All you need to do is Google “Selling on Amazon,” and in less than a second you’ll have almost two billion results. Among the responses are blog posts offering to show you how to find success in 20, and 55 different ways.
This post will detail three crucial steps used by Amazon agency pros that can help all sellers grow their e-commerce business. Whether you are a new seller, or have a lot of Amazon selling experience, the secret to creating momentum and scaling up your business often lies in your ability to focus your attention on the few steps that really matter.
A More Direct Path to Amazon Success
I used to teach skiing in Aspen Colorado. Occasionally I would listen to other instructors detail the 10 different things that a skier needed to do in order to get past a challenging spot on the slope. Those who weren’t born in the mountains sometimes refer to these troubling spots as cliffs.
I’d watch as a beginning skier (while dealing with altitude sickness, vertigo, and frostbite), would try to juggle those 10 easy steps, only (as you might imagine) to find themselves flat on their backs.
The key to learning a new skill, or building a business, is identifying the very few steps that are not only critical to success, but also seamlessly lead to the next phase of the process.
For many, selling on Amazon begins with a search for a product to sell. Others may have an idea of a product, but need to understand the best way to make sure that it’s discoverable by prospective buyers.
That’s where keyword research comes in.
1) Use Long Tail Keywords to Identify a Niche
Long tail keywords are multiple-word phrases that shoppers use when searching for a product. They are searched for less than single words or shorter phrases. Because of that, they return narrower results for more specific products, which often leads to higher rates of conversion.
Let’s say that you’re looking for a product to sell on Amazon. Most online-selling experts advise trying to find a product that occupies a smaller, less fought-after niche.
Or, you are trying to optimize your Amazon listing so that buyers who are looking for a product just like yours don’t get tired of searching and either give up or buy something they don’t really want.
For example, a short tail keyword such as “computer stand” will return a lot of results, as well as a great deal of competition for sellers, and confusion for buyers.
Instead, a long tail keyword such as “wooden sustainable computer stand with drawer” will allow you to target a smaller niche or help a buyer find exactly what they are looking for.
Using Helium 10’s Cerebro keyword research tool I was able to take a closer look at the following (very unusual) Amazon product. I was fascinated when I ran across it while doing research and wanted to see what keywords it ranked for.
Here are just a few of the top ranked, long tail keyword phrases that I found.
Researching four or five similar items in the same niche that you are interested in can give you a good overview of the keywords that Amazon buyers will use to find your product.
2) Optimize Your Listings to Make Them POP
When was the last time that you searched for something on the internet and clicked past the first page? When I don’t find what I’m looking for, I immediately assume that I’m not searching with the right keywords and will rephrase my request.
Most Amazon shoppers just don’t make it past page one of the search results. As an Amazon seller, it’s crucial that you structure your product listing to rank as high in the search results as possible.
That’s referred to as Amazon listing optimization.
Because the first thing the customer does is look at the images of a product, I’m going to start there.
Amazon has a very clear idea of what they want. They want rich, vibrant images that compel purchases. After all, they want you to make a sale so that Amazon customers continue to trust and rely on their marketplace. They also want to make sure that when Amazon customers open the package, there are no surprises.
Here is a short list of rules governing Amazon images that are most often flagged by Amazon for non-compliance.
- The image must be the cover art or a professional photograph of the product being sold. Drawings or illustrations of the product are not allowed
- The image must not contain gratuitous or confusing additional objects
- The image must be in focus, professionally lit and photographed or scanned, with realistic color, and smooth edges
- All products should fill 85% or more of the image frame
- The full product must be in frame
- Backgrounds must be pure white
You’ll also want to include lifestyle imagery
Emotionally evocative lifestyle photos show how the product is used. They also help shoppers to imagine themselves using the product in the home or workspace.
Make sure to include infographics
Infographics demonstrate the most important selling points of your product. They can include the product’s size, features, certifications, accessories, and instructions on how the buyer can use the product.
Don’t forget about video
Amazon agency pros say that when it comes to stopping the scroll, nothing performs quite like video. It’s a great way you can promote your product, increase your conversions and stand out on Amazon.
