How The Halo Effect Can Help Grow Your Amazon Sales w/ ZonGuru’s Jon Tilley – #37

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The Brand Builder Show
How The Halo Effect Can Help Grow Your Amazon Sales w/ ZonGuru’s Jon Tilley – #37
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Welcome back to another episode of the Brand Builder Show! 

This week we’re joined by Jon Tilley the co-founder of popular Amazon tool ZonGuru.

In this episode we discussed:

  • How to choose the right keywords and initiate the “Halo Effect” for your Amazon products
  • How to launch products in competitive niches
  • What your first 12 months should look like to succeed when launching on Amazon.

Thank you to Jon and the team for offering a FREE listing analysis report, just head here to grab yours: https://zonguru.link/brandbuilder2107

Follow ZonGuru’s Rate Your Hack series on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zonguru

Helpful resources:

If you got this far, there’s a chance you enjoyed the episode… if so, please consider leaving a review – we really appreciate it!

Talking Points:

00:00 Introducing Jon

06:06 Contextual SEO

08:52 Halo Effect Method

12:49 Writing your listing

18:08 First 12 months success

22:47 VC funding

25:44 ZonGuru Tools

33:57 Dealing with competition

37:18 What’s next for ZonGuru

Ben Donovan 
Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of the brand builders show. We’re in for a treat today because we have got Jon, Jon is one of the co-founders of ZonGuru, a popular tool in the Amazon space. Jon, welcome to the show today.
 
Jon Tilley 
What’s up Ben, good to see you man. Yeah, we’ve seen your stuff and good to follow along.
 
Ben Donovan 
Thanks, man. Yeah, excited to have you on and talk about keyword strategy and excited to hear about the one of the strategies that you’ve been using successfully in recent times, Zon Guru is a tool that is becoming increasingly popular, very analytical, lots going on inside the tool. So excited to hear more about that as well. For anybody that doesn’t know about you or the tool, your journey, could you give us a little bit of a background about, you know, who you are your entrance into E commerce, how that whole story played out?
 
Jon Tilley 
Yeah, man, I just wanted to talk about the London weather for a second, because we’re going through the heatwave right now. But now let’s talk a little bit more about about us and our journey. You can hear by the accent, I’m clearly not from Los Angeles. But that’s where I live. I’ve been here since 2006, originally from South Africa, a lot of a lot of your UK friends will know us as well. But, you know, the typical journey I was, you know, back in the days, I was in LA, while I was in South Africa, as an ad executive at an ad agency, and then I’m actually moved to London in 2000, early 2000s, and lived in London, and worked for an agency there for a while, which was, which is awesome. And through some big like underground parties when I was back in the day there, you know, early 2000s, great time, great time and time to live. And then I eventually ended up leaving the move to LA in 2006 with with an advertising agency. Again, pre Bucha clients, Burger King, you know, Juliet, some sort of the bigger ones. But I always have this entrepreneurial, what I call entrepreneurial, FOMO. Right, which is like, I always wanted to have my own business and give that a shot. But you know, when you have these kind of, you know, very high flying jobs, it’s quite difficult to start your own thing or or make the leap, right. And so it took me a while, pretty frustrated that it didn’t happen earlier at the time. But I eventually ran to Amazon in 2014, I think it was at one of these conferences was in Vegas. And the page off of me, I was like, you know, this is perfect, I can do this as a side gig, I can explore my kind of creative outlet, you know, the business side of it and just see see what happens and did that launch successful brand? You know, did well. And I think within about a year, I could actually exit my advertising gig and launched three or four different products. And yeah, it was a pleasure, I can leave. So I left with it with a smile. This was this was 2016 ish. And then, you know, through the work I’ve been doing in the advertising agency, we actually got involved in software development side kind of cut my teeth on that side in terms of managing kind of large scale teams to help enterprise businesses with software developments. And you know, at the time, this was like unicorn Smasher, and like some of these old school tools, which are the point you know, it was just data for the sake of data. And I was like, from a business sense. This doesn’t, you know, doesn’t make any sense. Like, there’s a saying in advertising, it’s garbage in garbage out Geico, right? If you get garbage in, you’re gonna get garbage out. So my idea there was like, Hey, how can we truly create a tool suite for private label Amazon sellers, very relevant for what they’re doing, cut out all the noise, the shiny objects focus on what matters? And then more importantly, visualize that data in a way that answers the right questions. That was kind of our start. In 2016, now we have 17 tools were connected in four main marketplaces, North America, Europe, India, and Australia or the for at the moment. And yeah, we’ve kind of evolved, we VC backed, we were bootstrapped until last year, when we took on some VC funding, because it’s a pretty competitive space that we’re in. And we’ve actually developed, in addition to our acylic suite, we have an enterprise suite for for aggregators, specialist agencies, larger brands, that need our kind of tools at an operational level, but they also need, you know, additional enterprise data reporting, kind of very specific types of enterprise questions that need to be answered with data. And so we’re having a lot of success there. And what’s cool at the end of the day, is that, you know, if you’re solving at the enterprise level, it trickles down to the Senate level anyway. So it’s a really good kind of trickle trickle effect for us. And, and it’s helping us, you know, kind of bring a lot more value to the marketplace. So that’s us in a nutshell. You know, we do have a bunch of different tools, but I would say, you know, from research to, to, you know, review management’s, you know, profitability is business metrics, etc. But I think the flagship tools are our keyword research and listing optimization tools and the alert management around this, really like storefront optimization and management is really our flagship set. And it comes back to this idea of how we get at the data and how we, how we visualize it, and we call it contextual ACO. So I think that’s that’s part of it. What we’re going to do get into today. And I’ll explain that a little bit more in a second. Yeah, for
 
