This week’s show we have Keith O’Brien, CEO of Market Hustl and Seller Photo – we connected online when I shared a video blog about a Chinese Amazon FBA conference and have kept in touch over the years. During his first trip to China we were lucky enough to have him up as a speaker at the Cross Border Matchmaker – one of the most favorite to present. In this episode we have him share some tactics and highlights from his speech and how sellers can boost their listings on Amazon, enjoy
Topics Covered in this Episode
We connected online about a year and a half ago, and glad we did! It was about a Chinese Amazon FBA conference you saw me post about. Now you made it out to China and were a top speaker at our Cross Border Matchmaker – thanks so much for making it!
About you and your business
Share with listeners a bit about what you are working on at Market Hustl and Seller Photo
How was your first trip to China?
So, we didn’t have much time to talk about it while you were here- now that you’re back Stateside, missing China? 🙂 How was the trip?
What are some big wins for Amazon sellers that you saw in China?
Anything in China that stuck out to you for Amazon sellers?
Listing Optimization - are people doing it?
Do you see people doing it, is there opportunity in the markets and niches to get ahead?
Amazon listing optimization strategies
Let’s talk tactics, can you share a few here
Connecting with Keith
Thanks Keith for sharing how can people work with you and your company?
See you in Feb?
I’m planning a conference in Miami in mid-Feb during Chinese New Year – will be the first time I come back after being away for a couple years.
People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode
Episode Length 35:47
Thank you Keith – and thank you everyone for listening. Let’s keep the rest of 2017 strong. Already preparing for the upcoming Cross Border Summit April 20-21, 2018, cheers
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I think great photography is probably the least expensive way to differentiate your product.
Today’s podcast is brought to you by Aureliapay. I use it personally for sending money to my Chinese suppliers from Hong Kong. It’s a cross border payment solution between China, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia. So, if I need to make a payment to a Chinese supplier, I just hop online to place the remittance, pay to the Aureliapay Hong Kong based big account and Aureliapay will settle RMB within the same business day. So, check them out online at www.aureliapay.com A U R E L I A P A Y .com or check them on their link at our show notes.
Welcome to the Global From Asia podcast where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down into straight up actionable advice and now your host, Michael Michelini.
Mike: Alright everybody another Global From Asia podcast we have Keith ‘O Brien just returning back to America after this first time to China and he was an amazing speaker at our Cross Border Matchmaker and he’s the CEO and founder of Market Hustle and www.sellerphoto.com. Thanks so much Keith for getting on the show and sharing with us today.
Keith: Oh! It’s great to be here, Mike. Well, thank you so much for having me.
Mike: Yeah, so today we’re gonna talk a little bit about what you shared at the conference which people really enjoyed and you had so many amazing things to share which is automizing the listings and your ranking before I get into that. We’ve been talking for almost maybe I think a year and a half or so. We connected over on Facebook and I’ve been on here for quite sometime at this conferences. I think he saw one of my blogs about Chinese Amazon conferences and we’ve been chatting on and off since then.
Keith: Yeah, I saw you walking around at China after the event. Just yourself walking down the street I was like “Who’s this white looking on video blog”
Mike: Yeah, so maybe you can just catch up people a little bit about yourself and your business.
Keith: Sure. I’ve mostly been an entrepreneur. I mean I’ve got you by bunch a year and so I’m at mid 40’s, actually had my 46 birthday while I was in Guangzhou last month so that was fun.
Mike: Happy birthday.
Keith: Yeah, so, I started the business when I was around 20. I’ve had a variety of different businesses. Some of them wildly successful. Some have been wildly fall of lots of lessons. But my main industry in the last 25 years are have been, I mean everything has been around marketing and then from my product stand point up until about 10 years ago or so. I sold mostly, I was mostly in the training and development space. So we sold courses and seminars around personal development and leadership. And so I was both into that throughout the years I was the marketing and business development. I was on the seminar leader and facilitation and got to chance to be on the stage a lot and to work with a lot of people and kind of helping to get the mind great both personally and professionally. As you know it’s equal part of mindset, attitude, and then execution of what you actually do to have it work well. But the last couple of years we’ve been immerse in e-commerce space. My business partner who recently founded the first service campaign which I loved to review. He’s been a seller for 5 and half years. It’s got a multiple sudden figure product business and I got really intrigued by a couple of 3 and half years ago and we built up and love to review together and then the last 2 companies it were born out of, kind of the Phoenix of I love to review or we shut down a year ago. So it’s been a good round. We served a lot of sellers. We’ve learned a lot. We’ve seen a lot of data, first to our various companies. And so we got a pretty good sense of what makes things move on with Amazon and had a drive of successful product business and literally my first pet product, personally went live while I was travelling in China which is pretty cool.
