Episode 120

Using Chat Marketing to Scale Your Amazon Business

Michelle Barnum Smith
May 13, 2020
SUBSCRIBE: iTunesStitcher

I’m sure you’re aware of chat marketing.  But if you’re like most marketers and Amazon sellers, it’s still an area of immense opportunity for you. Maybe it’s even still a bit of a mystery to you. Michelle Barnum Smith is the Queen of chat marketing for Amazon sellers.  I had a chance to sit down with her and discuss some super powerful ways to grow your Amazon business with chat marketing that you probably haven’t thought of, including…

  • The 3 types of messenger campaigns to run consistently
  • Why product re-ranking campaigns using chatbots should probably be an ongoing strategy for you
  • The difference between a 2-step URL and a Search, Find, Buy campaign
  • How many times per month should you message your list on messenger…too many and they’ll hate you.  Too few and they’ll forget who you are and be annoyed the next time you message them.
  • How to build a chat bot list.
  • Plus more!

Mentioned in this episode:

Traffic & Conversion Summit

ManyChat

Pixelfy.me

Helium 10

Connect with Guest:

Michelle Barnum Smith - Amazon Chat Bot Expert

Via LinkedIn

Via Facebook

Via Instagram

Via YouTube

Episode Transcript

Brett:

Well, hello, and welcome to another edition of the e-Commerce Evolution Podcast. I'm your host, Brett Curry, CEO of OMG Commerce. And today, we're talking about a very timely and important topic, and a topic that I have not really dug into in this capacity before. So, we're going to be talking about chat marketing for Amazon, and I think it's totally appropriate. But if we're going to talk about this subject, we should have the queen of this subject on the podcast.

Brett:

So my guest today is Michelle Barnum Smith. She's been known as and referred to as the queen of Amazon chat marketing. We connected because we were both going to be speakers at TNC this year, which got postponed. So we will still be speakers at TNC, but not for a few months. But Michelle, thank you for taking the time. Thanks for coming on, and I'm really excited to dive into this topic.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Thanks so much for having me. I'm excited to share with you guys some super timely information that changes, really, it's on the fly at this point.

Brett:

Yeah, it totally is. A lot of people that listen to ... We have two divisions to OMG, the Google ads ecosystem, and then the Amazon ads ecosystems. We spend a lot of time with Amazon. And at the time of this recording, we're recording this on Friday, April 17th. Amazon just announced that they are taking more non-essentials into the warehouses, ship time is going to be improving as of right now. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Or by the time you listen to this, who knows what's going on? But Hey, the key right now is you got to stay fluid, man. You got to be ready to adapt and adjust. So, we'll talk about the current situation and what nuances or changes or considerations we should make. I do want to know, and then this is always fun for me to learn. But also for the audience to learn, how did you get here? How did you become the queen of Amazon chat marketing? So to give us the 90-second version there.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Yeah, absolutely. So I started my marketing career 20 years ago in corporate high tech marketing and worked with many of the Fortune 100 and some of the largest businesses in the world. But their marketing, and then many people in the corporate space decided that I wanted more life flexibility. And so, I started my own marketing agency in 2012, and spent a lot of time doing digital funnels, and things like that. And then it-

Brett:

Good stuff.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Right. And then in early 2017, I saw my first chat bot via mini chat. And I just knew that it was going to be the future. I just ... it was so sexy, so seamless, quick to set up, quick to optimize. And having lived in the digital funnel world where you're building massive email campaigns and massive funnels, and having a long time to launch, and a long optimization is just over the top difficult. Just the lightweightness of chatbots was just let me know that it was going to be the future. And so, I jumped on it and learned as much as I could, as quickly as I could, and started offering those services to my clients. And then in late 2017, got my first Amazon seller who was interested in using chatbots for product launches, ranking, that sort of thing. And I very quickly learned what Amazon sellers care about, what they need from an external traffic campaign. And then they just ... All of the gurus, all the peoples who are testing these new techniques out just passed me around all of their buddies. And I very quickly became known as the expert in the space, and started getting invited to see-

Brett:

Not just expert Michelle, you are royalty. You are the queen.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

A lot of my sellers were from great Britain. At that point, I was very honored, was such a title.