Ben Donovan 
sure. I think that’s more important than ever, hey, the listing optimization because as competition is higher, there is more, you know, understanding the level of knowledge and application of sellers on Amazon was this still not, you know, completely evolved, and you still see some crazy stuff out there is a lot more mature and sophisticated than even 234 years ago. So, you know, being the best in the game at the listing optimization, keyword research, contextual SEO, as you call it, I love that phrase. I’ve not heard that before. But that’s great. You know, I think that’s, that’s more important than ever. I
 
Jon Tilley 
absolutely, you know, we coined that that phrase about two and a half years ago, and we were developing our keyword tools. And it was exactly that because like, you know, from a seller myself, you know, and, and by the way, we have a whole bunch of sellers on our team, I incentivize our team to launch their own Amazon businesses, we kind of pay for their, their, their first stock, that they’re going to load. So if they’re interested in launching, we really help them get there. And that’s just evolved into, you know, we have a bunch of sellers that truly understand, you know, being an Amazon seller, and what moves the needle, but at the end of the day, you know, from a business perspective, we were like, okay, you know, what’s SEO, okay, it’s keywords, what’s the best keywords? But at the end of the day, it’s not necessarily just like, what’s the best keywords? But you have to contextualize that around? Like, what’s the best for the algorithm? What’s the best for for customers? Because what are they actually truly typing into Amazon? And then what’s, you know, what’s harder? Competitors? Right on that, right, and understanding what are they focused on? Where are the opportunities around that? That was a crucial piece for us, since we launched the tool that was the first kind of big differentiator around us, which is like, it’s not only what’s best for your listing based on what other competitors are doing, but where are the gaps? How do you own that, and that’s kind of evolved into this idea of, of what we call the halo effect method, which is this idea of, of inner compete, especially in competitive spaces, but being able to one obviously have, you know, a good listing with with your most relevant high volume keywords. But in addition to that understanding, where are the opportunistic keywords, and where your competitors aren’t strong, but do have decent search volume are relevant for your brand, how can you own those have a good quality score between your listing and obviously PPC, and run PPC against that to get the algorithm to see that you’re getting great conversion, and you get this halo effect for your shorter tail, you know, keywords in your organic growth, you know, kind of bounces back. So that’s something that we’ve developed and tested a lot of and have a lot of success with as well.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah. And that’s something that I’d love us to dig into. Because, again, that halo effect the name of the strategy, you know, I haven’t seen too much of it. So it’d be great to hear more about it for me just personally, but where I’m imagining it kind of goes is where, you know, success on Amazon is key is obviously keyword coverage is about getting those sales that does push you out more organically, but how are you? I mean, if it’s a different strategy, you know, let me know, but, you know, how are you actually making that happen? That Halo effects pushing, you know, organic, reach out? Can you walk us through that, because you guys are in the data? You’re seeing this day in, day out? So you’re seeing stuff that you know, us as the average Amazon seller, doesn’t matter, necessarily see, what you see? And what you using this strategy for? How does it actually work?
 
