Featured image for The Seller's Edge Podcast, with special guest Steven Pope sharing tips for FBA sellers on how to make money selling on Amazon.

Steven Pope’s Tips for FBA Sellers: How to Make Money on Amazon

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May 30, 2024
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Featured image for The Seller's Edge Podcast, with special guest Steven Pope sharing tips for FBA sellers on how to make money selling on Amazon.

Jonathan talks about Amazon SEO and marketing strategies with Steven Pope, the mastermind behind My Amazon Guy. Steven’s pure expertise cuts through the din of all the self-proclaimed gurus selling snake oil by offering tactics tailored to each brand and their customer base. From high-level insights on FBA capacity limits to pressure point SEO tactics, this episode is packed with actionable takeaways.

Meet My Amazon Guy

My Amazon Guy is a digital agency that zeroes-in on PPC, SEO, and catalog management to drive sales growth. They have helped over 400 brands on Amazon, dealing with everything from listing new products to advertising and logistics. 

Episode 14 of The Seller’s Edge, Steven Pope and Jonathan talk about:

  • (01:39) Amazon’s Inefficiencies For Sellers
  • (2:38) Additional Promotional Events Beyond Prime Day
  • (3:53) The One Thing That Will Make Sellers’ Lives Easier
  • (06:53) Small Sellers Vs. Large Brands
  • (08:05) Changeover In Fba Capacity Limits
  • (09:46) Why Sellers Should Be Paying More Attention To Ctr
  • (12:24) AI Generated Content
  • (15:32) Amazon’s Transparency Program
  • (16:20) Innovation And Brand Protection
  • (17:00) The Potential Tiktok Ban And What It Means For Sellers
  • (17:54) Are Influencers Crucial To Seller Success?
  • (20:25) One Seo Tactic That Most Sellers Don’t Know About
  • (24:42) The Best Way To Optimize For Acos
  • (25:10) Automatic Targeting And Product Targeting
  • (26:27) Prime Video Advertising
  • (29:28) A Major Shift In Keyword Data That Is Expected In 2025
  • (31:50) Steven Pope’s Biggest Piece Of Advice For Sellers

Key Takeaways:

PPC

  • Create Auto Campaigns for Every SKU
  • Utilize Bulk Sheets

Product Targeting and Ad Placement

  • Avoid Highly Competitive Product Pages
  • Test Everything

Global Expansions

  • Japan is a Key Market That Will be in Play
  • The Challenge of Shipping Costs will Continue

Localization

  • Local Keyword Data Should be Coming Soon

Focus on Your Core Competencies 

  • Outsource Any Areas Where You Lack Expertise

Full Transcript of Episode:

JONATHAN: So I know that you are somebody who has many thoughts on the ongoing complexities of Amazon. I think that it continues to evolve. And I think even Jeff Bezos was quoted as saying that they are in the business of helping people buy things. They are not in the business of helping people sell them. 

STEVEN POPE: Amazon is the most customer centric platform in the world and sellers are left by the wayside. And that’s a moat though, right? Like if you can overcome that challenge as a seller, you’re going to be wildly successful. If you have a good product and you still can’t overcome that challenge, that’s where the biased, my Amazon guy pitch comes in and you hire an agency and we’ll help you out. But that’s pretty much it. You have a lot of a deck stacked against you because Amazon is putting up roadblocks. The Chinese are coming in hot, hurting margins. Amazon is adding fees, making margins hard from that side. And there’s just a lot of people that want a piece of that piece. 

JONATHAN: Yeah, for sure. I mean, especially with, I mean there’s a lot of things going on. They’re adding additional fees right now. And that’s just something that I feel like Amazon keeps getting greedier and greedier when they don’t want to help Amazon sellers. But they’re also just like, I don’t even know about the additional promotional sales beyond Prime Day. Is that something that you think sellers will benefit from or do you think that’s okay and, but like Amazon will, obviously