Brett:

I love it. That's fantastic.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

They're like, "I heard you're the queen." And I'm like, "Okay, that works for me."

Brett:

Sure, I won't deny it.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Exactly. So it's just evolved, and it's crazy to think that something that happened in 2017, and here we are three years later. But that's the nature of the industry, is that it changes so quickly and so much. And it's important to listen to people who have been in it, and know what's going on, and not somebody who started five minutes ago.

Brett:

I love it. I think I love that you've been in marketing, some complex technical marketing, and then building funnels, which, lots of moving parts and lots of things to optimize. And it does seem like when we're in this space or I guess any space, what you're doing prepares you for what's next. Right?

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Absolutely.

Brett:

And so, it happened for us as. Well, I was doing all kinds of Google or all kinds of e-commerce stuff, pre-Google shopping, and then Google shopping. And I was like, "Oh, this is going to be it." And then when TrueView fraction came to YouTube, I was like, "Oh, this is going to be it." And so sounds like you had a similar experience with chat marketing, which is awesome. So let's dive in. I love the Amazon space, such a great platform to build a business. It is still extremely frustrating, and extremely volatile, and all kinds of landmines, and things to consider but-

Michelle Barnum Smith:

It could be stressful a lot.

Brett:

Yeah, not kidding. What's that?

Michelle Barnum Smith:

It caused me stress.

Brett:

Oh my gosh, it is for sure. So, we work with a lot of Amazon sellers, a lot of really large Amazon sellers. I don't know that many that are capitalizing on chat marketing to grow their Amazon business. So talk us through what are the most common use cases? How could insure it an Amazon seller utilize chat marketing?

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Whether you're a small business, where you have less than five listings, or you're a massive seller, or you have multiple brands and lots of listings, there's definitely a place for top marketing in your execution for new product launches, for rearranging campaigns. And especially right now with re-ranking campaigns, there are very few sellers who have not been drastically affected by the COVID pandemic and Amazon's ... And the repercussions that happened with shipping, and just traffic in general, massive swings in traffic in search terms and we can get into that in a second. But the main execution points for chat marketing as it relates to Amazon sellers, the four core areas, there's just general brand building and having an audience that's interested in and excited about what you have to offer. And that's true of any brand having a Facebook page, having an Instagram following. Now having a Messenger subscriber base is the extension of that brand presence. And by having that, that then lends itself and extends itself to being able to launch, rank, increase reviews, those kinds of things. And the techniques that I like and recommend are all within mostly the whiter area of terms of service, and the gray area in terms of sales. But honestly, those are the core four things that as far as Amazon sellers are concerned, are the main things to focus on the chat marketing.

Brett:

Got you. So, product launches, re-ranking products-

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Brand building.

Brett:

I'm assuming ... Are we also using it for getting reviews and handling customer support and things like that?

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Yeah. Absolutely. In fact, a study came out from Facebook right before Christmas time. And the holiday push that goes on with Facebook ads. And they released basically 95% of consumers prefer to interact with brands via chat.

Brett:

Interesting.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

So it's such a powerful platform to be able to connect and communicate with your customers.

Brett:

That's crazy. And what's interesting about that is, it seems like when I saw stats related to that years ago, it was different when you looked at a certain age. Age ranges, right? So, older customers would favor the phone or something or talking to a real person. But if the numbers are 95%, that means almost everybody. So maybe it's still is the-

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Older people prefer-

Brett:

70 plus crowd.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Right.

Brett:

Well, even younger boomers got to be preferring chat for the numbers to be 95. So that's super interesting. One of the questions I have, and I'm assuming a lot of Amazon sellers have as well, how do we build this list? So you have to have a list of people on Facebook Messenger to be able to market and communicate with. How do you build the list?

