How software is helping smaller e-commerce players grow their businesses

I’ve got to be honest with you that before this interview started, I thought, “I’m about to present my audience with yet another Amazon e-commerce business.”

And then I said, “It’s okay. It’s actually imperative that I interview more entrepreneurs in e-commerce because if more entrepreneurs are building business either by selling things online or selling software to the people who sell things online then we have to cover it right here on Mixergy.

And so to help us understand more about e-commerce and how software is helping smaller e-commerce players grow their businesses, I’ve got Casey Gauss here. Casey is the founder of Viral Launch which helps sellers grow their businesses within the Amazon marketplace.

Casey Gauss

Casey Gauss

Viral Launch

Casey Gauss is the founder of Viral Launch which helps sellers grow their businesses within the Amazon marketplace.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses, and I’ve got to be honest with you that before this interview started, I thought, “I’m about to present my audience with yet another Amazon e-commerce business.” This whole interview site started out with me interviewing entrepreneurs from lots of different places, but largely, largely software entrepreneurs. And now, more and more of the people who I’m interviewing, yeah, they’re often in software, but they’re becoming e-commerce people in one way or the other.

Well, we had a long list of people. And then I said, “It’s okay. It is absolutely not only, okay, it’s imperative that I interview more entrepreneurs in e-commerce because if this is the direction, if e-commerce is becoming bigger, if more entrepreneurs are building business, either by selling things online or selling software to the people who sell things online or selling services, etc., then we have to cover it right here on Mixergy, and we have to understand how they did it, what they’re doing right, what we can all learn from it, and what’s changing in the world today.”

And so to help us understand a little bit more about e-commerce and how software is helping smaller e-commerce players grow their businesses, I’ve got Casey Gauss here. He is the founder of Viral Launch. Viral Launch does a lot of things. I feel like, Casey, your name doesn’t say enough. It almost pins you. Am I right?

Casey: It does. But the problem is we just . . . I feel like we can’t change the name. We have some brand equity and in this space that we’re in. A big name change doesn’t necessarily make sense, but it does, for sure.

Andrew: I get it. But here I made notes on what you do and summed it up in two sentences. You guys have software tools that help people sell more on Amazon. Okay. And if I were to expand on it, I would give examples like help entrepreneurs rank better for keywords, manage the ads that they buy, optimize product listings, help them do product research so that they find the right products to sell. Am I right? And I have an etc., on there because I could have kept on going.

Casey: Yeah. I mean, we’re really trying to take a comprehensive approach. So honestly, in this particular space, I am of the belief that you have to be an expert at everything in order to be an expert at anything on Amazon because there’s such interplay between each vertical. If you don’t understand . . .

Andrew: But you could just say, “I’m going to do . . . I’m going to help people with their listings and be done with it.”

Casey: So, you can, but you won’t be able to do it the best or you won’t . . . there are so many things that you’ll be missing out on. Does that make sense?

Andrew: You know what? Let me tip my hand to the two questions that I’ll ask you. I’ll ask you a follow-up question to that, which is, give me an example of two tools that have to work together and would be worse, much worse if two different companies sold them. And then, I also want to know your revenue. So, first, I should . . . While you hammering out those answers, I want to tell everyone that this interview is sponsored by two companies that Casey uses himself. The first will help you do your email marketing right. It’s smart email automation done by a company called ActiveCampaign. And the second will help you hire phenomenal developers, and Casey will talk to you about how you use them in the past too. It’s called Toptal. Why don’t we start with the first question then? Give me an example, two of your products that because you have to create them together, they work well.

Casey: Yep. So, one for example, is a keyword tool. So, we have a keyword tool which will help you understand search volumes for those particular words, specifically within the context of Amazon. Also helping you to identify semantically related words, all that are relevant to the product that you’re selling. So you don’t have a complete grasp of how to build a great keyword tool if you don’t understand how sales interact with the content of the listings, the keywords within that listing to drive keyword ranking. So we’ve run over 30,000 product launches at Viral Launch, so we’re tracking the content within the listing—what keywords are contained in the title? How are they contained? Are they exact match? Are they phrase match? Are they phrase non-order? And then from there, as we drive each sale, what is the incremental improvement in keyword ranking from there?

And so we chart this out. And then we understand, “Okay, because we have this understanding of keywords from the launch component, now we really understand how to build a keyword tool.” So, you can’t intelligently speak on keywords if you don’t understand the impact that they have and all the rest of the components of the Amazon business, for example. Does that make sense?

Andrew: It does make sense. All right. I get it and I want to find out how you evolved the business to include all these different tools. But revenue, to give people a sense of size, I have it here. Tell me what you feel comfortable revealing to the audience. How big?

Casey: So, I don’t think that I gave specific in that answer, but I mean, so we’ll [inaudible 00:04:46] eight figures for this year.

Andrew: Wait. How much?

Casey: Eight figures. So, projected revenue, I guess if you would want to say is over eight figures for 2018.

Andrew: Eight figures for 2018? Wait, no. Mid to high eight figures or low to mid?

Casey: Low to mid.

Andrew: Okay. And over the last 12 months, fair to say that you did over 5 million?

Casey: Yeah.

Andrew: Well, not yet. You have?

Casey: Oh, yeah, yeah.

Andrew: Over the last 12 months? Okay. And no outside funding, all totally bootstrapped?

Casey: So, we got [inaudible 00:05:14] with $700. I don’t know if you want the [inaudible 00:05:18] Yeah, we got we started with $700.

Andrew: Seven hundred each of the two founders is that right?

Casey: Nope. No, I had $0.

Andrew: Oh, you had zero? Your co-founder, the one who’s not in the business, he’s the one who kicked in $700?

Casey: Yeah. I mean, so, he was . . . Do you want me to go into the [inaudible 00:05:33]?

Andrew: All right. Well, we’ll go through the story in chronological order, but before we actually get into how you got into this, I’m curious because there’s something that you told our producer a few times, which is your mom suffered financially growing up and it feels like that is a big part of your past. What do you mean? Give me an example of what it was like when you were growing up.

Casey: So, not just financially, but I think we were probably put in a number of situations or in an environment that most kids shouldn’t grow up in, I guess, but . . .

Andrew: What do you mean?

Casey: That is probably too personal. I guess more so like for example on my mom’s side I have three siblings, one is full and then two sisters each with different dads. So there’s a lot of guys coming in. Just a lot of stuff. So, in terms of growing up . . .

Andrew: Were you hurt? Like physically hurt? Is that . . .

Casey: No, not physically hurt. Not me at least. It was like really crazy. So, and some of the people that were coming in were like felons and just some crazy stuff. So, anyway . . .

Andrew: So how did it impact you? Were you the kind of person who said, “I have to be better because of this? I always had this sense that . . . ” Was it, that you wanted to be better, that you wanted to make money to get yourself out of it? Did you want to save her? What is it that led you to be who you are?

