041 – How to Get More Reviews of Your Products on Amazon

Episode 18 talked about how to send good follow-up emails to Amazon customers. This week I’m going to show you specifically how we’ve been using a follow-up email sequence to get more reviews of a particular product on Amazon.

Case Study

December 2017 through May 9, 2018 this product got 1,214 orders and 35 reviews, for a percentage of 2.9% (6 negative and 1 neutral review for a rate of 20% of all reviews)

May 10, 2018 through July 12, 2018, after we launched the follow-up email sequence, the product got 654 orders and 30 reviews, for a percentage of 4.6% (3 negative reviews for a rate of 10% of all reviews)

  • Nearly a 60% increase in the frequency of reviews.
  • Cut in half the amount of negative reviews being received.
  • Raised review score from around 3.7 to 4.3, meaning customers went from seeing 3.5 stars to seeing 4.5 stars.

What you CAN’T do with follow-up emails:

  • Incentivize reviews (offer a free/discounted product or some other gift
  • Have friends and family leave a review
  • Ask customers to leave a review only if they had a positive experience
  • Ask customers to change or remove a review

What you CAN do with follow-up emails:

  • Ask customers to leave an unbiased review

What we’re doing:

  • Sending out 2 emails
  • First email goes out immediately after the item is shipped
  • Second email goes out 7 days after the product is delivered
  • The first email has a detailed product guide attached that includes helpful troubleshooting tips for common issues.
  • The second email is the only place that asks for a review, and not until the PS.

Want Help Drafting Great Automated Emails for Your Customers?

If you want help creating follow-up emails for your customers, you can hire us! Click here to apply to become a client.

040 – How to Prepare for 4th Quarter Selling Online

It may be the dog days of summer, but fourth quarter is just around the corner! Here are 10 ways for you to prepare now to make the most of 4th quarter selling online:

  1. Make sure you have ordered enough inventory from you manufacturer(s). Holiday sales of popularly gifted items can easily increase by 3X-5X.
  2. Make sure your FBA inventory for Black Friday/Cyber Monday has shipped to Amazon no later than late October.
  3. Do all your prep work for FBA inventory yourself, rather than having Amazon do it.
  4. Make sure your product detail pages are well-optimized. Be testing keywords and advertising campaigns.
  5. Register your brand and add Enhanced Brand Content if you have not already.
  6. Work to get more reviews of your products.
  7. Submit Lightning Deals plenty early.
  8. Get set up to sell on other platforms, such as the Walmart Marketplace.
  9. Get set up to sell on Amazon in a new country.
  10. Spend advertising money now to grow your brand’s following. Specifically work to get people on your email or Facebook messenger list, so you can promote to them. You’re always eating last season’s harvest, so plant now for the harvest you want to reap later!

Want Help with Your Fourth Quarter Strategy?

Book a consulting session with us and we’d be happy to help you plan!

039 – Adding Related Video Shorts to Your Amazon Product Detail Pages

Quietly, Amazon recently added a link right on product detail pages for uploading Related Video Shorts. We talked with Amazon about it, and though information was in short supply, we did learn a little bit, which we share in this podcast.

What Types of Videos Should you Add to Related Video Shorts?

  • Unboxing
  • Product Demonstration
  • Setup
  • Troubleshooting
  • Comparison
  • How-To

What Are the Video Specs?

Upload a video 1-3 minutes long, in mp4 format, with a 16:9 aspect ratio.

What Guidelines Should You Follow with Related Video Shorts?

  • No vendor or distributor logos
  • No pricing or shipping info
  • No special promotional info
  • No time-sensitive info
  • No mention of competitors
  • No contact info or web addresses
  • Product video should only be about a specific product

038 – How to Make Effective Use of Amazon Sponsored Products Ads

We have received a couple of questions lately about Amazon Sponsored Products Ads (SPA), so in this weeks episode we discuss the questions and provide some other thoughts and tips about how to effectively use SPA campaigns.

Q&A

Question

We’ve been spending on SPA for months now trying to get established, but we’re still not profitable. Should we keep spending? How long does it take?

