The driving purpose behind Ecommerce Optimizer is the desire to help businesses of all sizes succeed on the Internet. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let me explain who I am and how I got here because to understand how you can benefit the most from working with us, you need to understand me.
If we have learned anything from COVID-19 in this business, it should be that things still change very fast and if you are not ready, then prepare to eat a lot of dust. COVID has created a situation where almost anyone can redefine themselves, remake who or what they are, and start over. I think there are more opportunities out there now than ever before.
E-commerce is still an expanding frontier of constantly changing variables. Anyone with the willingness to do whatever it takes to learn and build a business can find a place in Ecommerce to establish themselves. There are possibilities and opportunities everywhere. You have to change your mindset so that you see them. The saturation of a category proves high demand. It also proves there are many competitors out there that do not know what they are doing.
Most business people are so caught up in being run by their business; they have no time to pay attention to those around them or plan and strategize their growth. That means that you can siphon some of their market shares without them knowing if you are on your game.
I truly believe that any one of us can become the next superstar business with the right strategy. Fad strategies are everywhere. While I believe it is my job to keep my clients at the cutting edge of change, I utilize longstanding strategies that work and produce results.
As a business person, you need to decide, do you want to chase fads and shiny objects, or do you want to build a sustainable brand? Can you do some of both? Yes, but the foundation needs to be there to support the rollercoaster of chasing fads.
I started my first business at the age of 7, hand-delivering holiday cards in the neighborhood. It didn't last long. Competing with the Post Office is a federal offense. It didn't take long for the Postal Inspector and a Federal Marshall to show up at my front door. My father still laughs about this, but he told them they would have to come back later because I took my afternoon nap. He was a NYC Policeman at the time, so he chased them off. That ended my first business, lol.
I've always had a driven personality. I graduated High School early and was already in college while still in High School. I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix in 1988 as the youngest person ever admitted or to graduate. At graduation, I was already on my third business and running someone's restaurant as well. At this point, I was already presenting to business students about getting into business for themselves also.
I stayed in the upper scale restaurant and luxury hotel business for almost 20 years. I learned valuable lessons that I still use today. Always be brilliant at the basics, and everything matters because most people do not pay attention to the easy stuff. Build a community of raving fans, and you will forever have success and treat each customer as a guest, as though they were coming into your home. By the time I exited that industry, I was consulting and taught some food and wine pairing classes.
My first try at an online business was in 1996, providing area information to people moving to the area. The Arizona Office of Tourism thought it was a great idea and started offering the same service for free.
In 1999, I decided to open a business for my now ex-wife to sell her painted cow skulls. She is very artistic, and we did well with her creations already. I know offering more than one item increases the audience, so we quickly added 32 different artisans that created Southwest and Native American furniture and art. In the beginning, everything was on consignment or drop-shipped.
Our website, aztecartworks.com, exploded with business. The Internet was the wild west then, and few sites knew how to optimize. I've always been one that has to take everything apart to figure out what makes it tick, and I did here as well. I was also a beta tester for a new form of advertising called PPC.
At 4 cents a word, I was able to own all of my search terms. Using SEO and PPC, I was able to build a powerful company.
Not thinking I was a marketer at the time, I fell back on things I learned earlier. Be brilliant at the basics. Master SEO to be able to stay ahead of the pack with organic ranking. That got me noticed and later featured in different magazines.
Everything matters was also an important strategy. I had a chance to interview a local Spanish speaker TV station that I almost didn't do. I'm glad I did because one of the people that saw the program happened to be the head designer for Marriott hotels in town visiting her parents.
A couple of weeks later, I had a few PO's to build furniture for two new Marriott resorts under construction. I would not have gotten that if I would have blown off the interview, which I almost did.
Soon after that, I was noticed by QVC. They taped a piece for a custom dresser that we made. We had to stop them after the second airing because it almost generated more orders than we could handle. These were not cheap dressers, and they were made out of old-growth ponderosa pine from the Grand Canyon.
We were limited on the amount of wood we could get each year. The wood gave it character.
In the luxury hotel business, you want to build a community of guests and offer them things that keep bringing them back l9ike personalized service. I decided I would create or buy helpful interior design articles. The article in the image was one of them.
