Marketing Your Brand on Amazon Is So Much More Than Just PPC Advertising

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Liz Adamson is the VP of Advertising at Buy Box Experts. She has been working in e-commerce for over a decade, including founding her firm, Egility, which merged a couple of years ago with Buy Box Experts. Liz specializes in helping brands develop marketing and advertising strategies for e-commerce growth. Over the years, she has worked with brands that leverage the Amazon channel by guiding their executives through all aspects of marketing beyond just PPC.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Liz Adamson defines a brand from an Amazon context
  • What brands did to market their products 10 years ago on Amazon
  • How to direct Amazon customers to a brand’s products and what segmentation, targeting, and positioning on the Amazon platform involves
  • Liz’s strategies for creating and optimizing high-quality Amazon product listings and storefronts and attracting customers to the storefronts
  • How Amazon has been helping brands engage more with their customers 
  • How to get customers to watch Amazon Live videos, how to leverage social media to drive customers to Amazon without ad spend, and how to use Amazon DSP to help with better advertising
  • Liz explains what brands can do to leverage their product packaging to increase engagement and encourage repeat sales
  • How new Amazon brands should market themselves on Amazon
  • How telling a brand story helps in differentiating a brand from its competitors
  • What growing Amazon businesses should do to market their businesses better
  • What Amazon can do to improve its marketing tools to give brands more marketing capabilities
  • Liz’s favorite basic marketing approaches for Amazon

In this episode…

There are many paid and unpaid techniques that brands can use to market themselves on the Amazon channel. Most brands use paid advertising techniques which often require significant monetary investments. These brands don’t know that they can leverage unpaid advertising techniques to increase awareness for their product listings, drive traffic, and convert leads into returning customers.

To do this, brands have to be very creative. They have to identify and understand their customers, target them in their marketing, and show them how they stand to benefit from purchasing the brand’s products. Liz Adamson, an advertising expert, advises brands to make good use of social media, live video marketing, work with influencers, and optimize their product listings and storefronts. It is also essential to leverage their product packaging to create great customer experiences and increase engagement.

Liz Adamson, the VP of Advertising at Buy Box Experts, is James Thomson’s guest in this episode of the Buy Box Experts Podcast, where they talk about building an Amazon brand through marketing beyond PPC. Liz shares her strategies for optimizing and creating high-quality Amazon product listings, building great storefronts, and discusses the different marketing methods Amazon provides brands to help them with advertising. Stay tuned.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

Buy Box Experts applies decades of e-commerce experience to successfully manage their clients’ marketplace accounts. The Buy Box account managers specialize in combining an understanding of their clients’ business fundamentals and their in-depth expertise in the Amazon Marketplace.

The team works with marketplace technicians using a system of processes, proprietary software, and extensive channel experience to ensure your Amazon presence captures the opportunity in the marketplace — not only producing greater revenue and profits but also reducing or eliminating your business’ workload.

Buy Box Experts prides itself on being one of the few agencies with an SMB (small to medium-sized business) division and an Enterprise division. Buy Box does not commingle clients among divisions as each has unique needs and requirements for proper account management.

Learn more about Buy Box Experts at BuyBoxExperts.com.

Podcast Episode Transcripts:

Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.



Intro 0:09

Welcome to the Buy Box Experts Podcast. We bring to light the unique opportunities brands face in today’s e-commerce world.

James Thomson 0:18

I am James Thomson, one of the hosts of the Buy Box Experts Podcast. I’m a Partner with Buy Box Experts and the former business head of the selling on Amazon team at Amazon, as well as the first account manager for the Fulfillment by Amazon program. I’m the co-author of a couple of books on Amazon including the recent book, Controlling Your Brand in the Age of Amazon. Today’s episode is brought to you by Buy Box Experts. Buy Box Experts takes ambitious brands and makes them unbeatable. When you hire Buy Box Experts, you receive the strategy optimization and marketing performance to succeed on Amazon. We also support investors with due diligence services and go to buyboxexperts.com to learn more. Before I introduce our guests today, I want to send a big shout out to the team at GETIDA, a global leader in Amazon FBA auditing and reimbursements. GETIDA analyzes your Amazon data, reconciles your FBA inventory, and files claims for reimbursements on your behalf. To learn more, check out getida.com.

