What is ASM?
If you’ve seen an ad or sales letter pitching an ASM webinar, you might not be completely clear about what they are talking about. They mention a trillion-dollar industry and “the greatest wealth transfer in the history of the world.” It’s not much of a mystery, though, that they’re talking about Amazon, specifically the FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) e-commerce model. ASM is a course created by two entrepreneurs, Jason Katzenback and Matt Clark, taught by Dan Ashburn, Rich Henderson, and Mike McClary. All have experience with multiple online businesses, including Amazon.
A Look at ASM’s Free Webinar
Lots of companies offer “free training” webinars, and ASM follows this common practice as well. If you have any experience with online marketing, you realize that the main objective with such a webinar is to get you to sign up for a paid program, and this is certainly the case with ASM. Nevertheless, you could sign up for the webinar alone and still learn some useful things about Amazon, e-commerce, and marketing.
Much of the webinar is about why this is such a good time to start selling online. While this is part of the sales pitch, they do present some compelling statistics about the amazing growth of Amazon and online retail. They also explain why Amazon is the best platform for building a successful business. While this is certainly debatable, it’s hard to argue that Amazon offers a huge opportunity, letting sellers choose from millions of products and reach an audience in many countries.
If you’re interested in ASM, I’d recommend watching the webinar. While it’s promotional, it does provide some good reasons to get involved in Amazon FBA. Now let’s focus on the course itself. The following is a summary of the highlights.
An Overview of ASM and FBA Selling
This is particularly useful if you’re just starting and want to make sure you have a solid foundation. In addition to the nuts and bolts of setting up your account, it provides helpful advice on staying within Amazon’s TOS. Of course, you can find this information on Amazon itself, but ASM organizes it in a helpful way (Amazon is such a massive site, it can be hard to locate specific information when you need it). The overview also tells you how to navigate the ASM dashboard.
Finding the Right Products to Sell
Identifying profitable products is perhaps the single most important factor when it comes to e-commerce success. In this area, the size and scale of Amazon is both a great opportunity and a major challenge. You have countless products to choose from, which can be overwhelming at first. ASM helps you narrow down your search, identifying the categories and products that people want.
ASM lays out the characteristics of “hot product opportunities.” This includes factors such as categories, overall demand, price, reviews, and competition. This module of the course is handy for Amazon beginners who need guidance in finding profitable products.
Where you get your products from is just as important as what you’re selling. It’s easy to make costly mistakes in this area. If you don’t accurately calculate your costs, you can end up losing money even if you sell lots of products. ASM covers topics such as comparing suppliers, negotiating, and calculating the true cost of every item.
Setting Up Listings
Listing your products on Amazon is not as simple as it sounds, especially when you use FBA. You need to properly label everything, which entails getting identifying codes such as UPC (Universal Product Code). Your packaging must also meet Amazon’s stringent requirements. In addition to telling you how to stay compliant with such rules, ASM covers important marketing and branding tips, such as building an email list.
Branding, Launching, and Marketing
The tips in this module are essential to your success. Even if you choose the best products and find suppliers who sell them to you at the right price, if you don’t take steps to brand and differentiate yourself, you will be crushed by your more experienced competition. Here are a few of the strategies you’ll learn:
- Creating a website.
- Building a Facebook page.
- Starting a YouTube channel.
- Using other social media such as Twitter and Pinterest.
- Creating an effective landing page.
These and other tips point out that you can’t just list your product and hope customers will find it on Amazon. There’s simply too much competition for this. You need to create your branding and send people to your listings.
Listing your products is another seemingly simple but actually rather involved aspect of Amazon selling. You need to think in terms of Amazon SEO, which means finding the right keywords and categories. ASM covers these and other important considerations, such as optimizing your titles and descriptions for your products.
Paid Advertising and Other Marketing
While ASM covers free strategies such as setting up a website and social media pages, they also provide tips for advertising. If you want to grow your business more quickly, you’ll have to invest in paid ads. The focus here is on Amazon ads, which are similar in function to Google and Facebook ads. Other marketing tips include taking advantage of Amazon Lightning Deals, which encourages customers to make spontaneous purchases of sale products.
Mentoring and Coaching Calls
When you join ASM, you get access to some powerful mentoring and coaching resources. You get personal access to experienced sellers who will answer your questions and guide you through the steps of selling on Amazon. There are also coaching calls where you can ask questions and get updates on the latest advice.
There’s also an active and knowledgeable community you can always turn to for help. These coaching and community resources are a helpful addition to the course material. For one thing, the e-commerce world changes rapidly, so it’s essential to stay current with the strategies that work now. It’s also easier to stay motivated when you can interact directly with experts and other members.
Pricing for ASM
Some programs tell you right on the sales page how much they cost. This isn’t the case with ASM, which is by itself a clue that it carries a rather hefty price tag. Their website is mainly designed to get you to sign up for the free webinar.
