Today, we are happy to have Dr. Travis Zigler. Travis is a founder of Profitable Pineapple Ads – Amazon PPC agency, recovering optometrist, founder of Eye Love and Eye Love Cares Foundation.
- how the Eye Love brand managed to grow from 86K in the first year to 1.2M in the second on Amazon;
- how to create a successful sales funnel around the customer problem;
- how to differentiate your hero photo on Amazon;
- strategies to optimize your PPC campaigns;
…and much more!
Speaker1: [00:00:02] Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of the sellerboard Show podcast. Today we have a special guest. His name is Dr. Travis Zigler and he is follow me, a recovering optometrist, founder of Eye Love. It’s a brand that we are going to discuss today, founder of the Eye Love Cares Foundation and the founder of Profitable Pineapple. From what I know so far, it’s an agency that helps not only Amazon sellers but also ecommerce entrepreneurs. So, Travis, thank you so much for joining the podcast.
Speaker2: [00:00:39] Alex. Thanks for having me on. I’m excited to be here.
Speaker1: [00:00:42] Well, you’ve got a really interesting story and I would love to know more about it. And for me, you know, when I read just a small portion of your bio, the first question that came to my mind was, what actually is a recovering optometrist? So I guess it has to do something with the eyes. But why recovering? Can you I mean, it’s a question that I can’t get rid of. Let’s get that out of the way, first of all.
Speaker2: [00:01:13] So I followed the typical path of, you know, go to school, get a good degree, get a great job. And I realized I was miserable. So my goal when I graduated college, I went to college for seven years for optometry. Did three years of undergrad, four years of my doctorate training, And two years into practicing, I was miserable and I didn’t really like it. And so I followed what everybody told me to do, and I even became a doctor. So I did more than what most people do. And it was I was miserable. Like any entrepreneur that’s stuck in a cubicle all day is going to be miserable. My cubicle is a little unique, but I say recovering optometrist because that’s kind of a past life for me. The funny thing is I still use my license. I still have my license. I use it on mission trips. And so I’m actually leaving on a mission trip tomorrow and we’re going to be going on our 14th mission trip where we give eye exams in third world countries. So I still use it, but I just don’t do it in the typical sense of working in an office asking you what is better 1 or 2? Because I have nightmares of asking people what is better? 1 or.
Speaker3: [00:02:20] 2. Wow.
Speaker1: [00:02:22] Um, that’s, that’s quite that’s quite a story. I can only imagine, you know. Um, did you, did you have a lot of practice? So did you. I mean, did you already pass that stage at which you had a lot of patients that you had to, you know, to ask what’s better? 1 or 2? Is that something that you’ve already done?
Speaker3: [00:02:46] Yeah. So.
Speaker2: [00:02:49] I was practicing for seven years. Four years of those were with my uncle and his practice. And then three years my wife and I started our own practices. So that’s kind of I’m grateful for the opportunity. I say recovering optometrist, but it led me to the path that I’m on, and I’m very grateful for what has happened.
Speaker1: [00:03:08] Right, Right. So from what I see, it has been a platform that you were able to build on with the brand and everything else and even the the missions that you were going to talk about and the one you’re going to tomorrow. So that’s where you start from. Right. Thank you for that. All right. So, um, now that we’ve got that out of the way, um, we are going to be talking today a lot about Amazon selling on Amazon. Um, and I can’t not ask you how, what was the switch? I mean, at what point did you understand, okay, being an optometrist is not something that I dreamed of and I’m miserable, but e-commerce is probably something that I should consider and maybe think about making the switch. What point was it and how was it like for you?
Speaker2: [00:04:02] Yeah. So the first switch into entrepreneurship was when I didn’t like working for my uncle. My uncle was great. I mean, I loved working for him, but I didn’t like working for someone else. And that’s when I was kind of just burnt out of optometry because I didn’t have a say in what was going on with the business. And so we actually moved from Ohio down to South Carolina to start our own practices, which is about a thousand mile drive, about 700 miles, I think, and 1000km depending on where you’re located. So but we started two practices there, and my uncle’s practice is going on. I think it’s an 80 year old, 70 year old practice. And we went from a 70 year old practice to a brand new practice. And so we went from seeing six patients an hour to one patient an hour. And I was used to like busyness. Like any entrepreneur, when you have idle hands, you tend to try to busy them with something else. And I came across a course called Amazing Selling Machine and took that course and it taught me how to sell on Amazon. And pretty much the rest is history from there. The first year we did 86,000 and then in year two we did 1.2 million. So we accelerated very quickly and our practices went from 300,000 in the first year to 400,000 in the second year to 500,000 in the third year. And our Amazon business went from 86,000 to 1 point 2 million to 2.5 million. And so we’re like, okay, we got to do something. And so we ended up selling our practices to go full time into this after about three years of owning our own practices.
Speaker1: [00:05:36] Got it. Got it. So that was the the I mean, the fork for you. Yeah. I mean, the number speaks for for for themselves. Uh, it’s not, not not that, you know, a decision that probably is self-explanatory. Uh, got it. So my next question is about, um. So the brand Eye love, it’s a product from what I what I’ve seen on the website. Could you tell us a bit more about it, how you came up with the idea and at what stage is it now and do you sell it on Amazon or is it strictly I mean, how do you sell it? Just elaborate a bit on that. Yeah.
Speaker2: [00:06:21] Eye love started as a sunglass company and we built it to be about a $3 million sunglass company at the very beginning. But we saw a shift in the marketplace of plastic widgets from China just being they were going to go extinct. So we wanted to create more of a brand and serve a person. And so we shifted love into more of a dry eye brand and we started helping people that had dry eye. So we found a big problem that was in the marketplace. 40 million Americans alone just in the US have dry eye. Worldwide, it’s probably a much bigger number than that. It’s probably closer to, I would say 1 billion people have dry eye worldwide. And so we saw an opportunity, we saw it in our practice as well. And so we then came out with a dry eye brand. The sunglass company is still around, but it’s kind of phased out. It only does like 500,000 to 1 million now a year. I say only, but it’s still a great business. But sure, sure. Of course. Compared to the dry eye side, it does so much more. And so we started serving a person and building up an audience, and our audience grew to be around 150 to 200,000 people that we served by the time we sold it. And we continued to build it up in the dry eye space and ended up selling Ilove in 2021 in June.
