Influencer Marketing, TikTok & Amazon Live⎜ Gracey Ryback ⎜ EP 198
Ryan Cramer: What's up everyone. Welcome to My Corner of the Internet. I'm your host, Ryan Cramer and this is Crossover Commerce, presented by PingPong Payments, the leading global payments provider, helping sellers keep more of their hard earned money. Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of Crossover Commerce. I'm your host, Ryan Cramer. And this is My Corner of the Internet, where I bring the best and brightest in the Amazon and e- commerce space. And as you know, that extends to anything from sourcing logistics, to advertising, to marketing, all the way to just buyer psychology, which is what we're going to be talking about today. But before we get started and I already get really giddy about talking about our topic today, let me go ahead and get kicked off with talking about our presenting sponsor PingPong Payments. PingPong Payments, helping people save time, money, and effort when it comes to paying international entities. What does that mean? It could be paying out your business partners, or your VAs, your sourcing agents, your suppliers, your manufacturers. If you need to make a payment to somebody in a different country, there's an easy and effective way to do that. I mean, you can do it for free, you could sign up for free, but doing it and paying in their own currency. It's more time effective. They will appreciate it. You could save money and put that margin back to your bottom line. Don't pay fees when you don't have to, I should say. Amazon's full of them. Don't make this one of them. With that being said, you can sign up for free at usa. pingpongx. com/ podcast. Yes, that is correct. This is actually episode 198. You can cue the final countdown music. I'm not going to play it for copyright reasons of course, so we don't get in trouble. But we're on our way to our 200th episode. Just want to give a quick little holiday edition coming December 20th, 2021. That is this coming month day. So if you're watching us live, that is coming Monday. It's going to be from 12 to, I want to say noon Eastern to 2: 00 PM Eastern. I'm already getting confirmations from our guests. So if you're listening or watching to this, make sure you subscribe to our channels to make sure that you can catch that big episode. Holiday edition, we're going to recap 2021 moving forward into 2022 and what that looks like for multiple different industries. So give a quick preview for that. But today's episode, not to be outshined at all, we're going to be talking about one of my favorite topics, covering a lot of different areas, but one of those different areas is going to be influencer marketing, TikTok and Amazon Live. What do they all have in common? They're different ways to get your brand out there folks. Even just today, TikTok announced... I was talking this pre- show with our guest. TikTok announced that it is now going to be doing social shopping, embedding into its platform. What does that mean? How does that affect your brand? Well, we're going to be discussing that all today. I'm really excited about this guest because she has millions of followers, just new to the industry and got in... We were talking pre- show about her background. Worked for the likes of Jordan Belfort if you know that name. Wolf of Wall Street. Getting into and finding her niche in influencer marketing and now helping brands scale at ridiculous rates, helping in the likes of social followings, influencer marketing, TikTok. Again, her words, not mine; I started this for fun and look at what it became. So without further ado, we want to bring on Gracey Ryback of Deal Cheats. Gracey, thank you so much for hopping on Crossover Commerce today.
Gracey Ryback: Thank you so much, Ryan, for having me. I am very, very excited to be here. And I love talking about this topic.
Ryan Cramer: We were buzzing through topics just before, so just 10 minutes prior. No, we're going to recap a little bit. But no, I'm just super excited. Before we get started, people haven't... if they haven't heard of you, which they should already, you're based in Atlanta, correct? Atlanta, Georgia.
Gracey Ryback: Correct.
Ryan Cramer: Very cool. I'm in the Midwest. So I'm in Indianapolis. Not too far away from each other. Excuse me. So what's your background? I want to hear how we got to where you are today now with all those great products and your background. You're doing amazing stuff and you have millions of followers. Tell me that story, how it got started.
Gracey Ryback: Of course. So like you just said, I'm from Atlanta, Georgia. And I graduated from college in just, I guess two years ago, 2019. So after graduating college, and like I mentioned earlier, I studied psychology. And it wasn't because I was like, " Oh, I want to be a therapist when I grow up." It was because I loved the consumer aspect of psychology. I loved understanding why people bought the things that... What they go through in the buying process? What makes them buy? What makes them press the buy button? And that was something I was so interested in from the graphics and color, to just numbers of it all. So I did that and I actually got my start in sales, which to this day is still not my favorite thing. I don't know anybody who is like, my passion is cold calling. My passion is door to door. There's people out there, I'm sure, but it's just not me. I can't handle rejection like that. So I did that for a while after college. And then in the midst of it, I guess while I was working from home, I got on TikTok. My best friend actually told me about it. I was reluctant at first, like everyone else is. And like, oh, what is this app? I have no time. What is this about? And so I got onto it, like other people did and got addicted quick, like other people did. And I was just on the app all the time. So I started seeing other people have these accounts where they were sharing Amazon codes. And that was something that I was just doing regardless for myself personally. I would always use promo codes before I'd buy anything. I would look for deals on the things I was buying. And usually I'd be able to do some digging and find a good promo code or a deal where I'd save 50 to 70% off the products that I was buying anyway. And I was like, this is really cool. I'm saving a lot of money. Nobody else knows about this. And so I was like, I don't know, maybe I'll start an account, share some promo codes, maybe get a thousand followers, if I'm lucky, help people save money. And that was really my intentions behind starting everything. And that was the time where I was about to leave the Jordan Belfort company. It was around Christmas time last year when I actually did. And so it actually worked out really well, because that was about the time that I discovered how to monetize on social media. And so it was almost like a seamless transition where I was like, this job, this job. All right. I'm going to pursue this TikTok thing full time, see what I can make out of it. And now I'm my on your podcast.
Ryan Cramer: Well, that's an amazing thing too. Time gets sped up by technology and-
Gracey Ryback: It does.