Jon Tilley 
Yeah, sure. There’s a few pieces to that. But I think at the end of the day, you know, you kind of nailed it, like, in theory, what SEO, optimization is for your, for your for your listing, is, is maximizing your reach, number one, right? So get in front of as many customers as you can, what are they searching for? How do you get in front of them. But in addition to that, it’s about maximizing your conversion rate. Because if you can get, you know, a better conversion rate, and that and that goes into obviously, not just keywords, but but your listing, but if you can get their conversion rate up, especially around certain terms, that algorithm is going to favor you, right? So you know, that that’s kind of the the high level concepts, concept of SEO, maximizing that reach and understanding your conversion rates. That gets you it gets a little bit more sophisticated when you start looking at like, what am I best, best keywords from a, from a, a, what’s what’s the research perspective versus an actual conversion rates? You know, how do they assign value to those and can get sophisticated, but that’s, that’s the basis of what we’re trying to do from a listing perspective. You know, at a high level, again, you know, as much I know, you’ve got to have a great product, you’ve got to have a great listing, you’ve got to have great visuals, and more importantly now than ever, you’ve got to have a great launch strategy, right? And that’s not just going to be SEO, you’ve got to have SEO, but you’ve got to you’ve got to be possibly driving outside traffic. I would recommend that it’s not hard if you can, if you can create a product and create something on Amazon you can damn well you know, handle it and outside traffic strategy. So you can figure that out. You can use Amazon posts you can use every single Your, you know, program that Amazon has to help support you on a brand. Because if you don’t use it do stupid, you know, because it’s guarantee the algorithms going to give you, you know, juice if you use all their programs, right? Because because they’re trying to get that exposure for brands. And at the end of the day, Amazon is going to give you a shot, because if they don’t give you a shot, they are missing out on potentially getting the best, latest, greatest, most amazing product in front of their customers. And that’s the core thing of what they’re trying to do. If they don’t, some other competitor is going to beat the market, right? So they’ve got to make sure they get the best products in front of customers. So anything that launches, the algorithm is gonna give it a chance, you just got to do the best with it once that happens. And so this is one of the methods that helps in that way which which, at a high level, especially when you’re in competitive strategy, competitive niches, but you know, there’s a whole bunch of keywords that that the algorithm favors from your competitors, high volume, you know, listings that have been around for a long time, they’re super seasoned, the algorithm loves them, they just trying to make money, right, they’re just like this guy converts, we’re gonna give him all this, all this, but there’s certain amount of keywords that your customers might not have found yet. Because they’re using other tools just know, they’re not using it on Google. But they might not have found, you know, a bunch of keywords that actually do have good search volume, colloquial local words that they just haven’t been able to find or index on, that actually have search volume and your competitors don’t rank for. And you can actually own those put PVC against that, and start to get a higher conversion rates. And as soon as you start to get high conversion rates, the algorithm will recognize you and say, Hey, this is a great listing, it’s converting, you know, they’re getting the sales on this, this listing. And, and let’s give them more more traffic, so you get more organic, and that can really filter up into some of those more competitive shorter tail keywords, and you can get better ranking on your organic listings and kind of grow like that. So that’s what’s called the halo effect method, because that report that you create around those opportunistic keywords, can ripple through into into some of those more competitive terms that you’re really, really trying to get more traffic from. Right.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah, yeah, definitely. You talked about including keywords, you know, how to write the listing? How should sellers be writing their listing in 2022? Is it writing for the algorithm? Or is it writing for customers, which should they be aiming for?
 
Jon Tilley 
I think, number one, you need to, you need to make sure you have the most relevant keyword list, not only from like, what your competitors index for, but what actual customers typing to Amazon. So, especially when you get into some of these more local markets, you know, that are doing well, especially in Europe, right, like Germany, you know, obviously, the UK, you know, if you sell across Europe, there’s, there’s a lot of even Canada, there’s specific terms that are different to the US terms, right. And if you could find what those are, you know, you have an opportunity to own those of your customers. So it’s starting with the list of keywords. But then in terms of writing your listing, you know, the overall theory around how you write the listing hasn’t changed, right, which is like, find your most relevant terms, you know, start from the top down, title, bullets, description back in back and keywords, you know, and work your way down, you can have, you can have overlap, you don’t have to deed up everything. You know, this idea of stuffing your title is kind of, we’ve moved away from that the awesome theory is that maybe you should stuff the title first for your launch, and then and then pare it down. But, you know, at the end of the day, if you’ve got the best keywords, and you’ve written your your listing, from a localized perspective, right, how you write your listing in Germany is gonna be way different to how you would write it from a tone perspective in the US, I can guarantee you, if you go into Germany, and be flashy in sales and try to be cool, they’ll just shoot you down and not buy just because you’ve you’ve written your copy wrong, right? So you have to write it from a localized perspective. And then And then, you know, that’s all you really need to do the rest, you know, is going to come from the strategy you do with PPC, your images, you know, the obviously, your EBC content, your outside traffic, and as long as you’ve got a great product, and you do those things in an effective manner over that launch period, or you reinvigorate your listing, you’re gonna get the sales it’s gonna come, you know, that idea of like, Hey, should I stuff my listing or night like that’s the kind of like, the 8020 like shiny object thing where you don’t have to worry about that. Because if you have to overstuff your listing, because you think that’s going to drive your sales up. You probably got to ship product, excuse the French, but you probably do, right? You’re just trying to like you’re trying to like shine the coin win win win, you really have got it wrong from the start, right?
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah. Yeah, I think it’s a compensation strategy that probably does has, you know, really echoed on from 2016 2017 When the game was just throw a product up, you know, slap a label on from Alibaba doesn’t matter about product quality, because there’s so much volume, whereas in 2020 to your right, you have to have a good product, you know, and you probably see the data, you definitely see so much data and that shows that that is the is the best products that that will win. And there’s still plenty of opportunity in the Amazon space if you do that bit, right.
 
