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The Latest and Greatest on How to Grow Your Amazon Business — with Ryan Moran
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Hey Ezra here, and I’m talking to Ryan Moran.
If you don’t know Ryan yet, you really should. He’s at the top of my list of successful Amazon sellers, and in just 4 years he’s gone from launching his first brand on Amazon to being featured in over 1,000 retail locations — plus he’s a really great dude with a passion for ecommerce who genuinely wants to help you grow your business.
In this post, Ryan Moran tells you his model for building scalable and sellable Amazon brands, some very new new advertising possibilities Amazon just launched (that few people are even testing right now), and what he calls the “biggest opportunity” that no physical product sellers are taking advantage of right now.
A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON RYAN MORAN
To give you some background, here’s what Ryan said when I asked him why he decided to get into ecommerce:
“I got into to the physical products world because I was selling digital products for years and hated every single minute of it.
I felt like I had to be something I wasn’t in order to sell products, because they were all about my personality and I didn’t want to play that game anymore.”
Like I said, Ryan is great at building Amazon businesses, but he also has a lot of experience acquiring brands and selling brands. And because I know that a lot of the Smart Marketer community might find themselves selling their successful business one day…
I asked him what’s the biggest thing he’s learned from buying and selling Amazon brands. Here’s what he said:
“Everything you do in your business matters, not just your profit margin. You’re building a brand, and you can start asking yourself, ‘Is what I’m doing affecting the brand and adding equity to it?’ Because that’s what you’re ultimately going to sell.
Building a business that has a good cash flow is much different from creating a business that we want to build and sell.”
WHERE AMAZON IS HEADED
Then I asked him where he thinks Amazon — the biggest ecommerce platform in the world — is heading as a channel: What do we need to be thinking about? Are reviews still what’s most important? Where is the conversation at around Amazon businesses right now?
“Let’s rewind three years. Three years ago when Amazon was in this Wide Open West period, the game was: Where do you rank for keywords?; How do you maximize your conversion rate for those keywords? And how do you capture as much of the pie as possible?That’s the game three years ago.
Today the game is How do we make this pie as big as humanly possible? And there are two ways to do that:
1. Amazon is rapidly increasing the pie, and they are doing things like Amazon Exclusives, Amazon Vendor, Prime Day and all the new advertising channels they’re trying to plug into to bring new buyers into the pie.
2. How do you bring new people into your ecosystem. To me that is where brand building happens. I’ve said this publicly and it always falls on deaf ears, so I will just keep giving it out until somebody proves this model:
The biggest opportunity that no physical product sellers are doing right now is buying traffic into an email follow up series and sending that traffic to Amazon.com.
Amazon will still reward you for bringing new traffic to their channel, because they want to increase that pie, too.”
So Ryan is taking Amazon and leveraging the skill set of direct response marketing to build a community who then go to his Amazon store to buy products.
This is a really great model for launching your next product. Personally, I’ve successfully launched several products simply by taking a subscriber list we already had and mailing them about it. This gets you your first sales and reviews from a community of people who already know, like and trust you.
NEW ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITIES FOR AMAZON SELLERS
Our conversation didn’t stop there. I know that Ryan always delivers the latest and greatest on how to grow your Amazon business — that’s why I convinced him to speak at our next event in August. But when the topic of him speaking came up in our conversation, well…
He wanted me to leak a couple of the major things he was going to cover:
“First of all, there are new advertising opportunities that exist on Amazon.com that not a lot of people are testing.
One of them is live video inside of Amazon, like QVC style live broadcasts on your channel that you can amplify.
Another is all the new places where Amazon has been rolling out deals such as Lightning Deals and Best Deals that are high-traffic pages…
I used to imagine ‘What if Google.com could redirect all it’s traffic to my page?’
Well, now Amazon is featuring brands like ours on the front page, and all of us have that ability now.”
(Ryan even had one of his products featured at the top of Amazon’s home page — not a category page, but front and center for all of Amazon’s traffic to see — by leveraging one of these discount opportunities. That was a record day for him.)
“I’ve made everything I have by being able to leverage outside traffic and bringing that to Amazon to optimize that storefront into being a sellable brand.
We have students who as a result of this model sold their businesses for $2 million, $7 million, $9 million, $15 million, $16 million, $19.7 million & $20 million. And that’s just from my memory right now.