Michelle Barnum Smith:

So it's very similar to email marketing in that regard. And the cool thing about Messenger based marketing is that it's a Facebook platform. And Facebook wants to monetize your subscriber base, your Messenger base. So they make it really easy to build a Messenger audience. Now, I like to combine a ranking campaign or product launch with a list building activity. I don't necessarily think that you need to build that list first, and then use them eventually. In fact, I think that's backwards. Because these people will forget about you in a second. Right? And so it's really crucial to make sure whatever campaign that you're running is very timely to your audience. IE don't build an audience and then come back to them in six months and expect them to remember who you are and care about what you have to offer because it's-

Brett:

You almost can't do that anyway.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Right.

Brett:

Doesn't Facebook require you've got to respond within 24 hours or something? Or you can-

Michelle Barnum Smith:

There's certainly rules. Essentially, it's a pay to play scenario, right? Like, "Yeah, you can send promotional content outside a 24 hour interaction window, but you're going to pay for it." Right. That's the Facebook way really. Because, they get you hooked. I call them drug dealers. They get you hooked on cool technology for free, and then they start ... once they got you hooked, then they start charging you for it.

Brett:

That is not an unfair analogy for sure. Let's talk about that. Well, let's dive into a ranking campaign. So I've got this product that I'm selling on Amazon. Was just on a call with our Google reps, we were talking about ... And one of my reps is a big basketball fan. We're talking about the indoor basketball hoops. So maybe we can use that. Maybe use that as a fun example. So you get the little ... and everybody's stuck in at home, it's a little indoor ... the Pop-A-Shot, and other brands. So we're launching a new version of that. How do we utilize Messenger to rank?

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Well, let's back up a step. And I think the most important place to start is with your keyword research. And making sure especially in these inventory sensitive times. And it's not just about having inventory and FBA, is about having inventory in your supply chain.

Brett:

Yeah. What is this supply chain look like?

Michelle Barnum Smith:

I knew we're shut down for two-

Brett:

How many weeks or months of inventory you have and-

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Right. Exactly. And making sure ... I like to use Helium 10 to do my keyword research, but I'll hop on there and analyze what my competitor's keywords are, and then take a look at making sure that I have the inventory levels where it makes sense. I don't like to give them ... I don't like to what we call giveaways. But basically, you're going to be running campaigns, giving away your product for free pretty much. So if anybody's new to that term, and what I don't like to do, I don't like to give away more than a quarter of my inventory to rank for a target keyword. So that is a really important place to start. Because chat marketing, these marketing tools, they're just tools. You have to have the right strategy first. Otherwise, it's garbage in garbage out. Right? So spend your time doing the appropriate keyword research with your inventory in mind. And then what you're going to do is, you're going to decide the best type of campaign that you want to use. Whether you're going to offer coupon codes or rebates. Right now, he can't generate coupon codes at all on Amazon, maybe at a future date they will reopen that. But as of April 17th, you cannot generate coupon codes for Amazon listings.

Brett:

And then, there's no indication of when that might change.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

You know Amazon, they give us dates, and then they don't hold to it. Right? April 5th, we're supposed to be able to get inventory back in. That didn't win.

Brett:

Yeah. Need to know information. And we decide when you need to know.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Right. Exactly. And then it's like, it leaks out slowly. Then people like, "Hey, I think you're able to do this now." So anyway, rebates are the way to go, especially right now. Why we love rebates is that they're full-price purchase. Whether you're offering 100% off or 50% off, that's up to you to decide as far as the rebate goes itself. But lead with a rebate counts a full-price purchase, which then translates into the ability to follow up and request a review from a verified purchase essentially. So you're going to determine your campaign strategy. Maybe you're running the rebate with a certain percentage off and then ... And you can also experiment with other offers like BOGOs or things like that. But typically, if you're just getting started, I'd probably start with a rebate campaign. And then, you're going to set up if you don't have an existing audience to put an offer out to an email list or something else like that because you can definitely build-out. Well the tool that I like to use for my chatbots and my chat marketing is ManyChat and that's spelled M-A-N-Y-C-H-A-T many chats. And-

Brett:

They're really the leader in the space. Right?

