful in an ecosystem don’t, even if they’re purely business to consumer, direct consumer, there’s some aspect of b2b that’s involved. And there’s certainly ecosystem knowledge, the quickest way to get that in many cases, is to go work for an established incumbent in that industry. So for me, I feel super grateful to the work at LinkedIn in particular, was in you know, more on the b2b side and kind of lead generation but it was it was e-commerce it was online, it was digital marketing was all these things that were exactly what I would end up doing it best reviews, and you know, what, if not for the training, the credibility, the competence, the understanding of how these different funnels, and how traffic kind of moves around the internet, if I didn’t have that experience, I think I would have had a far lower probability of success in the best reviews project.
 
Ben Donovan  07:56
Yeah. And then just on best reviews, before we do move on to the kind of the future stuff, so people have some more context about that. So as yourself and one other partner did you say,
 
Ben Faw  08:09
we actually had two partners, one was one like to keep in still likes to keep a pretty low profile. But the other two, you know, super smart guys who in Marshalls case had been at Google, many, many successes, they’re incredibly good understanding of particularly traffic, paid traffic. And then our third co-founder, also a lot of understanding of traffic, traffic acquisition, how to think about consumer internet, and particularly how to think about trust, and how you win and earn trust from consumers on the internet, and how the buying cycle is impacted by that trust. And I think that’s a lot of what we did, then at best reviews. It wasn’t rocket science, per se, it was a lot of the basics. And thinking really clearly about where there was a gap. And at the time, for a lot of consumers, there wasn’t a trusted place to find editorial content to help make a better purchasing decision. Instead, you know, you can go into a platform like Amazon and try to read many, many different consumer reviews on many products and spend a lot of time or you can pay, you know, for different subscription content, potentially a Consumer Reports in the US, which some people don’t want to pay for or may not have content on the products you’re considering. So we felt like there was this gap of opportunity. And, you know, our first the first actual product category worked on with steam irons, which seems like a kind of a dull unsexy product category. And that page, you know, over time is made the business a substantial amount of money, because there wasn’t a great way to research which steam iron is right for me as a consumer We’re so yeah, it’s it’s a, it was a really incredible time to be doing what we were doing and the learnings were just unbelievable.
 
Ben Donovan  10:10
And so the business model was creating content around these products, reviewing them, and then driving that traffic to Amazon. And you earning money as a part of the Amazon Associates Program or
 
Ben Faw  10:21
exactly Ben, the simplest way to think of it is, you’ve got consumers searching for best steam iron, by steam, iron, steam iron review. All these searches going into Google, what we tried to think about was, what are those people actually want? Well, they clearly want to get a steam iron, they want to know which one? Okay, well, we need to go through the 100, some steam iron skews on Amazon, we need to research all of them. And look, we did a blending of methods, we had experts heavily involved with the research, we had actual physical testing of the products, we clearly use the consumer reviews ecosystem, we used our own knowledge having been in the ecosystem. And so we would take that category of 150, steam irons, whittle it down to maybe five, and call out which one we thought was kind of best value with the best bang for buck, reward, and then a best kind of best overall. And then a few contenders. And we would call out the pros and cons. So exactly to your point, consumers searching, they hit this page, boom, instead of having to research 100 Steam irons, they can focus in on the four or five we’ve done work on decide which one is right for them, click through to Amazon, and either make a purchase or not. But from our perspective, you know, we can bring people in through organic search, or we could use paid search to drive those visitors into our funnel, and then help them hopefully make a better purchasing decision.
 
Ben Donovan  11:46
Absolutely. And so then you sold the last part of that in 2020.
 
Ben Faw  11:51
Correct? Yeah, we sold it to another public company called NexStar. That’s been thinking a lot about how to use it inside. They’re kind of TV. They’re more of a TV broadcast business. And so they’ve been thinking a lot how to how to use those capabilities to help their consumers in building into even more of a brand. Yeah. And that was when actually even before then I’d moved to an advisory role and started working on on new projects.
 
Ben Donovan  12:21
Yeah, cool. All right. Well, let’s talk about those new projects and the purpose of the episode and the, you know, what that new project is doing? And then the problem it’s solving. So tell us a little bit about what it is you’re working on. And then we’ll dive into? Yeah, what, what problems it’s solving?
 
