Unicorn Part 3: How we created three 7-figure businesses and sold over 30 million dollars- Sell ONLINE and make money while you sleep
Dec 07, 2020
Sell ONLINE and make money while you sleep
In our next section "How we leveraged TOTALLY FREE online traffic sources" I will show you how you can grow your online retail sales. The process was not easy or for the weak, but lets simplify it a bit.
Alana and I have our business marketing degrees, and in marketing classes, we learned the concept of "find a need and fill it".
For us, this meant finding product lines that did not sell direct to consumer over a website, and that would give us permission to promote and sell their products online.
Also, we wanted to focus on brands that actually cared about controlling their distribution and discounting. Meaning, they would regulate or prohibit their sales and specials across online retailers, and they would not sell to people like walmart and sears, etc.
Amazon has changed the game in a huge way, so things are a bit different now. Still, a good 50-75% of people still do not shop on amazon.com.
So, if you can simply find the right product lines to sell online, then market them in the right fashion, you WILL sell them and make money.
Private Label -What are you waiting for? DO IT
"Still, a good 50-75% of people still do not shop on amazon.com." Its a two edged sword. This means that 50-75 of the people that are your customers most likely are purchasing your retail directly from the brands you are selling thanks to Amazon's recent program called Brand Registry through Seller Central, which most of our brands have signed up for.Here are the list of requirements a brand must meet to sign up.
And yes, if you have a brand, I do recommend you sign up!
Interested to learn if your brand is registered with Amazon, despite whatever your rep says? Unfortunately Amazon does not provide a public list or database of brands that are registered with them.
However, you can actually figure it out another way, by seeing if a product detail page has Enhanced Brand Content, then it is in the Brand Registry.
EBC provides richer product descriptions with more images and a better looking layout and formatting.
However, EBC is an optional feature, so if a product detail page doesn’t have EBC it doesn’t mean it isn’t enrolled in the registry (however, usually they take advantage of this). Here is more info about it:
Remember, the reps that sell the product lines in your store do not want to lose your business, and they almost always downplay or just downright lie about how they handle amazon or their distribution and even discount strategy.
So how do you fight back? We say you should private label! From our experience, private labelers and noticing the same trends, and starting to offer beauty professionals ways to start up with products for just $500 or so for a cost of around $10-$15.
Of course, you will always bring the cost of products down the more you purchase in bulk. These days you are able to get your cost per product down to just $3 after you start moving some real volume.
Most of us can start selling products for around $40 or more. That's way better margin than your current product lines right away, and you have the control!!!
A common question we are asked, which private labeler to start with in low volumes? We address this question in our online course
, but I would say a good google search will get you started in the right direction almost instantaneously. Here is what you want to do:
- Start with 1-3 products, that's it!
- Google search, and find some potential private labelers
- research the ingredient list before you order, make sure it is in line with what you want to offer (organic, natural, scientific)
- Find a few products you like
- Make sure you clearly understand their minimum order quantities and pricing
- Determine based on their pricing if you want them to bottle and label, or if you want to do it yourself. Remember, DIY requires purchasing formula by the gallon, so make sure they sell by the gallon.
- Start by ordering samples, try them on yourself and your friends
- Don't go with a product unless it can do what you want to say it can do, and cause customers to need to reorder it... it needs to be gooooood!
- Don't even think about starting with a private labeler if they dont answer their emails or phones promptly when trying to place your sample order
- really figure out what you want your sales points to be
- find a need and fill it - not sure what to start with? What are the main concerns of you current clients? How can you position your product to be unique in fulfilling this need?
- Spend MORE on packaging and labeling than you think. This goes back to our branding discussion
- Consider labeling and filling products yourself to start, it will save you time and money to get off the ground
Once you start selling higher quantities, you can hire out to a larger lab to produce the products in bulk. These labs are equipped to reproduce or even improve your current formula easily
Scaling your business the healthy way, retail and services
Once you have your clientele filled up, your own private label brand, and you have some brands that are worth selling and promoting online, what comes next? Well, its time to scale!
Can you scale your business to 7 figures without a private label brand or website? Of course you can! That involves opening more spas, more employees, and more brick and mortar retail. Since that is not what we did, we are not going to go into that approach, but I just want to let you know, there is nothing wrong with it!
We grew our online retail store to 7 figures in just a couple years back when we started in around 15 years ago. Recently we grew our brand to 7 figures in sales within the first year of its launch. Matter of fact, we actually still have not "launched" our brand oddly enough. Basically it sells as quickly as we can afford to keep it in stock!
In the next section "How we leveraged TOTALLY FREE online traffic sources" I will show you the exact key elements we utilized to do so, started with the FREE (or mostly free) options. Also, we will cover how to scale your brand in a healthy way, so as to not have to give up ownership of your business, or to run out of money.
How we leveraged TOTALLY FREE online traffic sources
Its still quite funny to us, but most people get caught up on what we call the "Dangling Golden Carrot" or "Shiny Marketing Objects" syndromes. Don't worry, we will talk about paid search later, and it is a good thing.
However, keep in mind, the healthiest way to grow an online business, is to NOT put all of your eggs in one basket. Just because a method of online marketing is hip or trendy, does NOT mean it will be right for you, or the best way to get a new customer.
Paid search is great to help scale your business, but, keep in mind, once it is turned off, your revenue source is gone. Yes, just one change from facebook or adwords, or just one change in prohibited ingredients from the FDA, and you can be left hanging out to dry!
Despite whatever methods of online marketing you utilize, remember to always keep extreme focus on data and analytics, as well as financials, and dont get distracted by new flashy marketing technology. Remember your goals, and stay focused!
- Organic SEO - GMB first. Then Google, youtube, etc
Organic SEO has ALWAYS (and I mean always) been the least expensive and best way for us to get long term high quality, loyal customers. Here is organic SEO in a nutshell.
1. Set up your website correctly so google likes the way its structured and can crawl/read it easily
2. Set up your pages so google likes to read them, and even more important, your customers do, and they stay a long time, and come back, and share
3. Get the right signals and traffic pointing back to your website, like links from other websites, and social media attention.
That's it! If you are new to SEO, here is what I would do if I were you. First, make sure your google my business is set up and optimized, as well as your local search presence including citations, which are considered backlinks.
Alana and I offer a full course on this on beefysites.com.
Second, Use this free tool by Neil Patel called SEO analyzer to evaluate your website, and it will tell you what changes to make.
Some you will need to hire a developer for, some you can do yourself. Just google each change suggested, for example "How to change my title tags in my shopify store". You will be able to see quickly wether or not you can do them yourself.
Third, work on your social media presence and start emailing other bloggers and ask them if you can write articles for them.
In return, they will usually give you a link back to your website. Make sure the DA of their website is 30+, and that the website looks like one that your customers would read.
Make sure to learn how to tell the domain authority of a website, and use a tool called buzzsumo (also has a free version) to find good blogs to work with.
I will add a link to Part 4 When it is available-