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Category: Case Study (page 1 of 2)

Selling On Amazon and Sourcing Products From Alibaba

Alibaba is a PITA. More precisely negotiating with manufacturers on Alibaba is a PITA. I will go into my struggle and progress in this post and hopefully someone can learn from my experience so far.

If you are interested in sports clothing manufacturers stay tuned because I ordered samples from manufacturers and I will review them, pick the best ones and let you know who I am working with.

As mentioned in my previous post, I want to get out of eCommerce and I want to sell my main website this year. Right now it’s not worth as much as it should be and I am bringing it up to the point where someone will buy it for at lease $100k. That’s my goal.

To do that I will be utilizing three traffic sources, Amazon, Facebook and Google. All three places have the potential to bring in hundreds of sales every week.

I think Amazon is a big key to what’s missing in my business. I can get into how I’m going to use Amazon in another post which I will link here.

In short I am going to be sending products from China to the USA, to a FBA prep-packing warehouse, who will check the quality before they package my products off to an Amazon FBA warehouse. To which I can offer my customers next day delivery on sweet Amazon prime.

Sounds good? It will take at least two more months to get there depending on how quick I find the right supplier in China AND that’s not accounting for any hiccups that may occur along the way.

The main product I sell on  the website in question is T-Shirts. However the customers I sell to would also like athletic sublimation polyester polo shirts. With my designs on of course.

Unfortunately I know of zero eCommerce fulfilment companies such as Teespring or Gearbubble that offer sublimation polo shirts. This means I have to look for manufacturers who can.

I searched for manufacturers in the UK, USA, Australia and China.

From extensive research the polo shirt I would like my designs to go on has been created by an Australian company who I contacted and at first they wanted my business. Unfortunately the director of the company has stopped replying to my emails.

I gave him my design and he created a mockup that looked stunning which is so annoying. I felt like he teased me on this. He offered me $14 per polo shirt as well. I can’t describe how frustrating that is and I hope my design doesn’t start popping up on shirts for sale in Australia.

Mykel at http://aussiepacific.com.au I’m talk to you. I love your polo shirts, I know you can deliver so help me out. Pleeeease.

Next I found a company in the UK called Scimitar. A well known brand with lot’s of good exposure, who can make really nice shirts. 50 shirts works out at £17 per shirt ($21 a shirt), that’s £850 not including shipping to the USA. Anything above $800 worth of product passing through the USA I have to pay customs duty tax. So this is an added cost using this company. Ordering below 50 shirts and it becomes too unaffordable.

The benefit of using Scimitar aside from the fact they would look amazing is that I can go to the factory and inspect my order before I send them out.

To be affordable I had no choice but to turn to Alibaba who have thousands of manufacturers and what seems to be hundreds of companies who can make my polo shirt. The downside is finding a good one that ticks all the right boxes.

I have been shopping around for a manufacturer who can recreate the polo shirt I like. The problem… Every manufacturer you contact can make your product. I think if you ask a company that specializes in making curling irons and ask them if they can make your polo shirt, they’ll say yes I can easily and “best quality too!”

Today is a very special day because after what seemed like forever I finally ordered my first sample an hour ago. It’s taken me four weeks. Four long weeks to get to the point of paying for a sample. Negotiating paying for a sample has taken one week. I don’t know why the Chinese make it so hard to do an easy thing.

I won’t go through every detail but all I will say is the manufacturers on this website can be stubborn. I always try to leave my ego at the door when I go into negotiate a sample (and my future bulk orders) but it almost seems like they don’t want my business. It’s like they don’t realise I have hundreds of other people I can give my money too and they don’t care if I go somewhere else.

One of the things I ask for is a reference. I don’t care if they have been a gold member for 8 years an they have inspection checks and trade assurance. If you can’t give me a reference then we won’t do business. (This was my headspace going into this four weeks ago.) I think I read it on a website when doing research, if they can’t provide a simple reference then it’s a red flag. So I was adamant on speaking to a reference.

