Michael Zagare is the Founder and CEO of PPC Entourage, a tool that efficiently optimizes and expands Amazon sponsored product campaigns to increase sales and profits. Michael is a serial entrepreneur and a recovering physical therapist, and he was the owner of GO Physical Therapy & Wellness before starting PPC Entourage in 2015.
Michael has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge of all things Amazon and loves sharing that knowledge with other sellers to help them take steps towards personal and financial freedom. He is also the Founder of the annual 12 Days of Nuggets charity event, which supports Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R) in ending human trafficking and slavery.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Michael Zagare’s entrepreneurial journey and what led him to create his Amazon tool, PPC Entourage
- Michael’s experience running an advertising firm on Amazon
- The difference between advertising on Amazon versus Facebook
- Michael talks about Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) and its mission to save children from slavery and trafficking
- How Michael’s 12 Days of Nuggets charity event first came about
- The different types of experts taking part in 12 Days of Nuggets and the nuggets of wisdom they are sharing
- How to get involved with 12 Days of Nuggets and where to learn more about PPC Entourage
In this episode…
With rapid growth and increased competition in the e-commerce industry, it is crucial for Amazon sellers to stay up-to-date on the tips and strategies that will help them optimize their listings and grow their revenue. For these sellers, any golden nugget of e-commerce wisdom is appreciated—and, with this in mind, Michael Zagare created his 12 Days of Nuggets charity event.
When Michael Zagare learned about Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R) and the work the organization does with helping end child slavery and trafficking, he was eager to get involved. As an expert in the Amazon and e-commerce space, Michael wanted to find a way to combine his professional contacts with the cause—and thus, 12 Days of Nuggets was born. Starting this December 7, e-commerce sellers can access valuable golden nuggets by top experts in the industry by giving a donation that supports O.U.R. and its important mission.
In this week’s episode of the Buy Box Experts podcast, Joe Hansen interviews Michael Zagare, the Founder and CEO of PPC Entourage, about the ins and outs of advertising on Amazon and his 12 Days of Nuggets charity event. They discuss advertising on Amazon versus Facebook, talk about how to get started as an Amazon seller, and share how Michael’s fundraiser is supporting the efforts of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.). Stay tuned.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Buy Box Experts
- Amazon Marketplace Dilemma: A Brand Executive’s Challenge Growing Sales and Maintaining Control by Joe Hansen and James Thomson
- PPC Entourage
- PPC Entourage on YouTube
- Michael Zagare on LinkedIn
- Michael Zagare’s email: email@example.com
- The 12 Days of Nuggets
- The 12 Days of Nuggets on Facebook
- Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.)
- The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
- Amazon DSP
- Ryan Daniel Moran on LinkedIn
- Freedom Fast Lane
Sponsor for this episode…
Buy Box Experts applies decades of e-commerce experience to successfully manage their clients’ marketplace accounts. The Buy Box account managers specialize in combining an understanding of their clients’ business fundamentals and their in-depth expertise in the Amazon Marketplace.
The team works with marketplace technicians using a system of processes, proprietary software, and extensive channel experience to ensure your Amazon presence captures the opportunity in the marketplace–not only producing greater revenue and profits but also reducing or eliminating your business’ workload.
Buy Box Experts prides itself on being one of the few agencies with an SMB (small to medium-sized business) division and an Enterprise division. Buy Box does not commingle clients among divisions as each has unique needs and requirements for proper account management.
Learn more about Buy Box Experts at BuyBoxExperts.com.
Welcome to the Buy Box Experts Podcast we bring to light the unique opportunities brands face in today’s e-commerce world.
Joe Hansen 0:18
Hi, I’m Joe Hansen, one of the hosts of the Buy Box Experts Podcast. I’m the founder and CEO of Buy Box Experts. I’m a serial entrepreneur, built and sold five businesses prior to Buy Box Experts. I’m also the co-author of the Amazon Marketplace Dilemma. And today on our episode of the Buy Box Experts Podcast we have Mike Zagare with us, the founder and CEO of PPC Entourage we’re excited to have him on onboard. But first, this episode is brought to you by Buy Box Experts. Buy Box Experts takes ambitious brands and makes them unbeatable. When you hire Buy Box Experts, you receive the strategy optimization and marketing performance to succeed on Amazon. Buy Box Experts is the only agency that combines executive level advisory services with expert performance management and execution of your Amazon channel strategy. Go to buyboxexperts.com to learn more. All right, Mike, we’re glad to have you on board today to chat about your 12 days of nuggets. So Mike, why don’t you just take us through PPC Entourage to begin a little bit. We’d love to hear a little bit about your company. And then let’s, let’s jump into talking about the 12 days of nuggets. Absolutely.
