Categories
Amazon Selling Social Media Marketing

[How To] Choose the Best Social Media Platform for Selling Your Amazon Products

If you have been struggling with selling your Amazon products through social media then please read onthis post will show you exactly how to do just that!  And – be sure to read all the way to the bottom to get access to a live walkthrough video demonstration that will show you how to perform target audience research.

There are thousands of articles on the web and “gurus” preaching the importance of social media in helping you promote your products online.

In fact, here are just a few enticing stats that should convince you that having a good social media presence online for your brand and products can help you sell more:

  • 71% of consumers who've had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others. (Ambassador)
  • 76% of U.S. consumers have purchased a product they saw in a brand’s social media post (Curalate)

The challenge most of us face as sellers on Amazon (or other eCommerce channels for that matter) is that we don't really know how we should go about it.

We end up reading what feels like a million articles, watching hours of YouTube videos, and spending thousands on courses and training – with very little to show for it at the end.

Don't worry – you're not alone!  

The reason why so many of us miss the mark on social media marketing can be summarized by three critical “bottlenecks” to social media marketing success:

  1. Not choosing the right demographic to engage with
  2. Not choosing the most appropriate platform for the audience that is going to buy the product
  3. Not creating the appropriate “top of funnel” content to direct traffic to the core offer

Let's go over how to solve each of these three bottlenecks in more detail.

How to Choose the Right Demographic to Engage With

There are several social media platforms to choose from and many people are under the false impression that you have to master all of them to be successful.  This just isn't true.
In fact, if you look at most major brands today, they all have social media accounts (or “handles”) for the major social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest) – but most brands focus on using just one for communicating with people that would be looking to buy their products.

Which platform you choose to focus your advertising and engaging customers with is going to depend largely on a) who the most likely to buy your products and b) how they are gathering information to make an informed buying decision.

When you think about the who and the how, you can start to piece together the what and the where  – what are your customers using to make purchasing decisions?  Where are they going to hang out to get this information?

Demographic Breakdown Example: Designer T-Shirts

For example, let's say you were selling something in the clothing niche.  Something like a designer t-shirt.

The first question you should ask is: Who actually buys designer t-shirts?  Are they younger than 30? Mostly men and not women? What sort of other common interests do they have?  How do they collect their information?

When you're researching your target audience, you have to turn into a private investigator.  You can use a number of resources but my personal favorites are Google search using a Chrome extension tool called Keywords Everywhere and Facebook Audience Insights, which is available to Facebook Business account holders.

When I am trying to find information on my target audience, I just start by going to Google and typing in the main search term associated with my product.  In this case, it's “designer t-shirts”.

Using the Keywords Everywhere Tool, I see off to the right-hand side, a list of related and relevant search terms, along with estimated search volume, as you can see here.  The green highlighted terms are the ones with the most monthly search volume according to Google and Clickstream.

Google Search Example Showing Keywords Everywhere ResultsBased on the search results and the Keywords Everywhere tool, the top related search terms are “designer t shirts on sale”, “designer t shirts mens”, and “luxury t shirts brands”…

What I am really interested in however, is what is listed under the “People Also Search For” – because this is going to give me more specifics into what people are interested in that are related to the product.  

I see that four of the first five returns are all brands – True Religion (they sell designer jeans), Givenchy, Versace, and Chanel.

I am really interested in the fact that there are over half a million searches for True Religion Jeans.  With that much traffic, chances are that Facebook has some good data on people that follow this brand. So let's go to Facebook!

Using Facebook Audience Insights to Do Market Research

The next step is to take this information and go into Facebook Audience Insights.

I start my search by letting Facebook know I want to search for everyone on Facebook.

Then, I want to select the United States as my Audience.

Next, I am going to start defining my audience based on the fact that they like True Religion Brand jeans.  I type in “True Religion” and sure enough, this comes up as an option!  

Looking at the Demographics tab first, the very first thing I see is that my target audience is nearly split between men and women, with a little bit more women (but overall, there are a bit more women than men on Facebook anyway).  