Ben Faw  12:38
Yeah. So again, again, it’s it’s awesome. We spent this foundation on best reviews, because that time, there helped us understand a couple things. One, how to think about driving traffic from Google, Bing, Yahoo search engines to Amazon. Now typically, we drove it through best reviews. But just that concept of how to move traffic from one to the other, what are they like important skills? What are the software components that are needed tracking dashboarding team members with institutional knowledge, etc. The other thing we learned is we learned that brands were getting incredible value from what we were doing, there was no way to really capture any of that economic value. But you and I both know now and I was learning Then, wait a minute, if I’m driving a bunch of traffic to, for instance, the Panasonic steam iron product detail page, guess what I’m driving a bunch of sales for Panasonic steam iron, but I’m also actually helping Lyft in many cases, their Amazon organic search ranking. Because the Amazon is pretty clear. If you send in high converting high quality high intent traffic that drives a lot of sales, they reward that. And so we started to get this glimmer. And fast forward to now MaverickX is kind of I think, in many ways, the culmination of a lot of things I’ve worked on and been doing, because what we’re what we’re doing in the simplest form factor is we’re using what’s called Amazon attribution. That’s a newer program that Amazon’s enabled to allow brands, three P and one P to track and analyze the traffic that comes by any means that use outside Amazon into Amazon. So you could use traffic from Facebook, you could use traffic from an email program you have or you could use traffic from a from a paid organic search effort. What we think a lot about those how do we use that tracking system? And our skills expertise and knowledge from Google Bing Yahoo paid to drive that traffic into Amazon for a specific brand. Could be again Panasonic, Panasonic steam iron, and then you know, have a good understanding of okay, how much of this traffic is converting? What keywords are actually driving the best impact, what sort of flow what times a day? How do we think about truly taking this like, basic idea, and building it into some very, very niche offerings that create some really, really compelling value for the brands and manufacturers that that want to use that sort of solution?
 
Ben Donovan  15:20
Yeah, nice. Yeah. Obviously, attribution is growing a lot. And sellers are using it a lot more with heavy reliance being placed on external traffic. You’re a US working with, with MaverickX, you’re working then with brands in order to get them set up with brand attribution? Or are they coming to you having fully set up, but you’re there to really just throw fuel on the fire? How are they kind of the inner workings of it?
 
Ben Faw  15:48
Great question, Ben, we’ve actually done both. I would say right now, the the majority, not the large majority, the majority have not done much with attribution yet. And I’ll tell you why I think it’s twofold. It’s, it’s not incredibly hard to set up in its most basic forms. But if you think about truly being thoughtful with it, it’s a bit of a project, right, because you need to both setup and master the Attribution Analytics from Amazon. But you also need to set up and master your Google and or being paid search account. Because if you don’t connect the two, and truly have the right manpower to run both, which which isn’t cheap, it’s money. And it’s hiring of talented people who, by the way, are in short supply right now, if you don’t set up both and run them both right, you’re not going to get a very good return on advertising spend or a cause in our experience. And so we found some people who just didn’t have the ability to allocate the 10s of 1000s To test this, and would rather us get in there and help validate whether there’s something there, that’s one bucket, and then the other bucket to your point, they actually have done some work on this. And they’ve realized this is not a one person two hours a week project, it’s a big project to get a good return. And so they want to decrease the money that they’re burning and increase the amount that they’re getting a good return on which we’ve had solid success with.
 
Ben Donovan  17:17
Yes, yeah. Because it really is something that, you know, I’ve noticed in setting up setting up myself, you know, brand referral, bonus, and attribution, you know, Google ads, all this kind of stuff, it’s like, it’s really more advanced than the traditional Amazon Seller has been able to do or willing to do, there has been in the last year or two a real step up in the abilities that a traditional Amazon seller has to learn in order to stay competitive on the marketplace. So obviously, that’s the I guess, you know, without wanting to put words in your mouth, a big part of the problem you’re solving there. And obviously, there’s some real value to be had in that. What are you seeing as the main success areas of the clients you’re working with in terms of driving that traffic? Is it a lot of you mentioned their Google ads, paid ads? You know, the other strategies that sellers are using right now?
 
