How Amazon FBA Sellers Can Use Press Releases for Branding and Traffic Generation (Interview with Shane Oglow)

Our guest on the 7th of December, 2020,  on the sellerboard show was Shane Oglow from PR Reach. 

We talked to Shane Oglow about PR (Press Releases) and how they can help Amazon FBA sellers build their brand and generate external traffic.

Watch the full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeH5XUd382I

0:07
Hi, everybody, welcome to the next episode of the sellerboard show. My name is Vladi Gordon and my  today’s guest is Shane Oglow, we’re going to talk about branding. So Shane’s company PR Reach specializes in press releases. This is a very interesting and efficient way to basically take care of the branding to build your brand outside of Amazon and drive some traffic to Amazon or to your own site. So if you’re serious in the Private Label, then this is definitely something you should think about. And Shane mentioned that the ROI of branding through PR is 50 to 100 times. So this is definitely something that will pay off if you do it right. Stay tuned. Before we start, don’t forget to press a like button and subscribe to our channel. If you don’t know what sellerboard is yet, then check out our website sellerboard.com  it’s a profit analytics tool for Amazon sellers starting at $15 a month and our vision is and was to build the most accurate profit analytics tool and to put as many useful tools in the package as possible without increasing the price. So we’ve got an autoresponder for follow up emails, we’ve got an inventory monitor, integrated, we’ve got a module which searches for products lost or damaged by Amazon so that you can try to get reimbursed. We’ve got an alerting system, which monitors your listing and sends you an email if something was changed, for example, by Piggie-Becker or hijacker. So check this out. And let us know what you think. Now let’s start the show. Hey Shane, how are doing?

1:58
great. Thanks very much.

2:00
Thanks for joining us today. So I’m saying tell us about yourself?

2:06
Well, there’s a lot to tell, but I’ll give the condensed version. So I know we don’t have a lot of time. But you know, in terms of the Amazon.com space been selling for quite a while and sort of 2013 is when I started. I think along with that the big initial first group that really got into private label, I was part of that. And, you know, just one thing led to another over the years, you know, you have your successes, you have your failures, different brands, myself, like a lot of people got into relief did Amazon thing. So maybe I wasn’t always necessarily a seller. But then I got into supporting sellers in different ways. You know, a lot of people do that through, you know, podcasts or software or coaching or whatever they happen to be doing. So that’s kind of where the path is taking me I still do sell. You know, obviously, with PR reach my company, one of the things we do is, is a managed rebate service. And we do a lot of launches. So every week I’m launching different products. So with years have launched hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of products. So even though I’m kind of in between brands right now, personally, I was gonna start a new one in the summer but had some delays. So maybe we’ll launch in the new year, but it’s so different now. You know, it’s so different from what it was three, four, or five years ago. It’s and we knew that would happen. I mean, the only constant is change in the entire online world, I suppose. And in another five years, I’m sure we’ll be having a very different conversation about how Amazon works and searches and everything else.

3:45
So you’ve been private label seller all the time, right or ever done wholesale? Yep. arbitrage in and well,

3:54
I’m sorry, go ahead.

3:58
No, yeah, I was just gonna say that it was really primarily our private label. You know, I did dabble a little bit in dropshipping and a few different things. It wasn’t really my cup of tea. And I recognize that some people have tremendous success doing it. You know, I think most people struggle in retail arbitrage is not something I was ever really that much into. Again, I had friends who did it and had a certain amount of success, but it wasn’t really that scalable. If for at least from what I saw, so that’s right. I try to focus my areas where things are a bit more scalable.

4:36
Well, so we’re actually selling in the US or Europe.

4:42
Primarily Yeah, I mean, we’ve sold in Europe for years. But we just never had our focus was never really there. So it could have done a lot better or do a lot better, I suppose. But us you know, it always takes so much time. And if you want to expand, we expand there, and then move products over to Europe if they’re successful. But then that’s another thing that I’m going to focus on too, in the future is focusing a little bit more on Europe. Because there are wonderful opportunities here, smaller markets, but but but you can do very, very well. So I’m looking forward to, to doing that. And I know the rules have changed a lot since I first started most of my first European company, maybe in 2015, or so. So I have to, I have to get myself familiar with a lot of those new rules, especially with Brexit, and that there’s a lot of changes coming down the pipeline. But fortunately, now, unlike when I first started, there’s just a ton of data out there where you can get answers, I literally pick up the phone allowed the answer in 15 minutes. So it’s not something I worry about. It’s not like in the old days, when it was dead, you desperately were searching for people who know what the hell’s the document? Because we’re still so new.