Answer

  • No, you can’t spend months losing money on an advertising campaign
  • The only time you should ever possibly be willing to lose money on an advertising campaign is for a very short period of time when you know that additional sales are going to help get you ranked for a particular search term
  • If you’ve been losing money for multiple months you need to stop the bleeding and then figure out a different way to drive more sales for your products

Question

I used to make about $3.50 per $1.00 spent on SPA. Now I’m making $1.00 per $1.00 spent. Should I keep on, or do I need to reevaluate?

Answer

  • You have to evaluate in terms of what those sales are doing for your business. If you’re tying up a lot of cash to break even, you need to consider the effect that tying up that cash is having on your business.
  • Breaking even across the board doesn’t mean each individual keyword is breaking even.
  • Likely you can cut out some unprofitable keywords and add some additional profitable keywords or possibly increase your spend on your profitable keywords.

Goals of Sponsored Products Ads Campaigns

  • Make additional sales profitably
  • Increase the number of times your products appear on search results pages
  • Protect branded searches
  • Increase organic search rankings

Tips for Sponsored Products Ads

  • Drop the bid lower on expensive keywords. You’ll still get shown once in a while, but you won’t pay as much per click.
  • Bid on your own brand and product names.
  • Know that you’re going to spend a lot more money on automatic campaigns and with broad match search terms than you’ll spend with phrase and exact match. Use auto and broad only in a controlled way to find new search terms to target.
  • Spend as much as you can on keywords that are profitable, so you push your sales volume as high as possible.

Target Metrics for Sponsored Products Ads

What should be considered good metrics with SPA is very subjective, and depends a lot on the product, niche, and price point. But here are a few general thoughts:

  • ACoS of 10% or less is good, and 15%-20% may still be acceptable for some products.
  • If your click-through-rate (CTR) is 1% or less, then there’s either something wrong with your product listing (image, price point, title, low review score, no FBA), or your ads are being shown on searches that aren’t very relevant to your products. 3%-5% CTR is really solid.
  • Spend depends a lot on the price point of the product. Generally speaking, anything under $1.00 per click is not overly competitive. Getting up to around $1.50 and more is pretty competitive, and you may need to find less competitive search terms.

037 – Clearing up Common Misconceptions About Selling on Amazon

I always greatly enjoy time spent at trade shows, talking about business, e-commerce, and Amazon selling with brand executives.

In my conversations with brands, I hear some common misconceptions about selling on Amazon that come up again and again.

In this week’s podcast episode I clear up 10 misconceptions I frequently hear.

Answers to 10 Common Misconceptions Brands Have About Selling on Amazon

  1. You can use Amazon’s fulfillment even if you don’t wholesale to Amazon as a vendor.
  2. You will almost always get better margins and make more money using Amazon’s fulfillment rather than fulfilling your own Amazon orders.
  3. Any seller of your products can make changes to your product detail pages (images, title, bullets, etc.), especially if you haven’t gone through Brand Registry.
  4. Brand Registry does NOT keep other sellers from being able to offer your brand’s products for sale on Amazon.
  5. You CAN take measures to keep other sellers from selling your brand’s products on Amazon.
  6. It should be good news to your brick and mortar buyers that you sell on Amazon, not bad news.
  7. There aren’t Amazon “insiders” who can get things done for you that other people can’t get done for you at Amazon.
  8. You can’t afford to wait to take control of your Amazon presence and develop a strong, clear strategy for your brand on Amazon.
  9. To make money on Amazon, you must get your products to rank high in organic search results, not just throw money at paid advertising.
  10. You CAN be doing better on Amazon.

Want our opinion on where your brand could improve on Amazon?

Contact us to schedule a free 30 minute consultation. In your message to us, say, “I want to know how we could do better on Amazon.”

036 – How to Write a Plan of Action for Amazon

Whether your Amazon seller account has been suspended, you’ve had a product suspended, or you’ve simply received a performance notification requesting a Plan of Action, writing an effective POA is critical when Amazon requests one!

A Plan of Action needs to be a concise, point-by-point written explanation of why a problem occurred and what steps you have taken to fix it and to ensure it never happens again.

