Archive for the 'Ecommerce Marketing' Category

How to Master Product Photography on a Tight Budget (We Did it With Less Than $50)

Consumers seek time-saving shortcuts all the time, and their attention naturally gravitates to the quickest way to gather information: images.

Product images not only testify to the quality of your product, but also serve as windowfs into your ecommerce store, creating 2 very important things:

  1. Transparency
  2. Trust

When consumers view a product page, they are looking for proof of quality and value.

Images shape their first impression, creating a tipping point as to whether they will continue browsing and eventually make a purchase.

Here, we’ll show you how to take images that:

  1. Engage
  2. Convert
  3. Boost the lifetime value of your customers.

We’ll also go over how to optimize the photo creation process to save you time and money.

Keep in mind that you don’t need a large budget to create polished and professional product photos.

In fact, we will show you how to do it for about $50.

What is Product Photography?

Product photography uses specific techniques to showcases products in an attractive way and entice potential buyers to purchase specific products.

Product photography is an essential part of both online and offline advertising for successful catalogues, brochures, magazine ads, billboards, online ads and company websites, specifically when selling products direct to consumer.

Now, let’s take a closer look at why images are so important.

Why Photography Increases Conversions

90% of information transmitted to our brain is visual.

No matter how sophisticated, website visitors are first engaged by visual elements, not written copy.

Photos are a key part of a consumer’s decision-making process, ultimately determining conversion and retention rates.

The quality of a product photo reflects your brand image, creating the infamous first impression.

The key to making the most of their first impress is to present polished, professional images that evokes maximum engagement.

1. Quality visuals enhance every buyer touchpoint.

93% of consumers consider images essential in purchasing decisions.

Your images represent your product’s perceived value and quality. They speak directly to your target audience, making your product page and content more relatable.

Take Naturally Curly’s for example.

They offer amazing images of simple, everyday products, often making them cool and appealing.

Take a look at the product images below. How neat and trustworthy do they look?

Source: Naturally Curly

Again, you don’t need a large budget to create polished and professional product photos. In this guide, we’ll show you how to do it for $50.

2. Images are a key element of branding.

Branding should be central to every decision your company makes, including:

  • Your social media posts
  • Website updates
  • All your marketing efforts.

And images are at the helm of your brand. They are the first to grab attention, instill trust, and invite customers to take a further look.

Everything in an imagequality, subject matter, color theme and saturationshould speak in a uniform voice that resonates with your target audience.

Your goal is to form long-term relationships with your customers, and photos are one of the most important tools to achieve that.

Seriously Silly Socks does a great job at this. They offer polished but super brand-charged product-only images.

Source: Seriously Silly Socks

The 2 Types of Ecommerce Product Photography

There are two main types of images that should be used on your product page and across your marketing channels.

  1. The first are clean-cut, white background, product-only images. These should include your featured product, and a variety of images showcasing your product from different angles. Below is an example of Sierra Designs’ product-only shot.
  2. The second is in-context or lifestyle photos that show your product being used in its intended environment or alongside complementing products. Here’s the same product in a lifestyle or in-context shot.

Product-Only Images.

Product-only images are meant to show your product in its best light from all relevant angles.

They are usually shot on a white background, helping to create a consistent look across your product line.

These images describe your product at a glance and are best suited for your product page. Their job is to nurture page visitors towards making a purchase.

Contrary to what people might assume, you actually need about a dozen images on your product page, not just one or two.

Most of them should be product-only shots, with one or two in-context shots mixed in, designed to create further emotional bonds with your product.

Product-only images are generally the most suited for product pages, as they have a significantly higher rate of conversion.

In-Context Images.

Source: Dainty Jewells

Lifestyle shots, ones that tell a story, are best suited for social media, blog posts, emails, and other marketing channels at the top of your conversion funnel.

It’s also good to add a few in-context snaps to your product page, helping to to boost emotional engagement.

The same rules apply to taking lifestyle photos as in product-only shots, apart from the fact that lifestyle photos allow you a lot more creative freedom.

You can use a camera, with or without a tripod, or why not take your products photos outdoors, to a settings that suits your brand’s voice.

For outdoor shoots on a budget, it is best to use natural light.

You can achieve really beautiful results if you shoot early in the morning or in the late afternoon, when the light is filtered at a smaller angle.

Basic Product Photography Equipment and Process

For those new to photography, your first product shoot may seem overwhelming.

But after a few rounds, each step will become more natural, and you won’t even have to think about it.

The key is to find a process that suits your needs, optimize it, and create a set of guidelines to ensure you keep your images consistent.

Let’s take a look at our DIY product photography tips.

1. Set up your background and product.

Getting the right background is worth the effort, because it simplifies the entire editing process.

Use a white or light backdrop, as it’s easy to remove when retouching your images.

There are lots of ways you can improvise a background on a budget, and we will look at two that can be set up for under $20.

  1. A shooting table: You can create this with a chair you have in your home or office.
  2. A light tent

Shooting Table.

Source: Pixc

The first is a chair mounted sweep. For this, all you need is a roll of craft paper.

The simplest way to achieve this is by pushing a chair against a wall, and taping craft paper on the wall allowing it naturally fall to the ground, creating a seamless transition between the vertical to horizontal plane.

Or you can clip the paper to the top of the chair to improvise a stand for your sweep like the image above.

Light Tent.

The other budget approach is to create your own lightbox, aka light tent.

A light tent is a box-shaped device with translucent walls, designed to help distribute the light evenly around the object of photography.

Here’s how to set one up.

  1. To get started, you need a plastic storage container that you can put on its side with the lid off.
  2. Then, tape some white paper to the bottom, and you can also tape white paper or cloth on the sides to serve as diffusers, which helps to distribute the light better, minimizing unnecessary shadows.
  3. Depending on your budget, you can use artificial lighting and place them either side of the container, or for those on a budget take advantage of natural lighting by placing it your DIY lightbox next to a large window.

Setting up your Product.

It’s important to make sure you set your product up in front of your background on a flat, stable surface.

Once you get the lighting right, you’re almost ready to shoot.

If you’re shooting jewelry, it’s always best to use a bust. Those on a budget can improvise by making one from a piece of cardboard, like in the image below.

Source: Pixc

You can also use fishing line to suspend earrings and other small items, which is easily removed in the editing process.

Here are a few ideas for harder to photograph items:

  • Use glue dots and tape to fix small items in place.
  • For clothing, it’s always best to use a mannequin, which can be easily removed.
  • You could try experimenting with a hanger or even creative flatlay.
  • For lifestyle shots, why not ask a friend or team member to sport your clothes for some bonus photos.

Source: Pixc

If you are shooting large items, like furniture, you will need a stand mounted sweep that might cost a little more.

But you can improvise by getting a few rolls of craft paper, taping them to the wall, and letting gravity do all the work.

This technique follows the same principles as the table mounted sweep, only it’s a bit bigger.

2. Get your lighting right.

If there is one deciding factor that defines the quality of your images, it’s light.

Lighting can be very tedious to set up, but when done right, it brings beautiful results and significantly simplifies your post-processing.

You have 2 options:

  1. Natural Light: Best if you’ve created a chair mounted sweep.
  2. Studio Light: Best if you have the budget, or if you create a lightbox.

Natural Light.

Source: Pixc

When you’re on a budget, you should use natural light. It’s much easier to manipulate, and, for small in-house product shoots, it can save you lots of time and hassle.

Start by placing your shooting table near a large window, ideally one that allows lots of light into the room.

If the light is too harsh, you can diffuse it by placing a cloth or white paper over the window (see image above).

If the shadows are too harsh, use white plasterboard or cardboard on either side of the object, helping to reflect some light and soften it. It’s always best to shoot when the day is at its brightest, giving you more light to play with.

Source: Pixc

Better to have too much sunlight and minimise it, than not enough.

It’s very hard to create great lighting during the editing process.

But keep in mind never to shoot under direct sunlight. Just like a strong backlight, direct light can create harsh shadows.

Studio Lights.

Source: arqspin

If you have to use artificial lighting, you will need at least two softbox light setups to get the shadows right.

You can typically buy two clip-on light clamps, with strong bulbs for under $30. If your budget is slightly higher, you can get two softbox setups for about $50.

One of the lights should serve as your key light, and the other as your fill light or backlight, depending on your desired results.

Consider placing some white paper or cloth over them to diffuse some of the light, helping to achieve softer shadows.

Your key light should be placed in front often slightly to the side of the product, while your fill or backlight is on the opposite side, back or above.

Manipulate the angles and distance of the lights until you get soft, evenly distributed shadows.

You can also use white plasterboard or cardboard to defuse some of the light and further soften those shadows.

This is what lightboxes are designed to do; they are a diffuser of sorts, distributing the light evenly around the product.

With that in mind, studio lights give you more control over the entire process, especially if you are shooting multiple products over several hours.

Once you have the right setup, you can get consistent, professional results and recreate them for all your shoots.

3. Use a tripod.

Tripods bring consistency, stability, and focus.

It is easy to end up with blurry images when you try to get your entire product in focus, while holding your camera in your hand without moving.

If you can’t fit a tripod into your budget, use a pile of books or a stool to keep your camera fixed.

A decent tripod will serve you well for many years, and you should be able to get one for under $30. It’s definitely worth picking on up when you have some budget.

If you’re using a camera, set it to a low aperture (AKA a high f/stop), and slow shutter speed.

That way you will get a wide depth of field, keeping your entire product in focus, leaving your products looking crisp.

It’s vital to stabilize your camera when you are shooting with a wide depth of field in order to avoid blurry images.

4. Pick the right camera.

Source: Pixc

It is the most essential element to any product photography shoot: a camera.

Prices of DSLR and point and shoot cameras have steadily dropped over recent years.

Recommended DSLR Settings for Product Photography:
  • Don’t use a wide angle lens. You will distort your product.
  • Use the right aperture for the right shot. A wide aperture like f2.8 or f4.5 will narrow your depth of field, leaving parts of your product out of focus. A small aperture like f8 or f11 will give you a wider depth of field, keeping your entire product crisp and in focus.
  • Use the correct white balance. When shooting, you should set it to the same Kelvin temperature as your lights.

However, if you have a smartphone, you don’t need to worry about investing in a camera when you’re getting starting.

Smartphone camera technology has come a long way and sometimes you can take even better pictures than you might using a professional camera.

So as long as you get your lighting and background right, your iPhone or Samsung device can do a good job.

You might want to get a smartphone stabilizer or tripod, like Joby, at some point to help reduce blur and speed up post-processing.

5. Don’t forget post-processing.

Source: Pixc

Retouching your images after the shoot is vital to achieving a polished look.

Even if you shoot your product with a smartphone, editing can be the difference between mediocre and professional results.

For those starting out, getting the background or the lighting right takes a bit of trial and error. Thankfully photo editing can make a multitude of flaws magically disappear.

Retouching covers anything from background removal to color correction, mannequin removal, and shadow addition for a more natural look.

Photo editing is a time-consuming process, especially until you get the hang of things.

Luckily, there’s a world of free image editing tools available to help with all your photo editing needs.

Examples of Free Image Editing Tools:
  • Pixlr – Free and has a lot of the functionality of Photoshop.
  • Canva – User-friendly free online editor best suited for marketing materials.
  • Fotor – Free, easy-to-use smartphone app.
  • Snapseed – Powerful, fully-featured mobile app that is also free.