Ryan Cramer: Your story sounds just very eerily similar. I was in newspaper industry in sales. I was let go in December of when I was there. Oh gosh, that was in 2014, so it was years ago. But then that's when I found my first next job. And I happened to relocate to Virginia where I found e- commerce. So your journey is eerily similar. And that's where I found affiliate marketing too, which is what we're talking about. Affiliate marketing for people listening through, they might think, oh, those are just people who click on ads and you make money. It's not simple as that. It's actually embedded right into Amazon's own platform. And that's what people are leaning into making money is using codes, using links, anything like that, but it's all trackable. So you found the Amazon Associates Program first to start. What was the first program you really got, hey, I can start making some serious money with affiliate marketing?
Gracey Ryback: Yeah. So about a month after I started the TikTok thing, I started getting some pretty good views and some pretty decent traffic onto my TikTok page. And then after the fact, somebody... I actually was posting in a Amazon seller Facebook group. I don't know what my question was. I was like, " If anybody has any deals on their products, I'm looking for deals," or something like that. And then somebody introduced me to the Amazon Associates Program after the fact. When I thought of affiliate marketing before this, I was like, I can't do that. Who would click on my link? That was my thought process. I was like, I could never do that. And so then I signed up for the program. So Amazon Associates was the first program that I got started with and still my main program that I like working with. And so I started doing that and then I was like, oh, you can monetize this. And that gave me an opportunity right there to turn this into a potentially full- time thing, which I did beginning of this year. So thank God for them.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, exactly. Well, and that's a crazy thing too is, that's a lot... And I told you this was going to happen. The sun's been peaking through clouds. So now it's super bright. So if you're watching this online, it's not the glare of the television, it's my window at this time of day. I'm just going to keep rotating around. So if you hear me rotating on the podcast... I was just like, " Don't stare too long at the sun." So with that being said, it's so funny how people find influence marketing. They don't have a following. They don't know that because in theory, affiliate marketing is the same as influencer or micro influencer marketing at whatever scale you want to do is, you're getting compensated for the following or people with the likes of sales. Sales 101 of your funnel is this big. And that's your audience. Hopefully this percentage of people will convert. And if that many people will convert, you're going to get a percentage of whatever. So you can in theory do math. So you can either pay by impressions or number of followers. You can pay by the amount of clicks. So we can go down that route. But with yourself when you were starting, you said you can go in all these different places on TikTok and there's so much content, where do you start? For people who are trying to build a brand, where do you start and how did you build your own brand?
Gracey Ryback: Yeah. So I, like I said, just really loved saving money with promo codes on Amazon before. So this was something that I already knew about. I knew where to find the deals. I was a deal hunter, even before I was doing it for other people. And so I had experience in that. My best advice to somebody who wants to get started on TikTok, pick your niche. Your niche being whatever you can talk endlessly about, whatever you can do every day and not get tired of it. And that's different for everyone and that's the beauty of it, it's that everyone's passions and niches are different and you can find other people who have the same passions, hobbies, whatever that may be. So luckily I got into something that I love doing every day regardless. And thank God for that, because it's all I do anymore.
Ryan Cramer: Right. Well, TikTok is innovating. We were talking about this now. It's live shopping. It's a lot of the live experiences, just like this podcast where we do it live. What's the most drawl nature to this? Because you can either go into YouTube channels. And obviously there's affiliate marketers in there of click links below. What about TikTok is really standing out for you in that regards, Gracey, in that this is going to be something that I can make some serious money. But then if I focus on this solely, like you said, find your niche, stick with it and then grow from there. Is it just TikTok or are you dabbling in more channels or is this the one where you want to attach your horse to if you will, or cart?
Gracey Ryback: So I learned the lesson the hard way, don't ever put too many eggs in one basket. It's an important business lesson and I learned it the hard way. Why? Because I had some drama with TikTok at one point.
Ryan Cramer: Might get a spill, man.
Gracey Ryback: Yeah, I know. So I'll answer your question as to first of all, why TikTok and then second of all, why people like live things.
Ryan Cramer: Sure.
Gracey Ryback: So first of all, I always say that the culture of TikTok is just a culture within itself, and it's a great one, I think. I think it shifted our current culture as a world. It led to a more authentic vulnerable on the spot, just not high production quality content that's also very short, great for our short attention spans. And it's also very, I guess, emotion invoking. I guess you get the shock factor, you get the laughs, you get the relatability, you get a lot from just a short little under one minute video. And so I think in the era of Instagram that we just came from where everything was very filtered and edited and pretty imperfect, we were all feeling bad about ourselves. Because I was like, " This is not real." I just feel worse than everyone. And so I think that is why TikTok has become so popular so fast and just widespread. And it's almost like a trendsetting app now. It is. It's not almost, it is. And so people really go there for inspiration, they go there for ideas, they go there to learn new things, they go there to relate to other people in their situation. And the algorithm is magical. I don't want to get started on that, but it knows me better than I know myself. So that's why I love TikTok and I really am happy that this is the platform that I've been working hard on. And I guess is my main platform, you could say. But why do people like live things? I've wondered that too. I think there is just this intimate connection aspect of it that people really, really missed. Especially maybe in the 2020 year, people were like, they just wanted to talk to somebody else. They wanted to see somebody else in real time. It feels like a Zoom call almost. It feels like a Zoom call. And especially when you're relating it to selling, I learned a couple of fun things about livestream selling as I've been talking about it and doing it in the last year. And apparently it leads to 50% less returns. It leads to so and so much more conversion and people get to ask questions about the products, see it in real time, talk to the person who is supposedly an expert in the area and knowledgeable about the product. And people are like, " Okay, so I know what I'm getting. I'm having my questions answered by this person on my screen and I trust their expertise, and they get it." And they're like, okay. As long as it's the same product that they're getting, their expectations are met in that sense.
Ryan Cramer: It's almost the HSN effect of the-
Gracey Ryback: Yeah.