Michael Zagare 1:32
Thank you so much for having me on. And yeah, I started my journey as an Amazon seller many years ago, I consider myself a recovering physical therapist, people probably heard me say that many times. Because I was not living the dream in the physical therapy world. It really wasn’t my passion whatsoever. So when Amazon came around, it was an amazing opportunity in 2015. And then, you know, I realized quickly that advertising was a great opportunity as well to really scale that business. So we slowly built out PPC Entourage. And we were about, I think the second tool that came out with an advertising tool. And it’s been going great since then we have the PPC Entourage tool, we have an agency that works with the tool to help a lot of sellers out. And we also have the margins tool which helps left sellers understand their profitability on a SKU by SKU level. So my journey has just begun. But by far and away, Joe, the most passionate thing I’ve ever done in my entire life is the 12 days of nuggets. And that’s what we’ll be talking about today.
Joe Hansen 2:31
Well, that’s fantastic. So 2015 I mean that that’s like ages ago for the Amazon space. And you said you’re a recovering physical therapist, I can actually relate to you a little bit there. My story goes back to 2007 graduating college, and I was pre med in college. And my last one of my last courses I took was done by a professor Brett Brent Freeland and he was a physical therapist. And he kind of changed my mind, he made me want to go to physical therapy school and medical school, which then got me thinking after I took my GED and was ready to go and do all those things. You got me thinking, Wait, am I making a big mistake if I could change my mind so easily from going to med school to physical therapy school. And coincidentally, at a time, serendipitously at the time, I read a book called The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. And that kind of changed everything for me. I had my entrepreneurial seizure, decided to go into business, started a number of e-commerce companies and eventually started Buy Box Experts. So I love that we have a similar path there. Before we jump into 12 days of nuggets here. Tell me a little bit about what it’s like running an advertising firm on Amazon specifically.
Michael Zagare 3:49
Yeah, it’s a lot of fun, because Amazon’s always constantly, they’re constantly changing and constantly coming out with new opportunities. And it has evolved so much over the years. So you know, the reason why I got into this job back in the day was I, you know, I’m, like I said, recovering physical therapists. So I knew nothing about e-commerce, I knew nothing about advertising. All the marketing that I learned was from marketing my own physical therapy business that I had for about eight years before that. So when I got into the opportunity of Amazon advertising, the fact that it was simple back then in 2016, was really good for me, because I was still learning everything, you know, it’s still very fresh to me. The point is, things have evolved so much. And it seems like now on a weekly basis, there’s new opportunities coming out. There’s new ideas, new strategies. And just to give you an example, you know, when we first started, we had a playbook series. Oh, actually, we call it the blueprint series about them. And it only had four different types of campaigns. Well, we just came out with a playbook series that has 28 campaigns, and they’re still very basic campaigns, which goes to show you that with all the different ad types, there’s a lot that you can do now to scale. And for me, that makes it incredibly exciting to just keep on top of all this stuff and learn new operations attorneys to help Amazon
Joe Hansen 5:01
sellers. That’s great. And I love that you’re able to draw that distinction and show kind of the evolution of Amazon advertising. And I feel like we’re just hitting the tip of the iceberg here still, when you look at the other advertising platforms, Amazon still actually feels very nascent to me. Would you agree? And where do you feel like there’s going to continue to be evolution in the Amazon advertising platform? Yeah. So
Michael Zagare 5:26
occasionally, I run and do my own Facebook ads for my business, because I found that I know my business the most out of any other agencies. So I do my own Facebook ads. And in going into the Facebook platform, I realized, man, there’s a lot of room for growth for Amazon advertising. And I think that DSP, if you go into the DSP platform, and you go and look through that, that is slowly going to be introduced for Amazon sellers inside of the advertising console. In fact, last week, they just introduced two new audiences. These are retargeting audiences. 30 days retargeting for your Asians and competitors aces, which is really, really cool. Because that type of stuff is available in DSP. And I think they’re slowly going to bring it on board. So I totally agree, Joe, we’re at the tip of the iceberg. And I think the sellers who really focus on creative aspects of advertising, you know, video, creative, headline, creative, custom image, creative, all that stuff, but then also blend that with strategic advertising and think about where shoppers are at in the buying cycle. Are they just getting started? Do they know about your product? Are they considering your product? Are they hot to buy your product? Or are they coming back to buy your product, if you can marry the two of those and be good at optimizing, then you can scale really well. And you can keep on top of the nuances and all the opportunities that come on board.