Let Professionals Handle Editing – Free Trial

For those who don’t have time or perhaps don’t want the hassle, you can opt to use an online tool designed to create perfect product photography – Pixc.

All you have to do is upload your photos from your phone (or camera), and pop them into our user-friendly dashboard.

Set your requirements, such as background removal or color correction, save them into a template, and submit. It’s that simple.

You’ll receive professional, retail-ready images within 24 hours.

Start a free trial.

How to Create Product Photography Guidelines

Once you have the process down to a fine art, make sure you take the time to create clear shooting, brand, and editing guidelines so you can maintain consistency as your business grows.

This step won’t cost anything, apart from the time it takes you to write it down!

Make sure you document all the minor things, including things like the distance between the camera and product, angles, and lighting setup.

Trust me, it’s worth the effort in the long run.

Keep in mind that your product photos are basically brand ambassadors, and maintaining consistency is crucial.

Create a technical guide and a template in your editing software that will help you maintain consistent size and scale.

Go a step further and create a style guide for your in-context snaps too.

Make sure you include:

  • Color Palette
  • Saturation
  • Focal Length
  • Shadows
  • Composition
  • Location and Context
  • Consistency

Share your guide with everyone involved in your product shoots, and post a copy in your in-house studio for quick reference.

Having an image guide will not only save you money in the long run, but also save you lots of time as you won’t have to repeat the training processes.

Instead, you can focus on more profitable tasks, such as growing your business.

Optimizing Your Images (and Increasing SEO)

Source: Envira Gallery

Don’t forget to optimize your images so you get the best quality possible, while also making sure you don’t reduce page load speed.

Most platforms and marketplaces have their own set of photo editing requirements, so make sure you find out what yours are.

When it comes to your product page, every second counts and can hurt your conversion rate.

Make sure you implement free minifying tools to optimize your images, and shave off a few unnecessary kilobytes.

Finally, always make sure you name your images correctly, including as much relevant metadata and keywords as possible.

This additional detail helps search engines understand what is in the image, helping to improve your ranking giving you boost in organic traffic.

More traffic = more customers = more money.

Google just announced that beginning summer of 2018, mobile page load speed will be a ranking factor for mobile search results.

That means that your site needs to load fast – officially – or no one will be able to find it.

To account for this, BigCommerce has integrated Akamai Image Manager into the Stencil theme platform. This integration delivers lighter, faster images at the highest visual quality by optimizing each online image for device type, image quality and download size.

Improvements to customer engagement from faster loading images has been shown to improve conversion by up to 19% and cut image prep time by 25% in Akamai’s studies.

Our own BigCommerce study has found enabling Image Manager can improve page load speed by up to 70% in a closed beta in Q3 2017.

Test a Stencil theme now to see the difference.

All The Tools You Need to Get It Done (<$50)

The world of ecommerce is showing no sign of slowing down, and your product photos provide prospective customers a virtual window into your business.

There’s no doubt about it, visual content plays a huge part in online purchasing decisions.

Consumers are constantly being bombarded with information online, and have to make immediate decisions based on the content you choose to offer them.

To stand out, create polished, consistent images across your product pages and marketing channels.

Make sure you choose images that fortify your brand, as this will help boost conversions and ultimately sales.

Once you master the lighting, background, and editing process, you’ll be on your way to product photography perfection!

Here are all the tools mentioned in here to get it done.

  • A shooting table.
  • A light tent.
  • Studio light.
  • A tripod.
  • A camera (or your smartphone!).
  • Image editing tools.
    • Pixar.
    • Canva.
    • Motor.
    • Snapseed.
    • Pixc.
  • Photography guidelines for consistency.

Frequently Asked Product Photography Questions

What are the different types of product photography?

  1. Individual shots: A shot of your product (with a white background).
  2. Lifestyle shots: Shots of your product being used.
  3. Scale shots: Helps users get a better ideas of the size of the product.
  4. Detailed shots: A close up view to highlight specific product features.
  5. Group shots: Groups of products showcased together.
  6. Packaging shots: An image of the product’s packaging.

What equipment is needed for product photography?

  1. Camera: Smartphones will work, but higher quality cameras tend to help improve the look and feel of product photos.
  2. Lighting: Good light is key, ensure both natural and any artificial light sources are on point.
  3. White backdrop: A white backdrop (such as a light tent) will reflect light back onto your product and improve quality.
  4. Tripod: A tripod will reduce camera shake and overall quality of product photos.

Have any product photography lighting tips?

Below are some quick tips to improve your product photography lighting setup:

  1. Use at least two lights.
  2. Get two identical cool colored 5000K bulbs.
  3. Create a seamless white background with some white poster board taped to the bottom of a large clear plastic storage container that’s flipped onto its side.
  4. To make a product float, use thread from a standard sewing kit to elevate the product and then erase the thread in post processing.
  5. For reflection, place a small piece of plexiglass under the product.

Should I invest in professional product photography?

If you can afford it, yes.

Photos of your product both by themselves and in use are some of the most important merchandising and marketing efforts you do for your online brand.

Because consumers cannot touch or see your product in person, your product photography must do the trick.

If you can, hire a professional. If you can’t, this guide will walk you through how to bootstrap it for the time being.

How much does a product photographer cost?

Product photography rates range from $7 a photo to $50 for setup and $25/hour – or more.

You’ll need to work with various photographers to get the pricing model right for your needs and your type of products.

For instance, if you have a large catalog –– $7 per photo probably isn’t reasonable and you’d be better off with an hourly range. If you only have a few products, you’re likely better off with an hourly rate.

How to Create Ecommerce Product Videos That Sell and Convert

Want tips and examples of product videos? We have over 25 tips to increase trust, engagement and conversions, plus 17 product video examples of companies doing this extremely well.

For more tips on mastering product photography, check out our complete guide to ecommerce product photography.

Want more insights like this?

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Ecommerce Marketing &product photography admin 26 Jan 2018 Comments Off on How to Master Product Photography on a Tight Budget (We Did it With Less Than $50)

How to Master Amazon SEO and Move Your Products up the Search Rankings in 2017

Looking back on the past two years, I’m still amazed at the river of money Amazon has provided for so many people –– from stay-at-home moms to major household brands. 

And while it’s not always good news (nothing ever is in business), the opportunity is still very real and I believe will continue to get even better.

However, as more competition has entered the marketplace, it means sellers must bring their best cards to the table if they’re going to win.

When asked to write this chapter, I was thrilled.

I wanted to write a comprehensive guide that not only explained how Amazon’s search engine works, but the specific methods and tools my team is using today to help our clients optimize their listings and crush it on Amazon.

The type of guide that can turn you into an Amazon SEO expert in 15 minutes just didn’t exist… until now.

The beauty and burden of Amazon’s search engine –– aka A9 –– is its simplicity.

Amazon provides a very simple-to-use interface where sellers can populate all the data relevant to their product. Once you know what to put in these fields, it makes it very easy to implement any changes.

However, because A9 is a maturing algorithm, frequent and unpredictable updates are a common point of frustration for many sellers on Amazon.

In turn, I’ve done my best to include the most up-to-date recommendations and tips based on both Amazon’s documentation and our own observations after managing 1000s of Amazon listings.

However, the observations and recommendations I make in this guide are subject to change as A9 evolves. Even the best SEO software and tools can’t predict the future.

Therefore, I encourage you to revisit this guide frequently and check the comments section often.

Take This Book With You

This full guide (all +17 chapters and +50 experts and their insights) is more than 35,000 words. That’s a lot to read on a screen.

So don’t! Download the guide below to print it out, take it with you, and start selling more on Amazon.

Download Now

Amazon Optimizations That Get a 320% Increase in Sales in Less Than 10 Minutes

One of my favorite clients in the entire world is Debbie.

In one word, she’s awesome.

She has passion and truly believes in her products and how they can improve people’s lives.

Unfortunately, that passion didn’t translate into many sales because she wasn’t into all that “technical stuff” and she had done a poor job of building a solid listing.

In fact, she had done a very poor job –– like “how have you even sold a unit?” poor job.

So, on day one my team decided to focus on three parts of her listing: images, title and backend search terms. You’ll learn why these are so important in a bit.

She made the changes and, within 10 minutes, they were updated and live. Then, we waited.

Before working together, Debbie was selling about five units per day, give or take a unit or two.

The next morning, I woke up to four missed text messages.

  • She made two sales before 7 a.m. –– this had never happened.
  • By the end of that day, she had made 16 sales. This has been the new normal ever since.

While I can’t guarantee a 320% increase in sales, I can assure you this chapter will help you bring your absolute best to Amazon so you’re ready to compete and get your products onto the first page of search results.

I’ll first cover a bit about Amazon, A9 and ranking factors in the algorithm.

Then, I’ll dive deep into how to create killer listings optimized for the right search terms that help us to compete with and crush our competition.

The One Thing to Remember for Amazon SEO

If you only get one thing from this chapter, it should be this:

Amazon cares about buyers and selling stuff to those buyers.

That’s it.

Yes, that is quite possibly the most obvious statement made by anyone ever.

But, if you can remember this anytime you are making Amazon product listing optimizations, and balance that with your own interests, you’ll quickly start making decisions that will help your products sell on Amazon.

What differentiates A9 from Google Search or other top search engines is Amazon is a buying platform.

As consumers, we rarely hop on Amazon just for product research. We are usually very close to the point of purchase. Amazon knows this.

In turn, Amazon will continually make changes to test what makes shoppers buy more frequently. Therefore, we need to make changes that will help shoppers convert more frequently.

This includes making our products more visible than our competitor’s, so shoppers find us more often. Additionally, we need to make changes that turn browsers to buyers.

  • Should you have more images?
  • What should you put in the title?
  • What price should you sell at?

Just remember, Amazon cares about buyers and selling stuff to those buyers. Help Amazon and you’ll help yourself.

Free Guide to Amazon SEO

CPC Strategy + BigCommerce boiled down everything you need to know about Amazon SEO into a few short, PDF pages.

Get your free Amazon SEO Guide here. 

Say Hello to A9, Amazon’s Ranking Algorithm

I’m going to talk a bit about Amazon’s search engine, but only if you promise not to start using “A9” in every other sentence when you’re talking to other sellers.

As mentioned earlier, it’s definitely a maturing algorithm and will continue to become more complex over time.

However, for the time being, it operates on what appears to be a very simple keyword search method without much, if any, regard for how closely a product matches the query.

Let me show you an example below.

I’ve used the customer search term “Dr tobias multivitamin” and you can see there are 3 results:

amazon keyword ranking

When I simply add my name “Bryan” to the search, there are no results because Dr. Tobias doesn’t have my name anywhere in their product listing – which is nice to know, I guess.

amazon seo expert

In a more relevant example, look at the search results for “multivitamin” and the number of results that appear:

search ranking

Now, look at how the competition gets dramatically reduced when I simply use the variation “multi vitamin”:


So, the competition has been cut by more than half by simply adding a common variation of the search query.

What does that tell you?

Amazon SEO tip #1: Make sure you’re populating as many relevant terms as possible for your listing if you want to increase your visibility, sales and overall rank in the search results. We’ll discuss the how in a bit.