Jon Tilley 
Yeah, I mean, there’s data to find the right products, right, we just did a whole exercise around, you know, the toy category in the US. And, you know, there’s huge opportunity in such a competitive niche that that you can own. You know, what I would say that evolution is like, it used to be, you know, let’s just kind of throw this idea of like just slapping a brand on a product, because that didn’t even work necessarily back in before 2016. Right. But, you know, if you’ve got a great product, and you’re launching it on Amazon, it used to be, hey, you have to get a great product, make sure your images and everything’s good and have like a have like a good, you know, an optimized strategy, when you launch, you know, and have your stock and kind of go through it, you could go out of stock a couple of times, you know, you’d bounce back, you’d be okay. I think where it’s evolved to now is like, you truly have to have a year view of your business, right, which is like, not only like how to launch it, but what I need to do every single month for the first 12 months to stay in favor with the algorithm. And that includes, you know, management of stock, you know, not going out of stock in everything that we have to kind of, you know, using all the programs outside traffic, but like just just keeping that algorithm in favour with your brand. Because if you lose, you know, your favor with the algorithm, it’s really hard to get back. And so, you know, you’re used to you have a lot of gimmies. But especially on amazon.com now, it’s much, you know, have that view of like, beyond launch, right? Don’t just get launched, you know, go beyond that, and how do you scale that and get the flywheel going, that you need to do on amazon.com. There’s other other markets like Amazon, Australia, which is, you know, it’s much smaller, much more open. And if you can get a product on there, and you’ll have, maybe you’ll run on Slack a few times, but if you just keep going with it, that their business is going 30x In three years, because they just they’re gonna get that hockey stick growth for they’re so new in that area. Right. So you can also select your markets. But yeah, I think that’s it. And, you know, I’m a big fan of like, Amazon posts, anything that they’re launching around brands, you know, using all the PPC, because they make money out of that, you know, so you’ve got to effectively use everything there that they have for you. And and you know, that’ll help you as you launch your brand.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah, that’s great. You talked about that first sort of 12 months, you know, getting the right keywords in having the right stock in, is there anything else you think new sellers should be looking out for over that 12 month period? To make sure that they do succeed over that 12 months? Like I say, obviously, basic keywords, good launch good stock? What else should they be keeping an eye out for?
 
Jon Tilley 
Yeah, I think obviously, using all the new programs that come out on Amazon, making sure you know, this is this is this has been around for a while, but making sure you do have your Shopify sites, you do have strategies to get traffic there, you know, you Amazon is probably still depends obviously, on the product, but it’s still the best place to start. But certainly, it shouldn’t be the channel that you rely on, overall, as you grow your business. So that iteration of like, you know, hey, I’m getting onto Amazon, I’m growing it, but what else am I doing on a constant basis to kind of move the needle across other channels, etc, you will be blown away by how much of a difference that makes if you if you do that over a year, to your business, you know, from simple things like obviously, you know, an email list or whatever that is, right. So you’re all just Amazon posts and just collecting all of the, you know, all the people that like your page, I mean, that as a second launch of a product, you have a launch strategy right there just because you you kind of took advantage of what they have. So, you know, I think those are important, I think, making sure you have you have strategies around, you know, ensuring that you get you don’t get what’s the what’s the saying, you know, you can’t see the forest, from the trees, you know, in the field close to your business that you that you don’t need to understand, like, having some strategies in place to, to, to get feedback on your product on your listing on how it sits with competitors, you know, simple loom videos of getting people to kind of go through the buying process, you’ll be amazed at the kind of things that that you can uncover that can move the needle, you know, for for your, for your business. And then outside of that, I would say, you know, ensuring you build SOPs over time, you know, standard operating procedures because you meet so many sellers these days that have a seven to eight figure business, and they hate it because all they’re doing is putting out fires, you know, they just like every day, I’m out of stock, I’m getting this problem by manufacturer blah, blah. And it’s because they haven’t understood how to truly scale a business right? And so you’re learning outside of just ecommerce and Amazon but the true business practices to grow this into a brand right and and the practices around it. Those are things that you you shouldn’t fall short on and you should spend the time once you’ve launched to really start to learn and understand how to grow a business in scale because that’s going to make the biggest difference for you whether you exit or continue, that’s going to make a big difference. And obviously, you know, manufacturers and everything else that goes into it. So plenty to work on. But you know, anybody who launches an Amazon business or product has the tenacity to learn all that stuff. So just don’t stop, you know?
 