The second thing that stands out is the age group.  Nearly 80% of both genders that like are aged between 18-44 years old.  

Audience Insights tool ages
Click the Image to Zoom In

 Third, nearly half of our audience is single and well over half are college-educated.  

Thinking about how demographics ties into purchasing decisions, younger, single, but educated crowds tend to be focused inward, place a higher importance on good looks, and “upward mobility” in the social ladder.  

The next thing I go to are the Page Likes.  I notice that there seems to be a lot of interest in people, brands, and media that are targeted heavily toward people in the African-American community.  Musicians such as Blac Youngsta, TV such as Black Entertainment TV (BET), and other influential black entertainers, sports figures, and brands. 

Audience Insights Tool - Page Likes Tab
Click the Image to Zoom In

The next tab over is the Location tab.  When I click on this, it shows me that there are certain locations in the United States where there is a higher population interested in the “True Religion” brand and potentially designer t-shirts as well.   I look at the cities and the States here, and note that it may be worth testing targeting just to a select number of States and cities to start with.

Audience Insights Tool - Locations Tab
Click the Image to Zoom In

The last tab I want to look at is the activity tab.  This tab tells me two pieces of information:  How much my audience is engaged with posts on Facebook, and what type of device they use to get their information.

I learn that my demographic is responsive to ads (the click on them) but they do not take promotional offers. 

This is a good piece of information to have, as it tells me that if I were to advertise on Facebook, or elsewhere – promotional offers may not be the best advertising strategy. 

However, if I created an ad that directed my audience to a “trust building” offer off site, then it may serve as a valuable bridge my customers to my brand and products.

 

The other piece of valuable information I receive from this tab, is that over 80% of my target audience uses their mobile device (aka Smartphone) to use Facebook.  Again, if I were to advertise on Facebook, I need to be very aware of how I am delivering ads and that the format is optimized for mobile devices.  Otherwise, I will have a difficult time communicating anything or even getting my ads displayed.

Audience Insights Tool - Activity
Click to Zoom In

Now that we have addressed the problem of not knowing our target demographic, we can now address the problem of have some good information about who are designer t-shirt audience is, we can develop a strategy for reaching our future customers on social media. 

How to choose the most appropriate Social Media Platform for your Target Audience

Looking at the previous exercise in which we found out about our target audience for designer t-shirts, we discovered that our target audience (*based on the data obtained through Facebook Audience Insights*) is:

  • Mostly aged 18-44
  • Evenly split among men and women
  • African-American 
  • Live in Urban Centers
  • Use mobile devices to get their information
  • Are influenced by advertising but not by promotional offers
  •  

 Knowing this information, we can take this and look into what sort of social media platforms would reach our audience given the product being sold, their gender, age, ethnicity, and location.
Turning to Google, we can start doing a bit more research into what social media platforms are more popular than others for this demographic profile.
The first thing I do here, is go to Google, and start a search:

 “Most popular social media platform ____”

The blank part is going to be filled in based on these demographic attributes.

For example: 

“Most popular social media platforms by age”

If I type this as a search query, I get several results including an article from Pew Research center – which is a well-established independent research and polling firm out of Washington, D.C.  

Based on this information, it tells me that those aged between 18-44 prefer mostly YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.

Social platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are especially popular among those ages 18 to 24

Similarly, I type in 

“Most Popular social media platform for African-Americans”

And I see an article  by Black Enterprise, which declares that Instagram is the favorite among this ethnic group.  

My other piece of research involves the product I am selling.  

Thinking about clothing and fashion in general, this is a very image driven product category.  As such, I need to think about the primary use of each social platform, how it structures and presents information and content.  Then I need to look at these formats and how relevant they are to my product niche. 

 Instagram seems to fit nicely because it is all about sharing images and videos, rather than words.    