5:59
So Shane, looks like you. You know, you’ve been around for quite a while. And Amazon tell us like, Is it even worth it? To try to, you know, enter the market in 2020? how, you know, how, how did it change over time? And, you know, what’s your current status? Like? Yeah.

6:21
Yeah, I think that’s a good question. I think a lot of people who are on the sidelines just sitting on the fence or have, you know, just discovered these younger people another looking for new opportunities are wondering, Well, is it really worth it? And yes, and no, you know, if we have a discussion in 2025, or 2030, or something on yours, if people are going, Oh, man, I wish I could have gotten in back in 2020. So it’s all a matter of perspective. It’s just different. And as I said earlier, the only constant is change. The major thing, the major difference, I think, between when guys like me got started, you know, 567 years ago, is you could launch a lot of you know, I mean, well, probably for about two or three years now, the typical search techniques taught by, you know, the big courses that are grossly outdated, where they’re looking at BSR and reviews, and that’s ridiculous. No, those should still factor in. But basing your product selection on things like that, I think is a complete mistake, and you’re setting yourself up for a lot of grief. But, you know, you could launch back then you could launch on a shoestring you could 500 extra bucks, 1000 bucks, sure, why not watch the product.

7:38
Now, I’m not saying that can’t happen nowadays. But I think it would be pretty rare to have that happen and be successful, because you’re going to hit that wall. You know, as you try and expand a lot sooner. So the one thing you need now is to be more capitalized. I generally don’t suggest someone start a new Amazon business, unless it got 10,000 bucks, the only be 5000 at the low end. Because there’s a lot of PPC, like packet loss, there’s just so many things, we don’t need to get into it, you really need to have a bit of finance, you need to get that next order in before you run out of inventory. There’s just a lot of reasons why that’s a lot different now than it was back in the day when you could start on a shoestring.

8:27
So So tell me like, what does it mean for the box selection? Because, you know, is it you mentioned BSR, and reviews? And, you know, they’re not that important anymore, or at least not primary or primary criteria. Because when I was the seller was also like, five, six years ago, this way, only the only two things I looked at basically right. But I know it’s kind of hard now because a lot of products have a lot of reviews. So how does this play a role? Or, you know, what, what are the criteria? No. Yeah, I

9:05
mean, I don’t think I want to get too deep into that side, because that’s something we could talk about five hours, I’m sure. And I’m not going to give away sort of our tricks either. But I will say this is, you know, I don’t care anymore, if the top product in a category has got 5000 reviews, that used to disqualify people from going into that into that thing, which was a total mistake. And then again, you know, that was the prevailing philosophy at the time kind of made sense, because there was other blue ocean opportunities, why go there? Now it’s all about that product development is really the thing that you need to focus on for any type of longevity. Because if I’m, you know, launching me to products that everyone else has, in my variation is that comes with its own carrying bag or something stupid. That’s that’s not diversifying, that’s not making your product unique. It’s a little gimmick that might last a little while but probably not. So product development is very important. The competitive advantage, intellectual property is very important. You want to set yourself up for long term success, and to be acquired for branding, which is what I think we’re really going to talk about in this little. Because if you can no longer rely on Amazon to be your number one source of revenue, you shouldn’t, because we’ve seen accounts, especially suspensions this year, like I’ve never seen before in my life, people’s lives being ruined overnight, they got 36 employees, but sorry, that’s it. Or, you know, it takes weeks or months to get their account back for something they didn’t do wrong. And you know, that goes back to the kind of a love hate relationship we probably all have with Amazon. And it’s so big, it’s hard for it not to be that way. I mean, really. So, you know, that’s why it’s important to set yourself up for success. If you can get intellectual property, if you can make things unique. If you can start brand new, if you can start diversifying off Amazon build your own list, because as we know, your son, Amazon seller, that’s not your customer, it’s their customer, that didn’t give you any data anymore. You can’t market to those people, you can’t do market research. You have no competitive advantage on Amazon, unless you can do those things and really build a true brand.