Essentially there are three things you need to optimize for:

  1. Visibility
  2. Relevance
  3. Conversions

More simply, you want to make sure customers will see, click and buy your product. According to Amazon:

“Customers must be able to find your products before they can buy your products. Search is the primary way that customers use to locate products on Amazon.

Customers search by entering keywords, which are matched against the information (title, description etc.) you provide for a product.

Factors such as degree of text match, price, availability, selection, and sales history help determine where your product appears in a customer’s search results.

By providing relevant and complete information for your product, you can increase your product’s visibility and sales. Below are some general guidelines to improve your product listings.”

So, let’s have a look at the different pieces of the listing and how we can start optimizing each of them. I’ll cover the different ranking factors in the categories:

  1. Product
  2. Performance
  3. Anecdotal

For anecdotal, there’s no supporting Amazon documentation; however, we’ve seen a strong correlation between Amazon Search Engine Ranking Position (SERP) and these factors.

The recommendations I’m going to make below are just that, recommendations. I highly encourage you to understand your contract with Amazon and their terms of service. In particular, the documentation on listing optimization.

Product Listing Optimization

Title: The Most Valuable Real Estate On Your Amazon Product Listing

By far, your product title is the part of your listing that will have the greatest impact (both positive and negative) on product performance in search. According to Amazon, your title should contain elements such as:

  • Brand
  • Product Line
  • Material or Key Feature
  • Product Type
  • Color
  • Size
  • Packaging/Quantity

The secret to an effective title is how you order these elements, along with one other major ranking factor: additional target keywords.

In our experience, keyword order and keyword choice can dramatically influence product sales and rank. First let’s discuss order, then we’ll address our favorite way to determine the best keyword choices for a particular product.

Look at the three images below: do you notice anything different in these 3 pictures?

amazon product listing optimization

These are screenshots of the same product result as they appear in organic results, right rail ads and mobile. Did you notice the HUGE difference between all three of these?

Yes, the number of characters in the title!

Title in organic results typically have between 115-144 characters depending on the product/category. Titles in right rail ads have around 30-33 characters and mobile titles have between 55-63 characters.

So what does that tell us?

We must place the absolute most relevant keywords first. This has both practical and algorithmic implications.

From a practical standpoint, we want to make sure every customer, regardless of search result location, knows exactly what we’re selling.

Anecdotally, the algorithm correlates higher relevance with keywords that appear earlier in the title.

Therefore, we recommend making a list of your most important keywords and strategically placing them before each character breakpoint in the title.

One very common question with clients is if they should use the brand name in the title or not.

This particular company has chosen to use VITA ONE at the beginning of the title. Additionally, Amazon’s style guide recommends leading with the brand name.

Frankly, this is something you should test with your own product to see what converts best. We generally always lead with the brand name to establish our clients’ brands as legitimate companies and not generic “multivitamins.”

One thing to note: don’t keyword stuff your titles.

This was a common strategy a few years back. Both shoppers and Amazon are wise to this and it’s no longer effective and may result in an adverse impact to sales.

The backend search terms, however, are a great place to keyword stuff and we’ll cover that shortly.

The Amazon Seller’s Solution Provider Directory

Connect with experts who can optimize your product listings by checking out our Amazon Seller’s Solution Provider Directory.

Optimizing Amazon Product Titles: Action Steps

Whether you have an existing listing or a brand-new one, chances are you can always make some tweaks to help optimize for more visibility and sales.

The challenge with a brand-new listing is you don’t have any product data to lean on, so it’s important to see what’s currently working for your competitors and replicate that.

Fortunately, there are tools that help us determine what’s working. My two favorite tools are Helium 10 – Magnet and Keyword Inspector.

By looking at competitor listings and using these tools, we can determine the best words and placement to start with.

From there, we can use Amazon PPC to gather data on which terms help our listing convert and optimize for those keywords. We call it the “optimization cycle” (sounds fancy right?).

The steps are actually pretty straightforward.

  1. Use Magnet to research the most popular two or three keywords for your product.
  2. Additionally, use Keyword Inspector to do an ‘Extensive Reverse ASIN’ search on your top competitor (Or, use our free ASIN Lookup Tool!).
  3. Try to pick a competitor in the top three spots with the most reviews. This is generally an indication they’ve been selling longer, which will provide more data.
  4. Once you have these 3-4 sets of data, combine them and remove any search terms that are irrelevant to your product. Then, use a word and two-word phrase frequency counter and start writing out your title based on this frequency.

A great Amazon SEO tool that can help with this is The Helium 10 Scribbles Tool.

You’ll want to make sure the title reads naturally, yet contains all of the essential elements of the product along with target keywords.

Again, look at your top competitors for guidance.

Make use of special characters, like the ones below, to add some style and naturally break up phrases:

  • |
  • ,
  • &

Next, let’s discuss the bullets and how we can further entice shoppers to buy.

Bullets: Another Chance to Increase Conversions, Relevance and Rank

While the bullet points don’t directly impact your rank in the search results, they are an opportunity to influence two very important factors in the Amazon SERP:

  1. Conversion rate
  2. Product relevance.

The listing bullets are an opportunity to present the features and benefits of your product.

Most sellers will tell you they know this, yet I’m surprised how often people get their product features and their product benefits mixed up.

For example, leather seats are a feature and the feeling of luxury and arriving refreshed are benefits.

Also, just like the title, words used in the bullets will be indexed by the Amazon A9 algorithm and used to help identify your product when customers use the search bar.

However, in our experience, terms in the bullets don’t carry the same weight as those in the title.

Optimizing Product Bullets: Action Steps

Essentially, whatever keywords weren’t used in the title, from the master list you compiled earlier, should be worked into the bullets.

Again, Helium 10 – Scribbles is an awesome tool for building out your listing as it simultaneously eliminates words from your master list as you populate your listing details.

This is also a good time to point out products your listing may be compatible with.

For example, if you’re selling a phone case you may point out several brands and models it’s compatible with.

In most cases, these terms will get indexed so your listing can appear for searches like “Samsung phone case” or “Galaxy S7 phone case.”

Also, if you have a product warranty, most sellers will typically include these details in the last bullet.

In general, we highly recommend testing the copy and order of the bullet points. On occasion, we’ve seen different combinations result in higher conversions.

Product Description: Tell a Story

Much like the bullet points, the product description doesn’t directly impact rank.

However, it is indexed and will impact visibility.

Additionally, well-written copy with a strong call to action can certainly have an effect on conversions.

This is a great time to tell a bit about your brand and product, while throwing in some valuable keywords you want indexed.

Also, make sure to include a strong call to action at the end.

Make it direct and to the point (i.e. Buy Now, Order Today, etc.).

Optimizing Product Description: Action Steps

Again, this is a great opportunity to keep using the Helium 10 – Scribbles Tool and include as many keywords as you can while still writing engaging copy.

Another tip is to make use of simple HTML. My favorite tool for converting text to HTML is Word to Clean HTML. It’s free and very easy to use. Simply paste your formatted text and click convert. You can then paste the HTML into your product detail page.

Backend Search Terms: Keyword Stuff like it’s 2014…I’m Kidding, Sort of

Way back in the early days of Amazon FBA, around 12-18 months ago, people would create the ugly keyword-stuffed titles, bullets and descriptions.

Like really ugly:


Thankfully, the market and the algorithm will penalize you for this type of behavior.

However, there is a place you can stuff all of the remaining keywords from your master list: the backend search terms!

These terms are not visible to customers, yet get indexed just like the terms in your bullets and description — similar to the now-outdated meta keywords HTML tag.

This is a great place to type any terms that will compete and long-tail searches as well.

For example, if you sell a sleeping bag and couldn’t stylishly insert the terms “…for camping that fits 2 big-boned people,” the backend search terms are perfect for that.

How to Use Backend Search Terms

Backend search terms are also a great place to drop some Spanish terms, misspellings and words commonly used in your niche. For example, if I sold dog accessories, I may include the top 50 or 100 dog breeds since most owners will search “dog collar for Labrador.” As for misspellings, Amazon says they account for them but our experience shows otherwise, so we include them.

Backend Search Terms: Action

Just like before, keep using your Helium 10 – Scribbles Tool to knock out the remaining terms you didn’t capture in the title, bullets and description.

There’s no need for commas

Just separate the terms with a space. Another thing to note is you don’t need to duplicate keywords in your listing. Once a term is typed in the title, bullets, description or backend search terms, you don’t need to repeat it anywhere else.

Selection: A quick word

Selection is named as one of the ranking factors, although we have not noticed a correlation between selection and the SERP.

Performance Optimization Strategies

1. Sales are King.

After all the testing we’ve done, nothing moves the search rank needle like sales.

In particular, your sales velocity relative to your competition.

A spike in sales that your competition didn’t see will dramatically impact your ranking position.

As you can imagine, this is very can be tough to accomplish when you first list and appear somewhere on page 20 –– especially when only 30% of customers ever make it to page 2!

Your first option for generating sales is by driving both internal and external traffic to your Amazon listing. This is part of the full management Amazon SEO service we offer our clients.

You drive internal traffic via Amazon PPC and external traffic via outside ads like Facebook, Google AdWords, etc.

Commonly, AMZ Profit Pro clients will use one of the following strategies for their external traffic:

  • Ad to Amazon Listing
  • Ad to Pre-Sell Page to Amazon Listing
  • Ad to Squeeze Page to Opt-In for Single Use Discount Code delivered by email
  • Ad to Product Sales Funnel

Second, you can use a launch service.

Launch services are meant to create a natural spike in sales that moves the product up the ranks.

Ultimately, whether this rank “sticks” will depend on the organic demand for the product once it becomes visible on page 1 or 2. There is some controversy surrounding these services and whether they violate Amazon’s terms of service.

Instead, I recommend Viral Launch. They have a proprietary system that can help move products up the SERP without violating Amazon TOS and they happen to have great customer service.

2. Product Reviews are Queen.

If sales are king then reviews are queen.

Amazon knows customers rely on reviews to make informed decisions about their purchases.

That is why Amazon has been cracking down so hard on fake review services where people are getting paid to write fake positive reviews — and why improving Amazon reviews is top-of-mind for many sellers.

Reviews serve as social proof and let buyers know it’s safe to spend their money on your product.

Plus who wants to “be the first to leave a review for this product?”

Additionally, reviews factor heavily into product rank in the search results.

I can recall a product one of our clients launched that started selling really well from day one with no reviews. However, it could never break past the page 5 mark.

Once the first two reviews came in, the product jumped to page 2.

Sales continued to come in and once the product received its 10th review, it hit page 1 almost the same day.

So the moral of the story is, do what you can to get honest and unbiased reviews as soon as possible.

The first thing to get in place is an email feedback sequence that communicates with buyers through the buyer-seller messaging service in seller central.

Two of our favorite tools are:

  1. Feedback Genius
  2. Sales Backer

With these services, you can write custom email sequences to your buyers that help develop a customer relationship and ask for honest feedback and reviews.

If you’d like to launch a discounted product campaign in order to generate sales and reviews, I highly recommend working with Snagshout (same company as Feedback Genius).

I’ve had the opportunity to speak with the owner of this service and was very impressed by his commitment to making sure their services are always operating within Amazon’s terms of service.

Anecdotal Amazon Search Engine Optimizations

In this section, I’ve lumped a few ranking factor observations we’ve made that aren’t directly documented by Amazon but seem to have an impact on the SERP.