Ben Donovan 
Definitely, definitely. Yeah. Yeah, I particularly love what you said about getting someone to do a locker room video of them going through the process. I think I did an episode recently with someone and they said that you can’t read the label from inside the jar. You know, when you’re inside your own business, it’s very hard to see and have an objective view on stuff. And so I think that just re enforces that for our listeners that yeah, you got to get people looking at stuff, assessing it and giving their opinion from the outside because you can be biased about your own stuff so easily. No,
 
Jon Tilley 
we did, we did run with it with a with a pull up bar on, you know, a wall mounted pull up bar. And, you know, we basically got the target audience to say we didn’t tell him the product who said, Hey, search for for this product on Amazon, and walk through your buying decision process, pick whichever one you want, and go through it and actually buy it and tell us the questions you’re asking, and what what everyone was missing was specific dimensions between the screw holes, right, so they gave like certain dimensions, but the actual gap, you know, because, yeah, you might be drilling it through a wall into you know, a piece of wood on the back or whatever, whatever that is, and you have to understand where those beams were, and the gaps. And so, you know, just by putting that into your images with dimensions down to the detail, the conversion rate just shot through the roof, because no one else was doing that. So, you know, simple things, like all of the kind of measurements in an image, third or fourth in your listing is going to, you know, if that just gives you 2% And your conversion rate, just think about what that does to your business. That’s huge, you know, so there’s big ones, you can get there by just getting some feedback on on your business outside of you.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah, that’s awesome. Great thoughts. Yeah, it’s all good, then might be great to get some thoughts from you on, what are the you know, the great features that make it so powerful. But before we do to sort of jump into that side of it, you mentioned about taking on VC funding. And I think a lot of our Amazon sellers, a lot of our E commerce brand owner listeners, either have done or would like to some stage take on funding. So just from a pure, you know, business building interested perspective, has that process been taken on funding has it been stressful, enjoyable,
 
Jon Tilley 
it’s definitely an emotional roller coaster ride, because at the end of the day, you’re, you’re an owner of a business that you have control over. And you’re essentially looking for investments, and bringing in new partners, that you know, have a seat on your board, to help you directly with the company, right and, and, you know, you’re bringing on you extending your team, you’re losing a little bit of control, obviously share, and you’re obviously taking on the money to go to the next level. So in theory, that sounds good. But you hear horror stories out there all the time, you know, it’s like, hey, let’s see what you’ve got great. Yeah, we could throw in some cash with you, you know, but you’ve got to hit these numbers. And, you know, it’s all about hitting the numbers. And if you don’t hit the numbers, you know, you’re in trouble and, you know, will take over the business or whatever, and you can lose control. So there’s horror stories out there. But I think, you know, if you’ve shiny MVP, and you’ve grown to a certain level, and you, you have a pretty solid business with a solid team, and you’re not rushing to get that, that that capital, you’re in a pretty strong position to kind of negotiate who, who you want to bring on. Right? And I think, you know, for me, it was, yeah, I knew the funding was there, you get it from whoever, you know, you wanted, necessarily, you know, in the space, but it was really about how you pick the right team, to, to kind of bring not only the cash with the operation on the strategic expertise to your business, and, or on just be generally good dudes who kind of align with your values, right? It’s like how we hire people on our business the same way we should pick a VC, right? If you’re just picking it for the cast, you’re going to make a mistake. And that’s obviously a reflection on on your values at the time. Right? So you’ve got to pick right, and I’m obviously, you know, super grateful about who we brought on and what I’ve learned from that process. And, yeah, I think we should probably have brought it on earlier and, you know, then then kind of fought the good fight on our own, just because of what’s happened in our space with the bigger competitors. At the end of the day, you need the marketing money, and you need the team size to get the awareness of some of our competitors. So yeah, we have the, the tech stack, and we have the product that is best in class. But there’s competitors, obviously, way bigger, right. And so, you know, we have a pathway. And, you know, I think it’s been a great step for us and certainly a big learning for me, which is kind of an evolution of being a SAS owner. And being able to say hey, I understand VCs understand what, what moves the needle there, how you need to track that, and what’s important there. So it is a good evolution just in my career as a as a co founder of a business as well.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah, that’s all So, you mentioned about, you know, competition and rising above that and the benefits of Zon Guru. What would you say that the standout things about Zon Guru that our users, our listeners are gonna love when they check out Zon Guru?
 