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Yeah, they are.

Brett:

I mean, all my friends, Ezra, Molly, they're all using ManyChats.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Oh yeah. When chat marketing first started, there were a few players. And then very quickly, ManyChat was knighted. We continue with the queen and the knights.

Brett:

That's how I like that.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

No, but they very much have risen to the top. And especially with the changes that Messenger's made in the last few months, they have pivoted and adapted to make their platform even more valuable to their users. So I definitely recommend ManyChat and I have a coupon code that we'll put ... give you guys in the show notes.

Brett:

Yeah. We'll link to in the show notes. Absolutely.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Yeah. We'll give you ... I have a coupon code with ManyChat where you can get a free month of ManyChat Pro. So it's really great that they're offering that. Anyway, once you build out your flow, your ManyChat flow, then you can have different growth tools connecting to it like an emailing that you can send out to your email subscribers. Or you can set up tools to connect now with a Facebook Messenger campaign, or a Facebook campaign. And typically, what those ads look like, it's like ads in your newsfeed, or your stories feed or whatever. And it has an offer like, get this great deal now for 100% off rebate. That thing, swipe up or click here to get your deal in Messenger. And Messenger will literally pop open. And it's this fun, interactive, intriguing experience for a lot of people. And you go from there. I mean, it's better ... it's easier to demonstrate than it is to talk about.

Brett:

Sure. We can all visualize. I mean, we've all seen and interacted with Facebook and Instagram ads and even story ads probably. And so, essentially, you're setting it up, you're setting your targeting. Now you talked about keyword research. So the keyword research, that doesn't impact anything you're doing on Facebook. That's just that you're using that to determine what keywords you want to rank for?

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Right. Exactly.

Brett:

Let's talk about how you're utilizing those.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

You build that into your flow, and there's two different fashions. When it comes to Amazon, these Amazon ranking campaigns, you have the offer, and then you have the call to action. And the offer is where you're deciding, is it a coupon? Is it a rebate? Is it a BOGO? Is it ... What is this creative offer? And then a call to action is how you're going to get the user to take advantage of that offer. And you have ... It really comes down to two things there, what we call two-step URLs. And then, there's search, find, and buy campaigns. And two-step URLs are really great because they take you directly to the listing and embed the keyword into the URL itself. And I recommended a tool called pixelfi.me. We'll put a link in the show notes.

Brett:

Absolutely.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

And what they do, why I love their tool is because they turn all those links into what we call deep links. And deep links ... The majority of your people, the people who are going to interact with your ad, you do so on their mobile device. Especially if it's Instagram, for example. But just assume that 70 to 80% of your users are going to be interacting with the ad on their mobile device. And so, what happens is when you click on a two-step URL, that's not a deep link is, that it'll open a browser window and in Amazon, in your Messenger app basically. And so, somebody will go, and they'll add it to cart, and do all those things, and go to checkout. And then, they have to log into their Amazon account. It's just so painful. I don't remember my login, and who wants to have to track down the log-in information? It creates friction, face this stuff.

Brett:

Yup. And anytime you create friction, people are going to bail. People are just going to get frustrated and bounce.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Right. Exactly. And so, we want to increase that conversion. And deep links, if somebody has the Amazon mobile device on their Amazon app, on their mobile device, instead of opening your browser window when you clicked on a link, it'll open the app, and thus, you're probably already logged in. And Amazon pretty much is on everybody's phones and mobile devices these days. As they release numbers, they increased their revenues by like 35% in the last six weeks. Like-

Brett:

And if you think about that without ... It's hard to buy stuff that are not essential. If we have a client in the fitness space, I know fitness space, which is huge right now. And some of those Amazon's not delivering for like four or five weeks. So they're even losing some sales and some categories, and they're still up 35%.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Yeah. It's crazy. So deep links are definitely the way to go for your two-step URLs. Now that's one call to action. The other call to action or search, find and buy campaigns ... Now search, find and buy campaigns are the preferred method most people want because it mimics the organic user experience. You go to amazon.com, you type in the keyword, and then you literally search, find, and buy product.