Speaker2: [00:07:33] And then we stayed on. It was actually a strategic sale to go to a bigger eye care provider in the space, and they were in around 6000 doctors offices and we were in about 50. And so we knew how to sell online, on Amazon and on Shopify. They knew how to sell direct to doctor. And so we teamed up. We took over their direct to consumer for all their brands and they took over wholesale for us. And so going back to your question about Amazon, we pretty much did three things well. We did Amazon really well, hence why I created an agency that helps people with Amazon PPC. We also created an audience and we built that audience up to a pretty large number and it was all about focusing on service. And then all we did is so Amazon PPC building that audience using Google ads and getting really good at Google ads to blog posts. So we focused around problems and we built around those problems and that’s what helped us build our audience, which then ultimately helped us scale on Amazon and scale on Shopify as well. The audience. If you focus on building an audience and serving somebody first, Amazon takes care of itself.
Speaker1: [00:08:42] That’s interesting. Let’s let’s stop there for a bit. So I like the approach and I really do understand right now in your business model how answering a question and trying to help someone solve a problem, especially a health care problem probably is a very good way to, you know, get this someone to the top of the funnel when first of all, you help him out and then you kind of you suggest using a product that could solve his problem. So could you elaborate on that? How do you make the connection between, you know, a blog posting and the Google ads advertising and then going down to transferring all of this to the selling point on Amazon or. Some other marketplace.
Speaker2: [00:09:33] Yeah. So we we call this our moat building strategy. And so Amazon PPC is one part of that moat. And what we’re doing is we’re trying to build this moat of traffic around your listing that is then going to increase your keyword rankings. It’s going to increase your sales, increase your conversion rate, which ultimately makes you more money. And so that’s the end goal is more profit. And the more you serve somebody, the more profit you’re going to make because they’re going to come back to you over and over again. They’re become loyal to you. So going back to your question about how we did that, we would go into Google ads and go into Google keyword research and our keyword planner, sorry, and we’d put we’d first list out a bunch of problems that we knew our customer had. And if you don’t know, ask your customer. Ask them what kind of problems they’re having. Us being doctors, we kind of had some knowledge in this space, so we knew Dry Eye was a big one. Of course, Blepharitis is just inflammation of the eyelids, right? Styes A stye is just an eyelid bump. And then those are in dry eyelids. Those are problems that we are trying to address. And so we put those into Google keyword planner, see which ones had a high search volume and a low competition.
Speaker2: [00:10:42] Now, the thing is about Google ads is most people that are bidding on keywords, on Google ads are focused on product based keywords, right? So sticking with our eye example, eyelid wipes. We sold eyelid wipes. Eyelid wipes are a product based keyword. When somebody is looking for eyelid wipes, they know they’re looking to buy eyelid wipes. Right? Product based keyword. Someone with a problem though. Blepharitis dry eye. A stye is looking more for research and so they’re looking to maybe find they don’t know what the solution is to their problem. But what we do is we bid on those keywords to send them to a blog article about that problem. And then we talk about the problem and then the solution, and then that solution happens to be our product. Now you do have to be careful with how you say and word things you can’t say like my eyelid wipes treat Blepharitis because that would be against most structure function claims in the US and in worldwide. But what you can do is say to get rid of your stye, you need to heat it up and you need to clean your eyelids. Those two things. So this is how we recommend heating it up. This is how we recommend cleaning them. And then we’ll put an Amazon attribution link in those blog posts to go buy over on Amazon.
Speaker2: [00:11:57] Now, when we started doing this back in 2017, we didn’t have Amazon attribution links. We had Amazon Associates links. So it was very, very messy to track all this and it was a lot of work too. But with attribution links now you get another 10% bonus on top of that. So it’s even more profitable. But what we did is we just kept coming out with more and more blog posts around the problem based keywords dry eyes, Blepharitis, Styes and we’d build blogs around that and then we’d drive Google ads to those blogs. And then in those blogs they’d had attribution links that went to go buy on Amazon. And while they’re on the blogs, we try to get them to opt in for something of value. So if they came to a dry blog, we’d try to get them on a dry list with like a free challenge or like a free book. I actually wrote a book called Rethinking Dry Treatment. It’s a 200 page book. It’s on Amazon. You can get it on Audible and hear us reading it, or you can buy the paperback version or whatever. And it was a real book. And so we’d give that to them for free because we knew if they read that book, they were hooked. They would love following us, staying with us, but we’d give that away for free if they gave us their email address.
Speaker2: [00:13:04] And that is how we ended up building that list of 140,000 people because we’re driving so much traffic from Google to these blogs, having them opt in and then trying to make a sale over on Amazon. So now we have Amazon PPC, we have this Google ads to blog post to Amazon strategy to parts of the moat. Yeah. Then we also have an email list and that email list becomes a perpetual selling machine. So we welcome them with the the strategy of we welcome them to the email sequence with whatever they opted in for free, book free challenge, whatever it is. And then we drip out blog posts that would be useful for them based on the problem that they’re trying to solve. And that blog post gets them back or excuse me, the email gets them back over to a blog post, right, which then gets them back over to Amazon. And so the bigger this email list gets, the more perpetual and the large the sales machine gets and it just keeps going. So you’re pushing this rock up the hill at the beginning, and then once you get it over the hill, it just creates this sales machine that just keeps going and going and going and you can’t really stop it.
Speaker3: [00:14:10] I love it.
Speaker1: [00:14:10] I love it. That’s that’s sounds like, you know, the perfect selling machine because it’s so logical from from a point of view of me, for example, having a background in marketing and, you know, always practicing and knowing the fact that you have to start with a problem, not. Actually, for me, it’s the first time when I talk to someone being a specialist in this domain, in some domain for you being a doctor and you’re knowing the problem the best, I mean, and then shifting this knowledge to the online space and just creating content around it and getting people to find the solution to their problems. And, you know, you having the the knowledge and you have the license. So so you, I think, probably are the best person to address when with this kind of problem because in comparison with other people who consider themselves online entrepreneurs who are not specialists in some kind of domains, they just do research, you know, create content, try to practice SEO tricks and stuff like that, and not really understanding the problem, but focusing on the keywords, like you said, on maybe on the products, on the solutions and not really tackling the problem, they will never get such kind of results. So this, this is impressive really. And um, now we have this question. Let’s talk about the problem because I’m really new to this and I assume that most of the listeners and viewers of the podcast are also new to this problem or maybe don’t really understand the importance of maybe the severity, what is dry and why is it so important? I mean, it doesn’t sound like something, you know, that you should run to the doctor and treat right now.
