Optimizing as a Best Practice for Small Business OwnersGoogle clocks in as the world’s most powerful search engine, with billions of searches performed by consumers around the world each day. As most of us know from personal experience, search engine results dictate the way that many of us decide where and how they will spend their money. By the time you get to the listing stage, you will already have your Amazon UPC codes. And you’ll likely already be knee-deep in the depths of running a small business. That being said, there is no better way to spend your time as an e-commerce entrepreneur than optimizing your product listings. Not only do optimized listings allow customers to actually find your products on Amazon, they can also help you advance the rate of your conversions. All of this results in better profit potential for you. Optimization gives you a better bottom line. Think of Amazon listings as a template that you can fill in as you please. Within each listing, you have opportunities to optimize each area:
- Information about the product
What You Need to Know About Product ListingsWhether you are dealing with retail arbitrage or private label, every listing has the same basic components. It’s important to optimize each of these iteratively. In other words, optimization is not a one-time task that you can check off. Optimization is a process of continuous improvement. Components of every Amazon listing include the following:
- Title of the product
- Photos or other images of the product
- Description of the product
- List of the product’s key features
- Rating of the product
- Customer reviews
Evaluating Your Current Product ListingsAs with any optimization opportunity, the first thing you should do is to gauge where you are now. How well do your current Amazon product listings stand up to the test? Examining the components of each of your current listings against best practices can give you an idea of the most important areas of focus. Each of the components has special guidelines, which we’ve outlined below for your convenience.
Product TitlesDo you ever see products on Amazon with long titles? These vendors are taking advantage of the room that the Amazon title affords them.
- Put keywords into your title as well as the product description. These keywords may “count” differently if included in the title. If you’re not sure which keywords to use, there are tons of online resources that can help you choose the best keyword selections for your product.
- That being said, make sure that your title is optimized to be readable by human beings. Nothing looks stranger than a title that isn’t designed for the human eye. Think about running the title by a few friends or colleagues to see what they think.
- Include value-added details. Does your product have a special feature? What is it made out of? Is it especially durable? Going the extra mile here is how your listing can stand out from the competitors. Consumers want to know about your product. Give them the information they need right in the title.
Product ImagesYou probably know that you should include some kind of photo of your product, but an optimization point that many entrepreneurs tend to forget is to include as many photos as possible of the item. Photos are key to any e-commerce venture since consumers are not able to hold the product in their hands.
- Zoomed-in and zoomed-out photos of your product so that customers can see it up close as well as get the big picture. Using a quality camera and proper lighting is important.
- Photos of the product’s packaging. How will it look when it arrives in the mail? Is there a carrying case? An instruction manual?
- Lifestyle photos of people actually using the project. What does it look like as it’s used?
- Photos of the project in front of a simple white background. This is important for credibility. The last thing you want is for customers to feel deceived, or for the product to lack a feature they thought was there originally. Make sure to photograph all parts of the product.
- Photos of the product that display its scale and size. A photo of the product that includes a person can be one way to showcase a product’s scale. If you are offering multiple sizes of the same product, you may want to photograph them side-by-side to display scale.
- Infographics are another way to display size and scale. Creating a diagram that charts the size and shape of the project can help give potential customers more information.
Features of the ProductThis “features” area is a list of bullet points as well as an opportunity to add value to your product. What differentiates you from the competition?
- What materials is the product made out of?
- Why should I buy this product from your company instead of one from the competitors?
- When I purchase this product, what is included (accessories, coupons for further purchases, etc.)?
- Are there any guarantees or warranties included with the product? How can this product help me or solve a problem I’m having?
Description of the ProductIf the features are a quick rundown of your product’s highlights, the description is an opportunity to go in-depth. Running at a limit of 2,000 characters, the description allows you to flesh out more of the details about the product for consumers who like to do their research. Optimizing written content for the web is all about readability. Your Amazon product description is no different. The description is a longer narrative about the product, and there are important opportunities for optimization. A few guidelines to keep in mind as you write and revise the product description include the following:
- Describe the benefits that the product will provide to customers. No matter your product, customers are interested in something that will improve their lives in some way.
- Keep sentences short and snappy. We all have busy lives, so the more concise your description, the better.
- That being said, use all of the real estate available to you in the “Description” field. If you are running out of things to say, read some other product descriptions on Amazon to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t.
- Strive for total readability. As with the product title, you want to include keywords in the product description, but don’t sacrifice readability for keywords.
- Keep it narrative. You are telling a story, and every reader loves a story. Leading with a story is one way to keep potential customers reading, and ultimately, to purchase your product.
- Be mindful of your tone. The tone and style of your description should be friendly, but not too informal. Keep it informative, but warm. Consumers are looking to purchase from a company they feel they can trust.
How to Deal with ReviewsAlthough you cannot ask customers for incentivized reviews due to Amazon’s regulations, reviews still are vital to your Amazon listing.
- Provide an excellent experience to every customer. A high level of consistency drives the likelihood that customers will review your product. A good customer experience is an optimization that money can’t buy.
- Implement some quality control measures to ensure that all customers are receiving an optimal experience. This process will look different depending on the nature of your company, but no matter your field or company size, you can conduct quality control.
- Set up automated email campaigns so that customers stay in the loop about when and how their product will arrive. According to Amazon’s Terms of Service, you cannot ask for reviews in conjunction with a promotion. You can, however, ask for feedback in regular automated emails about the product the customer has already purchased.
Customer Ratings and Your ProductHow many stars has your product accrued already? If your product is in the 4-star or 5-star, keep up the good work!
- Do what you can to accrue more reviews and ratings. This includes implementing an automated email campaign so that customers know what’s going on with the product they’ve ordered, and so they can complete a review.
- Address any legitimate issues that customers are having. When we face the facts, we can admit that no company is perfect. Customer ratings are actually a good opportunity to see if customers are receiving the experience you have designed for them.
Optimizing Your URLOne last (often hidden) area of potential optimization is the URL of your product. Including keywords in your URL can help drive sales. This opportunity will present itself as you setup your product listing.
Checking Your Optimization: Did It Work?Searching Amazon for your keywords after you optimize your product listing is important. These kinds of searches are the best way to see if your strategies worked. If you are not ranking for a keyword, go back to your listing and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the keyword actually included?
- Are there any typos, misspellings, or rogue commas?
- Is the keyword included in your product’s title/features?
- Are all the fields of your Amazon product listing complete?