You have to remember that this is my first time ordering on Alibaba and I don’t want to be another scam story. If they can give me a reference that I can contact and that reference is real, has a legitimate website and responds to my questions with good answers, then we can do business (so you would think)…

…I have contacted over 40 manufacturers this month and only two have given me a good reference. One manufacturer got close to a sample but at the point of payment he refused to do a Paypal or Trade Assurance with me. He wanted me to pay through Westen Union. To which I told him to F*CK *** but in a nicer tone of course. We went back and fourth but he refused to do Trade Assurance WHICH he offered on his Alibaba profile page. Slightly annoying.  So much time wasted.

That’s Kevin at http://www.starbesports.com/.

I’m not saying Kevin at “GuangZhou Starbe Sports” is a scammer. I don’t know and I’ll never find out because I am not going start a relationship that ends up with me sending thousands of dollars into someones bank account and I am not covered. Red flag? I tried explaining to this guy but he refused to do Trade Assurance. He told me to come back when I’m ready to do business. Such a shame because he did provide me with a reference. Out of the hundreds of manufacturers to choose from, I chose YOU.

It must be me?

The only other sports clothing manufacturer to give me an amazing reference was Doris from Passion Sportswear. Shout out http://passionsportswear.com.

It took us a couple of weeks but one Paypal invoice later and we’ve got a sample in the works. I cannot share the reference she gave me but this reference was GOOD and their products looked GOOD. The only problem is she’s slightly more expensive than others I have spoken to, however I want to see her sample which cost $50.

I can’t say Doris is a slam dunk to work with just yet. She’s yet to prove her services to me but I am hopeful and time will tell. I will come back and update you on that. I wish I could show you my sample but it will give away my website.

What to look for when looking for a manufacturer on Alibaba.com?

I am an not an expert, far from it. I am yet to receive my first sample however I recommend you check out Andrew Minalto who seems to know his stuff. Andrew has answered questions for me within 24 hours of contacting him. He has helped me out a lot. I definitely recommend you check him out. andrewminalto.com/alibaba-scam-exposed/

I myself look for companies with gold supplier and trade assurance badges. I like to see that their premises have been checked by Alibaba and they have a decent volume transaction level. Then the big one for me is getting a reference which is very very very very very very VERY hard to get. If you do get one it’s normally rubbish.

One manufacturer gave me a reference who just ordered his first sample and hadn’t done his due diligence by the looks of it. That person must have more faith in people than I do because the company had no trade assurance or transaction volume. It was not the reference I was looking for.

I am looking for someone who’s ordered in bulk and they’ve worked together for a long time and has good things to say.

I contacted Andrew Minalto about my reference problem and he said it’s common for manufacturers to not want to give references, 1) because they don’t want to give away their customers and 2) because their customers don’t want people to know who their suppliers are.

I get it, it makes sense however the thought of sending a company thousands of dollars halfway around the world to a stranger who could just walk away with your money is scary. Talking to a reference who vouches for a company absolutely helps with trusting them because you know they’re legit. It doesn’t mean to say they can’t pull a fast one BUT it helps me to trust them in the negotiation process.

Since talking to Andrew however, I am letting my guard down. I am in talks with a few other manufacturers who tick all the right boxes everywhere else. I am in the process of ordering samples and I’ll go from there.

Aside from wanting bang my head against a wall some days, looking for manufacturers on Aliaba has been lot’s of fun. It’s new to me so it’s a good break from the usual repetitive Facebook stuff.

As always this is not the end of this blog post I will come back and update as I move along in my journey.

I have called some manufacturers out in this post for good and bad reasons and there is a reason for that… When I was looking for reviews of manufacturers I found NONE. Out of over 40 different companies I found nothing on Google. So I am leaving company names and websites on this article so people like me who search for reviews will hopefully find this article and will get an idea of who they are. You can contact me as well if you like.

As I use more manufacturers and continue through my process of finding the perfect polo shirt I will list the companies I use for samples and my opinion. Doris at Passion Sportswear seems like a good choice so far and I can’t wait to make an update with my review of my first ever sample from Alibaba.com.