Speaker2: [00:16:04] Yeah. So dry eye, like I said before, impacts 40 million Americans, probably a billion people worldwide. And the reason it’s so impactful is because it affects your daily life. It makes it so you can’t drive, you can’t work. And if your listeners or your viewers are watching this saying, what is dry eye? That’s a good thing. That means you probably don’t have it. But if you notice your eyes and your eyelids are itchy and they burn, you most likely have dry eye. And the problem is with our diet today, it’s impacting our eyes significantly. It’s impacting our whole body, but it’s impacting the eyes significantly because our eyelids have oil and they have oil glands that produce oil. And that oil gets released onto the eye to lead to a more comfortable eye. And the problem is we don’t eat healthy fats. We eat all these saturated fats and fats that aren’t good for you. And therefore, the oil production from your eyelids isn’t as good. And then our eyelids are dirty. They’re not as clean because we don’t focus on cleaning those. And that leads to dry eyes. So usually what we do with with patients is we’ll switch their diet. So we’ll replace their breakfast with a green smoothie. We’ll teach them to drink more water. We’ll teach them to stress less, to sleep more. And then, by the way, we have these products over here that are going to help you out along your journey. And so if you followed our challenge, you wouldn’t even need our products. But our products are there to help you out along the way. And so we never really were hardcore selling them because we were always just trying to provide them value and just giving them as much as possible.
Speaker2: [00:17:37] And then when they’d say, Hey, what eyelid wipe do you recommend? I would say, Try ours. Here you go. And so the more you give in this space, the more you’re going to receive because people are going to become loyal to you. And so I know you asked about Dry Eye, but we just focused on serving the dry eye customer and getting them better no matter what. And it actually ruffled some feathers in the optometry space because people didn’t like us for teaching people holistic functional medicine because it might affect their practice and their bottom line, because they might not get as many dry eye patients. But it was the most ridiculous thought process in the world. But now doctors are actually training people in diet and exercise for dry eye. So I would like to feel like I was a big part of that. But you never know. It was just kind of one of those things that we just believed in because of something that happened to us and Western medicine failed us. And I’m a Western medicine trained doctor. Eastern medicine succeeded functional medicine and acupuncture and herbs that succeeded. And so we just learned from it and started applying it to dry eye. So just to give you a brief backstory on that, we were told we could never have kids and Western medicine failed us. We tried everything except for IVF, which is in vitro fertilization. And then we went the Eastern medicine route and we ended up having three kids. So and it wasn’t like so we did Western medicine for three years. We did Eastern medicine for like four months and we got pregnant right away.
Speaker1: [00:19:07] Congratulations. That’s amazing. I love it.
Speaker3: [00:19:09] Yeah.
Speaker1: [00:19:11] Um, and from coming back to what you said about the, um, the other doctors, you know, being worried about losing patients because. Because, you know, you educate them and you tell them, hey, before going to buying the products or maybe going to the someone who will heal you, just try maintaining a healthy lifestyle. So I think that it’s evident that for most of the people, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, as easy as it may seem, is actually pretty hard because it’s habits and it’s, you know, something that you have to do on a daily. So at the end of the day, there will always be a lot of customers for the products and for the services. So it’s easier, you know, to reach out and take a product of the shelf and, you know, try to treat your problem than just not getting to the problem in the first place. So that I think that this is this is out of the discussion. But, hey, at least for now, our viewers and listeners will know where the movement came from. So, yeah, uh, where the change began. Thank you for sharing that.
Speaker2: [00:20:25] I didn’t say I started it. I just said I believe that maybe I had a say in it.
Speaker3: [00:20:30] Right, Right. All right.
Speaker1: [00:20:33] Um, now that we’ve educated everyone listening on what dry eye is, let’s move on to, um. How you managed to grow so fast on Amazon? I mean, the numbers are really impressive and the fact that what followed was creating an agency and helping other sellers and, you know, trying to move your knowledge forward and share it. It really means that you’ve mastered some something you’ve gained, you know, an understanding that a lot of people search for. And I really do understand that it’s a process. And you have to you have to learn. You have to try. You have to fail. You have to you know, it’s not that simple. But in general terms, probably you do have an understanding of why it happened. How do you manage to grow so fast?
Speaker2: [00:21:29] Yeah. So there’s we’ve managed like over 100 clients now at this point in our agency and the same concepts apply. Universally for the brands that tend to just take off and the brands that don’t. Number one is persistence. The brands that tend to take off the most. And what helped us grow the most as well is my wife and I didn’t care about the results of something. We just knew that we were going to commit to something for at least a year and we were going to go after it for a year before we determine if it was a success or a failure. And so an example of that is we built a YouTube channel for Ilove that was over 55,000 subscribers and a Facebook group that has about 22,000 people in it. And what we said is we’re going to create live videos in Facebook. We’re then going to take those videos over to YouTube and we’re going to do that for an entire year before we ever analyze the results. So what happened? Our subscriber ship took off, our Facebook group took off, and we’re like, okay, this is working. Let’s continue doing this. And then we put a team in place to help us do that. And so persistence, most entrepreneurs give up way too soon. They’ll try this Amazon thing for six months and be like, I didn’t profit, so I quit it. And it’s like you tried something for six months and you quit like do it for 3 to 5 years. And then if you still aren’t profiting after that, then you can quit, but not until then. So persistence is one of the biggest things that I see.
Speaker1: [00:22:57] Sorry for interrupting you. I think that a thing from your past, the fact that you’ve studied for seven years to become a doctor has has something to do with this. You know, just having the persistence to go all the way and just, you know, achieving this goal is something that probably most of the doctors have. I don’t know, or at least you really learned and mastered that skill.