Casey: Yeah. I mean, so I’m definitely not someone that cares about money actually. So, I think that what it was is like I know what it’s like to . . . I’m a very empathetic person. And so because I’ve seen just how hurt people can be or become just like just the crazy amount of suffering that people go through essentially. And I think that I can really, really relate to that. And I think that I’ve just been . . . it’s always been my aspiration to be in a position where I can like really help people. And so that’s like my main focus even in the business and that is like in the core ethos of the company is just helping people. And it’s because when I was a kid I didn’t have someone to help me necessarily. And so like I just always kind of wanted to be able to provide that for other people.

Andrew: As I understand it, one of the reasons why you went to college, even though you had this entrepreneurial, inventive bent to you was you wanted the responsible way to get a job, to go help your mom and this was the way to do it. And then when you were in college in freshman year, a guy came in and spoke and change your life in a way. What happened?

Casey: So, this guy just came in and I definitely am someone that likes ideas and I have a lot of ideas for improvement, stuff like that. But I didn’t understand necessarily the entrepreneurial track, and I’m not, again, someone that thinks about, “Oh, how can we make money off of this?” I’m like “What would be really cool to make out of this?” So anyways, this guy comes in and just started sharing all these stories of how he was making money in college, everywhere from as simple as he would go down his hall and ask everybody for $1 for a piece of pizza. And so he’d get however many slices, 10, 12 slices let’s say, so at $12 and it costs $7 for the pizza and he gets a free slice of pizza and four extra bucks or whatever. And so, like these little things, even though they seem minor and minuscule, it was like it really changed the way . . . like really opened my eyes like, “Oh, . . . ”

Andrew: Was he just another student or a speaker?

Casey: At the time, he was, but he actually went onto . . . and he had a bunch of examples like this, but he ended up going on to like start this like Christian college bookstore company and they support like 12 different college campuses and probably do $50 million, $100 million in revenue or something like that now.

Andrew: Okay. And so what you dug about him was not that he already had made it, but that he was thinking creatively. He was thinking entrepreneurially and you said, “Whoa, this is possible.” And it seems like . . . is that what led you to drop out of school?

Casey: So, that really got the gears turning and saying like, “Okay, I need to think about everything differently.” And so at that point, I started, “Okay, how can I start making?” Because again, I didn’t really have money. So when you asked for an example of not having money, I never understood, but we moved around a lot when I was a kid and my mom was having different cars at a decent amount. And the reason being is like we were always getting kicked out and like she’s just having a car repossessed and stuff like that. And so that’s just one example. But . . .

Andrew: And this was . . . Okay. Go ahead.

Casey: This was when I was really young. So . . . sorry. Yeah. Going back to your last question, I started trying to come up with ideas for making money and like still I’m not a money guy and so all my ideas revolved around like websites or apps. So I had no way to validate my ideas. And so essentially I was like, “Okay, well I’m tired of this. I want to change it.” So, I started teaching myself how to code in my free time in college, which there wasn’t too much free time. You know, I also you know, ran track and stuff like that. And so . . .

Andrew: What did you use to learn how to code?

Casey: Codecademy is where I really jumped off, and naively, I thought I could make a website after like a few Code Academy courses. And I realized . . . well, I don’t know, I’m glad that I had this thought because then I told this guy, “Okay, I can make a website for you for $500 blah, blah, blah for it.” He owned, like, a car repair shop. And so in starting to do that, I really realized how much I didn’t know, but I really pushed myself to learn it. So, I use a ton of YouTube tutorial videos to really start learning how to build a website. And then I had started doing that. I was doing that to make some money to support me like over the summer and stuff. But then I started having ideas for apps and so I wanted to be able to validate these ideas. So I started learning Java, and then I learned that so that I could develop android apps, but then learned, “Okay, iOS apps are a lot easier, apps for iPhone.” And so then I started learning at the time Objective-C so that I could make those iOS apps.

Andrew: And what really got you excited was iBeacon?

Casey: Yeah. So . . . go ahead.

Andrew: What is an iBeacon?

Casey: So, iBeacon itself is a Bluetooth 4.0 protocol from Apple that was released in iOS 7. And so at the heart of it, what does this actually mean? Essentially, Bluetooth 4.0, if you remember old Bluetooth, you had to like have both things trying to sync at the same time. And then you had to like accept on each device. So what a Bluetooth 4.0 allowed was a seamless interaction in connection between devices. And basically, it was from a security standpoint. It allowed this to happen without any vulnerability.

So anyways, what this allowed for us to do was make these like highly contextually aware applications. So, I was trying to build apps for museums, for example, and you could put these iBeacons, these little Bluetooth devices on Abraham Lincoln and the Einstein and all over the place. And so kids could then using their iPad or whatever, walk up to Abraham Lincoln, the device recognizes that’s the Abraham Lincoln iBeacon and then starts talking to them and you know, just basically making it more interactive and more fun. It also allowed . . .

Andrew: Yeah. And you know, what? And that was the dream. I couldn’t wait. I forgot which iPhone was that came out soon after that. This was announced in 2013. I remember running into work thinking, “I’m running past the baseball stadium here. I could imagine all these different seats maybe having iBeacon. I imagine like on my way in, there might be points of interest, iBeacon. Obviously, when you go into stores they’ll have iBeacons so you can find your way around.” None of this fricken thing happened, right?

Casey: Yeah. So, I basically looking at Steve Jobs, looking at Bill Gates, like not that iBeacon was to the same degree, but one of the major market factors that led to their success is just the timing of when they got into that market. So, they rode the wave of the PC and so forth. And so I wanted to do the same thing with iBeacon, ride this wave. And so I was developing these apps, and I was learning so much. Like I love reading, so I was learning a ton on the side and I want to be on this iBeacon wave. And I felt like the classes were wasting my time, and so yeah, so I dropped out trying to build these iBeacon apps which I came to find out incredibly difficult to sell into museums.

Andrew: It shocking and it’s actually a really good indication of how if you get on the wrong wave, nothing happens and you crash. You just kind of hang there. And if you get on the right one, which is what Amazon is today, then you just get lifted up as that platform lifts everybody up if you do well, you do exceptionally well, which is what you’ve done. All right. So, as this happened, you noticed something that leads you to start your business.

Casey: Well, so, I didn’t notice it. This is where I become very fortunate and which I think will make me eternally humble for what happened afterward. So, essentially I’m working on these iBeacon applications and a friend of mine we had run track together and gone to school together and he kind of always wanted to start a business with me. And so he came to me and said, “Hey, man we could probably make $5,000 each a month. All you have to do is put up the website, I’ll handle the Amazon side. I’ll handle the customers.”

And at the time I had no money. My mom had just like, been evicted and had her car repossessed. My brother and I had moved to Indiana, the college town. We’re from Michigan, but we had moved back to the college town so that he could get out of trouble. And, yeah, so I had no money. I built the original Viral Launch platform with socks on my hands because we didn’t have enough money for heat in our apartment in Indiana. My brother was working construction jobs to support us. He’s like a couple of years younger. It was like really tough time actually.