11:46
So look, I think this is a good piece of advice. And for me. Sounds reasonable. I think the strategy was always there. But this just said like five years ago, you could get off get away with a with a me too product. But now it’s just complicated. So yeah, thanks for that. Let’s talk about branding and diversification, actually, so how do you how do you build branding on Amazon? Right? So when I was a seller, I had a brand of course, everybody kind of has a private, every private label seller has a brand, right? But it was just the name on the product, it could be a different one. Nobody cares, right? So how do you do that if you actually start on Amazon?

12:34
Yeah, and you know, that’s the typical route is people start on Amazon. And that’s a great thing to do, you know, you start because it’s easier. It’s not easy, but it’s easier, the traffic is there, you just have to capture a portion of it right. and away you go. At some point in your Amazon journey, maybe you’re making 2000 a month, 5000 50,000 100,000 whatever that number is for you, you start to feel okay, this is stable, this is good. Now I need to move off of Amazon. And the, the benefits are huge moving off Amazon, you get competitive advantage, you become a little bit more recession proof. You can charge higher prices, you’ll have a higher conversion rate, you will have you’ll build a list. So you’re going to increase your multiples when you go to sell your business. Like there’s just so many reasons. And as we see the a 10 algorithm, the recent update, they took a lot of the weighting away from PPC sales and put it to off site sales. Also, now we know that that’s the primary or one of the primary factors in ranking on Amazon. So you need to have that off Amazon sales come in, we always knew this was the case. They just made it more important. And we always knew that high authority backlinks directly to the product detail page were important as well. That’s why it’s nice to get my partner norm one in the past talked about press releases. And you know, when you do that you’re sending these high authority backlinks to your product detail page, and it does help and rank in stickiness. But anyways, we’re talking about branding, your typical situation, you go to seller, they’re starting to get some sales or feeling pretty confident. All right, cool. Now it’s time to diversify. And this is where people usually fail. It’s like, Okay, I’m gonna start a Shopify account, okay, they open up the Shopify store, and nothing happens. Because now your response with your own traffic, and that’s an entirely different game. And you need to know what you’re doing. So what happens is, you know, get three, four or five, six sales in a month or something and you’re trying and you’d be running some Facebook ads or whatever, nothing’s really happening too much. So you sheepishly go back to Amazon, because that’s where your bread and butter is. I can’t blame people for doing that. The way to do that is to start ranking on Google to start getting your name out there. And how do you do that?

14:50
Well, using chain Connect CMS, just one thing, so you’re talking about building a like a site Shopify store. Then promoting Shopify store, right? And you mentioned this a 10 algorithm, when they now put a lot of weight on External links. So do these two things fit together? Or, you know, is it a difference in difference? Yes thing? You know, so how does this relate.

15:20
So if you start to sell off Amazon or even just to, and I’m not even talking about starting a Shopify store right away if you don’t want to, it’s just about driving traffic from external sites. And that’s what’s going to help you rank better on Amazon. Eventually, once you start to build your off Amazon presence, then you can start to direct the traffic to your Shopify site or wherever you want, you can be building that Google presence and directing all the traffic back to Amazon, no problem. But you’re starting to take control, you’re starting to get your brand known. And you have to in order to do that, and that’s what our that’s what our public relations in our media department does, it’s all about starting to build a persona for your brand off of Amazon, because let’s face it, 99.9% of sellers are just some nameless, faceless Amazon brand that nobody gives a crap about, is ever heard about is probably just being driven by price. And that’s it. So when you start to build this, you start Well, what we typically do is we start off with what we call phase one. And we have a product called brand builder. And what that does, is it every month, it’s like a monthly done for you content system, it goes out and it pushes all this content out through distribution networks and syndicated so you know, if I go to Google and I type in, you know, green silicone spatula, I’ll see your content there, it might be from a Yahoo Oracle might be a partner or whatever, it’s not going to be your direct, you know, your Shopify page, your direct Amazon, you direct to Amazon URL, not right away, it will eventually start to raise those up. But game page one exposure page one was closer, so people start to see your brand name, start to build it, start to get some Google love, and it will start to drive some traffic to your Amazon listing. The next phase and not everybody does it in phases. But that’s like the normal way for a growing seller is then we add on things like public relations and earned media. And what that is, is we really develop your brand story because it all comes down to the brand story. If you’re selling a green silicone spatula, there better be a compelling reason why your green silicone spatulas better than everyone else. And so that’s what we do is we develop that corporate profile, the brand story, and we start to get placements, and magazines, websites, gift guides, interviews, Radio TV, like there’s literally no media outlet in the United States that we don’t have a personal contact with. So if you want to be in Forbes or Inc, or you want to be in Martha Stewart magazine or whatever, that’s what we do, we start to work on getting these and that high traffic high authority driving back to either your Amazon page or your Shopify so you can start building your own list. That’s the entire intention.

