The Importance of Amazon PPC and Listing Optimization | Laura McCaul
In this Prime Talk Podcast Sponsored by GETIDA – Laura McCaul the Co-Founder of Sponsored Profit, an Amazon Advertising agency that specializes in helping 6-figure brand owners scale their Amazon business profitably with their PPC Managed Service, talk about The Importance of Amazon PPC and Listing Optimization and more information about their life's journey. #LauraMcCaul #SponsoredProfit
About Laura McCaul of Sponsored Profit - Sponsored Profit will maximize your Amazon advertising ROI so you can grow your business. With their Misspend Prevention Method, they will scale your Amazon Sponsored ads without sacrificing profit so you can make more sales, collect more cash and focus on doing what you love: running your Amazon FBA business.
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Yoni Mazor: (00:06)
Hi, everybody. Welcome to another episode of prime talk. Today I'm excited to have a special guest. Today I'm having Laura McCaul. Laura is a co-founder of sponsor profit, which is a UK-based Amazon PPC advertising agency. So Laura, welcome to the show.
Laura McCaul: (00:20)
Hi, Yoni happy to be here. Thank you for having me.
Yoni Mazor: (00:24)
My pleasure. So today's episode is gonna deal all about you, the story of Laura McCaul. right? You're gonna show us pretty much everything. You know, who are you, where are you from? Where were you born? Where'd you grow up? How'd you begin your professional career kind from station to station until you reached where you are today. Especially in the world of e-commerce. So without further ado, let's jump right into it.
Laura McCaul: (00:47)
Okay, great. Well, yeah, so my name's Laura McCaul, so I was born in Oxford in the UK. So as you can tell from my accent, and obviously the fact that we're at UK based that Amazon advertising agency. So yeah, I grew up in Oxfordshire, which is a really beautiful part of the UK. My dad had his own company.
Yoni Mazor: (01:12)
Oxford is also where they have the school, the famous university.
Laura McCaul: (01:16)
That's correct. Yeah.
Yoni Mazor: (01:18)
Yeah. Okay. Sounds like a very intellectual place. So yeah,
Laura McCaul: (01:22)
Well, it doesn't necessarily mean that everyone bought in Oxford is intellectual, I'd like to think so, but I'm not sure if I cut it, but it's a very beautiful part of the world. Very lucky to grow up there. I grew up outside the city in Oxfordshire in the Cotswolds which is, you know, a very pretty place to grow up. And yeah, as I said, my sort of family life my mom and dad ran their own business which was sort of a construction-related business. And I had a younger sister and yeah, I was very fortunate to have a very nice upbringing.
Yoni Mazor: (02:01)
Your parents that worked together or separately?
Laura McCaul: (02:04)
No together. So my dad started in construction and then basically created and built his own company in sort of groundwork. So before the developers go in and build the buildings, you need someone to kind of come in and dig the foundations, install all the drainage and the pipework. That's what he did for kind of large developments and so forth. And so he started out but then my mom got involved in the business. He was like the, I guess, the expertise. And then I've always felt that my mom was kind of the drive behind him to kind of you know, grow the business and be a little bit more ambitious. So yeah, they both worked in the company, but my sister and I were very fortunate that you know, my mom only needed to work kind of the school hours and, and, you know, then we, we sort of got to spend time with, with her after school hours and we sort of got to spend time with her after school and so forth. My dad worked quite long hours but mom was always around for us, which is nice.
Yoni Mazor: (03:06)
Got it. And growing up I mean, this seems like your parents were entrepreneurs, business owners. But at least your mother on your mother's side, she made sure to give you the right attention, to you and your sister. And you and your sister, especially yourself growing up, did you do anything that was you know entrepreneur in the nature? or selling candy you know, picking out.
Laura McCaul: (03:29)
Yeah. That's the normal one, isn't it selling candy. I always had jobs. You know, I was always very keen to earn my own money. And, you know, I used to start actually with my dad. I was sort of a bit of a tomboy growing up and, you know, I used to love sort of driving around with him in the school holidays to all the different construction sites and jumping in and out of machines. And yeah, he would give me little jobs to do and I'd get paid for that. And yeah from an early age, I appreciated having my own money. And so I kind of waitressing, and then I worked in a record store, and then it goes on and on and on.
Yoni Mazor: (04:10)
Where are those records? tower records?
Laura McCaul: (04:12)
No, it was I don’t know,
Yoni Mazor: (04:14)
Is that the rolling stone? I'm not sure you're wearing, is that the rolling stone shirt you're wearing?
Laura McCaul: (04:17)
No, it's not. It's a, it's a Guinness shirt. Yes.
Yoni Mazor: (04:22)
I thought it was like the tongue, you know, the rolling stone. They have the Tongue.
Laura McCaul: (04:24)
Oh yeah, yeah, that's right. But I worked in HMV. Did you guys ever have that in the states?
Yoni Mazor: (04:32)
I'm not sure what's the acronym for HMV? music videos or something?
Laura McCaul: (04:37)
Yeah. His master's voice, the logo used to be a little dog sat next to a grammar bone. But, but yeah, so that was a big record store chain here in the UK. So, yeah, that was awesome. I mean, that was like the best job ever, because that was sort of back in the nineties, gosh, might even be in the late eighties. Let's, let's say early nineties. It makes me feel a bit younger, but HMV also used to be an official partner for Ticketmaster and so for the concert ticket sales. So it was great. We'd get the first steps at that.
Yoni Mazor: (05:13)
Oh, you should be able to sell concert tickets in the record store. Yeah.