Andrew: And what was the thing that he came to you with that led to this? Well, he said, “Look, people are selling on Amazon. I think what we could do is we could help them how, and I need you to build a website. I’ll build the tool.” How help them now?

Casey: So, basically, it was the simple version of our Launch component even to this day. So at the root of it, the largest driver of keyword ranking on Amazon is sales even if those sales are at 99% off. And so what we were doing is we were building an email list. This is where the initial $600 or whatever went into the business was building our initial email lists. So we built up an email list, let’s say, of 1,000 people who we would run promotional deals too. They would buy the products at these discounts and so they’re happy for getting highly discounted products. And then the sellers are happy because those sales help to drive their keyword ranking.

Andrew: Oh, because these people are essentially buying something for basically free or 80% off, they were increasing the number of sales on Amazon, which then signaled to Amazon that this seller has a hot product, show it to more people, the more people who saw it bought at full price and then got it. And that’s why it’s called Viral Launch. The idea is that if . . . It’s not super viral, but the idea is that if these people kick it off, then they’re going to help. And that’s the launch part. They’re going to help the product take off. So your partner invested $700?

Casey: Yeah.

Andrew: You guys use that to grow your list to about 1,000 people. How? What did you spend the money on?

Casey: Facebook campaigns. So, and again it was our buyer audience, not the Amazon seller who ends up being our actual customer.

Andrew: Right. It’s just people who are going to be on your list and are going to go in and see the purchases. All right. And then how was . . . was he going to do any keyword or anything else, work on your client’s behalf?

Casey: No. I mean, we had only thought as far as the launch portion. And he was still in school so a lot of his time was . . . you know, he didn’t have that much time to kind of dedicate to Viral Launch, but the nice thing was that he had a number of friends that were Amazon sellers and so we gave them some free trials, but it produced some pretty dramatic results for them where they’re able to go from 2 sales a day organically, to 45 sales a day organically, or sometimes even more, which was pretty dramatic, especially if you are getting this service for free from us. And so, yeah, so that’s how it got kicked off. I actually started with 40% of the company. He had 60%.

Andrew: Okay.

Casey: But I’m someone that works insanely hard even to this day. You know, I basically give my wife like an hour at night after dinner and then like I’m back on my laptop and so last night I went to bed just before 03:00. So, like . . .

Andrew: How are you able to keep the marriage going with just an hour a day? Be Honest.

Casey: Yeah, I mean, first off, I’m really thankful because my wife is like amazing, and she’s incredibly understanding. I mean, I give her a date night on Friday that is like sacred and I do not touch that. Saturdays, we usually get to go to a coffee shop. I’ll still work, but we’ll talk while we’re there. And then Saturday nights, I give to her. And, yeah, just times here and there. So, she’s just insanely understanding. And the way I look at it is this is at least hopefully, naively maybe is that this is something with the light at the end of the tunnel there’s some definite period in which case I’m able to sell Viral Launch or whatever where this comes to a close, and I’m able to take six months a year and really kind of devote that time that my wife deserves to herself.

Andrew: Okay. And she’s on fully on board for this. All right. And so you were working this insanely back when it was just you and those socks with the holes cut out of them so you could stay warm while you type. Your friend who started this business with you and kicked off the idea was doing what while you’re doing that?

Casey: So, he was working with customers, answering customer requests and handling customer service. Because at this point our list grew from 1,000 to 2,000 to 10,000. You know . . .

Andrew: [I don’t 00:19:11] want customers. How much customer support did you need to do with these people who are getting 80% off of products that were on Amazon?

Casey: So, if you look . . . These people are the type of people that like to complain a decent amount and you know, ask a lot of questions.

Andrew: That’s good to remember, right? We always think, “Hey, if I lower the price, I just won’t have as much trouble because they got to be so grateful because I gave them such a deal.” When in reality, no, you lower the price and you end up with people who they’re bargain hunting and they have a lot of questions. There was also a period there where you are working really hard, but he was being a student and regular guy. Talk about what you were doing, what he was doing, and then how it led to the separation of your partnership.

Casey: Yeah. So, out of the goodness of his heart, he moved us to 50/50 because I was just working so much in providing a lot of value. He wasn’t able to as much and he took basically three months out of the summer where he had no internet, and I essentially took the business from 15K, 20K a month to like 60K, 75K a month over that three month period and kind of I had built the business around myself. I had all the customer relationships. I had really started iterating on the product and being kind of inventive there. And so he came back and I was like, “Hey man, I don’t really have too much for you. I kind of built this thing around myself. It’s much larger now.” And so I kind of gave him this ultimatum where “Either you drop out and you really helped me push this thing, there’s a bunch of opportunities here, or you stay in school and you sell this.” And the way that he looked at it was this was his first venture really, and he was off to such great success. So he’s like, “Anything that I start will be like this kind of thing I think.” And so he saw, “I can make money the rest of my life. What I can’t do is hang out with my friends, be a college athlete and have these experiences.” So I totally get that.

And so he ended up selling to me and it was very cordial, kind of termination of the relationship. We’re still good friends, but, yeah, he’s cool to me.

Andrew: But there was hardly anything there at that time. I think you told our producer it was somewhere between 15,000 and 75,000 which is a pretty broadband, but it’s not huge. What did he sell his shares for?

Casey: So, we don’t share exactly. It was an earn out, so it very even earned out, which was very favorable to us. So I just paid him a set amount every month for the next like two years essentially.

Andrew: You know, Casey, I’ve got an early version of your website up. You have used the exclamation point so many times. I did a search. Thirty-eight, 38 exclamation points on this page. It’s with the [inaudible 00:21:46] but I can get you a flood, flood in in orange, all caps, of sales within hours, and give you the power to obliterate. You love things like to obliterate the competition. Those phrases are really meaningful. Obliterate the competition on Amazon. Exclamation point. And you’ll stay on top no matter how many competitors enter your niche. Exclamation point two.

I get it. It’s like a sales letter. You basically had a service. It wasn’t software. It was just, “Listen guys, I have nothing here except like this vision, this excitement, this product that I’m going to describe to you in this one page website essentially.” And I’m looking at the prices. The budding seller was $100 a month. The most popular was for the aggressive seller. You always use phrase like this. I love it. The aggressive seller, 200 bucks a month. I don’t understand though what they get. I see spike BSR. What’s spike BSR?

Casey: First off, can I redeem myself because that copy . . . So first off, I am not an internet marketer. I’m definitely more of a tech guy. My co-founder, he’s much more the sales guy or whatever, and we had hired someone to put this copy together. So we do not use this type of copy anymore.

Andrew: Can I tell you something?

Casey: Yeah.

Andrew: I wasn’t putting this copy down. I think it’s kind of fun to look back at the things that we did in the past. Especially since now you’ve got like really polished design. You have do you have an astronaut uniform somewhere in the office that you use for all your shoots?

Casey: Two of them, yeah.