Jon Tilley 
Yeah, I think it’s getting back to the original points I mentioned at the beginning, which is, you know, everything that we do within our tool suite is is, you know, it’s vetted by sellers, because we have them on our team. And it’s vetted through the filter of like, hey, is this is this the right quality in terms of data? Is it is it accurate? Is a timely, so you get it at the right time? But more importantly, you know, is it? Is it relevant in terms of the business questions that it needs to answer? And is it really impactful in terms of what it’s doing? Right? And so we vet everything through that. And so where you’ve ended up at with a tool is, is we have certain data views, certain certain unique ways of presenting data that that answer good business questions like contextual SEO being the first in that space. But then also, in terms of how you actually do the do the work, it’s much more efficient than a lot of tools, and you end up with a result that’s that answers your business needs, right? So that’s kind of like, it’s kind of like we like to say the 80 20 rule, like, what’s the, let’s focus on the 80% of the data, and the visualization is going to have the most impact on your business. And it’s not necessarily be distracted by the shiny objects of like, hey, you know, like, this is one little keyword view that we need to have on here. And you are great, that’s interesting, but he’s really going to move the needle, right. So that’s, that’s kind of what you get from from our team.
 
Jon Tilley 
And also, you get a support team that is just so passionate about the space, I think we have the highest customer rating in the space, and they truly care about helping you with your business. So you know that at a high level is some of the things that that make us stand out. You know, when you use our niche finder tools, you’re going to find more relevance, you know, private label product ideas, and you will with any other tool, when you use our keyword tools, you’re going to find keywords that you won’t find in other tools, which give you an advantage that have search volume. And you’re going to be able to understand how that contextually looks against competitors. You know, when you’re when you’re using our business dashboard, we’ll give you specific views on that that are important to to your your business, which is things like, Hey, I’m not just focusing on the best performing variations, but what are my actual worst? Because if I can improve the ROI, or the ROI, so the conversion rate on my on my worst performers, I can move our whole business, right? So we’ve kind of think about it a little bit differently, because we are sellers, and we kind of understand how to move the needle, but you get all those tool sets. Obviously we have Enterprise and you know, yeah, that’s kind of us.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah, enterprise. You mentioned aggregators. How’s that been? What’s the A? How’s that journey been so far? And below, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you see for the space seems to have cooled down a bit. What was the next couple of years looking like?
 
Jon Tilley 
Yeah, I think it definitely has cooled out. And I mean, you know, globally, I think given these cooldown, right, but it’s the same thing, right? Which is, it’s kind of like what what, you know, when when Helium 10 was bought, right, that the guys who came in with that, you know, they they came with a business model and said, ecommerce is gonna blow up look at these numbers, and obviously, VC, and private equity just for like, holy shit, this is amazing. He has all the money, go make this happen. Right. And, you know, to their credit, the helium 10 dudes that took it on, you know, they did the right things, and they truly blew their business up massively, right. And they did a lot of things, right. And they’ve, they’ve, they’ve kind of become the number one in this space by a longshot, and a massive success story. But but the same things, you know, that same concept of of aggregators around buying brands was presented, right? Here’s a business case, hey, he has all these small mom and pop SMB businesses that just don’t have, you know, any of the of the kind of SOPs in the structure to truly scale this from seven figures, to eight to nine to 10 figures will come in with operational expertise, we’ll buy some of these, you know, at a decent thing, and we can 345 6x these and then look at that on paper, and they’re like, this is insane. Look at the TAM on this. Look at the size of the market, we will just crush it. Yeah, he has, he has a billion dollars or $2 billion, right, going by as many as you can. So the theory was there, but obviously, like anything is the execution. Right? And it’s, it’s the reality of like, you know, do they really know how to scale a business? It’s the same question you have or like, when I’m launching a product on Amazon, do I really know how to create a brand with all the structure on it to truly grow something that is not going to give me headaches in a couple of months time? Just because I grew too fast. I had too much money. I didn’t know what to do, right. And so, you know, that’s going to be an All kind of settling on of that aggregate industry is like some of them are going to succeed, some of them won’t. And the ones that truly understand their audience, the industry, and have good business practices are going to win, right? And they’re going to, they’re going to build it out. And it goes, you know, and sometimes having that much money, you draw device and you don’t get things, right. So you’ve got to, you’ve got to be really specific in how you do that, and some of them are doing a great job, and they will, and those are going to are going to disappear. Right.
 
