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Launching Ecommerce Business and Crowdfunding- Amazon seller tips with Mark Pecota (Part 2)
July 19, 2021
Seller Round Table Episode 100 with Mark Pecota
 Session Videos:

A. Mark Pecota - Part 1

B. Mark Pecota - Part 2

Things we mention in this session of Seller Round Table:

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Transcription in this episode:
[00:00:01] spk_1: Welcome to the seller roundtable e commerce coaching and business strategies with and er, not and amy Wiis. Mm so cool, I hope that explains it and that [00:00:14] spk_2: yeah, I just want to mention something really quick is Wendy kind of dropped it in the, in the chat here. But um yeah, the dollar is genius because it shows a commitment, right? They say that people who actually, like even if it's a dollar who pulled their credit card out, you know, theoretically that usually it's auto filled now, but the sense is the same, you know, if they, if somebody wanted to open their wallet once that means that they believe enough in the idea or you or whoever to actually open their wallet again for a different offering. So I think that's that's genius in terms of vetting, you know, the most qualified, uh, you know, shoppers or you know, people who want to back the campaign. That's that's awesome. Yeah. [00:00:55] spk_0: So basically if I understand it right, what you're doing with the test phase as you're just trying to get people to say yes, I believe in this, I back it and they're giving a dollar, right? Something like that. And then when, you know, like yes, we're building up this list, it's looking really good. We're getting a lot of, a lot of backers. How do you then use that same list when it's time for launch? Um, to get them to come back? Because you're sending them another offer, then right? You're getting them to come back and go, hey, you know, we're, we're now offering you to be able to sign up to get the product right to pre order the product. And so you're asking them to pull out their credit card again, but they've already paid a dollar. They've already been following this. They're excited about this product. So that, that way when you actually pull the launch Boone trigger, it's a lot easier because these are people who are committed and my understanding your process, right? [00:01:57] spk_1: You explained it well. Yeah, I think another point that's important that I miss is that while you're building this list of people, there is nurturing going on during that process. So it's not just like Dumped into a list somewhere. And then once we actually launched at least send another email for the people that put down the $1 deposit, the VIPs, they get sent uh into a VIP only group on Facebook. And that becomes like a really active place where they're communicating with the founder and the creator and other people as well as part of the community. Um and that can be a really, really great way to nurture a real community. Um everyone else, the non VIPs and the V. I. P. S. To like, we do nurture them as well through email marketing. So leading up to the campaign usually don't actually want to send too many emails to be honest. We've tested that you can get, people can become un engaged if you spend too much. It's really only we send to before we launch seven days out, one day before you remind them and then once you actually go to launch, yeah, you send it to both those groups of people. Now the VIP is like the big offer, there's again there special, we're going to send them a link to like the best discount that they can, they can get better discount than anyone else because they put down that $1 deposit, it's usually a pretty significant discount, but they're going to be your most engaged, your your highest converting group and segment. Um, so it's it's quite worth it. [00:03:27] spk_0: I love the idea of putting them into a facebook group where they can be more engaged and where you can continue to follow up because I agree today we get so many emails and you don't want to pester people and you you want them to feel connected to your project. So I think that that's an awesome strategy. So when a shift to we private label entrepreneurs, you know, we already have products, we already have ways to kind of validate our products, validate our product ideas and we have a pretty um, solid launch strategy. So the question in our community is always like, well should I do a Kickstarter because that's going to be a lot of upfront investment to get these backers and everything, or should I spend that same money that I would have spent on a Kickstarter on an ad campaign, which is going to convert people if I already know what keywords I want to target and all of that, you know? So I think that's like the big, the big question that people have, it's like, okay, do I do I do a Kickstarter and get all these backers and use that extra market? Because it is marketing to right, it's getting additional eyes on your product. You can build an email list where you might not be able to do that on amazon, but what do you think? Um helping private label entrepreneurs used