STEVEN POPE: Yes, Amazon will crush it. They’re going to push a lot of Amazon products. They’ll sell a bunch of kindles. They’ll send a bunch of, sell a bunch of Amazon basics. But the average day, Joe, Amazon seller does not win on Prime Day at all. Yes, their sales will be higher on Prime Day. I want to be clear about that. But if you look at the long view, if you look at the seven day stretch, they’re static week over week, right. So you’re stealing from Peter to pay Paul, as they say. Right. Like you’re not going to come out ahead. Now, should you take advantage of Prime Day? Yes. Should you run a discount? Maybe. Should you add some additional PPC spend on Prime Day? Probably. But you’ll notice that I do all that with an Eeyore saying of like, yeah, okay, Optimus prime, you know, like begrudgingly. So yes, you probably should pay, play the game. But it’s not necessarily the top thing I would focus on. 

JONATHAN: What do you think is the number one thing that Amazon kind of has going against sellers? Like, is it the fact that. I mean, everything about Amazon is cumbersome for sellers from seller central being just the cumbersome platform that it is to seller support not being entirely efficient. I’m just curious, what’s the one thing that if we could fix it would make life infinitely easier? 

STEVEN POPE: Well, the first one that comes to my mind would be seller support. Right? Like, I. I am so tired of getting copy paste garbage out of seller support. Like half the emails in Chinese and like, you know why, right? Like they’ve sold out to China. They don’t care about us as an Amazon seller brand business or anything. Really. That would be the easiest one to fix, too. All we got to do is install chat GPT 4.0 and maybe put a little, you know, connect it over to my database at my Amazon guy with all our sops, and boom, we have better answers than Amazon does. And I know this because Amazon’s own employees are coming to my materials to quote to each other. I’ve seen the emails. I’ve seen them on my website. I have proof. I have the actual deets. But that would be the easiest one to solve. No question about it. Here’s how I would do it. Two sentence only responses cannot go over two sentences. Sentence one, I’ve solved your problem. Sentence two, here’s what happens next, right? That’s it. That’s like every email ever. That’s how you solve it. Now, obviously social support is not going to be solved. Andy doesn’t give a flying anything about that. Jeff Bezos set up the company with a very strict vision. Buyer centric company, sellers be damned. And as proof of that, now there’s more fees. Surprise. Low inventory fees. Like, what the frick? Like, what does. How does that help anybody? I’m going to charge you to not sell your shit now. Yeah, thanks. Appreciate it. Okay, I think I might pay attention to Walmart just a tiny bit more. God bless. Walmart’s not going to actually help us either. Right? Let’s be clear. They bought jet seven years ago, but couldn’t integrate it. They did nothing with that. Have you ever done grocery pickup at Walmart? What a joke. Like you’re sitting in the parking lot for 30 minutes, target might have a chance. Like, you go to Target’s grocery pickup and it’s like, man, they’re like waiting outside for you. So, yeah, like a little bit of hope that Target might come and take some market share from Amazon, but they have a closed platform. They’re not accepting sellers. So that’s out. Then the Chinese come along and launch TikTok and Timo. And you’re like, oh, gosh. Is like, seriously, like, the Chinese are going to be our savior from the Amazon monopoly. Take a deep breath. No, they’re not either. So we’re pretty much stuck with the Amazon monopoly. That’s a fact. It is just how we have to live with it. So become a stoic monk and enter into the platform. Or don’t. Right, make your choice. But it’s created a lot of wealth. It’s the largest wealth transfer in my lifetime. So as much as I like to shit on Amazon’s policies because they’re terrible, the platform itself is actually quite nice. God bless the trash, man. That takes all my brown boxes away. God bless the whole system is just benevolent. I’ve made millions of dollars selling on Amazon, helping other sellers. On Amazon, there’s money to be made. Is it a gold rush anymore? Probably not. Is there still copper and nickel in them hills? You betcha. Do you think the playing field is leveled for both newer established sellers and bigger brands, or do you think it’s weighted one side or the other? I don’t know how to answer that question because it sucks for everybody. So I guess in that sense, yeah, it’s a level playing field. The problem with big brands is that they don’t have distribution control. Right. So what happens is all of the mom and pop sellers buy your product from a distributor and show up and undercut you by 5%, so you can’t have a map policy. So it sucks for brands in that sense, that are big. It sucks for new guys because they have to go gamify reviews and lower their price just to even have a shot at it. And if you try and launch a product like a supplement, you’re paying dollar five in pay per click advertising. So a lot of challenges, no matter who you are, but it’s still a win for everybody. I want to be abundantly clear. I still think it’s easier to launch and sell on Amazon than it is anywhere else. Shopify and D two C. Your conversion rate on a website’s like one to 3%. On Amazon, it’s 10%. Come on. Like, it’s. Even if the PPC is more expensive on Amazon by 25% than it is on Google Ads, it’s still four times more effective because the conversion rate is four times, five times better. So it’s. There’s no question that we have to work with the. The elephant in the room, but I still like to call it a pink elephant.