Ryan Cramer: When I say HSN, home shopping network of, instead of now calling people, it's literally right in front of you. You can just click to buy. In one or two clicks you're literally getting that product. A couple of things to unpack from what you said. TikTok, obviously the algorithm is so fascinating. And as a marketer, I've talked with agencies and other notions... It's so fascinating to know that in TikTok, you know that there's only one source of content that's coming at you. There is a stream, like the stream of light that's coming at me. It's intense, it's bright. You can't go anywhere else. You can't hide from it. Unlike on Instagram or Facebook, you can go into different stories, you can go into reels, you can go into posts. The list goes on and on.
Gracey Ryback: Exactly.
Ryan Cramer: So all these different ways that you can't really capture audiences when in TikTok is only coming from one major source. Again, that can change, just like anything else. But that's what's the most fascinating notion of it right now of, it's the trendsetting notion. It's also coming from one space. And also because it's new, I'm assuming it's cost effective for marketers to test out too. Again, that can come in time, but Facebook gets more expensive the more niche down you get. It's been around a long time. Price has skyrocket. But with TikTok, it's pretty interesting. A short content, it fits everyone's profile right now. You don't have attention to sit and listen to somebody for an hour. That's why we see podcast people come and go all the time. They get little bits and snippets all the time, but one hour-
Gracey Ryback: Even YouTube videos. I put it on two times speed. It's crazy. I'm just like, " Okay, I don't have time to listen to you babble." It's so bad.
Ryan Cramer: Well, I'm listening to podcasts now in my car rides for errands and I put it on one time speed. And I said, this is weird to... I listen to the SmartLess Podcast because I'm a big dummy, but I just find that's one of the things in the industry I don't listen to is them and listening at just normal speed. It seems way too slow. I'm like, that doesn't seem right. I need to listen to two times speed. Get it through and crank out content. But it's a subconscious. My mind can pick it up, which is weird. I mean, that's TikTok in that nature. So what does a person in your position look like? What's a day to day look like in that... Do you have a content calendar? Or you have a list of clients that you're saying you need to post a certain amount of content on a day to day basis? What does that look like for you.
Gracey Ryback: Yeah. So it's fun because I get to work from home, which has its perks, has its not perks. But let's see what a day to day looks like. So I usually wake up in the morning, a little bit later than the average person who works a 9: 00 to 5:00 because I have to stay up late. I have a lot of people in China that I talk to and they wake up around 9:00 or 10: 00 PM my time. There's a straight 12 hour time difference.
Ryan Cramer: Eastern Time is not conducive to China time, let me just tell you that.
Gracey Ryback: No, it's not great. But it's okay because I'm a night owl anyway. I would be up until 2: 00 to 3: 00 AM anyway. So it's not too bad on my lifestyle. I am on calls until the late night. So then that means I wake up a little later, but it's okay in my job. So I wake up and I usually do some admin things in the morning. I'll do my emails. I'll try to plan out my schedule content calendar for the day. And the hard part about working with deals as opposed to absolutely any other niche is that deals are time sensitive. I can't plan out a month of content. I can't plan out even a week's worth of content without knowing that half the things that I plan out are going to be expired or changed or not valid by the time that I actually go to post. So it really is a by the moment, in the fly kind of thing where I'm like, every morning I scour the internet. I look for deals. I look for what I'm going to post. And then that takes a good couple of hours, but it's okay. I try to enjoy it. I get a cup of coffee and I sit there and I work away. And then in the afternoon is where I try to start planning out creating the content. And I really have been trying to post multiple times on all seven platforms that I'm on every single day, which is why I'm so stressed.
Ryan Cramer: Seven platforms.
Gracey Ryback: Seven platforms.
Ryan Cramer: You said seven.
Gracey Ryback: Yeah. I'll still go through them.
Ryan Cramer: So I was going to say there's TikTok obviously, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat.
Gracey Ryback: No, not Snapchat.
Ryan Cramer: Woo. All right. Not Snapchat. Oh man, what am I missing? All right. I have four of seven. All right. What's the other three?
Gracey Ryback: Telegram.
Ryan Cramer: I'm not good at Telegram.
Gracey Ryback: Me neither.
Ryan Cramer: You have to teach me, an old man of 32.
Gracey Ryback: It's literally like GroupMe. It's literally the same as GroupMe. Whatever. Telegram, Amazon Live.
Ryan Cramer: Makes sense.
Gracey Ryback: Which I don't do every day, but I try to do as much as I can, a couple of times a week at minimum, but it's time consuming. There's Amazon Live and there's actually Amazon shopable videos that I'm actually creating. Which I don't know if you can find on that platform. But we can talk about that-
Ryan Cramer: Yes, that's the newer. We can go into that in a little bit.
Gracey Ryback: It's not really for an audience per se, but it is also its own thing of creating that content, editing voiceovers and then uploading. So I call that my seventh platform.
Ryan Cramer: That's a lot.
Gracey Ryback: It's a lot and by myself.
Ryan Cramer: Yourself by yourself, team of one. So creating content. In the world of creating content, I'm with you. Planning is the hardest thing to do. It's the most time constraints that I have. I know just between our conversations of you're up late, you're doing business. We were messaging back and forth, what time works for you? And I found ways to convince my life and schedule, go with my family and see them. But you're shopping for deals, which my job alone was a nightmare. There's websites dedicated to that hunt of finding deals. So no one's coming to you for this. You're actually just going out there and scouring, you have your own methodology behind it.
Gracey Ryback: Well, it's a mix of both. And as I've progressed in this space, I've been able to make my life a lot easier. When I first started out, I had maybe two to three sources that I depended on to find these deals per se. But now I get daily emails with just hundreds of deals. And then I also have more platforms that I'm aware of just to go and find these deals on. And I also have a couple of contacts that I can be like, " Hey, I like this product, can we set up a deal for it?" And so that's almost specific to my audience, which is awesome. So as I've progressed, I've been able to make my life easier with just how I find deals, the amount of deals I have access to and my contacts with actual sellers and brands to actually set up these deals for my audience. So it's gotten easier over time. But the scouring of the deals, the vetting of the deals, it's all time consuming. I don't know if you... I'm sure you have-
Ryan Cramer: I was going to go through a list of... Let me try to guess.