18:13
And so at what at which point should I get my own website or my own store? Um, you know, is there like a good point for that or?

18:26
That’s a really good question. I think that comes up a lot it really depends but you know, a lot of people are perfectly happy to start building their off Amazon presence it just drive all the traffic back to Amazon for a while or give shoppers the choice you know there’s nothing wrong with starting to do that because you will start to get that Amazon love that is gonna start to build up so all those links can just go to Amazon eventually then you want to start your Shopify store and it’s just whenever you’re ready as a brand owner you know, maybe money’s tight or maybe you don’t have the resources to do a shop fire them okay, fine, you know, wait three months, I wouldn’t let it go too long. Because as you start to get these high traffic high authority placements and start to get all this love online, you want to start to build your own list. The Magic has always been in the list and always will be in the list because now you can do your own market research now you can do launches to your own people and their actual customers are not people who’ve got something 100% discount you know that it’s their actual customers. And that accounts for a lot and you start really build he become an authority in your niche. You start to become a known brand. Yeah. Yeah, first, I would say start your site as soon as you can. But don’t you know, you don’t have to start driving heavy traffic to it right away. Get it looking good. It’s got to be decent. And of course, once you have your own site, you can give shoppers the option they want to buy it on Amazon, you want to buy it here. You can put a nice funnel in, if they bite there, maybe they get a free gift, or they get a two, for one who knows, right, you can do all kinds of things in your site that you can’t do on Amazon. But even if even if you’re sending to Amazon, there’s also ways you can grab their email address before you send them off to Amazon. So you just need to start later those that, you know, but these things, you know, this takes time. But you know, building a brand takes time, you know, you have to have a long term time horizon. So we’re only working with people who are serious, you know, if they’re planning on just dabbling and fooling around what’s probably not for you. But if you want to build a real brand, and you’ve got, you know, a five year exit plan, and you want to sell your business for 10 million, or whatever, whatever your number happens to be, well, that that’s where we come in, and we help start building that brand and your reputation. And the other thing I was gonna mention, was once you get a PRP, so we get into a gift guide, or, or let’s say you got you, your silicone spatula into Martha Stewart Living magazine or something great. Well, that stays there forever. Like, then what we want to do is we squeeze every drop of juice out of that. So we’re doing pressures on it, we got blogs on your site, linking to it adds, you know, as seen, or Martha Stewart’s favorite, or whatever it happens to be, we just squeeze every drop of juice out of that, because that thing stays there forever. And again, it just keeps continually building your brand. And Amazon sellers, 99% of Amazon so stupid know what the hell public relations and earned media is, or how to leverage it like it’s a huge blue ocean for people who are willing to take advantage of it. And the whole point behind all this, let’s just say you’re just selling on Amazon, you’re thinking, I need to diversify. Cool, this is how you do it, you start to build a little bit of Google love, first, you start to get these high authority placements, you start to get known. And it makes it a lot easier for them to expand off of Amazon. So you set up a Walmart or eBay, or your other marketplaces, where you’re going into physical retail, or whatever the case may be, you’re carrying that brand wait with you, it’s not this boom, here we are. Nobody’s ever heard of us? Well, you’ve got you’ve already got a following, you’ve already got some authority being built in your niche. And it just makes expansion so much easier when you got some brand weight from authority behind