Laura McCaul: (05:16)
You used to be able to. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Back then. So yeah, for a 15, 16-year-old, it was like the best job ever. Yeah, it was great.
Yoni Mazor: (05:27)
Okay. So you graduated high school and what was your next station?
Laura McCaul: (05:30)
So I went to university in Redding. So you see, I wasn't smart enough to go to Oxford. I had to jump in the car and drive down the motorway to Redding
Yoni Mazor: (05:40)
So the universities especially Oxford, is that expensive? Is that governmental? How does a, what's the financial situation of attending this kind of schools, the Ivy League schools as we call them here in the states?
Laura McCaul: (05:50)
Yeah. Well, it's a very different setup to what you have and you know, we'll come on to later. I lived in the US for several years. And so kind of got an understanding of, you know the way of life you guys have over there. And so it's exclusive, it's hard to get into Oxford and Cambridge. It's not so much tertiary or third level education here now is certainly a lot more expensive than it used to be, but it's nothing like it is in,
Yoni Mazor: (06:20)
But Oxford, is it a private university or is it governmental? Just on the status of it.
Laura McCaul: (06:25)
Oh yeah. So, I mean, they're all private in that none of them a government-related. So they're all private sort of institutions as it were. And in terms of costs, I guess the costs probably differ a little bit from university to university, but certainly my understanding would be, and again, it was very different back then anyway, but it's not that it would be any more expensive. It would probably be a little bit more expensive, but it was really to do with exclusivity and having to be super, super smart to get it
Yoni Mazor: (06:58)
Oh yeah. Just every camp in the United States on the situation we have here, as far as I understand it, you got the state colleges, right. So call governmental. So usually if you're in the state, it's more affordable, it's not cheap, just, you know, but it's a bit more affordable, but then you got also like community colleges, which are usually even more affordable, then you have the private colleges, which can be, you know, the Ivy league ones could be 40, 50, 60,000 a year or more. A year. So if you want to get a degree, it's like two to 300,000. That's kind so Oxford, that kind of dimensions in Cambridge, if you study there, you pay two, $300,000 or pounds for a degree or this more like a, more than a civil matter where it's a couple thousand or tens of thousands.
Laura McCaul: (07:36)
Yeah. I mean, again, it's a long time since I was at university, but I mean, maybe you are, I'm not even sure if I'm quoting the right numbers, but it's gonna be, I don't know, maybe 10,000 pounds a year
Yoni Mazor: (07:47)
Got it. Okay. All right. So much politer. Yeah. British, but you know, British, polite. It's, it's affordable.
Laura McCaul: (07:53)
Yeah. We certainly don't have as many digits. not as many as you guys have.
Yoni Mazor: (07:58)
Good to know. Just a sign note. Good to catch that up. Okay. So you went to not Oxford, you went to the other university in and what’d you study? What was it like?
Laura McCaul: (08:09)
I started out studying, so for the first year, we were able to study something called PPE, which is politics, philosophy, and economics. That's what I wanted to read. I wanted to read economics and politics, but I ended up doing the foundation year in all three and then majoring in politics and international relations. And I did that mainly not because I aspired to be a politician mainly because it was interesting and it helped me to come out of my shell, a little bit because a lot of the conversations we'd have obviously around politics and international relations, which is things like foreign policy and war and peace, and kind of all those interesting subjects, you know, you need to form a debate and it's not necessarily about being right or being wrong, but learning to articulate an argument and just to back it up. And so for me, it kind of really helped as I say for me to come out of my shell and to kind of articulate my point and to make cases or arguments for something. So yeah it was super interesting and yeah, kind of really helped me sort of you know, as said, come out of my shell and sort of develop as a team.
Yoni Mazor: (09:28)
I think that’s obviously for politics. For politics, it's a great skill, but I think it's also a really good skill for life, you know, being able to articulate things very, very clearly back it, structure it. When you wanna lead an organization, do public speaking. Yeah. It's a great thing. So you were able to develop that skill and as you guys call university?
Laura McCaul: (09:47)
University that's right. Yeah.
Yoni Mazor: (09:49)
Very good. Okay. So what year did you graduate?
Laura McCaul: (09:53)
I graduated in 1995.
Yoni Mazor: (09:57)
All right. And right out of a university. What was your first station in your professional world?
Laura McCaul: (10:02)
So I headed to the bright lights of London. The big city and my first job were that I got hired by enterprise rent-a-car the year they came into the UK, they had a graduate management program and yeah, they were brand new to the UK. And yeah I joined their graduate program and you know, essentially was helping to manage one of the offices just in south London in, in Croydon. So that was interesting. it kind of brought me out of my shell because the key thing with enterprise is you guys will be familiar with in the states is you know, they would rent a lot of cars to like body shops as kind of courtesy cars.
Laura McCaul: (10:55)
So again, for my kind of, you know, going into all these sorts of body shops and sort of, you know, trying to negotiate with the owners of these businesses. Let us take care of your courtesy cars and stuff. It was yeah, it was really good for training in sales and the US work ethic, you know very, very work hard and very sort of results-driven So yeah, it definitely, y came out of my bubble at university and kind of went into the world of sales and business very quickly, but it was a lot of fun. And the managers that enterprise sent over from the states were, they were great people. And yeah, the whole concept of you ordering pizza at the end of the day in the office, while we were kind of doing stuff, was that was new pizza and donuts. So yeah, it was, we got like a little taste of the states while we did it. So, yeah, I lead a lot in a very short space of time, you know, it was, yeah.