Mike: That’s really great. I mean, like what you’ve said. We’ve all had our successes and failures and I think any entrepreneurs will says they haven’t this private line, ‘coz I think it’s all about the roller coaster ride of doing your own venture. Trying your best, putting yourself out there, right. And doing something. I like this Steve Jobs quote it was like I can’t remember, I’m gonna mess it up but basically the idea is connecting the dots after. You can’t really connect the dots before. So you kind of guess the best way you have this dots and then everybody says it looks like it all make sense but when you’re doing it, you don’t know what this dots are gonna connect. But they usually connect, so it’s awesome. Like you said you have many sellers and done various services and what you’re doing now. So how was it this last trip this time in China like how did it, how was the, you went to Guangzhou for the Canton Fair. You made out to Shenzhen thank you for the conference we had, another, give us a small recap for that.
Keith: This was my first time in China. So it was quite an experience. I came to Australia couple of weeks and then I spent some time in Thailand afterwards. So about a week in China, most of the time in Guangzhou and I met you guys for a couple of days in Shenzhen. I think China is really interesting place I certainly applaud and appreciate the work ethic in China is amazing. This was my first time on Canton Fair. And just the size and magnitude is incredibly overwhelming, right. I mean, you can prepare for it coz here is everybody talking about it. But I’m in the kitchen space and I was really very hyper focus on what I want to see at the fair. And so I really only walk like one section of 1 hall on 1 phase and it took me a better part of a 10-hour drive. That was like 1 little part, right. I mean it was just a slays of it. It can be just massively overwhelming. I think you need really have a plan going in the Canton. ‘Coz if you does, just wonder I think you just got the information it’s like stimulus overload and it makes just hard to make good decision. So I went and it’s interesting I went to find a couple of new manufacturers for my existing line and then I knew the next couple of products that I want to roll out. But I wasn’t said what kind of product that was set like kind of area and so that was more of discovery. But I knew kind of like what I wanted to be sort of like. So I ended up creating couple of things that were blend of couple of different products which is that’s just something that’s very hard to do unless you’re there. So I think that’s one of the big benefits on being the net space. I just really can’t, your mind’s right can’t really inspire creativity.
Mike: Agreed. Yeah, that’s what got me out here was trying to develop some, enhance products for my first e-commerce business. And yet the speed and the, you said a lot of different things like China is definitely hardworking most Chinese people and then the great tip was, it’s true like I’ve talked to some entrepreneurs and business owners like “Oh, I want to go to Canton Fair and find the product, I don’t really have any idea what I’m gonna sell. But i”m gonna stop by the Canton fair and find the product”. That was crazy. I don’t think that can work, I mean. Some people can inspire you a little bit but I think if you have the right approach you had, your specific goal and you could stick with one area and cover that. Even that took you 10 hours was just crazy. But yeah exactly it was exhausting, I couldn’t imagine. I mean I browse through their just for fun taking groups of friends around and it’s true it’s so huge. They even have golf carts tell you bring you from one side to the other, I’m not sure if you saw that but you can kind of wait in line. They have this golf carts with workers that will drive you from one side to the other.
Keith: It took me from Hall A back to Hall C towards the hotel. We stayed at the place which was another interesting experienced. But which was rent by Hall C few bar from walk .
Keith: But we took those back pretty much everyday.
Mike: Yeah, transportation in China is like, there’s so many different ways of transferring, that’s one of my more popular blog post it’s like How to Cross Borders, How to Travel in China. Trains, places all is for real here. It’s crazy.
Keith: It’s interesting taking cabs, taxis in China, right. You’re leaning and I don’t think I have ever been in a place where they tell you where you wanna go and you got probably 50/50 chance on that just saying no.
Mike: Not the direction that they wanna go.