Jon Tilley 
And, you know, it’s a good, it’s a good, it’s a good place to be, I think it’s good for all of us. You know, and certainly, as I said, as the steal opportunity, you know, no matter what, you know, aggregate is going to what brands is still huge opportunity around that. So it’s not changing anything for us, it’s just maybe a little bit more difficult to find them. But, but if you’ve got the data, you’ll you’ll get there. And it’s it’s definitely making us as a whole group. Much more experts, and you know, what kind of data we look at how do we do that? And what’s important is changed completely from now to a year or two ago. So yeah, it’s good to work with aggregators, you know, agencies, specialist agencies are another one that we work a lot with, it’s nice to be able to have conversations at that level. And with big brands, I think, yeah, there’s, you know, there’s an evolution that’s happening there. And I think, I think it’s, you know, you’re getting away from just that kind of startup agency that again, just like, has one account, and is like doing a bunch of research and has no SOPs, and they have like, you know, VAs around the world, and they’re just trying to, you know, they’re trying to apply what they did from a, an Amazon store to an agency, you know, that works for a while, but you know, they need a season, and they have to understand what scale do they have software that scalable, that’s going to give them efficiency, so that their team, when they hit 50, brands is not like just doing a whole bunch of admin and 1000 Google Sheets to try and get it some data, that doesn’t really matter. And they leave because they, you know, you know, the week or 40 hours or 50 hours, you know, 35 of them are spent admin, you know, going in scraping data off of Amazon or whatever, you know, so, like, they’ve got to evolve, right. And so that’s where we went in, is kind of the scalability of how you can see us on Google, so it’s helping agencies evolve beyond just the scrappy started their head and get more better processes in place. Yeah.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah. You mentioned competition. And sort of last thing I’d love to chat to you about a bit is the idea of how you approach that because I think, obviously, competition, you’re in a crazily competitive space. And so you guys have done an unbelievable job of like, fighting in that and gaining the customer base you have is, you know, incredible job. But you know, a lot of people that will be listening would be Amazon sellers that have big competitors in their space, what’s your mentality going in, to, to be able to compete in that space? Because obviously, for us as users is great, because there’s competition, which means everyone’s striving to create the great product, the best product, and for the end user competition is a great thing. But for the sellers, for the vendors, you know, for you as a software vendor, what’s your mentality going into a fiercely competitive space? And what would be on the back of that your advice to someone that does want to go into you mentioned toys earlier? A really competitive space like that, you know, what are the some of the carryovers for an Amazon seller to go into a competitive space with?
 
Jon Tilley 
Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, there’s the shiny object, right? It’s like the lotto ticket. It’s like, hey, you know, look at the sales. Yeah, oh, my God, they’re doing a million dollars a month, you know, we have a view on our Chrome extension which will specifically give you the capital investment outlay that you need to put into, to, to ensure that you can get to page one, right? And so, you know, year to sell this many units, this media day, he has your cogs, do you have the strategies in place to drive that many that kind of traffic, and more importantly, that kind of capital because, you know, gone are the days of just like, hey, I’m gonna order 500 units, and I’ll get through that in a week. And when our stock, I’ll buy some more, I’ll just test it right? You can do that. And sometimes you’re gonna get away with it. But at the end of the day, like, you know, the, the industry is not competitive enough at season enough, that if you gotta go into something, you need to go balls to the wall, and just and just do it, and you have all the data now to be confident that you’re going to go into the right niche, right.
 
Jon Tilley 
So, you know, depending on what what I would recommend, and obviously depends on on where you are on your Amazon journey, but there are so many opportunities out there on .com and globally, right, that, that that you could pick, that would give you a niche within a niche, you know, a super specific niche that you can do better, you can come up with an awesome product, you can carry the product that you love, rather than just youth one that you think can make money because there’s so many opportunities, and you can do all things to have this really cool business that you’re proud of. And then you can, you know, you can scale that after your first couple of launches. So, you know, if you are looking at more competitive categories look globally, because I think, you know, you can get into some of the bigger categories on some of the new marketplaces like .com. So, Australia, UAE, those kind of markets. And I think the advice I would give you no matter what, what when you get into pick up products, where a manufacturer can create your next iteration of that brand, right? Typical example is furniture, right? I’m not saying it’s the best ones who launch an Amazon, it’s got his own problems. But you know, when you when you’ve when you’re launching a designer light, or a designer coat hanger, coat rack, right, you’re picking in a manufacturer who’s a furniture manufacturer who has a brand line of 50 other products, right. And so, you know, your your success of an Amazon business is not going to be your first product, it’s going to be your fifth to your sixth to seventh product launch. And if you have one of the hardest things is finding a good manufacturer, having that relationship, and then building with them to get your best costs, you know, to have that long term relationship. And if you can pick someone that you get in with, you can launch a second, third and fourth product, obviously, you’re going to get better and better costs, better relationships, scale, if you have those. Yeah, you can find other manufacturers after that. But you know, that’s the thing that really gets you going on the flywheel is like I’ve learned to launch my first product, how to get my second, I’ve got the manufacturer, I’ve got a catalog. Let me go go the rest. So you know, no matter what candidate you go into, if you decide I mean, one, two or three products, three different avenues, you pick the one where you can use the same manufacturer and just go for them.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah, that’s great advice. Really good. Very helpful. Thank you. Finishing up then what is what’s next for Zon Guru? What’s what’s exciting coming up down the line,
 
