There is incredible power in optimization.
Optimization turns ordinary into extraordinary and when it comes to Amazon listings, that is certainly no different.
There are four stages for creating an optimized Amazon listing in 2020 - Investigate, Create, Populate, & Iterate.
Stage 1: Investigate
The first thing you need to do If you want to optimize an Amazon listing and do it well is to spend some time and put some energy into investigating. You need to compile three core lists and those lists are your benefits, your differentiating factors and your keywords.
Firstly, you want a core list of benefits your product offers.
The whole idea is understanding that the benefit is what the customer experiences because of your product. They care about the end result so it's important that we as marketers understand what is the goal they're trying to achieve with this product and communicate to them how our product is going to help them do that.
- Differentiating Factors
Next up, you want a list of factors that clearly communicate why your product is different from what is already available.
If you've done your product research well, you would have found aspects of the market that haven't been improved upon or are weaknesses in the current offerings. You've actually gone out there with the supplier and improved on it. You haven't just taken what is selling well and slapped a label on it and said let's jump aboard the Amazon train because, well, that just doesn't work anymore.
Finally, you want to have a list of keywords that you are targeting with your listing. At Optamaze we use an exhaustive process for keyword research featuring a number of different tools. In our opinion, the best on the market at the moment are those offered by Helium10.
In terms of the copy of your listing, you want to have a core list of 3-5 benefits, 3-5 differentiating factors and 3-5 target phrase keywords. Those three core lists are going to be what we build this listing around and help you to not only build something that can be found on Amazon but also build something that converts potential customers into actual buyers.
Make sure you check off each one of these... many people just try and do keywords alone and they ignore the other aspects. You're immediately going to be behind your competition unless you can combine those three for a powerful result.
Stage 2: Create
Next it’s time to create your listing.
The first thing that we would encourage you to do is to write your listing copy, which includes your title, your bullet points and your description. These are the main facets of your copy and now the reason I encourage you to write these first is that these are what really frames how you're going to talk about your product.
You want to make sure that your title contains your two to three main keyword phrases that you're targeting. It should contain one of the key benefits of your product, if possible, and you should avoid it being too spammy - don’t stuff keywords in for the sake of it and ruin the customer experience.
- Bullet Points
Then, you're going to move on to your bullet points. In the bullet points, you're either going to capture their attention or you're going to lose their attention, so this can be a real make-or-break area of your listing. So, our recommendation would be to use only 200 to 250 of the characters that Amazon gives you. Generally, it's usually about two lines of text for 250 characters so I would aim for no more. If you can keep it down to 200 whilst also including relevant keywords, great - but you've got to find that balance. You want to avoid keyword stuffing and making it spammy. You don't want to just list out keywords to show for more things, you want to make it engaging.
Lastly, it is your description. You want to really utilize the description to list out more of the features if someone really is interested in your product and they want to know the finer details. Avoid listing too much of the finer detail in the bullet points, only those salient points that are going to help someone make a buying decision. For the small product specifications, try and push all of those to the description because that's where really detailed buyers are going to look to get those final bits of information where you’ll usually get around 2,000 characters in your description.
You're going to be able to create that messaging the right way through your images and most customers will make their buying decision from the images so it's important that not only do you have high quality but your messaging also runs consistently through.
- Main Image
The number one goal of your main image is to attract the click. So, if your product shows up in the search results, but doesn't attract the click, it’s a waste of time. For the main image, best practice is to fill up as much space as you can. If someone's scrolling through, especially on mobile, while the images are smaller, your image needs to ‘pop’ and stand out. Do whatever you can, get creative and put your packaging in the background if it's relevant. Use something from your product if you're selling a free gift with it, make sure that's in the image. If you've got something with lots of pieces, spread them out in the image, be creative. You're only supposed to have the actual product in the image but if that is the product and you're just creative with it, Amazon can't complain about that and you should be fine.
- Six Benefit-Driven Infographics
This is where I would recommend developing the six benefit-driven infographics. Infographics should be informative, eye-catching, and engaging. Sometimes, people will try to say too much and pack these infographics with crazy amounts of text trying to fit it all there. But no, it needs to be punchy, sell it with the key benefits, the key differentiating factors and when you add those to your listing, combined with that main image and copy, you are off to a great start.
