This episode features Travis Zigler, a recovering optometrist turned e-commerce entrepreneur. He is the founder of Eye Love, whose mission is to heal 1,000,000 dry eye sufferers naturally. They have used the profits from Eye Love to fund free clinics in Jamaica and the US through their charity, the Eye Love Cares Foundation. Specializing in Amazon PPC, he is here today to talk about increasing Amazon sales and how to increase your brand's clout.
Travis shares making the change from optometrist to entrepreneur. He discusses the top ways he’s seeing to increase conversion and he also talks about the competition in the dry eye market.
Travis explains what should an Amazon seller review in January as far as important metrics so they can improve moving forward. He shares why they decided to focus on Amazon sales instead of driving customers to a Shopify website.
Listen as Travis explains how important building content is to an e-commerce merchant and where should an e-commerce business start. Discover what Travis and his team are offering their clients and how they are increasing their sales.
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To find more information about Travis, go to www.profitablepineapple.com
ABOUT THE HOST:
Andy Splichal is the World's Foremost Expert on Ecommerce Growth Strategies. He is the acclaimed author of the Make Each Click Count Book Series, the Founder & Managing Partner of True Online Presence and the Founder of Make Each Click Count University. Andy was named to The Best of Los Angeles Award's Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021.
New episodes of the Make Each Click Count Podcast, are released each Friday and can be found on Apple Podcast, iHeart Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts and www.makeeachclickcount.com.
Andy Splichal 0:00
Welcome to the Make Each Click Count podcast. This is your host Andy Splichal. We are happy to welcome this week's guest to discuss today's topic which is seeing Amazon clearly. Today's guest is a recovering optometrists turned ecommerce entrepreneur. He is the founder of I love whose mission is to heal 1 million dry eye sufferers naturally. They have used the profits from my love to fund free clinics in Jamaica and the US throughout the through their charity the eye love cares foundation specializes in an Amazon PPC is here today to talk about increasing Amazon sales and how to increase your brand's clout. A big welcome to Dr. Travis Ziggler. Hi, Travis.
Travis Zigler 0:41
Andy, thanks for having me on.
Andy Splichal 0:43
We're excited to have you. You know yours is a different sounding story and that you were an optometrist, and now you're an E commerce entrepreneur. How did that happen? How did you make the change from from optometrist to entrepreneur?
Travis Zigler 0:59
Yeah, I think as an optometrist, I was becoming an entrepreneur slowly, but I'll just give a quick backstory on how I became an optometrist, and then my journey to entrepreneurship. But I became an optometrist, because in school, I didn't really know what I wanted to do. And my uncle was an optometrists. And I worked for him, and I liked the lifestyle that he was living. So I was like, this seems like a pretty interesting lifestyle. And it was a great doctor profession, I always knew I wanted to be a doctor. And then I didn't have to deal with blood and death and bad news. I got to give people sight, which is, it's one of the I mean, everybody thinks it's the best sense of the world. And I, of course, agree with that. And so I get to give people vision, which is a lot of fun, because you make people happy, pretty much on a daily basis. So I got my optometry degree in 2010, worked for my uncle, and due to until 2014. And the last two years of working for him, I had this just this itch, and I couldn't scratch it. And it just it bothered me, and I didn't know what it was. And so I did the three things you're not supposed to do. I quit my job. As an optometrist, I moved to South Carolina from Ohio. And along with my wife, who's also an optometrist, we started two practices at the time. And so that was that entrepreneur, it's just kind of needing scratched, and I finally did it, I quit my job and did that. So we opened up these two practices. And I went from seeing six patients an hour at my uncle's clinic, to seeing one patient an hour. And so I got the entrepreneur itch, scratch, but now I was bored. Because I went from six patients now to one patient, our a course came across my desk called Amazing Selling Machine taught you how to sell on Amazon back in 2015. And I bought it. And in my free time in between patients, we ended up growing a sunglass company and a dry company called I Love. And then we sold our practices in 2017 and 2018, to go full time into this. And I haven't seen a patient in the traditional setting since 2017. And now I do this full time. And a year and a half ago, we actually sold I love as well. And I've still run it right now. But I'm actually phasing out of that as well. And I get to focus full time on Amazon PPC. And we have an agency around that too
Andy Splichal 3:05
well, and you get to keep the title Doctor, even though you're not practicing,
Travis Zigler 3:09
I get to keep the title Doctor, I keep my license up, because I still go on mission trips, we actually just got back from one three days ago. And we go on two to three of those a year.