Keith: They’ll just turned you down, it’s hilarious.
Mike: Yeah, sometimes they just don’t tell them right, I just get in the car and I just force them but not even that doesn’t work, sometimes. But sometimes their excuses there, shifting changing, so they said they can’t go too far from where they gotta switch their shift.
Keith: So we went from, we took taxis almost everyday. Sometimes twice a day from the hotel down to pier area for food or drinks, we put in such a wide range of fare. All good though.
Mike: I totally understand. Cool. Let’s get into some of the meat of the potatoes here. So you had a great talk at the Matchmaker and you’ve also met some sellers both Chinese and foreigners living in China. I’m kind of wondering if you know any differences with sellers here or strategies that they’re doing.
Keith: They live in China. I think I would say, I don’t think I know that many but I think that like if we just want come out and we just talk about which is those probably some distinctive advantages to being actually physically at Canton as opposed to China source of like Alibaba, right. Alibaba, I think I’d rather might source product in Alibaba. Anyway I know it’s not necessary even sometimes but I think there’s an advantage between those 2 things than there’s another level of advantage being in China, right. Where you can physically go and spend time with the factory and have not, just have discussions that aren’t rush because you’re at the fair. It’s an extremely busy time with them as well right. So they’re putting on their public phase and they’re seeing thousands of people come by their booth everyday. And they come off the fair and there are couple of months of hard work which is right now and then Chinese New Year right at the corner. So this is the crunch time for the factories so I think being actually in China you just have a very different advantage point. You have opportunities that probably shop competitors and that could effectively drive down price even more, drive up quality. ‘Coz lots of factories make the same exact product. But all of them are gonna different terms of quality, production times, cost and even making exact the same thing and they may have been few kilometers from each other in terms of the factory. So I think that’s a big advantage there. Trying to understand their culture as a Westerner better, probably put you in a little better communication point with the factory. But just a really understanding, I’d think every step you take being mistifies the process a bit. Even we’d work with thousands of sellers for the last couple of years. When I sent my first wire payment to my first manufacturer. I still have those gut checking moment because it’s just, it’s a little bit of unknown. So I think in anything that you do to bring your company level up as a Westerner, the fear level down, makes you a little bit better.
Mike: Totally, yeah. But it’s all about steps by steps. Some of the reasons I even decide why I live here. I visited and there were so much still to learn and do I guess there were some unbelievable so I’m still learning. But I think yeah for those just like earlier conversation about being entrepreneur business owner I think it’s a lifelong process. So, I think you can’t get frozen with not making a decision to start.
Mike: Okay. And let’s go some tactics. Do you think, actually just in general with listing automization I think will say this conversation, do you think there’s still lot opportunities, still a lot of sellers or listings that are just, they’re doing okay but they could do a lot better.
Keith: Oh, without a doubt. I mean I think that the thing that we see most of all in terms of listings is that they’re just incredibly under optimized, right. And I think the days are just kind of gone. Taking of couple of pictures with your IPhone. Slapping up a listing and putting a few with the most obvious keywords and then having a product well. Like that’s just not the reality anymore. Unless you’re with Amazon. Unless you’re selling the product. Amazon can still sell lots of stuff with really bad listing. They control the traffic flow, right. So, I think earlier this year a stat with Amazon have 2 billion visitors, 2 billion in a month. So when you break that down per day or per hour, it’s just this massively overwhelming amount of people. But Amazon is controlling that, looks like all those people lining up at the gate, right and there’s all this different doors that they are walking through and Amazon controls which doors people walk through. So they can drive the directions into their own listing with all they want. For the rest of us, we better fight for that traffic. And optimization right now I think is one of the key things that differentiates successful listings from average once.
Mike: Make sense. So, what are some strategies, we got our coffee brand, coffee accessory brand we made our SIN. What are some tips that you can give us, listeners.