Our guest today is Liz Adamson, VP of Advertising at Buy Box Experts. Liz has been working in e-commerce for more than a decade, including founding her own firm, Egility, that merged a couple years ago with our firm, Buy Box Experts. Liz specializes in helping brands to develop marketing and advertising strategies for e-commerce growth companies. Now, it’s not every day we get to have this kind of a conversation. And so I want to start by outlining just about every day I see posts on LinkedIn where someone is touting observations on how you can improve your spending habits around Amazon PPC. While I like to see people optimizing their ad spend I’m troubled by how few discussions there are about brands building their brands on Amazon, through marketing levers beyond advertising. Yes, there’s a lot more to building a successful brand on Amazon than just building efficient PPC campaigns. So to discuss this intricate topic of leveraging the many levers of marketing on Amazon, I’m very pleased to be joined today by my colleague Liz Adamson. Over her career working with brands that leverage the Amazon channel, Liz has been guiding executives through all sorts of aspects of marketing beyond just PPC. Yes, as a VP of Advertising, Liz spends a lot of time thinking about PPC, but within the context of the many paid and unpaid techniques that brands can use to build and market themselves on this Amazon channel. I’m very pleased to be joined by Liz for today’s episode, as we examine the levers of marketing that Amazon offers brands. Liz, welcome, and thanks for joining us today on the Buy Box Experts Podcast.

Liz Adamson 02:50

Thanks, James. And I’m excited to be here today.

James Thomson 02:53

So let me start our discussion by asking you what exactly is a brand on Amazon? There are so many seemingly generic items with brand names I’ve never heard of. So what constitutes a real brand that’s focused on developing its brand name over time on this Amazon channel?

Liz Adamson 3:11

That’s a really good question. A lot of people have a lot of confusion around what is a brand and what isn’t a brand. The simplest definition, if you pull up just from the Oxford dictionary, is a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name. That’s it’s very basic definition. And that’s how most sellers and even some customers treat brands on Amazon is it’s just a name assigned to a product. However, a brand could be so much more powerful than that. I think of brands as another definition I pulled was a way a product or company is perceived by those who experience it was about perception in the mind of the customer. So if you think of Apple, Honda, Nike, each of these brands bring a particular kind of image to your mind, you’ve got a very specific perspective on who these three brands are, what they do, how they treat customers, what kind of products they provide, they don’t just make things to most people, these three brands are some pretty powerful worldwide brands. However, you don’t have to be a worldwide company to have a brand like that. If you think of your local mom and pop shop, you know that it’s your favorite restaurant or a favorite, you know, a market, you visit over and over again because of the perception they’ve created in your mind. And that’s a brand so it doesn’t have to be this worldwide thing. And it’s this level of branding, this type of branding that when you’re creating a very specific perception in the customer’s mind. This is what drives customer loyalty. This is what builds trust. And this is what causes them to come back over and over and over again in increasing your lifetime value. And the great thing is Amazon has gone from this platform that’s very unbranded, very, very transactional to now a platform that allows you to actually build these brands and tell these stories and create this type of customer loyalty.

James Thomson 5:00

So let’s start 10 years ago, there was no PPC on Amazon. It was a transactional marketplace. What exactly did brands do to market themselves back then?

Liz Adamson 5:11

There wasn’t a whole lot, you know, you put up a good product page, you had some good pictures and a good title and description. And that was more or less the extent of it. We also have to realize that 10 years ago, there was very little competition, you know, better than I but it seems like it was around that time FBA was getting launched. And some of them are just starting to come to the platform and sell. Now, in the past three years alone, over 4.5 million sellers who have joined the Amazon platform, it has become this huge platform where what we did 10 years ago, which was build a decent product page doesn’t work anymore, there’s too much competition, there’s too much noise and too much business going on that you have to change, you have to use different tactics nowadays than than we did when we were first selling on Amazon.