Ben Faw  18:17
Yeah, we’re seeing, we’re seeing probably three different strategies that work really well. Right now, one would be the Google and Bing and to some extent, Yahoo, paid search ads, that’s an effective strategy. Not for everyone, I’ll tell you that we’ve seen it be a challenge. If your products price point is below $10. US US 10 US dollars. We’ve also seen some challenges, as you might suspect, relatively speaking, if your product is, you know, an inferior product in the minds of consumers in your category. So think about this, right? If you’ve got an N back to steam irons, if you’re if you’re not Panasonic, you don’t have a big existing brand name. And you’ve got a really low review count, and a really low star rating versus the pure set. That’s really tough. So those are a couple areas where we’ve seen challenges, but we’ve seen successes across a far wider array than we suspected in the past, at best reviews, for instance, the world of like beauty, fashion apparel, really challenging because of how consumers make that purchase. Excuse me with some new capabilities we’ve been building out at MaverickX. We’re seeing success in those what, what I think Amazon would consider soft lines. We’re seeing success in those product categories. Another couple of tactics that we are seeing succeed in the kind of overall ecosystem and we’ve been a part of as well. One would be paid social, and in some cases, organic social. That is very tricky to replicate or scale, because a lot of times it’ll be driven by like, one particular piece of content or one partnership with, you know, X. But that has worked, we have seen the successes. And we know there there will probably continue to be successful. And then the other would be email programs, because there are some brands that have built meaningful email programs that I think they have first intended to use for their direct to consumer business. But I think they’re realizing in some cases, there’s just there’s consumers out there that want to buy on Amazon, because they’ve got a Prime subscription, it’s all set up. And so if you can take advantage of that, at times, it can be, you know, incrementally valuable to your effort. But I think those three buckets paid search, paid and organic, social, but the social world, and then email are the three we’ve heard and seen probably the most successes in so far.
 
Ben Donovan  20:59
Yeah, yeah, definitely. I mean, I’d love to dive into a couple of them just to get some best practices out for, for our listeners, just for that. Is it MaverickX? Is there like a software component? Or is it more of like an agency? Service?
 
Ben Faw  21:13
Great question, Ben. Yeah, when when we when we were initially getting started, we were kind of weighing those two, weighing those two approaches. And so we’ve tried to lean pretty heavily into software analytics dashboarding. So you know, when when you think of the services you get, it’s not just hey, that this is an agency to help you set up some of your ad campaigns or, or set up attribution, this is full. Now we’ve not gone the route yet. Some people will say they’re fully, you know, artificial intelligence and machine learning, we’re not as, as sold on that route, yet for a number different reasons that we could get into later. What we do believe, though, is there is there are meaningful components that can be and should be automated and can and should involve artificial intelligence, machine learning, so we do use those. But with our with our offering today, at least, you come in and kind of get absolutely everything solved from our team to include campaign setup, campaign management, campaign optimization, bid management, bid optimization, and then flow management. And that has to do with how we’re thinking about sending users to let’s just give a couple of examples without revealing too much. At 3pm. On a Friday, on a mobile device, on the search term, best steam iron, do we send that user to the product detail page, or to the Amazon storefront? These sorts of decision trees and nuance are incredibly important to drive the best day cars possible. And we’ve clearly got a lot of experience doing that. Not didn’t mention this earlier, but the vast majority of our team is the team that helped build a lot of this product and capability at best reviews, and and refine it and so we were not starting from scratch. We’re starting somewhere around third base headed to home, we hope. And these I think, experiences nuance knowing exactly what software is needed have been incredibly helpful for us to succeed quicker, I think than we would have been able to otherwise.
 
Ben Donovan  23:23
Yeah. So let’s focus on Google ads. Because that would be the primary external traffic source that a lot of sellers are using right now. Can you give us some best practices on what you are seeing? As is working? What a? What’s it working for? Is it you’re launching new products? Is it continual ranking of products? Is it profitable sales on an ongoing basis, or a mixture of all of those, what it’s been used for? And then some of the strategies around? How you doing that?
 
