Episode 147

Branding + Listing Optimization on Amazon

Emma Schermer Tamir - Marketing by Emma
January 13, 2021
SUBSCRIBE: iTunesStitcher

Once upon a time you could source any old product you wanted from Alibaba, slap your name on it, throw up a listing on Amazon and presto!  Instant sales.  I personally know several people who sold 7-figures + per year doing this.  Well….those days are over.  Everyone I know who ran that kind of business is either 1. Out of business or 2. Had to make a hard pivot.  

To succeed on Amazon now you need to build a brand.  You need products that delight customers and serve a unique purpose.  You need listings that clearly communicate your brand difference and value proposition.  And you need to work on driving rankings the right way.  

My guest today is Emma Schermer Tamir - Co-founder of Marketing by Emma.  We talk about how listing optimization on Amazon has shifted in recent years and how brand building now plays a major role in your success on Amazon.  Here’s a look at what we discuss:

  • From brand registry, to making customers happy, to Google traffic - why building a brand makes sense.
  • Spammy product titles or more pleasing to the eye titles - what works and what doesn’t when crafting the perfect title
  • Why skimmability should be one of your primary goals when writing bullet points and descriptions
  • How proper listing optimization on Amazon can possibly lead to more traffic from Google
  • What great brands can teach us about A+ content, product differentiation, and breaking through the noise on Amazon. 

Mentioned in this episode:

Prosper Show

Amazing Selling Machine

Alibaba

Prosper Show Blog by Emma

Amazon A+ Content

Black Rifle Coffee Company

elf Cosmetics

SplashEZ

Emma Schermir Tamir - Owner and CEO at Marketing by Emma

Via LinkedIn

Via Facebook


Marketing by Emma - Copywriting and Amazon Listing Optimization Services

Via Website

Via LinkedIn

Via Facebook


FREE Analysis

Episode Transcript

Brett:

Well, hello and welcome to another addition of the eCommerce Evolution podcast. I'm your host, Brett Curry, CEO of OMG Commerce. And today we are talking about a topic that is super duper important. It's important for right now. And I believe this is really where the marketplace that is, and the behemoth that is Amazon. This is where things are going. And so today we're talking about both branding, brand building and listing optimization. How those work together on Amazon. What you need to be considering right now and how you need to be planning for the future.

Brett:

My guest today is an expert in this space. You've maybe seen her speak at events like Prosper Show. That's actually where we met. She and I both spoke at a recent Prosper Show. I say recent, it's been maybe a year and a half ago. Time doesn't make sense anymore now in this COVID world.

Brett:

But we met at Prosper and it was crazy because we're both from Missouri. And how often does that happen? It doesn't happen very often. She's in Columbia, which is where Mizzou is or University of Missouri. I'm in Springfield. This is where Missouri State is. Oddly enough, we're not that big of rivals in sports and whatnot. But I'm delighted to welcome to the show, Emma Schermer Tamir. She is the co-founder and CEO of Marketing by Emma and I'm really excited about this topic today. And so with that, welcome to the show, Emma. And how's it going?

Emma:

Thanks for that introduction, Brad. You are right. It is a rare opportunity to meet a fellow Missourian, especially in the e-commerce. I think people when I say Missouri, they kind of look at me with a blank glaze and say, "Why would you live there?"

Brett:

Exactly. It really is, so quick plug for Missouri is great. There's hills and rivers and lakes and hiking and fun stuff.

Emma:

Yeah. It's beautiful.

Brett:

It's beautiful. Yeah. But I remember I was talking to this large shoe company based in California, we're running their marketing. And he learned that we were in Missouri. He's like, "Oh, I don't think I've ever spoken to anyone from Missouri." And I'm like, "Okay." We do have the internet. We do understand marketing and e-commerce and all that.

Emma:

Yeah, yeah. We are not completely off the grid. We are connected to the rest of the world. But yeah, I am the co-founder Marketing by Emma. We help e-commerce businesses with their copywriting needs, helping them really connect with their dream customers but also, helping them to tell their story in a compelling way that is going to help them stand out from the noise, grab attention and hopefully develop some of those long-term relationships. So it's not just about making that initial transaction, but really building that into something more and ongoing.

Brett:

Yeah. I love it. I love what you guys do, love your work and it's very much needed and it's really important for right now. So before we get into this topic of brand building on Amazon, listing optimization and copying and all the things that you do. Give us just the quick kind of 90 seconds or so background, how did you get into this space and what was the Genesis of Marketing by Emma?

Emma:

I will try my best to keep that within 90 seconds, I can get a little winding with this story, but essentially I have a marketing background. I kind of fell into marketing by being skilled at writing. And on my second date with my now husband and also my co-founder, we were talking and he was already trying to convince me to let him put me out there and connect me with people that he thought would get value out of the work that I would be able to do for them. And we're both very stubborn, but I guess in this sense he was more stubborn and kept pushing and eventually it transformed into a business far beyond what we could have either of us, I think imagined.