Joe Hansen 6:48
I love that you brought up DSP, that is one of the most exciting areas of Amazon advertising. I believe that, especially with all of the data that Amazon has axed access to all that first party data makes it so such a rich advertising or potentially rich advertising environment for brands, much more so than Facebook, right? On Facebook, you have a whole bunch of interests that people like that they have, and you can associate what they’re probably going to be interested in buying, buy what they like, but that’s just like, it’s an association. Whereas on Amazon, you can see this type of person, but someone who likes Harry Potter books, always buy these types of baby diapers. And like that ability to leverage that type of information to then go target those audiences and advertise to them is so powerful. So super excited for that. Where can people find you? They can find you at ppcentourage.com? Is that correct?
Michael Zagare 7:51
Yeah, you can go there you can go. You can email me firstname.lastname@example.org. And we also have a growing YouTube channel. And I put out a video every single week on how to scale your Amazon advertising. It’s called the entourage seller community.
Joe Hansen 8:04
Fantastic. Now, I’m really excited to get into this discussion about the 12 days of nuggets. But can you start us off by giving us a little bit of a brief here on what the 12 days of nuggets are? Yeah,
Michael Zagare 8:17
so let me share a backstory several years ago, when we were able to go to events, I really do miss those events. But several years ago, I went to a Ryan Daniel Moran event. And it was I believe it was called Freedom Fastlane live, it was the first year or the last year before he changed it to Capitalism calm conference. And the keynote speaker was you know, it was an amazing event. Joe is absolutely fantastic. I had a ton of ideas going through my mind, we came up with multiple business opportunities and met a lot of great people. But the keynote speaker on the third day stole the show. And it was something that I had no previous knowledge about. And I don’t think a lot of people in the audience did as well. So this keynote speaker came up and spoke about really a problem that I think is the biggest pandemic that this world has ever seen, which is child slavery and child trafficking. And it’s a much bigger problem than I think any of us could possibly even conceive to the tune of millions of children that are going missing every single year. So they had this really great presentation where they showed the scope of the problem. You know, they showed what they do to help solve the problem. And essentially what they do is they go in and they work with local law enforcement in some of these countries. And they do raids they do like all this special intelligence, they actually pose as child traffickers. They get, you know, friendly with the other child traffickers, and they do these deep intelligent operations. And they go in there with local law enforcement and they break up these rings, which, you know, when you see that and you hear that and you hear the first hand stories, it was really, really powerful. I also felt very helpless back then, you know, I was still building my businesses. I didn’t I didn’t really have the opportunity that I had to really make a difference like I did with all these nuggets at that point. But I knew that I wanted to get involved. And it certainly planted that seed and it was a strong seed, and my business partner as well, we ended up donating on a monthly basis. And what they would do is every time they do something like a sting operation, or they save children, they would send you a text message. And you’ll say things like 30 kids were saved from El Salvador in this operation, and then you can go to their blog and read more about it. So if you go to their blog, which is I think it’s all ourrescue.org, I could be wrong about that. Ourrescue.org, there’s a blog there. And there’s all of these different survivor stories. And some of these survivor stories are, you know, really powerful, because they show you images of what these kids were actually living like the conditions they were living in. And I’ll never forget one. There was one where you can see this, this kid was living, I don’t know if it was boy or girl. But you can see that this kid was living in absolute filth, with a mattress on the floor, clothes all over the place. boxes of food, like it was just it looks like it hadn’t been cleaned in forever. And you can see his or her handprints on the walls and drawings on the walls. Like they were still trying to be a kid amongst this absolute chaos. And they’re in this world That to me is unimaginably awful, to even, I can’t even imagine, you know, given what I know about my childhood, what that would have been like. So I just knew that I had to make a difference and an impact in some way that I could. And do I want to share with you the story of how this whole 12 Days of Nuggets came about from that point forward.
Joe Hansen 11:39
Wow. Before you get into that, before you get into that, I just want to mention, you know, my wife and I actually saw a movie by Tim dollars organization Operation Underground Railroad railroad called Operation Toussaint, I think. And it kind of highlights the beginnings of how Tim Ballard left, it was like either the Department of Justice or the FBI at that time. And because he couldn’t do anything, right, he had all this red tape, working for the government, and he had to get outside of the government, to then go partner with government agencies to then start to save these children. And it’s just, it’s so inspirational and heart wrenching at the same time. And it’s the reason for doing this episode. Today. It’s a special one to highlight what’s going on in the world, both the evil but also this amazing good of helping people become aware of these horrible things, and start to stand up and fight against it. And O.U.R. are such an amazing organization. So, so glad to have you on the program to talk about this. Let’s let’s dive into how the 12 Days of Nuggets got going.
