Let’s talk sales channels…
ONE sales channel is RISKY for any business, and the same applies to selling on Amazon.
Relying on just one way to make sales on Amazon is a classic case of ‘Putting all your eggs in one basket’. If something changes and you have no control, it can put your business in a fragile situation.
It doesn’t need to be like this…
I’m a firm believer that Amazon sellers should mirror some of the techniques that successful eCommerce sellers use, and one of those is developing multiple ways to generate sales to bring about greater stability.
For example, if all your sales come from paid traffic, can you expand your organic campaigns, develop a social media channel or leverage email marketing?
We know that any one channel can change. The more successful you can be across a number, the more stable it can help make your business.
YOU DO NOT want to be like the person who stands precariously balancing on one single pillar to drive ALL sales (left).
BUILD UP MULTIPLE SALES CHANNELS
To help develop a stable Amazon business consider developing a number of sales channels (or pillars). This will help build stronger foundations for the Amazon business and make it less vulnerable should any one channel fluctuate. The prodigious marketer Jay Abraham actually takes the concept even further and uses the example of the Parthenon in Greece. The idea is simple, a business should always look to build strong sales pillars.
If you’re relying on Sponsored Ads, then a logical way to generate more day to day sales is to improve your ranking in the Amazon SERPs. This is a major focus for Amazon sellers for good reason and is part of the wider subject of Amazon SEO covered in our eBook. Building a strong presence in the Amazon organic Search results (SERPs) can bring about a high volumes of sales and profit.
On the flip side, if the business has done well historically with Amazon’s free traffic, looking to explore paid ads as an option to widen you net for visitors makes sense.
Amazon’s Sponsored ads can drive sales, boost Amazon rank and provide useful sales data to sellers, yet around 1 in 3 sellers aren’t using them! If you”re one of them, you may want to stop reading this post and take a look at Sponsored Ads now.
SALES CHANNELS FOR AN AMAZON BUSINESS
Which channel to select will depend upon your own brand, and your personal inclination. The challenge is to find the best channel for you and your business, and then build it up. There are many options within the remit of ‘social media’ that can compliment an Amazon business. We’ve worked on most of these platforms in some shape or form for clients. Here are some of the more popular ones below:
Facebook pages and Facebook Ads can be effective ways to help build lists and get fresh leads that could be converted into customers. Whether it’s from organic traffic from a well-liked Facebook page or from a Facebook Ads campaign, both have the power to generate new leads if you integrate your campaigns with an email marketing platform such as AWeber or Mailchimp (see Email Marketing below). Facebook groups can also be a powerful place to promote content, generate new interest or keep on top of news.
Twitter can work well for some companies, though it can be a slower burner. The US company Zappos are big Twitter fans, and are testimony to how Twitter can be used as a useful customer service tool and a brand builder.
It’d be misleading to imply Twitter works for absolutely everyone, or that its quick and easy. The reality is that building up a credible Twitter account with one or two thousand genuine followers does takes time. Also posting on Twitter a few times a day is not an insignificant commitment. That said, it is possible to automate some of the work if you already post on say FaceBook. Also there may be an option to outsource some of the work, and then commit to one or two posts a day if that works better for your business. Twitter is quite multi-faceted. It can be used for promotion, networking, play a customer service role and help with branding – so it could be worth a look if you’re not using it already.
Will video work well for your business and product? If so leveraging videos to help generate brand awareness and push sales to your Amazon product can be worth looking at. Whilst some YouTuber’s like Zoella have notched up millions of subscribers (most of her videos now get over a million views at the the time of writing) it doesn’t mean that you need to be a YouTube superstar to make video work for your business. Amazon sellers can use videos to achieve a wide range of objectives. Videos can address customer FAQs about the product, highlight unique selling points, promote the brand as well as sell. In addition videos can be optimised to rank on Google to target various search terms including specific questions that they answer. All of this can give your Amazon products greater exposure across the web and help set you apart from competitors.
Amazon themselves do not let sellers add video content to their ASIN right now unless its something Amazon sell themselves. This could change of course. Platforms like Periscope and Google Hangouts, help bring real-time video to your customer prospects. These live streams can forge a positive brand image and allow sellers to start announcing offers live and leveraging FLASH SALES.