Andy Splichal 3:19
So, I mean, it's great. You're doing Michigan, and we'll get into that a little bit later. But I wanted to really talk you know, for listeners, especially they tune in, they want to see what they need to know. And and I've been working quite a bit on ways to increase conversion, really going to focus on that, on helping sellers increase conversion in the new year. Factor. We just released a white paper on the 10 things every Amazon seller should know. But I'm curious, what are a few of your top ways that you see to increase conversion, whether with your own companies or with the companies you work with?
Travis Zigler 3:55
Yeah, so how we built our company is we serve an audience and the companies that we help and the clients that we help the ones that scale the fastest serve an audience. And so finding a problem that you can solve that your product solves that you want to solve as an entrepreneur, and then fixing that problem with your product, and then catering to an audience. So we went after the dry market, we found a group of there's there's 30 million people in the US alone, suffering from dry eyes. And if you're asking yourself, what is dry ice, that's good, you don't have it. But it's irritation, itchiness, it's where your eyes are just bothering you all the time. So we 100% serve that client with nothing expected in return. And we did it unconditionally, just because we saw the need that was out there being doctors and we wanted to serve that dry customer. So we came out with the articles. We came out with videos, we started building our email list around that dry sufferer and serving them. And then when you come out with a product either on Amazon or Shopify, it's very easy to learn Should we focus all our efforts on Amazon just because that was our bread and butter. That's what we knew. And we'd send all those customers to Amazon, which as you know, with the Amazon algorithm, external traffic, Amazon loves external traffic, you're referring customers to them. So they're going to increase your brand clout, they're gonna increase your brand's conversion, or your conversion rates are going to increase because you're, you're catering to an audience, and then you're an increase in rankings. So organic sales are going to increase as a result, that's probably the number one thing that I recommend for everybody to do is build an audience and serve an audience unconditionally, not worrying about sales, we actually served the dry market for about a year before we ever came out with a product, just because we wanted to see what their needs were, we wanted to see what their their problems were their pains. And when one of them came to me one day and said, Hey, this product that you've been prescribing, this was in my practice, it went from $30 a month to $300 a month, could you help us solve this problem. And so I was on the phone with the manufacturer within a couple days. And we were manufacturing our first order with a competing product. And that was our very first product. And we were doing that within a week of that complaint coming in. And that was our first product. That's what launched the brand. And that's kind of what took us to the next level is just listening to the audience and then coming out with products that catered around that.
Andy Splichal 6:17
I mean, that's that's a great story. How, I'm not familiar with with the dry eye market, I don't have dry eyes. How competitive is that market was that market when you started?
Travis Zigler 6:29
very, very, very competitive. So we were going up against pharmaceutical companies. These are big pharmaceutical companies that your audience has probably heard of Alcon Vista, con Johnson and Johnson. And Allergan, these are all pharmaceutical companies that come out with products that you're directly competing with, because even though like we sell an eyelid wipe, they might not sell an eyelid wipe. But they sell an eye dropper. And we're against eyedrops, but they weren't there. They want the dry market to use their eyedrops. And so even though it's not a direct product, competition, it's still a competitor because they're trying to get the eyeballs on their eyedrops. We're trying to get them over here to fix the problem with eyelid wipes and said, and so it's a very, very competitive, and we were actually in a lawsuit with a pharmaceutical company for a while for about a year. And so it's it's not it's very competitive in a different sense. It's not like Amazon Seller competitive, like there's not a bunch of Amazon sellers selling it. But it's just different because it was against a bunch of pharmaceutical companies.
Andy Splichal 7:32
And were they also advertising products on Amazon where you're bidding for the same keywords?
Travis Zigler 7:39
Yes. So they don't, they don't bid lightly. So some of the pharma companies will be $20 A click just to get people off of their listings, number one, but then just keep keep people out of that space. And so if you go type in DRI, you'll get a bunch of hydrops that are up there, and they're bidding $20 a click. So it causes us to be a little more creative, and really focus on the audience building. But we still use the Amazon PPC as our second big customer acquisition channel. So audience building was first, Amazon PPC was kind of that second tier.
Andy Splichal 8:10
And with the Amazon PPC, you mentioned, you know, $20 clicks, I assume that was sponsored product ads.
Travis Zigler 8:19
Yeah. So mostly sponsored products, search ads.
Andy Splichal 8:22
Yeah. How did you get around, I mean, you weren't, you weren't bidding $20 a click, I assumed to compete directly.