  1. FBA: Items that are Fulfilled by Amazon seem to rank higher than items Fulfilled by Merchant, all else being equal.
  2. Brand Name: It appears a brand name which also happens to contain the main keywords may help increase organic rank in search.
  3. Seller Name: Same as brand name, it appears seller name may help increase organic rank if it contains the main keywords for the product.
  4. Other Fields in the Edit Product Page: Make sure to fill out all applicable fields in the edit product page as some of these have been shown to influence rank position and filtering in search.
  5. Photos: Not only do quality photos that zoom influence conversions, which certainly impacts rank in search, it appears that more photos is positively correlated with rank in the search results.

A Final Word

If you’ve made it this far, you’re well ahead of most sellers I’ve ever met.

You now know that Amazon’s search engine algorithm has a name and you have a solid understanding of how it works. You also know enough to be dangerous when it comes to the different components of a product detail page and the effect it can have on your rank in the search results, with no Amazon product ranking service required.

Best of all, you have practical action steps you can put into place today.

Finally, I invite you to check out for more information and video tutorials that will walk you step-by-step through the process outlined in this guide, including how to use all of the Helium 10 tools.

Until next time, keep crushing it in your businesses and reach out if you have any questions: [email protected] Good luck with your Amazon SEO strategy!

For a different lesson in SEO, check out our guide for planning and executing a B2B SEO strategy.

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Amazon &Ecommerce Marketing &multi-channel &omnichannel admin 16 Dec 2017 Comments Off on How to Master Amazon SEO and Move Your Products up the Search Rankings in 2017

47 Essential Selling on Amazon Tips to Grow Sales and Win Market Share

Fifty-five percent of all online product searches begin on Amazon.

Last year, the retail giant surpassed $107 billion in total sales.

That is over $12,000,000 in sales every hour on average.

Amazon Prime alone boasts over 54 million members and counting.

If Prime were a country, it would have 8,000,000 more people than Spain and be the 27th most populous in the world.

Those are just Amazon Prime members.

These mind-blowing stats are indicative of an undeniable fact: Amazon isn’t going anywhere.

Many online sellers fear that Amazon is going to cut into their profit margins and inhibit  — or outright squash — growth.

And let’s be honest: depending on your business model, those fears can be justified.

But Amazon’s dominance offers an upside that is proving lucrative for savvy ecommerce pros who have figured out how to make Amazon work for, not against them.

Amazon’s control of market and mindshare isn’t a closed ecosystem.

They make it quite possible to leverage their advantages for your own business. You simply have to know how to play the game.

That’s why we rounded up these 47 experts who know how to win on Amazon best and have been doing so for years.

Expedite your learning on selling on Amazon by tapping into their expertise below.

Take This Book With You

This full guide (all +17 chapters and +50 experts and their insights) is more than 35,000 words. That’s a lot to read on a screen.

So don’t! Download the guide below to print it out, take it with you, and start selling more on Amazon.

Download Now

Get more reviews (and then more after that!)

David Tendrich, CEO & Co-Founder, Reliable PSD

Get. More. Reviews. I don’t care how many you have. Get more.

People buy the product on Amazon that has the most positive reviews.

When we’re scared about making a decision, our brain falls back to certain factors and uses that limited information to make a decision. That first factor we fall back on is social proof.

We look around at everyone else and see what they think is a good idea. If a product has 10x more reviews than other products – we literally have to resist our biology to buy a different one that has less reviews and therefore more risk.

So get reviews. Give away as many of your product as you have to in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

Kaleigh Moore, Freelance Writer

Build up positive reviews –– and incentivize customer ratings if you have to.

These are so important and can make or break a sale, not to mention the impact they have on ranking within the platform.

David Feng, Co-Founder and Head of Product, Reamaze

Amazon is a reviews-driven ecosystem.

It’s vitally important to solicit for reviews effectively and reward customers post-purchase for contributing.

Brands should also invest in SEO optimization especially for Amazon as it’s a highly competitive environment for pricing, descriptions, reviews, and alternative products.

Finally, you need to understand Amazon’s pricing structure and adjust your pricing with it.

For example, by offering a significant discount from time to time or running a daily deal can get you enough brand exposure and attract repeat buyers. That, combined with great reviews and optimized SEO you’ll have a winning strategy.

Sweta Patel, Director of Demand Generation, Cognoa

Nothing is more effective than reviews on other platforms.

When we were selling mobile device products on Amazon we created an ubiquitous effect by promoting our reviews on all of our other channels.

These channels include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Touch of Modern
  • Ebay
  • Other publications through the display network.

Annie Cushing, Founder, Annielytics

Engage with reviewers in a helpful, non-defensive manner.

Reviews play a significant role in ranking on Amazon.

Jordan Brannon, President and COO, Coalition Technologies

There are a million review generation tips out there. Most of them will work at some level.

Beyond that, really consider promoting Amazon through marketing channels typically reserved for your own website.

Amazon listings can be SEO’d. They can be advertised using PPC. They can be promoted via email and social. Also make sure you’re planning ways to segment Amazon sales away from other sales channels to avoid creating your own competition.

Emil Kristensen, co-founder & CMO, Sleeknote

The most important thing on Amazon is ratings.

Make sure to have an automated process for gathering ratings from your customers. The Amazon algorithm that determines search rankings is highly influenced by product ratings, which is why ratings should be of high priority for your brand.

Another way is to think of your Amazon product site as an SEO site. This means you should include relevant keywords in your copy but be careful of keyword stuffing because search engines penalize this.

Catalin Zorzini, Founder,

Selling more on Amazon all depends on how many quality reviews you receive.

The sales are obviously going to figure into how often your product shows up in search results as well.

The only problem is that telling you to get more reviews and sales doesn’t really help much. However, you’ll notice that many reviews come in because of free products being given away.

You have the ability to locate some of the more influential reviewers on Amazon, then you can give them 99% discounts in exchange for a review. The cool part is that many of the people that complete these reviews are willing to write quite a bit about the product, so other customers receive better information.

Brett Curry, CEO, OMG Commerce

Get reviews! Quality and quantity are necessary.

It’s also better to have a few not-so-great reviews mixed in as long as your overall rating is strong. It makes your listing look real.

If all you have is a few 5 star reviews, customers will assume it was you or your mom who reviewed your product.

Several studies show that products with more reviews outperform products with fewer reviews, even if the product with fewer reviews has a slightly higher average rating.

More reviews = more confidence.

Jacob Firuta, Content Manager, LiveChat

Reviews from past customers give you the credibility you wouldn’t otherwise get.

It’s an extra portion of word-of-mouth that boosts your offer. It’s in your best interest to get as many of them as possible.

Have a customer that’s raving about a particular product? Ask them to provide a review. Happy customers won’t mind and it can significantly increase the number of reviews you get.

Dennis Yu, CTO, BlitzMetrics

You can go with paid options, of course…

But nothing beats working toward getting tons of legitimate 5 star reviews.

Justin Mares, Founder, FOMO

Focus on reviews.

Positive reviews drive higher conversion rate and drive rankings. Email your customers after they purchase asking for Amazon reviews and watch your rankings go up!

Optimize your Amazon product page for Amazon SEO

Ryan Bemiller, Founder, Shopping Signals

Understand that reviews and SEO play a large part in getting your product listings in front of more people.

Amazon is a search engine as much as it is a marketplace.

People search for products on Amazon.

And Amazon has ranking factors to help it determine which products to show, in which order, when someone performs a search.

So do some research on Amazon’s SEO factors.

Things like title, subtitle, description, questions and answers, and even pictures all factor in on how a product will rank.

Pay attention to keywords that people will use to find your products, and look at what keywords your competitors are using.

Reviews also play a big part in your ranking on Amazon.

The frequency and overall number of reviews you get will help Amazon determine your rank.

Be careful not to break Amazon’s terms of service with respect to soliciting reviews, but do try to solicit reviews. You’ll need them. Especially early-on when you’re trying to get some traction for a new product.

Bill Widmer, Ecommerce SEO & Content Marketing Consultant

Write long, detailed product descriptions. At least 1,000 words.

Not just fluff, either – add LSI keywords. Again, keyword research is CRITICAL here.

Josh Mendelsohn, VP Marketing, Privy

Product content is the key to success.

Following their best practices around descriptions, categories, titles, and A+ content will help you dominate search results.

Ross Simmonds, Founder, Foundation Marketing

Invest in quality product shots.

While it’s always important to understand the value of optimizing for search rankings and getting positive reviews –– first impressions matter on Amazon.

The number of new entrants into every category is through the roof.

If you want to stand out, it’s time to invest in not only building your own brand to help support an increased amount of search but also time to invest in high quality visuals to give a quality first impression.  

James Thomson, Partner, Buy Box Experts

Optimize your listings with proper images and content.

Those will help customers make better decisions…. only then should you be spending any money on advertising.

Otherwise, you are spending money to drive traffic to poor listings..yikes!

Chris Van Dusen, CEO, Parcon Media

Use Amazon’s Keyword Tool to optimize your copy around long-tail keywords that are less competitive.

Sell more through Amazon on your own site by using the pay with Amazon button. Consumers trust Amazon more than you and they have their credit card details already stored for easy checkout.

Jason Dea, Director of Product Marketing, Intelex

Try as best as you can to focus on your customer experience and conversion rates.

Although you’re limited in what you can do on Amazon, anything you can do to optimize your marketplace listings for conversion will catch the eye of the Amazon search algorithms.

Kevin Rizer, Host, Private Label Podcast

Optimize your listing!

Proper title, bullet points, description and great images can drastically improve your sales.

Danna Crawford, Owner,

Include quality, accurate, detailed descriptions.

Buyers appreciate more than just the “pre-filled” descriptions of items.

Erik Qualman, #1 Best Selling Author,

The key on Amazon for their search algorithm.

Also, influencing buyers is to have good ratings and reviews around your product.

There are many ways to accomplish this, but one critical thing to do is to comment/reply to all your current reviews.

Think BIGGER than Amazon to drive more sales on Amazon

Daniel Wallock, Marketing Strategist, Wallock Media

Don’t just be an Amazon brand.

I mean that just because you’re selling on Amazon doesn’t mean that you can’t promote the products with content, influencer campaigns, and get your products featured in the press.

If your looking to increase sales on Amazon, I would look away from paid advertising and instead look at using inbound marketing tactics to traffic to your products.

You can drive hundreds of visitors per day to your Amazon store or product pages just by creating a strong presence on niche forum sites, Facebook groups, and other social media channels.

Larry Kim, Founder, Wordstream


They’re not the most vendor-friendly platform and make changes from time to time that aren’t in the best interests of sellers.

Not saying Amazon isn’t a big deal, just suggesting that Amazon should be just one pillar of four or more major channels including Facebook Ads and Google Ads –– and, of course, your own direct web storefront.

Drew Sanocki, Private Equity Operating Partner, Empire Growth Group

For direct-to-consumer players, think of Amazon as customer acquisition.

Choose some small AOV top sellers and make sure you put them on Amazon.

Encourage follow-on purchases through your own site in order to capture more customer data, up-and cross-sell, and increase overall LTV.

Ned Nadima, Growth Manager,

Master the art of branding.

Whenever customers search for products on Amazon, the search engine displays many similar products. Understanding how to position your brand properly will help you stand out.

This includes product pictures, pricing, product description, reviews, etc. In order to accomplish the feat, you must nail your target market. Deeply understand your target market and you will succeed.