Gracey Ryback: Sure.
Ryan Cramer: My go- tos are Slickdeals. Good one. Never heard of it?
Gracey Ryback: I've heard of it.
Ryan Cramer: Slickdeals is good. Curates a for you page, a popular and then new page. When I was in direct to consumer, and this is a free tip out there, and I have no connection with them anymore. Bradsdeals. com. They are actually based in Chicago. They curate anywhere from Macy's deals all the way down to Amazon deals now. So it could be a product shopable link. And again, the deals, I would source to them and give them a curated list of products I would have on sale and create exclusive promo codes and things like that. They do affiliate marketing as well, but it's a way to see who they're working with. I mean, my shopable extensions. I of course have Amazon shopping extension. There's Rakuten. There's Honey. Honey's more frustrating for me just because of the constant popups. They need to tone it down.
Gracey Ryback: I know. I'm like, " Go away, go away."
Ryan Cramer: Yeah. But those are my very high level that I get. I mean, you have like CouponCabin. You have all these different coupon this, coupon that, AMZ coupons. It's nauseating how many websites are out there that just are sourcing deals. But what were your go- to? Did I hit any of them or none of them?
Gracey Ryback: Shockingly, no.
Ryan Cramer: What are the ones we need to-
Gracey Ryback: So I also always say, I never give out my secrets. I'm kidding. But I do get, like I said, the emails from, I don't know who they're from, they just show up in my inbox. They're these agents that just send me hundreds of deals a day. So that has been a really, really great resource to almost get deals. I'm sure some of them can be found elsewhere. But I also have a Facebook group that's pretty large, over 120,000 members, but I also go to Facebook a lot. Shockingly because-
Ryan Cramer: That's where you can live.
Gracey Ryback: Because a lot of the deals that other groups are posting are direct from the seller, direct from the seller's agents. And they're just a lot of good deals. And I always try to check them before I post them, make sure they're still working because it could work five minutes before, not work five minutes later. So I use that. I use my own resources. I of course do partner with brands and sellers sometimes, but not as often as I should or you would think. I just have a couple of other websites that I leaned on. I have heard of Slickdeals. I have heard of it inaudible sponsored. But I haven't used it personally yet. I maybe could give it another look if they do Amazon deals. I really like sticking straight to Amazon. I really love their-
Ryan Cramer: They do.
Gracey Ryback: Okay. Good.
Ryan Cramer: So Slickdeals. It's a community source platform. So what I like about that is, it's community sourced, they have to verify it and it's thumbed up. It's almost like Reddit where you can up ticket, down ticket. If it's a good deal, bad deal. It could be any sort of discount. So you can search for MacBooks, set deal alerts, things like that. So it does point to those directions and the link. It can be sourced directly from if you Gracey created a profile, you can actually upload it and post people there. I don't know about outside affiliate links, but I'm assuming that you could just crosstalk.
Gracey Ryback: Probably not. That part I didn't know.
Ryan Cramer: They would tag on top of it and they would make their own link. But that's where you can find other ideas, and that's where I've found for Amazon great products. Gosh, I'm trying to think of the deal... The deal world is really interesting and unique.
Gracey Ryback: Please give me more sites if you have them. I'll check out all the ones that you named. I'm always looking for new sites.
Ryan Cramer: Those are good. I'm trying to think of Amazon. I know Blue which is also owned by Amazon. It's a community platform where you can publish content, and that's always fascinating to see what pops up there.
Gracey Ryback: Exactly.
Ryan Cramer: So I guess for the listener, before it's just listening to us nerd out about this. So why would this be important? Why is this important for sellers to take note of in this day and age? If I'm launching my brand this year, I'm still finding new ropes. Why is this important for me moving forward?
Gracey Ryback: So I wholeheartedly believe in deal marketing. I believe that it is like the skyrocketer of conversions. I believe that you might lose a little bit of margins, but on Amazon there are so many benefits to losing those little bit of margins. It's like keyword ranking and bestseller ranking and page one and all of that. And it's like, once you get to that place on Amazon, it almost goes on autopilot where you don't have to work as hard after you get to where you want to go. I don't know. I hope that's not completely wrong and I hope people don't get mad at me crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: No, that makes sense. I think what you're saying is just the cost of acquisition, in sales 101 or marketing 101 it's, what's your cost of acquisition? How much do I have to pay per person and new customer that I might get. Most Amazon sellers are heavily relying on PPC. Without question, it's an optional opt in program by Amazon. Not really. Amazon has said that that's an optional add on program. But what you're going to start to see is the balance of PPC driving sales versus off channel marketing. One is going to start to outweigh the other. And I think influencer marketing is really skyrocketing because of outside sourcing, pointing people to that direction. It's going to be cost effective for people to not just get brand recognition and that awareness factor, but then also convergence. PPC might just outspend itself or out cost itself.
Gracey Ryback: I've heard horror stories of shoot, I lost$ 2, 000 last night and made nothing in PPC. And that's actually a common, I guess, objection that I've gotten. Not like I'm trying to sell anybody of anything. But when I tell people what I do or seller specifically, I'm like, " I do influencer marketing." They're like, " Oh, I do PPC and that works for me." And I'm like, " Okay, that's fine."
Ryan Cramer: And what else?
Gracey Ryback: If you don't want to grow, that's fine. Who am I to help you out there?
Ryan Cramer: I'm sure the salesperson in you really kicks up and you're like, " Okay. So tell me how that's going? What are your benefits? What's the strength of that? What's the downside of just doing PPC? Do you find that it's effective?", all those fun things.