Travis Zigler 8:28
We don't know, it's a little too expensive for our blood. But we knew our lifetime value of our customer. And that comes with time, you're not going to have that right away. But if you know your lifetime value, you know how much you can spend to acquire a customer. And so when most people talk about Amazon advertising, they talk about their low ecos of 10 to 15%. But we weren't going after a low ecos. We're going after either breakeven or even we take a loss on the advertising sale to increase our organic rank. And to acquire that customer because we knew the long term play, our customer would spend $340 with us. And their first purchase is going to be around 25. And so we knew that long term play because we knew our back end numbers of lifetime value. And so that's so key when you're doing advertising, especially with Amazon PPC, and just willing to go spend a little bit more than your competitor. Now at the $20 cost per click, it was hard to compete with that. But we can always come up second or third and sponsored products. And another thing you can do is acent targeting. And so you can target their ASINs and show up on their product page. So they're paying $20 cost per click to win the search. And that's going to bring a lot of traffic to their listings. And so what you can do is you can do sponsored product product targeting, you can do sponsored display product targeting, you can do sponsored brand product targeting. So these are all targeting ads on their product page. So when you go to this competitor's product page, you're all over it. And if you go to the number two person And then organic and sponsored, were all over that page as well. So we started showing up all over these different product pages. And that's what drove a lot of traffic to us was they're getting the traffic just by brand name. And by winning the top search terms, but we're winning traffic from them, because we're showing up all over their product detail pages.
How I mean, that's, that's a great, I mean, it's a great strategy on how to kind of subvert some of the traffic. But when you did that, did you do that through differentiating your product title? I mean, how was it just by appearing? And people were like, hey, maybe I'm curious about this, this competing product?
Yeah, so it's all about getting more impressions out there. So making sure your branding is on point and making sure it's consistent. When you have consistent branding, and you have multiple products, people will start to see your branding and start to see your products over and over and over again. And what is it the rule of seven or whatever that's thrown out there that once somebody sees you seven times more likely to click, so they're seeing us all over everybody else's product pages, and therefore they'll click over eventually to check it out. Once they check it out. We then have retargeting ads through both Amazon DSP and through sponsored display, and those retargeting ads will then follow them all over the internet until they buy. And so then just seeing us constantly over and over again, both on Amazon, all over the internet. And then if they end up on our email list with that as well.
Now, here we are in the in the midst of the holiday shopping season, you had mentioned a costs. But I guess the question in January, when an Amazon seller specifically is reviewing some of their important metrics, what number should they be looking back on in November and December to look for improvement?
Well, the number one is profit. That's, that's what keeps the lights on. So a lot of people, especially in the Amazon space, we brag on revenue a lot. And I don't really care what your revenue is, what matters is your profit, because that's gonna pay you ultimately. And so you have to make sure there's profit there in order to pay yourself number one, and then also to keep the lights on number two to pay your team and everything like that. So make sure you're watching profit carefully. And then look at tacos. So your total advertising cost of sale. So how much are you spending versus total revenue. And that's something that a lot of entrepreneurs don't watch. And that can help you with, depending on what phase of the business you are. So when we were in massive customer acquisition, we were up to 40% Tacos, because we were taking a loss in order to just acquire customers, email addresses and everything. Now we're in a profitable part of our business. And so we're down into the 15 to 16%. Tacos. So that means for every million dollars we're making, we're spending $150,000 on advertising. Whereas before with the 40%, for every million dollars, we were spending 400,000. So we're spending a lot more, we're actually taking a loss at that time, because we knew it would pay off in the end, and it has. And so making sure that you invest in customer acquisition, but then make sure you're you're taking profit towards the end of the year. That's why they call it black Friday, because a lot of brands, bigger brands, they'll take a loss all year long. And then when Black Friday comes along, that's when they switch on the profitability switch. They go from red to black, black Friday. And so that's kind of the key thing you want to look for in q4 is making sure that you're profiting and then look at your tacos numbers and make sure that stays in control. Something that we follow is profit first by Mike McCalla wits, he is a big person on taking your profit first. And so what most entrepreneurs and I was guilty of this as well, as we tend to look at our profit after we take all our expenses out. And he challenges you to take your profit out first, hence the name profit first. So if you have a million dollars come in, you want 20% profit margin, you take 200,000 of that and put it over to the side and don't touch it. And then you figure out what else you want to spend on. So you like your salary, your taxes, everything like that. And you figure that all that out and with the rest of the money. And if you don't have enough money, then you got to figure it out. And you have to cut expenses.