If you want to know the price tag before signing up for the ASM webinar, I’ll reveal it. The price is almost $5,000, which you can pay as a single sum or as payments. If you pay in installments, the total comes to almost $6,000 as it’s six payments of $997.
ASM is not the cheapest course out there. You also have to factor in additional expenses for advertising and using recommended tools such as Jungle Scout. ASM does offer a 6-month money-back guarantee, which shows serious confidence in their product.
Given the content and resources provided by ASM, the course still provides solid value. However, it’s also true that not everyone is in a position to take advantage of this. If your budget is limited, you may want to consider an alternative to ASM.
Amazing Selling Machine Discounts
ASM never offers any discounts. You will find many of their partners offering various bonuses that can be seen as discounts. However, none of these will lower the actual cost of the program but may save you time or money on future purchases you might need. Contact us for our custom discount/ bonus offer, we’d like to think it’s one of the best out there, and guaranteed to save you a lot of money on your Amazan FBA journey.
ASM vs. Helium 10/Freedom Ticket
Freedom Ticket is presented by Kevin King, himself a very successful FBA seller who knows his material. Freedom Ticket calls itself “the most comprehensive Amazon FBA course on the internet”, so it’s working hard to be a fierce ASM competitor. This course comes free when you purchase Helium 10, a powerful Amazon FBA tool that helps you with product research, keywords, creating effective listings, analytics, and more. While Helium 10 is quite useful, I wanted to focus on Freedom Ticket because, like ASM, it’s a course and provides a helpful comparison.
First of all, both ASM and Freedom Ticket are extensive, professionally-produced courses. You could use either of them to launch a successful FBA business. There are, however, some differences. A lot of this has to do with the way the courses are delivered. With ASM, you get everything at once. Freedom Ticket drips the lessons to you, so you have to spend a few months on it. This can be good, as it helps you keep to a schedule and prevents you from getting overwhelmed. On the other hand, if you’d prefer to absorb everything in one long marathon, Freedom Ticket doesn’t allow for this.
ASM is also famous for its live events, something you can’t get with Freedom Ticket. In 2020, of course, their annual event has been postponed due to COVID-19. However, if you want the excitement of being part of a global community, you can benefit from this type of opportunity.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of Freedom Ticket is the cost relative to ASM. If you buy Freedom Ticket by itself, it’s $997, about 1/5 of ASM’s price tag. The best value, however, is to buy Helium 10, with pricing starting at $97/month (get 50% off your first Helium 10 month here). This means you could use Helium 10, along with Freedom Ticket, for about four years before it would equal the cost of ASM.
ASM vs. Jungle Scout Academy
Jungle Scout Academy is another ASM alternative worth considering. Like Freedom Ticket, this one is connected with a popular Amazon FBA tool, in this case, Jungle Scout. If you buy Jungle Scout, you get access to JSA for free.
Jungle Scout Academy covers some of the same content as ASM, featuring a section introducing users to Amazon selling, product research, optimizing your listing, and launching products. Some of the courses are specifically about using Jungle Scout.
Unlike Freedom Ticket, which you can access as a stand-alone course or get it for free when you join Helium 10, Jungle Scout Academy is only available to Jungle Scout members. The cheapest option is to get the Chrome Extension, which starts at $19/month when they are running a promotion. The web-based software is $39/month, while the software plus the extension is $49/month (get up to 50% off Jungle Scout here).
In terms of cost, Jungle Scout Academy (and the Jungle Scout software) is cheaper than ASM and comparable to Freedom Ticket in price. If you pay annually, you could join Jungle Scout and have access to the Academy for almost seven years before you’d reach the cost of ASM.
The Verdict on ASM: Is It a Good Value for Amazon Sellers?
ASM is one of the longest-running and most popular FBA courses, as well as one of the costliest. Are you a good candidate for this training, or should you look at one of the alternatives? It depends on your objectives and budget.
ASM is not for everybody. For one thing, you shouldn’t consider this course if you’re on a tight budget. Remember, you also need to consider expenses such as inventory, Amazon FBA fees ($40/month for a Pro account), advertising, and other costs such as freelance services you might need. Many ASM members also use tools such as Jungle Scout and Helium 10 to help with tasks like product and keyword research.
ASM is also not the ideal choice if you’re only considering Amazon as a part-time venture, or you’re not sure it’s going to be your main focus for online marketing. ASM is a serious commitment in time as well as money, so there’s no point investing in it unless you want to dive in headfirst.
On the other hand, if you can afford the price and you’re eager to get off to a strong start with comprehensive training and lots of support and coaching, it’s hard to beat ASM. Also, it’s a good option if you’ve been active on Amazon for a while, but you’re frustrated with your results. It’s easy to stumble along with online selling and missing some key strategies that could make you consistently successful.
When you consider the training, mentoring, community, and live events (when possible) that come with ASM, you’re joining a vast network of successful Amazon experts. If you’re ready to experience some of the most thorough e-commerce training available anywhere, this course is a solid investment.