Yoni Mazor: (11:53)
Sounds like the position Was sales and business development For enterprise.
Laura McCaul: (11:55)
Yeah. Very, very much so. And then again, you know, you'd be jumping in and out cars and picking up customers, bringing them back and, you know, taking care of them, upgrading them, all that kind of thing. And then yeah. Developing the, te courtesy car sort of piece of the business as well, which was the bigger piece of the business and learning the upsell with the insurances and all of that. So yeah, it was it wry thorough and quick, quick trading introduction to that.
Yoni Mazor: (12:23)
How many years did you stay with you know, that company or organization?
Laura McCaul: (12:26)
Yeah, I was there for about, excuse me, I think about nine months.
Yoni Mazor: (12:31)
Yeah. What was the next station? So that's 1995, 1996, let you know worries.
Laura McCaul: (12:37)
Yeah. So I went, excuse me.
Yoni Mazor: (12:40)
No worries. Yeah. Take some water. Yeah. I'm gonna, we gonna flesh out to all these memories, you know, there you go. A little, it's gonna nostalgic, you know, in my,
Laura McCaul: (12:51)
Not, not quite, it's quiet, but it's a little embarrassing, but it's got a frog in my phone. Yeah, I saw an ad on Sunday. it was in the Sunday Times. It’s a big board sheet newspaper and for recruitment consultants. And I didn't know what that meant, but it sounded really interesting. And so I applied for it, not knowing what it was, but again, it was kind of looking for sales experience. But it was working with you know, businesses to hire talent. And so I applied for it and got accepted. And then that started a career for several years that took me to various cities around the world recruiting technology specialists for banks and financial institutions. And so, yeah, that was then a whole other level of sales marketing negotiation and then getting introduced really to the world of first of technology, because we were recruiting, you know, programmers and, and people like that. And then also the world of finance because our clients would be banks investment banks, retail banks, insurance companies, credit card companies, or all sorts of financial institutions and services. So yeah, that opened up a whole other world to me as well.
Yoni Mazor: (14:13)
Got it. And then you started what, around 1995, 1996?
Laura McCaul: (14:16)
It was 96
Yoni Mazor: (14:18)
Until which year?
Laura McCaul: (14:20)
So I worked in recruitment right up until 2008,
Yoni Mazor: (14:26)
2008. So about 12 years into this industry. So I can see a few things here. You had 1996, you mentioned IT and technology. So I guess you had a few good years of a good run until the 2000 bucks, right?
Laura McCaul: (14:40)
Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean there were quite a few sorts of milestones during that period. So we had Y2K and that was the biggie. So that was a great time to be in recruitment because at that, of course at that time, we all thought, you know, planes were gonna fall out of the sky and the ATMs were like gonna start spitting out.
Yoni Mazor: (15:02)
I just wanna recap to the listen Y2K, just some things not aware. So the Y2K it's good. So the Y2K in 1999 were worried that all the calendars you used to say just if it's the year in 1991, it doesn't say 1991, it just says 91. So there was a fear that when it goes to 1999 or 99, and then it goes to zero, it thinks that the year is 1900 instead of 2000. So it's a big fear that it's gonna disrupt all the systems, it's scientifically systems, aviation, space, army, all these things. So there's a lot of demand for quarters and software engineers and program engineers to be able to set up all the systems. So there's no craziness going on which I guess was successful. You did well. You recruited people that do what that they do. Yeah. And everybody made money and nothing crazy happens. So that's good.
Laura McCaul: (15:50)
Yeah. Yeah. So, that’s new year's Eve. That was a fun New Year’s Eve. But nothing dramatic happened. It was peaceful. So yeah. So as, as well as Y2K, yes. There was the .com boom. And burst. You know, after my time in London sort of around was around 2001, I moved to Hong Kong again, doing recruitment. So I then did recruitment.
Yoni Mazor: (16:22)
in the same company Or you transferred to another organization?
Laura McCaul: (16:24)
No, I transferred to another organization, basically someone who I worked for in London. I headhunted actually from the first firm I started working for and moved to the second firm in London. And then the guy who hired me for that role moved out to a company in Hong Kong. And about three months later called me up and asked me if I wanted a job. So I went out to Hong Kong in 2001. And you know, it was a pretty turbulent time while I was there because I, I moved there just before 9/11. And I think the ripple effect from the economic perspective hit Hong Kong very, very hard, actually harder than it hit London from, what my friends were telling me. And so, yeah, it was a challenging time. And we, I was also there during SARS as well. And so it was a tough time, but at the same time, again, learned a lot especially, you know, cultural differences and that kind of thing. It suddenly gives you a new perspective on life and that, you know, things aren't always done in a particular way. So as challenging, it was sort of professionally speaking because, you know, a lot of the financial institutions were having some difficulties.
Yoni Mazor: (17:44)
So let me get this straight, living in Hong Kong and focusing on recruiting talent for Hong Kong-based companies or corporations or companies, or this was a global thing?
Laura McCaul: (17:53)
Yeah. Yeah, so interestingly enough, a lot of my clients at that time were US banks and financial institutions. So Bank of America being won, for example. But yeah, still recruiting technology specialists in the tech, in the financial sector. So that was a common thread throughout it's just the location changed.
Yoni Mazor: (18:16)
Got it. And how many years did you stay in Hong Kong?
Laura McCaul: (18:18)
I was there for a couple of years.
