One of the areas of my work life that I’ve loved over the past 7+ years is that I get to work directly with owners because they really care about their business. They really care about what they’re doing.
And that’s what I love. I love working with people who really care.
After years of working in corporate, let’s just say that there are a lot of people who don’t care. They’re there for the review. They’re there to get money. They’re not there because they care.
And when you work with people who really care about their account, really care about the business that they’re running, they have a whole different approach, in that they have a whole different mentality.
This is why I loved working with Jimmy Gould, the founder of SoapStandle, on his invention – a grip/holder for bar soap.
What is the SoapStandle?
From the SoapStandle website:
“With conventional soap dishes, the bar soap slides around, falls down, and slowly degrades into an icky buildup of water and germs. Everything you don’t want with the shower.
“Tired of all the wrangling, we invented a way to practice safe soap.
“The SoapStandle® is a sleek, innovative device that attaches directly to your soap bar to provide 360 º air circulation that allows water to drain and the bar to dry.
“That means the next time you take a shower, you won’t come back to a gooey puddle. Instead, you’ll find a clean, dry bar of soap that’s just as good as the first time.”
It’s basically the reason I switched back to bar soap after years of using liquid soap – it finally made bar soap not gross or inconvenient.
Where did we start?
When I first started working with Jimmy, his product had less than twenty reviews and he was selling 1-2 dozen units a month. Not really what he’d been hoping for.
Within the first month, I provided a list of recommended improvements and Jimmy acted on them right away. The first major improvement was the creation of an explanatory video showing how the product worked.
Since it was a completely new invention, I knew it needed a really clear problem statement and a clear solution demonstration to help improve the abysmal sub 4% conversion rate.
After the first adjustments went up (video and image carousel improvements), the conversion rate went above 15%.
Getting New Customers
Because the SoapStandle didn’t exist in the market as a product yet, it wasn’t going to be searched for directly by Amazon customers.
That meant that we had to focus on substitutes and complements to get customers – and at the time, we only had access to Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands. We weren’t able to target by audience or past purchasing history in Sponsored Display!
Some of our most successful keywords were substitutes, items like the soap saver or soap lift, where customers were trying to save the same problem.
Advertising cost of sales was abysmal, averaging 90-110%, which is fairly typical when you’re targeting substitutes or complements, rather than close or loose match keywords.
But every month, there were more net new customers, more repeat buyers, and above all, more reviews.
Optimizing for Growth
About six months after we started working together, I made a few experimental changes to the title and bullets using keyword reports from advertising and from third party keyword software.
Simultaneously, ads got turned off (it was an accident due to payment methods not being updated) but he still had one of the best days he’d had up to that point because Amazon values the keywords in the title and bullets most highly and if the product is converting well on those relevant keywords, Amazon will give it good organic placement.
Over the two years that I worked with Jimmy, I worked on three different optimization projects for A+. By the final update about two years after we started working together, the conversion rate was ranging 20-30%.
This was done by testing different versions of the page, then comparing it against the feedback, reviews, and customer Q&A that came in after the changes.
In one memorable review about a year and a half in, I was looking at Q&A and realized we’d never explained one rather critical element – how to put the bar of soap on the SoapStandle. We had pictures of it by itself and pictures and video of it on, but no detailed instructions showing how to use the SoapStandle for all types of soap.
Every element of customer feedback is an opportunity to improve the page and get the sale the next time from a prospective customer.
Now that it has well over 2k reviews and the social proof is there and irrefutable, there’s nowhere to go but up for the SoapStandle.
Whether getting off-Amazon partnerships, or into brick and mortar retail, Jimmy’s idea has turned into a business that he can be proud of, and I’m so glad I got to be a small part of that.