Gracey Ryback: Exactly. And I try to say I'm not good at sales, but I think if I were actually in that situation where somebody's like, " Oh, I don't want to." I'm like, why? I start really getting into the psychology of it. And not that I'm selling, but I just want to know what the objection is. There's so many benefits, especially on Amazon. I don't even want to talk about e- commerce, but Amazon specifically, Amazon is going to value and reward the offsite traffic that you bring back to them. And you know the brand referral bonus program that I think came out recently in this year, I think.
Ryan Cramer: It recently upticked in the percentage that they're giving. So I think it's the 10%. I think it's around that. So it's pretty nice for outside influencers.
Gracey Ryback: Yeah. And I guess through those referral fees, you're somewhat paying out influencers anyway. There's a little bit of, not really sure about that, exactly where those referral fees are going towards. But of course more money back in your pocket is not something that anybody should object to. Why not? And especially when those fees are as high as 17%. That's what I found in my research.
Ryan Cramer: Well, the report that came out recently is, Amazon's taking as much as 34% of sellers and fees. They're paying in fees. And again, that's a tied to... It could be PPC tied to that number. It could be just Amazon's referral. Again, all those things that are" optional." FBA is not optional to a lot of sellers. And again, this is the battle that you're going to have to keep fighting is, there's going to be a break point of how do you mitigate cost? Again, PPC is not going anywhere. Amazon used to be all, but one or two spots of organic placement. And to get to spot seven is until you get to the first organic placement on a search volume. But even of editorial recommendations of four star and above that we recommend all ad placements, even outside traffic of Wirecutter. That's affiliate marketing. Wirecutter's writing an article. They're going to be pointing people to the top ones that are going to convert. People don't think that affiliate marketing is like working in the background. It's like the godfather or the crosstalk.
Gracey Ryback: Shockingly everywhere. And shockingly, I used to be on those Buzzfeed articles like, oh, 10 products-
Ryan Cramer: All affiliate marketing.
Gracey Ryback: ...you need if you're a dog lover. I'm like, all right, put me onto these products. And then I never look at that little affiliate disclaimer on the top in the tiny little letters. It's like, we earn from these articles.
Ryan Cramer: Some of these links are where you get paid for these. It is. It happens all the time because I've been in it, I always recognize when it is. And this is, I think too, Buzzfeed went public this year. So affiliate marketing company that runs by paid placements is now publicly... I think it's a SPAC company now so its-
Gracey Ryback: That's crazy.
Ryan Cramer: And this is something maybe Gracey we can talk about is, going through these kinds of things and people are like" Ah, that's a cool idea." Or you just buzz through them because paid ads on Facebook using pop up on LinkedIn or even Instagram. And you look at them and you're like, interesting. You don't click on it, but then you go to Amazon. You search for it, then you purchase it there. Well, what's that journey and that conversation you have with brands or people that are like, " Hey, they might not use my code, but you can certainly see an uptick in sales when you work with someone like myself"? What's that conversation like with the seller?
Gracey Ryback: It's a weird conversation because here's how crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: Because trackability is really tough.
Gracey Ryback: Right. Exactly. And that's why I don't really prefer to be paid by clicks or commission based partnerships, because there's really no perfect way to track. Even with Amazon's associate program, if I do work directly with a brand, their numbers are going to be massively, massively different than what shows up on my associate's reports, my Amazon reports. It is like a world of difference. It's like, oh, I sold three units. Oh, you sold 300 units. It's like that massively different. So it's like, what's correct here? What's really the right answer. Is it the brand? And so a really great way that I've been able to track sales is through uses of promo code. Because usually if somebody finds a deal that I'm sharing, then they're probably going to use the promo code, take advantage of the deal if they know about it. So that has been a better solution of tracking between me and the brand. But of course there's so many people out there who's like, " The last thing I'll ever do is click on your affiliate link so you can get three pennies from my sale." There's always going to be those people. I don't know why.
Ryan Cramer: Those people are frustrating.
Gracey Ryback: I don't know why.
Ryan Cramer: Promo codes are a tough world to live in because obviously... And Amazon is a little bit more, you have your hands on it. But if it's not unique, that's tough because other people can capture it, throw it on their website, throw it out to their audience. We talked about Rakuten or Honey. It's all easier generated because you find a code, throw it into their ecosystem. They're going to test all those things. And unfortunately they are going to get... it's like click attribution. So Honey or Rakuten are going to say, " Hey, you owe us X percent." And for those websites, they've actually distanced themselves from Amazon entirely. Because they're associates program, you don't even have that capability. So not really a world of that difference, but in direct to consumership, there's a lot of... if you're working with brands and just pointing them to their website, then that's a whole different story of hey, oh, I think that's coming from one source when really it could be like they got the code and they put it on someone else's. But I always worked with exclusive promo codes. I think that's the best way you can operate.
Gracey Ryback: I think so too. And I actually just found out that Honey was an affiliate marketing site. I was out here wondering, how does Honey make their money? They're such a big company. Little did I know.
Ryan Cramer: They drop that little promo code right when you click on their extension or their link. And people see this. Again, Rakuten, not bad. And I looked at this the other day, I saved lifetime like 350 bucks, just passively. This is like holiday shopping. I don't shop directly to consumer unless it's like Best Buy or something like that. And then I'll just activate it as a consumer saving money. It's for tier one brands.
Gracey Ryback: So easy.
Ryan Cramer: Right.
Gracey Ryback: We love it.
Ryan Cramer: So in the Amazon ecosystem, you're doing this for almost a year now? What are the benefits, the pros and cons in the Amazon ecosystem like Amazon Live, for example.
Gracey Ryback: Sure.
Ryan Cramer: You said it takes a little bit of time to develop content. How do A, you get approved for that and B, what's the guidelines of which you must operate under.
