An Amazon marketing strategy may look a little different from your typical marketing plans. Amazon is a powerhouse of products, competition and customers - and it’s unique. Our goal is to bust through the competition. We’re going to help you kick off 2020 with five easy-to-follow steps to setup your marketing campaigns for a strong year.
Now that the holidays are over, you’re hopefully refreshed and ready to tackle business again. The holiday rush is equally exhausting and exciting–so what we want to do in January is take the excitement from quarter four and maintain it while building a solid approach for your 2020 marketing strategy.
Start With SWOT
In marketing we love a SWOT analysis. Truthfully, it is one of the most important snapshots of your marketing strategy. It gives you an easy-to-follow guide which includes your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Once you are able to define those four components for your Amazon business, you can then set a plan in motion to improve your weaknesses and challenge your threats.
Identify Your Strengths
The first thing to jot down, before we get into those easy-to-follow steps is: What worked well in 2019? It’s easy to focus on our shortcomings but we're positive there is at least one thing that you rocked over the past year. Embrace that. You should be really proud of that accomplishment because we're sure it wasn’t easy to come by.
Grow From Your Weaknesses
It’s not easy to point out your own imperfections when it comes to a business that you’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears into - or maybe that’s part of your weakness. Perhaps the time and effort to learn and grow your business model wasn’t part of the plan last year. It’s easy to get into the mindset that Amazon is a huge, awesome marketplace (which it is) and you’re going to rock it, but there is an ever-changing learning curve that comes with selling on Amazon.
Your weaknesses are IMPORTANT! You need to have weaknesses so you can improve. Next, we want you to write at least one, if not more weaknesses you were faced with in 2019. Those can help to power you and your goals in 2020.
Embrace The Opportunities
This is the exciting part. You’ve hit refresh. You’ve identified what you did well and where you need help. This is where our five steps are going to be huge for you and your Amazon marketing strategy - which is why we’ll come back to this section below.
Learn From Your Threats
The last section of the SWOT analysis are your threats. What threatens your business? Is it competition? Similar products that are of poor quality? Identify these challenges in your business so you can learn from them.
5 Opportunities To Setup A Strong Amazon Marketing Strategy
When you are reading and focusing on these five steps, don’t forget about what you noted in your SWOT analysis. Those strengths, weaknesses and threats can help build and shape your marketing strategy for 2020.
1. Don't Lose Sight of 2019
We know it’s easy to leave 2019 in the dust but you can’t do that. Gifts are still being opened and examined. Customers are still pondering if their purchase was the right one. What that means for you as a business is that you must remain diligent with your customer service well into the new year.
A few customer service tips:
- Handle returns with the customer in mind. Returns are a part of any product-based sales business. How you choose to hand the returns (ease, promptness, being courteous) can make a big impact on the customer.
- Stay on top of questions. January is not the time to relax and lose sight of the progress you’ve made. Gift cards tend to burn holes in peoples’ pockets, so folks are ready to spend that money…and fast. Treat each customer inquiry as though it will lead to a potential sale; answer questions efficiently so that customers won’t lose interest or go elsewhere to spend those gift cards.
- Reviews are always an important component of your sales and Amazon’s ranking of your business. People are using the products they purchased over the holidays. They will be leaving reviews - hopefully more so than any other time of year! There are a few things you can do to help encourage people to leave reviews. We actually wrote a whole blog post about How to Get Amazon Reviews - The Right Way.
The competition is fierce but don’t let that scare you. It just means you need to make sure your marketing strategy includes valuable components like branding.
You most likely have a website and your products have your brand identity attached to them, so we want to make sure that your branding is consistent and present on Amazon as well. Amazon knows that you are a stronger seller if you have the tools to take your outside branding and utilize it within Amazon. That’s why they have created different ways for you to build your brand image on the Amazon site. Here are three areas to focus on when it comes to branding on Amazon.
- Optimize Your Listing: Quality photos and descriptive graphics (For example: Graphics that include a text overlay to point out and label the product's key features) can help share the product's details, uses and answer questions. It’s also important to make the most out of your title and utilize all five bullet points at the top of your listing. You’ll want to include relevant keywords so your products can be found by potential customers as well as helpful text that really describes the benefits of your product.
- Brand Stores: Think of a Brand Store as an extension of your website. You can carry your branding (colors, pictures, logo and text) over from your website to further explain the product and share your brand story. It also allows you to present your entire catalog in one central location so customers can easily see all your product offers.
- A+ Content: A+ Content (formerly Enhanced Brand Content) allows you to showcase the unique value proposition of your brand and products with visually interesting drag-and-drop modules. Instead of having a text heavy listing description, you can add images, comparison charts, split text and add simple formatting to make your product listing more eye-catching. A+ Content helps trigger the “buy now” response; and therefore tends to increase conversion rates.. Amazon estimates that it helps boost sales by up to 10%.