Brett:

Well, big thank you to your then new boyfriend now husband. It's a bold move. And I'm just wondering, was that a move to try to like secure future dates? Or was that was a move to say, "No, I think we got a real business here." And possibly it was both. And so, kudos to your husband. Good moves, good moves.

Emma:

Yeah. I think he just saw how miserable I was at my job. And I had that tendency to always go put myself out there more than what I should at a job. Do too much and then it really starts to wear on you, but it's totally different when it's your own business because all of the too much is for yourself and what you're creating and how you're serving your clients. So it's very different.

Brett:

Yeah. That is awesome. Love that story. And so, as we transition to this topic, you and I we're prepping for the show and we've used your company for listing optimization and some copywriting services and you guys do great work there. So we're kind of getting into the, hey, let's talk about some of the ins and outs and some of the new ways to optimize listings, and that's certainly important. And we're going to talk about that today on the show, but it kind of morphed into, that's important and will probably always be important but branding is important.

Brett:

And thinking about your Amazon business more than just, how do I rank, how do I sell more widgets or move more product, but thinking about it more holistically and thinking a little more long-term is huge. So just a quick background to set this up. I'm part of different marketing and e-commerce groups. I'm connected to a decent number of people in the space. And I just remember several years ago when kind of amazing selling machine just came out, which was an awesome product, taught people how to make money on Amazon, one of the best info products ever. There's this trend of people going and sourcing random stuff on Ali-Baba, slapping a label on it, sending it to Amazon, selling it.

Brett:

And in a lot of cases making a killing, right? But there was no creativity or work there other than just arbitrage and finding, oh, people are looking for this. There's not a great product. I'll go source it from Alibaba, put it on Amazon. Bingo, I've got a business. But here's the interesting thing. Most of those people that I met back in that day, if that's all they did, they're out of business. Or they've had to really aggressively pivot and make their product better and work on branding and things like that.

Brett:

And so, I think this was where everything in marketing and e-commerce is headed, where you can't just gain a system, you can't just rank and optimize to make a sale today. You have to think long-term, you have to build a brand and a reputation and think about your business as a real business rather than just, "Hey, we're selling a couple of products on Amazon." And so, before we get into some of the details here, when did you kind of first have that revelation that, "Hey, branding is important even for an Amazon first business, an Amazon seller." Did you always think that way or any light bulb moments you can think of?

Emma:

Yeah. So I feel like I come to this space a little bit differently than a lot of people and especially service providers. It seems like a lot of service providers are coming in after already having been selling themselves and then want to provide whatever it is that they're really great at. Whereas I'm coming from a writing and marketing background that I've worked with startups, I've worked with fine dining, I've done creative writing and all of those sorts of things. And so, I really understood the importance of story and the importance of the impression that you make and the words that you use to present yourself. And so, I've always felt that way.

Emma:

And what I'm really excited about is that more and more, we're getting all of these inputs that saying, this isn't just something to kind of play around with or contemplate doing, but this is something really important that you should be doing if you want to be setting yourself up with a healthy business that can grow and continue to grow over time. Even if you only want to be selling on Amazon, Amazon is telling you branding matters. And then of course, if you want to expand beyond that even more so.

Brett:

Yeah. It is becoming important, even for an Amazon first business. It's interesting, the perspective we have at OMG Commerce, we have a way of growing a client list and growing team, we're at just over 42 team members. We have basically two divisions of our company. We have the Google ad side, which is Google search shopping, display, YouTube and then the Amazon ads and Amazon optimization side of the business. And it's interesting, on the Google side we have some pretty big brands like P&G brand and other larger fast-growing e-commerce companies.

Brett:

On that side, those clients are really aware of the need to build brand and think both in terms of measuring the performance of our search and shopping and YouTube, but also creating brand lift and creating brand awareness. And then staying on point with your brand message, that's kind of second nature for that group. On the Amazon side, we have a lot of brands we work with, or companies that we work with that were born and raised on Amazon. And it's a little bit of a foreign concept that they don't think about branding in the same way. It's not a second nature. It's more about, how do we get ranking?

Brett:

How do we get sales today? Forget about anything else. And so the way things are shifting, and we'll just use one example, and this is something that's very comforting to me as a shopper and as a marketer. I think the days are drawing to a close and in some cases already over of where, the way to succeed on Amazon is you just load a product title with as many keywords as you can possibly dream up and shove all the important keywords at the front. It's just this nasty, impossible to read, ugly product title that the marketer in me despises. I think that's winding down a little bit.