Speaker2: [00:23:21] Yeah, that and it’s just I try to do things that I love to do. And so, like, I love to serve other people. Obviously I’m a doctor, so I love to provide people and give to them because it makes me feel good and I like to do it. And so YouTube is a way to do that. A Facebook group is a way to do that just selflessly give and give and give. And I can wake up every day happy because I’ve given that day and people write me back all the time, telling how much we made an impact on their lives and how much this video helped them or this and that. And that’s the reward. I don’t need that, but I love to just I fell in love with the process. And the problem is most entrepreneurs are so focused on getting to $1 million or getting to $10 million that the process sucks and they’re miserable. So why not focus on a process that you actually love to do? And trust me when I say if you focus on what you love to do, it shows in your work and then therefore you’re going to win. As a result, you’re going to make more money as a result. And the problem is most people think they have to focus on sales and profit. But if you focus on service, you’re going to make more profit.
Speaker1: [00:24:31] Make sense? Totally makes sense. So, yeah. So sorry. You were on your way to answering my question, right?
Speaker2: [00:24:40] Persistence is number one that we see. So when the entrepreneurs and the brands do the same thing over and over again and it works, they focus and double down on that instead of getting shiny object syndrome and go after everything else. The ones that I’ve seen fail go after shiny object syndrome. They they. I have a friend. He now works in our agency now and he’s actually building a software for us. But I’ve seen him build a $2.5 million company and another couple like another million dollar company and then another company that didn’t quite make it to six figures. But when he built the $2.5 million company, instead of focusing on this one, he started another one and then another one. And then all of a sudden all the companies fell apart. So persistence and focusing on the one thing is going to be huge. Now the second thing is products. So brands that we see scale quickly and how we scale quickly is we came out with a lot of products and out of the I think in the course of Love, we probably launched 300 to 400 products total out of those 300 to 400 products. When we sold our company, we had 16. So 304 hundred products 16 when we sold because and only five of those were what we consider home run hero products that were selling 50 to 100 and 50 to 200 a day. Right. The other ten were selling like 10 to 20 units a day.
Speaker2: [00:26:02] And then of course, the other 300 and some were never above five a day. So we just shut them down. And a lot of entrepreneurs get so caught up in trying to fix this one product that’s just not doing anything that they take their eyes off the prize of the product that’s actually working. And so 8020 comes into play with this 8020, the Pareto’s principle is 20% of your work produces 80% of your results. But it also applies to Amazon. And this is all we did. 20% of your products create 80% of your revenue, 20% of your search terms on Amazon PPC create 80% of your revenue. And what we do as an agency and what we did in love is that’s all we do for customers is we focus. We tell them you have 100 products or let’s just let’s go smaller. You have ten products. Two of those are making all your revenue, right? So what we’re going to do is we’re going to shut off all your ads for the other ones, Scares them to death, scares them to death. And then we look at their advertising and 20% of the search terms and asins that they’re targeting create 80% of the results. So we shut down the rest of it. Right. And when we do that, we can start to scale those two products. And when we scale those two products, the other products pick up as well, even though we’re not advertising for them anymore.
Speaker2: [00:27:13] But if you have a great product and you have a great brand, which is the only people we work with, we don’t work with people that just sell plastic crap from China. And but when you have a great product and a great brand and you focus on the 20% of products that are bringing 80% of your revenue, the 20% of search terms and things that are bringing 80% of your revenue, you scale incredibly quick. And what happens is that led us to build five hero products, five products that were building that were selling anywhere from 100 to 200 a day. And mind you, we were in categories where our competitors were doing $10. They would cost $10 and we were 30 and we were still selling 100 to 200 a day. That’s the power of audience. That’s the power of focus, and that’s the power of going all in on what you know. I’ve made many mistakes along the way, but I’m giving you the shiny side. So like persistence and just coming out with as many SKUs as possible to fail as much as possible because you’ll succeed. And if you keep failing, you’ll succeed. So those are the two big takeaways is persistence and focus. And then guess I can add a third one in there. Coming out with a product that has a unique selling proposition, a USP, there always has to be something that differentiates you.
Speaker2: [00:28:24] That’s why we never bring on people that are just selling another plastic widget from China, right? Because we always ask them, how is it differentiated? And they give us some bullshit answer, sorry my language, but they give me some bullshit answer and it’s the same. It’s like if I’m on Amazon searching for this, why do I want to buy yours and not the one right above you or below you that looks the exact same because you guys use the same picture and your hero image. So how can you make your branding unique? How can you make your your brand unique? How can you make your products better? And that is so key. Those are the three main things that differentiated us and that took us off in love. And just to go back to the sunglasses example, everybody on Amazon is selling these $10 sunglasses that are just cheap. Or you have Ray-Ban and Oakley, which is like $100 plus, right? So we’re like, why don’t we make them Ray-Ban and Oakley quality but price them around 30 to $40? And people said like when they buy them that they couldn’t tell the difference between that and the Ray-Bans and that was what we were going for. And so that led to a huge increase in sales for our sunglasses, even though we were $30 and competitors were ten because we differentiated them, made them higher quality like the top tier, but priced them better.
Speaker1: [00:29:41] Nice. I have a question, though, regarding the the eye glasses. Right. The sunglasses. So me as a buyer, for example, just, you know, scrolling through the listings, how can I tell the difference between a just by considering the photos given between China produced plastic, low quality sunglass sunglasses and for example, yours, which have more quality and eventually I can only feel it from what I understand by by having in my hand touching it and, you know, understanding that that’s really higher quality. How do you translate the quality into the listing?
Speaker2: [00:30:19] Yeah, that was always harder because I mean, it is hard. That’s, that’s the name of the game on Amazon, right? So hero photos were the biggest ones, right? Um, if you go to Amazon and look at sunglasses, you’ll notice they’re all tilted this way.
Speaker3: [00:30:33] Uh huh.
Speaker2: [00:30:33] And that was because of what we did. So everybody had them, like everybody always had them horizontal, like just sitting for the viewers, like sitting like this. Right. And so what we did is we changed the picture just to this just like a diagonal. And it worked incredibly well. And so how can you differentiate your hero photo? Another example is we sold eyelid wipes and so everybody just has the box of eyelid wipes. And so what we did is we put the box and then we put a circle of all 30 eyelid wipes around it. And so you could see all the eyelid wipes. So you saw this circle with a box in the middle instead of just a box. Or we’d do the box with like three. I think that’s what it is right now. But how can you differentiate your photo in any way? And then as far as once they click into the listing, that’s where reviews come in. You have to have good reviews and if you have a great product, you’re going to get great reviews and that is key. And so the reviews are really what helped us take off and then we’d give them away. And so like, if you can find an influencer in your space, sure, just give them the product and don’t ask. Transactional influencer relationships are not what most influencers want. They want to create a they want to establish a relationship with a brand. And so what you want to do is you want to establish a relationship with them by commenting by DMing them, by getting to know them, and then just be like, Hey, I want to send you my product just so you can try it out with no obligations, right? Because all they’re doing is getting pitched all day.