JONATHAN: I like it. I appreciate that a lot. You brought up the low inventory fees. I’m curious if you think that switching over from the weekly limit capacities to the monthly is helped in any way. 

STEVEN POPE: Too early to tell potentially, but I would say the whole system is getting more confusing, more complex. You need like a calculator just to get through your day as an Amazon seller. These days, like when you first signed up back in the day, I was getting two cent a click on ads. I didn’t have to do prime, I didn’t have to pay attention to anything and I could just print money on Amazon. That day is long gone. Today you need a sophisticated modeling software just to understand your profit margins. You need to hire an account and just understand the tax laws, right? You gotta, you gotta hire a lawyer if you wanna frickin get Amazon to like comply with their own policies or you’re gonna hit your head against a brick wall. So, so I, you know, I’d say there’s a lot of things that are happening in the seller’s favor, but it’s hard to mention those in the midst of all of the things that are getting worse, right? Like, to be clear, the UI is getting better. To be clear, Amazon’s giving us more data than it’s ever given us before. I love me some search query performance report impressions, clicks, add to carts, purchases. I call it the marketing funnel. That is the best piece of information tech we’ve ever been given out of Amazon. I now know my CTR at a keyword level. I now know my conversion at a keyword level. I now know how many impressions I get or how many are even available at a keyword level. Used to have to use outside tools to estimate any of those things. So the system is technically getting better in some ways, but overall the policies are getting worse. 

JONATHAN: Yeah, I do love search query performance. I feel like I spend more time in that than any other part of Amazon. Especially because you’re seeing keywords that you don’t see anywhere else and especially because you see the search volume associated with them, which I think everybody else is ball parking.

STEVEN POPE: They were ball parking. It was still directionally helpful. You know, 80% accuracy is better than no idea, that’s for sure.

JONATHAN: Absolutely. I mean, is that the one thing that you’re really looking at in seller central? Are there other things? Do you look at product opportunity explorer now? 

STEVEN POPE: The search query performance, probably my favorite. You know, the only time you go over to the product opportunity explorer is probably to figure out your next product expansion or see how you’re stacking up but the search query performance report really is, is enough to understand how you’re doing, right? Like if I’m right, that click through rate is the easiest thing to improve. And you go and look at your click through rate and then you make a change, you can then monitor the change, you can see your results then. That’s awesome. Right? Now some people are like, oh, everything’s about conversion. Conversion this, conversion that. Well, first of all, we’ve already established Amazon’s got a 10% conversion rate. So are you going to double your conversion rate on the platform? No. So why spend the amount of time that people spend working on conversion when they could do something easier, which is generate traffic? What’s the best way to generate traffic to improve your click through rate, right? Having the ability to go in and switch a main image, run a couple a/b tests, and all of a sudden traffic’s generating out of a wazoo. Like, it’s just so much easier to do that, right? A couple of tips I’ll give you. Add a keyword to your main image. Everybody’s got a hoopla about adding a keyword to the main image, but everybody fricking does it. HP printer does it. Go Google that one on Amazon. Go look that one up on the search. Colgate does it. Zule kitchen does it. All the big brands do it. And if you don’t do it, you’re missing out on traffic. I’ve never seen Amazon enforce it. Oh, you added a keyword to your products, I’m gonna rent your product. Never seen that, not a single time. But I do see some occasional image suppressions. If you bleed the image or you try to add a starburst, that’s the stuff Amazon actually cares about. So add a keyword to the main image, add your accessories, make it so somebody could actually understand what they’re looking at. Right? So if you’re selling a wallet just randomly on my desk here, so if you’re selling a wallet and you just, you frame it like this, and it’s like that’s all the thing you see, then is everybody gonna understand that’s a wallet? I don’t know. Some people will, but not everybody. But then if you added some banner across there that had a keyword that said men’s wallet, and then you could see some money sticking out. Let’s see if I have any money in here. I do. I’ve got some money. So you see some money sticking out and all of a sudden, oh, that’s where I put my money. That’s a wallet. That’s the difference between a good main image and a terrible main image. And I’ve never done that demo before, but that’s how straightforward it is. 