Gracey Ryback: Sure. So let's talk about Amazon Live. Let's talk about live streaming. So the Amazon influencer program is almost like a separate arm of the associates program. So I always say the associates program is more for affiliate links, and maybe bloggers or people who are not focused on social media per se, but maybe just have a site, a blog, something like that. It's like the old school... I shouldn't say that. It's like the previous program. It's a lot older and more established than the influencer program. But the influencer program probably came a couple years later and it is mainly for people who have a large following on... It doesn't have to be large. The requirements to participate are not like you need a million followers. No, you need a couple of thousand on Instagram and that's not too outrageous to ask. But basically you apply with a couple of approved platforms. There's Instagram, YouTube. They change them around sometimes, maybe a Facebook page. Because there are a couple of different ones. TikTok is definitely not an approved platform to apply with so yikes on me. But after you apply, the only difference between the associates program and the influencer program is the influencers get the right to livestream and they get an Amazon storefront, an influencer storefront per se, where they can make idea lists, they can tag products. You can have my favorite tech products, and you can have a bunch of products linked under there, and then you can actually drive traffic to this page. So a lot of influencers link it in their bio, on their Instagram, have it in their link tree page. So you'd be like, " Oh, shop my favorite finds." And it's all affiliate marketing. Shocker. Then people go there. And whatever people click on from their influencer storefront, they obviously get commissions from. So it's almost like their own little affiliate storefront. So that's the difference between the program. So let's talk about Amazon Live. What are the parameters we have to operate under? They are strict, as Amazon is with everything. But we have different tiers of live streamers. There's Rising Star, which everyone starts at. There's insider, which is the mid- tier that a lot of people are under. And there's also A- List, which Amazon gives special benefits to. You can show up on the deals page on Amazon, which you can imagine gets a hefty amount of traffic. You can potentially actually show up on the amazon. com homepage. So it's not just a good way to sell Amazon's products, but it's also a good way to get your own branding on Amazon for their shoppers to discover, especially for me with an Amazon based brand almost, where I talk about Amazon products all the time. I'm like, " Hey, if you like Amazon deals and promo codes, check out me." So that's been nice as well. And there was actually a recent change that wreaked some havoc. I want to say it was a couple of months ago where Amazon was like, " If you're going to stream about a product, you need to have it in hand." And that's why you see this mess around me. It's inaudible products.
Ryan Cramer: You're like an agency as like I have samples in my background. Well, I was going to say, it would be like grabbing a box down here.
Gracey Ryback: Yeah, exactly. And I do that crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: Influencer XYZ. It's like, look, oh, the inaudible. And you just start to present it. And you have the box and the-
Gracey Ryback: You look like a live streamer right now.
Ryan Cramer: Well, hey, if podcasting doesn't workout, I have to use the video equipment for something and audio equipment for something. So it's stuff like that where I've watched it, and at late at night, you just... especially on Prime Day and things like that when they really actually feature on their homepage lots of... They carry the content of, it's going to be very focused and popular of what are our tier one deals of the LOL brand of toys. Stuff like that where it's all tier one brand marketing that people are paying for. So you have to have product in hand. Is that just simply because the trust factor? It's ultimately just the trust factor. I can talk about that same microphone, but I'm not using it today. It's right here in the hands. So they're like, " Well, he doesn't use it, why would I buy that?" So it's almost like a... I'm trying to think what the word would be.
Gracey Ryback: It is kind of trust factor. Amazon obviously wants to do, what's going to convert best, what's going to sell best and what's going to provide the best consumer experience. And I get that. Of course. And so if you just see somebody live streaming and they have the product page in the background, which I used to do back in the early days, I don't anymore. But I used to do. This person would be like, okay, what can they offer me that I can't just see with my own eyes on the product page? We're just reading a product page together. And so then Amazon was like, all right, the customers want demos. The customers want to see the product in real time. They want to see you hold it up to the screen and they want to see you talk about it. And they want to see you not sponsored. They want to see you try it on, demo it. And then they want to be able to ask you questions about it that you should be able to know the answer to. And so if it's a product that you just have no experience with, you're not likely to know the answer and nobody crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: It's like, good question. I'll have to get back to you. That's a lost conversion.
Gracey Ryback: Exactly. So right now you either have to have it in hand or loosely you have to be able to be knowledgeable enough to know the answers to any possible question that could come up. So I do do a lot of product research as well. And luckily, I do know what people request a lot, I do know what people want and ask for all the time, and I know all the spec of all the tech around me.
Ryan Cramer: So do you feel like your breadth is wide or are you going to try to niche down into, I'm going to be in health and wellness, I'm going to be in tech, I'm going to be in home and garden or kitchen or whatever? Does that intrigue you or do you want to stay as agnostic as possible?
Gracey Ryback: I think there's good and bad to doing what I do. And what I do right now is, my general niche is deals. But of course, that could be any area of deals. So of course, if I were a brand and I were looking for an influencer to work with, and I was a tech brand, per se, I would probably choose the influencer who's an expert in tech than this girl who just talks about anything and everything. The good part is that I'm also open to anything and everything. I can talk about these lashes while talking about this light bulb, while talking about that camera, while talking about the water bottle and the acrylic organizer. I can talk about anything and learn about it and get experience with it and demonstrate it well, I guess. Like the instant pot. I can do all of it. But I guess when I'm a brand who's specific in one niche, I want to find an influencer who also is knowledgeable and specific in that one niche. So that's the downside of doing anything and everything, but also I guess I'm open to more products and whatever's out there so that it balances out. Do I plan on niching down? There's a couple of niches that I like just as a human, I prefer. I really like tech. I really like gadgets. I like beauty gadgets. I had these pore vacuums that I talked about. I really like that just beauty and fashion for myself and home and lifestyle. So that's just all the niches right there, I guess. I'm like, I like these select few.