Rieva Lesonsky, CEO, GrowBiz Media/

Amazon also allows you to sell your service on Amazon.

When people buy products, your service can be offered as an add-on and everything is handled through Amazon.

This is something I know from personal experience. We bought a ceiling fan and at the same time I bought the installation from a local small company.

Payment was handled through Amazon and then the company called me to set up an appointment.

Don’t compete on price! Unless you have a tool for it.

Rupert Cross, Digital Director, 5874

Don’t compete on price – it’s a race to the bottom and it’s easy to become a busy fool.

Instead, focus on improving your rating by responding to all of the messages that matter as this a sure-fire way to ensure customers value you as a seller and choose you over somebody else. Sync your stock to avoid overselling.

Michael Ugino, Co-founder, Sellbrite

The #1 rule of retail economics will always be that you make your money on the buy.

Thus, driving additional sales, even at less than your target price, will allow you to ultimately buy more and lower your sourcing costs.

The best way to drive additional sales on Amazon is by using a repricing tool (with price floor limits of course) to constantly fight for, and win, the buy box.

Are you ready to sell on Amazon? Better know the basics.

Donald Pettit, Sales & Partners Manager, SalesWarp

If you’re looking to expand sales on Amazon, do it carefully.

Make sure you have the bandwidth and necessary resources to take on additional orders.

For example, an inventory management system can help prevent overselling items, and order management systems can help ensure timely deliveries.

Stock-outs and late deliveries can result in poor customer reviews, or a suspended Amazon account.

Additionally, try partnering with other brands and use Amazon as a laboratory for new offerings. For example, an apparel retailer partnering with smaller universities to offer branded products on Amazon that customers couldn’t find elsewhere.

Jason Boyce, Co-founder & CEO, Dazadi

The Amazon Channel should have it’s own team and its own procedures within your organization.

With roughly half of the online market share in the USA, you just can’t succeed on Amazon unless you have a dedicated team with dedicated time and expertise on this channel.

There is so much to unpack here that it would take a book to share everything, but focusing on the best-sellers on the Amazon product categories pages can help you know if your items are priced well enough to gain sales and profits.  

Andy Eastes, Founder and CEO, SKUVault

Focus on decreasing inventory errors like mis-picks, mis-ships, and out-of-stocks.

Order & inventory accuracy, as well as fewer customer mishaps, are both highly determining factors for winning the Buy Box and gaining access to the Prime Merchant-Fulfilled program.

David Potts, Founder and CEO, SalesWarp

Amazon rewards sellers who can ship quickly and accurately.

Our clients are, often, best of breed in their segments. They provide fast fulfillment and avoid oversells or cancellations, and as a result, Amazon rewards them with prime seller advantages.

Market on Amazon the Amazon way (FBA, Buy Box + More)

Eric Carlson, Co-Founder, 10X Factory

If you have a lead on your list that hasn’t bought from you ever and is older than 60 days old, DO THIS.

  1. Send them a promotion for Amazon
  2. Sync them with a Facebook custom audience.
  3. Then, send clicks to your products on Amazon.

This is a WARM audience, but an audience that might not trust your website enough to buy from but likely will trust amazon.

Brian Nolan, Co-founder & CEO, Sellbrite

Sponsored Products are a great way to drive additional traffic to your Amazon listings.

You can significantly level the playing field in terms of visibility against long-established competitors.

Bill Bailey, CEO, Nodal Ninja

FBA – Fulfilled by Amazon.

Amazon sells 24/7 and setting up a FBA account on products you know will sell well will certainly increase your sales.

FBA comes at a higher cost so a little Googling prior to doing this is best advise.

Having an Amazon store as well will help to keep abreast of the competition which most likely is already selling on Amazon.

Aaron Houghton, Co-Founder and CEO, BoostSuite

Use paid search promotions inside Amazon.

And use your brand name and best performing keywords from Google Adwords.

Harrison Dromgoole, Content Creator, Ordoro

Focus on the buy box.

Unless you’re selling truly unique products, you’re likely competing with other sellers to be the merchant behind the “Add to Cart” button.

There are two big ways to get in Amazon’s favor — and, Amazon being Amazon, they center around shipping.

Utilize Fulfillment By Amazon, their fulfillment service, to store and ship orders, and if you’re quick-shipping, high-volume e-retailer, try to qualify for their Seller Fulfilled Prime program, which guarantees access to lucrative Prime customers.

Aaron Agius, Managing Director, Louder Online

Give Amazon’s suggested PPC campaigns a try.

I’ve seen a number of clients test them compared to the campaigns they built themselves based on tons of keyword data, metrics, etc, and still have Amazon’s auto-generated campaigns produce a higher ROI. If it works for your brand, that’s time you can spend elsewhere.

Daniel Townsend, Managing Director, Plum Tree Group

With more than 2 million sellers worldwide selling on Amazon, gaining the necessary visibility to succeed can be difficult.

However, all hope isn’t lost. Amazon’s latest release, headline search ads, may help new and experienced sellers by putting their products front and center in Amazon search results.

Headline search ads are pay-per-click ads that help sellers target customers based on specific search terms.

Once campaign parameters are set (keywords, bid amount, and daily budget), headline search ads appear at the top of search results – a powerful opportunity to outrank similar products (aka healthy competition), drive shoppers to your listings, and increase sales.

Jan Lastuvka, CEO & Co-Founder, MonkeyData

Sell with Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).

Not only does this reduce work in handling orders, FBA products will appear in Prime-filtered searches.

Also, products which are Prime eligible have higher conversion rates than those that do not. On top of this, having FBA products will allow you to tag on to the success that Amazon has built with its brand and align your business to their reputation.

William Harris, Ecommerce Consultant, Elumynt

Amazon has a lot of similarities to Google Shopping – they are keyword and price driven.

If you’re doing well on Google Shopping, export the list of keywords and see what you’re doing the best at – then use that to bid on those keywords on Amazon to get some initial traffic flowing through and see if those keywords are going to work on Amazon as well.

Go Unique or Fail

Brita Turbyfill, Gray Loon

Unique products.

If you sell a variety of products, that may or may not be unique from your competition, focus on selling the more unique products on Amazon and building up your product reviews.

Once you have several products that have a lot of positive feedback, then even if you have other products that your competitors have, you may build more of a loyal following based on those few unique products.

Peter Attia, Founder, Dicey Goblin

The biggest tip I have for Amazon is try to tack on an extra item with your listing.

Normally if you’re selling an item on Amazon, other sellers can be on that same listing. That means you’re not guaranteed to get the sale for that item, especially if you’re not the lowest price.

We skirted around this by selling board games with a simple extra dice bag or expansion for the game. This allowed us to have our own unique listing that would still show up for the main product in Amazon search.

This gave us more flexibility with the price, because we weren’t trying to compete with other sellers for the same item. Plus, every purchase that came through that listing, went straight to us.

Kunle Campbell, Founder, 2X Ecommerce

Endeavor to own your brand and listings on Amazon.

Competing with other retailers (including Amazon) on price is almost always certainly a race to the bottom.

A single product listing with 10 sellers means that sellers can only really differentiate themselves by price alone.

This is a dangerous position to be in as a retailer and in business. You may eventually sell at your desired target price, but this may mean making a trade off in keeping stock longer with reduced inventory turnover.

In Australia? The clock is ticking!

Sammy Gibson, Director, Neon Poodle

We need to do it!

Amazon has only just arrived in Australia and at the moment we don’t have a presence and we are potentially missing out on many orders and expansion.

This will be our main focus in the coming months.

The Short & Sweet of It

Raheem Sardar, Founder & CEO, RewardCamp

Use these tactics.

Sellers are able to successfully charge higher prices for the same product using the following tactics on Amazon:

  1. Brand your product
  2. Register your brand with Amazon
  3. Use high quality images and videos
  4. Use your branding on product images, packaging, description, title, etc, so that it stands out from the competition
  5. Get lots of reviews

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The Amazon Seller’s Solution Provider Directory

Want to increase marketplace sales with help from the best Amazon professionals in the world?Read our Amazon Seller’s Solution Provider Directory, to connect with experts who can optimize your Amazon listings.

Do you have any selling on Amazon tips and tricks? Let us know and leave them in the comments section below!

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Ecommerce Marketing &omnichannel admin 15 Dec 2017 Comments Off on 47 Essential Selling on Amazon Tips to Grow Sales and Win Market Share

How to Pitch Journalists and Get a Response: Practical Media Pitch Examples for Ecommerce Brands

There are five PR specialists for every one journalist.

Add in all the non-PR agents sending pitches — like entrepreneurs, marketers and ecommerce owners — and you can see why journalists are drowning in emails.

Most of these emails are basically the same:

“You should write about my company. It’s really cool. So what do you think?”

Unsurprisingly, response rates are abysmal.

And if you’re trying to boost your success with pitching writers by experimenting with creative subject lines or different times to reach out, I have bad news.

Those changes won’t make a difference.

Here’s what will:

Sending targeted, relevant content ideas to the right people at the right time.

And luckily, that’s doable for anyone… if you follow the right steps.

In this post, I’ll walk you through the six-step process that can get you featured in your target publications.

In other words, these steps will get you featured in those pubs that can generate a ton of visibility and brand awareness for your ecommerce business.

Let’s dive in.

What is a Media Pitch?

A media pitch is a short, concise email (historically a letter or phone call) to a journalist or influencer.

The pitch is similar to an elevator pitch in length, but the message of the pitch is altered from general to more specific to the journalist or influencer’s interests.

This means media pitches require personalized outreach and research before said outreach in order to understand what a journalist or influencer cares about, writes on and how you can help contribute to their beat.

Remember: great media pitches play on the idea of reciprocity. By covering your brand or including you in a story, the journalist is doing you a favor and helping to drive increased awareness for you (for free).

Reciprocity here indicates that you owe that journalist or influencer. In order to even the playing field here, it is best that your pitch or product help to advance the journalist or influencer’s own goals.

Those could be:

  • Increasing page views and personal brand visibility through breaking news
  • Contributing to the person’s expertise on a particular topic
  • Earning the person accolades for their ability to find and source the best of the best stories, products and goods.

Those are just examples. Every person will differ.

The 6 Step Process to Getting Press Coverage

1. Identify your goal.

Before you pitch anything, figure out what you’re trying to accomplish.

There are four primary objectives for pitching journalists:

  1. Getting relevant backlinks. Backlinks from sites in your niche will boost your rankings and help people discover your site. Make sure they’re relevant; for example, if you sell baking supplies, you wouldn’t want backlinks from a professional sports site.
  2. Getting traffic. Having your content go viral will quickly increase brand awareness and drive a large quantity of visitors to your ecommerce store.
    This consumer survey produced by Beer Cartel earned the brand an increase in online revenue of $65,000, a 34% gain on the previous year. Site traffic grew over 100%, from 62,000 unique website visits in 2016 to 128,000 in 2017. Beer Cartel’s mailing list grew over 130%, from 13,000 subscribers in 2016 to 30,000 in 2017.
  3. Being mentioned in the press. If you can get mentions from mainstay publications like the New York Times or CNBC, your brand perception will definitely improve. These aren’t the best sources of traffic, however.Major press from sites like MSNBC is great! However, they don’t backlink, which means tracking traffic back to your site from the effort is difficult. The feature is still worth it, though.
  4. Acquiring new customers. Content that makes your products sound desirable can significantly boost revenue — assuming it’s targeting the right audience.’s product was featured on GOOP’s “Ridiculous, Yet Awesome” Gift Guide.