JONATHAN: I love it because I can’t remember the last time I saw paper money. You brought up a lot of great points. You brought up the images. So I kind of want to pivot the conversation there. One of the things I want to talk about was there’s been a rise in AI generated content, especially with the kids calling what the kids are calling dupe culture. Yeah. I don’t know if you read about the recent incident with the pop flexibility score with Taylor Swift. She was wearing it to promote one of her new songs, and then all of a sudden there were just a bunch of copycats that were trying to rip off their listing with AI generated content. Now, I’ve come to think of AI generated content as the new keyword stuffing. I think it’s something that people find out that they can abuse. They’re going to abuse it, and then eventually detection is going to evolve to a point where it’s going to become more detrimental than beneficial to sellers or to copycats. I know many would argue that that’s an optimistic take on it and that it’s just going to be a burden to live with. What are your thoughts on how that plays out? 

STEVEN POPE: So, overall, yes, you need to use AI. I want to be abundantly clear, it’s a helpful tool. Right. Most of the implementations that I have seen make the copy so unbearable, um, that I don’t want to read it. However, to be clear, I don’t want to be a giant hypocrite coming on here and saying, opposite of what all my other videos say. So let me, let me keep, let me keep the message here. Copy is for robots, images is for humans. And once you understand and embrace that framework, then it’s obviously justifiable to use terrible AI copy and stuffing keywords. At least you don’t have misspellings or grammar issues if you’re using AI. Right? But the title needs to be humanized. The bullet points you should really, like, reflect upon now the rest of the stuff, the description, the alt text, and the search terms. Better use AI for all that stuff. 100%. I think AI is a great tool, but it’s in its infancy. What we’re seeing today is nowhere close to its final form. We’re going to see lots of evolutions of this pokemon called AI. Right? And that’s good. That’s a good thing right now. Hopefully they don’t try and create like four mega charizards out of it, right? Like that. You know what? Once I get to charizard, I’m probably good, right? I don’t need four mega versions of Charizard Pokemon. And I’ve hit that metaphor too hard. But in any case, we’re going to see some improvements. You know, Chad, GPT four coming out with the ability to understand voice and emotion and flex, and that’s, that’s going to be a game changer for, for realsies. That actually is going to be a game changer. But the last year has been, you know, fingernails on the chalkboard for the most part, watching AI punt along. AI cannot build an image with text in it. And all images built by AI are obviously built by AI. It needs to pass the sniff test. It needs to be like, I’m not sure if that’s AI or a real photo. I’m not sure if a graphic designer made that or AI. Once it gets to that level, that’s when it’s going to be like a slam dunk, no question about it. But if you see all the texts in the last sentence says, remember, yeah, I know, that’s chat GPT four, right? 

JONATHAN: I don’t think there’s any overkill on a Pokemon metaphor, just so you know. Like, I think you’re onto something there and you can just continue down that road. 

STEVEN POPE: I will. My kids started getting some Pokemon cards and I can’t help the reference points. And now they’re watching the original series and I’m like, man, I’m vindicated. Like, it’s actually pretty decent. 

JONATHAN: Yeah. What do you think as far as Amazon’s transparency program plays into that? Do you think that that’s a worthwhile thing or do you think that’s just another cash grab for Amazon? 