Ryan Cramer: Well, to have a passion, I think you had even mentioned this earlier too. I think the tip that I always give people is, what do I want to do if I want to start a podcast? Or what do I want to do if I want to be an influencer? I guess influencer has had this negative connotation, but it actually has become almost like video games. Like, oh, you can't make money playing video games when in fact there is an industry where you can. It's the support of nature and it actually has a target down niche. It's just like anything else does of instead of a used car salesman, now I can become a person who does sales, takes those components and sell on a global scale. But in terms of what you're talking about, just the breadth of knowledge and being able to sell now, there's countries that are actually in their classrooms, they're selling how to sell virtually on a camera in front of a microphone, testing and unboxing and showing customer service. This is what it is. This is what it should look like. Have you tried plugging in a cord? And these are kids are 9, 10, 11 years old at that young age where they're going to start to develop a new wave-
Gracey Ryback: Is that allowed?
Ryan Cramer: Well, not companies. This is in school. So it's for educational... It would be like STEM. Here in the United States, we do STEM. It's like customer service. Well, I say there. This is happening in a lot of different places.
Gracey Ryback: And that's really, really interesting to me. I didn't know that they were doing this in schools. I started seeing local colleges being like, oh, earn a digital marketing degree certificate, whatever. And I'm like, " That wasn't there when I went to college."
Ryan Cramer: Well, Google has free certificates that if you want to be ad certified and certified in their platform, it's just as good as a degree in their eyes of, hey, if you're certified and you go through our requirements, you're going to get a job within our organization. And it's stuff like that where it's a hack. I mean, it's things that I stumble upon. And like you said, it's where trends go and how consumer shops like. I always remember of changing the retail price or taking a coupon, putting it in and people feel like they got some sort of like, I beat you. It's like a gamers mentality of, I defeated you. I have price checkers on a bunch of different things. The other one I was going to actually mention to you, Gracey was CamelCamelCamel. Have you heard of the website?
Gracey Ryback: I have heard of it. I haven't had too much personal use out of it, but if you're going to bring it up, I'll check it out. I've heard of it.
Ryan Cramer: So I pulled it up and I was looking and making sure it's still relevant. You said old school, so I say old school too. It's a very bare bones website. Let me see if I can even share my screen real quick. For people that are listening to this it's... Literally, you think it's ridiculous. It's CamelCamelCamel. com, no spaces, no nothing like that.
Gracey Ryback: Love the name.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Well, it's something that I always forget that exists out there. And unfortunately, it's one of those things where... So CamelCamelCamel, it looks super basic, but this is a free Amazon price checker. So if you're a consumer or if I'm a deal hunter like yourself, super interesting because what you can do, this is how you find Amazon products. You literally just enter the Amazon URL or keywords to find the product. So all I have to do is just take the URL of the product page, throw it in there and I could search for it. So for example, what it's featuring right now, Mysterium game, I just bought this recently because it was on sale. So I'm going to make sure that screen is all right. We're still getting it on live-
Gracey Ryback: Basically if it's like, oh, it's cheaper at Target as opposed to Amazon, it'll take you there?
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, a hundred percent. And I have a couple of extensions running too. So it's telling me what the price is. What it will do is I can actually click on... not buy now. So buy now, it obviously activates its affiliate portal. But you can see best price when it is... And this is the cool thing. Through Kippa, which is a really cool program. Amazon third party use that I can actually cross reference all time. This is a really cool tool, I think, that honestly just goes unused by a lot of the deal industry. So you can see third party new. It's loading data from October 11th and all time. It spiked on Amazon. Third party was selling as much as 120. I was selling as little as 10, 11 bucks. It looks like 11 bucks, but consistently on Amazon. So that would be as if bought and sold by Amazon. It's all time.
Gracey Ryback: Interesting.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah. So 2021, it launched in 2015. Lowest it's ever been is$ 22. 41 on December 15th of this year. So as of today, this is the lowest it's ever been in terms of the price. So I bought it at-
Gracey Ryback: Yeah, it did. Wow.
Ryan Cramer: I think I bought it up here in$ 30 area, or I bought it on some buy two get one free. If I'm looking at this and I go since it's launched back in 2015, I'm like, oh, looks like now's the time to purchase it. So again, you can look at price watches if it drips below a price. Again, specifically since you're in Amazon. And then it goes under and it pulls the skew number, it pulls sales rank, it pulls all this stuff.
Gracey Ryback: That's a lot crosstalk product research too.
Ryan Cramer: It's great product research too. So what's also cool about this is that if I'm looking at a competitor, I literally just real time pull in. Like I said, if I've pulled in a URL link-
Gracey Ryback: All their data.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, exactly. Just the URL of it and throw it in there, it will pull up all the aggregate data of it.
Gracey Ryback: Wow. And just like you said about when you put in the promo code and you're like, " Oh, I won." You get that adrenaline rush. Just like when you see that you bought something for too much and it's a lower price now, you're like, dang. It's a lot.
Ryan Cramer: I do it all the time. Well, it's things like that where it's like, join a loyalty program or a rewards program and stacking. I'm a huge proponent of stacking. Again, this is not the entrepreneur side of me, this is the consumer side of me. And this buyer psychology of, if I can do gift card, I can do rewards on my credit card, I can do coupon codes and then also cash back, stack it all on top of each other. You're like, oh, that feels like such a crosstalk.
Gracey Ryback: It's free. They're paying me.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, basically. Oh, it's so free. No, it's not. They work the money in there. But there's only a few of us in the world that can do those kinds of things. But again, sometimes people won't even click the coupon button when it's on their product page. They see it and it's not an opt- in or they don't activate those things. I guess where the industry goes, Gracey, what gets you excited about your plans for the future? What does it look like for you as an entrepreneur? Do you grow the team? Start to diversify? Do you really double down on some of the efforts that you did in the past year? What does that look like?
Gracey Ryback: I think regarding doubling down, I think I will probably double down on Amazon Live. I do see a really promising, hopefully long future there. Hopefully they're just like, we're going to yank the program next week.
Ryan Cramer: I don't think that's the case. I think you're good.