What NOT to do:

  • Don’t hit reply immediately after receiving a performance notification
  • Don’t waste time trying to get Seller Support to tell you what the problem is
  • Don’t write a long, rambling message
  • Don’t bring emotion into your reply
  • Don’t shift blame away from yourself whatsoever…don’t blame customers, your suppliers, Amazon, a competitor, or anyone else
  • Don’t try and get Amazon to take action against malicious competitors…not yet
  • Don’t complain about Amazon policies and procedures
  • Don’t write to Jeff…unless it is absolutely, positively your last resort after exhausting every other avenue

What to do:

  • Be sure to reply
  • Do your homework and identify the problem
  • Embrace the opportunity to improve your products, systems, processes
  • Be professional and courteous
  • Write clearly and concisely…focus on objective facts and actions
  • Make it easy to read…use lots of bullet points, not long paragraphs and blocks of text
  • Identify exactly what caused the problem…don’t state what the problem is, but why it happened
  • Take full responsibility for the problem, and do not make excuses…even if you don’t believe it was your fault
  • State in a very clear numbered list the specific actions you have taken to rectify the problem
  • Consider holding just a little bit back, in case Amazon asks for more information
  • Make sure you follow through and consistently implement the actions outlined in your action plan
  • Report abuse by competitors only after you have been reinstated
  • When in doubt, hire a 3rd party with expertise in dealing with Amazon suspensions

Need Help?

Have you been suspended by Amazon or received a performance notification, and you want input on how to handle it? We can help! Click here to request a free 30-minute discovery call.

035 – Exciting Possibilities for Brands with Transparency by Amazon

On Episode 30 we talked about some of the exciting ways Amazon’s new Transparency program could help brands take more control of their products on Amazon.

This episode is a follow-up to that one, based on a phone call we had with Amazon to learn more about the Transparency program. After talking with Amazon, we’re even more excited!

Here is some of what we share in this episode:

  • Transparency is NOT invitation-only…it is now open for any brand to enroll!
  • Ideally, a brand enrolling in the program should be brand registered, but even if you aren’t there may be a way for Amazon to verify your identity and allow you to enroll in Transparency.
  • If you sign up now, Transparency is free for the first 6 months!
  • Amazon is seeing Transparency as a way to help brands get rid of counterfeit product issues on ALL platforms, not just Amazon. They hope to sell the technology to companies like eBay, Walmart, and Alibaba.
  • If you enroll in Transparency you must affix the Transparency barcodes to ALL units of your enrolled product, not just the units that are intended to be sold on Amazon.

Want Help Enrolling in Transparency?

Fill out this short form to request a free half hour phone consultation with us, and we’ll help you determine whether Transparency is a good fit for your brand and how to take the next steps!

034 – 7 Ways to Prepare for Amazon Prime Day 2018

What is Amazon Prime Day?

  • Kind of like “Christmas in July” for Amazon
  • Usually takes place 2nd Tuesday in July
  • Thousands of deals
  • Sign up new Prime members
  • “Tens of millions” of Prime members made purchases in 2017
  • 2017 Prime Day was Amazon’s biggest sales day in history to that point, with total sales beating 2016 Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined
  • In 2018 deals are expected to extend a week or two before and after Prime Day

7 Ways to Prepare for Prime Day 2018

  1. Determine your strategy
    • Specific products you want to promote?
    • Make a profit or break even?
    • Increase Best Seller Rank?
    • Grow your customer base?
    • Get rid of overstock inventory or products you are discontinuing?
  2. Stock up on inventory!
    • Use Fulfillment by Amazon
    • Ship NOW to Amazon fulfillment centers! This week!
    • Plan not just for Prime Day, but for a halo effect of increased sales afterwards
    • Not just products you are specifically promoting during Prime Day
  3. Schedule Sales and Promotions
  4. Optimize your brand presence and product detail pages
    • Add Amazon Storefront
    • Add Enhanced Brand Content
    • Keyword optimization
    • Detail page optimization: titles, images, bullets, etc.
  5. Beef Up Your Advertising Campaigns
    • Add more campaigns
    • Add more keywords
    • Test HSA text
    • Increase bids
    • Use Bid+
  6. Drive outside traffic to your Prime Deals from your social media or email list
  7. Have a good post-purchase email sequence in place

Need Help Getting Ready for Prime Day?

Get in touch to schedule a consultation or request done-for-you services from eCom Leverage!

033 – 8 Must-Have Pages on Your Ecommerce Website

Beyond your home page, product details pages, category pages, and cart and checkout pages, there are a few other pages you should have on your e-commerce website.