crowdfunding to launch products in a beneficial way? Um Besides just going straight to market with a great launch strategy? [00:05:00] spk_1: No, I feel like it really depends. I don't know the whole business model behind like how, how you know, private label amazon sellers, how typically works. Um but my, my first question is like, what do you want your business to look like? Um, meaning like, is this going to be something that lives on amazon? And you also do direct to consumer through an e commerce site as well? Actually, it's a good question. Like, are do you all and also you're the audience as well, Is it typically like a multi channel strategy of amazon and also e commerce, like their own sites? [00:05:36] spk_0: Well, most, most people have a website to represent their brand. Um but most of their sales come from amazon because the traffic is already there. Right? So it's it's such a trusted large channel that, you know, consumers, I've had my products um you know, posted in May on major like media channels and you know, and all the news, all that kind of stuff. People, they're offering discounts in these news channels. People will still go to amazon, search up that product and pay full price. [00:06:11] spk_1: I [00:06:12] spk_0: mean, so that it's just a really, it's a powerful channel with zero barriers, almost no barriers to entry. So most of us have websites, but we also launched on amazon because it's such a strong channel, so we don't really need to sell on our website so much, but where it might be beneficial to do like a Kickstarter campaign and where I've seen people do Kickstarter campaigns is for new or different kind of products where you really aren't sure how much people are going to adopt it, right? Like let's say you're doing a board game or let's say you're doing something that's completely different, right? That you want to see, like, are people really going to back this thing? Are they really going to believe in it? Right? And then you might not feel as confident about bringing that to amazon right away. Um you might want to kind of spread the word before you launch. So that's that's kind of the toss up. But at the same time a company going to launch company, which nowadays it's really hard to long would you say? It's really hard to launch on Kickstarter Indiegogo by yourself? Like it really does take a strategy, it takes some mentorship, it takes some coaching to do to get that right. So either you're going to spend that money on that campaign or you're going to do the research on your own, run some facebook ads to your website and to amazon and get some amazon PPC going. So that's kind of, I think that's the big toss up for private label brands. It's like, what is the major benefit I would get from doing a Kickstarter for a product like that, over just going ahead and launching it on my own. [00:07:53] spk_1: Yeah, I mean, you bring up a lot of good points. Um, I think it really does larger, depending right on the product itself that you're trying to sell when it comes down to the strategy. And before I forget to answer your question about, you know, the difficulty of launching your own crowdfunding campaign these days, it definitely has gotten past. What I would say is like the hype stage of crowdfunding, where there was a time when, um, you actually didn't have to bring a lot of your own traffic to these sites because there was just such a large community and there was such a lot of, there's a lot of hype around it. Like people, we'll pick it up in media sites, like very easily still the most funded campaigns on Kickstarter happened years back. That's the [00:08:37] spk_0: way, that's the way amazon used to be too right. Like amazon used to be able to put any product out there and because it wasn't that there wasn't that many sellers, like you could launch anything and now it really takes a traffic strategy and a launch strategy. [00:08:52] spk_1: Yeah, but with that said on crowdfunding, there is this misconception that you have to have a really large campaign to be successful uh meaning like, and usually what people think about it is like how do I do a million dollar campaign? That's like the question we always get or even a six figure campaign. Like if you if you're doing a six figure campaign on crowdfunding, you're in the, you're about, there's only 1% of campaigns that do that, I think it's 1.3% And then it drops way lower into seven figures. Now, the thing is I actually don't have the data on this, but um it's like how many of those, how many of those successful campaigns actually turn into successful companies? Um Probably a lot lower than people think. I mean pebble like went out of business coolest cooler, had tons of problems. Um And one of our most successful clients, we actually didn't launch their crowdfunding campaign, but we did there, we do their e commerce, so that's phase three of our system scale boom. Um they only they only did a $50,000 crowdfunding campaign only, I mean still a good amount. Um but we did five million last year on e commerce in eight months with them. And the reason why is because they used crowdfunding us where