Brett:

So you're just giving the customer the instructions to go do this.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Correct. Now, one of the problems with search, find, buy is especially on your mobile device, if you're not within two mobile search result pages of your target keyword, people are going to have search fatigue. They're going to ... everything starts blending together. They're going to forget what your product looks like. They're going to forget why they're there, and they're going to go buy toilet paper instead of whatever it is that ... The completion rate was, they're trying to buy is different, is definitely lower than a two-step URL. And what I definitely recommend is that for new product launches where you're in no man's land after being indexed, if you're not within two mobile search result pages of your target keyword, then you use a two-step URL until you are within that striking distance. And then you can switch to search, find, buy campaign if you want to. There's conspiracy theorists out there as far as Amazon is concerned, and there's lots of them.

Brett:

Really? Conspiracy theorists in Amazon? Then they're everywhere.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Right. Totally. But a lot of people don't like URLs because they're worried that Amazon can track where you're people are coming from. And for me, the reality is I don't see it affecting ranking. And so I'm going to keep using it until I do.

Brett:

Yeah. Those things are still good for Amazon. Right? It's a full purchase. If you get good reviews, it makes sense that it almost ... I don't know if this is a great analogy, but this almost seems like the difference between someone using GPS to get somewhere versus someone taking oral directions which it-

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Turn to Chevron-

Brett:

Yeah. Turn here. It's about three miles. You're going to go East or like ... mind blown. So that's what makes sense. So two-step URLs versus search, find, buy campaigns. Awesome. So we got that going. And any rules of thumb for how long you need to run these, like how many? I know you mentioned talking about a quarter of your inventory depending on what you have. That could be massive amounts, but how long do you need to do this to see meaningful changes in rank? I'm sure that there's a lot of factors that influence that answer.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Yeah. So a couple of things, using Helium 10, they'll give you an 8 to 10-day guideline on how long to run. And usually, it's about that. It's a 10-day ranking. Even if you see your rank improve after day one, you don't shut off your campaign. You want that sustained velocity over that basically eight-day period. Now some of my sellers who sell in what I call bloodbath categories, couple meds, wireless accessories, those kinds of things you might need to run a full 30 day ranking campaign. You might have to have a constant ranking campaign running where you're just dripping in, and keeping-

Brett:

Keeping your sales velocity up to keep your rankings.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Yeah. Even as you're getting all those organic cells supplement with your own external traffic as well, an important thing to note as it relates to ranking campaigns is that ... I use the analogy of teaching your kids how to ride a bike. Have you taught your kids how to ride a bike?

Brett:

We actually just did that with our five-year-old Sydney. She was our quickest learner. She she just caught it in no time, but it can be ... It is one of those non-intuitive things where you have to teach them. You need a little bit of speed. Without speed, you can't stay up right. So you got to get your momentum going. But yeah, that's a fun process.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Right. Exactly. And I have two. I have daughters, four and six. And we're definitely ... The oldest one is good. The four-year-old we're on our way to ... because we haven't decided to bite that bullet yet. But basically, how training the kids to ride a bicycle goes as you hold, you provide them some external balance and velocity. And then you teach them to generate their own velocity to maintain their momentum. And if they don't maintain that momentum, we all know what happens. Right? Hash falls, heartbreaking his parents, frustrating for them, and they don't ever want to do it again. And the same thing is true for ranking campaigns, for Amazon sellers.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

And your listings is that external traffic is there to provide you that external velocity. But if your listing can not maintain that momentum on its own, IE we've given you the best position possible. Now, can you convert organic traffic on your own? And that goes to having a really great listing, having great product images, indexing for the right keywords, having good copy, maybe eight-plus content, as it makes sense for your ... having social proof. All of these things factor into conversion and organic conversion. And so, chatbots and chat marketing all about velocity, but your listing has to be positioned for conversion. The worst listings out there ... I've had people come to me and their listings are just total crap. And they're like, "I want you to rank this." And I'm like, "Absolutely not."