Keith: Sure. I think that the listing has to be done in a manic will talk about bit at your event. Listing has to be created for both the Amazon algorithm and actual consumer, right. So the algorithm is what is going to get at a consumer’s eyeballs on your listings, right. So it’s all driven by someone searches, and with someone searches for and the algorithm will pick up whether or not that’s relevant and whether or not that’s pertaining to your listing. Once the eyeball gets there, if it’s written poor English or if it’s written with just like mass amount of keywords stuff in there. It may get some attraction but I think it’s gonna convert lower. So is still dance between getting enough sessions or actual visitors to your page and then converting a high enough percentage, right. So, conversion doesn’t kick in until after the sessions are there. Those 2 things are really with kind of guest with Amazon fly real moving. So the number of sales to make the conversion rate are gonna be the 2 big things that influenced how much traffic Amazon can send you. So, the first most important part of that listing is always gonna be your title, your headline. And that really needs the target your main keyword, phrases as much as possible. But also written in a way that’s readable. I like to see your main keyword phrase write up towards the front and in that I would have your main short keyword phrase. So for example, I don’t know exactly what you, I know you’re in a coffee business.
Mike: Yeah, like mocha pot. That’s one.
Keith: Mocha pot.
Mike: Like those stove top, espresso makers. You put them up. Yeah I learned it’s keyword actually from this product that I didn’t know this keyword before.
Keith: Yeah, exactly that’s a good example, right. You got to get obvious . So what I like to see is consistency, our brands shouldn’t being their program to focus on things that make sense to us and so I like to see our main search terms really be consistent from the term that someone searches to what they see when they first look at your listing. And so that main term I like to see right upfront with your best short and long tail keyword right upfront. So, if you can stuck not just the one word but doing 3 and 4 word, right up front of the listing. So that’s the first thing people see after they search. And so they type in mocha pot espresso maker, right. And then listing literally says mocha pot espresso maker. I’m just making this up based on what you said without doing any research. But that consistency of consumer just search this term and then your listing does exactly that. The likely that you are getting a clip from that is very solid compared to everybody else that may have some of those terms in that first couple of words. The one big thing that everyone started doing because we copied the existing listing that Amazon use by people for years with put the branding and write upfront of the listing. So you’re listing like, let’s say your ABC coffee, right. I’m just making it up. Now you may think ABC coffee is the best thing most important coffee in the world, nobody knows what it is. Unless you’re a big recognizable brand then to take that most important part of real state and give it to your branding and it just doesn’t make a lot of sense. If you want to have your brand name in your headline, by all means do not put first, drop it off to that or we actually leave it off many, many times.It’s literally right underneath on the listing, it’s right under the title. And you know you need it in your headline. Unless your brand becomes something that people are searching for, you don’t need it.
Mike: It makes sense. Yeah, it’s true. Like a lots of us is about thinking about the use of yourself and we all get excited about our brands but we hope people can remember our brands, it’s all about the user searching for.
Keith: Sure and you will get to the point where you have people that are buying from you multiple times that are buying multiple products. Then maybe consider putting it in. But even at that point they’re still gonna find you if they type in your brand. So title by far is the most important and then follow by your ball points and your back end keywords as well as your description.
Mike: Yeah and I still got to play with my SIN. I haven’t done in a while but I’ve done some books, I have a few books at the podcast Global From Asia written in few books. I remember I can use some limited emails like H2 tags and bullet point Li. You can make it a little bit I know it’s too much can do but I think, I got to play with it now. But I used to kind of put some like H2 tags and stuff, at least in the book. I did like a year ago or something see that I have that.
Keith: In the description you can, that’s the only place well actually take HTML code. It’s technically understand the service. But it’s not an enforce rule violation from what we can see. It’s not something that will get your account shut down, if plenty of things that will ask you to change it. You want a description, if you’re lucky enough to get a customer that reach 3 year headline and reads through your ball point and looks at all your image and get down at the product description. You want that to be really easy on the eye. You out up a 2,000 characters there which is quite a lot of space and so you want to make that so it’s got a line breaks and you got headers of the different areas of bolded and you got some ball point and just so it’s nice and easy on the eye as opposed to one big paragraph that as soon as your customer’s eye look at they’re gonna leave. ‘Coz it’s just overwhelming, it’s too much. And remember on mobile which is half of the shopper’s, the description is chunky in any way and they only get about 200 or 250 characters that display on mobile. So you want that very first couple of sentences of the description to be a powerful statements that moves the buyer to purchase.
Mike: Makes sense and then there’s of course photos I mean, one of your businesses even focus, purely on photos. So photos is there and then everybody is getting excited about video. Meir I think you met at the conference for couple of times. So he’s getting excited about video.