you're talking about as part of the validation tool for this new product, they want to see if people were into, they didn't, they didn't invest a lot of money into actually launching it, but then once it was validated, they used that to them scale up on their own site. Um they're not on amazon yet, but I'm sure they will, sure they will be soon. Another one of our clients, William Painter, this is like pretty publicized, extremely successful company if you guys want, take a look at them san, Diego company, we've done multiple of their campaigns on Kickstarter um but they have, it's just part of their strategy of launching like these new products and they're there and again, going back to the product dependent, they found that their products do extremely well with Kickstarter audience, so it's like thinking about where the audience is, that you know, is interested in your product and then going to that platform to launch it I think is really important to think about as well. Um, you know, they got a huge boost on these platforms, where it makes sense for them to use it and then to go and bring their product on the amazon, bring their product onto their, onto their website as well. Um [00:11:18] spk_0: those are really awesome tips, like, thinking about, because no matter what you do, want to build up a bit of an audience, you want, you want to get that traction before you launch, the only time that you might not need so much traction is if you're selling an already really popular product and you're just running bottom of funnel ads, right? But any any other really differentiated product and getting some traction, like you mentioned, is it a product that's the right fit for Kickstarter? Like, that's what people should be thinking about, if it's just and I've had people clients come to me before and I've told them, you know, they wanted to launch something on Kickstarter, but it really wasn't a special product, like there wasn't really anything, they just wanted money to get started and I was like, I don't know that kick starters audience would be that excited about this and this product, you'd be better off just launching. So I think that we've kind of answered our own question and talking that up. That's awesome. [00:12:17] spk_1: Yeah, I mean I know there's tons of tools on amazon for research and kick started. The best way to research is just to go on there and see how much these campaigns have raised because it's all public. And if you just check, check it out. So I always tell people a lot of people don't do this, they have like these ideas for products, like you know, your friend, whoever you're talking to that want to launch these products. It's like, go see if there's anything like that on these platforms that have done well, you know, I just have to get some, do some type of market research to understand that, because yeah, if you're trying to launch something that there's nothing similar to it at all on crowdfunding, you are taking a risk that someone should be aware of. But in general, if the product has nothing really special or unique about it, usually has some tech element to it, um it's probably not gonna do that. Well, I'm kind of funny. [00:13:09] spk_0: Yeah, that's a really great one [00:13:11] spk_2: thing I wanted to mention though, that that I think is kind of an interesting offshoot of, of crowdfunding is, you know, the other thing that's interesting is, and, and correct me uh correct me if I'm wrong, Mark, but I mean really, you could also use Kickstarter Indiegogo at a small raise just to gain awareness for your products, right? Like almost almost like free advertising because those uh those networks have such a large, you know, uh network of people who are looking for new and innovative products. I completely agree with Amy in terms of like, you know, if you're selling printer paper, it's probably not going to go over too well unless it's like made out of coconut husks and good for the earth or, you know, there's some crazy spin on it. But um, you know, do you have any clients who just come to you or like, hey, we just want a tiny, you know, we wanna, we wanna win on Indiegogo, we, you know, we want to win and we want to get up so we can say, hey, we've crowd sourced products before, um and we got a lot of free publicity over it. Is there any that does anybody use that kind of strategy? [00:14:12] spk_1: They try but doesn't usually work, because that's really what's changed on these platforms, that you can't really, if I'm understanding your question correctly, you can't really just put something on there without doing a lot of the pre launch work and have it really be that successful unless you're extremely lucky. Um But crowdfunding has gotten to this place where again, it's passed this hype stage, like this excitement where even, like media companies, like big, big news outlets, for example, won't write about a lot of crowdfunding campaigns unless they're like really special. Um you won't even be able to find the campaign, like in the, you know, the most popular campaigns unless it's again, you like, brought an audience to the campaign to help get it