Speaker2: [00:32:01] And so what I recommend doing so we sell a lot of consumables and a lot of our clients are consumables as well. And what I tell them to do is establish a relationship with an influencer, set them up on auto ship for every 30 days they get a new bottle. That’s it. Don’t worry about anything else and you pay for it and eventually it will hit where they will post about it. Or they’ll say, Stop sending me your stuff. Either one either is okay. And so like, we’re coming out with a nut butter brand and I mean, we’re in formulation right now. And the CEO of that brand is I’m just like all you need to do every single day while this is in production is interact with influencers. I need you to post on there. I need you to comment on their posts. I need to send them messages. I need to develop a relationship with at least 30 up to 100 every single day. You need to post on their stuff. That’s all you got to do. So when we come out with this, we can send it to them and they’re going to love it because it’s going to be that good. We’re coming out with a Tesla alternative. Nutella is just sugar and palm oil. We’re coming out with a healthy version that’s all Whole Foods. So I don’t even remember what the original question is. I go on rants. So this is one of my rants. And so I’ll pause there.
Speaker1: [00:33:16] No, no, no. It’s I didn’t even want to stop you because these were all insights. I mean, I love I love the idea with the sunglasses, the thing that you need to do something with your listing to change the photo in a way. And I think that this is a very simple and smart move that just to, you know, the first step to differentiate yourself, the original question was how to how to communicate the quality. Just, you know, by everything, the possibilities you have in your listing. But you already answered the question. Thank you.
Speaker2: [00:33:47] I actually I have one other comment I can make on that. Sure. The material material that we use in our sunglasses is called Tr90. These are actually a pair of our blue blockers that we sold. We actually discontinued them. So if anybody wants them, I’m sorry, you can’t get them. But what we do is we show videos of the fact that you could just bend them.
Speaker3: [00:34:03] Oh, okay.
Speaker2: [00:34:04] And then we twist them. Twist them. We’d run them over with cars. You know, we’d do anything you could to show the quality of the lens and the quality of the actual material. So like, we just show that you could just completely bend it and it would spring right back. And so that was how we demonstrated the quality, because you couldn’t do that with others.
Speaker1: [00:34:23] Nice, Nice. Now I have a question. Maybe I don’t know if it really fits the general topic of our discussion, but now that you’ve showed what you can do with the eyeglasses and I put myself in your shoes, try to do it, for example, from the point when you got the idea, okay, I want to create a series of. Sunglasses. I’m going to create a sunglasses brand. How do you get into specifics with the technical stuff? I mean, the material, all the decisions you need to make to make the product the way it is right now. Because from what you said earlier about communicating with the influencers and just shipping the products to them, and this is just enough to create these relationships and do it monthly so eventually they will start talking about your brand and just probably will become advocates of your brand. But there’s a condition to this. You need to get you need to have a great product. So you need to really be sure about the fact that, you know, it’s 100% quality and that you the ones that will eventually try to promote it, will be 100% satisfied. And as with the glasses, for me, it’s a complicated product because you need to really understand, you know, the way it should be built. The way what materials you should choose and stuff like that. So how do you approach these kind of questions? What was it like for you, you know, to create a pair of high quality sunglasses?
Speaker3: [00:35:54] So if you’re.
Speaker2: [00:35:55] Starting a brand in any space, you have to become an expert in that space, right? Luckily, I had training as a doctor. I got my doctorate in, so I had the training in it. But you have to have to have to become an expert in whatever space you’re going into. And a lot of Amazon sellers just find a product to sell and then they just go try to sell it. But they know nothing about the product, so they can’t make it better as a result. But whatever you’re going into, become an expert in that space. I knew sunglasses, I knew materials I sold, I sold glasses from 2003 until 2017. So 14 years of selling glasses. Yeah. And so I knew the space really, really well. And this is before I started my I started my brain in 2015, but I’d been selling glasses since 2003 when I graduated high school. All throughout college, I worked at an office and I was selling glasses. So learning the materials, titanium and plastic. And this is this is called tr90. It’s a type of plastic that you can bend memory metal. There’s all these different technicalities that you can use. The lenses can be made of regular plastic polycarbonate. They can be trivex, they can be high index plastic. So there’s all these different materials and you have to know that you have to become an expert in whatever space you’re going to go into.
Speaker2: [00:37:13] And another rant coming. The problem that I see in this space is they expect to make $1 million business, but they don’t expect to work a full time job in it. Right? So they expect to like, I’m going to work a full time job. I’m going to come home at night for an hour and build $1 million business. And it’s like, No, that’s not how it works. I still work 30 hours a week, but I’ve also been doing this for a long time and so I’ve built up a team around me, but I still grind. I still put in 30 hours a week because I enjoy what I do. Again, going back to enjoying the process. Yeah, find the process that you enjoy doing. Do that and your business will thrive. I love talking to people like you, Alex, because this is fun for me and I love doing it on my channel as well. And that’s the process I fell in love with. And so I did it again. So I did it for love. We built up the Subscribership and I did it for the agency. I literally built the agency the exact same way I did.
Speaker2: [00:38:10] I love. And it’s two completely different areas physical products focused on selling on Amazon and agency that services people. And so with the agency, we did the exact same thing. We did Google ads to a blog post about the problem that we’re trying to solve. That had a video of me on it. We did YouTube videos. We tried to build that up and we gave away. Instead of a book, we gave away a free Amazon masterclass. And we still do that. It’s we always tell people it’s better than any paid course that’s out there. We give it all away because we want to give it all away to you. So you build up your business enough to then come to us so we can serve you as an agency, give everything away, give as much as you can away. Because when you do that, the law of reciprocity kicks in and then they’ll want to give back to you somehow, either by joining our mastermind that we have or hiring us as an agency or letting us buy into your company. That’s also another service we have is that’s kind of the highest tier of our services that we actually buy into your company and become equity partners with you.
Speaker3: [00:39:19] Mm.