Brett:

And I think we even had some situations and I told you about this, we're prepping offline. I bought a projector for outdoor movies and I bought it on Amazon and I was in a hurry and I bought it based on the title and based on reviews. And it ended up not being what I wanted and the title was very misleading, and I was upset. And so, I returned it and then the next big purchase I bought, I didn't buy it on Amazon because I was angry at Amazon brand.

Brett:

So I went and looked for a real brand that was in my head, a real brand that I bought it off Amazon. So I think there's this problem, right? And I'm not alone in having that problem. I think Amazon's addressing it and good sellers are addressing it. So that was a long-winded little monologue there, but what are your thoughts? What is your take on titles right now? Is there still benefit to keyword stuffing? Is that largely going away? Give us your take on title optimization.

Emma:

It's a very challenging spot, right, the title. But what's very cool is that Amazon at least right now, and I think that it's something that they'll continue, they're actually allowing you to A/B test the title now. So that's huge. That's not just trying to try a bunch of different iterations and seeing what works. You're able to get actual data that you can use to really make the title the strongest it can be, but you're trying to navigate so many things simultaneously with the title.

Emma:

So first and foremost, your title is serving as your billboard in a sense on the search page. So it's helping a customer understand what your product is and whether it matches enough of what they need to be able to click into it. So if it's so keyword stuffed that you're not even able to see that, then you're definitely missing out. And that's something that you want to avoid. It is true though, that the titled pulled some weight when it comes to ranking for keywords. So it is important. You also want to be thinking about anytime you're listing a new product, you can kind of encourage Amazon to create a canonical URL for better visibility on search engines like Google.

Emma:

And so, you want to be thoughtful about that and what words you want to put at the beginning of your title. The way that you do that is the first five words, if you offset them with a dash, then that will help to kind of encourage that. It doesn't work all the time, but it does give you a better shot at that. So thinking about, perhaps your brand name, if that's something that is a good brand name. I see that particularly with companies in the Amazon space that sometimes the brand names are just maybe something you'd rather hide away than make a prominent piece of it.

Brett:

Yeah. It's really complex. Sounds like a holding company, or it sounds like just alphabets to-

Emma:

Yeah. Just weird, right. Exactly. But-

Brett:

It's interesting. And one thing I want to just interject here really quickly is, I don't want to come across as a marketing purist or brand purist here who is like, "No, you just strip all keywords out and just be artsy." No, that's not my purpose. I'm definitely a pragmatist. We used to do a lot of SEO back in the day. I was doing all kinds of crazy stuff with SEO in the early days of Google. So I'm very much, "Okay, we still have to do what works." And if still there are considerations of putting your most important keywords at the front of your title, that's still makes sense so do it.

Brett:

And I do want to key in on one thing, just for those that maybe may went over their heads. You mentioned a canonical URL and you mentioned kind of the first five or so words separating by dashes. Can you just explain that a little bit? Does that mean that the first five words are put in the title if we separate by dashes that will become the URL which shows up kind of after the amazon.com/, et cetera, is that what you're saying?

Emma:

Yeah. So if you have those first five words, and my understanding is that a word like some of those filler words like for or and don't count towards the five word limit. And then at the end of those five words if you put a dash. So that means that all of those words are in the URL for your product, that then you can rank for on search engines. So if somebody is typing in projector for backyard and you have your brand name, maybe it's two words and then projector for backyard because this is a outdoor projector and that's really a very strong keyword for you. Then you can increase your likelihood of being found on Google, which it's really interesting. I actually wrote an article about this for Prosper Show blog recently. Where a lot of big brands, if you search them on Google, their Amazon listings are oftentimes appearing before their own websites even. That's crazy. So-

Brett:

That's crazy.

Emma:

... if you're neglecting some of those things and the power that they hold, then you're really missing out. But you also mentioned with the larger brands that are kind of maybe focused more on Google and not traditional kind of mainstream SEO and marketing. They're sometimes the biggest offenders when it comes to poorly constructed Amazon listings. So it's-

Brett:

Sure. Because they don't get it and it's an afterthought, right? And they don't realize that, hey, Amazon has such an immense domain authority and Google respects that domain authority. Yeah, your Amazon storefront, your Amazon product listings, they could outrank your own site. So you better be thinking about it.

Emma:

Yes. Definitely 100%. Did I explain the canonical URL well enough? I'm sure you have something.

Brett:

... if I interrupted you. So explain canonical. Canonical is such a great word. Those other things that we talk about related to SEO but we won't get too nerdy. So, yeah, canonical URL. So you said first five words, but words like for and you know, those don't really count. So you have an example of brand has two names for, projector for backyard, whatever. And then we got-

Emma:

Yeah. For the backyard. I don't know, let's say that that's a really important keyword for you. And it also very succinctly and clearly explains what your product is because you don't want to be choosing keywords... These are the first five words. And if you're thinking also of mobile visibility, your title might truncate it even as few as 60 characters. So you want to be thinking about what are customers actually going to be seen on any of these giving given platforms. So you don't want to just be keywords at random.