Andrew: Right. So like, it’s not enough to just say we help you launch, you have the astronaut uniforms to go along with it. I think it’s actually, it says a lot about the scrappiness, the determination, the hunger of somebody who would have really nothing behind the scenes except this website and a vision and a lot of hard work. And that’s . . . I don’t know how much I could communicate that, but it comes across in this copy, all 38 exclamation points show that kind of determination that.

Casey: Thank you very much.

Andrew: You know what? Let me see if I search for period. Okay. Fifty-two periods. So there are more periods than exclamation points. But then so, tell me, what is it that you guys were selling back then?

Casey: Yeah. Essentially we were selling . . . It was almost as though we’re renting out our email list. Right? And so essentially what we would do is, it’s been a while, but from what I remember essentially is, okay, if you are an aggressive seller, we would probably give you a few days’ worth of the emails which would help to send traffic to your product over a set period of time. And we thought that we saw some correlations in terms of better results from a campaign that was sent out over multiple days.

Now that we have the data, we understand Amazon cares about sales history, not just sales velocity, blah, blah blah. But essentially, what we were doing is let’s say we have 1,000 people on our email list, you pay us $100, we will put together an email to our list saying, “Hey, you can get this product at 90% off. There’s a limited number of units available. Go get it here. Here’s the link.” And we would just send it to our email list. So, there was very little tech associated with them.

Andrew: Okay. Just basic email marketing. There was access to top Amazon reviewers at one of the bundles and target for Super URL keywords. What’s that?

Casey: Yeah. So the Amazon reviewers, we basically went and scraped all of the Amazon top reviewers and we got their emails, we send them an email and said, “Hey, we have this group of sellers that are giving products away at discounts. Would you be interested in getting them for your review? You know, no expectations, anything like that.”

Andrew: Okay. How were you able to scrape and get their email addresses?

Casey: Honestly, I don’t remember.

Andrew: Okay.

Casey: No. So, what they do is a number of them would actually post it there. So because they bought products, they want people to reach out to them, and so they would post their email actually so that you could reach out to them with a product offer.

Andrew: Okay. All right. And I see a bunch of sites actually right now that offered tools for scraping Amazon. Actually, I’m looking at one that just has the code available. All right. So, I see where you are. Let me take a moment, talk about my first sponsor, then we’ll get into it and talk a little bit more about how you built up the business, but I love the simplicity of the launch. The first sponsor is a company called ActiveCampaign. Since we’re talking about email marketing, you use ActiveCampaign, what do you like about it and how to use it differently from how other people might use it?

Casey: So, I’m not super involved on the marketing team. I think the reason we liked it is the ability to have automations. So we do use them a lot for automations, and I think that we really liked the fact that we could easily build these automations within the normal email client that you might find somewhere else.

Andrew: So one way you could use it, as I see here, when I look under the Solutions tab on your website, you have seven different products including one for split testing. If you see that somebody keeps clicking on that split testing URL, which leads them to listing-dojo.com, you could tag them as being interested in that specific product. If they’re tagged multiple times for being interested in that product, you start sending the messages just about split testing and make everything else almost a PS or “By the way, we have these other tools.”

So now you’re talking to them about the product that they’re interested in based on where they’ve clicked, not based on a survey that they fill out, but what they’re actually doing and you’re able to sell them the thing that they’re more interested in buying and let the rest come afterwards. So, that’s one of many ways that people use ActiveCampaign. And obviously, there are tons of tools that do this, but not especially well. Most tools for email stick with email. What makes ActiveCampaign great is they give you a little code that you put on every page on your site and then, “Voila.” Now you can start to target based on what people are doing in email and on what they’re doing on your site.

And they don’t like when I call them email marketing because they do more than just email. They do things like texts, so you might even say, “Hey, we have this limited time offer. People gave us their cell phone numbers. Let’s now say anyone who is interested in listing-dojo and gave us their phone number and is interested in discounts, we’re going to give them two hours to respond. We’re going to send a text message. They have to click and respond because we know that that’s going to work. We can do it with ActiveCampaign easily.”

So, super easy, very robust. If you’re interested in it, I’m going to make you an offer. You cannot refuse, people. I’m not going to charge you 100 bucks. I’m not going to charge you 50 bucks, not even 25 bucks. In fact, I’m charging you nothing and ActiveCampaign is not going to charge you anything either. They’re going to give you a free trial. Most email software does not come with a free trial because it’s too involved. They don’t want to take the risks, but if you tell them you’re a Mixergy listener by going to the special URL, you will get to try it for free. And once you sign up, your second month will be free, and they’re going to give you two free, one-on-one sessions, which means that you’re going to get coached by people who will make sure that you actually use these tools to grow your business.

And finally, I know most of you are not email virgins. You already are on some email software. Don’t worry, they will migrate you for free. So, all you have to do is go to activecampaign.com/mixergy. Active like all of us, campaign because they’re going to help you set up your campaigns right, activecampaign.com/mixergy. Join Casey and so many other entrepreneurs who are doing great on ActiveCampaign. All right. [inaudible 00:28:48] behind you. Over your fricking shoulder. You guys have a podcast, right?

Casey: Yeah, we do.

Andrew: Look how polished that is. You have like . . . That looks like a movie poster. It took me a moment to recognize that that’s your thing.

Casey: Yeah. Thanks.

Andrew: What do you spend on a shoot like that? Or on a photo shoot?

Casey: Oh, no. So part of our services we have four product photographers in-house to shoot listings or, yeah, shoot product photos for Amazon sellers and so we just get to mess around and do fun stuff like this.

Andrew: All right. So, let’s talk about the evolution of the business then because you didn’t start off with these photographers. So, you bought out the business, it was full of yours, it’s time for you now to build it up. What’s the next thing that you did? Did you grow your customer base or grow your product?

Casey: So, I’m still someone that has a hard time understanding growing customer base and still very product focused. So, for around six months we actually didn’t really grow the business too much. We just let it grow organically because I was too afraid . . . We’re so dependent on Amazon’s algorithm. You know, let’s say they stopped appreciating discounted sales and it didn’t drive keyword ranking anymore. So, I could never have with a good conscience, hire people where their job could potentially go away tomorrow because of an algorithm change essentially.

And so what we did was I just had a hard time sleeping for like ever essentially. And anyways, so around May of 2016, we had like four or five people, all people that I pretty much knew at the time, and at that point, we hadn’t enough money saved up. We hadn’t enough data where we could make informed decisions as Amazon continue to change. And so that’s when we really started building up our team and we hired our first software developer outside of myself. And what we were looking at is kind of the evolution has been, “Okay, so we’re able to get people ranking, but what are some of the major issues that happened here?”

So some people achieve keyword ranking but they don’t drive very many sales. And when we would go in and look and it’s like, “Okay, well, your product photography is absolutely terrible. No wonder you’re not converting.” And so there’s IP associated with how to shoot product photography well. If you go hire a real professional photographer, for the most part, these are like $10,000, $20,000 shoots, and Amazon sellers can’t really afford to pay that. So I wanted to find a way to provide amazing quality at prices that made sense. And so, okay, well we had to do it in-house. So we found a great product photographer that was tired of working the freelancing gig and hustling and was amazing at shooting. And so we brought him in house.