22:19
you. Suppose you have a good product and you’re doing good, you have a brand, right? You guys can jump in and create a media presence all over the place. And these are not like classical classic placements, like Facebook or Google ads, but it’s rather magazines and you know, PR. That’s, that’s very interesting, because I think that very few sellers are actually making use of this. In an in a next step, we launch a Shopify store, and when direct links to the store, and we’re starting to become a brand, but tell me like these, this PR, does it generate sales? Right? I mean, is it more branding? Or like full Seo? Right? Or does it really generate sales?

23:12
Yeah, that’s a great question. You know, the funny thing is assuming they said that we’ve got, usually we start off with a brand builder face and all this content every month to get you seem to get things up, it will drive some traffic, it’s not its primary purpose is not to drive sales, it will. But starting to get your brand known, you’re starting to show up in search results, it will drive traffic, you will increase sales. But the primary purpose of it is to is to just start to build exposure and authority, public relations, the ROI isn’t seen, it’s usually 50 to 100 times ROI. The thing is, so when we went out to start this, we hired a public relations team that had their own agency, and they had been operating for was an agency for about 1718 years, but they had over 20 years experience. So we brought them right into our fold. And when we went through all the the client portfolio, the average retention rate, so the average customer stays with our team, seven to nine years, because the ROI is insane. Our job is to keep you at the top of the news cycle in a couple of minutes, like so if you’re if you’ve got a brand, you’ve got your silicone spatula, and you’re looking over there at the silicon spatch like Oxo or durrow, or, you know, Wilton or whatever their name is. They’re always if you do any kind of a search on Google for any of those keywords, you’re gonna see videos, you’re gonna see article places, you’re gonna see the ROB report, you’re gonna see all these things, because they’ve got a PR team. They’re constantly constantly in people’s face. And that’s literally how to get into this gift guide. How did they get this magazine ship What’s going on? That’s why they got a pre professional working for them. And as you said, 99% of Amazon sellers don’t even know this exists. And a big reason for that, I think is because most Amazon sellers are first time business owners. Well, they really are. They didn’t come from a physical space where they had to compete and fight and, and do advertising and do all kinds of things. It’s all new for them. So a lot of people just don’t even know that earned media exists. So that’s what we do. And yes, the insane the returns are really good. Typically 50 to 100 times. But here’s the other thing is it takes a little while to get that flywheel going. So let’s say you come to me and you’re like, Shane, I want to promote my company. I, you know, sell services to Amazon sellers. Okay, great. We better meet that’s exactly what I’m thinking about.

25:41
Yeah, yeah. So what we do is we take your story, okay, who is this guy? What’s he done? Where is he? What’s his story? What services does he have? And we build a media list hundreds, okay. And we say, Hey, what’s your dream list? You want to be an entrepreneur, Forbes anklet it those are appropriate for what we’re doing? Okay, great. And we get to work on those. And we guarantee placements every single month, which very few other agencies will do. In fact, I don’t even know of any but we do.

26:08
Same, but we’ll also create the content. Like for example, if I’m if I sell jump ropes, right, and I’m like, Okay, what can I write about jump rope? So just to give an idea, you know,

26:17
yeah, yeah, that’s what we do. Yeah. And all we do basically, is we pitch to our context. So you want to be in Men’s Fitness magazine, seasonal jump ropes or something? We’re pitching to our contacts at all these media outlets? So likely with that? Or the Oh, yeah, I was gonna say that it takes a little while to get that flywheel spinning. So you give me your dream list. You know, Forbes Inc, min sells, Martha Stewart, whatever it happens to be what’s appropriate for your product. Okay, we’ll get started on those. But it takes a while to spend, if it’s a magazine, they’re usually six months ahead and print. Well, you know, so the, hey, this sounds great. We’ll get them in for the first week of April. Okay, cool. It takes a while to get that flywheel spinning. Now digital mediums are a lot easier than ever short, calm, and maybe three months. Or sometimes things come up really quickly, we’ll get calls all the time, from, you know, all kinds of different media outlets across the spectrum, saying, hey, we’ve got a placement that just opened for this, we need it like by next Friday, can you give us something, we’ll go through our client portfolio and say, This is perfect, it will get them placed. So it takes you know, one to three months to really start picking up speed. Now we can get you smaller placements. Until then every single month, we’re gonna get you placements. But those big placements we have to work on, we have to work with their timelines. So yeah, that’s the one thing is it does take a little bit of time to to get going. But once it kicks into gear, it’s just constant, constant, constant.