Speaker1: [00:39:20] And. Another point that I wanted to take out of what you told about the experience in becoming an expert. You talked about this a bit earlier, is the fact that this is a very good example of how you analyze what kind of knowledge and what kind of domain you already have experience and knowledge in and you capitalize on that. So I see I see this example with basically everything that you are doing, the eyeglasses and you, you know, having the experience of selling them and the other domains as well. So this is a very good example how you take something you already know and just moving and pushing it forward and just capitalizing on that. That’s that’s great. That’s amazing. Um, thank you. Let’s talk a little bit about about the agency. Tell us what a pineapple do. Do I say it right? What’s the full name of profitable pineapple? Yup. Profitable, of course. Profitable. Pineapple.
Speaker2: [00:40:26] Profitable.
Speaker3: [00:40:26] Pineapple adds.
Speaker1: [00:40:28] Pineapple. I like I like the logo, by the way, behind you right there.
Speaker2: [00:40:33] Yeah, that’s the one my son drew for me.
Speaker3: [00:40:37] Nice.
Speaker1: [00:40:38] Nice. So, um, now I do understand how you came up with the idea, and probably it was a logical move. Just tell us a little bit more about the agency.
Speaker2: [00:40:48] Yeah. So being doctors and then completely stopping practice to then focus on this online space, other doctors started coming to us and being like, Hey, I’m doing exactly what you’re doing, but we need a little help. And so I was like, Well, I’m running my own business here, but let me think about it and get back to you. And it ended up happening that I think it was four and a half years ago that I finally said yes. And I was talking to my best friend in college and I was like, Hey, um, he was teaching English in Mexico, which doesn’t pay well. And I was like, Hey, quit your job. Let’s start an agency together. I have people asking me all the time to help them manage their Amazon PPC, and I don’t have time to do it, so I need you to do it. And he finally said yes. We ended up getting our first four clients as a result of people, other doctors that had an online business that they wanted our help to do it. And so we ended up helping these doctors grow their business and scale them. We’ve actually we still have our first to clients that ever signed with us. They are still with us today and we’ve seen incredible growth in their brands, of course, over the four and a half years and it’s fun to work with them. And so that’s kind of who we’ve attracted throughout. And so we tend to attract people that are professionals like doctors, and they’re trying to create something online and they’ve already got some momentum and they’re just trying to scale that momentum. So we’ve worked with dentists in the past.
Speaker2: [00:42:13] We’ve worked with physicians, emergency room doctors. We have a pharmacist that’s a women’s pharmacist. We have like all these professionals that come to us with their brands and we help them grow that and we service some others as well. But that’s the main like core that we focus around because our strategy, our moat building strategy that we talked about, the PPC, the DSP, the Google ads to a blog, and then building that audience works so well for that space because in health care we’re solving problems and that’s what we’re passionate about. And so that’s what really works at. And, you know, starting at that many years ago, we just had those four clients forever. We probably didn’t charge anywhere near what we were worth, but that’s part of learning. And we grew that agency up to 300,000, just the two of us. And we’re like, Maybe we should try bringing on somebody that’s like really organized and see what happens. And we ended up making another hire. It was our other best friend from college and brought him on. We went from 300,000 to 1.2 million within like nine months and we’re like, okay, let’s start taking this seriously. Started our YouTube channel, started blogging, started doing all this stuff. And yeah, we’re now a team of 17, so it’s something that you just, you never know where life’s going to take you. And if you just kind of surrender to the universe and relax and just say yes, it takes you on an incredible journey. And now I run a business with my two best friends and I love was started with my wife. So I’ve created incredible businesses with the people I love and we continue to grow it.
Speaker2: [00:43:47] And we have no plans on selling it. We get to travel the world together and we get to have a lot of fun. We bring on people. We’re a very US based team. And so out of the 17 people, I think 15 of them are us based and that’s a differentiation that we have. But we hire people because we want to hang out with them and it creates a great team culture and chemistry that everybody wants to help everybody else. And we have core values in place. And if you don’t live up to those core values, we get rid of you. So going back to your question, it started just organically. Like any agency starts organically. Nobody says like, I’m going to start an agency today. I don’t think anybody’s ever said that. It just kind of happens because you have this expertise and then it just kind of happens. You start helping people and then it grows from there. And then, yeah, you just never know where it’s going to take you and just kind of go with that flow and just see what happens. And we stay persistent. We do the same thing every day over and over again to grow our agency. I go on podcasts, I record YouTube videos for our channel. We do some light advertising online to blog posts like we talked about. We do the same things. The simpler and more boring your business is, the more it’s going to grow going back to 1820, the simpler and more boring your business is, the more it’s going to grow.
Speaker1: [00:45:03] That final line. I think it’s a very good quote. I’ll have to place it somewhere in the description of the of this episode. I love it. From what you told about creating an agency with your friends and getting to hang out together and travel and everything. You’re a lucky man, Travis. I really envy you in a way. That’s. That’s sounds. Sounds really fun.
Speaker2: [00:45:28] It’s a blast. But there are always challenges with everything in life. And so I’ve been in more fights with my best friends in the last year than ever. And that’s because we’re going through Growing Pains mean we’re up to 17. And think a year ago we had six. So growing pains causes problems and you get in fights, but you get over it and you make up.
Speaker1: [00:45:47] Right, Right. One more thing I wanted to point out. You’ve talked about the clients of your agency a bit earlier, and you’ve said that most of them are specialists, different kind of doctors, and they’re the most part of your of the clients in your agency. And I really like that because it seems like you’ve picked an approach to picking your clients and working with someone who can actually do the same thing as you did. Just capitalize on the knowledge and expertise and the value that they can bring to the customer and solving their problems rather than the approach of the online entrepreneurs who search for possibilities and try to find a way to benefit, you know, and just to enter a certain niche. So these are two different approaches, in my opinion, and yours. I think it’s like it’s a bit more organic because it feels like it’s a natural thing to do. If you can help people, help know their problems, help them understand their problems better, maybe inform them and educate about their problems and eventually provide a service or a product to solve these problems. It’s very natural. I mean, it sounds very organic and it’s a bit different from what a lot of the a lot of cases that happen now in the e-commerce scene because a lot of people want to go there. A lot of people are dreamers. You know, the idea of just becoming an online entrepreneur working for several hours per day, for example, only and building a big business, it seems very attractive, but it’s not something that really, you know, can grow into $1 million business or a big business because as you said before, you still have to grind, you have to be an expert in your domain. So this is actually a bit of an eye opener for.