How to Create Relevant “Top of Funnel” Content for your Target Audience and an Irresistible Offer

We are almost done with our analysis and research.  The final piece to converting your social media traffic to sales is to create content for your target audience that includes an irresistible offer – a call to action that directs your potential customer to go to your listing and make a purchase.
 The first thing you need to do is create what is called “top of funnel” content.  

Think about a funnel, it is wide at the top, and then gets progressively narrower as you move to the bottom.  

Engage

 The very first step in this process is to engage with your potential customers.  The best way to engage with your target audience on social media, is to start a conversation with them.  
If you're on Facebook, you might want to consider creating “fan club” page or group that is based on the niche you're selling in.
In the designer t-shirt example, think of other topics such as music, art, and entertainment  that your target audience is interested in.  

Provide Value

Once you start engaging with your audience, you need to provide them with valuable content.  By content, this could be how-to information, news, funny memes, videos, and interviews.  What you share with your audience will depend largely on what they are interested in, so to do this you need think again, about what your prospective customers already like.  Knowing the types of brands, people, and information they are consuming already will help you in providing them value of your own for your own products and services.

If I go to Instagram and look at True Religion Brand Jeans, I can see that they have a great Instagram profile.  They have over half a million followers.  Note how they have a consistent “theme” for their fashion, using a mix of genders, and ethnicities.  They also have mixed media, a blend of professional photos and videos.

True Religion Brand Instagram

 

Build Trust

Building trust requires that you provide value consistently over a period of time.  It also means, becoming an “authority” in your niche.  The only way you can become an authority figure in your niche is to consistently provide high-quality content and information for your target audience.  
Over time, as you provide value to your audience regularly, they will reciprocate their appreciation by coming to your pages frequently and engaging with your content and with others.The Social Media Sales Funnel copyright ThisisKindra.com

Create Your Irresistible Offer

 The final piece of this equation is the irresistible offer. This is where the “rubber meets the road” so to speak – because after you have engaged with your audience, provided value, and built a solid foundation of trust – it's now time to introduce them to your product so they can purchase it.
Creating a good irresistible offer will depend on a number of factors such as price, how many other complementary products you have in your brand line, and what your target audience is receptive to in terms of an offer.

Here are different types of irresistible offers you could provide your customers:

  • Payment Plans (“make 3 easy payments of…” or “choose between monthly or annual plans”)
  • Bonus Gift or Premium Access
  • Discount offer
  • Bundle or kit complementary products together
  • Add a “Risk Reversal” Incentive (free returns, no hassle exchanges, 30-day money back guarantee, etc.)
Let's go back to our designer t-shirt example.
Rather than guess what offer might work the best – I can use the information I gathered during my audience research to help me make an educated decision.
Remember that one of the major brands that my target audience was interested in was True Religion Brand Jeans.  If this brand is popular with my audience, then some deductive reasoning can lead me to make a hypothesis that what offers True Religion is providing their customers, may work with my customers as well.
When I visit the website, I immediately get this pop over, offering me 10% off.  Note that there is a scarcity timer on the pop up (30 hours) – which gives a sense of urgency to take the discount and make a purchase before time runs out.
True Religion Discount Example
 
I note at the top another offer: Free shipping with orders $150 or more.
 
True Religion Shipping Offer Example
 
Lastly, as I scroll down further on the page, I note that they offer a seasonal-themed discount of 40% off “Fall Favorites.”
 
True Religion Discount Offer Example 2
Based on the on-page offers, I can conclude that having a number of incentives and discounts can help move my customers toward making a purchase.  
 It is not an uncommon practice for eCommerce stores to “split test” a number of offers and measure the results over time.  Sometimes, it takes a combination of offers to pull in as many different segments of your customer demographic as possible.  So, don't be afraid to experiment, test, and measure your results.  