STEVEN POPE: I don’t think that particular one is a cash grab. Like, cash grab would be like, them adding more ads to the search results. Cash grab would be like low inventory fees. That was a cash grab. But transparency actually legitimately serves a purpose somewhat. Right? Like, out of the 400 brands that I work with today, only two use transparency, and both of them are great use cases. They had counterfeit issues, right? So if you have counterfeit issues, transparency is the next step. Brand registry was supposed to help us, but didn’t help us enough. And it does help quite a bit. A lot of people don’t realize how much it does help. Right. So I’ve sold over 2000 trademarks. I help people with brand registry every single day. It prevents hijackers right? So, you know, there was a brand called easy wealth. Good friend of mine, they had hijackers switching their brand names. And I’m like, dude, man, just, just buy a trademark for me. I will fix this problem for you. Gets the trademark installed, brand registry slapped on. Hasn’t had a hijacker in three years, right? So I know it’s helpful. Transparency is the next layer, right? So if you have a really popular brand and somebody is literally counterfeiting your goods, transparency is a slam duck. No, no brainer. 

JONATHAN: But most, in most cases, it’s probably not. I mean, you’re over your best interest. Yeah, okay. 

STEVEN POPE: Yeah, yeah. It’s overkill for most. An extra barcode label on my packaging. Yeah, who cares? 

JONATHAN: Yeah. And then going, I mean, tying back, I’m going to kind of pivot a little into social, because between AI generated content and many other factors, there’s the potential of a tick tock band. And I’m curious, how do you think sellers could prepare for that, if that is the case? Because it seems like influencers are a pretty big channel for sellers right now. 

STEVEN POPE: TikTok is not going to be banned. The government doesn’t want to ban TikTok. They just want to control our data. Tick tock is not going anywhere. Like, the government’s in bed with Amazon. You’re like, like, think about, okay, you have a conversation about having a trip down to Florida, and all of a sudden, later that day, your cell phone shows you ads for Florida and Magic Kingdom ads. I wonder how that happened. Right? Like, so let’s be abundantly clear here, everybody has our data, but the US government wants a monopoly on our data, so they’re posturing to ban tick tock. It’s not actually going to happen. 

JONATHAN: Yeah, I have a similar view, but I’m always curious what might happen with how all these social media platforms play out and then disregarding the TikTok ban entirely. I keep seeing products like guru Nada pop up, where it’s just one influencer campaign that really blows up and comes out of nowhere. Do you think it’s possible for a seller to compete without that? Or do you think that influencers are essential? 

STEVEN POPE: So it depends on your product, right? If you’re selling a clothing item, you need an influencer, right? Because you need a brand to push that, which is why the most highly paid influencer in the world makes thousands of dollars every 30 seconds in China. And she just pulls it up on, like, screen for 10 seconds and then flips it and it makes or breaks the product. Like, literally. So yes, certain products do need influencers. The average day kitchen gadget, definitely not, right. Like if it’s a commodity type item and, you know, you think about the last item you bought on Amazon, if you can’t remember the brand name of an item you bought on Amazon, that’s a great example of a brand that doesn’t need an influencer. So I got, you know, I’m fidgeting with this off screen here with some toenail clippers that does not need an influencer. I have no idea how an influencer could get a viral campaign pushing this, to be honest. It’s possible, I guess. But like, I don’t think so right now. Orbit gum wants to sell, sex sells gum. I bet you an influencer campaign could probably make that work as well. Just random objects on my desk. We’ll keep going with that if you like. But like my hot sauce bottle, like, I launched this without any assistance, no influencer. I just did all the right things. I spent money on ads and I launched this product highly successful. Now, at the same time, for those that have followed me, they know that my hot sauce bottle, I did the prep work at Amazon FBA and that didnt go so hot. In fact, the hot sauce went everywhere. Why? Because this five pound glass bottle that I paid Amazon to do the prep work for at FBA, they shipped it out in padded envelopes. So even the Amazon experts, the supposed Amazon experts, yours truly, gets things wrong. Why? Because we dont realize Amazon is so stupid at times, just completely incompetent over there, shipping out five pound glass bottles and padded envelopes. And when you call them out on it, they’re like, we’re going to keep shipping it out on padded envelopes. We don’t really care about this. And I’m like, what do you mean you don’t care about this? What’s the consumer experience like? Well, we don’t actually care about the customer. We just say we care about the customer. So that’s the life of an Amazon seller in a nutshell. But yes, influencers could definitely help. But even if you have an influencer, you might still get screwed in logistics. So it’s not a, it’s not a silver bullet by any stretch. 

