No matter how much time you spend researching a hot product, there are always variables to consider. As we all know, desirable markets on Amazon can shift in the blink of an eye.
One day you’re riding the wave of sales velocity on a trendy new product, and the next, you’re sitting on a pile of inventory in your 3PL warehouses because trends shifted on a dime. Because of this volatility, when you enter into a competitive market, you must do a few things to give yourself the best possible chance at success as quickly as possible. You can read up on the best practices for optimizing your product listings in this article, as well.
The best way to drive attention to your Amazon products is to have the right presence on the platform. Every product listing in your arsenal needs to be fine-tuned. It needs to have the right elements in place to be seen first to potential customers amongst the huge sea of competitors.
In this article, we will discuss the best practices for your product listing optimization strategy in order to increase sales on new, competitive products.
1. How to Develop Effective Amazon Product Listings
There’s no shortcut to optimizing your Amazon product listings. Some hard work is necessary to do up front to ensure success. Before we get into the details, it’s important to have a base understanding of how Amazon’s product ranking algorithm works and how that affects the way your products surface.
2. The Amazon A9 Algorithm
Amazon’s product listing and ranking algorithm is called the A9 algorithm. Like many other companies, Amazon is not very transparent about how A9 works. You can learning everything there is to know about the A10 algorithm in one of our blog articles, as well. This allows them to maintain more control over search results.xperienced sellers, however, have been able to deciphersome information over time by analyzing data and crunching numbers.
According to those that have done thisdata analysis, these are the three factors that Amazon’s is thought to be most concerned with when it comes to the A9 algorithm:
- Your Product’s Overall Sales Performance
- The Relevancy of Your Keyword Strategy
- Your Product’s Price and Availability
Let’s take a quick look at each of these.
Your Product’s Overall Sales Performance
If your product is selling well and consistently, these factors are going to work in your favor. One factor that can damage your success is negative reviews about product quality, shipping, and buyer complaints in general. So no matter how consistent your sales velocity may be, customer complaints offset your success.
The Relevancy of Your Keyword Strategy
Keyword strategy - and utilization - is essential for any product to see the light of day. If you start chasing keywords that are too competitive and you wont be able to compete.
Your product listings have to strategically include your primary keywords to ensure formatting works in your favor. Using keywords is never a “set it and forget it” exercise. This is because keyword positioning and their competitive landscapechange constantly, and as an Amazon seller you will want to monitor those changes and tweak them accordingly.
Your Product’s Price and Availability
Part of Amazon’s unique value proposition to its customers is to constantly display products of high quality and that are fairly priced given market conditions. Therefore, your prices always need to reflect market rate while still ensuring that you’re getting the profit margin you need. Otherwise, what’s the point of selling at all?
There’s a fine line to walk here, but our best advice is to make sure to stay in a reasonable range of the average product price in your niche. On the other hand, don’t fall too far on either end of the spectrum if you want Amazon to give your products a fighting chance in the algorithm.
Understanding the main factors that drive Amazon’s A9 algorithm makes it a little easier to know what steps you need to take. Once your products are selling consistently, you have the right keyword strategy humming along, and your prices aren’t raising any red flags, the next steps are easier.
3. Amazon A+ Content and the Buy Box
Part of being a successful Amazon is registering your brand with Amazon. If you haven’t done this - and we’re assuming you have - stop reading this article and do that now. Registered brands have access to product listing optimization features under Amazon’s A+ Content program and unregistered brands do not.
Amazon’s A+ Content program allows you to add new features to your product listings, such as images and line breaks, which greatly help with how your product listings are featured in the A9 algorithm. However, when you do not have access to A+ Content, most of what potential buyers see is text because you can’t customize listings.
A+ Content also provides pre-formatted layouts, making it easier to plug in your content than create it from scratch. These pre-formatted layouts also help your content surface more easily because it’s more attractive to the readers who’ll be consuming it on your product listings.
When you properly leverage A+ Content and take care of the other three preliminary factors mentioned earlier, you’ll end up in the Buy Box listings more often. And there’s no doubt that the more you’re in the Buy Box, the better your sales will be long-term.
Several tactics are important to ensure that your product listings are properly optimized and set you up for success.
4. Elements of an Effective Amazon Product Listing
Sometimes the term “optimize” can get a little tricky.
For example, Amazon sellers sometimes stuff as many keywords as possible into product listings. Or write too robotically rather than in a natural voice.
Given this tendency, it’s valuable to consider the difference between an effective listing and one that is only assumed to be optimized by traditional standards. Read more about how to optimize your Amazon product listings.
The following six elements need to be properly optimized to ensure you have an effective listing:
- Product Title
- Product Image
- Product Description
- Descriptive Bullet Points
- Product Ratings & Reviews
- Backend Keywords
There are a few small things you can do to make sure to take advantage of each.