There is more you can do once you've got images and your copy, the next thing you can do is work on your A+ content. A+content is a feature of selling on Amazon that is reserved for those who have a brand registry and in order to get a brand registry, you need a registered trademark.
In the UK, the process takes around 2 to 3 months to get a registered trademark and then another few days to get the brand registry approval with Amazon. In the US, it can take anywhere up to nine months, although recently Amazon has introduced a fast-track program to get brand registry before your trademark has been processed. Although it is very expensive, once you've got your brand registry, you can create your A+ content which will really help you to be able to expand on the benefits, create more value for the customer and really help with your conversion rates. This space is a good opportunity to be able to share more about the brand and really promote the features and the strong points of your product.
A+ content is an advanced feature and advanced strategy to be used. I would recommend using it as soon as you possibly can, as soon as you get that trademark through. But, when you do come to use it, I would recommend using a combination of the blocks that really are mobile optimization friendly.
The final aspect for Stage 2 is your price. You can set your price at a decent level and you don't have to come in at bargain-basement level in order to compete. You may not be able to charge the most in your niche because you may not have any reviews and there may be things to fight against, but at least, now you know you’ve created some great copy, talked about the benefits, created some engaging images that feature those things, and got your messaging clear.
Hopefully, through this process, you've got to the point where you're not forced to sell cheaply because you've created a high-quality product and backed it up with a clear, engaging and benefit-driven listing.
Stage 3: Populate
Now, we're moving into stage three which is to populate.
Reviews haven't been mentioned yet, but they are really important when it comes to optimizing your Amazon listing. However, you're not going to have any reviews when you first launch your product on day one. So it’s essential at this stage that you begin to turn your attention to populating your listing with as many good reviews as possible
When it comes to reviews, we're initially looking at the quantity of reviews.
In order to get more reviews, there's a whole bunch of different methods and strategies you can use.
Some potential strategies include:
- A solid follow-up sequence that engages buyers in leaving a review
- A physical product insert inside your product that encourages them to visit your website or leave a review
- Running a rebate campaign and following up with purchasers asking for a review
Focus on one or two to begin with and then add more to your repertoire as you go because reviews are still an incredibly important part of the optimization process on Amazon.
Alongside increasing the number of your reviews, you're also going to want to focus on the rating of your reviews.
For an optimized listing, the best rating you can get is five stars out of five.
You really want to aim for an absolute minimum of four stars. If your rating goes below four stars, it's really going to start to harm your conversions if you're in a competitive niche. It may even begin harming them at four, at four point five depending on where your competitors are.
If you are in a product niche that has a whole bunch of people with five stars and you come in at four point five, you're likely to not convert as well but, it’s not cut and dry, it's not going to mean you're never going to convert, so don't freak out.
If it does happen, these are things that are incremental. All of this together is going to make a massive difference. Each one of these things on their own is not going to revolutionize or destroy your business, but optimization isn't about always overhaul, it's not about wholesale changes. It's about making those little changes that are going to bring you improved results over time, so always work on your reviews.
If your reviews do drop down below a certain level then it will affect your conversion rate. I'd highly recommend trying everything you can and focusing as much energy as you can into generating more five-star reviews. There are a lot of ways to do this but the main way you can do this is simply by creating a great product.
Then finally with your reviews, you want to work on the visibility of your best reviews - make sure they show at the top of the review section.
The default is for Amazon listings to sort by top reviews as opposed to most recent and these are the ones that have got the most engagement and are deemed to be the most helpful. So what you want to try to do in order to optimize your listing is get the best reviews as high up as you possibly can.
The best reviews to increase the visibility of a) are highly rated, b) are descriptive about why they love your product, and c) have photos or even better, videos. Videos on your reviews are an incredible boost to your conversions. So, if someone does a video review - maybe an unboxing or similar - and adds it to their review, you want to make sure you do everything you can to get it to the top of those reviews.
In order to get the reviews that you want to be more prominent showing, what you need to try and do is encourage people to vote certain reviews as helpful, directing them towards those helpful reviews and get them to vote it being helpful.