Ben Faw  23:57
Yeah we’ve actually used it for almost all of those so far and seen successes. What I would say are some of the ingredients of success. I can think of a few one is, you know, do you have a good understanding of what’s differentiating your product. And I think most brands do not all of them are able to convey that clearly. And that could be conveyed a couple of ways, right could be in a written word could be in a visual. This could be on the PDP on the storefront in an in an advertising unit. But I think knowing that differentiator of why consumers want to purchase your product versus another, whether it be product launch, whether it be a product that is already quite successful, or one that to your point has kind of waned over time and fallen down maybe the Amazon organic search rankings. I think that is a really key ingredient. I think another one is just a willingness to be patient. Because unlike the Amazon, you know, media world, Amazon PPC, in particular, you’re not going to turn on the knobs and see everything reach optimal, optimal results immediately. That’s just not how Google tends to ever work, particularly when you’ve got this complexity of, you know, where are you driving the person, what’s the best funnel for that particular user and consumer based on the brand, and so forth. As we get more data, I think it’ll probably be an area where we’ll build our expertise. But I would encourage anyone experimenting, you can’t go in and expect to hit the same a cause that you’re used to on an Amazon ad on day one, probably not on day 30. Probably not on day 60. But if you’re patient and thoughtful, and and you’re constantly learning and iterating, we’re seeing we’re seeing brands get to exciting places in the performance side alone without taking into account. And this would be another point, it’s incredibly important to measure, analyze, and monitor your Amazon organic search ranking along the way. Because what we’re seeing time and time again, is, in many cases, a Core term will be where you’ll see growth. But there are occasions where it’s not the Core term, it’s another term or it’s a modifier. And if you’re not watching all these different terms, you’re sitting here, seeing your sales go up. But it’s not necessarily all going up through the attribution measurement. So you’re thinking, Oh, that the a cause in attribution is 70%. A cause that’s not quite where I want to be it really want to be at 50%? Well, you probably need to take into account the fact that you’re seeing, you know, an extra 10,000 bucks a month that you can’t fully explain, coming in off your organic because you’re suddenly ranking either for net new terms, or for existing terms much higher than you are much more highly than you were in the past. And the last thing I would add is, if you’ve got branded search, or potentially competitive branded search, everyone’s been talking about this inside Amazon, where you know, they’ve built the brand up again, we’ll use Panasonic steam irons, people are searching for that. And guess what, Ro winter steam irons have been won are one could argue the term of use at times is snaking them, right? They’re coming in and winning on the Panasonic steam iron branded search term on Amazon and driving that user by relentless DeMarre. That same story plays out in Google every single day. And so I would encourage anyone who either has established a large brand and following and they have search volume on Google, or maybe their competitors do these are things that should be considered, in my view, when you’re weighing whether to you know, do a test in the attribution system. And when you’re weighing where to allocate your early dollars and think about performance trade offs.
 
Ben Donovan  28:01
You Yeah, because on Google ads, you can put competitor brand names in your, in your titles, right.
 
Ben Faw  28:08
100%. And you see people go after them constantly. And it’s I mean, look, the no one really wants to share, I don’t think anyone but Google probably knows the exact numbers. But it’s not, it’s not 1% of ad dollars, that Google gets that go after competitive search terms in the in the branded department. Because you just you see it time. And again, you the classic one was the you know, there are a lot of people doing different things around, you know, hair recovery for men, and you were just seeing different brands build out, you know, big TV ad buys, and other brands are bidding on those search terms. And it’s a, it’s a challenging climate where you can make big investments in your brand, and see other people get some potentially part of the benefit from that. Yeah,
 
Ben Donovan  28:59
that’s crazy. But the the other the other upside, obviously, is the brand referral bonus, adding that 10% back in is, you know, I imagined really helping a lot your clients make this work
 
Ben Faw  29:12
100%. And it actually gets into how we’ve thought about our pricing, actually, you know, think you’ve looked back at a lot of these different business models, anyone to do with advertising, it’s oftentimes a percentage of the ad spin in their monetization pathway for the platform agency, whatever they are, we’ve thought a lot more about aligning incentives, which I think should be built around revenue. If we’re really saying we’re trying to build tooling and product to help you drive revenue, we should probably get paid primarily off revenue, right? So we have a dual prong structure, we do have some some pure kind of pure SaaS fee which which we need, but really our only way to actually turn profits is to drive meaningful sales for you and to make a percentage of those sales. which I think is potentially an interesting way to price. But I think to your point, the bigger point is the brand referral bonus is not going to like change many people’s lives because it’s not 50% or something. But that 10%, I think, does make the economics easier for, for people to test. It’s an encouraging signal, I think from from Amazon. And I think it’s got some sustainability, because no one’s had these conversations that I’ve heard. But I think you’ve grasped this. If you’re Amazon sitting here thinking, Wait a minute, we want to get more traffic to amazon.com. But not just any traffic, we want high intent traffic, that we can then take and either run our ads against internally, because these people will click on our ads, or since we know exactly what they’re coming into, and hitting from a PDP or from a storefront perspective, guess what, we’ll put them into the DSP. And we’ll be retargeting these people all over the place and making money that way. So I think from Amazon’s perspective, my sense, and I don’t think it’s been shared publicly, nor will it ever probably be shared publicly, they’ve already run the numbers on how much money they make. Because let’s just say it’s an awesome effort you have from Google, you might get like a 20% conversion rate on on the traffic you’re driving in. So 80% are either clicking on other people’s heads, or getting thrown into retargeting pools on DSP, or both. So Amazon can probably say, Yeah, we pay out this 10% Bonus, but we get this 80% of traffic that we make an extra 15% on. So we actually generate incremental revenue and EBITDA, even after paying out the brand referral bonus.
 