Emma:

You want to be choosing very strong keywords that are also incredibly relevant to your product because that is holding the prime spot. Those are the first words that somebody is looking at. So if you're choosing them just because they have the highest search volume or just because there's this what seemingly great opportunity and there's not a clear explanation of what your product is in there, then you may not be doing yourself any favors.

Emma:

So then in doing that, when Amazon is creating that link, then those keywords are actually in the link. And that has a lot of SEO power behind it to not just, this is talking about off of Amazon now, this is talking about on all of those search engines to be much more searchable for those words specifically so that you are ranking really highly and trying to be also driving outside traffic to your listing in an organic way.

Brett:

Yeah. It's the next level approach to listing optimization, but it's super smart. So I want to key on a couple of things you mentioned. Looking at keyword volume, but really looking for relevancy first. When run this all the time, I was talking to an SEO company recently and they were giving keyword suggestions on this project that I won't give much detail on just because it doesn't matter. But they were giving like, "Oh, hey, these are the top ranking keywords." And I kept coming back to them and saying, "Yes, but they're not relevant." These keywords are relevant? Yes, they have fewer searches, but those are going to be searches that will buy.

Brett:

Those are people that are looking for what we're selling and starting to piggyback on our projector example. We may find that in keyword research, projector for boardroom or projector for conference room or projector for whatever, those have a lot more searches. Well, it doesn't matter. If our projector is for outdoor use and for movie use, then we want to go with those keywords. So focusing on relevancy is really, really important. And one thing to think about, if you can obviously build your listings so that it ranks on Amazon, that's great. That's going to fuel clicks and sales and velocity and help you increase the ranking there. But just like you mentioned, and I'm really glad you pointed it out.

Brett:

Google sorta loves Amazon at least from a domain authority perspective. As companies, I don't know if they love each other or not. But the page rank algorithm loves Amazon. Right? So looking at, man, Amazon's got all kinds of domain authority. So your ability to potentially rank your products for searches on Google is actually quite high if you're strategic about it. And then what does that do? Well, that opens up a whole nother realm of traffic. And if you get this outside traffic coming into Amazon and combating on your listing, Amazon loves it, right? Amazon will reward that and favor your product a little bit more. So that's huge as well. Any additional comments on kind of trying to rank on Google for your Amazon listings? I know that wasn't the main here, but is it only?

Emma:

I would say, not off the top of my head. But it is something that you want to be thinking about. It is something that it just in general, and I think it kind of goes back to this topic of branding. But you want to make sure that whatever entry point a customer is having into a product page, whether that's going to your website or going to your listing because if they're searching on Google they could be searching for your brand or they could be searching for a product. But you want to make sure that you are creating a cohesive experience wherever they're interacting with you because the opposite can also happen, right?

Emma:

So you had this bad experience with a projector. So you're more likely, even if you decide that you want to go back to Amazon for your next larger product purchase, you may search on Amazon. But then you may take that search off of Amazon too, to see is this brand selling elsewhere? Do they have their own site? What are people saying? And so, that type of research is quite common. And they might end up coming back to Amazon to make their purchase, but their research is likely going to involve something beyond just staying within Amazon, especially the bigger ticket the item is.

Brett:

Yup. It's so true. I love that. And I think that's been my experiences. Now, I'm very picky about what brand I buy on Amazon. And now I'm looking to, and I still buy a lot on Amazon, way too much, but I'm looking for trusted brands. And I'm looking for more than clearly just an Amazon only brand. I'm often avoiding that. And I think there are other people doing that, too. The other thing that I think is important to underscore here is that, Amazon's largest source of traffic is Google. And Amazon is the number one, the top spender on search ads for Google, which is interesting.

Brett:

And I just only share that to say, "Hey, there's also potential for your Amazon business by thinking about Google traffic as well." So back to titles and title optimization. So give kind of a few other tips that's round out that topic and then we'll move beyond titles. What would you do to optimize a title? And what's kind of finding the balance of, yes, getting the right keywords in there and the right keywords up front but without being completely spare me or this six line keyword laden title, how do you find that balance?

Emma:

So I like to go back to being a customer on a search results page and thinking about that experience, which is especially on Amazon more so than anywhere else, you are bombarded with multiple products that look exactly the same and have the exact same photos and the exact same titles and even similar amounts of reviews. And the prices are within a few cents of each other. It's kind of somebody that suffers from choice paralysis. It is their worst nightmare. And so, if you want to start to be thinking even as early on as your title, what is your differentiator and how can you make that clear to customers from the very beginning?