Gracey Ryback: I think there's a lot of brands that have yet to discover the power of influencer marketing. Even on TikTok, even just on any platform, there's a lot of brands that are starting out, especially in the last year, people started selling, people got into e- commerce, there's entering the industry. So it's a booming industry of course. And influencer marketing, I think is just a huge piece of that pie. And I don't think it's optional. I don't think it's like, oh, I don't really care for it. I think it's a crucial part of a successful business. It's a great way to not only do amazing brand awareness, but it's also a great way to convert into sales. The influencers are the ones with the trusted audience. The audience looks to them for product recommendations and what have you found for us today? Can you find deals on this, that and the other? And so that is what people are looking for. And they're looking to influencers and social media people for their buying choices. That's what people go to for their buying choices. So I think the industry hopefully will just skyrocket, especially in the next few years. Live streaming itself is already a multi billion dollar industry in China, especially. It's already blown up there. And I feel like hopefully the United States will follow slowly but surely. So I do want to double down on Amazon Live. And it's been great so far. Lots of brands are discovering it. They're like, " Gracey, can you show us past campaigns? Can you almost convince us of why we should do this, almost like the sales; convince us of the sale." I'm like, " Yeah, here they are." And they're like, " All right, let's do it." And hopefully I never disappoint. And so I think TikTok has been an amazing platform so far. I owe my entire career to it and I will continue to make content there. I love it. And I will continue to, I guess, do my seven platforms a day and try not to burn out.
Ryan Cramer: Right. You're going to start hiring some other employees very soon.
Gracey Ryback: And so that's always been a thought. Maybe I should expand and focus my time on where it's needed for me, as opposed to, I don't know, posting Instagram stories. But I do want to potentially go into an agency worlds in the future, not these days, because I'm so busy, but maybe in the future, start doing a little bit of consulting for brands that want help with influencer marketing. There's so many brands and sellers that I've met in the past year that I've been able to help and work with. And they've discovered this whole new realm of marketing they had no idea of before. And hopefully that helps their brands reach new heights that they never were able to reach with the PPC that they were offered before. And so between all the different platforms, I guess the goal is to keep on keeping on and keep growing and see where it takes me. It's taken me to unbelievable places already. And half the things that I do every day, I would've absolutely laughed at a year ago and be like, " Oh, could not be me. No way I could do that."
Ryan Cramer: Well, that's the thing too. I mean, I know we've linked to your TikTok page. And I was just looking through it, and I think it has great content. You're going to keep evolving and growing too. So that's the thing. No one's an expert in TikTok. That's the actual honest truth. You have to understand us in e- commerce, we're all finding our way through it at the same exact time of no one's the expert and knows more than us. It's not like in car sales or anything like that. You can't just have this hierarchy. We're all going at the same pace, just at different skills at different times. But I learn and you learn. Like I said, I've taught you a couple of different things. You taught me some platforms that I was not aware of. It's just all education constantly.
Gracey Ryback: Exactly. And it almost makes me mad when people call themselves TikTok experts. Nobody's a TikTok expert. You might want to sell your course with that term, but unless you made the algorithm yourself, I don't think anyone has crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: Or work at TikTok.
Gracey Ryback: Exactly. Even them, they're like, we don't know.
Ryan Cramer: I know people who work at TikTok. I've had conversations with those people and they're really smart people. They don't call themselves TikTok experts.
Gracey Ryback: No, but the person selling the course is.
Ryan Cramer: For a different conversation at a different time. But hey, Gracey, how do people find or connect with you? If I'm a brand owner, if I'm just a thought leader and I want to connect with you. I know we were talking about, you're on podcast all the time and I'm super excited to have you back on. I call people friends of the show, but as a friend of the show, how do people reach out or connect with you on a business or personal level?
Gracey Ryback: Yeah. So my email is contact @ dealcheats. com. My website is dealcheats, D- E- A- L- C- H- E- A- T- S. com. But more so, don't check that out, check out my TikTok and everything else, which is Deal Cheats everywhere on all platforms.
Ryan Cramer: Follow all the platforms, all seven plus of them. I'm sure there'll be a new one coming up that you'll be on as well. No, exactly. Once you hit that double digit, somewhere inaudible. So hey Gracey, thank you so much for hopping on today. It's been a pleasure.
Gracey Ryback: Thank you so much, Ryan. It's been fun.
Ryan Cramer: It's been fun. We'll catch you next time. Thank you so much. And everyone, thank you so much on episode 198 of Crossover Commerce. We appreciate you spending some time. Such great knowledge that was dropped there by Gracey. Again, starting a year ago to today, have millions of followers on seven plus channels. TikTok alone, over a million followers in helping businesses grow. Again, influencer marketing is just a different way of marketing off of platform. And again, it shouldn't be a dirty term in ways that people think, oh no, those people, they don't know what they're talking about. It's just a different way to get in front of different audiences to showcase products in hand, giving those... Again, you can call people like Gracey product experts because of their knowledge of being able to execute, to really showcase a product in front of other people. And they're going to be an extension of your company. So go ahead and check out Deal Cheats. Again, she has great content out there. I'm going to be looking and checking that stuff too, to make sure that I'm not missing out on great deals. I've been doing it since I knew she was going to be coming on the podcast. So make sure you follow her on social media and connect with her if you are looking for somebody to consult with, or just get some products launched and some deals and sales to have. That being said, this is, again 198. Cue the final countdown music. We're going live one more time this week with Mina Elias, a friend of the show already. Mina Elias of MMA Nutrition coming back on to spend some time about living off of your Amazon storefront, but then also PPC experts. We'll talk a little bit about that. But then Monday the 20th of December, again, we'll do our 200th episode special. So make sure you guys follow me on social media, follow PingPong Payments on social media. Be notified of future episodes. I'm Ryan Cramer. This is Crossover Commerce. We'll catch you guys next time on another episode.
Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Gracey Ryback of Deal Cheats one on one as they discuss Influencer Marketing, TikTok & Amazon Live for your online business.
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