Andrew: So then you have offered a service again, not software yet, even though you’re a developer, just services, right?

Casey: Yeah. So, my focus is at the end of the day, whatever the path is from where somebody is at to maximizing sales on Amazon, I want to do whatever is in there. And so product photography, although not a software component, is a very critical component of that. And so I feel like we have to be able to manage that. Again, you have to be an expert at everything in order to be an expert at anything.

Andrew: So, it’s interesting that in the beginning, you weren’t selling a lot of coding. You were doing a lot of, as you told our producer, grunt work, manual grunt work?

Casey: Yeah.

Andrew: And so you got the photographer, you started . . . now you have somebody you have to pay on a regular basis. You have to fill his calendar. How did you start selling that service?

Casey: I mean, we had thousands of clients at . . . well, maybe not thousands of active subscribers at the time for our launches, but anyways we had a pretty decent sized email list. And so I knew that people really needed product photography because so many people were struggling to find good photographers to shoot it themselves.

Andrew: So you had two email lists or one? One was with the people who are looking for discounts, 80% off, the other one was potential sellers, had or sellers actually. How did you get the seller list growing?

Casey: So, just from word of mouth, essentially, like because of the dramatic results that we were producing in people’s keyword ranking, it just kind of spread like wildfire. And so for the most part that has been our channel of growth to this day is still organic.

Andrew: Just people coming to viral-launch.com, filling in their email address and that’s how you had this list. All right. Now, how did you understand from them that they were having trouble with product photography? They weren’t hitting reply and saying, “Hey, Casey, photos suck.” Right? What did you do?

Casey: What was happening is we get someone ranking and typically you would see, okay, let’s say they go from 5 sales a day to 40 sales a day. Well, someone gets up there and they go to 10 sales a day. And so they’re like, “Well, what the heck? You know, I was expecting a much larger increase in sales.” And we would go analyze the listing and the photos, at least from my . . . it’s hard to rate product photography because it’s so subjective. But anyways the photos were not very good. And so I knew that this was very critical and there was a clear like delineation between the results that you would see with people with great photography and terrible photography for the most part. Right?

Andrew: So you do launches for people by emailing to your audience of discount people the offer, and you’d see the ones that had better shots were doing better?

Casey: Yep.

Andrew: And you said, “We need to make this happen for more people?”

Casey: Yep.

Andrew: You know what? So, I’m looking at your website. You guys launched the business what year? 2014?

Casey: Yeah. October 2014.

Andrew: So, I’m looking at our internet archive for 2015. September 2015 the site says we did 2,925 product launches. Got 213,000 honest reviews. That’s huge. Just because people are coming over to your site and filling in a form. That’s how you get over 2,900 customers to pay you to reach your audience and the mailing list?

Casey: Yeah. I mean, again, the results are dramatic, and I think to our advantage, a lot of the Amazon sellers kind of congregate in these Facebook groups so of like, “Hey, what’s working for you?” And so people, they come to Viral Launch and literally within three days their product goes from page 30 let’s say you sell fish oil, goes from page 30 to page 1, and now you’re selling 100 units a day where you were selling 5. You’re really excited about that and you want to share that kind of [inaudible 00:35:08].

Andrew: So they are all going into their list and sharing it?

Casey: Yeah.

Andrew: You were not encouraging it, participating, any of it?

Casey: No, we weren’t. They were going into their, yeah, their Facebook groups that they’re a part of or some people have how to sell on Amazon courses. And the people running them are saying, “We just use Viral Launch to improve keyword ranking. I think that you guys should do this.” We didn’t even have an affiliate program. I don’t believe at the time.

Andrew: You did by 2018. No, sorry, by 2015.

Casey: Okay. Then we did. I don’t think too many people took advantage of it, but just because it was the . . . there is such a question around how do I get increased visibility on Amazon and Viral Launch was a good part of that and was very cheap to do it. I think our prices were pretty low at that point.

Andrew: Yeah. From what I can see, at least in my research, and I’m not deep in this world in enough to say absolutely, but you were not very good at promoting yourselves, but you still got customers.

Casey: Yeah. So, to add to what we . . . walk along our product roadmap again. So, we noticed that some people weren’t driving ranking even though we’re running these campaigns. And so then we started asking ourselves why. Well, it was because they didn’t have the main keyword in their title or their listing content was really bad from a sales standpoint or from a keyword standpoint. And so, okay, we brought somebody on to start writing these listings, and we had run enough launches, and we started tracking enough data where we could see, “Okay. There’s a strong correlation of products where the keywords that are in the title are driving significantly higher rank results. And so this is how we’re going to start writing listings from there.”

Andrew: And so you’d created a style guide essentially for descriptions, for product descriptions?

Casey: Internally. Yeah. Internally we created this style guide. Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah. How did you put it together? What was the way that you communicated what was working to other people on the team? Was is it just a basic Google Doc?

Casey: I mean, the team was like me and a content writer and a customer service person at the time that we . . .

Andrew: So there was nothing even a document? The guy just knew he was picking up on it. You were talking constantly said, “Hey look, I tried this thing, bullet points work, bullet points that look like stars work even better. Let’s just try that?”

Casey: Yep, exactly.

Andrew: And were you reaching out to other people? Were you in any groups trying to get feedback from people saying, “Here’s what’s working for us. This will just work for you guys too?” Or figuring it all out on your own?

Casey: Yeah. I mean, there were people that were building relationships with where we were able to have these conversations. The problem is, and this has kind of been one of our advantages to date is, you know, I’m definitely somebody that questions everything, and so we can just rely on the data. You know, at that point we had run 2,900 launches, and we had probably started tracking a decent amount of metrics around those. So we could see again like, “Okay, we did include the keyword in the bullet points for this product and the launch didn’t go as well or whatever.” And so we were able to iterate based on feedback that we’re getting at a good scale. And pretty quickly, like mid-2015 we had a client that was doing $40 million in cell phone cases. And so this guy is, like, able to help us understand what’s working and then . . . yeah.

Andrew: It’s Rui, isn’t it?

Casey: I don’t know that word.

Andrew: Oh, you don’t know the name Rui [SP], the guy who was doing the iPhone cases.

Casey: Oh, no, it wasn’t him.

Andrew: Okay. This guy Rui. I’ve seen him. He’s was killing it with iPhone case. He kept telling me about discount codes and all this stuff he was doing. All right. So you’re starting to figure out what people needed because you saw what worked, you had this email list too, what’s the next product then that you launched?