First, you’ll need to establish Amazon Brand Registry. Afterwards you can take advantage of Amazon’s Enhanced Brand Content. It’s a premium Amazon feature that allows sellers to supplement their product descriptions with visually rich content including video.
A full list of Amazon’s image requirements are listed here.
Now that you have the Amazon shopper’s attention, here’s a checklist that you can follow to make sure that your written copy is as solid as your images. Your first step should be checking for basic spelling and grammatical errors in the listing copy.
Follow these guidelines for your listing title:
- Don’t forget about Amazon shoppers using their smartphones. There’s limited room, so your title will be truncated. Make sure to place your main keywords at the very front of your titles.
- While you want to be sure to include three or four of your top keywords, be careful to not “keyword stuff.”
- Include your band name in the title. It’s important to begin to instill brand confidence and recognition.
Follow these guidelines for your bullet points:
- It’s a good idea to lead off with a summarization of each bullet point with bolded and/or capital letters. By doing this, you’re helping your customers to quickly skim the listing.
- You want to make sure to include most of your medium and high search volume long tail keywords in the copy of your bullet points.
- Take the time to expand on your product’s features. Put yourself in the shopper’s shoes and anticipate questions that they might have.
Use customer reviews for similar products to identify the questions that prospective customers have had, as well as getting a clearer idea of the product features that they loved. That way you can highlight similar features in your own listings.
3) Keep a Close Eye on Your PPC
It’s impossible to spend more than a few minutes in conversation with an e-commerce seller, and not have the subject of PPC (Pay per Click) advertising come up.
PPC used to be just “one” of the ways that Amazon sellers launched their products. Now, it’s a must.
What exactly is Amazon PPC?
In the most simple terms, an Amazon PPC ad means that you are advertising on Amazon. An Amazon PPC advertising campaign targets customer searches, and seeks to place an Amazon ad in a high-visibility location.
As I mentioned in the section about keywords above, you will want to identify relevant, short to long tail keywords. Unfortunately, you won’t be alone. Other sellers will be using (some) of those same keywords to try to stand out, and be found on Amazon.
Because of that, Amazon’s (very lucrative) business model is to assign these keywords a price (based on their popularity with buyers). Then, after a seller has successfully bid for that keyword, charge sellers a fee when during an Amazon search, a shopper clicks on an ad that contains a relevant keyword.
That’s the pay-per-click.
Four Ways to Take Advantage of Amazon’s Advertising Potential
- Amazon Sponsored Product ads are keyword-targeted, and allow sellers to promote their individual products. They show up on shopping results and product detail pages. Within sponsored products, there are different ways to target search terms. Two of these ways are automatic-targeting and manual targeting. An automatic-targeting ad uses Amazon’s algorithm to determine the strategy. A manual-targeting ad allowing for customization and efficiency.
- Amazon Sponsored Brand ads (formerly Headline Search Ads) are keyword-targeted ads featuring a brand logo or product image, a custom headline, and up to three products. Available only to Brand Registered sellers, these ads appear above all search results to dramatically increase a sellers brand’s profile and discoverability.
- Sponsored Display ads help sellers reach their target audiences with ads that appear both on and off Amazon. Amazon says that Sponsored Display Ads are “a self-service advertising solution that gives advertisers the ability to launch display ad campaigns and reach relevant audiences quickly.”
- Amazon Stores are custom, stand-alone pages on Amazon that help individual brands tell their brand story and show off their products. You can send traffic to Stores by using Sponsored Brand ads. They require no website experience to use and are free.
PPC software such as PPC Scope can really help Amazon sellers shorten the PPC learning curve and has everything you need to analyze, optimize, and automate your Amazon Advertising. This will save you time and money that could be better spent scaling up your business.
If you want to move a little faster, level up your e-commerce business by reaching out to a full service Amazon brand management agency such as CANOPY Management.
To see what a full service Amazon agency such as CANOPY can do for you, take a few moments to read through a couple of these Amazon seller stories and case studies.
E-commerce is challenging enough with overcomplicating it with steps 10 through 55. I think that if you pay attention to these three steps, you will have put yourself on the road to success. Make sure and attend webinars, join sellers’ groups, and learn as much as you can. And when you’re ready to hop on a rocket ship, click the CANOPY Management link above.