Amazon allows you to have product titles that are up to 250 characters long. That’s fine, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that all of your product titles should be 250 characters long. What’s most important is that your title is descriptive, but more importantly, it convinces potential buyers to take the extra time to continue scrolling down on your listing to learn more about your product.
A long product title for its own sake is relatively pointless if you’re not being persuasive enough in the way you craft the title to encourage people to keep reading.
An engaging product title that holds people’s attention and convinces them to take action can fall somewhere between 120-160 characters. This length is plenty to tell what your product does, what’s different about it, and describe its utility without getting too long and running the risk of people scrolling on to a new product because they become bored with the listing.
The visual representation of your product is essential. While you don’t necessarily have to spend to get a product listing published on Amazon, this is one place where you might consider spending some money. Taking the time to have professional photos done of your product can quickly pay for itself.
A professional photographer will be able to capture your product in a way that you cannot, even with the quality of cameras we all have on our phones these days. So make that investment if you’re able.
You can add up to 10 images of your product for each listing, and you don’t necessarily have to add all 10, but there’s also no reason not to add all 10.
You want to be truthful about what your product does and what makes it different, but it’s also very important to be influential and decisive in how you frame the language in your product description. It takes a potential buyer a little longer to scroll down to find the description, so you must make that work worth their time.
Make sure that the description includes all of your primary keywords, so you’re continuing to tell a story that’s attractive to your potential buyer, but also don’t be robotic. For example, describe how the product works, talk about size, shape, color, etc. But most importantly, talk about the differentiating factors that make that product stand out from other similar products your category.
If a listing visitor makes it to your description, you’re in the ballgame. They’re likely at the point of comparing your product to other similar at this point. So give them plenty of reasons to buy yours rather than someone else’s.
Descriptive Bullet Points
Amazon allows you to add five descriptive bullet points for each of your products. Make sure to use all of these and make them impactful. There are a few strategic things you can do to make your bullet points stand out and grab the reader’s attention:
- Consider capitalizing and/or bolding the first few words of the bullet point
- Keep the content snappy and to the point, but also make sure to include your primary keywords. Play with a few different descriptive variations to determine what would make you interested in the product if you were in the buyer’s shoes
- Consider the five-second rule. Our attention spans have all been limited by social media, to the point where people make snap judgments on most things they read within the first five seconds. So make sure the five seconds people take on your bullet points are worth it
In short, use the space you have allotted, but also be mindful of getting to the point of the benefit your product provides.
Product Ratings & Reviews
The importance of product ratings and reviews is well-known to Amazon sellers, so we won’t get into too much detail here. As always, do your due diligence to ensure that your product’s average ratings are staying high and there aren’t any issues preventing it from doing so.
Also, remember to take the time to monitor your reviews to ensure they’re largely positive and any concerns raised in negative reviews are taken care of promptly. This is especially true if these have to do with the product quality or customer service. You can read more about how to improve your product reviews to decrease your ad spending.
Amazon offers sellers the opportunity to add backend keywords to their listings. You can read in detail about how to optimize Amazon backend keywords in your product listings in this article. Backend keywords remain invisible to people checking out your product listings. However, you add them in Seller Central, and they help augment the searchability of your listing’s primary keywords.
These keywords are also indexed for your product in the major search engines like Google and Bing to help your products surface more often in search listings.
When you align the quality of your product listings with a well-conceived PPC strategy, momentum and sales velocity tend to follow.
5. How to Properly Optimize Amazon PPC Campaigns
Properly optimized Amazon PPC campaigns can be a powerful complement to a well-executed product listing strategy. Unfortunately, while most successful sellers are running Amazon PPC campaigns to make money they’re earning go even further in building momentum for their business, not all of these sellers are doing so as well as they could be. Here’s a great resource for learning how to reduce your Amazon PPC spending by improving your customer reviews.
A few small formatting and execution tricks will help ensure that you’re getting the right return on your PPC investment.
Let’s take a look at these five in particular:
- Setting up Structured Advertising Campaigns
- Developing Convincing and Precise Ads
- Leveraging Keywords Throughout the Ad
- Using High-Quality Images
- Being Willing to Iterate to Find Success
Setting Up Structured Advertising Campaigns
With structured Amazon PPC campaigns, you can organize your campaigns and keywords in the way you want them to flow. The best strategy is to create structured campaigns for each of your product categories. Then, under each of these product category campaigns, you create ad groups for your products.
Think of this like primary and secondary categories. The introductory class is the “base” product—for example, car seat covers. The secondary categories are the types of the primary category—for example, leather seat covers, cloth seat covers, and so on. When you perform keyword research for both the primary and secondary categories, it’s easy to weave everything together in a structure that will be powerful for your overall PPC strategy.
