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Amazon Print on Demand

Discussion in 'My Journey Discussions' started by SEOMadHatter, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Power Member

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    Got a new freelancer on the third product and they're absolutely killing it so far. Seen the start and I'm in love. I'll be ordering one for myself once it's live.

    The second project with the original freelancer is still AWOL. They're not understanding basic fricking concepts. Probably won't be live until next week at this rate, they're so far beyond their ETA it's insane.

    The JV one I'm just ignoring for the moment. They don't really work on their own projects so whenever it happens it happens. Not working it into my schedule though I'm expecting at least a week or two to get the first product up with them.

    Doing some reading and testing for Amazon organic rankings. It's a vicious circle when you're getting started. Ranking means making sales. Making sales means ranking.

    No numbers to really talk about yet. There's a delay on reports in both sales and some ad networks. Starting some new tests on free traffic too which has a bit of a delay on it.
     
  2. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Power Member

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    Month stats so far:
    Rev: $7.70
    Ad Spend: $2.41
    Active products: 1

    Currently, one product live with another in review. Two more designs are due today but I'm beating my head against the wall with the freelancers trying to get anything done without insane mistakes.

    Picked up Photoshop and Illustrator myself just so I don't have to rely on them for dumb stuff. If I can get a good proof of concept going here I'll be hiring a better freelancer for full-time work.
     
  3. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Power Member

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    Got product 2 live and ads running.

    Product 1 rankings have massively improved and picked up at least one more sale so far.

    Took a lot of time today to fix the freelancers mistakes. Had to fix mistakes in the first product and the third product which is now going live, finally.

    Hired a new freelancer who should hopefully be starting soon so I'll see how that goes.
     
  4. twinturbo90

    twinturbo90 Registered Member

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    Interesting, I spent a couple hours on placeit a couple weeks ago. Couldn't figure out a workaround.
     
  5. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Power Member

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    Alrighty.

    So I've some good news and some bad news.

    After an initial couple of sales on the first product, things have slowed down a bit. No sales the last couple of days and the last two products haven't sold once.

    Sounds pretty grim, right?

    The good news is I think I've got a better handle on how to rank products. The three I've done just might not have been the best choices. I think they'll still sell - but the next ones are going to be going after better keywords.

    I've also been doing a lot of market research and I'm about to test two very different styles of design they take some more time and effort but similar styles have been hugely popular. I put together the first yesterday and the designer is polishing it up as I type, the second should be ready by next week as well.

    I'm having to look at the promotional strategy as well.

    I've found another sales channel - Etsy and I'm starting to do some testing on there because if my current tests work out then it's another source of organic sales without much extra work.

    I've decided to stop trying to sell the product through my own site. It converted on the first bit of AdWords traffic but the CPC is too low for the niche to get enough traffic to test properly. I'd have to bid higher and at these margins that would mean building out the back end with an upsell and everything to make it viable. For the moment I'm better putting that money into promoting the Amazon listings to get the organic traffic there. This is something I 100% want to come back to in the near future.

    What I'm going to have to start doing is throwing more money at the Amazon Ads. Expect to run them at a loss for the first couple of weeks or even months but it'll be worth it if it ranks and converts in the long term.

    This is likely to be a costly project for the foreseeable future but I'm still excited about it. It's relatively fun, definitely a new challenge and has good potential.
     
  6. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Power Member

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    I know it's been a while but I've got some big updates at least.

    The Good News

    Last 30 days profit: $241 and most of that was in the last 10 days or so when the scaling really started to happen. I'll be increasing the ad spend for the long term organic rankings but just now it's doing well. I'm working with three part-time designers and it's a passive cumulative process - so that revenue should stick around while I'm building 100x that.

    As the templates and layouts are designed product creation becomes faster. As I test more niches and product types I learn what works better. As I sell more I can hire more designers to produce more.