Exactly How Beer Cartel Pulled Press Virality Off

Want a 34% gain in sales just from a press campaign? That’s what Beer Cartel did –– and here’s how.

2. Survey the influencer landscape.

At this stage, you can start honing in on the publications and specific journalists you’ll reach out to.

This might seem premature, since you haven’t even figured out what you’ll be pitching them on.

But it’s much easier to create content for a specific niche, journalist and/or publication, rather than coming up with something and shopping it around.

The first method allows you to tailor your content to the end destination.

Do you think a journalist will be more interested in a story that’s perfect for their beat and builds on previous articles they’ve published, or a generic one on a subject they’ve never covered before?

Clearly the first.

There are several strategies for picking your targets.

Staying on top of all the names, contact information and details is difficult, especially once you start actually communicating with journalists and editors, so I recommend using CRM software (preferably free if you’re on a budget or just don’t want to spend cash you don’t have) to organize everything.

Not only can a CRM act as a virtual Rolodex, it’ll also keep every email, call and social media interaction in one place so you can see at a glance your previous communication with a reporter or publication.

I have two main tips no matter what type of CRM you are using:

How to Use a CRM to Earn Press:

  1. Create a company for every target publication on your list.  
  2. Identify one or more writers for each publication and add them to the associated “Company” as a Contact.
  3. Create the following Deal Stages in your CRM: Emailed Contact, Gotten a Response, Agreement, Article
  4. Create a deal for every Contact you email and put them in the first column, “Emailed Contact”

Now, you can choose to use a CRM already built for ecommerce brands. Those include:

  • Reamaze
  • InfusionSoft
  • Hubspot
  • Salesforce
  • RevampCRM

However, many brands choose to use a tool like Buzzstream separately (at only $99 a month for a group of 3 users).


Because Buzzstream combines the ability for you to source influencers and journalists (through their Discovery tool), organize them similarly to a CRM and then do batch, personalized emails and track open rates.


That means this software does at least half of the work for you. It will even send out a second email for you to those who didn’t open after a set period of time.

Check all of this out.

3. Survey the competitor landscape.

Now, it’s time to analyze what your competition is doing.

Doing this is a great way to find content opportunities in your niche — rather than starting from scratch. Instead, you can use their content as inspiration for your own.

Why does this matter with influencer outreach?

Because you want to send those influencers to something really cool you did –– why else would they care?

And to see what works in terms of what people think is really cool in your niche, seeing what your competition is already ranking for is a good place to start.

Just make sure that your own content pieces are tailored to your brand and objectives and are higher-quality than your competitors’.

SEMrush will show you the top organic keywords, pages and backlinks for any domain.

Simply enter the website name into the top search bar:

Next, check out the highest-volume searches your competition is ranking for under “Organic Research” and which websites link to them most frequently under “Backlinks.”

Not only can you get ideas for potentially high-ranking posts, you can also find publications and websites to go after.

After all, if they linked to a similar brand or piece of content, they’ll probably link to yours.

Next, see what your target publications are covering.

Buzzsumo, which shows you the most viral content on any domain within a specific time period, is a great tool for this.

  1. Go to Buzzsumo and enter the domain name in the search box (such as “”)
  2. Then choose a timeframe in the left-hand menu.
  3. I recommend looking at the past year for publications that post on a weekly or monthly basis and the past six months for publications that post every day.

Three of the The Next Web’s top five posts from the past half year are about social media. With that in mind, you might pitch one of their journalists on a social media post.

You can also run a search by topic or keyword (“ electronics”) to see what’s performing well for your niche or industry, include multiple domains (“ OR”), and find content by a specific person (“author:John Doe”).

Lastly, figure out which content is already getting a lot of backlinks for your target keyword.

Ahref’s Content Explorer Tool shows you the most linked-to pages for any term.

Let’s say you want to know what’s doing well for “skin-care routine.”

Search this term, then sort by number of referring domains.

You’ll see the top backlinked posts. Use these as inspiration for your own.

Because you already know a specific format or angle does well, you’ll avoid investing a lot of time and energy into creating something journalists won’t be interested in.

Of course, your content should have its own distinct twist. Perhaps it’s more timely, well-researched, data-backed, visual or comprehensive —  something that puts it ahead of the existing content.

4. Come up with content ideas.

Now that you have a clear objective and target audience, it’s much easier to select the type of content you’ll create.

Different types work for different goals.

  • Backlinks: Create high-value resource pages and tools people will want to bookmark and/or share with others.Mountain Crest Gardens’ succulent care page is beautiful, educational, helpful and also helps to sell their products: succulents! Take the time to educate the market as a whole, and the sales will come through backlinks and SEO.
  • Shares: Create visual, engaging content that inspires an emotion in readers.Sustainability is a movement sweeping the globe –– and many brands use this to pull on an emotional connection. See above how Yala uses it to help sell their products (and better the world!).
  • Press mentions: Run a survey, conduct a study or identify an interesting, unique aspect of your company or founder’s story.Turn a hard-learned lesson into a feature in Forbes like Dazadi did.
  • New customers: Write a how-to guide that incorporates your product or create a list of products your audience would be interested in.

Depending on your audience, a how-to guide might not even need to be long. Scentos sells markers and colors –– so teaching their audience to harmonize colors via a color chart is a great tactic to help sell goods.

Incorporate your targets’ beats as well. Remember, it doesn’t matter how creative or compelling your content is when it’s not in the writer’s niche.

If I want a blog post on AdAge, I need something related to marketing or media. If I want a mention on The Knot, I need something related to weddings or relationships.

5. Pitching the press.

Here are a few examples of story-types to pitch and exactly how to pitch them.

Quick Overview of How to Pitch the Press:

Your pitch needs to be concise and compelling. That’s hard to do. So hard, in fact, that most folks fail in doing it, which is why getting press itself is so hard.

But there are a few short and sweet steps you can take to focus your pitch and ensure it is compelling to its reader.

  • Prove you’ve done your research and reference their work or related stories to your pitch.
  • Explain the reciprocity you bring to the table and tease exclusive research.
  • Don’t sit silently on the sidelines –– answer their queries!
  • Build a real connection that goes beyond a short term mention.
  • Follow up. Seriously –– follow up!

1. Reference a related story.

This type of pitch references the journalist’s beat and/or previous work. Personalizing it to their subject matter expertise will draw them in and assure them this isn’t a mass email.

There are two types of subject lines I typically use for these.

The first is “Re: [Title of a recent article]”.

Simple, straightforward, yet still attention-grabbing. After all, it’s hard to resist someone talking about your own work. Even reporters and influencers have egos.

The second is:

I like the latter for sensational or provocative story ideas.

If you’re pitching a slightly more comfortable shoe, for instance, you probably wouldn’t go with this one… because few journalists will be compelled to click on “Walk for miles in our new loafer.”

But a replacement for all food? That’s intriguing.

Your first paragraph should mention their related work and what you liked about it. By making it completely unique to the recipient, you’ll encourage them to keep reading.

The second paragraph, on the other hand, only needs to be a little personalized. That makes the template super easy to scale.

If I was sending this email again, I’d add a unique email signature.

A customized one (which is easy to create with a signature generator) can help make your message stand out and add a lot of personality.

Downside of this pitch method

But reaching out to journalists right after they publish a story about that same story often won’t get you placed in that story in the future. They can’t cover the exact same thing twice, especially multiple times.

That said, this can get you on their radar.

2. Tease exclusive research.

Providing journalists with data or research no one else has access to is a great way to get press.

Most reporters are constantly looking for scoops, so if you can offer them information that’s relevant to their niche, they’re highly likely to publish it.

A successful subject line formula is:

“[Surprising, non-obvious, brand-new] + [data/research] + on [topic] – interested?”

Using a descriptor like “brand-new” or “juicy” and asking “interested?” compels the reader to open your email.

  1. As with the previous examples, personalizing the first paragraph appeals to the journalist’s self-esteem and will help you build rapport with them. It’s also a perfect lead-in to mention your own research.
  2. Citing the source of the data establishes credibility. If you don’t have a recognizable brand name like OkCupid, find an exciting angle (such as “A survey on millennial mental health from a MIT professor.”)
  3. Summarize the most unexpected or interesting details from your research.
  4. Ask if the journalist wants to use this data and provide a full overview in your email, so all they have to do is respond “Yes” and open the attachment.

Pitch to Press Like You’re Writing a Book

It’s a hard exercise, but a good one! Force yourself to write out the following sentences and fill in with your own answers:

  • Lots of people have a problem: [fill in here, example: they can’t get red wine stains out of their jeans.]
  • The usual way people try to solve their problem is: [fill in here, example: by using club soda to get rid of the stain.]
  • The traditional way of solving this problem often doesn’t work because: [fill in here, example: if you don’t do it immediately, the stain will persist. And even if you do do it immediately, you will need to change your pants (what if you’re not home?)]
  • This often leads to: [fill in here, example: a persistent stain or wet pants –– which doesn’t solve the problem at hand.]

This will help you to identify where your product can help to solve a common issue. It will also help you come up with a counterintuitive hook, which catches more press than anything else.

4. Answer their query.

It’s always worth following up with a journalist when they’ve asked a question about a relevant topic on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or a PR tool like Help A Reporter Out.

If your subject line refers back to their question, you’re in business.

  1. In the first sentence, tell them where you found their question and what it’s about. This immediately tells them why you’re writing.
  2. In the next section, describe your story and/or angle.
  3. Be concise; you don’t want to overload them with unnecessary details. And make sure you’re highlighting the most riveting facts. If you’re offering yourself as a source, explain why you’re so qualified (i.e. “I’ve helped more than 45 entrepreneurs get VC funding and have listened to 1,000+ pitches.”)

This is not a scalable message because it’s based on one recipient and one question. But it’s also dramatically likelier to generate press because, again, it’s based on one recipient and one question.

End by asking whether they’re interested. Once they respond, you can give them the rest of the story or arrange an interview.

Pro Tip

If you haven’t signed up as a source for HARO yet, I highly recommend it. More than 55,000 journalists and bloggers use it to find experts and quotes for their stories.

5. Describe their impact on your life.

If you’re reaching out to an influencer (rather than a journalist), try this template.

Not only do they get a “case study” they can use on their website, blog, social media accounts, podcast, YouTube channel, you get the drift, you also make them happy that their insights or recommendations have been valuable.

When sending this to multiple influencers in one niche, refer to broadly applicable results (i.e. “your tips on getting press” rather than “your article on getting featured in Travel + Leisure”).

Re: Loved your article about [topic]

However, if you want better chances for a reply, then email one influencer with very specific results –– and mention those in your subject line.

Re: Following your exact suggestions landed me a NYT mention

You can customize this email with a few small changes:

  1. First, write how long you’ve been following them or reading their work.
  2. Rather than writing the exact title of the article — which makes you seem like you copied and pasted it — put it into your own words. (For example, “The Top 8 Traits of Successful Writers” could be summarized as “your recent post about what makes a great writer.”)
  3. Share your results. (“I followed your instructions and managed to improve traffic by 26% in one month.”)
  4. Demanding they share your article will usually rub them the wrong way. A gentle ask, like “if you’re so inclined” or “if you think it’s valuable,” will be more effective.