Brett:

Not going to work.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

That is not going to work. Well, I can rank you. But if people are going to be super sketched out by what you're offering, then it's not going to stick, and I don't want-

Brett:

Yeah. And you're going to have to spend a lot more. You're going to have to spend more to get people to buy. You have to keep that momentum going, that velocity from the campaigns wait for longer. Because the campaign's not self-sustaining or the listing's not self-sustaining. So yeah, totally makes sense. So then, what are you doing? This process makes sense to me. Are you then following up using a chat bot to get that good review, or to maybe mitigate bad reviews? How are you tying in the review piece to this?

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Yeah, absolutely. So the campaign itself is basically two pieces. The first half of the piece is promotional. And the second half of the piece is going to be ... or well, I guess three pieces. The first half will be the promotion and getting people the offer, getting people to take the offer. And then, if you're running a rebate, then delivering the rebate would be the second half, actually providing the rebate. And then, the third portion is the post-purchase followup and making sure ... checking on people's experience with product. And there's a number of ways to do this. But the main way that I recommend is to follow up 3 to 10 days, post-purchase. You're going to know better for your listing if ... for your product, if it's a three-day followup if it's a product that people can see immediately, if it's working for them or not, or if it's a supplement or skincare where it takes-

Brett:

I think it should be a little longer now, because some delivery times are extended potentially.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Yeah, definitely. So once again, you got to take all these factors into advisement. And I don't re... I recommend waiting to distribute a rebate until the product is shipped. So not immediately after somebody has purchased, but make sure the product actually ships, so they don't have a chance to cancel their order. Avoid those kinds of fraud elements. But then the review itself is going to basically be after a significant delay and using ManyChat, you're going to be using some post-purchase update tags to make sure that your message actually goes out. That goes ... That's a little technical for this but just making sure that you have the right elements in place so that you can get that message automatically delivered, and then asking people about their experience, and requesting your reviews or providing customer service really is what it comes down to.

Brett:

Awesome. I love it. And you also talked about these re-ranking or relaunch events or whatever. I assume that's something that people are going to need to do now, because maybe you're losing the buy box. Maybe, because of shipping issues, or inventory issues, that your listing has been displaced in the rankings. I'm assuming it's the same process, but any notes or tips on how to run a re-ranking campaign, or when you need to do it, or just any insights there?

Michelle Barnum Smith:

I think it's actually really important. Re-ranking campaigns are actually what sellers need to be doing the majority of the time. Because this unlike ... especially if you're in a blood bath category, guaranteed, your competitors are constantly ranking re-ranking, that sort of thing. And I wouldn't fave these external traffic campaigns just for a new product launch. There's always a new keyword that you could be ranking for. But especially right now with the COVID craziness, we'll call it, all of that traffic haven't been diverted to keywords that ... The top 20 keywords in brand analytics are all COVID related. They're all like ... toilet paper was the top keyword for ever ... I haven't used it recently, but it's because all of that traffic has been diverted. What that's done is definitely affected ranking for listings. Typically had a lot of search volume, and thus had a lot of conversions and sales velocity. So I think especially as sellers are getting inventory back in, as shipping dates are no longer suppressed, that it's what I call a race to rank right now. Where you have a significant opportunity-

Brett:

A race to get back to normal life.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Right. Exactly. And in some cases, your keyword, velocity keywords might be on sale for your category or for your listing because that traffic has been diverted elsewhere. Then what that can translate into is, taking advantage of lower search volumes for your typical keywords. So once again, go to your Helium 10 research and figure out where these are at for you. But re-ranking is-

Brett:

And as given, Helium 10, is that your keyword research tool of choice?

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Yeah, it really is. They make it so easy and I'm not ... I'm a marketing strategist. I'm not a developer. I'm not like some data scientist-

Brett:

Right.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

I'm like, "Just give it to me straight." And so, I love their tool. They just make it super easy.