Now we had discussed on building your audience that you did it, you know YouTube videos and Facebook, it looks like but you decided to send that traffic to your Amazon pages instead of driving customers to a Shopify website.
Why? Yep. Yeah, that's a great question. And we decided early on that we wanted to take advantage of Amazon's traffic and really push organic rankings for our products and external traffic helps with that and conversion rate. So our conversion rate on our Shopify store is anywhere from, you know, one to 4%. Depending on the product, our conversion rate on Amazon can be up to 50% on some of the products. And so usually the average is around 30 to 40%. For our products, Amazon takes away the resistance of buying. And so we get them over to our website on a blog. And then on that blog tells them to go buy on Amazon, it kind of adds a trust factor, because people know trust in like Amazon, they know that if they don't like the product, they'll get a refund, they know that they can click one button, and it's going to be shipped right to their door within four, four hours to 24 hours, depending on where you live or two days if you're not close to a fulfillment center. So that trust factor that we're we're using that to our advantage on Amazon. And then we do try to get them back to buy on Shopify, but we also try to get their email address whether they're two. So a combination of conversion rate, and then the trust that Amazon brings is the reason we've sent everybody to Amazon. And then increasing that organic rank is the main reasons we did it.
You know, you touched on a little bit what I was going to ask you because of course if they're buying on Amazon, you don't own the email, you can't market to them. How were you attempting? Or were you capturing the email addresses so you could continue communication after the sale?
Yeah, the biggest thing, this was before we sold our company was that we would give away a dry eye book. So my wife and I wrote a book called rethinking dry eye treatment. This isn't a short little PDF, this is actually a full book 200 pages that we wrote. And we'd give away a digital version of that for free. And sometimes the audible version, the audio version, I should say. But you don't have to do that, that doesn't have to be that in depth, we just happen to write that book. So that's why we did it. More likely, you could do like a PDF cheat sheet, figuring out a problem that your product product solves and like making something around that. But just really dialing into the pain that you're your clients in and figuring out how to appeal to them enough to for them to give the email address up. And that's kind of the biggest thing you want to make sure you're doing.
So how are you giving that offer to pay somebody who would buy on Amazon.
So we drive them to a blog post on our website first. That's where we get most of our traffic. And then we'll send them over to Amazon. After that. Secondarily, we'll have an insert in our product. And when they buy on Amazon, they can scan a QR code. Currently, what we're doing is they can scan that QR code, head over to our website, and they'll get seven free eyelid wipes. And what they do is they put their email address in, we then send them an email, they have to respond to that email with their address. And then we send them those free eyelid wipes.
And we're using, I'm getting I guess what, what is because I know Amazon's a little stickler about what you can include where you use this fulfillment by merchant was this Fulfillment by Amazon and so is Amazon, including that for you.
The free offer was fulfillment by my customer service rep. She literally dropped seven in an envelope and mailed it out manually. So she was doing manually and we get quite a few. So she doesn't mind doing it. She likes doing it. But you could also set up an FBM listing. If you want it to or have your warehouse do it. We just we have a warehouse that could have done it. But we decided to she said she wanted to do it, it would save us money. So we decided to do that
route. Got it. Now, how important do you believe that building content is to an E commerce merchant? And where should an E commerce business start?
Yeah, so it's important to a certain extent that you don't want to get lost in it. And I say that because the SEO game is getting harder and harder every year. And for those that don't know, SEO, search engine optimization, meaning ranking for keywords on Google, kind of like we do on Amazon. But for Google, you're trying to rank based on content. And it's a long term game. So you're gonna have to figure out who's winning the keywords that you're gonna go after. And then after you figure out who's winning them, you got to see how much they're posting. And then you have to kind of outpost them with better content, more engaging content. And you have to do for a long period of time. The strategy I take around that is figure the main problems that your product solves, build content around that. And don't worry about SEO and drive google ads traffic to it. Now I see that you're you're a Google Ads guy. So what I like to do is I like to do a maximize clicks campaign to the blog posts around the problem. Now I say that because product based keywords are very expensive on on Google, but if you go after problem based keywords, you're going to spend we have some articles that are getting one cent clicks, because the problem nobody's going after the problem. Dry Seeing the problem blepharitis being a problem, those are problems that our product solves. So we go after those keywords, and we pay anywhere from one cent to 30 cents a click to get them over to our website. So very, very cheap traffic to content. Now, with the content, again, don't overwhelm yourself, you can literally make 10 pieces of content that are really good, and just focus on those 10. And that will drive you enough traffic to really grow your business. An example is we use that strategy to grow I love. And we also use that strategy to grow our agency, we came out with a free Amazon PPC course, it's got about 15 different modules in it, quote, unquote, modules, but they're actually blog posts. And we drive traffic to those blog posts into our free Amazon PPC course. And we really focus on making those better and better. So we don't focus on, we do come out with constant contact through YouTube, through tick tock and Facebook, but you don't have to, because you can use Google to your advantage and send a Google ad traffic to that content. And that will help with you'll have to be making content constantly.