Developing Convincing and Precise Ads
Similar to your product listings, your ads have to be well-written, concise, and precise. The language in your ads needs to be persuasive but also accurate. The language should convince people checking out the product to take the next step, but the only way that is done is to ensure the ad is well-written.
Products should always have thorough descriptions. Factors like dimensions, size, shape, angles, weight, width, and product length are important.
If writing isn’t necessarily your thing, it could be worth hiring a copywriter on a project basis to help out. A persuasive ad, free of spelling and grammatical errors, convinces the person viewing it to take the next step you want them to take.
Leveraging Keywords In the Title
It’ll be much easier to leverage those keywords in your title with a strong understanding of the keyword ecosystem for your product and its category. Consider using your primary keyword and negative keywords if you can pull together a relevant comparison for them. Read more about Amazon's Platinum keywords in our blog article.
Be creative and make your listing’s title unique, so it stands out to people as they’re scrolling through and looking at products.
Using High-Quality Images
As we mentioned previously, high-quality images tie together all the elements of a quality ad to make sure it’s as impactful as possible. Take the time to make sure your images are professional, and if necessary, hire a professional photographer to take photographs of your product.
Especially if you have changed the product enough to be different from the original version selling well in your niche.
Being Willing to Iterate to Find Success
Last but not least, the most important element of finding a mix of advertising campaigns that work for you requires iteration and tweaking. It’s highly unlikely that the first set of ads you run will perform at the level you wish them to. As a result, you won’t get the optimal ROI on the first run. But, if you do, you’re a unicorn!
Therefore, it’s very important to learn from each campaign. When you understand what went well, what went poorly, and where there’s room for improvement, it’s easy to refine your campaigns to maximize the resources available you have to leverage.
With optimized product listings and PPC campaigns, you have a strong foundation for a promotional mix for your products. That foundation can be further amplified through well-designed social media campaigns and creating cross-promotional relationships with sellers in your niche that compliment your brand.
Developing Social Media Campaigns for Your Product
Social media campaigns that are effective share a few elements in common:
- The campaign runs on the medium(s) where your audience hangs out
- The language your campaign uses matches your buyer’s language
- In your campaign, you’re solving below-surface pain points
- You lean on organic social media first before burning money through ads
There’s no point in building organic social media campaigns if you aren’t first aware of where to target those campaigns first. Take the time and do the work to find out where your most likely buyers hang out. This preference is likely a factor of demographics (age, income level, location, education level, etc.) but not always. Don’t make an assumption here, have absolute certainty. If your premise is incorrect, it could cost you precious time and wasted work.
When you find out where your buyers hang out, see what type of language they use. Are they formal when they talk about their problems? Informal? Do they use slang? Do they use GIFs in their posts? Do they use hashtags? Whatever they do, and however they sound, you have to mirror that in your campaigns to be convincing and attractive to that audience.
The tendency with most social media campaigns is to write copy that solves the above-surface pain points - those that are obvious - which your product solves, but those aren’t the real pain points. The real pain points are those lying beneath the surface.
For example, someone may tell you that they’re tired because they aren’t getting enough sleep when in reality, they’re tired because their body has been pushed to the limit due to the stress of not getting enough sleep. So dig a little bit deeper and do some thinking about the below-surface pain points that your product solves or how it makes your customer’s life easier.
One of the biggest mistakes Amazon sellers make regarding social media is immediately launching paid campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, etc.
You should only launch paid campaigns once organic social campaigns run their course, and provide the data you need to make intelligent decisions. Then, when an organic campaign is structured the right way, you’ll get the traction you need to help you think tactically about the elements that will be powerful for paid campaigns in the future.
Creating Cross Promotional Relationships With Complementary Brands
When you’re building traction for a product to make it more competitive, it’s never a good idea to try to go it alone. It’s cliche, but it takes a village. Part of the work you’ll need to do is to find cross-promotional partners for your product.
Ideally, these partners should be Amazon sellers in your niche selling products complementary to yours, but not products that are in direct competition with yours. When the products are complementary, it’s easy to build cross-promotional campaigns that effectively expose products to each other’s audiences.
Think about the problem that your problem solves. Then, think about how that problem would be even more easily solved by a complementary or add-on product. Then, find the sellers who are making their living selling these complementary products and figure out a way to cross-promote using social media, websites, podcasts, etc. It’s 100% free and can be a great way to extend the visibility of your products.
With the right mix of well-optimized product listings, well-optimized PPC campaigns, social media practices that meet your buyers where they’re already hanging out, and smart cross-promotional campaigns, Well informed Amazon sellers can conquer even the most competitive niche.
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