27:50
Nice. Yeah. Very cool. So look, I think I definitely I knew about prs and public relations and these press releases and stuff. But actually, I didn’t think about it this way. So I have learned something new today. So Shane, how, tell us a little bit about your company. You know, how big are you? And you know, how can our listeners find you?

28:17
Yeah, so PR reach. We’re actually the world’s first video Presley’s company back in the day, we’ve changed more into I would call it a more of a media communications company and vertically integrated Media and Communications because both my partner and I norm come from a heavy Amazon space, we do cater and tailor things to an Amazon crowd, as well as other people and businesses. So we have all different types of press releases with different distribution levels, depending on what they’re to be used for. And a lot of people don’t think about press releases too much, or don’t really understand how they work. So we have different levels, depending on what people’s needs are. And we do content, we do syndication. So let’s say you write a blog or you want to run a blog written for your website. Well, that’s great. And we all know that content is the way to go. It just takes a long time to get going on the content. I did put out a lot of really high quality content and over 1234 years, you will start to rank really well on Google. We know that that’s what Google wants, we can speed up that process, we syndicate so we’ll send that out to you know, four or 500 different high end sites, all those backlinks. Coming to your blog, and then get you know, get your blog in front of a lot of eyeballs every single month and help it rank a lot faster. We have other little tricks we do to rank content faster. So is that we have Amazon managed launches as a unique managed rebate service we have

29:46
where we can blend in a lot of social signals. It’s very, very powerful, especially now right before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If people are needing to get their keywords ranked up before then this is your last last chance. Right. But what we do is pretty unique. We would manage rebates. And again, we blend in social signals. So they’re there, there’s no footprint and that that’s our thing is we don’t want to leave a footprint. We have the public relations and earned media side, which we’ve just discussed, we’ve got brand builder, which is like a SERP monthly done for you SERP little tip just to get your, your brand, page one Google is our goal. And again, it won’t be a website, we’re gonna rank within 72 hours, we’ll probably get you ranked for most of your keywords at the top of Google. And because it might be Yahoo article, it might be, you know, a different but it’ll be, but still,

30:40
you’re gonna like your basic, they will give you a keyword. And the goal is the user types in the keyword and sees my brand on the first page somewhere.

30:51
somehow, some way Yeah,

30:53
yeah. Yeah. Cool. Very cool.

30:55
Yeah. Yeah. So

30:56
we do a lot of cool things. A lot of different things. It might seem a bit scattered, but realistically, they’re all holistically interrelated. They all tie into each other in one way or another. And you know, not everyone has to do everything. It’s not necessary. Some people do. Some people are just, you know, they’ve got specific goals, and we just help them get that specific goal, whether it’s Amazon, whether it’s just comm you name it. So that’s what we do.

31:22
Very cool. So we’ll put the link in the description. But can you name it just for those who are listening to some audio on this pallet?

31:32
Oh, like my PR, eh, yeah. Pr reach calm. So, like, nations reach. Yeah, there’s two R’s, their periods. A lot of people call it preach, but it’s not preach. I think we’re some kind of religious ofit. We’re not. That’s PR reach. Yeah. If you want to reach me, it’s just Shane at PR reach calm, and I’m happy to chat with anybody about,

31:53
you know,

31:54
branding and ranking on Amazon and all that fun stuff.

31:58
Amazing. Thanks so much, Shane.

32:01
You’re welcome. My pleasure.

32:03
Have a good day. You too. Bye. Thanks for watching, guys. I hope you liked it. If so, then don’t forget to press the like button and subscribe to our channel. We’re bringing those videos regularly for you. Have a good day. Bye-bye.