Yoni Mazor: (18:20)
Nice. What a year or two, or like, what was the timeframe two years? Yeah, two years. In a nutshell, I know you're focused on your career, but Hong Kong culture. I know it's not the same as mainland China as its bubbles its world. So what was that like, you know, give us a little taste or summary of the culture there that as much as you were able to absorb it in those two years.
Laura McCaul: (18:41)
Yeah. I mean, I think it's safe to say it was perhaps more different to the mainland than perhaps it is now. And I haven't been back to Hong Kong in many, many years, but, you know, you still then sort of back then, you did definitely kind of get a flavor of east meets west. I do remember, I remember a view that I got for the first time when I, it was like, I think it was a Saturday and I was out doing some shopping and there's an area called the mid-levels, which takes you from central on the Hong Kong island. And then as you start to go up towards the peak, cause Hong Kong island has Victoria peak, it's sort of, you know, this kind of mountain peak.
Laura McCaul: (19:24)
And as I was kind of coming up these steps and you've got these sort of markets stalls all the way, lining the steps up, and it's very frenetic and loud, there's, you know, lots of noises, lots of smells, lots of, you know, activity, you know, no, sorry, as I was coming down, I just saw the, then saw this glimpse of the base of like a skyscraper. And it was that kind of, you know, you kind of felt in one respect sort of in this very sort of traditional Eastern you know, far, far Eastern city, and then you sort of then had, you know, the billboards and the Leon neon lights of like you know an international corporate, you know, on a skyscraper, it was that kind of meeting of two worlds.
Laura McCaul: (20:10)
So that sort of reason, Yeah. and I think it was just, you know, the culture of doing business differently. Like for example, one thing is when you hand over a business card, you hold it with, with, with both thumbs and you hand it like that. You know you get invited out to dinner, you know, you sort of getting to eat first, like all these kinds of traditions and stuff that you wouldn't ordinarily know. So, you know, that was fascinating too, to kind of experience that. And as I said to just give you a perspective that there are other ways of doing things in this world. I think you can get very focused on whether it's, you know, this is how we do this, and this is how business is done, and this is how decisions are made. And, you know, you realize that there are lots of different ways to do things on a cultural scale. It's a lot bigger, but, you know, it was a really good perspective and lesson for me.
Yoni Mazor: (21:10)
It sounds like you expanded your horizons in a very good way, capturing dynamic and I guess well equipped to do more business, you know, at an international level, but after Hong Kong, where'd you go next? What would you the next station?
Laura McCaul: (21:24)
So I spent a year in Dublin my family is based in Ireland. So I took the opportunity to work there for a year again in recruitment to spend some time with
Yoni Mazor: (21:35)
Your last name, suggests it's Irish, right? The McCaul or,
Laura McCaul: (21:39)
Yeah, well, interestingly enough, the spelling, because it's double C and, and not a C it's Scottish. So the Scottish came over to Ireland and it's a Scottish name. I only learned that a few years ago. I was just like, oh, I never knew that. But my family did.
Yoni Mazor: (21:59)
So you have heritage coming from Scotland to Ireland and the UK, I mean to England, which you reside today, but so you went to Ireland for one year.
Laura McCaul: (22:07)
Yeah. For one year, I so worked in Dublin in recruitment, on a contract there for a year. And then I went out to Sydney in Australia. So I went back to Europe just for a year and then packed my bags and I took a year out. And worked outdoors as a landscape designer, took a career break. But I loved Australia so much. The only way for me to stay was to go back into my corporate career. So I took the opportunity to take a year out, take a break. And then I went back into recruitment again in Sydney for a few years
Yoni Mazor: (22:41)
Got it. So you mentioned that you studied landscaping, would you, right? Or you studied, just went into that industry or field?
Laura McCaul: (22:49)
I was always interested. And then I ended up leaving Sydney to go to Los Angeles where I did study landscape design. But yeah, but I took the opportunity before back then, I, again, I don’t know whether it's available anymore, but they used to be something essentially called the working holiday visa where you could you know, as a British citizen, you could go out to, to Australia and take a year to work in any sort of industry you didn't need to be sponsored or anything like that. It was just an opportunity to take a break. So I'd always been interested in working outdoors maybe from growing up, you know, and spending time on the construction sites with my dad. Yeah, so I took the, so I took the opportunity and it was nice weather. So, you know, I got to work to get a little bit of a tan and to do something, you know, creative and outside of the office.
Yoni Mazor: (23:46)
Yeah. Look at this thing, he did, he did Hong Kong, Dublin Australia. LA, is something else coming or that's when you already kind of a scenario?
Laura McCaul: (23:54)
No. Now I'm back in the UK. I think I'm done. I think my travel traveling days are over. Yeah,
Yoni Mazor: (24:00)
No, it's a nice spinning taste of the world though. You've seen interesting a variety of cultures. All of them sounds like it's connected to the British empire. They used to be a saying you probably guys know better than I do, but then the sunset never the sun ever sets on the British empire or something like that.
Laura McCaul: (24:15)
Oh, gosh, gosh. You know what? I, I never thought of that and I'm not sure if that's a good thing.
Yoni Mazor: (24:20)
No, that used to be a saying like that the influence, at least on the influence side, Hong Kong used to be a British colony, Australia used to be, Dublin I'm not sure what the status there. It used to be. It is, it's not it's the UK.