Conclusion

In this article, you learned about how to effectively promote your products using social media by addressing three critical bottlenecks to social media marketing success:

  1. Not choosing the right demographic to engage with
  2. Not choosing the most appropriate platform for the audience that is going to buy the product
  3. Not creating the appropriate “top of funnel” content to direct traffic to the core offer

You then learned about how to choose the right demographic to engage with (your target audience), how to determine which social media platform works best for your audience, and then you finally learned about how to engage, provide value, and build trust with your customers.

As you can tell, social media marketing success isn't about short term bursts of sales, but a long-term marketing strategy that should be managed and deployed carefully with research and planned for long-term growth.

If you're patient and work for the long-term gains rather than short-term bursts of sales, you will be rewarded!

Check out the Video Walkthrough Below, and learn how to conduct target audience research:

Categories
Amazon Selling

[Rumor] Did Amazon Change Its Sales Ranking Algorithms?

Rumor has it that Amazon has Changed the Sales Ranking Algorithms.

Every once in a blue super blood moon (or usually the first Tuesday of every month), Amazon changes their sales ranking algorithms.

This has been a pretty consistent occurrence for the past year or so, and for those of us that follow Amazon's patented A9 search technology, such changes are nothing revelationary or shocking (albeit disruptive).

The problem is that whenever these changes happen, it really sends a shockwave of confusion, panic, doubt, and unnecessary speculation as to what Amazon is doing.

Afterall, if we can put a finger on these changes, then we can find a way to “Crack the Code” and gain a competitive advantage.

However, this really doesn't serve us very well in the long-term.  The best thing to do is to try and understand what is happening, and then pivot and adapt the best way we can – and do so as quickly as possible.

So, What's the Rumor?

A tactic some sellers have been implementing or have implemented in the past is to give away their products at a really steep discount (greater than 50%).

The premise behind this strategy was that it would boost their sales rank (BSR) and (if the item was being purchased using a “super url” of some sort – which is considered rank manipulation by the way and against TOS) – they could also boost up their rank for keywords as well.

Panic or Not?

Now, I sense a lot of people are probably asking questions like:

  • If giving away products at a big discount isn't counting at all toward page ranking, then what do I do?
  • Do we NOT give products away at a discount at all anymore?
  • How is it possible for a new seller to rank to page one for a product?

All of these are valid questions and concerns.  So let me address these concerns one by one.

What Do We Do Now?

The first important thing to consider is, we don't know for certain if Amazon is NOT including discounted items sold in their sales ranking calculations.

It's a hypothesis.

But let's just use what we DO know to validate the theory.  We DO know that Amazon has been stripping reviews from listings where the purchase was made using a discount code of greater than 40% in many cases.

If Amazon is not allowing reviews for these items discounted greater than 40%, then why would they also count it in the sales ranking as well?

So the first thing you should try (if you have been giving products away at greater than 40%) is to stop doing that and adopt a launch strategy using discounts of say 25-40% instead.

If this positively impacts your sales and page rank, then you will have your answer.  If there is little to no change, then this confirms the theory is true.

Do We Bother Using Discounts Anymore?

Absolutely.  Discounts will continue to serve as a viable means of promoting your products.

You should use them but you should use them smartly.

But should you be using discounts to manipulate rank?

Amazon clearly is making a statement with this rumored change, that it does not want sellers arbitrarily inflating their sales or page rank.

They want customers to make the ultimate judgment (and rightfully so).

Remember that your private label product is likely being judged and tested against many others of similar products.  Amazon wants your product to win based on its own merits, on many factors, not just price.

How To Rank For Products Now?

Ah, so now we get down to probably the most important question in people's minds.  Ranking to Page 1.

Here are a few things you can do to get sales velocity:

Start an Amazon Sponsored Products Campaign (PPC) Right Away

Understand that when you participate in Amazon’s Sponsored Products program, you are “priming the pump” for not just pay-per-click sales, but ORGANIC sales.  Why?  Because whenever a customer purchases your product through a sponsored ad using a relevant keyword search term for your listing, it increases the relevance score for your product in the marketplace organically for that keyword.  This, therefore, helps boost your page rank and your sales.