Emma:

So let's either do some search selling singular. Or your product is made of a material that the others aren't or whatever it might be. If you have a key differentiator, you want to make sure that that's early on in your title so that you're already helping people understand, this is the one for me. And this is how you can separate me out from the rest of the people that are looking nearly identical. And sometimes it may not even be that the product itself is that different, but it's just a feature that you know is very important to customers that the other competitors out there are not doing a good job of communicating in a very upfront way.

Emma:

And so, it can just be difficult even to find those basic pieces of information that you would say, "Oh, yeah, that's obvious." One of the things that I see all the time is with electronics, it's really hard to get a clear sense of what they're compatible with. So if you want to buy a webcam or an external hard drive, you may really have to do some digging to figure out whether it works with Apple or PC. It's kind of a mess. And so, figuring out what those important details are and what customers really want to know and putting that in the title, and then obviously continuing that on into the rest of the content of your listing as well.

Brett:

Awesome. Any tips on the A/B testing of titles? I love that Amazon allows that. Any parameters or advice you'd give around that?

Emma:

Yeah. So it's a little new and I haven't really seen many people that have actually been using it yet. I would definitely be the most interested in testing length. So going for the much more traditional title that may not even be keyword stuff, but it's really maximizing the standard 200 character limit versus one is much more pared down, which would be brand name, clear product description. And then just any of those few key details that you would need to know somewhere that would probably end up getting you around 80 max characters. Those would be the things that I would want to be testing the most.

Emma:

But again, if you're one of those products that you don't necessarily have strong key differentiators, you could even experiment with seeing, okay, if I make this detail more prominent does that get better clicks and the right kind of traffic or if I make this one prominent? So it's also sort of a case-by-case basis of both your product specifically, but also the ecosystem that you are competing in.

Brett:

Love it. So then moving beyond the title. What should we consider next as we're looking to optimize our listings and optimize them first for Amazon rankings, but then there could be some spillover to Google rankings as well. So what comes next step for title?

Emma:

So going back to thinking in the mind of your customers. Probably if you're selling on Amazon you've also spent some time shopping on Amazon. And what is so strange to me is the fact that Amazon has is huge marketplace. And yet, the way that the product pages are set up are so clunky and they facilitate something that, if you were making your own website, you would never set up a product page in that way. You would never have these really long bullet points. So thinking in terms of a customer and their experience and setting up for maximum skimmability I think is one of the most important things that you can do for your listings.

Emma:

So understanding that we all have key buying criteria when we are trying to make a decision, and helping the customer find that information as quickly and easily as possible is incredibly important. Because for most of us if it doesn't match that criteria, we want to move on. We don't want to invest a lot of time trying to figure out if a product fits our needs and then feeling frustrated when we can't find that information, or when we realize after investing 10 minutes in deep investigation that it's not the one for us. And so-

Brett:

Yeah. And one thing I'll just kind of underscore there on the skimmability concept. I remember learning about this first when I took a copywriting course years and years ago, and we studied long form direct mail, copywriting and stuff. Was really fascinating and it taught me a lot about the psychology of selling and why people buy and stuff. But it talks about how people don't usually just read from sentence one to sentence two and all. They'll scan first, right? And this is very true with a product listing. There's scanning looking for that compatibility answer or looking for that single feature that's most important.

Brett:

So shoppers are scanning first then when they confirm that that is either a fit for their compatibility issue or their feature needs, then they'll go back and read other details. Right? So it's rare that we're going to read the first sentence of the description then go from there. We're scanning first. Once we find that key piece of information, then we'll look at some other things too, just to make sure it's really everything we wanted. But yeah, getting that skimmability is so important.

Emma:

So that means everything from being really thoughtful about how many characters you're using to even just how you're organizing your product page. So when it comes to your bullets, using some all capitalized headers is a great way to focus customers around the different points that you're making. But what it also means is that let's say you have this all cap center that clearly distinguishes that this bullet is talking about materials. That means that halfway through you shouldn't start talking about something completely unrelated. If you're saying that this is what it's about, you should clearly communicate what that's about and nothing more. So make sure that you have really and that if a word isn't there either helping you from an SEO perspective or from a pushing the sale forward perspective, it really should not be there.

Brett:

Yup. Love that. Awesome. So bullets hugely important influence ranking as well. Where do we go?

Emma:

Yeah. So then you have your description, which you have your product description if you're not brand registered. Which it's very rare these days that I see brands that aren't.

Brett:

You got to be brand registered. You just got to be able. Yeah.