Laura McCaul: (24:31)
Yeah. And that's yeah, that's a different,
Yoni Mazor: (24:32)
I don't wanna go there. Yeah. I don't wanna go there. There's no out, but also the United States, so it's all kind of related, but different cultures and interesting variety of a way to, you know, do things in every culture which is a great, great experience for you to have in your, your skillset. Okay. So let's jump into the career. Right. So 2008, that's when you kind of, I guess, transitioned to another industry, another career out of you know recruiting.
Laura McCaul: (25:01)
Yeah, that's right. So 2008 was the global financial crisis Right. And that's, I think when I had my quota, I'd sort of, you know, going through, you know, the booms and bus and hankered to do something differently. So drawing on, the year I spent working in landscape design there was a great course offered by UCLA Angeles on horticulture. And yeah, so I pet my bags and I went to the states and I got my diploma in horticulture. And then I worked in LA and I moved there in 2009 and I worked there lived there until 2015 building beautiful gardens and outdoor spaces. And so, yeah, it was a real sea change from my corporate career, which is what I was looking for, and yeah in another country and another culture. And so yeah, that was enjoyable too.
Yoni Mazor: (26:04)
So how do you spell that horticulture? How do you spell that?
Laura McCaul: (26:08)
Yoni Mazor: (26:16)
Right. So horticulture. Yeah, this is, I guess the study, the art of landscaping. I'm doing this for the video editor. So you walk on the video, so she's, hopefully, you're gonna put oh, okay. Yeah, the word, so know to write it down properly, but okay. Okay. So you're doing it for six years in California, I guess the Los Angeles area. Where you worked on hotels office buildings, private homes, what was it?
Laura McCaul: (26:42)
Yeah, it was, it was residential. Yeah,
Yoni Mazor: (26:44)
So it was, it was all, it's more for the affluent clientele. People were, you know did they wanna have exquisite gardens or it could be mostly
Laura McCaul: (26:52)
No. It was yeah, some high end, not all exclusively high end, but yeah, I mean, there's certainly a lot of money in Los Angeles. I mean, you know, I got exposed to a level of wealth I hadn't experienced before. So, you know, there was, yeah.
Yoni Mazor: (27:15)
Give us an example If possible. Well, when you say a level of wealth you haven't experienced before, cause you lived in Hong Kong, there's a lot of wealth there, maybe different
Laura McCaul: (27:23)
There is. I don't know whether it's just kind of more visible. I mean, it's funny, it's things that, you know, I noticed from, okay, let's say, for example, just the amount of, and this would be a, yeah, this is one example, like the amount of Mercedes and Maserati and you know, kind of luxury cars on the road. They were really common in LA.
Yoni Mazor: (27:52)
Instead of seeing Toyotas and Hondas, it's all like Mercedes and luxury cars. Well,
Laura McCaul: (27:55)
I guess you see a lot, a lot of cars in LA. I mean, you know, it's a big city that, and you know, there's a lot of traffic, you see a lot of cars, but again, these are just like things that when I think back and I kind of noticed things, I just couldn't get over, like how many, you know, what we would consider, you know, luxury in particular European cars. They were just, they were just very common. So I don't know if it was just because it was a really big city and there were more cars, but something like that. But then yeah, we would you know, work on some exclusive projects and gated communities and you know I've had my fair share of sort of celebrity jobs as well, which is kind of unavoidable in a place like LA and yeah, I guess, you know, you would see some of these homes and kind of the opulence and it was, yeah, it was kind of another, especially around some of the more exclusive suburbs. So it was just kind of, it was just very noticeable. It just really kind of stood, stood out to me. But I was very conscious as well that, you know, LA is kind of a bit of a bubble, right. You've kind of got LA and you've got New York and then everywhere in between. So I kind of feel like I got a view of the states, but maybe not particularly realistic.
Yoni Mazor: (29:13)
Yeah. It is different from New York. Yeah. New York is yeah, it's just fewer cars, a lot of cars, but not like LA has like a driving culture, but everything's kind of sprawling and spread out New York City, especially Manhattan. A lot of people will probably, most people don't even have a car. You see a lot of cars, mostly the taxis, the Ubers, whatever are people coming from out of town. But the actual Manhattan, near people, many of them don't have a car, so they do the subway and yeah. Public transportation and they walk a lot yeah, different. And that's also a bubble. It's kind of a, you know, each one of them is kind of different in its way. It's funny because tomorrow I'm actually, you're recording. This is gonna be published in a few weeks, but tomorrow I'm gonna visit LA for the first time. Oh. Never tell ever. So tomorrow happens to be my first time visiting LA. So we set the bar up, you know, there you go. I'll let you know. I'll give you the notes of my impression of the city afterward.
Yoni Mazor: (30:00)
Yeah. But yeah. So go ahead.
Laura McCaul: (30:05)
I hope that you know, you go for work or pleasure or both,
Yoni Mazor: (30:09)
Both, well, you know, a few kinds of events that you know, are for Amazon sellers from the industry. So I'm gonna you know, attend them and connect and network and try to be useful and helpful for other people and I get pleasure out of it, so it's work, but I get a lot of pleasure out of it. So, yeah, it's
Laura McCaul: (30:24)
Kind of a good mix. Well, I hope you have a good time and maybe that you get shown around by the challenge with LA it's, it's a fantastic city and it has an awful lot to offer, but your kind of need to, to know the city to kind of see the real city. Otherwise, it just looks like, you know a lot of freeways or you think of Disneyland or you think of universal studios or you know, and kind of don't get a sense for, you know, what you can experience in the city, but you kind of need to be with people that, that live there or know the city well to kind of go underneath really what you see on the surface.