Questions and Answers
The final step in the populate section when creating and optimizing a listing on Amazon is to get some questions and answers in every listing.
What you'll often find are people asking about something you've already answered in the description. Even though they're mentioned already in your bullet points and your description, it's always a good practice to have them answered again there in your questions and answers. You can either wait until customers naturally ask those questions or you can get some people - your customers, your previous customers to go back in and help you ask those questions so that you can answer them and they get to be visible in your listing as well.
That's how you're going to begin to populate your listing with these things that need time to create. They don't appear there straight away. You can't set them up in the settings of the listing because they are generated by people coming to your listing and engaging with your product.
Stage 4: Iterate
The final stage is to iterate.
Iteration is the process of testing, analyzing, optimizing, and improving. Iteration is not a one-and-done thing, it's not a one-time create a listing and then you're done. It’s four stages, you've got to put the work in to investigating, creating something really good and then populating it with good reviews and some questions and answers. Then really dedicate yourself to iterating that listing to really go through that continual process of optimization.
Let’s look at some areas you should be looking to iterate.
Testing your price is a key to optimizing your listing. You might be selling 10, 12, 15 units a day. You might think that your listing is well optimized but there’s every chance you could be selling 16, 17, 18 units a day if you were to test and tweak your pricing.
Of course, it could have the opposite result, but that's exactly why you need to test it. So once your listing begins to mature and you've gone through those first three stages you're going to want to look at testing things, like your pricing for instance.
If you are right now selling something at £19.99 you might want to test selling it at just over £20 so that the customer gets free shipping. It might seem more in the psychological idea of pricing but, the very fact that they don't have to add on another item to get free shipping if they're not a Prime customer may help with your conversions.
Of course though there's a reason every retailer on the planet uses 99 or 95 and doesn't round up to the next whole number - because it's shown to psychologically make an impact.
So, if you're selling for something on the round pound like 25 pounds, bring it down to £24.99 and studies show that it should impact your conversions.
The other thing to test with your pricing is also knowing how far you can push it up because ultimately you don't want to be the person that's selling in your market for the cheapest amount. You want to be able to attract a premium price. Premium price means more profit. More profit means more ability to be able to advertise. It means so many more things and so you want to try and push it up and often what you might find is that if you increase the price, you might still find a bump in your conversions due to the notion of perceived value.
Finally, it's always worth testing your price with vouchers. Again, if you're selling at £20, why not try selling at £25 with a 20% off voucher or some variation of this principle. This means the voucher will then show on your listing, which I always recommend doing because it improves your click-through rate. It looks more attractive on the listing, incentivizes the buyer to go through with completing their purchase and so many other things.
So, test those things as well - iterate. Don't just leave it as it is and for months on end leave it the same. Remember, a slight improvement in your conversion rate can make a massive difference to your revenue numbers. So it's always worth iterating finer aspects of your listing.
The second thing to iterate is your images.
You might want to test one main image for a couple of weeks and then try a different main image that maybe shows a different feature or include something that the other one doesn't and compare them against each other. For a couple of weeks, try not to change more than one thing at once when you're iterating, otherwise, you won't know what's making the difference, if it does make a difference.
But, when you go to your images, two weeks of one, two weeks of the other, then you can go back look at the data, see which is causing a higher conversion rate or more of a click-through rate and you can identify a winner that way. Same with your infographics, if you get six spaces, maybe get eight or ten made up and then switch between them, change through, see which ones convert the best.
Test, test and then test some more. The benefit you're going to find when you test this stuff right throughout the year, is that when it comes to peak traffic times like Prime Day, or Q4, you're going to have your testing nailed and you can really be prominent and really see some incredible results.
Lastly, you need to iterate your keywords. If you're finding new keywords through your PPC campaigns, particularly keywords that are converting to sales, then be sure to add them in to your listing too.
Your listing is prime real estate, it's going to have traffic coming to it and the more you build that up, the better impression you give of your product on that listing, the more conversions you're going to see.
This is about presenting the benefits, the messaging of the product, the difference it can make, why it's the best possible option, and continually testing and improving that, so that in time that the value of that prime real estate just continues to go through the roof.
If you’d like our help with optimizing your listing for the Amazon platform, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.