Emma:

Yeah. I mean, there's just so many privileges that you get as a seller. And Amazon is only continuing to add to those. So if your product description and then you have your A+ Content, hopefully, if you are brand registered which is a great place to really start to build up that branding piece. But it's also a fantastic place to think about where imagery and text can help to communicate things more clearly than just one or the other.

Emma:

So if you have a product that may be a little bit complicated to understand, then your A+ provides you a great space to be able to hone in on some of those individual details in a way that you have the visuals with the photos and then the supporting text to help really fully communicate that. It's also fantastic for the, one of my favorite modules is the standard comparison chart. So let's say that you have a product line and-

Brett:

So it's so easily skimmable, right? And again, you're going back to what does shoppers want? They want to see that side-by-side comparison. It's visual and it's instantly clear what's being communicated. So yeah, fully agree, they're awesome.

Emma:

It's so good. And it's great for a few reasons, which Amazon does not do a job of helping customers compare one product to the other. So a lot of other sites actually do a better job of that. Where if you have a few products that you're trying to weigh against each other, you can even click on them and then it'll generate a table. Amazon doesn't do that. So that means that every product that you're contemplating, you have to open up a new window. So you're having to click back and forth to say, "Okay, this does this, this does this."

Emma:

You really do have to invest some time in trying to weigh your options. But let's say that you want to make sure that customers are only contemplating your products. Let's even say that you sell microphones and you have five different microphones that each are best for different things. Are that sort of different grades that you have the entry level, more intermediate and then the very professional most advanced product. It could be difficult to understand what the differentiators are between those different products if you're looking at them one product page, one product page, one product page.

Emma:

But when you're able to create this chart, then first of all you're making sure that they're only compering you against you. But also, you're making it much higher likelihood that people are going to be purchasing the right product for them. So you're minimizing potential for returns and you're helping just make that a much easier experience for customers. So that's the one application of it, but then you also have the ability, let's say that you have a product range of things that would go really well with that product that people would want to know about. Then it's an opportunity to actually increase that kart value and maybe get them adding a few more of your products into, along with their initial purchase. So making that upsell which is a really important ability to be able to do when you are selling anything.

Brett:

Super smart. Yeah, I love this. So a couple of questions about A+ Content. And this is something that we've been digging into more and kind of coaching clients and helping them around. And feedback I get from my Amazon team is, hey, A+ Content at one point really didn't impact rankings directly other than if it helps close the sale and you increase your sales velocity, that can impact rankings. But it seems like that's maybe shifted, A+ Content does have an impact on your rankings in a more direct way from what I'm hearing. But what's your take on A+ Content? How important is it? What does it impact? And then any tips around it?

Emma:

Yeah. So if the text in there ranks with Amazon's algorithm, that's still a big question mark that I think a lot people have that's not totally clear. Now you do have your imagery which you have the ability to include alternate image in there. So just like we were talking about with the canonical URL, that's making your images textually searchable for search engines like Google. I don't know how much that really impacts things, but it is another place that you can kind of help yourself rank a little bit better organically off of Amazon.

Emma:

But what it does is it starts to help to address this issue that you've expressed frustrations with, that I certainly have frustrations with, which is that you don't necessarily know who you're buying from when you're shopping on Amazon. But the bullets and even the images on their own are not necessarily the most natural way to try to understand what a product is, but also who the brand is and why we should trust them to be providing this solution that we're looking for. And so, your A+ Content both allows for you to present things in a way that's just more natural for customers to want to see that information. But then it also is a great space to be able to build out that story a little bit and help communicate who you are beyond just a provider of this one product in particular.

Brett:

Yeah. That's fantastic. Awesome. So any other ranking tips that you want to talk about before we kind of dive into, how do we look at branding specifically within our Amazon listing?

Emma:

I would say the tip that I have is a little, maybe we've already addressed it, but I think it's really worth considering especially when we're talking to more traditionally Amazon businesses, which is this assumption that you have to have all of the keywords in the front end of your listing. Or that there's this special rule that, your most important keywords are in your title. And then all these other keywords have to be in your first bullet. And if you put them anywhere else then you're not going to rank for them and the world is ending it. It's such a simplistic way of looking at Amazon and how their algorithm functions.

Emma:

And I think that it's almost wanting to hold onto this notion that if you just insert these words in these certain places, then you can have a multi-million dollar business. And it's not like that. Even if you have the perfect keyword strategy, if you are not setting your product page up to be able to convert, then it's all for nothing. Amazon doesn't want page visitors, they want purchases. So if you're not selling, then you're not in a rank and the way that you need to, you're not going to perform in the way that you need to. And it's kind of a lot of effort that is not going to be realized to the fullest.