6. Follow up.

It’s pretty rare to get a response on your first try. Journalists are extremely busy; plus, they receive an extraordinary volume of emails.

If you’ve sent an annoying, irrelevant, spammy message, following up will only get you blocked.

But if you’ve sent a helpful, tailored email, sending a gentle nudge a few days later can bump you to the top of your recipient’s inbox.

Often, they’ll tell you they meant to respond but forgot (or never saw your first email at all).

Make sure you are moving “deals” from the “Emailed Contact” to “Connected With Contact” so you can see in one glance who’s answered and who needs a nudge.

How To Write A Good Follow-up Email To A Journalist:

  • Reply to your first email, rather than starting a brand-new thread. That way, the journalist or influencer can scroll down to see your previous message.
  • Make the second email shorter than the first. You want it to be quick to skim — the longer it is, the less likely they are to make it to the end and thus respond.
  • Don’t be aggressive. They’re under no obligation to work with you, so trying to guilt-trip them won’t get you anywhere.

Re: New data about online shopping habits – interested?

Hey! I wanted to follow up since I know things get lost sometimes.


We ran a study analyzing Amazon bestsellers from the past five years and found some really interesting trends, including:

  • Women authors sell on average 4X as many books as male ones
  • But there are more male authors than female ones in almost every category…
  • Excluding horror and fantasy (!)

I think [publication’s] readers might find these results interesting. Happy to provide details if you’d like.

– Dmitry

Using a CRM to log your emails will help you keep track of the last time you contacted the journalist.

Some platforms, like the HubSpot CRM, let you schedule reminders to follow up.

I typically schedule a follow-up for three days after the original email.

If I see the journalist has opened both emails but hasn’t responded (which is possible using an email tracking tool), then I’ll send a third and final email.

This message is the shortest yet.


If you’re looking for a story for [next week, the weekend, to fill a gap in your editorial calendar], this [study, post, interview with X person] might work well.

What do you think?



Total List of Tools & TL;DR

To recap, here’s the 6-step process you can use to successfully connect with journalists:

  1. Identify your objective: Backlinks, traffic, press mentions or customers.
  2. Figure out which publications and writers you’re targeting, and familiarize yourself with their beats and existing work.
  3. Figure out what your competition is doing!
  4. Create content tailored to the people you’ll be reaching out to.
  5. Send personalized, high-quality emails and track your results.
  6. Follow up with anyone who hasn’t responded.

And as far as the tools mentioned in this article, here ya go:

  1. Buzzstream
  2. SEMRush
  3. Ahrefs
  4. Buzzsumo
  5. HARO

Now you have the tools you need to develop, create and pitch fantastic content. Follow this process, and your days of sending endless emails with no response will be over.

Want more insights like this?

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Ecommerce Marketing &PR strategy &press coverage admin 09 Dec 2017 Comments Off on How to Pitch Journalists and Get a Response: Practical Media Pitch Examples for Ecommerce Brands

The 8 Tools and Strategies Proven to Acquire New Customers & Increase Customer Engagement

How is a sinking ship different from a failing ecommerce site?

At least the captain can go down with their ship!

You can’t – so you better do everything in your power to keep the customers coming.

As we approach crunch time in the world of online shopping, now seems like as good a time as any to review the best tools and techniques for acquiring new customers, increasing repeat business, and minimizing loss.

The whole ecommerce game boils down to getting people to buy your product. And then, hopefully getting some of those customers to come back again and again.

Whether you’re new to ecommerce or a grizzled vet who remembers what it was like to sell on eBay, this guide should give you some new ideas and reinforce old ones, including:

  • Why actionable, helpful content is your responsibility (i.e. curation isn’t key)
  • When to ask customers for reviews (and then how to use those!)
  • How to do influencer outreach to earn increased SEO (the science + the art)
  • How to use live chat to increase conversions and customer loyalty
  • Why your site doesn’t need to be beautiful, it needs to be helpful (and what the difference is)

You’ll also find recommendations on BigCommerce apps and integrations that fellow entrepreneurs use to succeed.

If there’s anything you want to add, please leave us a comment or email us – don’t be shy!

Customer Acquisition Tactics: The 4-Step Process

Customer acquisition is the process by which ecommerce brands actively find and then convert net new customers to their sales cycle.

Many brands think that to effectively create a customer acquisition cycle, all you need to do is launch your website.

But that is far from the reality. Once you launch, you need to then:

  • Create targeted ads on Facebook
  • Install 1-step checkout
  • A/B test your copy
  • Get niche bloggers to talk about it

That’s how net new customers will come.

Let’s go a layer up here, though. Good customer acquisition breaks down into four major categories:

  1. Promotions.
  2. Design.
  3. Testing.
  4. Outreach. 

If you nail these four areas of ecommerce customer acquisition, you should expect to do pretty well at convincing Joe Web Surfer to buy your stuff.

What is cost of customer acquisition?

The cost of customer acquisition is typically referred to as CAC, and it is easily broken down into a simple formula.

It is the cost spent on acquiring new customers (marketing expenses) divided by the number of customers acquired for that given period.  

For example, if you spend $100 in a year and acquire 100 customers, your CAC is $1.

Additional Recommended Reading

In case we’re moving too fast: here’s a comprehensive guide on how to drive traffic to your ecommerce site.

Customer Acquisition Strategy Ideas + Examples

1. Give ‘em a deal they’ll never forget.

What’s the last thing you bought online?

Chances are, it probably was on sale, came with a discount code, or was shipped to you for free.

People love discounts.

Giving someone the feeling that they “won” a deal is a powerful way to make them like your product more than a competitor’s.

You can go about promotions in a variety of ways.

Use your social media channels to run ads featuring a coupon that’s redeemable on your website if you have a pretty solid target demographic figured out.

If you’re more into drip campaigns or interacting with customers off of social media and perhaps have a popular blog, your email list is a bona fide money-making machine.

Encourage people to subscribe to your email newsletters and occasionally reward them for access to their inboxes with an exclusive offer.

Additional Recommended Reading

To get the most out of welcome emails, check out these battle-tested templates.

If you have a less popular item in stock or dwindling inventory of a SKU that’s no longer made by your suppliers, put it to use either as a limited-quantity loss leader or throw it in as a freebie on orders over a certain quantity.

Not only does this free up valuable space in your ecommerce fulfillment warehouse, it gives customers the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from getting a great deal.

Don’t forget that when you’re crafting deals to lure in new customers, you should pay attention to related trends or the time of year.

That could mean putting together ads that drum up anticipation for the winter holidays or spoofing the new hit TV show that everyone in your demographic follows.

The only thing better than a sale is a sale that connects with the lifestyles of the people who are your customers.

BigCommerce app that could help: Coupon Pop entices new visitors to become customers with instant pop-up discount offers designed to get sales.

2. Design your website to be helpful, not sophisticated.

No one cares if your website has 1080p image sliders or embedded QR codes.

The only thing that matters is that a first time visitor can find what they’re looking for, and then buy it from you.

So keep things simple and easy to use.

Use an ecommerce database (otherwise known as a search bar) for customers that actually answers their queries — and leave breadcrumbs for them to navigate your selection of items if you have an especially large inventory.

When a visitor is ready to make the leap into becoming a customer, make sure your site has a 1 page checkout to keep things as easy as possible.

Write detailed product descriptions that tell your customer exactly what they’re getting when they order from you.

If you sell clothes, include specific sizing charts and model dimensions. You wouldn’t buy something online without knowing what you were buying — so take that into consideration when you think about your customers.

That said, writing an immaculate product description is only the first step to true customer satisfaction.

The real test is ensuring that your order fulfillment process 100% ensures that your customer get the correct product, in the right size, and on time.

Whether these operations are handled in house, or outsourced, the financial cost and soft costs of mispicks, lost inventory, and late shipments can be disastrous to your bottom line.

Additional Recommended Reading

Need to explore different fulfillment tactics more? Check out our article on ecommerce fulfillment, self fulfillment, and dropshipping.

Another underrated feature of any good ecommerce site is load time.

If you’re using a bulky web platform or cheaping out on server space, there’s a good chance you could have a higher bounce rate as visitors decide it’s not worth waiting for a page to load.

You can’t afford to lose traffic just because your load times are slow. Optimizing page load times is fundamental to your site’s chances at success.

Additional Recommended Reading

Need ideas on ecommerce store design? BigCommerce wrote a thorough guide with great examples from around the web.

BigCommerce app that could help: Live Chat Inc. One of the classic drawbacks to shopping online is that customers can’t try on or test out products.

While futuristic solutions such as virtual reality shopping could change that, specialty or customizable items will be a tough online sell so long as customers feel like they can’t know for sure what they’re buying. One method for covering that gap of uncertainty is a customer-facing live chat integration.

ZenPro Audio’s Story

Warren Dent is the owner and founder of ZenPro Audio, an ecommerce site that sells high quality audio equipment and products.

At this price point, most folks have various audio needs and order size requirements, making the product difficult to sell without direct interaction with individual customers.

That’s why Dent decided to install a live chat app. He explains the benefits best:

“I tried a half dozen or so live chat apps, and always ended up coming back to LiveChat. It’s not the cheapest. However, it has the ability to customize the chat window with logos and avatars, allows file transfers back and forth with customers, and is fast and responsive.

The admin page is very clean, and the chat page to me was the most sensibly laid out. Popup notifications work, and when you click them it carries you to the open tab and chat for immediate response every time.

The incoming chat sound is spoken as “incoming chat” which also makes sense to me, when a customer is initiating.

Afterwards, standard message sounds apply.

You can watch your customer type in real time which can be helpful.

Also, customer support is outrageously awesome –– and work, of course, via live chat. They’ve never been unavailable when I had dozens of requests to tweak my design etc.

I tried the rest and found the best in my opinion anyhow.”

How ZenProAudio 2X’D AOV

Live chat isn’t the only tool that helps convert. See how Klarna can turn prospects into customers for high-priced items.

Get a 100% Increase in AOV with Klarna

3. A/B test everything.

A/B testing is important not to see which designs are best or to use data to outwit other colleagues (though it can do both of those as well). No, A/B testing is about figuring out which options produce the highest numbers of conversions.

Ecommerce conversion rate optimization is the #1 tactic to growth for brands past the startup stage.


Because the more customers you convert (moving the needle from 2% of site visitors to 5%), the more money you make, the lower your CAC (the calculation of which is explained earlier) and the less you have to spend to acquire that customer again.

It’s smart for your brand to have a test plan for online shopping website optimization. That means that you:

  • Mark on Google Analytics every time you launch a new test
  • Have a standard for how long you run them and how many visitors must experience both versions
  • Have a process for executive approval to launch the winner
  • Move onto the net item to test to increase conversions
  • Repeat as needed.

This is especially true with copy on landing pages and product pages.

If there’s one thing you should remember about copywriting, it’s this:

The sole purpose of the first sentence in an advertisement is to get you to read the second sentence.

Copywriting guru Eddie Shleyner said that, and he knows a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t.

Without good copy — without the sort of hook, line and sinker content that gets customers’ eyes moving down the page — your product is as good as dead.

So write product copy.

  • Test out a sentence.
  • Test out your tone.
  • Test out corny jokes.
  • Test out every facet of your website.