You know, we talked about what he did now let's fast forward a day and you talk a little bit about your services. So what what are you offering clients? And how are you increasing their sales?
Yeah, the main thing is Amazon PPC is still our bread and butter with our Client Services. And we do a couple things that most agencies don't do those. So Amazon PPC, we do Amazon DSP, most agencies will do both those and have their own strategies around it. But we do everything we talked about today. So we'll build content around the problems that your product solves. If we can figure something out, we then drive traffic to those blog posts, and then those blog posts will go try to convert on Amazon. So that will increase your sales as well, with that external traffic, we also help with that email side of things. So making that QR code to a landing page, figuring out how to fulfill whatever we're going to fulfill, and then build email marketing around that. And so we actually write emails for clients as well. So that's kind of the added thing that most Amazon PPC agencies don't do is we'll do that email marketing side. And trying to build your email list trying to build your your blog a little bit as well.
Now of for all these services, I guess, is it. I mean, you sell this one service? Or is a more of a like an ala carte that I'll take that to a former client.
Yeah. So Amazon, PPC is kind of a flat rate service. And so depending on how much you spend is how much he'll charge. And then everything else we do based on commission. And so if we don't produce results in those areas, we don't get paid for him. And we only do those other services for our Amazon PPC clients, though. But everything else will be commissioned based. So Google ads, blog posting, email marketing, all commission based, so if we don't produce for you, then you shouldn't pay us for it.
Do you have a favorite success story of one of your clients that you could share?
We actually have a client that we just launched, I can't mention names or anything, of course, because of NDAs. But we launched them. And they were at our second tier level, which is about 3000 a month. And we made them we raise the revenue and lower their ad spend, and actually tear them down to our lower cost structure. So they actually are spending less on the Amazon PPC, they're paying us less even though we made them more profitable. But then we've written two blog posts for him that are making close to I think it was 5000 a week. And they just popped right away. So with the blog strategy, you'll have, you'll write about 10 articles, one will pop really well and do really well. Tool two to three will flounder, and then the rest will kind of be a failure in my mind. And you just got to keep testing it and trying it. And so that one is first article did really well his second article did really well. And as Amazon PPC, we raised his overall revenue while decreasing his costs. Does that happen with everybody? No. But we saw the opportunity there and I get on the phone with everybody before we end up going into contract to see if we can help them or not. And I actually declined more people than I say yes to just because I want to make sure it's a fit before we you know, get married and get into a relationship. And who is that perfect client for your agency. We'd like to focus on health supplements and food brands. So those are kind of our two big things that we focus on his health supplement brands that are focusing on a problem and then food brands and we have some supplement companies that focus on you know all the supplements but we really like to focus on the the the supplement brands that focus on like dry for example, that's that's ours Of course, and but if in doubt, you know just we have an application you fill it out and then we just go over it and check it out.
And let's talk about that. How can an interested listener learn more about working with you and getting to that application.
Yeah, our website is profitablepineapple.com so profitablepineapple.com. And there's an application right there on the homepage.
Well, this has been great. Is there anything else you'd like to add before we wrap it up today?
No, I think it's great what you're doing here. And we'd love to get you on our channel to talk about Google Ads sometimes, because we always we always like to talk about Google ads. And I love doing Google ads as well.
Great. Well, that's one of my favorite subjects, for sure. All right. Well, thank you for joining us today, Travis.
For listeners. Remember, if you liked this episode, please go to Apple podcasts and leave us an honest review. And if you're looking for more information on profitable pineapple, or connecting with Dr. Travis Zigler, you will find the links in the show notes below. In addition, if you're looking for more information on growing your business, check out our all new podcasts Resource Center available to podcast.makeeachclickcount.com. We have compiled all of our different past guests by show topic and included each of their contact information in case you would like more information on any of the services I have discussed during previous episodes. That's it for today. Remember to stay safe, keep healthy and happy marketing and I will talk to you in the next episode.