Yoni Mazor: (31:02)
Yeah. It's a great tip because I don't know what's going on in the city. I don't care too much because I'm going to go hang out with the people from the city. Hopefully, that will be the experience of the city.
Laura McCaul: (31:10)
Oh, that's the best way to do it. Yeah.
Yoni Mazor: (31:11)
I'm trusting them. It's not like you know, I'm gonna go to Disney World. Then the hotel is gonna stay with people, some friends. So I'll be more authentic or as authentic as it can be. Enough about me. Let's talk about you 2015. What happens next? It seems like you transitioned to another industry and hopefully, that's the one that we are currently focused on.
Laura McCaul: (31:33)
Correct. so yeah, I decided to move back to the UK. And so I'd been overseas a long time then like 14 years or something and yeah, the appeal of working outdoors, wasn't so strong going from sunny, California, back to the UK, I didn't fancy that. And it was at the same time that I got introduced to the opportunity of selling on Amazon. So I thought, well, I know the landscape industry, so maybe I could source gardening products and build a brand there. And so that's how I started selling in the am Amazon space.
Yoni Mazor: (32:14)
Well, let me understand this. This is the moment where e-commerce came knocking on the door. You come back to the UK after having, you know, developed a career in, you know, gardening and landscaping. And then realize I don't wanna do it anymore because the weather here is not that accommodating. So what can I do in this industry that kind of makes sense or utilize my experience in this industry? So we say I can have access to products that I know are useful for this industry. I can source it created, market it online, and the vessel will be Amazon. That's kind of the logic that brought you into the game. That's unbelievable. It's amazing. It's so unique. I can't even invent that kind of stuff. You know, you're in landscaping, the weather in London kind of Iffy, especially, you know comparing it to LA boom. I'm e-commerce it's great. I love it. Okay, good. So take us through those initial moments where you transitioned into the industry and you start selling online and what happened then?
Laura McCaul: (33:06)
Yeah, so, I mean, it was, you know, it, so I did sort of a board of training course I did the ASM course, I think that was the version, you know, version 5
Yoni Mazor: (33:21)
ASM I believe Is an amazing selling machine, right? Acronym,
Laura McCaul: (33:22)
Correct. Sorry. Yeah. Amazing selling machine. And yeah, and so obviously kind of, you know, teach all about sort of product selection and all that kind of stuff. But then of course I could also marry up my experience living in Hong Kong then kind of understanding how maybe the negotiation would need to go and that kind of stuff. So that sort of definitely helped me out. And yeah, and so I ended up launching I think it was three products across three marketplaces the UK Germany, and the US. But I mean, it was a lot to learn. I mean, I thought I'd have already learned a lot about business and sort of making transitions, but like running, like sort of starting your own business. It's a whole other, I think a ball of wax, you say in the states, but you know that brings with it a whole new sort of set of skills.
Laura McCaul: (34:20)
And you know, what I found a sort of very quickly was what I was good at and then also what I, wasn't very good at because I think when you start your own business, you learn probably as much about yourself as you do about business. It's, you know, it's quite an informative experience. And so, yeah that was kind of a lot to sort of taking on, but what I really enjoyed and obviously what we're now coming back to thank goodness is, you know, the live events and the thriving community there is of sellers in the Amazon space. And that was kind of a real godsend because the other part of you know, starting your own online business, whether it's am Amazon or not, is it could be quite isolating, can't it, you're sort of, you know, you, you can have the luxury of working remotely and working from wherever, but, you know, nine times out of 10 that normally means you're working on your own as well, at least normally, initially.
Laura McCaul: (35:19)
So, that brings it's, set of challenges too, but yeah, it was great. So I'd certainly learned that one of my strengths was creating product listings. We'd done a lot of photography for the landscape design, a lot of photoshoots, and stuff. So I have an okay design eye. I'm not the best in the world, but certainly better than, than average. So I had a flair for the product photography side of things. I could write product listings probably because I'd spent years writing resumes for candidates and writing job advertisements. So I was trying to,
Yoni Mazor: (35:53)
Everything's coming together like a perfect storm. It's so cool.
Laura McCaul: (35:55)
well, I'm, trying to draw on the strengths, but then there, you know, there were some weaknesses too, but then that's how I started to pivot towards the kind of creating an Amazon copywriting business because you know, meeting sellers at other events, you know, it became clear that I, you know, without sort of sounding big-headed, I think if something kind of comes naturally, or you have a natural aptitude to something you can sometimes think, well, can't you do that? Like, isn't that normal to do that. And then so what ended up sort of me sort of helping out seller friends sort of then kind of morphed into a, a business opportunity. But then at those same seller events, I met my now two business partners and the forte, their skillset was Amazon PPC. So then that's how we kind of came together because people either had trouble writing product listings that converted, but then as we found out more people have problems with their PPC. And so we started working sort of informally together. And so then in 2018, we kind of formalized that and started sponsor profit you know, out of a side project to help sellers you know, with their businesses you know, it became the perfect business for us.
Yoni Mazor: (37:15)
To start helping, you know, before establishing it as a firm business what compelled you to open up and help other sellers because of the community approach the fact that there are all these events and community events, and you hear all the pain points of other sellers. So that compelled you just be helpful for the community and help others that that was the dynamic or something else?