Speak soon.
Andrew Ormes.

I Am Selling Out

flipsite
Back in the dark days of 2009 when I was struggling and I first found this thing called internet marketing, the first thing I learned was how to flip websites on flippa.com.

I didn’t exactly master my craft but I flipped websites none the less. My best result was creating an MMA website and selling it for $369. It only took a few hours to create. I was so happy. Apart from the listing fee and domain fee it was all profit.

Recently I have been looking at this site called Empire Flippers: http://empireflippers.com

A lot of websites sell on there and they sell for lot’s of dough. This is because only serious buyers and sellers are allowed access.  All websites are vetted thoroughly before they go up for sale which means buyers know they’re the real deal and therefore websites are sold for lot’s of money.

I really hope they let me join the club.

Basically if you have a website making $1000 or more profit a month they will sell it for roughy $20,000. They typically put websites up for sale at 20x it’s monthly profit earnings.

I’m getting a bit sick of the eCommerce game. I want to free up some time to really dig into getting better at copywriting, affiliate marketing and CPA. That’s where the big money is and it’s fun digging a knife into peoples pain emotions and wiggling it around.

Yea… you also help people solve their problems along the way too BUT Influencing cold traffic to take action and buy a product is fascinating to me.

So it’s a decision of mine that I want to sell one of my eCom sites, free up some time and get a big wad of cash that will fund my education and mentorship. I am giving myself three months to sell out.

Three months to make as many sales as possible…

Empire Flippers look at your past 12 months and your previous three months and estimate the value of your website. The goal I want to sell at is $50,000-$80.000 but I think realistically it could be around $15-000-$30,000. We’ll see what happens over the next few months.

I will come back and update this post as I progress along.

Advanced Facebook Ad (Retargeting) Strategy For 2017 And Beyond

This is a case study post – As of starting this post, I am 6 days into ruMaking Money With Facebooknning the campaign in this case study.

In this post I am going over how to run a profitable ad on Facebook. This is aimed at people who have ran a Facebook ad before but are having trouble getting things working for them.

If you’re new to Facebook ads, don’t be deterred. Read this post and bookmark it because you can put it into use once you understand how to run an advert.

A lot of what you are about to read is mandatory for running ads online. Not just Facebook, this is for running ads on all platforms. Test test test!

I am starting off this ad campaign with a broad lookalike audience. I am targeting women, the audience size is 900,000. I created the lookalike audience from my Shopify buyers.

shopify

That’s an important step. I created a lookalike audience using a list of 1000+ buyer emails. I exported them from Shopify and created a custom audience on Facebook. When the audience was ready, I created a 1% lookalike audience for the USA.

Next I created a website conversion ad. I set my pixel conversion event to “initiate checkout”.

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Find Your Control Ad and Gather Data

Make sure you have a decent budget to get enough data. Initially you should start off from the get-go split testing around 3-5 ads. You want to find your control ad.

Start off first of all with three identical ads except the ad copy is different in each ad. Let the ad run and gather data to see which performs best.

Then take the ad with the winning ad copy and create a new campaign. Make sure it’s a new campaign.

Now you’re going to do the same again except this time you’ll split test three different images. Duplicate the advert with winning copy three times but use a different image for each ad. Again keep running the ads until you find the best performing advert.

After this you should have a half decent advert to get started. You never stop split testing or trying to beat your control. There’s always something you could be doing better.

The next step in the split test process is to test different landing pages. If this is possible for you then test three different landing pages until you find one that converts the best. Then once you find the best one it’s a matter of testing the winning landing page against a similar page with minor changes.

Once you have a control ad, you should always be trying to beat it by running an advert along side it. Testing one thing at a time against the control ad. Test images, headlines, anything that can improve your ad.

I tested three different types of ad copy and found what one the audience liked the most. One got a 8% CTR compared to the others getting 2% and 3%.  So now it’s a case of trying to beat my control. As you will see the audience has reacted well to the ad as I am getting an amazing 0.04 cents per link click.