I think if the goal is building a salable and a scalable brand, than that is how you do it.
I hate the words ‘Amazon business,’ because I think that means I don’t have a real business. It has to be leveraged with the direct response that [Ezra] teaches, the branding stuff that I teach, and when all of that stuff comes merging together that’s when you have a real business that private equity firms and Silicon Valley groups want to buy.
And that’s where we are really ahead of the curve.”
SEE MORE OF RYAN AT OUR LIVE EVENT
If you want to meet Ryan and or just learn how to actually implement these new ideas, then come to my event, Smart Marketer’s Ecommerce All-Stars 2017. It’s August 4th & 5th in Austin, Texas and it’s geared toward business owners and entrepreneurs who want to learn the latest proven strategies for growing their ecommerce business.
Because we love to do this stuff, and we’d love to hang out with you and focus on growth.
But be warned… Ryan claims that Austin, TX is one of the most beautiful cities in the country, and according to him if you do come to this event you may never leave. If you’re interested in learning more about Ecommerce All-Stars you can get all the details here on the event page.
0:45 The Connor McGregor of eCommerce
1:30 Ryan Moran’s Background in Physical Products
4:04 The Amazon Guy
5:38 Lessons Learned From Selling A Business
7:10 Scissor Hands
7:45 The Past and Future of Amazon Strategies
9:01 Biggest Opportunity on Amazon
10:25 The Undertaker of our Industry
11:03 The Latest and Greatest for Amazon Growth
13:13 Never Explode The Rock
13:45 Leveraging Outside Traffic on Amazon
14:33 Building a Scalable and Sellable Brand
15:06 Smart Marketer eCommerce All Stars, Austin TX 2017
Click Here For Video Transcript
Ryan: I just had to interrupt you before we began.
Ezra: Yeah, okay, this is Ryan Moran if you haven’t noticed…
Ryan: Ryan Daniel Moran.
Ezra: Ryan Daniel Moran. Bryan Daniel Moran actually. And he’s a good dude, believe it or not.
Ryan: Not Bryan Daniel Moran, Ryan Daniel Moran is my name though.
Ezra: Ryan Daniel Moran. So two guys walk into a pharmacy and buy itch cream.
Ryan: What happens next?
Ezra: That actually happened earlier, okay? Long story that we won’t get into here.
Ryan: We won’t tell you what the itch cream was for.
Ezra: Ezra here for Smart Marketer…
Ryan: Ryan Moran.
Ezra: …eCommerce All-Stars. And this guy is someone I consider to be the Conor McGregor, the Chael Sonnen, if you are a mixed martial arts fan, the polarizing…
Ryan: The Tatanka, Papa Shango.
Ezra: The polarizing figure in our community, willing to take a stand, willing to be extremely controversial, willing to alienate people with his viewpoints, which I think actually adds to your popularity, and it’s why you have such a rabid fan base. And he’ll be speaking at Smart Marketer eCommerce All-Stars in Austin, Texas on August 4th and 5th. And I wanted to kinda get you on the show. I actually came…
Ryan: And say some controversial things?
Ezra: Okay, don’t say anything too crazy. But you know, I came to your town. I’m actually using your video crew for this, so I appreciate that. But I wanted to get you on my show.
Ryan: Oh, where are we? Whose apartment is this?
Ezra: So you know, I wanna introduce you to my community. I think some of them already know you, but could you give me a little bit of a background on kind of how you got into this game of physical products, how you…like where did you come from? You know?
Ryan: Yeah. Well, my mommy and my daddy loved each other very much, and they met in college.
I got into the physical products world because I was selling digital products for years and hated every single minute of it.
Ezra: What about it did you…what about digital products…
Ryan: I felt like I had to be something that I wasn’t in order to sell products because they were all around my personality. Right? And I didn’t wanna play that game anymore. So if you watch any of my stuff now…I don’t consider myself controversial at all. I just consider myself very true to myself and my beliefs, and I’m willing to represent that, and I know not everybody shares those.
So if you watch my personal brand or capitalism.com now, I feel very free to be that because I don’t even take a salary from that. So I make all my money selling physical products.
Ezra: Re-invest that money back into the snowball of that business?