    I have more products in the works and new sales channels being tested. Some automation systems set up to make scaling easier and overall everything was looking pretty good.

    The Bad News

    I'm currently reading Seth Godin talk about the dip. Basically it's the point in a project where you hit resistance. If it wasn't there then the barriers for entry are too low and it's probably not worth doing anyway. Competition is a good sign that the market has money to spend - but if anyone can get in and compete then the margins are likely going to turn to shit anyway.

    Over the last 3 days, I've had a dip in sales and noticed a massive traffic drop on some of the top-performing products. Apparently this market does have a dip and it wasn't going to be as easy to get through as it was looking. The twist I was using to get an edge on the competition might not be as great as it was looking.

    The Grind

    Some of the products are still bringing in sales and traffic. Some have stopped. I've been looking through the data available and every time I think I find a pattern something else comes along to confuse matters.

    I've started running a couple of tests to see if I can fix the problem. It's demoralizing at the moment but I have other things demanding my time this week anyway. Hopefully, there are some positive results soon.
     
  7. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Power Member

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    Mixed news for yesterday.

    A new product went up on Amazon and the advertising has gone well for it. Rank massively improved and picked up a couple of sales. That product took a long time to get live and was the one I had a real headache over with the original freelancer so I'm glad to see it picking up some sales. Picked up a couple of other sales yesterday as well maybe $20-30 I'd have to take a proper look.

    Still no news on the vanishing rankings. A couple of new tests up mostly just waiting to see what happens there.
     
  8. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Power Member

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    Had entirely planned to take today off. Then my rank tracker informed me the missing rankings had bounced back - and then some.

    Not sure if it was due to changes I made or it was just algorithms fucking around but it came back and picked up about $15 in profit today.

    I have some new products coming out this week including a whole new niche with some really good margins. Definitely looking forward to taking a piece of that.
     
  9. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Power Member

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    The restored ranks have been holding which is good. Sales picking up so scaling is just a matter of getting more products up.

    In some spots we're still getting out sold to people who have demonstrably worse products, at a higher price and who rank lower. This might be down to implied value so I've increased some of my prices to test that or it might just be they have reviews we don't have. In which case there's nothing I can do about I right now because I don't want to fuck with that. I'll set something up to outreach to our customers and see if that can increase review rates.

    I'm looking to add a fourth designer to the roster this week. I'm already going to be behind on where I wanted to be for Q4 but I'll do what I can to get as much up for it then start targeting the self improvement niches for New Years.

    Making some big changes this week as well. Stepping into two new markets with bigger margins than I've had so far. Very new ground for me so something is likely to fuck up but let's see how it goes. I should have both markets live by the end of the week.

    I've been getting better and letting go during this project. I'm focusing on the marketing and the development while letting the designers do what they do. It makes a lot more sense and so far it's mostly been working.
     
  10. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Power Member

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    New designer started last night which brings the current team to 5 people including myself. I've begun prepping products in the new niches and passing it to them to prepare. I've also got some new products in existing niches coming in the next few days as well.

    Starting to take a closer look at the different product types ROI. Some take a lot more work and either don't actually make enough to justify it or actually perform worse than the quicker and easier ones. Not at all what I was expecting but I'm dividing up the workload a bit between different product types so I can get some more numbers up and get a better idea of what to focus on going forward. If the quicker and easier stuff pays then screw artistic integrity I'll be churning out the low hanging fruit.

    I'll post numbers at the end of the month. We're still very much in the red with the outsourcing costs but that's a one time expense vs a passive income so at this rate it'll catch up.
     
  11. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Power Member

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    Had a 24 dry spell of sales. When you're only doing a couple of sales a day - a bit of variance can easily mean 100% bonus or nada for the day.

    Still.

    It drove me to try something with the conversions and picked up a half dozen sales overnight so that's looking pretty good going forward. Got a lot of the template work out of the way so product creation is picking up a bit. I have a couple of new products going up today and should have some more before the week is over.