Ben Donovan  31:41
Yeah, yeah. Because if someone buys somebody else’s products, you’re not going to get the bonus on another brands products. So it’s, yeah, it’s a genius move from Amazon, I think, because everyone’s wanting to do it. And they’re getting a lot of free traffic coming their way that sellers are paying for.
 
Ben Faw  31:57
Exactly. And you can see it even we see it been done. I mean, if you, for instance, have a competitor, that’s doing a ton of Amazon attribution. And you can kind of unpack that from your own market research. Here’s another trick that no one talks about, you can make sure that you’re bidding and running ads on their PDP. Because you know, think about it no user, it’s impossible to make a purchase on Amazon without going through a PDP. And Amazon has done a great job of creating a lot of ad inventory on the PDP where competitors effectively can snake away a customer who was about to make a purchase of one product, and instead they buy their product. So think a little known tactic that’s that’s probably going to grow and importance will be understanding who’s leveraging a lot of quite high quality high intent, probably Google traffic to their PDP, and then carefully thinking about your own bidding strategy on that competitors, PDP.
 
Ben Donovan  32:57
And how would a seller go about finding that out?
 
Ben Faw  33:03
It’s a great question. There’s probably like, a handful of techniques. One that would be kind of for the masses, I think, and not that difficult is just literally looking on Google for all the different search terms that are run on on on that product category. And just seeing who’s who’s winning those search terms that are they driving traffic to a PDP. That’d be the first step I would look at.
 
Ben Donovan  33:35
Yeah, cool. And then, in terms of other methods, we’ve covered sort of Google briefly, obviously, it’s difficult to cover in any great depth on this episode. But are there any other key strategies that you are seeing some success with that growing seller should be exploring?
 
Ben Faw  33:54
I think that the, the two that I would put on your list, if I was a, if I was a seller right now would be if you have an existing relationship, or if you believe you can form one relatively quickly with an influencer, who has deep deep followership and audience in your niche. I think that’s worth testing. Not the not the mega the day, the mega influencer, I think, for most Amazon sellers is is is I think, probably over from a great performance perspective. But there’s still interesting possibilities. Again, let’s, let’s go now, I think the baby world is probably the the easiest one to talk to. If I’ve got an incredible sleepsack for small babies, and I have a great relationship. Over time. I’ve built with three or four influencers, they have about 10,000 followers, each on maybe a few different platforms. It seems like that’s too small, they only got 10,000 followers, you might be wrong, because you might be able to partner with that sort of person. Use attribution tracking, and see just a handful of posts. Drive 10 $20,000 worth of sales because while the audience they have is small, if they’re truly an expert on all things, baby, they may have a ton of intent they can generate from that small audience that drives sales that drives people that write positive reviews that refer others that has a really powerful feedback loop. So I think niche is not a bad thing. When we think about the influencer world, and that can go across social, also thinking about the paid component there. Is there a way to put paid dollars behind what you do with a more niche influencer to go after a lookalike acolyte audience? That will be one bucket that that I would consider. And the other one is, look, if you’ve got an email program, or if you know an influencer, that has a great email program, I think, you know, we’re going to see more people have successes. Now it may be tied to a promotion, or a seasonal trend, but it may not be. So I think that those are the buckets, I would strongly consider putting on a on a list if you’re open to try new things.
 
Ben Donovan  36:06
Yeah, definitely. The something that we’ve been just really in the throes of at the start of it, so I can’t sort of speak to as to how successful it will be. But we’ve started emailing, like content sites that have product roundups, you know, like similar to how best reviews would do like five best steam irons, as you said, and reaching out to them, the ones that are ranked well, for particular search terms on Google and offering them, you know, some kind of incentive to put our product at the top of that list, which I know not everyone, you know, there should be genuinely reviews. But, you know, when you realize what’s going on in Google, not many of them are, but is trying to get our products then nice and high up in those lists, offering extra incentives, if they use the associates program, offering an additional commission on top of their sales. Is this kind of tying into similar stuff that you are looking at doing? Or is that maybe like a different strategy?
 