James Thomson 5:55

So let me think back to my very first marketing class I took in college, and we spent a lot of time talking about segmentation, targeting, positioning. What do those terms mean, when you talk about Amazon, given that the Amazon search bar really is the main door that welcomes all shoppers into this massive store? You know, it is a single department store that has everything in it. So how does a brand owner lead? It’s the right shoppers to its products, you have to start with that search bar. That’s really where all the action starts. So tell me a little bit more about what you see around being able to take hundreds of millions of customers coming in the front door and directing them specifically to your product that offers certain types of solutions.

Liz Adamson 6:41

Yeah, there’s kind of a two part answer to this. The first is it really does start with those basic tools we did have 10 years ago. And that’s really, you know, SEO, and building a solid product page with the right keywords with the right images that communicates the benefits of your product. And then of course, we built on sponsored advertising, which launched, gosh, 2013 2014 sponsored advertising those two tools together SEO and sponsored advertising use correctly, those will help sellers surface their products on the right searches. And so that search bar that brings up, you know, the first page of results, if you want to be in that first book, the two primary tools you would use to get to that first page and show up for a particular search. Now on top of that, if you want to go beyond just getting that first transaction, if you don’t want it to be the first and the last transaction for a particular customer, then you start adding in the branding tools. So storefront posts, sponsored brand ads, all these other tools, we can start to create more of a customer experience so that it becomes more of a branded, helping a customer start their journey with you rather than in this trend of you know, a one and done transactional experience. And to use these tools to go back to your question. The second part of the answer is, you know, the segmentation, targeting and positioning. These three terms basically refer to the seller acknowledging that no product is a good fit for every single person, and you need to identify and understand and market to your target audience. So which customer is the most likely person to benefit from purchasing your product. And your SEO revolves around that your sponsored advertising revolves around your storefront . If you don’t understand your customer, you’re not going to get the right person onto your page at the right time when they’re ready to buy. And so understanding the segmentation targeting positioning these concepts is what’s going to help you drive that first purchase and then drive those repeat purchases.

James Thomson 8:38

So when PPC first launched on Amazon, the companies that started down that path, quickly realized, Oh, I can gain top visibility, the top of search results. But then everybody started to realize who I guess I’m gonna have to be more actively involved in PPC. But we’re still in this place where people are lamenting, oh, I’m having to spend so much money on PPC, it kind of feels like too many brands are ignoring all these other activities that they could be pursuing to also create a better brand. Yes, they may not get that initial visibility that PPC provides. But to your point, if all you’re trying to do is create a bunch of individual transactions, that’s going to be a very sad existence. So let’s go through some of the specifics that you talked about earlier, a core core issue now and in the past that has always been SEO and optimizing your listings. In your view, what are the most important components to building a high quality listing, even if PPC is going to be separate from that activity?

Liz Adamson 9:42

Yeah, and it all begins with that product page. I tell clients a lot that I can drive as much traffic as you want to your product pages, but it’s not going to do any good unless that page is ready to make the sale that page is your sales person is that person who’s convincing the customer to buy and why they should what the what the features and benefits are Your product. And really all those components on the page are critical. Everything from the title, images to the bullet points to the A plus content, the reviews that you have, all those pieces have to come together to tell that brand story to what my marketing Professor used to say was, you have to be able to communicate what makes your product different, better and special. You’re trying to differentiate yourself from the competition and explain to the customer why they should buy from you or, you know, as opposed to your competition, or why your product will solve their particular problem.

James Thomson 10:33

So PPC, without a high quality product listing is basically about shoving a bunch of people in your store only to have them walk out of the store. So if you can create a high quality listing that starts to answer people’s questions around why they may or may not be interested in that product, that’s going to start to make it worthwhile to be spending money on PPC. We’ve had clients that come to us, they want to turn on the PPC spout on day one. But the product listings really are not ready for Showtime. And so stopping the PPC advertising efforts until we get the listings properly set up sounds like very much a critical component to being relevant on Amazon.