PLEASE PAY ATTENTION to what I just wrote above… If I did not start off split testing my ad-copy and went with one ad straight away, guessing what my audience would like, then I probably would have got bad results. I would have thought my ad was garbage and stopped the campaign after a few days thinking it didn’t work.


After You Gather Data Analyze The Reports

Tomorrow I want to start scaling my advert but before I do that it’s good to dig into the data you’ve gathered with your ad and look at what’s working well.

If you don’t do this you are probably leaving a lot of money on the table by not cutting out non-performing traffic and not focusing on what’s converting the best.

For the first 6 days of this campaign I targeted a broad demographic, 35-64 year olds. Now I have the data we can look over what’s worked and what hasn’t.

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I have been running my ad for 6 days with a small budget of $10 a day. I targeted women aged 35-64 on Mobile devices. I have started off with mobile because it has always performed better in my niche. I will incorporate desktop later.

I have had 1270 clicks to my website, 12 people hit the checkout button and 8 people purchased. There’s probably more I could to do on my website to get that number up but this is cold traffic after all.

Important note: I am sending women to a collection of products aimed at women on my website. I did this because I wanted the products to be relevant to the target audience.

Make sure you send your traffic to the actual product you are advertising! It sounds obvious but I’ve seen companies advertise a specific product BUT when you click on the ad, you’re not sent to the product being advertised.

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As you can see, 35-44 is my best performing age group if we’re going to go by conversion data. I spent $15.77 and 8 people went to the checkouts. That’s just $2.02 per conversion. However if we look at 55-64 year olds I have spent $17.59 and only had one conversion.

If I never looked at the data I would not know this. Every morning you should check your reports to get an overview of how your ad is performing. Stay on top of what’s working!

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Overall I have spent $60 so far and made $357 in revenue. (Around $165 total profit after ad-spend, products costs and shipping etc).

Moving forward I will be putting more concentration on 35-44 year old women. I won’t stop advertising to the other ages completely just yet although it looks like 55-64 year olds are not looking promising. However that could all change when I retarget them and they get familiar with my brand.

Also I will include 25-34 years olds in my targeting as it looks as though the younger people are converting better with this advert.

Build A Custom Audience For Retargeting

You cannot miss this step. I won’t go over how to create a custom audience in detail, there are hundreds of websites/youtube videos that cover this topic

You need to create an audience for all the people that land on the URL you are advertising.

custom-audience-ws

As you can see after one week my custom audience is showing 1,100 people have hit my landing page. Now my next step is to start a retargeting campaign.

Now they have seen my website I am going educate them a little bit about the product. I am going to show them a very similar ad to one they have seen except this time I will send them to an pre-sell article on my website. It will have a story about my product and I will educate them on the features and benefits of the product. I will also throw in typical things you might see on a sales page like our guarantee and testimonials etc.

Notice I am not sending them BACK to the page I sent them to in my original advert.

This is for two reasons, one is to make them more familiar with my product and brand. This is cold traffic so I want to build a relationship. The second reason is so I can put them through a retargeting sequence.

I will create another custom audience for everyone who reads the pre-sell article. Then I am going to retarget my retargeting audience (if that makes sense).  Using the new custom audience I am going to send them BACK to the original URL they saw in the first advert. This time with a 10% discount to help them make a purchase

The reason I am going out of my way is because this is cold traffic and they don’t know me. 99% of the 1100 people who landed on my website looked but didn’t buy and a big reason for that is because they don’t know who I am! So the goal with all this is to build trust and get them familiar with me and my product.

Here’s an overview:

Cold traffic see’s my advert, clicks through to website > Retarget non-buyer cold traffic with education pre-sale page > Retarget the people who landed on the pre-sale page and offer a discount > $$$

An alternative step you could do is retarget the pre-sale audience with a giveaway. They are familiar with your product now so they will opt in to a giveaway. Get them on a list so you can continue to market to them. This is no longer cold traffic, they are good leads and are more likely to buy in the long run.