Speaker2: [00:47:50] Yeah, there’s, you know, there’s there’s entrepreneurs and there’s opportunity chasers. And most entrepreneurs are not entrepreneurs. They’re opportunity chasers. And so that’s the whole shiny object syndrome. They see something, they go after it. And then when it gets too hard, that’s all. All shiny object syndrome is I forget who said this All shiny object syndrome is is when a challenge presents itself and what you’re currently doing, you look to do something else. That’s all it is. And that’s why we go try to do other things is because what we’re doing right now is too hard. So an opportunity chaser is going to go here, Oh, that didn’t work. So I’m going to go over here. Oh, that didn’t work. So I’m going to go over here. That’s not an entrepreneur. That’s just somebody that thinks they’re an entrepreneur, but they’re just chasing the next opportunity because they can’t handle challenges. An entrepreneur is someone that solves a business or solves a problem. They they see a problem in the marketplace and then they solve it. So most Amazon sellers, quote unquote, are opportunity chasers, right? The opportunity on Amazon back in 2014 was amazing and it’s getting worse now. The opportunity of Amazon, the whole find a product, sell it online, make a lunch money.
Speaker2: [00:48:59] But Amazon as a whole is is huge still and it’s easier than ever to make money on Amazon if you’re an entrepreneur. Right? If you’re an opportunity chaser, it is not. And that’s why people are constantly saying Amazon is much harder now, Amazon is much easier now. If you are an entrepreneur and you’re solving a problem in the marketplace and you’re building something real if you’re an opportunity chaser, yeah, it sucks. So now you’re on to the next thing selling t shirts on merch or something. And then once that gets hard because it gets flooded, that opportunity is gone. So now we’re going to go try to do I don’t know what’s a big opportunity right now. I I’m going to go sell a courses on AI because AI is so big because it’s the opportunity right now. In one year they’ll be out of business again. Focus on the next opportunity. Those are opportunity chasers, not entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs find a problem in the marketplace and then they fix that problem and they focus on it relentlessly until they solve the problem. And you make a lot of money doing it because you’re serving a lot of people with that problem.
Speaker1: [00:50:03] I love it. Totally agree with that. Thank you. Um, now, with the time given that we have for the rest of this episode, um, really, I had more questions, but we we really had some interesting topics to tap into, and I feel like I have things I didn’t ask you, but we don’t have much time, you know, to discuss them. And, uh, I’ve read from, um, the things that you do with your agency and the expertise that you have with PPC. Um, and I got the impression that maybe you could give our audience maybe some basic tips. I really do understand that there are no, you know, quick recipes for becoming a PPC expert, but maybe some actionable advice that you could share. Um, just, you know, some quick tips or stuff like that. Do you have any of those?
Speaker2: [00:51:02] Yeah shameless plug at profitable pineapple.com My free Amazon masterclass is there so I’m going to shamelessly plug myself of course and. What I went back to earlier, and this is my first lesson in my my master class. The 8020 principle applies to everything you do in life. Everything. Everything, everything. What drives the results for you? So I’m going to answer your question, but I’m going to go on a side rant. Think. Sure. I think what you just said about like, we discussed different topics that we didn’t get to the questions you wanted. I think it’s because I went on rants, but with the 8020. Your 20% of your products are creating 80% of your revenue. 20% of your search terms that you’re bidding on are creating 80% of the revenue. So if only 20% is doing all the work, you can eliminate and become more profitable by just eliminating the other 80%. Right. Like I said, focus is everything. Focus is everything. So if you focus on your top products, they’ll scale in sales. If you focus on your top search terms, they’re going to scale in sales and put all your budget towards that. Because what happens then if your brand is cohesive, if you’re a true entrepreneur and your brand is cohesive, then when you sell more of this product, they’re then going to love your product and have you have a great product. Then they’re going to be like, What else does this brand have to offer? Oh, this product, oh, what else does this? What else do they have? This product? And it trickles down because if you have one amazing product.
Speaker2: [00:52:40] It will trickle down to all your other products. I’ll give you an example as well. I was in Costco the other day and I was just perusing the shelves or perusing the aisles. And this this bag of churros stood out to me because it said it was a big pink bag. And it said, you need this great branding. The brand is called You Need This. And I was like, this is fantastic. So I had to buy it. And yeah, so I had to buy it. And I looked up every other product they had because they were so amazing. They were grain free, low sugar churros. And I was like, This is amazing. And so I looked up every other product they have and they have a ton of products. So what did I do? I bought all their other products. So when you focus on creating an amazing product, selling that amazing product and focusing on that amazing product, then your business will take off and you’ll start to sell your other products. So we had our one hero product in the dry space, and then we started coming out with more products. They did okay, and then eventually a second product took off and then eventually a third product took off and then a fourth and then a fifth. And we had five hero products when we sold our company. And it was a result of focusing on the one.
Speaker2: [00:53:55] And then we had these other nine and then eventually one would come up and then we’d have two and then it would go on from there. So going back to the Amazon question, Yeah, if you can find the 20% of search terms, which is in your search term report, very easy to find. Go to campaign manager, go to sponsored ad reports. It’s the little bar graph on the left side of your screen and it says Sponsored ad reports. Download your last 30 to 60 days of sponsored product data. Sort that Excel spreadsheet. Into sales from top to bottom. And what you’re going to find is you’re going to have so much wasted ad spend on keywords that are not doing anything for you. So what you do is you just turn those off. And what we like to do is we like to peel those those search terms that are making all the results. We like to peel those out and put them into single keyword ad campaigns. A single keyword ad campaign means one keyword in one campaign, and that is it. So we’ll make a campaign for that keyword. It will be exact match and for that one product. So it’s a very granular campaign. And the reason we do that is because then you can focus your budget, your top of search placement and everything around that one keyword. We’ll then also peel it and put it into broad. So. We always put it in exact and if we have budget, we’ll put it in abroad as well.
