Understanding the Challenges of Amazon Marketing Optimization | ShippingEasy
Amazon marketing optimization

Understanding the Challenges of Amazon Marketing Optimization

By Jack Ship, Jul 10, 2019

The Amazon Marketing Landscape

The opportunity for Amazon sellers to optimize their platform presence is immense, critical for growth, and only increasing from here. Hundreds of millions of consumers trust Amazon for everything from product discovery to price comparison all the way to the final purchase. In fact, 72% of consumers use Amazon1 for price discovery, 90% use it for price comparison2, and 56% look to Amazon1 for their purchases before any other site.

This strong consumer relationship is here to stay, and as a seller, optimizing your marketing strategy should be a top priority whether you’re utilizing Amazon seller tools, doing it yourself, or using a combination of the two. However, with tough competition and hard-to-decipher search algorithms abound, Amazon marketing optimization can be a difficult challenge to conquer even with the best resources out there.

To help you succeed, we’ve put together a start-to-finish guide for veteran Amazon sellers and newcomers alike, aimed at building an optimized, profitable Amazon marketing strategy. Let’s dive in!

Foundation of Strategy Optimization: Customer-Centricity

Across all strategic Amazon marketing aspects, empathizing with and optimizing your value proposition through the eyes of a buyer will align your entire strategy with what ultimately matters most: consumer behavior. What does your consumer want and what do they care about? These are questions you should ask yourself.

Staying hyper-focused on these questions can improve your entire marketing strategy and ultimately build stronger customer relationships.

Optimize Your Product Pages

A product marketing strategy can only be as effective as its underlying product pages. Optimizing each product page component is vital in converting potential customers into paying customers as the page contains your actual value proposition: product title, images, key features, description, and reviews.

Using relevant keywords and other customer-centric best practices on the components below will help you effectively generate conversions.

Product Title

As the first impression for your product itself, the product title is a key factor that drives initial customer interest and plays a significant role in measuring relevance and determining ranking via Amazon’s search algorithm.

We recommend writing concise, descriptive titles with keywords that highlight unique product features and benefits. And in the spirit of customer-centricity, consider distinct keywords that shoppers are already using to discover your product.

Amazon has its own product page guide which recommends the following:

  • Keep it under 200 characters, but make sure to include critical information
  • Capitalize the first letter of each word
  • Do not capitalize conjunctions (and, or, for), articles (the, a, an), or prepositions with fewer than five letters (in, on, over, with)
  • Use numerals (2 instead of two)
  • Do not include subjective commentary, such as “Hot Item,” or “Best Seller”

A full guide provided by Amazon can be found here.

Product Images

Product photos and images are very, very important! They are your best bet at conveying the experience of physically holding the product in your hands. Due to this fact, the importance of high resolution, professional images cannot be understated.

Amazon marketing optimization

Images courtesy of SellersChoice.digital

Invest in excellent product images – it’s well worth it! We recommend capturing your product from various angles, using images that show your product being worn or used by a real person, and seriously considering the photos’ emotional appeal to the customer.

Amazon states the best product images will:

  • Have pure white backgrounds
  • Have at least 1,000 dpi
  • Show the entire product, and have the product occupy at least 80% of the image area
  • Include only what the customer will receive

Product Bullet Points

Product bullet points, or key features, offer a detailed look at your product’s features, benefits and characteristics. Highlight the products most unique features and value propositions first. Your product bullet points should be scannable but include an in-depth look at the most important aspects of your offering. Think of them as an “elevator pitch” for your product that provides just enough information to convey why it deserves more attention without overloading the customer. Be sure to be intentional with each word that you use, and don’t waste space with redundant information.

Be sure to include your most valuable keywords in this section as Amazon relies heavily on bullets as search algorithm criteria.

Product Description

If a customer has reached your product description, they’re either A) learning more about your product and then making a purchase or B) learning more about your product and deciding against a purchase. In other words, by this point, the customer is committed to learning about your product and close to making a purchase decision.

Your job is to include objective, detailed information:

  • Write in full sentences, be thorough in your product description, and expand on your bullet points, features and benefits, and any other relevant information or images
  • Use relevant keywords naturally and write persuasively, as your customer will likely be taking the time to read the product description in its entirety

Don’t leave out any product details! By doing so, you risk the customer moving on due to unanswered questions.

Lastly, Amazon provides HTML markup which you can use to optimize for aesthetic appeal and readability while avoiding one large, bulky paragraph.

Amazon Enhanced Brand Content (EBC)

Enhanced Brand Content (EBC) is an Amazon tool used to optimize your product descriptions for free. EBC includes templates that enable additional features such as banners, tables, bullets, interactive images and copy, all available for seamless integration.

It offers a richer visual experience, but it’s not available to everyone. This gives EBC sellers a competitive advantage. To use EBC you’ll need an Amazon Seller Central Pro subscription, to register each brand with Amazon Brand Registry, and to own a registered word trademark for each brand name.

If you have the time and resources, give some serious consideration to building a stronger brand and increasing conversions by enhancing your content on Amazon. Differentiation from the competition and an improved ability to offer your unique value proposition via a more robust customer experience are real benefits that quality Amazon EBC offers.

See also: What is Amazon Brand Analytics, and should you be using it?

Product Pages: Marketing Strategy

Great! At this point, you’ve primed your value product pages and are ready to begin driving customer traffic to your products with a targeted, optimized Amazon marketing strategy. This process will likely require testing and iteration as you explore best practices for your specific products.