Michael Zagare 12:55
Yeah, so fast forward two years later, I was actually it was around this time, I think it was the day before Thanksgiving. Last year 2019. And I was thinking of ways to give back to our own Entourage community. And I was thinking about, you know, how we do what we do with 12 days of content and tips every single day, I’ll roll out a new video and provide really good value, just you know, the spirit of giving back and all of that. So that quickly evolved into you know, what, how great would it be if we connected with a lot of the Amazon influencers, e-commerce influencers in the space, and we all contributed a nugget of wisdom of information or intelligence that we have built up. And we have used it in our own businesses or help others over the course of our careers. But not just any tip, the best tip is like the single best strategy, and then we call that the Golden Nugget strategy. So then, of course, it just hit me out of nowhere. And like, you know what, this is a perfect opportunity to raise money for Oh, you are now at the time, Joe, I had about 1900 dollars that I saved up that year to give back to charity and I had planned to give that to who you are. So that 1900 dollars was my seed money for the 12 Days of Nuggets. So rather than simply taking the 1900 and donates or you are I worked my team and we basically hired my team like outside hours to work on this project. And then we got sponsors and we had more money to work with. But the whole principle was, we work with these great influencers who have helped out a lot of sellers and build their own businesses. We asked them for their single best tip. And then we tie that that spirit of giving to the spirit of helping out these children through Operation Underground Railroad. So it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was that Wednesday, and I had a meeting with my friend Matt, who’s also working with PPC Entourage. We’ve known each other for the longest time. So he does our social media content. And I’m like, Matt, I’ve got this idea. You know, I really want to get involved in the community and raise money for Oh, you are. And I need your help, because we’re gonna have to get this out on Facebook and LinkedIn and YouTube and really blow it up. Oh, and I think we can raise a lot of money for Oh, you are, instantly he was on board. Now. Joe, I’m talking about this in the parking lot of the gym. So like, this whole idea came to me at the gym, the conversation with Matt was in the parking lot. And then we did not have a minute to spare after that. And it became solely mission based. It was the, it was the most mission based work I’ve ever done in my life. It didn’t work. It was just, it just flowed right out of us. Because everyone aligned to help these kids out, including all of the speakers. So that was like the very beginning of the story. But I can get into it a little bit more, if you want to hear more.
Joe Hansen 15:55
Yeah, absolutely. But that’s what happens when you find purposeful work, right? Truly mission oriented work, is that it takes on a life of its own. Yeah, let’s keep going here.
Michael Zagare 16:05
Yeah, so it took on a life of its own. And I called my business partner, I’m like, Mike, I think we can raise some money, you know, $10,000, or you are I have $2,000. He’s like, dude, you could do way better than that. He’s like, why don’t you shoot for a million? Okay, let’s shoot for a million. Let’s do this. So then the next day was Thanksgiving. And and, of course, during Thanksgiving in the morning, I usually do some work in the morning just because I just love what I do. But then I went, we had Thanksgiving meals. And the next day, I have a tradition for Black Friday, we put up the Christmas tree. So starting on that Saturday, we had to get to work. I reached out to several influencers. And the mission was so great people were so inspired by helping these kids out. I showed them where you are, I showed them the concept that, you know, one person agreed and then I kind of used that person that had a big name in the space to get other people to agree. And before you know it, we had over 60 people who were interested in helping out and we formed a group. And then we had so many people that contributed so I had an entire website made for me in 10 days. And that was the power of getting behind this mission. And it was a really good solid website. We had people donate press releases, we had people who set up over social media pages. And we had like we call it they’re the chatbot team who set up our chat bots there, they forget their name, or they have a really good name. So the bot blonds, they set up the bot bot and set up our chat bots. So within 10 days, we had a fully functioning website. And the whole theme was every couple hours, we were going to release one of these really great golden nuggets, pieces of content with a strong call to action to donate for Oh, you are. And then we released that on Facebook. We released that on YouTube, and Instagram. And then Matt is an expert at Twitter. So we got the word out there. So it was really great. And it was like a whirlwind. And we didn’t actually hit our financial goals job. So then we did a mega event which nearly killed me because that was like a two month extravaganza of like putting together this nine hour event that was really special. And we fell a little bit short of our financial goals. But I think this year, we’re going to hit it. And I think we can raise a lot more money for these costs.
Joe Hansen 18:21
Let’s talk about some of these nuggets. Yeah, so for our listeners out there who are saying, Okay, this sounds cool. I would love to support an organization that’s protecting children. And if we get into getting a little bit into that, there are millions of children that are captured into slavery almost every year. This is not a small problem across the world. This is an enormous problem that the world is mostly unaware of, that we need to become aware of. So to support something as noble as this, and I’m sure a lot of our listeners say wow, I would love to be able to contribute something to that, especially if I can get a nugget out of it. Something like that could benefit my business. Let’s talk about some of these nuggets. What are the types of things that people are going to learn? And how is that going to affect their Amazon business?
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