Aalap Shah: Establishing Your Product with 1o8

December 29, 2019

Is your business in need of new marketing?

Entrepreneur and public speaker Aalap Shah is the founder, CEO, and chief idea generator of 1o8.

1o8 is a digital marketing agency focused on helping businesses grow.

1o8 specializes in E-commerce, social media content, performance marketing, and more.

The team at 1o8 takes pride in knowing they have crafted the perfect algorithm for great online marketing.

Learn more about how 1o8's marketing strategies can make your business soar by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on  Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.

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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest-growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go. And with this right now is Aalap Shah from 1o8. And you are the founder and CEO and you're on the web at 1o8 dot agency. Got one of those cool next level or next-generation domains? Absolutely. As I think about a new name for my agency, as like, what better to use than that, that top-level domain right agency makes sense. So yeah, and you get it you know, you get it. Three character domain name, which is kind of nice. Well, great, we'll explain what went away does, by the way, you guys are based in downtown Chicago, one of my favorite big cities. You know, growing up in West Michigan, that's where we got to go. Hopefully once a year, we were good got to go. You know, hang out downtown, go to the museums. How long have you been there?

No, I was born and raised in Chicago. But I would have never known it because my parents gave me the same experience that you had. We come down to the city once a year to live in the suburbs. And there's a big truck and a big trip. And I was fortunate enough to go to school at DePaul. I studied accounting and e-commerce. And that's alive in the city for about 10 years before we moved back to the suburbs when you had- when you had some kids.

That's great. That's great. So how did you get into still if you're an accountant? How did you end it? Well, first off, let's start by talking about what one away does.

Absolutely. So today, this company, really focused is on helping manufacturers and consumer product goods to get online. So oftentimes most manufacturers are so used to traditional selling channels like hey, we've got to be at Costco or whole foods or specialty retail, but the world's changing and how we shop and how we buy stuff is changing, even when it comes to food, and toys and boots for our pets. So what I do is I work with manufacturers, help them get on channels like Amazon, build up their own e COMM And then really use social and the social newsfeed to get people to know about that.

Yeah, what are the advantages to being well positioned in Amazon versus at let's say, I'm going to spend all my I'm going to spend the next year and a half trying to get on the shelves at Walmart. What is what's kind of the experience between just go and write you know, just going I mean, obviously, I think you want to do both. But, you know, I guess for someone who has a new product, they want to get it in the hands of consumers. What's the advantage to Amazon

Think about the data that you get, right. So now you have sales data to show these big-box retailers, you have a proven track record that you can create and grow an audience without, you know, having that shelf a slot at a store. So to me, it's a tremendous advantage, and to at least build that category online. And whether you're in any CPG category, and then we will take it and go to Target or Walmart or any sort of retailer and say, hey, look, I sold a million dollars worth of product in 30 days or 100 days or 500 days. But now you have some data to work with, and hopefully get some placements.

And by the way, you used an acronym. So I'm going to get I'm going to use my little acronym catcher. So CPG stands for product goods, consumer product. So consumer product goods.

Yeah, I thought for a while it was always like consumer packaged goods. It could be I mean, me being a Chicago native could have mixed it up.

Use it interchangeably. Yes.

So specifically, when when somebody comes to you and they've got a product and they'd love to get awareness. What is the? What do you do with them?

Yep. So a lot of it is just kind of doing a quick assessment, hey, how's your business in retail? And offline? What are we doing to drive? So it's experiential things like sampling at at growth grocery stores, or are we giving away products? How are we working with influencers right? As it is, then we start looking at social media, what's your community look like? Do you have a couple hundred fans that are going to promote and pitch your product to their networks. And then we want to start looking at positioning on Amazon or or your own econ. There's some brands that love and can easily build a Shopify site is one of the leading e-commerce platforms out there, super easy to use. Or we can go straight to Amazon and and build listings on that platform. All it means is taking your catalog, taking maybe three to four different items that you might be selling. putting it out there on the internet. And then what we do is we drive traffic. We use paid media, things like sponsored ads and Facebook, Google ads that you see when you're searching for, let's say, drinkable soup to get people to places like Amazon or your website.

And how about the role of influencers today?

I think it's it's, it's, it's becoming harder and harder to be an influencer in some ways, with our social, taking away things like likes, and messing with that algorithm so much, and all the advertising guidelines. So there's, there's this one, you know, school of thought that is this diminishing, I think, you know, from a contrarian perspective, that is only going to grow. If you have a great network and a great audience and you're creating cool content, authentic content, you're using photography, you'll have a really good base of people that are going to come to your channel. I think that with the surveillance of how much we product, you can get. What I did buys is like curate, curate, curate work with brands that you love that you use and that you can talk about, like and we'll talk to your audience.