Brett:

Interesting. Any other insights on just the way things have shifted in terms of search behavior, and interesting search terms, and stuff? I'm spending more of my day to day on the Google side of our business rather than the Amazon side. I know Amazon well, but we've seen some interesting things with Google search patterns as Amazon started to suppress, or start to delay deliveries of non-essentials. We started seeing in the Google search term report for our clients, people looking for two-day shipping, and next day shipping, it really spiked where it wasn't there as much before. And some other interesting things too, any other trends or interesting shifts you've seen on the keyword side other than shifts on things like toilet paper and stuff like that?

Michelle Barnum Smith:

I mean, that's the biggest thing and not ... obviously keyword volume going down in general. I will say it has rebounded steeply just in the last few days as shipping dates have no longer been suppressed. But stay at home orders are still being enforced here in the United States. People are comfort shopping.

Brett:

They are. Hey, retail therapy man, it is a real thing. And people want to buy, and so we need to be there to help them out.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

They're bored at home, stuck there. And they're just like ... There's a lot of dream shopping that's going on. There's lots of, when I get out of this house going on, there's lots of stretch pants being purchased, swimsuits, not so much.

Brett:

That's such a good point. What's also interesting is, we've seen this with our clients. And also just seeing studies when it comes to economic downturns or crisis or recession or whatever that people are more open to trying new brands. So we're brand loyalty may have ruled the day for some people in some categories. That's not as strong during uncertain times. So people are more willing to try something new. Especially, if you add value or give a compelling reason, or you have 100% rebate or something like that, people are open to trying new things. And so if you can, now it's such a great time to acquire new customers, build that list, build your ranking, all of those things.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

And something important to point out is because people are stuck at home, they're on social media, the social media usage rates are astronomical. And so, Facebook has dropped their ad costs. And they're the main ... I mean, besides TikTok, they're really-

Brett:

More inventory, right? More eyes, more time, just means more inventory.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Exactly. And even if you are a bit afraid to run Facebook ads, or feel intimidated by them, gosh, now is the time to learn how to do them. Because ... and you don't even have to be crazy with a budget or anything like that. I ran a giveaway contest, a literal contest where ... and we were giving 5 cents to subscribers, and we got over 15,000 new subscribers in two weeks,

Brett:

Man, that's insane. Now is the time to be ... And that's what we've heard some people talking about is, Hey, even if our core product, our hero product, we've got some inventory issues, I still may be running some campaigns to build a list. To build either a remarketing list, or a viewed video list, or a Messenger list, because never been a cheaper time to build that list not in recent history. And now, we'll be able to capitalize on that when things do rebound. So once you build that list, what are some other tips or ideas or suggestions, how do we use our Messenger lists ongoing?

Michelle Barnum Smith:

So I think it's really important just like any marketing tool to have a communication plan and to have basically a communication schedule. And sometimes, Amazon sellers get a little myopic and think like, "Oh, I just need to focus on new product launches." I'm like, "No, there's ... mother's day is coming up. You need to run your ranking campaigns right now for your products and guaranteed almost any product out there can be spun in some way as gift for mom, whether it should be or not." But there's ranking campaigns going on, there's seasonal, there's other kinds of seasonal opportunities. So what I recommend is at the most three messages amongst your list, but at least one is to stay in contact-

Brett:

Because I'm assuming that it's similar to use emails where if you go too long without messaging someone, then when you do, they're like, "Who are you?"

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Right. Spam rate and subscribe rate, block rate, all of that goes up. And it's one of those things like I said that you constantly need to be re-ranking and constantly be adding external traffic and running those kinds of campaigns. They don't all have to be 100% off rebates, but you can run a 30% off coupon and still get the benefit of a verified purchase as it makes sense for your business. So what I recommend is having some ... as far as the marketing communications schedule going, have a ranking campaign, have a seasonal campaign, and then next thing, some other type of general offer going on just to keep people interested, and in tune with your brand. And this is also a really powerful time to migrate customers from Amazon to your own website, in buying directly from you and taking that relationship direct. I've been experimenting with a lot of subscribe and save campaigns. And if you're in the consumables space, there's a significant opportunity there to-

Brett:

Push for subscribe on your website. Or that's one of the questions I was wondering about because we do this a lot with Google remarketing for people that don't have a Shopify store or whatever. Is running re-order campaigns. So through remarketing, or through YouTube, or whatever. So is that something that you do through chat marketing as well, a re-order campaign?