Casey: It was called market intelligence. And the intention here is, “Okay, so many people are all selling the same thing.” You know, someone mentioned that I made a bunch of money on a grill brush or grill gloves or something like that. So then everybody swarms to grill gloves. And instantly, by doing that, it now becomes a bad market. And so, so many people are making bad product decisions. I actually still think that that’s kind of the number one decision you will make in selling on Amazon is what products do you decide to sell. And so we came up with this idea of validating product ideas, which at the root of it was just a star rating of, “Okay, I want to sell grill brush.” And then we’d give you like a one to five star. And so then I started getting feedback on it and people are like, “Oh, what the heck does that mean? What data are you looking at? Blah, blah, blah.

So we just continued to iterate on the data that we were showing, and over time it became this pretty comprehensive tool that is showing all kinds of historical data around the market as a whole. So, how is price trending, how are sales trending, as well as individual products? How have their sales, how have their prices been trending and how are they also performing at that time?

Andrew: And looking at it now, it’s like review rate, the average rating for it, how is it sold, net profit you’re estimating for people, unit margin. How do you know unit margin?

Casey: So, Amazon publicly shows how fees are calculated. So, we have all the product dimensions and so forth for that item and so we’re able to identify what the . . .

Andrew: Oh, it’s not how much. It’s not price sold, net of cost, it’s . . .

Casey: Yeah.

Andrew: I see. It’s net of your shipping costs.

Casey: Yeah. If you click into unit margin, I think it is, then you can input your own, landed cost. So then you can say “It cost me $6 per widget.” And so then you plug that in and then we’ll calculate your net profit.

Andrew: So, I see all of that today. What was it? What did you have in the first version? You were mentioning something about stars.

Casey: It was literally just the star rating.

Andrew: And what did you base that on to say this gets . . . the higher the stars, the better it was to sell, right?

Casey: Yeah. Essentially. And what we were looking at is again, so at that point maybe we had run 15,000 product launches, 20,000 product launches. And so at this point now we were starting to work more consultatively with some people. Our best case study to date is we help take a brand new. They launched in June of 2015, wrote all their listings, did all of their work essentially . . . well, not all, but they’re all the front end of their work. And they did $36 million in 2016. So from $0 to $36 million your first full calendar year, 18 months in essentially is like pretty insane. And we had multiple products as number one bestsellers.

And now in 2017 they have four. Technically it’s a lot of accounts, but it’s essentially like four different brands that are all collectively doing over $100 million on Amazon, all on Amazon. And so anyways, we really started to be able to understand and drive some like significant results. And so from all the data that we’re collecting and what we’re seeing for successful sellers and people that are not as successful, we started to develop like, “Okay, reviews are generally the barrier to entry in a product market.” And so like we started building out these algorithms, looking at trends in the market and different factors to develop this star rating of, “Is this a good idea or not?”

Andrew: Okay. And at first it was, I see, really rudimentary. I see that it offered a lot less data than it does today. Did you just sell it to your own mailing list?

Casey: We didn’t sell it. It was kind of in beta mode for probably like four months or so as we continued to iterate on it. So we would just continue to collect feedback and sellers would say, “It’d be cool if you had this or I don’t understand this.” And so we just really iterated on the product we get.

Andrew: What was the process for getting that back, getting that feedback or soliciting it and making sure it was useful?

Casey: Yeah. At this point, I had a number of friends that are doing over $10 million a year on Amazon. And so I really appreciate their opinion, but also a lot of the newbie sellers, we would go and we would see usage stats from customers. And then you’d actually manually reach out to the sellers to understand, “Hey, what did you think about the tool? Did you find it helpful? If so, what parts?” And so forth.

Andrew: Okay. And then you started selling it at first for 20 bucks a month?

Casey: Ten dollars a month actually, I think.

Andrew: It was $10 at first? Oh, I see. The first one that I see here is for 20 . . . $10 seems super low. How’d you come up with that price?

Casey: So, the reason being is I’m someone that likes to play the long game. And so I saw this large product roadmap that we’re still let’s say halfway through. And so not even, so when I see this one product roadmap and at this point I just want to get customers so that as we continue to develop this product roadmap, we can continue to sell them on these additional tools and we can provide value in these other ways. And so also, there’s competitors in the space. And so I wanted to make sure that, again, I don’t care about revenue as much right now. I care about long-term revenue and so I’m willing to sell it to you with low margin now so that I can make more margin down the road essentially.

Andrew: And eventually did increase the price. I think today there’s a version of it that cost hundreds of dollars a month, right?

Casey: So, well, there’s another version that has two additional tools, and that is $100 a month.

Andrew: But if there were people doing this already, why did you decide to get into this?

Casey: The reason being is because we . . . so in terms of product validation, we still saw . . .

Andrew: Wait. Sorry. If I buy the annual plan, is it . . .

Casey: The annual plan. Yeah.

Andrew: Oh, it’s 200 bucks a year. Got it.

Casey: Yeah.

Andrew: Okay. All right. So going back to the question, there people doing this. I’ve interviewed someone who did it. Why get into this space too?

Casey: Yeah. Two reasons. One, we didn’t feel like they were showing enough data for people to really make good decisions. They’re showing snapshot data. So if you just see at this point in time, here’s the price. At this point in time, here’s the sales. You have no context around, is this a seasonal product or, and if so, to what degree? You had no idea across the market as a whole, how is this market performing from a sales perspective, from a price perspective? We saw a lot of people making these bad decisions.

So probably about six months after we released to this, probably the main competitor started showing historical data for individual products. But anyways, the reason we entered initially was, people were still making very bad decisions, and because there wasn’t enough data for them to make better decisions essentially. So, that’s why. And then now at this point, like, we have a large enough customer base where we need to build out this complete platform essentially. And that’s one of the critical components of it and so.

Andrew: If you heard like voice going in the background, it’s because I did a search to compare you to other tools, and I ended up on a website with a lot of videos and one of them was playing and it was your website. You guys SEOed the hell out of your name versus your competition’s name.

Casey: Nice.

Andrew: When did you guys get good at . . . well, let me talk about my sponsor first and then come back in and talk about this. The second sponsor is another company that you work with. It’s called Toptal. How do you work with them? Was it you directly or was it someone else on your team?

Casey: Yeah. So we don’t have any product designers, and it’s been very difficult for us to find like a great UI person here in Indy. Most of our people work at of our Indy headquarters. Anyways, so we reached out to Toptal because we wanted to make sure we were getting someone of really good quality. And literally, I reached out probably 3:00 a.m. Eastern Time. I sent in an email, someone called . . . and we needed someone ASAP and they literally called me within 15 minutes. Some great Australian guy and he figured out, kind of qualified me as a lead and kind of got me on my way. So, yeah.

Andrew: And so you tell them what you’re looking for and they find the right person. And the reason they do that is, these guys are pretty obsessively, relentlessly location independent, that they just don’t want people who are working out of an office, though they might even now have an office because they had to for clients’ sake, but they want to have people be wherever they are, travel the world if you want to. Just make sure that if a client wants to talk to you, you’re there to talk to them.