This can be a useful platform for some niches. Fashion, beauty, home, garden, cooking all spring to mind. Products that revolve heavily around being visual, are celebrity focused or are female orientated can work well. The general consensus is that Pinterest appeals primarily to female users. While it may not be a good fit for all niches, my logic would be this: ‘If Pinterest is where your prospective customers hang out, then you probably should too’.
Instagram can be a good match for some specific niches – but like Pinterest, it may not be for everyone. It can take some hard work to build up an account with one to two thousand genuine followers and there are no guarantees that with this number of followers Instagram will work as a sales tool for everyone.
Understanding the ratios on Instagram.
Companies like Hairburst are well known for leveraging Instagram very successfully for their business. However, it’s worth noting a couple of things. An average image for Hairburst can get three or four thousand likes (which is indeed pretty awesome). However Hairburst have over 800,000 followers! Now here’s where some ratios come in, because the interaction from users is about one ‘like’ per 200 people right there. With this level of response you can probably see why you need a lot of followers!
As with many of these social media channels, many very successful commercial Instagram accounts do also pay for advertising. Techniques like ‘shout-outs’, or paid posts and mentions are common to get new followers as well as promote new posts. These very popular commercial accounts are unlikely to have happened spontaneously or for free. This can be a bit of a common misconception when it comes to Instagram. A very successful Instagram account is more likely to be the result of hard work and persistence over a number of months or years, combined with some ad spend and possibly a bit of luck on the way.
Nevertheless, Instagram can be a powerful tool in some industries which can help build up a strong brand image, as well as help with sales on Amazon when you use offers and flash sales.
If audio is your thing and your customers might like it too, then think about podcasts. It can be a little quicker than producing video and an effective way to share your voice (both literally and your company style). Podcasts can be a good platform for providing timely opinion, humour and industry information. Similar to a number of social media channels, if you’re looking to develop podcasting allow time. Most podcasters I know who have had achieved great things with their shows do tell me that they started to take off properly in the 50-100 show range. So as you can see, that’s not a trivial investment of time.
Sounds obvious, but building up an email list of customers is a prudent strategy. Your customer email list can be one of the most over-looked assets that an online business should always seek to build and when you sell on Amazon they do not give you this information, so you need to look at ways to legitimately build email lists. Sometimes this can be achieved by using product inserts, running lead generation campaigns or doing joint ventures.
There are a range of affordable email marketing service providers such as AWeber, MailChimp and Constant Contact. Once you build your list, email newsletters could be a great place to connect with customers, as well as share offers.
Even when you sell on Amazon, having a website and blog can be a good way to connect with new customers and have a more in-depth conversation about your products. It can be a great place for people interested in your brand to see what you’re up to and it can be the first port of call for posting new information or content for customers. From helping launch new products to running competitions, the company website still has its place.
Google Adwords can get a hard time due to its cost. However, in some industries generating leads from campaigns using Google Adwords or Bing Ads can be viable. The main restriction you face as an Amazon seller is that you can’t link directly to your ASIN from a PPC advert. To get around this any campaigns will want to send people to a landing page (typically on your own website). From here you can build a sales funnel and follow up with a product offer or coupons via email. PPC off Amazon can be a bit more expensive than using Sponsored Ads, however the upside is you’re able to capture people’s email addresses. This means the leads are always yours and not Amazon’s.
How you pick your channels will depend on a few things: Your product, industry as well as your personal inclinations and interests. Remember, you will usually want to seek out long term strategies for big wins.
While you can outsource any(or all) of the marketing for your sales channels, the companies I see doing really well often have some hands-on involvement in their primary marketing channel. Certainly in the initial 6 months your input as the brand owner will be valuable to help ‘steer the ship’. This is why having some personal interest can be useful.
On the flip side, if you’ve got no interest in video, the chances are slim that you’ll build up a very successful YouTube channel. Likewise, if you can’t stand the short form style of Twitter, spending 6 months developing a Twitter account may not be the obvious choice!
The logic can be a bit like picking a private label product to sell on Amazon. Look for what might be profitable and if it can overlap where some of your own personal interests then it could be a winner.
Amz Pro helps private label sellers win on Amazon. If you’d like to speak to us about working with your Amazon business then get in touch here.