Ryan: Correct. Correct. So, I make my money in my physical products, and I make a difference, I think, I make an impact inside of capitalism.com or my personal brand, but I was selling the digital products, selling the business opportunity stuff because I was a really successful affiliate marketer for years, and that was a great time of learning how to market, learning copy and persuasion, learning video marketing, learning Facebook ads…
Ezra: Storytelling, advertising, all the stuff it takes to make a brand go.
Ryan: Right. Learning all those things, but I hated how I was implementing it. So I had a mentor. He’s still my mentor. His name is Travis. I credit him for being the reason that I’m successful, and he said…
Ryan: Thanks, Travis.
Ezra: Shout out, man.
Ryan: And he said…
Ezra: What’s his last name?
Ryan: Travis Sago, S-A-G-O.
Ezra: Okay, where can people like…
Ryan: He’s been on podcast. He blogs. He runs a website called bummarketingmethod.com. So follow everything he does, do everything he says. It’s all true.
Ezra: Travis the bum?
Ryan: Right. Actually, yes. So that’s how he marketed himself for a while. So Travis always had this phrase. He said, you know, “What we know works so much better when you go outside of the marketing to marketing…marketing to marketers world.” So I tried my hand at physical products, and it grew faster than anything I’d ever done before because I was applying a little bit of marketing to that.
Ezra: We happen to be marketing to marketers right now. Just saying.
Ryan: Oh, I didn’t know. You didn’t prep for me this.
Ezra: No. So you moved outside the industry of business opportunity. You moved outside the industry of information publishing and started leveraging that skill set that you developed towards physical products. Did you go right away to Amazon? Because in my mind, you know, you’re the Amazon guy. You know what I mean? Like you help people grow Amazon brands. You’re super savvy when it comes to Amazon businesses.
Ryan: Which is funny because I hate being… I try not to pigeon my hole…pigeon my hole. I try not to pigeon my hole there…
Ezra: You definitely don’t wanna pigeon your hole.
Ryan: You do not.
Ezra: It’s controversial, okay? I told you.
Ryan: That’s why I’m the Brock Lesnar of our…
Ezra: Yeah, the Conor McGregor. Conor McGregor. So you went straight to Amazon?
Ryan: I did, yeah. I mean, I’ve always built my businesses around a primary channel. So in digital products, it was affiliates and click-back, or if it was…as an affiliate marketer who sold some other products, it was Google SEO. And I always learned some sort of a channel. And so when I went into physical products, “Okay, where are all the buyers for physical products?” They’re on Amazon. Now, I have products now in over a thousand retail stores around the country, and…
Ezra: You’ve expanded the channel for the brands that you’ve developed?
Ryan: Of course. But it always started with one. And I think if you learn one really well, you can take those customers and those then serve as the foundation for the leverage that you’ll have for all of these other places.
Ezra: And when are we talking now? Five years ago…
Ryan: So I took out my first physical product sale on June 5th of 2013.
Ezra: So four years you’ve been going like almost to the date minus a month here. You recently sold a business, and I think that’s a really interesting experience as a business owner to have. I’ve sold businesses. What was like one thing or two things that you learned from that that kind of changed the way that you look at business after having sold the company?
Ryan: So I’ve sold several physical products businesses, and I have also acquired physical products businesses. So I’ve been on both sides, and the mindset shift that I’ve had is that everything that you do in your business matters more than just the…
Ezra: Around the impact? Totally.
Ryan: …profit margin that you take home. Because it’s…you’re also adding to an asset rather than just “What product am I going to sell that’s going to make an incremental amount of profit?” There’s also, “Does this affect the brand and the equity that’s being built in this brand that I will ultimately sell?” And that matters. And sometimes, the answers conflict with one another.
So selling the next product that might add to the profit margin, does it alienate some customers who are used to buying a certain type of product from us, and therefore might not return and therefore will decrease the overall sale value? So building a business that cash flows is much, much different than a business that you want to build and sell.
Ezra: Interesting. Let’s take a pause for a second.
Ryan: So we could have said, “Well, we’re teaching so much good stuff that we’re attracting a crowd.”
Ezra: People are showing up?
Ryan is a big fan of scissor hands. He just goes around scissoring the air, right? If he gets excited about something, scissor!