Liz Adamson 11:14

I absolutely love how you phrased it that that product page has been ready to answer the customer’s questions. And that’s the big difference between traditional retail sales and e-commerce sales is, you know, you don’t have that person live, you know, answering the question of well, what size is this? Or how about this particular product that I already have? Or you know, if this is going to solve my problem, you have to be that salesperson on that page and anticipate all of the questions someone might ask, anticipate, you know, the types of things they’re looking for. And make sure you’re explaining that on the product page and and as visually as possible, which is why I love eight plus content. I love infographics in the images so that people can just scan and kind of get that imagery rather than trying to read through a lot of text.

James Thomson 11:57

And certainly for mobile shoppers, infographics become critical, because you can’t see the bullet points on the product descriptions as easily. And so thumbing through images, being able to see that infographic right away, that calls out key features and benefits, certainly makes sense as a key key asset. So I’ve optimized my listing. Now take me to the concept of the storefront. Where does the storefront fit in? And how do I really turn things on to make that storefront place that shoppers are actually going to go and visit?

Liz Adamson 12:28

Yeah, a storefront has been around for a while and not utilized very well. But in part because it’s been hard and almost impossible for customers to find the storefront. But Amazon has added a lot more avenues, if you will, that guide customers to that storefront. The first one is right below the title in your product page. it now says, you know, visit brand XYZ storefront. I’m not saying the words exactly right. But there’s a link right there that will take us to the storefront. And if used correctly, this is the storefront. So while the product page is probably the primary, you know, foundation and tool you’re going to use, people are in search, they click on the page, they go to your product page. But if you can leverage your sponsor brand advertising, and other tools to get them to your storefront instead of the product page, you’ve just you’re no longer the widget being sold on the side of the street, you were you just invited them into your store, you’ve invited them into an experience that you can create for them, I think about walking into an apple store has a very particular experience when you walk in the way it’s the way it’s merchandise, the people who greet you at the door, the way you know, they run through the sales process and whatnot. And you can do that virtually with a storefront. You know, many of us do it with our websites, right? If you’re a traditional e-commerce seller and you’ve had a website, you’ve probably put a lot of money into building your website and creating a very specific experience for your customers. When they enter that website. You can now do the same on Amazon. And it’s functionality has improved quite a bit over the last three years since they launched it. And they’ve also improved by giving you more tools enabling you to drive more and more traffic to the storefront. And the benefits of doing that is going to be larger order values, the opportunity to create repeat customers they have, there’s a little Follow button now in the banner, where if you invite a customer to click that follow button, you just got the opportunity to remark it to them, which is something that Amazon has has not even really allowed in the past but but as of this year, they’re starting to allow marketing emails to those those customers who click that follow button.

James Thomson 14:27

So I’ve often thought of a plus Detail page content as a place where you can put comparison charts and say we have product A, B and C that might meet your needs, but they’re different because it’s low, medium, high, whatever different variations of a solution. When I think about the storefront because I can lay out multiple products or organize products into different categories. How do you see the best of breed using a storefront to be able to show off their full catalog or to organize the catalog in ways that expose customers to trips more often?

Liz Adamson 15:01

Yeah, and I like that you call that organized, you really do have to have a well organized storefront. And so if you’ve got a large catalog with, you know, any more than, say five or 10 products, you’ve got to use the sub pages, you’ve got to organize it in a browsing structure that makes sense. One one concept that a lot of designers will use as their designing websites and storefronts is does the customer know what to do next? Once they land on that page? Do they know what to do next? Is it obvious, you know, and you can make it as obvious as one of my favorite storefront designs, they’ve actually impose these graphic images that point to the Amazon widget that has like, you know, the picture of the item or something, but it says click here with a big arrow like they are not taking any chances that you are not going to figure out how to buy a product or how to browse to a particular category, make it very, very obvious to the customer how to get where they want to go, or a specific question or but they need to know what to do next. Otherwise, they’re going to bounce off the page, you’re going to lose them. So it needs to be very easy to navigate, the customer needs to know exactly how to buy. One of the problems we have when storefront first launched is we were pulling in customers into the storefront and they’re leaving the very familiar Amazon ecosystem. Well, they’re still on Amazon. But it’s all of a sudden this different experience, you know, they don’t see the yellow Add To Cart buttons, they don’t see all these familiar pieces. And so we had to be very deliberate in our designs to help them understand that here is the yellow Add to Cart button, you click here and then go there. And then you’ve got it. But we had to almost direct them, you know, at the traffic controller to help them figure out how to purchase that and, and not get lost in the storefront when they were more familiar with a very more simple shopping experience that Amazon has. So the storefront