Jon Tilley  
I think an evolution of our of our flagship tools, keywords, keywords on fire, listing optimizer, keyword spotlights, kind of our keyword tracking one, we have a pretty big evolution coming out on on those, you know, again, we did the contextual stuff two years ago, and we’re kind of coming up with a whole bunch of new ways of doing that. So yeah, that’s, that’s a big one in the roadmap. We have a lot of reporting. That is that is kind of business intelligence reporting. at the enterprise level that we’re we’re rolling out and continue to build on which which is, which is really good. Yeah, a few other things in the pipeline, which which are great. But really, you know, our goal is to, to deliver at the enterprise level where we winning for sure, because we have experts that sit down with us for an hour and they go, Wow, this is the best tool set that we’ve got. That’s out there that can help us with our business, but we’re getting that constant feedback from them. So we’re getting the most high level feedback at the expert level. And we’re using that in our product roadmap to trickle down to every single product, because at the end of the day, if you’re using an enterprise or view SMB, you essentially using the same tool. So we’ve got a very strong roadmap ahead of us and bringing the latest greatest to everyone. Yeah, which is great.
 
Ben Donovan 
That sounds awesome. Sounds very, very cool. Listen, John, I feel like we literally just scratched the surface here. And we can I can ask you questions all day. But I know you’re busy trying to run a company, and especially now you got VC backing again, you got to you got to pump out those goals. So I will let you get back to it. But we are offering everyone a free listing report, you guys have kindly offered that to our listeners. And so we will leave the link for that below. Do you want to say anything on at all?
 
Jon Tilley 
Yeah, you know, we we actually have kind of a Managed Services team that we help our enterprise clients is kind of overflow for a lot of the listing optimization work and basically as a team that uses our tools to get the best out of your listing. And, and essentially, if you follow that, aren’t you getting a an actual physical person, taking that Asin and running it through our tools, and then sending a report back to you and showing you how you can improve it. And I think at the end of the day, what our listing tool does, it basically adds most relevant keywords and then writes your listing version of the top eight competitors, and tells you, hey, you know, your top eight competitors are in the top 1% of all listings around this keyword, your listing is in the top 20% He has the keywords you need to add to your listing to be you know, better than better than the best listing there. So, you know, you can you can kind of like literally see, hey, if I add these keywords, I’ll be the best listing on page one. And it’s just a good exercise to go through. So we don’t offer it up to to too many partners because you know, it’s a physical cost in the backend, but if you guys jump in and sign up, you’ll get that access. You can send off one ace and we’ll do that work for you. And then you can you can kind of use that to do the rest of yours. because we see that you know, all the time, right is everyone’s focused on the shiny object of like driving PPC or outside traffic. And when you when you look at it you like, number one, you got work to do on your products, because it needs to be better. But number two, the heartbeat of your business, your listing has some work that needs to be done. And if you can’t get those two rights, you building off a shaky platform, so make sure that you absolutely have the best platform in place and architecture on your listing. So the slides are there for you. And you get get a free one. So that’s pretty good.
 
Ben Donovan 
Yeah, that’s super generous. Avi, we we really appreciate that. So anybody that listening on the podcast will be in the shownotes on YouTube, it’ll be in the description that link to go grab that. Thanks so much, Jon, for coming on taking the time out, sharing your thoughts with everyone. Is there any way that people can sort of follow your journey? Zon Guru website? Where’s the best place to follow the journey?
 
Jon Tilley 
Yeah, ZonGuru.com. You know, you can check out our blog, we have a whole bunch of content, the Gaza, we are super honored that, you know, in terms of the latest, greatest strategies, newsletter, that is amazing. You know, we have an awesome open rate and an engaged audience. So we have good quality content there. In our Instagram channel, you should check out actually, I hope you come on in as well. But we have a radio hack series, which is a Yeah, it’s kind of like a two minute reel, where we interview specialists in in our field and we you know, they give their best white label, your white hat, you know, hack, in terms of help helping the business. So there’s a whole bunch on there, and a little bit of fun that we just have one ice cream channel. So if you’re looking for some fun and you’re in the middle of your listing optimization, check out our Instagram channel. It’s worth it with a look.
 
Ben Donovan 
That’s awesome. We’ll leave all the links to that below. Thanks, John, for coming on. Really appreciate it.
 
Jon Tilley 
Thank you.
 
Ben Donovan 
Awesome, guys. Thanks for joining us on this episode today. If you have liked it, don’t forget to LIKE subscribe, leave review all that good stuff. And we’ll see you in the next episode real soon.