Ryan: Like I say, that’s why I’m the…
Ezra: Let me ask you, Ryan. When you look at where Amazon is headed as a channel, and what…because a lot of my subscribers are successful Amazon business owners or folks who are just starting on Amazon. Like in the 2017 conversation of Amazon, what do we need to be thinking about? Are reviews still what’s most important? Kind of like where is this conversation around Amazon businesses right now?
Ryan: Yeah, so let’s rewind three years. Three years ago when Amazon’s in this wide open west period, the game was where do you rank for keywords, how do you maximize your conversion rate for those keywords and capture as much of the pie as possible. That’s the game three years ago.
Ezra: Sure. Old school search engine optimization, 2006, you know?
Ryan: Absolutely. And it worked like a champion for many, many physical product sellers. Today, the game is how do we make this pie as big as humanly possible? And there are two ways to do that. One is Amazon is rapidly increasing the pie, and they’re doing all of these things like Amazon Exclusives, like Amazon Vendor and the new…
Ezra: Prime Day.
Ryan: Right. All these different places to get plugged in, the new advertising channels that they’re plugging in. The things they’re trying to do and failing with Amazon Echo. But all these places where Amazon is bringing in new buyers to the pie. That’s the first.
The second is how do you bring your people into your ecosystem? And to me, that is where brand building happens. I’ve said this publicly, and it always falls on deaf ears. So I will just keep giving it out until somebody proves this model.
The biggest opportunity that no one…no physical products sellers are doing right now, is buying traffic into an email follow-up series and sending that traffic to amazon.com. Because Amazon still will reward you bringing new traffic to their channel if they wanna increase that pie too.
Ezra: So you’re leveraging Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram to generate subscriber base, who’s interested in a particular product…
Ryan: Yeah. Solo ads, affiliates, any…search engine optimization…
Ezra: Leveraging that to build your Amazon brand?
Ryan: Getting the lead capture and then sending them over to the Amazon listings in order to…
Ezra: Which works…actually, you know, we’ve launched several products on Amazon by taking a subscriber list that we have and just mailing them, “Hey, we launched a new product,” getting our sales and our reviews from a community of people who know, like and trust us.
Ryan: Right. So turning a buyer into a…
Ezra: So now, treating Amazon as sort of a core channel because it is, a lot of people shop there, and leveraging the skill set of direct response to build a brand and community, and then have them go and buy from you on Amazon.
You were just talking about this t-shirt by the way, which by the time this posts, might be available on your Amazon channel, right? You’re gonna sell that on Amazon as a channel. You’re gonna leverage the community that you have at capitalism.com and send them to Amazon…
Ryan: We already have the audience. Thus, this is an audience engager. I mean Gary, he wears this shirt publicly. People wear this and posts, like they take selfies of it and put it on social media. This is an audience builder for us.
Ezra: And is there something on the back? There is. So your brand, okay.
Ryan: It freedom fast lane on it. It says, “The Undertaker of our industry.” That’s what it says.
Ezra: The Undertaker. You don’t wanna be the Undertaker, that guy was like…he was always losing the championship. Come on. He was coming out of the urns. You know what I mean? The Paul Bearer thing was ringing. He would like…
Ryan: Did you just call the Paul Bearer a thing? Did you just call the manager of the…
Ezra: Okay, whoever he was. I don’t know. I wasn’t that educated on The Undertaker, but…
Ryan: Then you cannot…
Ezra: Okay, all right. I apologize to Undertaker fans out there. I’m more of an Ultimate Warrior guy myself.
Ryan: Where were we? Oh, right, so selling spandex on the internet.
Ezra: So listen, you’re coming down to Smart Marker eCommerce All-Stars?
Ezra: I’m very excited about it. Thank you for agreeing to speak. You’ll be talking about the latest and greatest of how to grow Amazon businesses, or so I hope, or anything you want actually. We have not discussed your subject matter.
Ryan: Well, let’s leak a couple of things. So first of all, there are new advertising opportunities that exist on amazon.com that not a lot of people are testing. One of them is live video inside of Amazon. Like QVC style, like being able to live broadcast video on Amazon.
Ezra: On your Amazon channel? And then amplify that?
