Way back in 1995, Amazon.com made its first-ever customer sale. Within two short months, Amazon was generating $20,000 per week in the U.S. and countries around the world.
Today, Amazon has become the go-to marketplace for more than 310 million customers, with over 54 percent of all product searches occurring on Amazon. In other words, Amazon has replaced Google as the No. 1 search engine for products.
So, how can your brand leverage this fast-growing, ultracompetitive marketplace while still remaining profitable? Let’s take a look at four Amazon advertising strategies you can start using today to improve your effectiveness and sell more products:
1. Optimize your product listings.
Before even considering advertising on Amazon, you need to start with effective product listings that are properly optimized for both your audience and Amazon’s algorithm. Many brands advertising on Amazon still neglect this fundamental step, which leads to lower engagement, lower audience intent, and fewer sales.
You need to err on the side of excellence, especially the more complicated or technical your product is. There are five common shortcomings that brands make in regards to product listings:
- Poor brand representation or low-quality images: Make sure that all of the text supporting your product — from title and description to details and bulleted copy — are optimized with the keywords that resonate with your audience (more on this later). Look to Amazon’s own product listings to get a sense of how it is positioning information.
- Misleading product claims: Be accurate and truthful in the claims you're making about your products. The fastest way to destroy consumer trust is to exaggerate or inaccurately portray your products. Don’t be a snake-oil salesman!
- Unanswered questions: If someone asks you a question about your product, answer them! A huge part of building consumer trust is being highly responsive in your customer service. Unanswered questions are warning signs of a brand that doesn’t care.
- Negative reviews: Although you can’t entirely control negative reviews, you can leverage them to your advantage. Use them as an opportunity to get valuable product feedback, provide customer service if something went wrong, or even determine if your customers are receiving counterfeit products from a third-party seller.
- Duplicate listings: If the same product has multiple listings, not only are you diluting your traffic, you might also be sending them to a nonoptimized product page. Make sure that your products don’t have multiple listings. If they do, work with Amazon Seller Support to get them removed.
2. Set the right goals.
This might sound like common sense, but you’d be amazed at the number of brands that don’t have clearly defined goals, or have goals focused far too granularly to see the bigger picture. Success means different things to different companies, so understanding the specific needs of your brand is the first step to setting the right goals.
There are three common objectives for Amazon advertisers:
- brand awareness;
- rapid growth; and
- sales at a target return on investment.
Before even considering building out or expanding your Amazon advertising, you need to set clear expectations for the channel. For instance, if brand awareness is your main goal, you’ll probably want to invest more heavily in your Amazon Store and Amazon Sponsored Brand ads, which are a great way to showcase your products and get more people viewing what you offer. If sales at a target ROI is the goal, you’ll need a much more comprehensive advertising strategy and campaign optimizations in place to reach those goals.
3. Conduct competitive research and analysis.
Understanding your competitors and your position in the marketplace is another essential step to optimizing your Amazon advertising. One of the best ways to make this determination is to perform a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) of your brand. Not only will this help you better define your competition, but it can also help you flesh out the specific strengths of your brand.
The big takeaway here is that you can make more profit quickly and easily by focusing on your strengths and capitalizing on the strengths of your products. You can spend a lifetime trying to perfect your weaknesses and never achieve the same impact as optimizing for your strengths.
Here are six questions to ask yourself as you look to understand your unique strengths:
- How competitive is your category on Amazon?
- What is your fulfillment strategy, and what is the strategy of your competitors?
- What do your product reviews look like?
- What does the quality of your product listings look like?
- How are you priced compared to your competitors?
- Are your products bundled similarly to your competitors, or do you have a unique selling angle?
4. Focus on keywords, keywords, keywords.
Last but not least, understanding the keywords that are resonating with your audience is essential to optimizing your Amazon advertising campaigns. There are three main keyword match types on Amazon:
- Exact match captures traffic that matches the keyword exactly or is a plural. If the search was “sock," “sock” or “socks” would be an exact match, but “red sock” would not.
- Phrase match captures traffic with any variation of a keyword or keyword phrase, assuming the words appear in the correct order. If the search phrase was “red socks,” phrases like “long red socks” and “red socks for sports” would track, but “red long socks” would not.
- Broad match captures traffic when an individual word within the keyword or keyword phrase is used. The order doesn't matter as long as one of the words for the search is present. A search for “red long socks” would track for any combination of terms using “red,” “long,” “socks” or any combination of these words.
There are a number of fantastic free tools that can help you in your keyword research. One great example is Sonar, which is a tool that our Amazon teams use at ROI Revolution to support our research.
The Amazon search bar itself is another incredible resource for keyword research. By beginning to type a query into the search field, Amazon will attempt to auto-fill the keyword or phrase based on the tremendous audience data acquired from its 310 million customers. This is a great opportunity to see the common keywords that are associated with your products, and the terms that real consumers are using.
Tying it All Together
Once you've gathered a solid collection of keywords, completed your competitive research and SWOT analysis, set smart goals, and fine-tuned your listings, you’re well on your way to efficient, optimized Amazon advertising campaigns.
Obviously, the setup is only half the battle. Fine-tuning the ads themselves and continuously analyzing, testing and optimizing is the key to long-term success.
Looking for more great Amazon insights? Grab your copy of "Ultimate Guide to Amazon Advertising" today! In this comprehensive book, you’ll uncover even more strategies to set up and optimize your ad campaigns, as well as detailed examples and tactics to improve the efficiency of every Amazon ad format as well as your Amazon Store.
Timothy P. Seward is the author of the “Ultimate Guide to Amazon Advertising" (Entrepreneur Press®, 2019) and the founder of ROI Revolution, which drives growth for brands, retailers, and e-commerce merchants with its results-driven digital marketing technology and services.
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Timothy P. Seward is the author of the “Ultimate Guide to Amazon Advertising" (Entrepreneur Press®, 2019) and the founder of ROI Revolution, which drives growth for brands, retailers, and ecommerce merchants with its results-driven digital marketing technology and services. With his extensive marketing and retail background, he is a thought leader who has spoken at 70+ industry ecommerce and Amazon events including IRCE & Prosper, is a frequent guest lecturer at North Carolina State University’s College of Management and has contributed to key industry publications including Internet Retailer.