And so, what give me some examples of some products that you've been able to work with.

Yeah, I've been really lucky to work with things from like pet supplements to like food and beverage. So think like protein bars, powders, drinkable soups. I've been fortunate enough to work with a few beer brands offline. What's really cool about alcohol is that you actually can't really advertise or sell on platforms like Amazon. How do we get to know how do we like compete against things like white cloth right, like how do we differentiate and create some space for our brands, when you look at- when you look at such popular when they have so much momentum So it's really just driving people to the store is using geo-targeted Facebook ads, geo-targeting meaning now, right? Like I can find a Krogers and run an ad to three miles and radius and get people to know about your brand and where it's at. So that's how we work with brands that can't sell online.

So obviously, the one question I have is how do you go from being a CPA to doing what you do now? And and how did you start? How did you start went away? And by the way, we should point out that one is actually it's the letter Oh, so it's one letter Oh, eight dot agency.

Yes, sir. You know, it's a really

crazy windy path to where I am today. I studied accounting, but I love doing accounting. I always knew that I loved e-commerce. So at that time, DePaul had this new program, e-commerce technology. So I thought, let me just see what it's all about. Got to work at Deloitte for a little bit as a consultant, and then I went on to open up a pair of toy stores in the city. In Chicago, so when we talk about consumer packaged goods, my my, my love for retail and selling product really began when I opened up those toy stores when I was 23. really grew it into a successful to store operation, and then really saw Amazon and borders and Barnes and Nobles and everyone getting into that specialty reading might be a great time to get out. And I actually co-founded a social media agency. And before one way, there I focused on really working with food and real estate brands to get them more customers and had the opportunity to sell my ownership interest and exit and wanting to focus in on my love of Amazon. And by the way, the reason why I love Amazon so much is that I actually bought a business selling outdoor sports fishing gear. And that's how I learned I learned by doing I'm super curious if you want to learn something I have to be all hands like in So I bought an Amazon business around this I imported and product sold on Amazon built it up and just sold that business, like three months ago. But I'm vegetarian, I've never gone fishing. And so it's kind of a really fun challenge to get that right up and running.

And so how do you acquire new clients now?

You know what, for a very long time, I, I always practice what I preach. So it's good SEO, which is search engine optimization. So when you go to Google and type in Amazon marketing agency, you'll see that eight or nine in Chicago, which is pretty exciting. And so a lot of it is search. And you know, today with the new agency, and like eight years under my belt, a lot of it is word of mouth and referrals. And I'm really lucky to have awesome clients, you know, that, you know, can can can refer me onwards.

Right? Well, great. Well, very cool and So, if if someone were to So who would be your ideal client at this point? And so someone who's listening to our conversation, they're like, Well, I mean, I think I know how to go on Amazon. How do you? How do you improve that process for them?

Absolutely. It's kind of like taking a black box and making it as as transparent as possible Amazon, kind of like how SEO is right, like you hire someone to do it, but you're not quite sure what they're doing. And so Amazon has a lot of unique nuances when you go to list and so I help ease that process and make it easier. I also help you curate kind of your selection, your merchandising, so think of Amazon just as a storefront. You still have to, like create a great experience on that platform. And I help brands figure that kind of process out with best practices and tips and even doing the work myself. Yeah,

great, great. Well, awesome. Well, Aalap Shah, you're the founder and CEO of one, eight, and you're on the web at 1o8 dot agency. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you, Josh. Thanks for listening to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence.com slash guest that we've got something out of this interview. Would you share this episode on social media? Just do a quick screenshot with your phone and text it to a friend or posted on the socials. A few do that tag us with the hashtag up my influence. Each month we scour Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. We pick one winner from each platform and you get crowned king or queen of that social media now what do you when we're going to promote you and your business Over 120,000 social media fans totally free. Now, can you also hook us up now in your podcast player right now? Please give us a thumbs up or a rating and review. We promise to read it all and take action. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. Your feedback helps us fulfill that mission. While you're at it, hit that subscribe button. You know why? Tomorrow? That's right, seven days a week, you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed 15 minutes a day. My name is Josh Elledge. Let's connect on the socials. You'll find all the stuff we're doing at up my influence.com Thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of the thoughtful entrepreneur movement.

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