JONATHAN: Yeah. Going into SEO, what do you, what would you say are the latest strategies for ranking highly on Amazon in 2024? 

STEVEN POPE: Without a doubt, click through rate. Right. Like the number one tip you’re going to hear me talk about for all of 2024 is going to be CTR, CTR, CTR. Like having your main image have a high CTR is the fastest way to rank the product. It expresses interest to the consumer and is easy to do. Like one image, that’s all you have to get right. Add a keyword to it, add your accessories, show the product, make it easy to understand. Now, since I’ve already hit that one home, I’ll give you some additional SEO tips. First of all, do a master keyword list and go through and look at the top ten competitors. Run it through a tool like Viral Launch and come out with a list of keywords. Once you do that, put that in use. AI, put it in all of your attributes. Title bullets, a plus content. Make sure you have crawlable text outside of images. In the a+ content, make sure your brand story is horizontally sexy, right? Like having the ability to stroll to the right on your Amazon brand is going to help you tremendously. And I’ll demonstrate this if you’d like. So this is an aegis age soap product and as we scroll down, we’re going to go to the brand story right here. Crawlable text. This helps me with SEO. I’m going to click on a little chrome extension called image alt text viewer and you can see text and images behind each of these photos. Now see how far right I can scroll here. There are 90 photos maximum you could load into a brand story, times that by 100. That’s how many characters of alt text and SEO juice that you can flip on and help your product rank. This does index. It does help you with indexing now. Same thing with a plus content, same thing. We’ve got images with alt text behind it. Fluffy clean lime, Nina. I even threw Spanish in there. Colorful oils, caffeinated leche, another spanish term. Darkening, moisturizing. Right. Some of these are like really indirect keywords because when you get to the alt text you can start putting in cursory lookalikes, all that kind of stuff. But there are thousands, thousands and thousands of keywords even in the product grid right here in the a content. You can throw in alt text. So super valuable. Highly recommend, uh, putting in uh, crawlable text outside of images like this and alt text behind images like this. And it’s going to help you rank for SEO. Best SEO tip is Ctr. After that, alt text crawlable text.

JONATHAN: I love that. Great tip. You brought up advertising. What are strategies that you think are really effective in optimizing for advertising cost of sale?

STEVEN POPE: So a lot of people want to spend less and make more and that’s harder than ever to do today. PPC is the easiest thing to outsource. It’s the first thing that an agency is typically hired for and it’s because it’s highly technical, it’s ever changing and requires a lot of things like Excel work and bulk sheet file. So there’s a lot of tips I could give here, but just to pick an easy one that anybody can do, I like beginner tips especially. I would say make sure you have a campaign, an auto campaign for every single skew. Even if you’re like, ah, but I got 17 skus I don’t care about. I don’t care. Make a campaign for them anyway. Just set the bid to $0.05 in a five dollar daily budget and you’ll be surprised that I just made you an extra $700 a month just by having an auto campaign with a five cent bid. It’s surprisingly effective and you don’t even have to add negations because if you still have a 10% conversion rate, you’re going to make money. You’re going to spend fifty cents to acquire a sale. Even if the keyword doesn’t make sense, it’s still the math checks out. So with that in mind, auto campaign. Never stop advertising. Easiest way to bring down your acos and get a few bucks in your pocket. A lot of other advanced tips that I could give you. Use bulk sheets, for example. Bulk sheets are your best friend. A lot of people don’t want to touch Excel. That’s when they usually hire the agency. 

JONATHAN: It always confounds me because I love Excel and I love fishing around in there. 

STEVEN POPE: It’s surprisingly Pokemon, though. You’re the kind of guy that probably would use Excel. 

JONATHAN: This is true. So good point. Also on advertising, I think the automatic targeting and product targeting is a really great opportunity for sellers. How do you recommend using something like that to really perform? 