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Yeah, absolutely. So, one of the strategies is to have a product insert in your Amazon products, and have a call to action. It takes them to many times, maybe like a QR code or a link or something like that to some really compelling offer versus the product insert needs to be seen. And then you need to have people convert. And so make sure it's something compelling. You don't want to do, like get a 5% off coupon. Now, offer them free product, offer them a BOGO, do something that's going to blow their minds and motivate them. And then once you get them into the flow, then you can of course ask for the review. But then maybe the call to action is some offer maybe back to Amazon. But right now we're experimenting with taking them to your website instead and it starts to develop a relationship directly with your brand.

Brett:

I love that. I love that plan. Awesome. Michelle, this has been fantastic. Maybe one more question that I want to find out; how people can get in touch with you and take advantage of any resources or training or tools that you have, things like that. But what are a couple of the mistakes that you see? What are the most prevalent mistakes where people hear this information? They think, "Oh, this is a great idea. I'm just going to go do it." But what are some of the prevalent mistakes that need to be avoided?

Michelle Barnum Smith:

I think one of the biggest mistakes is that people get into ManyChat, and they try to build these campaigns from scratch themselves. And ManyChat is built for business owners, not necessarily for developers. So it's definitely accessible, but me and my team, we build ManyChat templates that are a five-second install. And we build out all the bells and whistles. There's the things that you don't know, that you don't know, tags and what we call one time notification topics, and all of these things. And it's like, "You know what? just use our templates." We cut straight to the chase and make it really easy for you to be able to execute. The other thing is like I said, at the beginning, expecting chat, marketing to be this thanks all bandaid. Well guess what? If you don't have the right strategy you're putting into that tool, it's going to fail. The best temples out there, the best campaigns out there, start with strategy. And it's so crucial to really understand that first, and not be going after keywords you have no business going after really. So make sure that those are the two biggies that I see.

Brett:

Love it. Totally makes sense. And I think that applies to so many things, right? People are looking for the silver bullet or the one thing that's going to push them over the edge. And really, all of the tools we talk about on this podcast, they're made better when you have good product strategy. What's your reason for existing? How do you have a strong listing? All of those things work together. So awesome. How can people get a hold of these templates or learn more from you or hire you or whatever?

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I put together what I call the race to rank rebate template, and it's $9 and it is-

Brett:

$9? Really?

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Super easy to set up. We'll have the link for you in the show notes and give you everything that you need to be able to rank your campaigns with rebates. So that is the best place to get started. And then, if you need to get a hold of me, we'll also put that in the show notes on how best to reach out. Or if you are confused by me, just Google-

Brett:

Michelle Barnum Smith. Queen of ... What about queen of Amazon chat marketing? Does that return to you?

Michelle Barnum Smith:

I'm sure it's out there somewhere.

Brett:

You try it. Yeah, that is cool. Awesome. Well, this has been fantastic. I will link to everything in the show notes. You can go to e-commerceevolution.com, or now actually, the podcast is hosted @omgcommerce.com under resources and podcasts. You can get to it either way. But Michelle, this has been a blast. I love this topic. I think this is something that based on my experience anyway, a lot of people are missing, and people need to keep ... I think a lot of people probably heard of the rebate to rank, but this continual re-ranking, keeping the momentum, I don't think there's that many people thinking about it. So I really appreciate you sharing and thanks for coming on.

Michelle Barnum Smith:

Yeah, absolutely. Thanks so much for having me.

Brett:

Awesome. Absolutely. And as always, we appreciate you tuning in. Hey, we would love to have your review. So if you think this podcast is valuable, head over to iTunes, let us know what you think. As we get more reviews, more people can discover this podcast. So with that, until next time, thank you for listening.




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