funded first. That's a big it's pretty difficult. That's a big part [00:15:02] spk_2: of the algorithm that I've heard is that, you know, bring your own traffic right, The more traffic that you bring that, the more they'll they'll push it up the line. Cool, [00:15:10] spk_1: interesting. Yeah. [00:15:12] spk_0: So what websites or tools, you mentioned like the facebook group and stuff like that? What websites or tools are essential for planning and executing a crowdfunding campaign outside of of course, the the platform that you're launching on. [00:15:28] spk_1: Yeah, so from an advertising standpoint facebook and instagram like social advertising just crushes for the stuff still. Um we usually will expand in the in the Youtube, like once it gets to the actual crowdfund crowdfunding campaign itself, like the live campaign, but during prelaunch it's all like legion facebook instagram does really well. Um then in terms of like, we actually build our own custom funnels, but they're built on top of Wordpress, I usually honestly recommend like click funnels or lead pages to people if they're gonna funnel building. Um they work great. Um yeah, from there any type of email marketing software, we like milk champ just for our clients on pre launch because it's super simple and it works well with our systems. Um Yeah, I mean from a software component that's that's, that's really like the main stack. It's not it's not too complex, awesome. [00:16:25] spk_0: Um And then what about ninja tricks? We love ninja tricks. So do you have any really great, you mentioned like facebook and instagram ads how they crush youtube? Are there any ninja tricks for doing those ads for setting up those funnels that you have for us? That might be really great for driving that traffic to the campaign. [00:16:45] spk_1: Yeah. When it comes to advertising, think authentic. It still works really, really well. What I mean by that is like don't oftentimes like the polished imagery or polished videos, like don't do that well. Um, like the biggest secret are like walkthrough videos. Like walkthrough videos are shot on like your iphone meaning like we have the founder or one of our team members go and be like open up the package with the product, like show it off. You know what it does all the features of it just on their iphone. Then we run that as an ad and they can be like five minutes long, something like that. They worked really well. I would say the biggest, I don't know if it's still a ninja trick or not, but I think a lot of people still don't know this. Like you can go spy on all your competitors ads or like anyone's ads you want on facebook, you can go to their pages and look at what ads they're running. So we do it, we do it all the time. Like when we're doing the research process, when we're looking at, um, uh, when we're coming up with the messaging and positioning for a new product, we go look at competitor's products or products that were inspired by and then we go look at what ads they're running and so we get inspired by those as well. And that's a really great strategy that I think everyone should do. You don't have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to this stuff. That's awesome. [00:18:10] spk_0: Well we know Mark that you are business owner, just like all of our business owners. So we would love to ask you some business owner questions and one of them would be you know what is one of the biggest challenges that you've overcome in running your business? [00:18:29] spk_1: Um Yeah honestly recently it has been dealing with the scale at which were growing and You know about a year ago we were at 27 people now we're just shy of 60 I think we're like 58 or 59 Just a 16 round up. Um Like scaling and keeping the company like profitable and also the people happy and keeping the culture and like check and like I'm not even just check amazing um has been really difficult but really like pretty fulfilling challenge to solve and something that we're still like working on as well and so on the people's side like I wish I did this way earlier but hired in um someone to Hr professional uh name's Caitlin. Really? She's awesome, Kayla and I wish I did it way way sooner to really focus on like I'm like your customer, our is our employees. You know like make them have the best experience possible at launch bill. And to me like there's this book called No Rules Rules. It's the story of netflix. Um And it's just amazing all their principles as well. And one of the biggest ones there is all about they're all about talent density. So having like the most talented people working on your team and then also leading with context and not control. And I think that's really important to our culture that we really instill. And then the other thing that we've really been working on is just really understanding our numbers and for product based businesses it's like what we're focusing on is different but the principles are the same, understanding the key drivers with business and then tracking those numbers and making sure everyone, the company has access to those as well. And we managed by the numbers that's also