Notice I got a tool to visualize what rearranging your room would look like. It has authoritative outgoing links, a contest, a newsletter opt-in. It had all of the pieces that are still considered good content strategies.
The newsletter grew to 20k emails, and it was a good list. Many clients would purchase between 5 and 15k over a year or two. By 2001, old business contacts were approaching me, asking how to take their businesses online. I opened a design business and a hosting business and started consulting as well.
Sometime in 2003, I had a booth at Country Thunder, a three-day Country music show. In what seemed surreal at the moment, this guy walks up through the dust and confirms the booth was the same as the company and site and then offered me a lot of money, cash, for the business. A few days later, the deal was done.
I didn't have a huge inventory on-hand as many of the items were consigned. He bought everything, so I paid all of the artists for their stuff, but what he paid the most for was the brand, the following, and the email list.
The value of that community has stayed with me. I was able to keep a copy of that email list, and many of the people on it then are still on it now. The total value of sales to that list over the years is huge. That is something I am very aware of.
Even back then, I focused on specifically helping businesses adapt to Ecommerce, integrating their traditionally offline marketing with online marketing. I am considered an expert in SEO and Online Marketing with an emphasis on eCommerce. The amount of knowledge and experience across so many different verticals has allowed me to bring an incredible amount of value to clients.
Over the years, I've focused on small sellers and large corporate giants for a decade as well. In 2008 I opened my agency Advantage Ecommerce, which focuses on large corporations only. A few years ago, I noticed that small businesses were failing at an alarming rate, specifically Amazon. That frustration and the skyrocketing failure rate of new eCommerce businesses is why I started Ecommerce Optimizer.
The typical path on Amazon of a new inexperienced seller is Amazon Private Label. Most new sellers lack the knowledge needed and the amount of time needed to learn how to do it right before getting in over their heads.
Their own desire to succeed as fast as possible coupled with the one size fits all approach commonly taught is a recipe for disaster. Their is no magic pill for success in Ecommerce. Just being a seller is no longer enough, the failure rate is too high. Only selling on Amazon has become detrimental to businesses. Amazon holds too much power over sellers and doesn't care if you are still in business tomorrow.
Sellers need to learn to market their products to reach their audiences long before they reach the purchase stage(Amazon). Sustained success is not about closing the sale. It is about developing relationships, building authority and providing solutions that naturally lead your audience to know you are their obvious choice.
We have developed and documented well over 1000 different working strategies that build relationships and awareness, drive traffic, and create sustainable long-term brands. I take a no-nonsense approach, breakdown complex strategies, and have established systems to help entrepreneurs automate and outsource while retaining control and direction.
Through Workshops that I create and personal 1 on 1 coaching offered to entrepreneurs and their teams, I help businesses form strategies that their competitors overlook and miss out on. We use longstanding proven strategies as a foundation while developing specific strategies to target the right audiences to grow the business.
The detailed direction I contribute, combined with my no-nonsense approach and ability to enable a business to become a disruptive driving force, is highly sought after by business people from sole proprietors to CEOs of very well-known brands.
As a long time single parent, I had his hands full raising his sons for most of the past 20 years. They made it to adulthood, and I managed to survive. I love what I do, so I spend a lot of time helping others in one form or another. Outside of work, he donates time to teach others about technology and how to use it, efficiently accomplishing what they are seeking. He loves the outdoors, riding my motorcycle out in the countryside, enjoy spending time with my sons, and exploring Arizona's secrets and woodworking.
My focus, moving forward, remains the same. Take advantage of technology, data, and my experience assisting business growth and helping others.
Fortunately, 2020 is behind us. A lot has changed and will continue to change. Amazon proved in 2020 that only selling on Amazon can be detrimental to any business. I've always focused on helping businesses diversify and will continue to do so. Ecommerce success is within reach for entrepreneurs, and opportunities emerge all of the time still. It might seem overwhelming; I'm here to help you see that it doesn't have to be.
In 2021, Ecommerce Optimizer will continue to offer to learn at your pace workshops, available all of the time, learning and reviewing at your own pace with a very low monthly membership. I will release at least one book in the coming months. One of them will be focused on building a marketing machine for your business for over six months, including a full learning program to accompany the book. I will also continue helping sellers 1 on 1 because I love helping them succeed and flourish.