Speaker2: [00:55:22] Some people don’t have the budget to do that, right. And we do not go back and negative those in the original campaign. A lot of people will do that, but we do not. We leave them all running because you never know what keywords are going to come out of it. The bids might be different in this broad campaign over here versus your exact campaign. So we never negative them because there’s momentum there, too. And so when we find the 20% of search terms that are creating 80% of your results, we then peel those out, put them into an exact match campaign with only that keyword. So let’s say you have 50 search terms that are creating your results. You’re going to have 50 new campaigns that are exact match and 50 new campaigns that are broad match. And when you do that, it becomes very granular and that’s how your sales really take off. And I want to say one more thing for the broad match campaigns. Obviously, they’re going to go after a lot of stuff. I. Whenever we take on a client, we look at every product and we do a negative phrase match list. This is not exact match. This is a negative phrase match list. And the reason we do that is because there’s a lot of words that Amazon will think you’re relevant for that you don’t need to be. And when you focus on creating negative phrase lists, it broadens the spectrum of what you can cover.
Speaker2: [00:56:42] In a quick example, we’ll cover this up. We sold an eye cream. An eye cream. It goes under your eyelids and on top of your eyelids. It’s an eye cream. It’s not a hand cream. It’s not a foot cream. It’s not a body cream. It’s not a face cream. It’s not anything cream. But Amazon might think it is. So we put a negative match or a negative phrase. For face a negative phrase for hand hand’s foot feet. And just those negative little tiny negative phrases can save you a ton of money. And then we’ll put those negative phrase into the broad campaigns. Because it will save you a ton of money and it will focus those campaigns even more. So that is my parting advice. That is the biggest thing we do for clients is those two steps. It’s so simple. It’s so simple, and it will save you so much money. So I don’t care if you guys use me or not do those things. Even the negative phrase match will make you more money than anything else. And it makes such a huge difference. In a quick story about a client of ours, I audited their account in January of this year and they were spending about $140,000 a month. And I looked at their account and oh, it hurts me to say there’s so much wasted ad spend. We took over their account. We took them from 140,000in spend to 20,000in spend.
Speaker3: [00:58:11] Wow.
Speaker2: [00:58:12] $120,000 savings in spend. Guess how much impact it had on their revenue?
Speaker3: [00:58:20] None. It’s the power of focus.
Speaker2: [00:58:24] It’s the 80 over 20. It’s nothing crazy. It’s simplicity. The simpler you make your business, the better it becomes.
Speaker3: [00:58:33] Right.
Speaker1: [00:58:33] Pardon? Pardon the pun. To everyone listening and watching the podcast. Focus is everything. Take the advice from a certified optometrist. Just. Yeah, this. This is probably. You are the person who knows a thing or two about focus.
Speaker3: [00:58:55] Love it.
Speaker2: [00:58:56] I love the pun.
Speaker3: [00:58:57] Yeah.
Speaker1: [00:58:58] All right. All right, Travis. So probably the one of the last questions I want to ask you for everyone listening and watching who really understand that they are ready or are thinking about becoming a profitable pineapple client or joining, you know, the list of your clients, maybe the ones who are specialists in their domains and are your perfect avatar client. So how do they find you? What is the best way to find you?
Speaker2: [00:59:33] If you’re doing over $600,000 a year in revenue, you can go to profitable pineapple.com and apply to work with us and there’s just a quick application form on there. It takes about two minutes to fill out comes directly to me and then I take a look at those and determine what your next steps are. Is it to hop on a call? We don’t accept everybody out of the ten applications we we see will maybe get on a call with two of those and then maybe offer one of those. So we’re very selective with who we work with. And you have to be doing at least 600,000. But if you’re doing under 600,000 in revenue per year, then we have that free Amazon Masterclass. Like I said, we don’t the Amazon Masterclass, there’s nothing held back. Everything is in it and it’s absolutely free. And the reason we give that away is because we want you to build up your business so much that then you’ll come to work with us after you’ve built it up to the point that because we’re teaching you. And so that’s the whole goal of that Free Amazon Masterclass and we’re actually getting ready to redo it at the end of 2023. And so you’re going to get our updated version of it. And selfishly, the Free Amazon Masterclass, all it is, it’s our SOP. So when we bring on new hires, they just go through the class over and over again to learn it. And so that’s how we train. So if you’ve gone through it and you understand it and you’re really good at it, you can even apply to work with us. So our work for us like become an account manager. So if you’re under 600,000, go take the Masterclass. If you’re over 600,000 a year in revenue, apply to work with us. Or you can take the Free Amazon Masterclass as well. So profitable pineapple.com is where you can do that.
Speaker1: [01:01:06] Nice. Thank you. Thank you. Right. One last quick question I ask this everyone joining the audio podcast, but from the talk that I had with you, I probably already know the answer. Still, I want to ask you this. Um, what do you enjoy most in your work?
Speaker2: [01:01:28] What do I enjoy? Most of my work is just serving and giving to others. It’s the most satisfying thing you can do. And I love to teach and serve and give. It’s what we’re here on. It’s what we’re put on earth to do is to serve each other. And what I find is that when I become unhappy, it’s because I’m not in service. I’m trying to focus on the money. But when I’m in service, I’m happiest and more money comes. And so I love giving. I love serving, I love teaching. I was a professor at Ohio State when I was an optometrist. And it’s just it’s in my DNA. And the funny thing is, the more you do it, the more you make. And I am living proof of that. I have I make more money now than I ever have in my life. And the reason is, is because I just focus on giving to other humans. I serve other humans, and I do it even when no one’s looking. And so it’s one of those things that you just have to serve and you’re going to be happier and it’s going to show in your work, and then therefore, you’re going to make a lot of money.
Speaker1: [01:02:31] Nice. Nice. Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing that. I feel that.
Speaker3: [01:02:34] Thanks, Alex.
Speaker1: [01:02:35] This is a good point to wrap it up. Thank you once again, Travis, for joining the sellerboard Show podcast. It’s been an amazing conversation. I learned a lot today, and I really hope that so did the viewers and the listeners. If maybe there’s anything else you would like to share at the end of the episode?
Speaker2: [01:02:53] Yeah, I just want to say I appreciate you having me on. This is great and can’t wait to help anybody that’s out there.
Speaker3: [01:03:00] Sure.
Speaker1: [01:03:00] Thank you, too, for accepting the invitation. All right. To everyone listening and watching, thank you for joining and tuning into the episode. See you and hear you in the next one. Bye.