Optimize Your Amazon Advertising

Sellers advertise on Amazon via Amazon Marketing Services (AMS), Amazon’s pay-per-click (PPC) platform where products are targeted to relevant visitors based on keywords, customer interests, and related products.

As consumers increasingly begin shopping sessions on Amazon over its competitors, AMS can offer greater exposure and advertising ROI; last year, 44% of shoppers3 started their shopping sessions on Amazon (11% more than Google).

Let’s take a look at different ad types and best practices.

Ad Types

  • Product Display ads: appear on side or bottom of Amazon SERPs and on the side of related product pages.
  • Sponsored Product ads: appear in Amazon SERPs and on product pages before the product description.
  • Headline Search ads: appear at the top of Amazon SERPs and can include custom ad copy, a link to a branded landing page featuring branded images and select products.

Best Practices

  • Define your goals: Sales? Awareness? A/B Creative Testing? Be sure to determine where you’re going before you take action. An unfocused strategy isn’t much of a strategy at all.
  • Develop an organized approach: Categorize ad campaigns based on significant variables. Sorting based on product category, performance, new keywords or products are all examples of meaningful campaign metrics. Measuring ad performance is critical and requires organization.
  • Craft compelling and quality ad copy: Write accurate, creative and distinct copy that stands out against the competition. Keep is short and to the point, but still engaging to your audience.

Optimize Your Amazon SEO

Amazon is a very popular search engine. Consumers are increasingly beginning their product search on Amazon, and it’s important for any seller to optimize their marketing strategy in alignment with this trend. Enter A9, Amazon’s search engine (containing its own algorithm) which cares about one thing exclusively: buyers.

For sellers, this means continuing good customer-centric practices when it comes to Amazon SEO and A9 optimization. The good news is, you have options! Amazon listing and A9 optimization services are out there, but keep reading for the DIY method.

You’ll want to optimize your content for three things: discoverability, relevance, and performance.

Discoverability

  • Learn from your top competition: If they’re ranking high, they’re doing something right. See what you can learn from their titles and keywords.
  • Invest in digital advertising: Amazon, Facebook, and Google ads can all play a significant role in driving traffic to your product pages and improving discoverability.
  • Leverage Amazon Backend Keywords: Think of backend keywords as Amazon’s version of HTML “meta tags”, used on the backend of websites (they’re hidden) to get better search engine visibility: your Amazon backend keywords can organically boost your product page ranking in tandem with other components of your listing. Amazon allows up to 250 characters, so be deliberate.

Relevance

  • Create excellent product descriptions and bullet points: Be very detailed, readable and persuasive in your descriptions while naturally including your most important keywords. Focus on writing scannable bullet points that highlight product benefits while also including most relevant keywords. This combination will optimize for A9 while resonating deeply with potential customers.
  • Use stellar product images and titles: Your product title and main image are the first impression of your listing and brand; shoppers will decide to click or keep scrolling based on the accuracy and quality of these components, and A9 will rank accordingly.

Performance

  • Seek higher product conversion rate: The higher your conversion rate, the higher your search ranking will be. This rate is a function of pretty much everything we’ve discussed. Traction between an increased conversion rate and your search ranking will build, so you’ll want to do your best in measuring conversion impact due to a shifted variable in your marketing strategy.
  • Generate customer reviews: Online reviews are an important factor A9 uses to rank listings. So, you’ll want to focus on generating legitimate (not fake) reviews via follow-up reminder emails to customers after purchases and by using any other tactics you see fit.

Customer Reviews

Customer reviews and ratings are very important: 91% of 18-34 year old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Reviews serve as social proof and help shoppers make purchase decisions; it’s absolutely in a seller’s best interest to maximize Amazon review generation and establish customer feedback as a vital piece of their Amazon marketing strategy.

Unsurprisingly, the best way to get more reviews is: ask and engage! You can:

  • Include a product review request in the physical shipment.
  • Follow up with a post-purchase email including a review request.
  • Respond to customer reviews from your seller account by expressing appreciation and addressing issues or complaints kindly.

Direct Marketing

Lastly, optimizing your marketing strategy off-Amazon can be productive in improving your Amazon presence, conversions and potentially sales on your own ecommerce site. Before reviewing different tactics, you’ll want to read Amazon’s prohibited seller activities and actions to ensure compliance.

Email Marketing

Traditional email marketing is still one of the best marketing methods around: 87% of marketers say email marketing performance is increasing. Increased customer touches leading to closer relationships (and future conversions) can add significant value to your long term Amazon marketing strategy, especially when paired with email marketing design and automation tools.

Leverage email marketing to optimize your Amazon strategy by:

  • Sending personal thank you emails post-purchase
  • Requesting product reviews periodically
  • Keeping customers in the loop with new product releases or company updates

Over time, these tactics can increase customer interaction, loyalty, and ultimately drive conversions on Amazon and on your own ecommerce site, if you so choose.

Good to Go!

Optimizing your Amazon marketing strategy takes time, resources, and patience. You’ll most likely need to test different components, measure impact, and iterate to see what works best for your unique situation.

By building and continuously optimizing your Amazon marketing strategy around a foundation of stellar product pages, you’ll be prepared to meet your buyers with an excellent value proposition and a standout customer-centric experience.

1 Kenshoo Whitepaper
2 CNBC Article
3 NPR Poll

Andrew Maff Seller's Choice

Andrew Maff is the Director of Marketing and Operations for Seller’s Choice, a full-service digital marketing agency for e-commerce sellers. Andrew is a digital strategy and marketing expert with over a decade of experience improving the online presence of e-commerce sellers all over the world.

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Jack Ship