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Norman Farrar: “Work hard, play harder”

While the concept of a microbrand has taken off on Amazon, most sellers are still unaware of the necessary skills required to differentiate their products — this is where I step in. It is not about being able to sell the product but give a person the experience. One of the other skills that I […]

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While the concept of a microbrand has taken off on Amazon, most sellers are still unaware of the necessary skills required to differentiate their products — this is where I step in. It is not about being able to sell the product but give a person the experience. One of the other skills that I bring to the table is playing with perceived value through great branding. I can take the same product that everybody else is getting from the same suppliers and sell it for double, and it’s all because of the way I look at it or think outside the box. That’s me blowing myself about Amazon.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Norman Farrer. Entrepreneur and businessman Norman “The Beard Guy” Farrar stands at the forefront of the economic mega-machine known as Amazon Marketplace. As a leading expert with over 25 years of product sourcing, development, and branding expertise, Norm is an advisor to many and an inspiration to all.

As a creative innovator and brand strategist, Norm is highly adept at corporate transformation, business strategy, and driving brand growth. He is a decisive, results-focused leader who develops innovative approaches to balancing cost vs. return, generating organic site traffic, and customer loyalty for companies at various stages of growth.

Throughout his career, Norm has worked with big brands including Mercedes, COKE, Dell, Microsoft, Target, Hershey, 20th Century Fox, Molson’s, Cadbury and a wide variety of emerging businesses that are celebrating sudden escalation in profitability and sales as a result of taking action on his advice and proven methods. Today, in addition to running a diverse catalog of companies including AMZ Club and PRReach (The world’s first video press release company), and he focuses on guiding individual sellers, brands, and manufacturers to worldwide dominance on Amazon and top-earning sales sites.

With a work hard, play harder approach, Norm’s philosophy has always been to steer and direct his entrepreneurial footprint by owning each step of the development and procurement process.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you explain to readers why you are the authority on selling on Amazon?

My incredibly varied and deep experience made Amazon the perfect storm to utilize all my skill sets — that’s how I came to be an authority on selling on Amazon.

I got into e-commerce in the ’90s, way before anyone else was online. Through my experiences in corporate identity, sourcing, warehousing inventory management to some degree, packaging, and working in the promotions industry, I had a leg up on almost everybody else in the market, as most people did not understand about brands or marketing or supply chain management or logistics.

That’s where the primary difference lies. While most sellers consider branding as the first step towards selling your product, I knew that building a comprehensive, coherent brand image — right from the packaging of the product to the customer service provided would determine the total customer experience for buyers, ultimately determining your sales.

While the concept of a microbrand has taken off on Amazon, most sellers are still unaware of the necessary skills required to differentiate their products — this is where I step in. It is not about being able to sell the product but give a person the experience. One of the other skills that I bring to the table is playing with perceived value through great branding. I can take the same product that everybody else is getting from the same suppliers and sell it for double, and it’s all because of the way I look at it or think outside the box. That’s me blowing myself about Amazon.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

We had a company coming to us for a while. They’ve been selling on Amazon for 18 months, and they had a thousand dollars in sales. I talked to them, and they expected Amazon to be promoting their product because of its performance, and I told them that’s never going to happen, and it’s up to you. They bought the inventory, and this was literally what they said,

“I bought the inventory, and Amazon should be promoting us.” That’s not how it works — you’ve got to do your own marketing. It was only the second time that they started talks with us again that we could get started with the work. And boy was their work to do!

The product, let’s call it a Toe Wart Remover, had horrible packaging. A powder blue, with a circular logo that had a yellowing toe with warts and a yellow ooze like substance coming out of it. The branding looked gross, and the font used was unreadable. Overall, it was a train wreck.

So, I came back, and I said, “Look, we can take this one, but you’ve got to allow me and my team to complete a rebrand of the product for you. Your name is fine, but let’s change your packaging from something that looks like medicine to a package design that fits within the wellness industry. Let’s repackage it, let’s rebottle it.”

After much prodding, we were able to redesign the bottle and packaging to feature a beautiful white packaging with greens and black highlights. It now looks crisp and inviting instead of the tackle box feeling you got before.

The guy couldn’t believe the positive effect the new packaging had on sales. And, as sales were increasing, I said, “Look, we have to be able to bring the price up.” They say, “The market will not support a price increase of $10,” but each time the price when up, so did sales volume. It was kind of cool to experience. We were able to increase his retail rate to over $23.00! If we had stayed at $9.99, the product would never have produced the vast volume of revenue he now sees.

Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes, I am working on several exciting new products, especially now, with so many new opportunities on the horizon after the COVID-19 crisis.

A huge market is opening up in the grocery or gourmet food industry that we are watching very closely. With so many people working from home, we expect to see fantastic growth for several products we offer within this industry segment. We are also exploring a new shoe line even though everyone always says, ‘people didn’t buy shoes online.’ Guess what? Yes, they do!

It’s hard to believe that there still are people across the globe that are still afraid or nervous about shopping online. But, with the fear of COVID-19 keeping people home, a whole new group of shoppers has had to venture outside their comfort zone by going online to purchase items they need. Now they have gained access to products they never bought before on Amazon. How exciting is that for them and all of us selling products on Amazon right now.

In addition to helping companies grow sales through our marketing programs, we also offer press release and content marketing services through our company, PRreach — two of the most important and underutilized tools a company can use to increase awareness. And now, with the exciting new world of microbrands, it is hard to tell who will be the next brand to dominate in any given industry. We’ve created a way to help small businesses level the playing field, and now my clients, and even products that I want to sell, are affordably able to compete against the big players.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. As a seasoned Amazon expert, can you share with our readers five, nonintuitive, insider tips, to be as successful as possible on Amazon? Please share a story or example for each.

Yeah, there’s a lot of different tips that we can give, and some of them seem to be very basic, but they are crucial to building a successful brand.

Investing in great photography is one of the most important tips we share with new sellers. If you want to win on Amazon, you have to produce highly engaging listings that communicate the value of your product and how better do accomplish that than with high-quality images.

Make sure you trademark your brand name. Investing in a trademark or registry opens up the door to a variety of programs for sellers that will increase your company and products standing on the platform.

Use what I call the holy triumvirate of Amazon launches — PPC, Amazon Posts, and Press Releases. Use a combination of high-quality press releases, sponsored ads where you are actively overbidding, and continually posting on Amazon Posts (Amazon’s new social media service) to rank.

Reviews are typically a big concern for our clients. Remember, ff you have a great product and the customer experience is great, you’ll organically receive positive reviews on your products. People like great products.

Amazon sellers have the reputation of being great guerilla marketers. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?

As a microbrand, you have to compete with the big boys. How do you do that? The secret is content. Neil Patel, a famous digital marketer, says, “If you are putting out content, it has got to be better than the best out there,” which means you can generate blog articles when you have high-quality blog content already on the internet. So, if you want to be on page one, you need to start with an incredible website. Once your website is up, you need to link it over to your Amazon product, and then you need to start creating incredible content. Not a little bit, like a 500-word blog but a 1,500-or-2,500-word article regularly.

Another great option is to write a press release or have PRreach write one for you. Then have that press release sent out to media outlets, bloggers, and other websites across the country building links to your blog and product listing.

Another great guerrilla marketing technique is that get to know people within the Amazon community, and team up with them on Prime Day and holidays. If you sell soap and your friend sells essential oils, team up to create a gift pack together. Amazon just announced recently that they have this new Beta Bundler module, which will make that exceptionally easy to do.

Another tip we’re using is that when we send out our product, we get social proof. Include a note when you ship your product for a chance to win a gift card or shopping experience for tagging the company online. This is a great way to get exposure and recommendations while allowing existing customers to talk about you. They love it, and we love the influencers.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote?” Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I have been an entrepreneur for so many years. I’ve had my share of failures and successes, and, if I’m candid, probably more failures than I wish to remember. But, I kept my eye on the ball and never gave up, and when I talk to people about my journey, I always remind them that once you’ve been kicked in the knee enough times, you stop feeling the pain.

It might sound a little bit funny, but it is so true. The first time you fail, you can’t sleep, you can’t eat, you get an ulcer, literally. Two years, 5 to 10 years later, the same thing happens, and you know how to handle it. You know where to turn for help, and you can still sleep at night.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there someone in the world or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

The one person that I’ve always wanted to meet, it’s Sir Richard Branson. I was 10 feet from him at a conference but did not have a chance to speak with him, but he has inspired me. With Richard Branson, there’s a quote that he has said, “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity, and you are not sure if you can do it, just say yes and learn how to do it later.” That’s my golden rule. That quote alone has changed my life.

Thank you for these excellent insights!

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