And that is the first step. Anyone who is listening to my voice, who wants to try Toptal, I’ve talked about them in the past for web . . . excuse me, for developers, but I’ve hired them for a designer too. I want a different perspective. I wanted someone with a different eye, someone with a lot of experience in user experience. So just say, “Look, my fricken website, Mixergy makes it too hard for people to find all these hundreds of interviews. Help me out here.” And they gave me a new perspective and then they gave me something for the team to go and build on. They are just phenomenal.

But I thought that you guys do have great design. I’m looking at your design over the years. What do you mean you don’t have good design and you needed to go hire it out?

Casey: Product design, I mean, I still think that there is a lot of improvements that we can make on the product side. But I appreciate it. I think it’s decent, but there’s room for improvement. But yeah, Toptal has been amazing for us.

Andrew: All right. Anyone out there who wants to work with Toptal? You should know the first step is you’re going to talk to somebody so there’s no obligation. Once you go to this URL, you can just hit a button and often within minutes get on a call with a matcher from Toptal. Tell him what you’re looking for. In some cases, they’ll say, “Hey, you know what? It’s actually not a good fit. Toptal is not your right place.” In many cases they’ll say, “It is. Let me understand more so I can find you the right person or the right team of people to do the job that you want.” And then once they make that match, it often means that you can get started.

You get to talk to them, obviously, you’re not just blindly accepting whoever they set you up with. But if you like the person they match you up with, you can get started within days. Here’s the URL where you as a Mixergy listener are going to get 80 hours of Toptal developer credit when you pay for your first 80 hours, and that’s an addition to a no-risk trial period of up to two weeks. It’s toptal.com/mixergy. Top as in top of your head, Tal as in talent, toptal.com/mixergy. It’s got to be tough for you to sit down the whole time, isn’t it? As a guy with so much energy?

Casey: Yeah. That’s funny. Yeah.

Andrew: I’m with you. And so I’ve got a standing desk now, but I find that standing up all the time is tough too. So I do stand up, sit down, but for interviews, I can’t sit. Well, it’s kind of a tough thing.

Casey: For this setup, it looked weird if I was standing up. So . . .

Andrew: But you do have a stand-up, sit down desk, right?

Casey: I feel like I’m running around the office so much that I don’t have time to do too much of either.

Andrew: Oh, I see. Got you. All right. I see how you’re building out your business. You’re building out your product line, at some point though, you did get good at marketing yourself. Right? And I say that because I peeked at like, let’s take a look at this. I looked at where you guys were getting your traffic. Some of it is intentional. We’re not looking at all like happenstance word of mouth. So, let’s look at similar web. It’s loading up. Hang on a second. It’s coming up. Where is it? You know, well, let’s wait. While I’m waiting for it to come up, tell me . . . Oh, here it is. fbaheros.com sends you a lot of traffic. Is that your site?

Casey: No, it’s not. It’s an affiliate guy who’s, I guess, influencer maybe a better term, but it’s just this young guy. I think he’s 24, and he just started selling on Amazon and thinks our tools are really helpful for him in his business and he has kind of a course, so as both a way for him to make money. But I think the main concern is how can I provide the best experience and the best opportunity for success for my users or audience. He suggests using the Viral Launch tools essentially.

Andrew: So part of his core CIC has got a core $797. His name is Derek, I think Amazon FBA Heroes. That’s the name of the course.

Casey: Yeah.

Andrew: Do you worry about the way that so much of what you’re doing is based on Amazon? They could change the algorithm. They can say this doesn’t work. They can say that doesn’t work and now you’re screwed.

Casey: Yeah. I mean, at the heart of it, we are focused. At the end of the day, someone is going to be ranking on Amazon. You know what I mean, like sales going to continue on Amazon and there’s going to be people selling on Amazon. And so we are focused on building the most successful brands.

And at this stage I don’t know how much like we also work with some Fortune 1000, Fortune 100 type companies in more enterprise level engagements where we’re like coming on, there’s high consulting fees and we do a lot more than is currently on our website. So this is where a lot of like special access programs or whatever kind of go on before they will enter the public essentially.

And so like Samsung, they’re not a client, we’re not allowed to share under NDA on the clients. But let’s say, Samsung is a client, like these guys, are doing probably hundreds of millions of dollars on Amazon but they could be doing hundreds more and they just don’t understand the key drivers of success on Amazon and that’s where we come in. We’re able to leverage our data and our experience to help them plot out a path for success. And we’re not just those consultants that are giving us strategy talk or whatever, but we’re also able to come in on the tactical side and produce those results.

Andrew: I think of you guys is like what Moz was for SEO and for Google, you guys are for Amazon, don’t you think?

Casey: I’m not super familiar with Moz but I would like to think so. Right now, we’re like I’m young. So, I’m 25, right? So right now we’re like focused on hiring these more people with better experience. You know, like we just hired a director of customer success. She was COO at a company here in Indy. She was like employee 17 to 300. So we’re trying to hire these people to allow us as an organization to really grow up essentially.

Andrew: YouTube also is big. So, are there a bunch of coupon sites to send traffic to you for obvious reasons? I think that that’s a little bit outside the scope of this interview, but YouTube is getting you guys, customers, because you teach people on YouTube how to sell on Amazon. That leads to awareness, right? What’s that strategy? How did you put that together?

Casey: Actually, probably, more of our traffic is coming from a few if you search Viral Launch on YouTube, the majority of the top ranking videos are not actually our own. It’s a lot of people, again, trying to build their audience by showing people how to have success on Amazon. And one key portion of that is using Viral Launch.

Andrew: So you’re telling me you sell services and software to help people market themselves better, but you’re kind of crappy at marketing and it’s all because the product is good?

Casey: Yeah. I don’t understand marketing and stuff like that as much as I do delivering results. Right? So I can build a product that drives results better than anybody else. And so that is what I’m going to focus on and allow the product to sell itself because of the dramatic impact that it’s having on these people’s businesses. Now, we did . . .

Andrew: Yeah. Go ahead. Keep telling.

Casey: Sorry. We did just hire a director of marketing to come in and really help us like get the marketing side of things in order because again I just don’t understand it enough.

Andrew: You mentioned you were 25 right now. You told our producer, “Look as a 25-year-old, I’ve never really had a job. I don’t know how to manage people very well. Maybe, yeah, I worked at McDonald’s in high school, but that doesn’t really count.” So how are you figuring out how to lead this team now?

Casey: Yeah. I think that the area that I was speaking on predominantly to your producer was managing these higher-level folks. You know, these people that are in their upper ’30s and their ’40s and their ’50s that have worked at companies like we hired a former senior director of product from Salesforce. She’s our director of product. And so it’s like understanding how to help best enable them and not encroach on that. Like it’s this interesting paradigm.

And really, like, I think I’ve been fortunate, and it’s a very humble process because basically, I just have to say to these guys, say like, “Yes, I understand, like, I’m your boss, but really I am looking for you to help me understand what I need to be doing as the CEO and how I need to best be enabling you.” And so we sit down and our director of marketing or you know, whoever one of our directors is like, “Hey, I feel like you’re not trusting me, and I feel like you’re stepping on my toes a lot.” And I’m just saying, “Well, I don’t even know that I’m doing that because I don’t even know what the paradigm looks like, a CEO interacting with a director of marketing.” I’ve only like run the marketing team. I assume like everybody reported to me.