still work in progress right now. But um yeah, those have been more recent challenges. I would say that we've been overcoming. [00:20:28] spk_0: I think all of us can, you know, associate with some of those challenges that you mentioned just growing and growing gracefully. It's really hard in business and uh yeah, just understanding your numbers, understanding where you're going, hiring ahead of that. I'll definitely check out that book. I think [00:20:51] spk_1: I kind of sort of one more in there. I'd say like the biggest mistake I've made in our company is like growing complacent, like thinking that like an area of our business is okay, like how we run our business or how like a certain service works and then going and focusing on something else without like really having like everything dialed in here, whether it be like people to manage the systems to do it. Um It's like the shiny object syndrome is like, oh, you know entrepreneur, like I want to go over here and it has costed like so much time money paying the team, bad client experience and stuff like that for us, so I that's probably one of the biggest things that I'm like, I'm like constantly aware of is like, am I um like am I growing complacent with anything? Like is it, are the areas of our business getting the focus that they need? You know, are they set up properly so that I can like take my focus away from that and go to something else? Um Yeah, that's just another thing that came up. [00:21:57] spk_2: Yeah, that's interesting. I've, I've actually heard, I, I can't remember who it was, but somebody was talking about that similarly there like some super successful engineer, like, you know, millions of dollars and how, you know, like one day they just kind of woke up and realized that like they weren't really doing anything anymore, they [00:22:12] spk_1: just kind of offloaded [00:22:13] spk_2: the business and and we're like sitting on the beach and then went back in to check it on it and you know, it was starting to crumble. So um I definitely think that, you know, Amy and are big fans of mike mccallum, mike, McCalla wit's clockwork, right, is trying to get your your business working in this way where you can theoretically step away. But I mean if it's your company, if you're the visionary, if you're the person who, you know at the end of the day is is collecting the biggest paycheck, you know, you still have to be involved in the day to day and if not then you know, maybe it's time to to sell it to somebody who wants to get in and get dirty. On that note, you were just talking about, you know, shiny object syndrome, which amy and I, and a lot of entrepreneurs have trouble with that, that's why I have to keep reading the one thing that book. Um but you know, what do you think are some of your strengths and then also some of your weaknesses in terms of, you know, of what you're doing? [00:23:06] spk_1: Um Yeah, like me personally, [00:23:09] spk_2: yeah, [00:23:10] spk_1: yeah, so weaknesses. Um something that I like, I've been really working on is is actually like trying to continue to think bigger. Like I think this is something that just keeps, you know, keep keep getting better at removing limiting beliefs and like, okay, wow I can actually go do that, I would say um two of my other business partners are even better at that than I am um and like they inspire me as well to do that Um and so I said that's that's probably one and then on the strength side like kind of like the flip side of that coin like I do have a pretty operational mind where it's like if there are some big ideas, what we can do is like okay how how the hell are we gonna do that you know and and really like thinking through that and yeah so I would say that I can typically see it's not like a lack of vision, I can see the vision but then I can also try to figure out how we're going to actually get to that stage step and make a plan around it and find the people that are going to help do that too. [00:24:21] spk_2: Yeah, I love that. So you know, vision, vision tied with operations, I think it's kind of what you're getting at and I think that's that is that's hard right to put those two together. Um you know, I keep telling people one of my latest projects, it's like yeah, I want to beat amazon and you know, I'm like it's an audacious goal, but I'm like, you know, unless you set yourself up to be able to compete at that level, you're never gonna get to that level right? Because then all the self doubt and all that other stuff gets in the way, so I absolutely love that um yeah, so a few things that you you already give us, we we always ask this at the end for this reason is we love to to kind of see what people are reading studying uh you know motivational stuff, you know, So you already mentioned built to sell which is you know we'll have to add it. I have like literally like every guest will come on, I like keep adding my my audible subscription just continues to grow with books that I need to get to but built to sell was was one of your recommendations and then no Rules, Rules, which was the uh the netflix book. Any other uh kind of big influences