    At the moment my ACOS is about breakeven. I wish it would go by profit and not revenue - even if you're not fulfilling it through them how hard would it be to take a cost value? But if the ads breakeven and improve the organic sales I'm more than happy with that.
     
  12. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Power Member

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    After the drought, the sales immediately swung in the other direction and hit an all-time high. The variance here doesn't bother me so much since it's just a matter of getting more products up.

    Running tests on ranking factors, conversions and what types of products are the best ROI. There's still too few up at the moment for the numbers to mean a lot but it's slowly getting there.

    Been hitting some problems with the outsourcing (who's surprised?) but we're slowly getting new products ready. If things continue to go well and we can start hitting the three figures a day range I'm going to include this in my travel plans. I want to visit the Philippines anyway next year and if I hire while I'm out there I can actually interview face to face and work with them a while before leaving them to handle things remotely.
     
  13. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Power Member

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    Putting a bunch of new products up today which includes a bunch of new ad spend. I'm about breakeven at the moment from the AMS ads but it's not great for cashflow since it ties that money up for a while. It does improve the organic ranking though, so I'm quite happy to leave the ads running at break-even for a few months if the organic rankings can result in profit afterward.

    Dealing with a drop in sales at the moment for some reason. They're still there but lower than a week or two ago and rankings don't seem to have changed so not entirely sure what's going on there. Got some more products on the way and testing a couple of new niches out over the next few weeks.
     
  14. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Power Member

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    About $70 in profit from sales this week it's down from where it was but I've definitely become the biggest bottleneck in the scaling. I like developing the systems and strategies - I hate the actual admin work that goes in afterward. The grindy repetitive stuff is boring for anyone - but I'm lazy and just put it off for days on end.

    Starting to get into a new niche which could be very promising. The margins are good and the short test I ran converted very quickly. I'll be looking at either getting a JV or a VA to handle more of it this week so I can remove myself as a bottleneck and focus on scaling things properly.
     
  15. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Power Member

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    I've been so caught up in other projects lately. This has been plodding along in the background making sales I'll update with numbers at the end of his month since I don't have them to hand.

    There's been some variation lately and I'm testing a bunch of different things to see what provides the biggest ROI.

    I've been having some problems with the outsourcing and I just don't have the time to deal with it. In fact, there's a huge backlog of things I still need to process and check the copy for. I'm meeting someone over the weekend who's hopefully going to take this project over.

    They'll be using my system, my method and (at least partially) my outsourcers to scale the setup properly while we split the profit 50/50. They're a great designer who will far outstrip the freelancers I have at the moment in terms of quality and I just don't have time to scale this setup myself. Giving them 50% of a scaled setup is better than keeping 100% of the much smaller setup it currently is.
     
  16. thescrrr

    thescrrr Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Good luck man, I tried amazon pod too, but I got cancer from the designers on upwork and quit.
     
  17. SEOMadHatter

    SEOMadHatter Power Member

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    Been a little distracted lately with a lot of new projects going on at once.

    Made about $300 profit in the last month. Spent more on the outsourcing but that's to scale the income and will pay itself off over time. I looked at what I was paying vs the work I was getting and it didn't match up so I've been improving the tech side of things which just makes my life easier, clearing up the backlog of products which have been awaiting some copy and finally sorting that JV.

    I've quickly learned not to get emotionally attached to products. So far my best sellers have been the ones I haven't given much thought to and some of the ones I poured my time into have underperformed.

    It's a complete numbers game. Yes, quality helps and being able to promote your items is key but that needs to be balanced against just getting products out of the door. The 80/20 rule is very much evident in POD and the best way to find those consistent sellers is to keep pumping them out.

    The JV is taking over this project in a few weeks. I'll keep a designer or two working under them but they're a high-quality designer themselves so my end is just going to be the tech and the product promotion which doesn't take a lot of time.

    Hah! Holy shit I hear that.