*Important note about Sponsored Ads: it’s entirely possible to run your advertising campaign at a loss or break even during your first month or even two.  This doesn’t mean, however, that you aren’t profiting organically based on the sales from these campaigns.  Of course, you will want to consistently fine-tune and decrease your Acos ratio  (advertising cost of sales) over time – but this is a long-term and “forever” type of strategy – you don’t want to NOT advertise your products.

Utilize a launch campaign strategy

 A launch campaign is a great way to ramp up sales velocity.  A typical launch campaign consists of giving away batches of your product away at a steep discount for several days.  There are a few ways to go about this.  There is the fast (less effort on your part) and expensive way or the less expensive and long way (more effort on your part).   

  • The fast, more expensive way:  Sign up to a service like Viral-Launch.  Give them a total of 80 units to give away at 10 per day for no less than 8 days.  This will not just help you achieve sales velocity, but improve your page rank for the main keyword for your product.   You can get 50% off your first launch here
  • The slow and less expensive route (maybe):  This technique will take some time (8  weeks) and also require some knowledge about email marketing, list building, and good copywriting skills.  It involves building a Facebook page, conducting market research, creating a viral giveaway contest, collecting emails, and then promoting tiered discounts to the email list using time scarcity.   The details about this tactic are too lengthy to go into in this post, so look out for a supplemental guide and workshop in the future on how to do this!
  • Less than stellar results but may help give a boost in other ways:  Try an Amazon Giveaway!  When you do this, you are essentially buying your own product at “full price” which means that to Amazon, this is just like if someone made a purchase!  Obviously, this can temporarily boost your sales velocity and rank.  You can do this twice per month without Amazon blinking an eyelash, and if sales go stagnant, it can even help revive your listing! 

You can create an Amazon giveaway for your product by going to your Seller Dashboard and clicking the Advertising tab.  Then click on “Promotions.”  Then you’ll see this:

amazon giveaway set up instructions

 

Click on Create and set up a giveaway.  Now, follow the steps in this image (you may have to zoom in to read it clearly):how to create an amazon giveaway

 

 

Conclusion

No one knows for sure if Amazon is or is not using discounting sales in their calculations for sales rank.  And even if they are not, remember that sales rank is a moving target – it fluctuates hourly, sometimes even minute to minute.  So trying to base your performance and sales just on sales rank alone is probably not an efficient use of your efforts.

What is important is maintaining consistent sales velocity comparative to other competitors selling similar products to yours in the same category.  Selling consistently means driving traffic to your listing consistently and converting.  As a seller, your primary focus should always be on traffic and conversions.

Categories
Amazon Selling

How to Get More Product Reviews in 2018

How to Get More Product Reviews in 2018

One of the top questions I see posted on Facebook and elsewhere online by new and veteran eCommerce sellers is: “How do I get more verified reviews for my products?”

In today's post, I am going to show you one tactic I have used for nearly three years now quite successfully in getting VERIFIED customer feedback for my private label Amazon.com products.

This strategy is best shown visually as I wanted to show you actual examples of how OTHER successful sellers are deploying this strategy to get hundreds to thousands of customer reviews.

Before you Watch the Video

Before watching this video, I want to just say that the #1 thing you can do to get “5-star feedback” – for any product – and on any eCommerce platform (whether it's Amazon, Shopify, Etsy, or eBay) – is to offer a high-quality product that people will LOVE.

The Hard but Real Truth About Reviews

The fact is, most online shoppers don't care about you, the seller.  They don't care about making your sales conversion rates skyrocket.

The truth is, most online shoppers care only about themselves.

What's more, they probably did a lot of research to ensure they got the BEST product at the BEST price possible.

How to Get More Reviews (without being pushy, spammy, or slimy)

Watch this video below, and you'll learn exactly how to get more reviews for your products.  This is a strategy that is fairly inexpensive to do (about $.10 cents per unit) and will help increase your chances of a getting a verified feedback for your product.