James Thomson 16:45

I’ve seen misapplied where quite frankly, the executive team of the brand says, show off our brand and build us a pretty brand page. But then there’s not necessarily enough traffic being driven to it. And we’re back to the same problem of consumers having no idea that it exists or they don’t find a way to easily land on the page. So this episode is all about how to build your brand beyond just advertising. And yet one of the main ways to drive traffic to your store, your storefront is through advertising and so are there other ways the brands can leverage the storefront without having to crank up the sponsored brand advertising budgets.

Liz Adamson 17:27

That’s still the primary way. I want to ignore that in any any way, shape, or form that the sponsor brand ads have some really powerful tools that will drive traffic to there’s a storefront spotlight ad type that will drive you can showcase three of your sub sub sub pages, sponsor brand plus video just this week, if you look at a sponsor, pram plus video ad, you will see a link to storefronts now. And so Amazon is really heavily using sponsor brand ads to drive traffic to those stores. And that’s not the only way I was actually fairly surprised was about a year or two ago and I was digging through. It’s called storefront insights is where you can get your metrics on how things are performing on storefront clicks and impressions and average order values, things like that. And looking at the source data, it shows where the traffic sources are. It was even though we were being fairly aggressive with sponsored brand ads. I was surprised that about half of our traffic was still coming organically. And Amazon has this frustrating category called other that we don’t know exactly where it came from, you know, we think it’s external. But we are still not even sure how they are even coming externally, because we weren’t at the time, we weren’t running any external ads to the storefront. But there was a surprising amount of organic traffic coming to this particular brand storefront. And so don’t even if you’re not interested in sponsoring brand ads and driving that traffic, know that customers will find it. And if you’re not ready for that traffic, you’ve just missed a sale.

James Thomson 18:52

So let’s talk about some of the external forms of traffic that you could be leveraging to drive to your storefront. Sometimes social traffic. Maybe you’re doing different types of product inserts. How do you leverage the storefront again, you can get a shortened URL that looks good. It makes it easier for customers to be able to go in and manually typing to find it. But beyond paid traffic, tell me a little bit more about how we get people to go see that storefront. It sounds like a very, very ideal place to be able to tell your overall story. And yet if most of the traffic is paid traffic that can get pretty expensive.

Liz Adamson 19:32

Absolutely. Yeah Amazon loves an external traffic so if you’ve got a Facebook presence Instagram pixhawk whatever it is that you’re using to promote your product off of Amazon you know definitely experiment with driving some traffic into your branded Amazon storefront Amazon loves that traffic it will it will reward you organically as it sees that traffic. It will and the reality is a lot of the customers who are finding your brand on social media or or other places on the internet They’re going to probably going to come and check Amazon first you might as well drive to meet your friends, show them the robust offering that you’ve got there and allow them to browse your catalogue. So there’s, there’s it, I get a lot of questions too, why should I drive traffic to Amazon, if I have a website and I, you know, don’t have to pay the 15% referral fee and some other things. I’m still a huge proponent. I mean, that’s very true, there’s going to be a business case for where you drive your traffic when. But part of that business case is if you’re trying to get a product launched on Amazon, and just need to get that flywheel moving, we talk a lot about the flywheel or it takes a lot of effort to get it moving. And once it gets moving, you know, it can, a lot of great things can happen. So to get that flywheel moving, it does often make business sense to divert any advertising you’re doing to you know, away maybe from your website for short periods of time or a sub, you know, sub sub target of the customers you’re targeting, to drive them instead of your website to drive them to Amazon for a short period of time to be able to start moving that flywheel and then you could go back to sending it to your website, if it makes more financial sense.