Laura McCaul: (37:32)
Yeah, no absolutely. Just because it, you know, and it also presented itself as an opportunity, but it was just like, well, you know, we have a skillset here or an aptitude to do this, and people over here, have a problem with that. So why wouldn't we kind of go, well, you know, is there something in this? And as I said, it started informally, but, you know, again, because of the closeness of the Amazon selling community, there's word of mouth. So then, you know, you'll get a Facebook message. Hey, you know, I hear you, how so? And so write her product list, you know, can you help me out? And it was one of those things where you, you know, like when suddenly you've got people coming to you, right. You kind of have to look at that and go, oh, I wonder if there's something in this, is this something we should go with because it's, the opportunity is presenting itself, demand for something is presenting itself.
Yoni Mazor: (38:27)
And the market is pushing you in that direction. Say, Hey, you, you have something that good that's working, you help a few, a few more come, they help them a few more come because it's, it's correct. And it's done well, mm-hmm and it's done. Right. And I guess that created the reality after a little while that, you know, let's just focus on that and, and build it to the maximum and be able to help as many sellers out there as possible. So your business partners today with sponsors profit you met them also at ASM or in the community, or how did you meet them?
Laura McCaul: (38:56)
Yeah. Met them at a bar at one of the events as, as you do. And we're all British, so I guess that kind of stood out because again when you go to a lot of these events they're in the US, so, you know, kind of hear the accent and you're like, oh, you know, where have you based that kind of thing. And yeah, and we, and we kind of, you know, we kept in touch and, and funnily enough, I wrote product listings for both those guys. So Darrell Patterson and Tim Pitman. And then I was like, oh, darling, I'm having a problem with my PPC. Can you help me out? And then that's how that, you know, that sort of relationship kind of started business relationship started.
Laura McCaul: (39:36)
And then as I said, we, you know, we got contacted by various sellers saying, oh, Hey, I hear you guys do this. Or can you help me with this? And that's, that's how they, that's how the business was, was formed. And, and we decided to formalize it when again, we had some people coming to us consistently, we were like, okay, so we now bring together the PPC and the copywriting, we now just do the PPC, but yeah, it was just an opportunity that presented itself. And you know, we kind of connected well which is important,
Yoni Mazor: (40:09)
Yeah, it seems like it was an organic is based on helping, you know, mutual help you guys helping each other. you do with sincerity and good faith. So 2018, when he set up a sponsored profit he said, I think initially was a focus on copywriting and PPC. Today it's more on the PPC and advertising side. So take us from 2018 to 2021 the growth, the dynamic, the shift, the changes, and the evolution for sponsored profit from a news organization to a more established one currently in the marketplace.
Laura McCaul: (40:39)
Yeah. so I guess, you know, the reason for the transition. So although we started kind of focusing on copywriting and PPC, I think we were about a year 18 months into that we kind of we realized we were facing the decision because there were so many changes taking place, you know, not only on the advertising platform, but just, you know, on Amazon itself with the introduction, what was originally called enhanced brand content, which is now a plus content the introduction of, you know, video placements on the listings, you know, we could see that, you know, these changes were taking place where, you know you could see there was a real push from Amazon to have more brands on the platform, and they've certainly achieved that, but that, you know, the conversion elements of the business were increasing, there were more opportunities to convert shoppers into customers.
Laura McCaul: (41:40)
So, like I say, with videos with better product photography with ABC and then obviously there, at the time there was, you know, there were lots of different ways to sort of generating reviews. The customer service piece was becoming more important. So Yoni we were sort of faced with this sort of decision of, okay, do we kind of become a full-service agency because there are so many more aspects to run in this business now available, or do we go all-in on one and PPC was proving to be probably the bigger of the pain point, I think for sellers, just because it's a more obvious pain point because it hits you in the pocket like when advertising works, it's great, but if it's not working it can sometimes feel like a bit of a money pit. And so, because of that, I think the sense of urgency or the anxiety it can create in sellers to go, I need someone to fix my PPC.
Laura McCaul: (42:34)
It's more obvious than I need to fix my product listing, because in reality, oftentimes when sellers struggle with their PPC, nine times out of 10, it's not their PPC that needs fixing it's probably their product or their product listing, or certainly there are some issues there relating to conversing, the inventory you know, reviews, ratings, all those kind of things that all of that sort of impacts on the performance of your campaigns. But I think because you are paying Amazon day in day out for the clicks, you’ll kind of feel like maybe the problem is originating in ads. And that's therefore what the problem is. So but we decided to use the experience that I had on understanding that conversion piece, but to kind of go all-in with Amazon advertising and you know, and we're very glad that we did because the platforms changed so much.
Laura McCaul: (43:30)
There are so many more targeting options available, you know, bid optimization is a lot more sophisticated. There are more ad formats and placements available now with sponsored brands, displays, DSP, and so forth. I mean, it keeps you on your toes. So, you know, we're very happy that, you know, PPC is our wheelhouse and, and that's where we focus, but we like to partner with other organizations who can help with optimizing other parts of seller's businesses. We focus on optimizing their campaigns but work with other service providers who can optimize and get efficiencies in other parts of their business. And it's a win-win because, you know, the higher, the converting your product listing the more putting it out.
Yoni Mazor: (44:16)
Yeah. The more you should put out and put more money into PPC and exposure because you know, that's it's a great listing and it's a converting machine's. So you're saying the sponsored profit, the organization has the ability obviously to optimize the advertising aspect of things, but also the deep understanding of what is the health of your listing and having other partners work improving it if ever needed that's what that can bring significant results making sure you optimize on both levels, you know, the conversion rate, because everything's so smooth and presented properly to the consumers and also on the product side itself, the actual production of the product and experience of the product, that's also very crucial and you plug it with you know, a great focus on, you know, exposing it properly with the right bidding and everything creates good results for the sellers and the brands.