in terms of you know, just on your whole entrepreneurial journey doesn't have to be anything recent. Um but you know any other books or podcasts or uh people that you follow that have really made a big difference in in your business journey. [00:25:40] spk_1: Yeah. War of Art, you know if you've heard that one by Stephen press field and like about that. But uh the war the War of Art, [00:25:54] spk_2: the War of Art [00:25:54] spk_1: interesting. I think it's like a great mindset book artists. Way is another great mindset book about how we're all creative. Um it's really powerful but um then current currently from a podcast perspective like I don't know if you know lex Friedman, but I think the guests that he has on it used to be called the artificial intelligence podcast kind of a test but that was just named after him and the gas that he has on ranges from like I don't know, people of study economics to like AI researchers to yeah, anyone really comedians. I just find the discussions were really fascinating. I'm like very interested in a like wide threat of topics that I feel like all culminate into like a better wealthy of. [00:26:47] spk_2: Yeah, I love that. Yeah, Ai is definitely something that that I'm really dabbling into a lot because I feel like uh you know AI is the equivalent of like social media was, right, so all these early influencers that got on instagram right, they're the ones who are crushing it right now because they can sell anything because they have this massive following. Um And so I think that a i is the next kind of big thing in terms of if you get a foothold in ai early on that you're going to make huge, you know, you're gonna be able to influence the world and build you know, businesses around around those things, you know if you do if you're an early adopter, so that's definitely interesting, I've never heard of it, so I'll have to check that out because it's definitely something in my wheelhouse [00:27:30] spk_1: uh [00:27:32] spk_2: last but not least Mark let everybody know where they can reach out to, you know, feel for you to share linkedin profiles, website, whatever you want. [00:27:39] spk_1: Oh, for sure. Yeah, yeah, if you ever want to email me, it's just Mark Mrk at launch boom dot com, I will respond. And then um yeah, launch green dot com, check this out. Uh we have a summit coming up called crowdfunded, sum it, so just crowdfunded summit dot com. It's actually next week Really pump for that. We have 10,000 people uh signed up for it already. Facebook people from Amazon will be, there were people from all over the place. So anyways check it out and also we have a ton of free resources on our website too. So also check that out. Awesome. [00:28:11] spk_2: So is that I, I assume that's a virtual event. [00:28:14] spk_1: It is a virtual, that kind of person. [00:28:16] spk_2: Right, right. I'm looking forward to those. [00:28:19] spk_1: I'm [00:28:20] spk_2: an introvert, but even I am missing kind of like the conferences and the little, you know, get togethers and stuff. I'm going to try to get some stuff going here in Idaho because I'm missing that kind of networking in person. So [00:28:33] spk_1: yeah, [00:28:34] spk_2: thank you, thank you so much for for being on and uh next that you said you you've always wanted to come visit, I keep telling everyone come visit. Um you [00:28:42] spk_1: know, I'll [00:28:43] spk_2: take you out for a beer. [00:28:45] spk_1: Uh [00:28:46] spk_2: you can do that here. Um Yeah, yeah, so come and visit. I'll show you around lots of fun stuff to do here. Um everybody, yeah, everybody was watching the livestream as usual. You can you can watch us on the livestream once in a while, we don't do it all the time because we really, really want you guys to join us live in here because this is where we get uh you know, the meat on the bones, right? This is where we get you guys asking questions and where we get some really great information from our guests in terms of you know, questions we didn't think of and how it it actually relates to uh you know people in their products and launching and you know, whatever uh it is we're you know working on on that episode. So if you want to join us live still around table dot com forward slash live Tuesday one p.m. Make sure you join us live at least once. Just to check it out. Um if you haven't done so yet, please make sure that you rate, review, subscribe on whatever podcast your app you're on. And besides that episode 100 let's give it up amy, who? Episode 100? It's A It's A uh Marc Marquez is a Trailblazer. He gets to be number 100. [00:29:51] spk_1: Almost [00:29:52] spk_2: as cool as one, but you know, [00:29:53] spk_1: almost [00:29:55] spk_2: almost. But uh as usual guys, thank you so much for listening to sell round table and we'll see you next time. [00:30:02] spk_1: Thanks everyone. Thanks for tuning in, join us every Tuesday at one PM pacific standard time for live Q and a. And bonus content after the recording at cellar round table dot com, sponsored by the ultimate software tool for amazon sales and growth seller S C o dot com and amazing at home dot com.