Ben Faw  37:05
We certainly think there’s going to be more to come there, I can tell you this, the the opportunity, and I don’t want to throw any specific sites out there. But the opportunities with some sites has gone so heavy into fixed fee. At a cost prohibitive level, I’m talking 10s of 1000s. To get that position at the top of a list through effectively a sponsorship. I think that part’s getting too costly. And I think the point you’re alluding to of how do you make that performance based and non cost prohibitive. I think those are important threads that we have not heard the last of at all. And I think that it starts to come full circle. And there’s certainly a lot more to discuss there. And I don’t think that trends going away. My guess is we’re gonna need to do another episode, at some time later this year to double click on perhaps that point alone or others because I’m convinced there’s more that will be that will be happening there to your point.
 
Ben Donovan  38:13
You because from my understanding at tags can be added to I’m not by any means an Amazon Associates expert. So tags can be added in a way that we would be able to get reports on which sites are driving, or they will be able to provide us with reports of how many sales their traffic has driven specifically for that product so that we could then offer them an additional commission percentage on top of what they already added.
 
Ben Faw  38:13
Yep, I think I think you’re thinking on the right wavelength. So this is, I think if people aren’t thinking about this on one level or another, they probably can and will be in the future.
 
Ben Donovan  38:52
Okay, cool. Good. All right. Well, I mean, there’s so many advanced strategies. Now, being a successful, large scale, Amazon Seller definitely is different to how it used to be a few years ago. Do you have any kind of words of parting advice, someone who’s built and sold a significantly sized business? How should Amazon sellers be approaching the next year, two years in this, you know, growingly volumous marketplace, but also, in some ways a growing competitive nature of it?
 
Ben Faw  39:25
Yeah, I’m a big fan of the kind of back to the basics. Mantra, which is, you know, what makes your product special? And how do you tell that story effectively? And I think everything we’ve spoken about are just additional ways to accomplish that same core mission. And so you know, when you’re producing a great product, we used to talk at best reviews mom shell and I about going the last mile, right? We could do the best review of steam irons since the beginning of time. But you know, what if we don’t get the message out to the right people at the right Wait time in the right context. Nobody knows. Nobody cares. And there’s no value created. So I would say, you know, the great product that’s well designed, it’s well packaged. All those things are incredibly important. I’ll never downplay any of them. But that last mile of getting the right story about the brand, told to the right consumers at the right time, I think continues to be incredibly important. And they’ll continue to be new tactics to accomplish that kind of last mile work, not on the delivery side, but the last mile of messaging and that, that kind of communication with the consumer.
 
Ben Donovan  40:36
Yeah, it’s really good advice in all of the advancement and strategies and development of marketplaces, don’t forget the basics, good quality products, good quality, marketing, still absolutely essential. And I think a lot of our listeners are going to want to go and buy steam irons after this, you know, subliminal messaging. We’ve mentioned it so many times, but it’s good. It’s been really, really insightful. I feel like we’ve covered lots maybe we haven’t gone as deep as I would like in some of these topics. But as you say, maybe we could do another episode, as MaverickX does begin to sort of grow and gather more data and, and get more insights. We’d love to start this conversation again, at some point.
 
Ben Faw  41:17
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for sharing time, Ben, and anyone who I can be helpful with, please feel feel free to reach out. You know, we try to think of ourselves as an education company first, given there’s so much knowledge we think we can be helpful with and what I’ve found to be probably the most rewarding thing about being in the industry, I’ve yet to take a call. And someone at the end is like this was a waste of my time, I’ve learned nothing. And I think if you consistently in calls like that, you’ll you’ll your customers may not come instantly, but they’re going to come because you’re and you’re also building rapport with people who aren’t your customers today, but might be in a year.
 
Ben Donovan  41:56
Definitely, yeah, and where can people find out more about what you’re doing about MaverickX?
 
Ben Faw  42:01
Yeah, I mean, MaverickX.io We’re on. We’re online all the time, and welcome, people reaching out. I’m on LinkedIn. [email protected] Pretty easy to find. Yeah, feel free to reach out and we’re excited to be as helpful as we can. And thank you so much, Ben for for sharing time. And hopefully everyone’s in for a great 2023
 
Ben Donovan  42:26
Yeah, absolutely. No, this has been a great episode. This is the first one off 2023. So a great way to start the year. Appreciate you taking time out and we are really excited to see where MaverickX goes. So I will leave all those links for you everyone in the description in the show notes so do check out MaverickX. And if you want to learn more about driving external traffic, let me know it’s something that we’re doing a lot more of these days. So definitely keen to create more content around it for you. That’s going to be helpful. Thanks for tuning in to another episode. I will be back same time next week. So we’ll see you then. Take care bye bye.