Not just the words themselves, but the layout of your website. Does it make sense to have the product search bar tucked into the top right corner, or would you have larger order sizes with a full-width behemoth?

Do blue “buy now” buttons get more clicks, or are they outperformed by red? Is “buy now” a better CTA than “get this?”

The more you know, the better your ecommerce businesses will do.

Here’s a list of 5 fundamental parts of your business that need testing; if you can’t do it, then find someone to do it for you. It’s simply too important to not take into consideration these ecommerce testing scenarios.

5 Ecommerce A/B Testing Ideas:
  1. Product copy
  2. Landing page/lead magnet layout
  3. Email drip campaign copy
  4. Blog content: Video vs infographic vs photo gallery vs test
  5. Advertising layout + copy

Best BigCommerce app for this: Visual Website Optimizer gives you 7 different testing options, including conversion tracking and A/B testing.

Additional Recommended Reading

If you’re stuck on optimization ideas, check these landing page and checkout page design articles.

4. Reach out to influencers.

People who work in marketing either love or hate influencer outreach. It just depends on your personality and whether you like cold-emailing folks to ask for favors or not.

What no one denies is that working the back channels of major media websites or Page 1 heavyweights is not an option if you want your business to succeed.

It’s mandatory.

So how do you stock your pipeline full of quality influencers? This largely depends on where it’s most effective for you to do your marketing.

Additional Recommended Reading

Stuck on influencer marketing? These nine influencer marketing case studies should help.

Building up a catalog of valuable backlinks usually starts with the content you create.

Quid pro quo is a reliable strategy for breaking into more venerable websites. If you allow someone from a relevant website to write a guest post on your company’s blog or simply link to one of their posts from somewhere on your site, you can leverage that into getting a guest post or backlink on their site.

Depending on what sort of audience you’re targeting, it might be more effective to seek out backlinks via an Instagram or Youtube channel instead of on a facebook page or on a blog post.

How do you know which channels make the most sense? By looking at our Google Analytics or BigCommerce Analytics to determine from where your most profitable traffic is coming –– and then working with influencers to get more of that.

In terms of finding influencers, free tools such as the BuzzSumo trial version or Google Alerts go a long way to connecting you with people and media channels who can make a difference.

While it’s not cheap, Pitchbox is a highly effective platform for performing keyword matches on influencer sites in your niche and scraping contact info for you to cold email in automated sequences.

It’s a huge time-saver and can get you handfuls of backlinks, especially if you craft a winning cold email.

Examples of Ecommerce Influencers:
  • Ezra Firestone
  • Richard Lazazzera
  • Sujan Patel
  • Noah Kagan
  • Shayla Price
  • Krista Fabregas
  • James Thomson
  • Daniel Wallock
  • Rieva Lesonsky
  • Andrew Youderian
  • Emil Kristensen
  • Tracey Wallace

Overview of Customer Engagement Tactics That Work

Customer engagement is how much interaction your marketing, merchandising and business as usual activities inspire in your customers. In other words: how often do your customers engage with you?

Customer engagement is a good measuring stick for customer lifetime loyalty and a brand’s overall messaging effectiveness.

Brands typically begin measuring customer engagement once a prospect has bought something –– or turned into a customer.

This is because once you have those new customers coming through the door, it’s time to focus on the next step: getting them to buy again.

What can you do to foster a better relationship and drive trust with your existing customers and ensure that they come back to you for future purchases?

The key to converting new ecommerce customers into repeat customers lies in keeping them interested in what you’re offering. How you do that depends most of all on your brand and what you’re trying to accomplish by engaging with them.

Good customer engagement breaks down into four major categories:

  1. Rewards
  2. Social media
  3. Content creation
  4. Post-purchase experience
6 Examples of Customer Engagement Strategies

1. Build loyalty through rewards.

Making your product appealing to customers on an emotional basis is a powerful way to build loyalty.

After all, when marketers use words like “loyalty” that have emotional connotations, it’s clear that the endgame is to make people feel like your company is more than just a brand and they’re more than just customers.

They want to feel valued.

How do you make someone who paid hard-earned cash for your product feel special? You reward them for it.

  • Give out discount codes to customers who review you on Amazon.
  • Have a digital punch card on hand for repeat buyers so they get their 6th product refill for free.
  • Organize members-only meetups and get your customers talking about your brand to each other and within their social circles.

You can grow customer lifetime value in just a year if you follow these tips.

True brand loyalty – “My daddy only drove Fords and so do I” – is incredibly valuable, hard to fake, and hard to earn.

By showing your customers that you’re willing to give them an exclusive discount, you demonstrate that you want their business and want them to feel satisfied with your product.

Best BigCommerce app for this: incentives customers to share your brand with their friends through social media as well as encourage customers to post positive reviews in exchange for future discounts or redeemable rewards points.

Formerly known as Sweet Tooth, the app integrates with BigCommerce businesses with the sole purpose of building customer loyalty through incentives such as discounts and reward points.

Lisa Chu, owner of toddler fashion company Black n Bianco, knows the importance of keeping her customers hooked to her brand.

“Month by month my conversion rate and traffic started to increase [with]. By rewarding our customers I built brand loyalty and created a positive feedback cycle of happy, passionate and vocal customers. Rewarding them really helps keep my brand relevant and competitive. is the perfect app because it incentives customers to post reviews (especially the positive kind!) and share our brand with their friends through social media.”

After using BigCommerce for 4 years, Black n Bianco integrated led to an increase in customer engagement of 38%.

Most businesses would kill for that sort of return on their investment. Maybe you don’t need to kill at all; you can test ride it and start getting the love from your customers you always dreamed of.

2. Reflect your audience’s tastes in your social feed.

There’s nothing sadder than seeing an inactive social media page for an ecommerce business.

How are you supposed to connect with your customers?

Have them call an (800) number? That would be acceptable if your customers were in the senior age bracket and this was 2010.

But even grandma has a Facebook account these days, so you pretty much have no excuse.

Do some research and put together a core list of social media channels you want to focus on.

The plan of attack for successful customer engagement varies depending on your goals and what network you’re using.

Tractor company John Deere uses a clever Instagram hashtag that their customers might use when they’re out in the field on a combine harvester or perhaps dressing up their youngest as tractors for Halloween.

It connects the image of practicality and reliability that characterize the brand with current owners, aficionados, and potential future customers.

Le Creuset knows its customers tend to be passionate about cooking and swoon over food porn. There’s no better social media platform for this than Pinterest, since the focus is on images (in this case of gorgeous browned crusts, sumptuous stews, and other culinary delights).

Oftentimes their enameled cast iron pots are not even in a shot; all you see is a close-up of a freshly-prepared meal with a link to the recipe.

This exemplifies the goal of social media and online customer engagement: you’re not trying to upsell, you’re giving them value for something they already got.

In some ways, this overlaps with the goal of creating loyalty. Either way, the end result is the same: by reflecting your customers’ tastes on the appropriate social media channel, you keep them interested and poised to buy from you again when the moment presents itself.

3. Create useful, actionable content.

It’s not just enough to share other peoples’ creations on the company Twitter account.

You need to proactively create content that your customers will appreciate and find useful.

If done right, your content should not only augment the experience of your customers; it should also be shared and reposted by other influencers, too.

Quality content comes in a variety of forms.

  1. You could release a series of guides or mini ebooks that correspond to the product you sell.
  2. Maybe host a YouTube channel or a podcast with tailor-made episodes.
  3. Or pay bloggers to publish short stories that feature your item just as it was intended.

Whatever content you make, it should connect existing customers to your brand.

So what does useful, actionable content look like in the real world? Here are a couple examples.

Blue Bottle Example

If you’re a coffee addict, you’ve probably heard of Blue Bottle — they’re a heavyweight in the world of subscription premium quality coffee.

They have a few brick and mortar locations, but the creme de la creme of their revenue comes from their ecommerce store.

For anyone who loves coffee, their website is a treasure trove of useful information about how to make the perfect cup.

Whether that comes in the form of a Bialetti or a cold brew, Blue Bottle has step by step guides with clear photos and written instructions that walk you through the process of making coffee the way you like it.

When creating content to engage with existing customers, they asked one simple question — What’s the best complement to our excellent coffee? — and the answer was this series of useful guides.

Excellent content doesn’t need to sell your brand at all; it just needs to feature it.

Ipsy Example

Ipsy understands that principle and that’s why their partnership with popular makeup and cosmetics artists on Instagram is such a brilliant idea.

They run a subscription service that sends out a personalized selection of sample-sized cosmetics and makeup once a month, and they use Instagram for the heavy lifting of content creation.

The brand re-posts images with permission from Influencers like Ashly to help grow their audience and engage with fans.

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4. Follow up on purchases.

There’s one other way that your business should cater to existing customers: right after the sale.

As you probably know from experience, after you buy something the novelty slowly fades away.

Sure, you’re going to be addicted to your new PS4 for the first couple months that buy it. But eventually other distractions or new toys get in the way and all of a sudden the only reason you use it is when you want to watch Netflix on a Sunday night.

When a new customer comes along and buys something from you, don’t wait til the novelty has worn off to approach them with a social sharing incentive or free product in exchange for answering a survey.

While this is anecdotal and not the same as a scientific survey, most online shoppers I know tend to leave reviews for products within a week after they made a purchase.

Additional Recommended Reading

If you’re having trouble with abandoned shopping carts, you might want to learn how to reduce them — and gain more purchases.

Greg Bullock, director of marketing at longtime BigCommerce website TheraSpecs, has advice for any ecommerce business looking to increase customer engagement in the post-purchase phase.

“Like most ecommerce companies, we use an automation tool — in this case ActiveCampaign — for outreach before and after a purchase. Our precision-tinted glasses often require some time in order for customers to experience relief for their light sensitivity, and we want to experience that journey with them as well as help set and manage their expectations.”

Keeping in touch with customers and demonstrating that you care about their experience after the sale helps to create a positive feedback loop.

That’s only natural when someone places their trust in your brand and is rewarded with a quality product and a friendly email asking if there’s anything that can be done better.

Bullock says that looking for feedback is even more important if a customer isn’t satisfied with their purchase:

“We have automated emails that go out from our service team to learn more about how TheraSpecs are working, and we want to engage with that customer in order to share in their joys of relief or provide service if there are any issues. For those who offer positive feedback, we like to delight them by offering a discount on their next purchase as well as the opportunity to share their story on our blog and social channels.”

This is why following up with customers matters: if you do it right, it just turns right back into good marketing for your brand.

Key Metrics For Customer Engagement:
  • Email open rate
  • Email click through rate (CTR)
  • New versus repeat visitors
  • Time on site
  • Bounce rate
  • Frequency rate (how often the same visitor returns)
  • Repeat purchase rate
  • Customer loyalty program activity

The Complete List of Tools

Here is a final list and links to all the tools mentioned in this piece:

  1. Active Campaign
  3. Buzzsumo
  4. Pitchbox
  5. VWO
  6. Live Chat
  7. Coupon Pop
  8. Klarna

What’s your secret to winning new customers and making repeat ones? Tell us in the comments below!

Want more insights like this?

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acquisition &Ecommerce Marketing &How To Sell Online David Venne 05 Dec 2017 Comments Off on The 8 Tools and Strategies Proven to Acquire New Customers & Increase Customer Engagement

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