Brett:

Yeah. And I'll even take that one step further, Amazon doesn't want to just make a sale. They want to delight the customer, right? They want to make sure that customer buys exactly what they want and they get exactly what they expect and that the shopping process is good. The purchase experience is good. All of that is good. And so, if you're not helping Amazon do that you're you're in trouble potentially. And so, you gave several good examples as you and I were chatting kind of pre-show about several companies that really are branding the right way on Amazon and kind of blending this all together. We'll talk about a few of those examples and kind of what they're doing and why they're such a good example.

Emma:

Yeah. One of my favorites is Black Rifle Coffee Company, which I don't know how many of you are familiar with them. They're an e-commerce coffee company and they're a veteran owned business. And so, that's a really big part of what they do and how they present themselves. And what's really interesting is that when you look at their product pages on Amazon, their listings really don't spend that much time talking about the coffee. Their listings really put a lot of emphasis on their brand in particular. And the coffee space is a very competitive space. And you also don't have a lot of different things that you can do to really differentiate yourself.

Emma:

So you have whole bean versus ground, you have where it's sourced from, if it's fair trade and the roast flavor. I mean, there's not really that many things that you're differentiating yourself when it comes to the coffee specifically. And so, if you're just trying to compete on that, you're going to be fighting really, really hard. It's going to be very difficult to gain traction. And you're most likely going to have to be competing very strongly on price and getting as many reviews as possible. Whereas what Black Rifle Coffee Company is doing, and what I think is smart, is they're actually making the conversation about something more than coffee.

Emma:

And so, they're almost creating this new category for themselves. So they are a veteran owned coffee company. Well, there are not a ton of veteran owned coffee companies out there that they're having to compete against. And so, for the people that it's really important to them to be supporting those kinds of businesses, first of all, they may not have known that an opt-in existed for them to be able to get their coffee from a veteran owned company. And they're a US based company, so that's exciting for a lot of people as well.

Emma:

And so all of those things give people an opportunity to shop from a company that aligns with their values and is part of this story that they want to be presenting to the world. Because all of the choices that we're making they're just in our house. Our reflection of how we see ourselves and how we want other people to see us. And so, it's important to understand that and to understand the kinds of people that you would ideally hope to be selling to and figure out how to communicate with them in a way that is going to make them excited about bringing you into their story.

Brett:

Yeah. I love that because there are a lot of good coffee options out there, right? And there's a lot of people, a lot of coffee drinkers that honestly could taste lots of different cups of coffee and probably not be able to tell the difference to any great degree. Right? You got your coffee snobs, the want to know about all the nodes and the origins and the blends and all that stuff, which is really interesting to me actually. But that's not most people.

Emma:

They're probably not buying their coffee on Amazon also. Because they are going to the local roaster.

Brett:

Exactly. Because they are going to the local roaster. Yeah, exactly. And so, I love this because it's good coffee, right? It's quality coffee. But it also says something where, like the brand you set out on the counter at home if you have people over, although I know that's not happening a ton right now. But the brand you set out there, just the brand you feel you want to feel good about. If people were buying Black Rifle Coffee because they want to buy from veteran owned and it aligns with their personality and their values. And yeah, I love a great example, creating a separate category, not just great tasting coffee but it's all these things tied together. So that's an awesome example. What's another one that's doing great with branding on Amazon?

Emma:

Yeah, so e.l.f. they're a makeup and skincare company. I think they are killing it on Amazon and just in general. Their marketing has really stepped up a notch. They've been around for a long time and they're a very low price makeup company. And in the early days, their quality matched their prices. So they've really invested in creating much better formulas, but what's interesting is a lot of their products are successful because they're knockoffs of much more expensive products that other brands are selling that people either don't want to spend the money on or can't afford or just aren't interested in.

Emma:

And so, e.l.f. could kind of take the approach of being the knockoff company. And there are companies that do that and they're still successful. But they somehow manage to sort of be at the knockoff company while very much capturing their own unique identity so that it's not just the place to go to search for the lower cost option, but it is a fun place that makes makeup accessible for everyone. And so, they really mean for everyone and they communicate that through the visuals that they use. They're also seem to be geared towards a little bit younger customer. And so, their language is fun. It's very current as far as the types of words that they choose. It's just very much part of this aesthetic that, if you go on YouTube and search for beauty influencers you can find a million of them.

Emma:

And it's very much tuned in with that space. And it's not just utilizing the same tired language that a lot of other drugstore brands use. Because the higher end skincare and makeup, they understand the importance of branding and all of that because that's one of the main things that they're using to help justify 3, 5, 10 times the price. And so, it's not as common to see a drugstore, or I guess high street is how they would call it in the UK, line of products that is still understanding that branding is. And so, they've gone from having unattractive packaging and really not being much of anything to really carving a space for themselves online and in shelf spaces. And I think that they're just doing an awesome job.