Ryan: Correct. Yeah. So like that’s one of the areas. The other areas are new places where they’re rolling out more deals. Things like lighting deals or best deals or these things that are high traffic pages. We had one actually get listed on the front page of amazon.com. Not like a category page. I mean you go to amazon.com, and our product is there front and center.
Ezra: By leveraging one of these new sort of deal channels?
Ryan: Correct. Yeah. So like that was a record day. Right? You screenshot that all over the place, right?
Ezra: Yeah, for sure. That’s big.
Ryan: I mean, imagine for…
Ezra: There is a group of people too who are celebrating.
Ryan: I used to imagine, you know, what if I could just get one of my sites or if google.com were to redirect for an hour to one of my… Well, now amazon.com is actually featuring brands like ours on the front page, and all of us have that ability now. It used to be, you know, like who do I need to flirt with in order to get Walmart to have you walk into Walmart to have my products? And now, you can do it on Amazon.
Ezra: Can you quickly…yeah, give me a sort of just like a 30-second or even like a 10-second example of what you flirting with Walmart might look like? Imagine I’m Walmart.
Ryan: Okay. So you’re one of the old guys that is like…
Ezra: I think we got…this may be…we may not be able to post this actually. Don’t do it. I take it back.
Ryan Daniel Moran will be at Smart Marketer eCommerce All-Stars. Thank you so much for coming on your show which is now my show. I appreciate it.
Ryan: Are we shaking hands at the end of an interview like…
Ezra: Or how do you wanna do it? Do you wanna…what do we…
Ryan: This is like a Donald Trump…
Ezra: You never let go of it. What do you wanna…
Ryan: Let’s make Amazon great again.
Ezra: How do you end it? What do you do? You do this one? Remember this one? One, two, three. Don’t explode the rock. Never explode. We never explode. We should bring it right back in. Here’s what you can do. You could jellyfish. Okay? Or if you want, you could snail. Right?
Ryan: Oh that’s a good one. I don’t know that.
Ezra: You could toilet paper.
Ryan: And you see…
Ezra: Here you could turkey.
Ryan: And that’s why you’re the…
Ezra: But you never explode.
Ryan: And that’s why you’re the toilet paper of our industry.
Ezra: I’m not that. This guy, when he…are we still continuing?
Ryan: Yeah, we can keep…we can keep going. I made my money, like I made everything I have as a result of being able to leverage outside traffic and bringing that to Amazon to focus on optimizing…that is your storefront to build a brand and then being sellable brands. So we have students that as a result of following the model, are selling businesses for $2 million, $7 million, $9 million, $15 million, $16 million, $20 million, $19.7 million. That’s just me…
Ezra: Do you even lift, bro?
Ryan: Yeah, I do.
Ezra: No, I just noticed those.
Ryan: Oh, I actually have a lifting brand. One of our students, a lifting brand just sold for $4 million. So yeah, I’m a student. I’m a customer of good stuff.
So I think if the goal is building a sellable and a scalable brand, that that is how you do it and Amazon is a piece of that, but it’s not…like I hate the words Amazon business because I think that means I don’t have a real business. It has to be leveraged with the direct response that you teach, the branding stuff that I teach, and when all of that comes merging together, that’s when you have…
Ezra: Now, you have a brand.
Ryan: That’s when you have a real business that private equity funds and Silicon Valley groups all wanna buy and partner with, and that’s where we’re really ahead of the curve.
Ezra: I love it. If you want more of this and you want details on how to actually implement this stuff he’s talking about, come to my event, Smart Marketer eCommerce All-Stars…
Ryan: You should actually do everything…everything he says actually works.
Ezra: Yeah, good stuff. Yeah, you’ve been hanging out with me. We do this stuff, you know? And we love it. And we’d love to meet you in person, hang out with you, and we will actually end this now. So we won’t shake hands or anything. We’ll just kind of rub elbows. So thanks for…
Ryan: Also, Austin is one of the most beautiful cities in the country, and everybody moves here after they visit. So you should just come down…come to the event…
Ezra: You’re never gonna stay…you’re never gonna leave.
Ryan: Yeah, and you will just stay forever. That’s what I did. Came to a marketing event like yours…
Ezra: And you never left?
Ryan: …and I never left Austin.
Ezra: Wow. Be like Ryan. That’s gonna be a good one.
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