This is where I am at so far and here’s what I plan to do this week…

  • Create new campaigns for my best performing age-groups.
  • Scale up my initial ad but stay within budget
  • Exclude people who already land on my page
  • Write pre-sale page
  • Send custom audience to the pre-sale page
  • Keep split testing against the control ad for the main advert

I will report back next week with an update and the results. This is more than a case study, it’s a step by step guide into running ads on Facebook. It might not be the best way to do things but it works for me. Keep your eye on this post and put it into use.

QUICK UPDATE – Tuesday, 17th Jan 2017
Yesterday was spent creating the pre-sale page for the retargeting audience. I opened with a story, then spoke about my most popular products, ran through features and benefits, threw in some testimonials and a guarantee.

I am using clickfunnels for the pre-sale article because I can create a much better looking article for mobile users. I created it first inside a page on my shopify store and it was ugly even on my desktop. Far too small and too many distractions going on around the page.

With Click funnels I could create a page and make sure they could only see and click where I wanted them to.

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Yesterday we also made another $136 from $10 spent. Someone purchased four products in one transaction.

Early this morning I put the finishing touches to the sales letter which has allowed me to finally scale out my ads.

Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 12.28.15The budget has now gone from $10 a day to $75. I kept the original ad going at $10 a day. I then broke down ads into their own age group; 25-34, 35-44, 45-54. Each with it’s own budget of $10 a day.

I also added an ad for 35-44 years olds targeting desktop with a $10 budget. To see how desktop performs and if it goes as well as mobile, then I will create ads for desktop as well.

As you can see I did not put 55-64 year olds into their own ad group. So far I’ve spent $22 at that demographic in the original advert and it’s still showing only one conversion.

However I have created a retargeting ad for 55-64 year olds. If I get conversions through retargeting then I will target them directly in their own ad.

I will also try to target 55-64 on desktops because I think maybe that age demographic are more likely to feel comfortable buying on a computer than on a mobile.

What you have to be prepared for with Facebook is it can take 24-72 hours for yours ads to start performing. It’s frustrating as hell and no one knows why but that’s just the nature of the beast.

*IMPORTANT* Many people have a successful ad and then they scale up their budget to reach more people and the ad stops converting. They turn it off complaining about Facebook has screwed them over… However if they waited and let Facebook do it’s thing, it would have come back to life after a couple of days. Keep this in mind when scaling up a campaign.

Hopefully we see results kick in right away otherwise the $75 will eat into our budget.

I will update again in a few days.

 

 

What Happened With That Wine Campaign?

Sadly I never made a massive profit from the campaign. The wine Niche is still one I am trying to crush but it’s not going to be easy.

I have to say looking back on the videos, I was following a course and going by the practices recommended. However going forward I won’t be spending such a ridiculous amount of money out the gate.

How did that campaign finish?

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I made $1471 in revenue for that campaign, about $500 of that was profit so I got back some of my investment in the niche. So overall it’s not too bad.

Hopefully the next time I share a live case study the outcome will be better.

Wine T-Shirt Case Study Continued

Yesterday we looked at if I can scale up my wine t-shirt campaign. Last week I could have classed this campaign as a loser but how is it panning out now I can actually concentrate on it properly?

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It looks good so far with 24 sales! So far I have reached half my goal in just over 24 hours. Looks like I’ll have no problem hitting the 50 goal this time round, maybe I should have set it to 300. Where’s the faith!

Lets take a look at the ad-spend and see how we are doing there…

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Pretty steep! So far I have spent $253 and after today I will be about $300. At this point time I have sold 24 t-shirts at $13.5 profit per t-shirt, which is $324 revenue and $71 in profit so far.

Now obviously this is far from great. It’s not converting nowhere near as good as I would like and it could easily fall into the red. However that being said we are still finding out what our best converting interests are and what age range is buying the t-shirt. Once we know these things we can cut out all the non performing ads that are wasting money and turn up the ad spend for the interests that are converting.

In eight hours time there should be a video under this line of text showing me scaling my ads. I will probably look a little stressed because of the ad spend.

We did it! Scaled the campaign even though sales have been bleak over night. Let’s hope that’s not the story today with our converting ads now spending more money.

 

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