Brett:

Great. That's an awesome one to pay attention to. So we're running out of time which is a bummer because there's a lot more that I'd like to ask you about and more questions to dive into. But that's okay, we can save that for a part two at some point. I want you to kind of tell the story though about, and I believe this is one of your clients if you can talk about it, splash ease or SplashEZ, don't I don't remember the name.

Emma:

SplashEZ.

Brett:

Yes, SplashEZ. So talk about just kind of quickly how you guys approached that launch of this products and how kind of the listing and the branding. And how all that tied together to really create some fantastic results.

Emma:

Yeah. So SplashEZ is a product that we helped launch in 2019 and they have achieved incredible success both in the summer of 2019 and the summer of 2020 because their product is, it's a kitty pool type product. So it's obviously has some seasonality to it. But on the surface you think, "Okay, it's another kitty pool. What is there to really be competitive about?" But what helped to differentiate them actually started before they even came to us, which was they made some subtle design tweaks to their product so that it wasn't just a kitty pool, but it was a pool that has... Well, is a pool but has different printed images on the pool itself that parents can help use to create educational opportunities and child childhood development opportunities alongside being a way to cool off and be outside and not be stuck indoors.

Emma:

And so, if they were just trying to compete, similarly with Black Rifle Coffee Company, if they were just competing in the sprinklers or kitty pool-

Brett:

Very random kitty pools, yeah.

Emma:

... it's going to be a competition on price. It's going to be a competition on size. There's just not that many things you can do. When you make little adjustments to the product itself, it's creating a whole new category of outdoor play things that isn't a fully matured category yet. Of course, now they have a lot of knockoffs and competitors that have seen good a idea.

Brett:

Only takes time. It takes a little bit of success for the knockoff artists come out of the woodwork.

Emma:

Yeah, exactly. But so then we understood that, okay, if this is a pool that is creating these educational opportunities, then it's really important that we think about what type of customer is going to be most excited by that. And then what are the other details that they would want to know? So of course, things like safety are really important, even material qualities. So they don't want plastic that has BPA in it because they care about only exposing their children to and certainly starting to understand who is that customer and how can you present everything in a way that's going to engage them and make them excited about this product and make them excited about the brand as a whole.

Brett:

I love it. And really that lines up pretty well with Amazon's approach and Amazon's ethos of customer obsession, right? They want to make the customer happy. And so, if you begin even the design of your products, starting with the specific customer in mind and then you build everything else around that from looking the way you look at your keyword strategy, to the way you optimize your title and bullet points and description and your images and your videos of all the things you build around the listing, thinking about the customer.

Brett:

And thinking about what they want, what they want associate with and what they want in their home or in their backyard, or what they want their kid to be in. That's when really the magic starts to happen. So Emma, this has been fantastic. This has been a ton of fun and hopefully really educational and inspirational for folks. So if people listening say, "Man, I need to talk to Emma and need to chat with them about my business. How can they connect with you??

Emma:

Sure. So our website is marketingbyemma.com or on Facebook at Marketing by Emma. We also offer free listing analysis. So if you're not sure if your listing is doing what it should be doing, or you're just kind of scratching your head because you've tried everything and it looks great, but you don't know why it's not performing. We would be happy to give you some free feedbacks. If you just go to our website there's a banner at the top, or you can go to marketingbyemma.com/freeanalysis to fill that out and we'll get back to you.

Brett:

Awesome, marketingbyemma.com. We'll link everything in the show, notes as well. So you can check that out at omgcommerce.com and then click on podcast or just Google e-commerce evolution you'll find it. But Emma, this has been a lot of fun. Thank you for taking the time. Really, really enjoyed it.

Emma:

Thank you so much, Brett. This was a lot of fun. I can't wait to do it again.

Brett:

Awesome. And with that, as always thank you for tuning in, we would love to hear from you. Reach out to us, let us know what you'd like to hear more of. Give us some show ideas. Let's interact on the socials or via email on the site. Also, if you have not done it, hey, leave a review on iTunes. Now's the perfect time to do that. It helps other people discover the show and makes us all smile here at OMG Commerce as well. And so, with that until next time, thank you for listening.

Have questions or requests? Contact us today!

Thank you for reaching out! We'll be in touch soon.
Oops! Something went wrong! 

 More Episodes

Episode 180
Chad Maghielse

Keys to a 7-Figure Exit in 2.5 Years

Hear how Chad built his pet brand business and sold it for 7-figures in under 3 years. 

Episode 179
Nick Raccuia - Sinless Snacks

Lessons from the Trenches

Nick Raccuia’s story is a great one, full of insights and inspiration, successes and failures.

Episode 178
Ali Karsch - LVPR

How to Get Free PR with Ali Karsch of LVPR

Free press can be worth millions to your brand and you don’t have to be as dynamic as Richard Branson to get free PR.