STEVEN POPE: Well, it’s getting worse because you’re now seeing keyword data show up in the product targeting section, which makes no sense. I just like when I saw that, I just stare at my screen blankly and I’m like, come on, Amazon exact match is no longer exact match. Phrase match is no longer phrase match. They’re just trying to take more of my money. It’s obvious what Amazon’s trying to do here, but. But yes, certain strategies are effective and can be done well if you know what you’re doing. And so sponsored products should take 80% of your budget, probably at least, maybe 90% for some brands. Uh, and then you’re going to dabble with some sponsored brands and some sponsored display. When you’re doing product targeting, there are some obvious no nos. If you have a brand new product, don’t advertise on the product page of a 10,000 review product. Like that’s, that’s obvious, don’t do that. Um, but there’s also some other easy things that they’ve recently set up. Like you can set up a filter and a range and only hit products with a 4.5 star rating that are a certain price point. Some new features and some new ways to filter and hit advertising en masse. Highly effective category targeting is not as good. Very rarely do I find a product that does effectively well at large targeting the whole category. But you should still test it at least one time just to find out because you never know. Spend a couple hundred bucks, test, see what happens, and then reinvest the money where it does work. Amazon advertising is the easiest and fastest way to test the market. There’s bar none. No other better program to do that. No other better platform than Amazon to push a product. 

JONATHAN: Good advice. I’ve been really curious about the shopping carousel and the interactive pause ads on Prime Video. Have you seen anything really perform well with that? 

STEVEN POPE: The reason Amazon is adding additional places to advertise is because they’re out of space on the search term page and they want more of your money. So it will work. And it usually works earlier, like earlier. You can engage in some of these new advertising techniques, right? If you want to advertise on Prime TV right now and hit their latest fallout show and you have a product that looks like a memorabilia item for Fallout, you’re going to freaking crush it. Advertising on Fallouts video and Prime Video and all the other things that are coming out that you have access to. Over time, parity will occur and then you’ll wonder why you’re spending time there and you’ll go back to sponsored products because that’s, that’s the girlfriend, you know. But, but there are, and so there’s things you need to do to be effective as an advertiser. And at the end of the day, people like Gary V. Always talk about this. Every year, a different platform, a different technique gets hot and it makes sense to divert some of your funds over there to test it as an advertiser. It’s very easy for me to get on a podcast and say, test everything because you should. And then if it works great, double down. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. At the end of the day, though, I still think that sponsored products are going to be the easiest to predict and have a high, scalable, good return on investment and no diminishing returns. Basically, other things like video ads and other placements that Amazon comes out with, there absolutely are going to be very, very shallower cliffs for those diminishing returns to start occurring. 

JONATHAN: Amazon won’t be happy until they basically incorporate Facebook, TikTok and every other gamification that they can into the platform. 

STEVEN POPE: They’ve tried. I mean, they’ve tried. Amazon social was an attempt, and it wasn’t a very good attempt. I mean, Amazon posts weren’t exactly Facebook by any stretch, but it was, you know, it was kind of pinterest light in a way. Yeah. They’re going to try and get vertical control everywhere. Now there. Let’s be clear, though. Amazon is a logistics company. It’s not a marketing company. A lot of people don’t understand this, but it really is a logistics company. They own everything from point a to point b. They own last mile, they own the middle mile, and they own the original mile. Right? So Amazon is a logistics company. They solve two day shipping. They solved one day shipping. They solved fricking two hour shipment. Arrive at my house. Holy crap. Prime now, right? Like, it’s not even, you know, if one day wasn’t fast enough, now I can get it same hour if I want. It’s nice. I can’t even get a Chipotle burrito delivered to my house in an hour sometimes. But Amazon, for whatever reason, can get me brown boxes. I’m a little hungry right now. I’ve been fasting for 36 hours. Can you tell? I don’t know where I was going with that because now I’m thinking about Japoli burritos. But God bless the trash, man, that takes away the brown boxes. 

JONATHAN: Love it because there’s a lot of them. You’ve spoken about global markets and I’m curious what opportunities and challenges are there for sellers to go international and start selling their products. 