So, it is not a process without its bruises. It definitely is. But I think like communication has been very important. I think as it’s, like I said, a very humbling experience for you to continue to solicit feedback on what am I doing right? What am I doing wrong? How can I help you . . .

Andrew: So you ask them? You hire somebody from Salesforce, you say, “Okay, now what am I doing right? This is a CEO, what am I doing wrong?”

Casey: Yeah. I’m not a systems or processes guy. And so like these people are coming in and like, “Why the heck don’t we have this in place? Why are we doing it this way? Blah, blah, blah.” And I had to basically say like, “Guys, I have no idea and there’s so much that I don’t know. I have hired you guys to be the system people, the processes people, to help us understand what systems and processes we need to be putting in place.” So yeah, I’m getting feedback from them.

Andrew: Because they’ve done this so much. What about this, that you’ve got magic in here that the business is working on its own, now they’re going to come in with their other point of view, with their other approach, one that might be a little bit too bureaucratic, too big business for your company and maybe it takes away from what you’ve got that special. How do you keep that from happening?

Casey: I mean that is a major concern, but I’m extremely protective of the culture here and the rest of the team. And so I definitely make sure to voice my opinion and protect those things. I mean, there’s definitely a decent amount of pushback from me, but it’s very collaborative. Again, I’m someone that I feel like if you work hard enough to provide enough context for somebody, they will generally make the same decisions, right? If you gave them the same exact playing field that you’re thinking, oh, whatever. I don’t know the analogy . . .

Andrew: What do you mean? How do you give them a context? What is it that lets them know, “This is how we operate here?”

Casey: Have you seen the YouTube video like of Simon Sinek “Why?”

Andrew: Yes.

Casey: It’s like, yeah, so I’m not trying to sell these people “What.” I’m trying to sell them “Why?” And I’m trying to help them understand why maybe we are doing things the way that we’re doing or why we should have . . .

Andrew: What is the “Why”?

Casey: The “Why” behind Viral Launch?

Andrew: Yeah.

Casey: Yeah. Actually, I love this question. So we have a weekly meeting every Monday, and I put some topic, whenever our core ethos into the frame of the “Why” here at Viral Launch. And so the “Why” here at Viral Launch is that we get to help tens of thousands of entrepreneurs achieve their dreams every day. So initially when we started Viral Launch, to be honest, I felt really guilty because I essentially felt like I was helping people that were rich. Because in my mind if you had money to invest in an Amazon business, like, you were rich. And so I felt like I was helping rich people make more money, and I felt really guilty about that. Because I view my time is like, “Okay, I’ve been blessed so I need to help other people kind of thing.” And if I’m not helping . . . anyways. So . . .

Andrew: I get it.

Casey: But pretty quickly or I don’t know. Right around the time where I was thinking, “Okay, maybe I should just take a break from Viral Launch because I feel like I’m wasting my time maybe,” we started having these amazing stories where like, some friends of mine, they really started to have some success and they were started donating like half of their profits to their church. And it’s like, “Oh, wow I’m enabling that.” And this is like tens of thousands of dollars. And so that was really cool.

And then there’s this, like, dad whose son was just like diagnosed with autism or something and he was like because of Viral Launch, I was able to quit my full-time job and stay at home and raise my son because of the success I’m having in my Amazon business. And again, we had a material impact in them. And I think that it took me a moment to realize like sometimes it’s not the direct impact that we’re able to have, but it’s our job to be that person having an indirect impact or whatever.

So, anyway, it’s like more and more our customers are these people that are aspiring entrepreneurs, and we get to give them critical components of their business. And I think one reason that we’ve been successful at growing and maintaining a great culture in acquiring like very talented people, it’s because I’m so focused on iterating this vision every week in the context of every component of the business. So, for the people that write Amazon listings these guys write for listings every single day and for years, and I feel like that would be insanely boring.

But my pitch to them is that you’re not just writing in Amazon listing. You’re giving these entrepreneurs just critical component to their business to go and to help them achieve their dreams as an aspiring entrepreneur. And without an amazing listing, they’re going to have that much more difficulty having success on Amazon and really realizing that dream of being a successful entrepreneur.

Andrew: It’s inspiring and I’m looking up to see who hates you, to see does this actually follow through, is this what people are saying online? This what you meant earlier before we started that I’m intimidating. I’m like losing myself in this stuff. You know what I do see? I do agree with you. You guys apparently are pretty shitty at even YouTube. Your videos are earnest. Your videos look good. Your thumbnails look good, and still somebody who has a shitty video with you in there ends up like getting outpacing, getting more traffic than you, more views than you. Like I see a video that you guys have put effort into that gets . . . here’s one, 1,059 views. And then to the right of it is somebody else who’s competing with you guys essentially for eyeballs, but talking about you ends up getting tens of thousands of views. I haven’t seen millions yet.

Casey: Yeah. I mean, testimonials from people that are using it and having success using the tools probably [inaudible 01:00:40] pulled in us saying, “Hey, this is good. You should try it.” Kind of thing.

Andrew: What about a blog? Are you guys doing any content marketing or no? Yeah, you must be actually because I kept finding it.

Casey: Yeah. We have a blog. We just hired a content manager to help us put everything together. We also have a podcast. I mean things are pretty all over the place and so we’re really trying to hone everything in and really get some solid reporting so that we understand where are the results coming from and we can really double down on those things.

Andrew: All right. The website for anyone who wants to go check it out, it’s viral-launch.com, viral-launch.com. How did this interview go for you? What do you think?

Casey:I think it went well. Hopefully, there is some value in there.

Andrew: There is. You know what I took away from it? I really love the simplicity of the launch. It was just I got a mailing list of buyers. I understand this one little mechanism is going to help sell. I’m not going to overthink it. I’m not going to over code. And then the next thing I’m going to do photographer, nothing super major, but we’re going to know that it’s going to work and we’re going to keep seeing are we helping sellers sell more and we’ll just keep adding more and more.

Right. viral-launch.com with a hyphen in between the word viral and launch and I want to thank my two sponsors, who as had been looking into your traffic stats, I actually see that you guys absolutely are using ActiveCampaign because virallaunch.activehosted.com is sending traffic to you. I guess that’s your ActiveCampaign email, so you guys are using email well enough that it’s a substantial portion of your traffic to the site.

Anyone else who wants to try ActiveCampaign should go check out activecampaign.com/mixergy. And finally, don’t forget whether it’s a developer or now as you’ve seen a designer or somebody to help with your user experience, etc., go check out Toptal.com/mixergy to hire. All right. This was great. Thanks so much, Casey.

Casey: Thanks so much, Andrew. I’m pretty honored.

Andrew: Me too. Thanks. Bye, everyone.


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