These pages will only be by a minority of your visitors, but those visitors are very warm traffic! Provide them the info they’re looking for so you can convert them into buyers.

On each of the additional info pages on your site, use 3 different communication mediums:

  • Written Text
  • Images
  • Videos

8 Must-Have Pages on Your E-Commerce Website

  1. About Us
    • One of the most visited additional info pages on your website
    • Include the info from your Welcome Video
    • Photos of your team, manufacturing process, etc.
    • Tie it back to the customer…how will you solve their problem?
  2. Contact Us
    • Email contact form
    • Phone number (include tap to call link)
    • Physical address
    • Facebook Messenger
    • Define expectations for responding to messages
  3. Why Buy from Us
    • Present the same content from your Why Buy from Us video
    • What makes you unique and different?
    • How does this help solve the customer’s pain?
    • What is your unique selling proposition?
    • Build trust through empathy and authority
  4. Shipping and Returns
    • Keep it very concise
    • Clearly let people know what to expect
    • At least 30 day return window
  5. FAQs
    • Include FAQs about your business as a whole, as well as about specific products
  6. Post-Purchase Resources
    • How-to’s and Instructions
    • Supplemental content
    • Warranty information
  7. Privacy Policy
    • Legally required
    • Explains what information you collect about site visitors, and how you use and handle that information
    • Especially important with the new GDPR regulations if you have any European visitors whatsoever.
  8. Terms and Conditions
    • Legally required
    • All the legal info…disclaimer, limit of liability, etc.

Schedule a Free Half-Hour Consultation

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032 – 10 Must-Have Elements on Your Ecommerce Website

How do you build trust with people who visit your website? How do you convince them to buy your products?

Whether you use Shopify or Woo Commerce or something else, today we talk about some of the most important elements you should definitely have on your e-commerce website in order to give customers the best experience and to increase conversions.

3 Distinct Roles Needed for Building a Website

  1. Developer – This is the coding person, the technically-skilled person “under the hood” who actually puts all the elements of the site together and makes it function properly.
  2. Designer – This is a more artistic person who knows how to lay out the website in a way that looks interesting and attractive. Some people have both design and development skills, but typically a designer is not necessarily a good developer, and a developer is not necessarily a good designer.
  3. Marketer – This is the most critical role, and it’s the one that far too often gets overlooked. Most developers and designers are NOT marketers. This unfortunately means that they can build you a beautiful site that works perfectly…but doesn’t generate nearly the sales volume it should. You MUST have a marketer overseeing your website…someone who understands what the message is and what elements of the site must be in place in order to effectively generate sales.

10 Must-Have Elements on Your Ecommerce Website

  1. Customer Service Phone Number – in the header, upper right, big and bright
  2. Video
    • Product videos
    • Firestone Footer – Welcome Video & Why Buy from Us
    • Post Opt-In Video – thank people for joining your list and tell them what to expect
    • Post Purchase Video – thank people for purchasing and tell them what happens next
  3. Social Proof
    • Reviews and Testimonials
    • Social integration – links to your social media sites, as well as pulling content (especially user-generated content) from your social media over to your website
  4. Authority Marks – payment logos and seals, shipping logos, certifications, security, awards, etc.
  5. Live Chat – have an easily accessible button on every page to pop up a live chat box…if you don’t have the manpower for live chat, then have the button pop up a contact form
  6. Lead Capture Mechanism – make sure you have a strong call to action for getting people on your email list or Facebook Messenger list…be sure to include an exit-intent popup
  7. Search Bar in the Header – Amazon and other ecommerce giants have trained customers to expect a search bar in the header…people who search are far more likely to buy, and you gain valuable insights from what people search
  8. Facebook and Google Retargeting Pixels – make sure you’re set up to re-target site visitors with ads elsewhere…even if you’re not running re-targeting ads right now, at very least have the pixels installed so you have a list ready to go when you start running ads
  9. Free Shipping Notices – offer free shipping either on every order or at least for orders that reach a certain total…announce this on a bar across the top of your site, as well as on your product detail pages close to the add to cart button
  10. Guarantee – at minimum offer a 30-day, no hassle, money back guarantee…communicate this prominently on your product detail pages near the add to cart button

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