Choose wisely when pricing your product. You don’t want to undervalue it, but at the same time, if you’re going to hit the bestseller list, it needs to be priced favorably.
As a part of my interview series about “Five non-intuitive things you need to know to run a very successful Amazon business, I had the pleasure of interviewing Allan Dib. Allan Dib is a serial entrepreneur, rebellious marketer and the bestselling author of The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money And Stand Out From The Crowd. He is also the founder of The Marketing & Business Academy, an online community where entrepreneurs learn vital business and marketing skills. He’s started and grown multiple businesses in various industries, with one of his startups named in Australia’s Business Review Weekly’s Fast 100 list.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?
Becoming an author was never something I planned or dreamed about. Much like becoming a marketer; it just happened. I was an IT geek who started marketing out of necessity. If I wanted to be a successful entrepreneur, then I needed to become a great marketer. It took many years to master small business marketing, and I made many mistakes along the way, some were rather costly.
Eventually, I started making the right marketing decisions, and my company scaled rapidly. I sold it, started another one, built and exited it, and this became a pattern until I decided that I wanted to give back. I’d found success as an entrepreneur, and I wanted to share the tips, tricks, and tactics I’d learned over the years with other entrepreneurs hoping to turn a tidy profit on their business.
So I wrote the book I wished I’d had when stumbling through marketing my business. I used my knowledge to market it properly and luckily people liked it. Next, I knew, it was a bestseller, and the rest is history. Now I get to spend my days helping entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. What more could I ask for than that?
Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about selling on Amazon.com?
My book has consistently been Amazon’s number one global marketing book for the past two or so years. Much of that can be attributed to my approach to marketing and selling it on Amazon. I’ve sold over 150,000 copies and have over 900 5-star reviews.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I became a bestselling author. It’s funny because at university, during my entrance exam, I was told not to bother with studying a humanities degree. They didn’t think I had the capability to enroll in English Linguistics or English Literature.
And here I am, almost twenty years later, a bestselling business author. I was offered a publishing contract from a prominent American publishing house. I’ve sold over 150,000 copies of my book, it’s translated into several different languages, and Huffington Post named it as one of the top ten marketing books for small business owners. So I’m proof that anyone can write a bestseller.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The first few covers of the book that I received were terrible. They were truly horrible, and I’m just so glad that I eventually found a designer who got my vision and helped me to create a striking book cover. They say first impressions count, and I’m happy with the way the cover eventually turned out, but the early versions weren’t great.
Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I have two exciting projects in the pipeline. I’m currently writing my second book, which is a sequel to The 1-Page Marketing Plan, and if all goes well, it should be available towards the end of the year. So that is something that small business owners and budding marketers can look forward too.
The other cool project that I’m working on is my 2019 tour to the United States, Canada, and Mexico, scheduled for mid-July to August. We’re busy finalizing speaker events, masterclass sessions and coffee mornings with entrepreneurs from all walks of life, so this is something that I’m super excited about. I’ve never been to these countries, even though most of my clients are American, so it will also be good to meet many of the people who’ve bought my book or signed up for my Marketing & Business Academy.
Ok. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. You are a seasoned Amazon expert. Can you share with our readers five, non intuitive, insider tips, in order to be as successful as possible on Amazon? Please share a story or example for each.
1. Give it away for free.
For the first three to five days of launching your book or product make it available for free. What you want to do is get it into consumers’ hands. Get them reading or using it and ask that they review the product. This way when you start selling it, there’s already positive feedback about your product.
2. Ask close friends and family to review it.
In Australia alone, 68% of online shoppers read about eight reviews before deciding to buy. So you want to get good reviews about your product up as quickly as possible. Now I’m not suggesting that you get friends and family to lie about the quality of your product, but it is an excellent way to at least get some reviews that can influence buyers decisions.
3. Price it right.
Choose wisely when pricing your product. You don’t want to undervalue it, but at the same time, if you’re going to hit the bestseller list, it needs to be priced favorably. I could have priced my book at $9,99, but then I wouldn’t have sold half as many as I have. At $2,99 I still make a good profit, and it gets read by my target market who could one day become clients.
4. Give Amazon exclusivity
Currently, Amazon gets the most velocity or traction in the marketplace. It’s growing at a phenomenal rate, and rewards sellers who give them exclusivity, such as a better cut. So if you don’t need to be using other online platforms to sell your product, don’t.
5. Print on demand until demand exceeds turnaround time (particular to book publishers)
While the cost of printing on demand is quite high until you see sales soar it doesn’t make sense to print in bulk. You have to pay the printer upfront and the logistics of finding a warehouse to store your books can be expensive. You really don’t want to have a lot of money tied up in inventory and warehousing. The same goes for other products. Wait until you’re confident that demand exceeds the cost of logistics.
Amazon sellers have a reputation for being great guerilla marketers. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
I wouldn’t say this is a smart marketing strategy, but it’s important to remember that Amazon values recommendations. It looks at the purchasing habits of consumers, and it will email those customers recommended products or books, which can be massively helpful for sellers.
If you’re an author and want to advertise your book, I’d suggest using BookBub Author Ads or Amazon’s AMS. With Amazon AMS you can track how much you’re spending and how many book sales resulted. I found that for every dollar I spent I’ve got two dollars in return. So I’ll keep advertising until that changes.
Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’ve made it my life’s work to help entrepreneurs of small to medium-sized businesses to not only keep their doors open but to thrive. My mission is to ensure that SMEs have every possible chance at success, and this starts with shifting mindsets. You’re not in the business of selling what you do. Instead, you’re in the business of marketing what you do. Make that mindset shift, and you’re already on to a good thing.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Never give up on your entrepreneurial dream. There’s always a way to make your business successful. You need to figure out the right way for you. I’ve been an entrepreneur for almost a decade, and I’ve seen people who were smarter than I fail because of paralysis by analysis. I’ve also seen relatively ordinary people succeed because they never stopped trying. Never give up.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Probably Richard Branson. Who wouldn’t want to learn from the original marketing guru?
Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!
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