James Thomson 21:03

You talked about the Follow button, talked about Amazon posts on Amazon Live. Take me through some of these other vehicles that Amazon provides brands to engage with customers and engage with hopefully repeat customers.

Liz Adamson 21:19

Yeah, this is probably some of the most exciting developments I’ve seen this year from Amazon is this ability to actually create followers of your brand on Amazon. And they’re doing that intentionally because they’ve heard the feedback from customers that they want to be able to remarket, they want to be able to build brand loyalty and so on. And so, so Amazon post came out a while ago, probably about a year ago. It’s very Instagram-like, you know, look and feel you’ve got a nice image and then a little caption under it. And you can create a feed of these posts that someone can follow in your notifications when you are posting things. And it’s a way to promote your product, share recipes, show how it’s used, how to do things, lifestyle videos, things like that. The my customer experience tool, which just launched these are these emails that if you have followers, and you can generate followers one of two ways through your storefront or through these posts that we just talked about. As you get those followers, you can build up an audience, basically an email list that Amazon will now let you use. And right now it’s still very bare bones. But they’re right now letting basically anyone who has purchased from your brand and followed you from the last 365 days, you can now send them an email showcasing a product that you just launched. And so if you’re building your brand and launching new products, you can now market to customers who have purchased from you before and are following your brand and send them a direct email. This is an advertisement. This is a direct email that goes straight to their inbox saying, Hey, we just launched this product, do you think you’d be interested in that come take a look on Amazon. That’s something I’m really excited about is this email marketing tool. And they’ve told us Amazon has mentioned that they’re going to continue to grow kind of it’s very templated you can’t you know, get very creative with it, but they’re gonna grow the number of templates that they have, they’re going to grow the number of options, you’ll have to to be able to send these emails out to customers. And then the Amazon Live that’s been around for a couple years now. And it’s been a little hit and miss but over this last year we’ve seen it really starts to take off especially with people using influencers to Amazon actually has its own like set of influencers that you can kind of pay to hire to showcase your brand and do a you know, an open box demonstration, or we’re talking about it or whatnot. And so you can pay an Amazon influencer, you can do it yourself to basically create live videos. Again, you can do how you can do you know recipes, you can do all sorts of different things. And so something to keep in mind, though it isn’t as we’ve experimented with this, this isn’t a bottom of the funnel tactic. This isn’t, we don’t see a lot of people purchasing from an Amazon Live video, what we do see is them following them, rewatching them over and over again and coming to these brand loyalty lists that we want to create. It’s very top of the funnel and it breaks the story and this engagement. And again, as we talked about in the beginning, it creates this perception, this branding in the customer’s mind as they start to develop, you know, and get an understanding of who you are, and what kind of problems you can solve for that. So So

James Thomson 24:23

how do I get people to actually watch my Amazon Live videos, you know, I could create all this high quality content, it could be shown in the middle of the day. But ultimately, I need someone to turn on the TV and turn on my channel. How do I do that? How do I get them to watch my Amazon Live? My understanding is you can post this for free. If you have a low production way of creating this video content. That’s great, but it doesn’t mean anyone’s going to watch. So tell me a little bit more about that.

Liz Adamson 24:51

Amazon rewards frequency First of all, so there’s an Amazon Live page where all these videos go throughout the day and people can go and click and watch Things like that. And an order is going to be kind of an SEO thing. If you want to get a good ranking on this page, you have to post frequently. And so the more frequently you post, the more Amazon is going to start showing your video on that page and, you know, inviting customers to look and see, for

James Thomson 25:17

sure, what is frequently and every couple days.

Liz Adamson 25:20

I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but yeah, probably, I want to say, you know, at least once a week, probably twice a week, you know, maybe a 20 minute video or so. But, you know, once a month is too infrequent, I’ll say that for sure. Okay, so you need to be doing probably at least weekly, you know, renting for 15 to 30 minutes, and that will get Amazon’s attention that oh, this is a prolific, you know, video producer, we’re gonna keep showing their, their, their their videos. And then as people watch them, and like them, as people start following your brand, they want to get a notification every time you go live. So again, using those follow buttons, and all those, you know, opportunities Amazon’s giving us to create these, you know, this, this kind of social media type following. That’s how they’ll get notified that you’ve gone live again. And there’s another video to watch.