3. Drive Traffic Back To Your Business
Now that you’ve focused some of your Amazon marketing strategy efforts on your branding, let’s take it a step further. We’re going to drive traffic back to your Brand Store. Why? Because your Brand Store is your identity. It shares so much about your business and products. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to share additional products that you sell to buyers who are already interested in your brand.
You can drive traffic back to your product listings, or even better, your Brand Store in two ways:
- Internal Traffic: This is traffic that you get from within Amazon. The main way to drive internal traffic back to your products, is by investing in advertising. We’ll discuss the advertising options that are available to Amazon sellers below.
- External Traffic: Some of the biggest tools for Amazon sellers to use are social media and email marketing. These outside sources work well to build your brand awareness, generate interest and buzz, and ultimately send customers to your listings on Amazon to make a purchase. More people are also likely to complete the transaction when being redirected to Amazon because it’s a trusted e-Commerce platform.
4. Create An Advertising Budget and Plan
Advertising is an essential part of any business. Amazon has its own advertising platform to help Amazon sellers stand out from the competition. Amazon is the third-largest digital ad platform in the United States, just behind Google and Facebook. The Amazon advertising advantage to your budget is that users come to Amazon solely to shop. They aren’t connecting with friends, sharing pictures or performing searches (except for product searches). They are looking for a product to fit their needs and are very likely to make a purchase if they find it.
Amazon advertising consists of four main advertising opportunities:
- Sponsored Product Ads allow you to advertise an individual product listings to shoppers as they browse search results and other product detail pages.
- Sponsored Brand Ads promote your brand by featuring three of your products within a single headline ad.
- Product Display Ads intercept consumers as they browse the competitor’s product and redirect to the advertisers listing.
- NEW! Posts use curated photos meant to inspire shoppers to engage with your brand and products on Amazon. If a shopper clicks on the post they will be directed to your product listing. Since this is a new advertising opportunity it is still in beta.
The cost of advertising can look intimidating at first, but Amazon’s ad structure makes it easy for companies of any size to advertise on a budget. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising allows you to set your own budget, customize your own bids and pay only when someone clicks on your ad. The best part is, because we live in a digital world, you can adjust your bids and budget at any time.
5. Rev Up The Reviews
We mentioned reviews earlier but let’s go a bit further. Reviews are an important part of your business because they help sell your product. In the world of e-Commerce, shoppers can’t physically see or touch a product before making a purchase, so they rely heavily on reviews.
The number of gold stars is easy to see at the top of your product listing and Amazon makes it easy for the buyer to read the reviews as they scroll down. This is because Amazon recognizes the power of social proof when it comes to increasing sales. Amazon does have strong guidelines when it comes to asking for reviews, but they also offer programs that help sellers build reviews.
- Automated Seller Feedback Requests: Amazon has an automated tool that helps sellers collect reviews from verified orders. You can enable your account to send feedback requests as soon as an order is delivered.
- Early Reviewer Program: This program encourages select shoppers to provide feedback on products with minimal reviews in exchange for $1-3 in Amazon credits. You can enroll in this program for $60.
- Amazon Vine: This program invites the most trusted reviewers on Amazon to post opinions about new or pre-release items to help their fellow customers make informed purchasing decisions. This program used to only be available on Vendor Central (1P) but Amazon has recently begun a rollout to select Seller Central (3P) accounts, and we expect it to be widely available in 2020.
Now that you have some guidelines to focus on for 2020, take some time to write down the components of your SWOT analysis and create a timeline to try out these five steps. If diving in to all of this alone is intimidating, don’t worry, we’re here to help. After all, that is our specialty. We can help you customize a plan and walk you through the steps to make 2020 the best year yet.
What's Coming for 2020?
Taxes: Amazon is partnering with more states to automatically collect and remit sales tax on behalf of sellers. There are always pros and cons. The positive is that it makes a more equal playing field on Amazon for sellers. The negative is that the price advantage of purchasing on Amazon versus a brick and mortar store erodes a bit more.
Budget for FBA Fee Changes: Historically Amazon has increased FBA fees annually and it’s most likely something that will happen again in 2020.
Vine Reviewer Program Rollout: Amazon Vine was previously only available to sellers utilizing Vendor Central. We are starting to see it slowly rollout to sellers on Seller Central. This option helps generate reviews to new or pre-release items will give brands more options and ultimately aid in boosting sales.
FBA Bundling: This is another ‘maybe’ that we’ve been hearing about that could be a positive option for sellers who utilize FBA. This option sounds like no extra inventory would be needed to create a bundle.