STEVEN POPE: Yeah. Japan is the sleeper that came out of nowhere in the last couple of years. It’s 26% the size of the United States market. Now. I don’t know how to sell on Japan. I don’t have a single client that sells there. But I got to tell you, if I was trying to launch internationally and I’d already done Europe, I would go to Japan next. Brazil, South Africa, Ireland. Those are new other marketplaces that Amazon’s recently announced that you can start selling in, if you so dare. But Germany and the UK are the easiest expansion. But I don’t really like that. That makes it very hard to run a profit, especially when you’re shipping across the seas twice because you’re shipping from China to the United States and then your first time, you ship over to the EU and then you’re paying that. I don’t know how to make a margin effectively at scale. Most of my clients don’t either. But I have to tell you, if I’m going to expand, it’s going to be the United States, Canada, then into the UK, Germany, and then probably Japan. And then after that I’ll figure out the rest of the world. Australia, not the greatest. 

JONATHAN: I like that strategy. And those are good call outs. I mean, as far as localization concerns, going back to content, how crucial do you think that is? Because I feel like we don’t see as much, I haven’t seen as much keyword data in other markets, although the markets aren’t as big as the US. 

STEVEN POPE: I think that might be like what we see in 2025 is instead of seeing the keyword data, we see local keyword data, which is what Google has been doing. I don’t, I don’t know for how long. 610 years, somewhere in that range. If Amazon comes out with local geography targeting and local keyword impressions, that will be the biggest evolution of PPC or even SEO on the Amazon platform we’ve probably seen in ten years. And it’s inevitable in a sense. But I think Amazon’s trying to hold out on that as long as it possibly can. But as soon as they stabilize and PPC costs aren’t going up and they don’t have more real estate, you better believe they’re going to go for local SEO targeting. There’s no question. 

JONATHAN: I love that outlook for 2025, no less. Like, I really like that. You heard it here first, folks, or you may have heard it in other places first. 

STEVEN POPE: No, this is the first time I’ve said it anywhere. Okay. I’d say a strong majority of the things I said on this podcast I haven’t said before. So you got some unique content. 

JONATHAN: I love it. Thank you. Is there anything that I didn’t call out that you think sellers should know? 

STEVEN POPE: No. I think you got a really good pulse on things, honestly. Sellers are conflicted. Right. They have so many things they can do at any given moment and there’s so many tools out there and there’s so many gurus and videos they can watch. It’s overwhelming as an Amazon seller in 2024. So my best piece of advice is to stick to what you know, and, and just become an inch wide and a mile deep and stick to what you know. It’s this, it’s the same reason why I sold my Amazon brand, so I could focus on my agency. Like, I wanted to be all in on one thing. And a lot of people are gonna be like, ah, diversify. And I’m like, no, that’s a distraction. Right? So if you’ve spent the last 5, 10, 15 years sourcing products, but you don’t understand how to use excel and bulk sheets, then fricking outsource that and stick to what you know and stick to product sourcing, you don’t need to learn new things in 2024. You need to leverage new things. Leverage can be outsourced, but knowledge is, is painful to gain. Like, it’s not as simple as plugging yourself into the matrix and saying, teach me kung fu, morpheus. Like, it doesn’t work like that. It takes years to master the stuff that most Amazon sellers take for granted. Like it’s, it’s very difficult work. So stick to what you know. Don’t try and recreate the wheel, uh, and, and the, the bigger the moat you build, the better because of that. Yeah, I think I learned that lesson again and again. Having worked at an aggregator that just proved that, like, if you’re trying to do everything, it really doesn’t amount to anything. Yeah. And then you go bankrupt. Thank you all the aggregators, it was nice seeing you. Bye. They tried, they tried their best.

JONATHAN: This has been great. I’ve learned a lot, I think. I really thank you for taking the time. It means a lot. 

STEVEN POPE: Yeah! Good luck in your journey and it was a pleasure being on. I like joining fresh takes, people who haven’t monotonously done the same thing hundreds of times. So it was a nice fresh start. You had great questions. Thanks for having me on, Jonathan. 

JONATHAN: All right, thank you. Have a good day.

Want more insights? Check out more episodes of The Seller’s Edge Podcast.

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