Keith: I think photos is great photography is probably the least expensive way to differentiate your product. We think about all the things and all the money that you can spend on packaging and whether that looks like, at the end of the day you will come down to showcasing that, investing in good photography is very, very smart. ‘Coz it’s not something that everyone, it’s not about optimization there’s still opportunity that differentiates the optimization. Well there’s still massive opportunity to differentiate through your photography. It’s always kind of crack me, people spend 5,000 dollars to source your product for their first 500,000 units and they’ll spend 6 months their life doing it. And then they get their product ready and they go on. It’s like 5 per photography, 25 dollars, it’s just makes no sense with whatsoever. So, done right. you only have to do it once. Potentially make a little weeks over time. But it’s super important buyer’s are largely visual and we make visual decisions. You really wanna set your photos so that people can make an actual intelligent buying decision, just by looking through your image stock. So that’s really super important. That’s a great way to build a built-in mode around your product. Think about it, you’re looking the source of product and you’re doing your research and you come across a product that’s viable and the best sellers all have unbelievably all written copy. It’s clearly keyword research and then incredible photos that they it’s clear they spend sometime with money on. Like that those are decision points that move, keep some potentially away from trying to compete with you. Those things are done poorly. It’s just create much, it creates and open a door for competitors.
Mike: Make sense. So thanks so much Keith. This has been really exciting. How can, well any last words. I mean, I went through a few but any like last tip you think for somebody well we went through those 3 but maybe you can summarize quickly.
Keith: Yeah, I think that there’s so many moving parts in Amazon business, right. And you’re working really hard those source and create a different shape of product. I think that, we done to tackled, my recommendation you utilize the services of any, our company is Market Hustle for seller’s photo or any of the other service providers in the space. I think you wanna really choose to focus on what you’re good at in which you enjoy as part of this business. I’m a big fan of outsourcing the experts. We started this businesses because this is the past that we follow as sellers. You can’t do everything and you can’t do everything really well either. So I think it’s important to learn about the different parts of the business but knowing that having an understanding of something and then doing it yourself on different things. So I think Mike you want to dive in to the areas that you enjoy the most and as Westerners because that days that take us time to source and brand. Those are the areas I think had the biggest payoff. Because, you can outsource those things, product choice and selection and differentiation or something that you really get to put your invest time to. The actual service fields you want to find vendors that you’re comfortable with, that you can talk to, that you can really dialogue with because the business can get kind of lonely being e-commerce seller, business mostly over the computer. And so if you can find some vendors that kind of becoming an extension of your team, and it worth every single dollar that you spent with them because you really expanded your own little personal team and it just makes life a lot more enjoyable in general speaking that can produce better results for you.
Mike: Yes, that will be true. That’s great and then of course you have your service we’ll link in the show notes www.markethustl.com and Seller Photo definitely worth people taking the shot to contact you guys and then like you said like you can’t do everything Amazon business specialist, overwhelming there’s so many different pieces of specialties. So some people can reach out to you and then any other ways that people can find you online.
Keith: Those are probably few best that I intend to keep Facebook available just for more personal friends that I accept everybody on Linkedln and I’m Keith ‘O Brien over there. But if it’s Chinese biz, seller or manufacturer that listened to this podcast that you want to connect via WeChat. I’m certainly open for that and I think it’s there too, right.
Mike: I can put in a notes. It takes a little time to use the name.
Keith: Feel free, I’m keith_obrien at WeChat, we are welcome to connect with everybody there.
Mike: Awesome. Alright thanks. And then another quick, I haven’t talk to you about this but it’s a, early stages planning at a trip to the States with the fam in February. My parents forcing Lucy so hopefully can catch up or do some when I’m there.
Keith: Yeah that would be great.
Mike: I’ll keep you posted, I’ll keep the listeners posted too. Maybe get some meet-up happening.
Keith: Cool, that was fantastic.
Mike: Alright, Keith thanks again for sharing.
Keith: Alright, thank you for having me Mike.
Mike: Alright, what do you guys think episode 204 Global From Asia and I have this deeper voice. Gonna have fun a little bit today. I’m trying something in different ways in talking. Different pitches. Thanks so much for listening everybody. We are pushing forward here and thanks for listening. Have a great day. Bye bye.
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