Laura McCaul: (45:08)
Yeah, absolutely. And that's the key thing now that, you know, your Amazon PPC, it's not an ivory tower, that's separate from the rest of your business. You know, everything kind of feeds into it. And you know, some of the best things you can do for your PPC is to make sure you have a high quality, high converting, relevant product listing number one, and that you stay in stock as best as possible. Now I know that's particularly challenging this year, but those two things alone will improve the performance of your PPC campaigns before you've even opened up campaign manager. And you start optimizing your campaigns, you know, having that product listing, you know, be as high converting as, as possible, because essentially what you are doing is you are maximizing the number of sales you can get from the same amount of traffic.
Laura McCaul: (46:00)
So if the only thing that you optimize, you can tweak and squeeze more sales out of the same traffic to get a better ROI. So that's a no-brainer. And then obviously the inventory piece is it's staying in stock is, is super important for your performance and for your ranking as well, a little harder to control admittedly, but your product listing, you know, you can control you know, with weird suppressions and hijackers and to that effect. But yeah, that's very important and, you know, we're always keen to stress that because I think as, as well there can be a lot of focus on, I need my ads to drive traffic and my ads to drive sales, but it's really important to have a very solid organic SEO strategy as well, because you know, that that just elevates the house of your account and it maximizes your sales paid and organic. And so the ROI that you get is far better.
Yoni Mazor: (46:59)
Got It. Beautiful stuff. Okay. So I wanna kind of you know, summarize the episode, see what we got so far and I head to towards the ending. So born raised in Oxford, the UK, right. Graduated in 1995 and then in 1996 started a career in the recruiting world, which took you around the world as well. You stayed there from 1996 till about 2008. And you're able to also live around the world. You had a position in Hong Kong in Dublin, in Australia, then in 2008, you made a career change around 2009. You started in the landscaping industry. And I also settled in Los Angeles in about 2015. In 2015 you go back to home base, which is you know, in the UK, you realize, you know, I do have a career in, inexperience in, in landscaping not, I'm not so fond of it doing it in the UK because of weather reasons and that miraculously push you into the world of e-commerce.
Yoni Mazor: (47:56)
So you set up your brand, your shop. You also attend the ASM, the amazing selling machine you meet fellow UK you know, people that today are your business partners but already kind of helping each other with your core strengths and weaknesses with your retail activities on the platform selling on Amazon. And then you opened up to help other sellers in the community. And then 2008, you just formed it all together as a partnership, a business partnership, and you dubbed the organization sponsored profit then from 2018, till 2021. You know you realized that because you had both elements of you know copyright and creating listings, right, but also the PPC, but you said, you know, we're gonna detach from the copyright stuff, focus more on the PPC side, nevertheless, having a lot of attention, realizing what can be done to optimize with the players out there with your partners in terms of optimizing the actual product listing and also product experience and combine that with the right PPC strategy and advertising strategy to have it also create a good organic positioning in the marketplace and in terms of a best sales rank and reviews and everything and all that created the reality that you're in today, especially with the world of e-commerce.
Yoni Mazor: (49:10)
Was that kind of a fair summary of the situation?
Laura McCaul: (49:14)
Yeah, that's a whistle-stop tour. And it makes it sound a lot more impressive than it is, and it also makes me feel old, but yeah you nailed it.
Yoni Mazor: (49:23)
Thank you. So yeah, yeah, for the most part, it should make you feel productive. So you made all these efforts all these years. At least you can get some, you know, pride in, what you've created and ownership. So you know, Kudos to you, congratulations on achieving all of that. Okay. Now I wanna kind of wrap the episode with two points. The first one would be is if somebody wants to reach out and connect, where can they find you? But the last thing would be is what is your message of hope and inspiration for entrepreneurs listening out there.
Laura McCaul: (49:48)
So yeah. It's very easy for you to connect with me. You can find me on LinkedIn. You can go to the website and schedule a call. So that's www.sponsorprofit.com. Or you can email me @firstname.lastname@example.org, so easier to get hold of. And yeah, I think the message of inspiration and hope. I think that you know, I feel a lot of sellers feel like maybe they've missed the boat with selling on Amazon, maybe the opportunity has sort of passed them. And or that they've not had a great experience to date with Amazon PPC and they feel like it doesn't work. You know, neither of those things is, are true. I think you, you know, Amazon advertising while it has certainly become more complex, it's providing even more opportunities for sellers and brands to connect with customers on and off the platform.
Laura McCaul: (50:43)
You just need a more dynamic and adaptable strategy to connect with them and look, Amazon advertising is still the most profitable and effective direct marketing channel for Amazon sellers. And, you know, with over 151 million Amazon app users in the US with, you know, about 7% of them saying that they shop of prime members rather than saying they shop almost daily. The opportunity has never been bigger. It's built-in demand on a massive scale. So the opportunities the advertising platform is there to help you connect. You just need to be creative or, you know, lean on resources or service providers and communities, what have you to support you. But you know, it's still a very viable opportunity, I think for everyone. So don't throw the towel in yet.
Yoni Mazor: (51:38)
Yeah. Got it. I like it. So opportunity is there just, you know, make an effort, reach out, grab it, work hard for it, believe in it. And you'll probably see good results. Beautiful. Laura, thank you so much. I've done a lot. I thank you so much for sharing. I hope everybody else enjoyed staying safe and healthy everybody. So next time.