James Thomson 26:05

So as I think about some of these brands that are trying to build up their Facebook followers, and you know that we can talk about how they might do that. One of the challenges that so many brands have with Facebook, is that it’s very much a one way communication. They’re basically saying to consumers, hey, look at what we’ve done, look at our new products, but there’s not much pulling people in and getting followers to actually provide content. And then I think about the process of saying, I’m going to become a prolific Amazon Live producer, here’s all this content that I’m going to leverage for Amazon. Can I use that content and repost it on Facebook? Can I actually start to have, you know, two different cycles running one on Facebook one on Amazon Live? Where it’s essentially the same, the same production efforts?

Liz Adamson 26:52

Yeah, let me backup a little bit. I don’t know that you can reuse your amazon video I I’m less familiar with whether or not you can record what you’re doing live if you gotta if you’re techie and have a way to do that you can probably you know, save the video and repost it to Facebook. You can however, do the opposite. If you’ve got a pre recorded video that you want to use, like we do this with one of our exercise clients, they have a lot of workout videos, okay, so they will often do like a live intro Hey, this is so and so we’re gonna do this today and we’ve got this product and this is the routine we’re going to do and then they’ll launch their pre recorded you know, workout video and so they’re repurposing content they’ve already created for their customers and and using it an Amazon like Amazon does prefer a live experience. But they don’t, they’re not gonna penalize you know, they do allow these pre recorded videos to be posted.

James Thomson 27:41

So, are there other ways that I can leverage social media today? Where I’m not having to spend money on advertising per se, but I’m actually able to drive existing customers or prospective customers to my Amazon business. So that potentially I’m going to get more sales out of that traffic.

Liz Adamson 27:59

Yeah, social media is really powerful. I mean, I think one of the newest platforms out there is Tick Tock. They have been driving just tons of views and even in purchases and it’s been like I don’t know a ton about it. I just I’ve been hearing over and over again it’s like one of the latest and greatest you know, marketing tools that pizzeria

James Thomson 28:17

Liz, you and I are not the right generation for Tick Tock

Liz Adamson 28:20

No, we’re not, no we’re not at all. I see kids using it and like that looks fun. But but but it’s tools like that staying abreast of developments like being smarter than I currently am about Tick Tock and figure out how to use it and you can leverage these new audiences and this new opportunity and drive traffic to you know, whether it’s your website or Amazon storefront, wherever you’re selling your products, but you you’ve got to to stay up to date with all these new apps and social media opportunities and these things that still seem to go viral overnight. And and leveraging you know, creating compelling content that people want to follow that’s engaging that’s funny, that’s informative, you know, whatever your niche is if you can create an audience of people who love to watch your videos or your read your posts or engage with you on social media, then using that to drive your traffic to where you’re selling your products it’s it’s a great way and if you’re if you’re if you’ve got a solid brand you know what your marketing messages you know who your target market is social media can be a fantastic way to to to gain followers and then drive them to where you’re selling your products.

James Thomson 29:27

I know this podcast is about things beyond PPC. And DSP is another form of advertising that Amazon offers, whether it’s really that distinct from PPC to take us through, you know, spend a few minutes and talk about what DSP is offering brands today, when it comes to engaging or re-engaging with customers.

Liz Adamson 29:48

DSP is an I think everyone’s probably heard it over and over again this year. It’s become very, very big this year. A lot of people are talking about it, a lot more agencies are offering it, Amazon’s pushing it heavily and A lot of people are asking, you know, what is this and why should I spend money on it? It’s a very powerful way to advertise on and off of Amazon. And what I particularly love about it is the ability to retarget. We have that in sponsored display to a certain extent a lot of people are experimenting with sponsored display, and then the retargeting options they have their DSP adds several more layers of targeting I can, I can exclude certain audiences. And this is where that whole positioning and segmentation becomes important and understanding your target audience. Like you don’t necessarily want to be advertising to every Tom, Dick and Sally out there, you need to understand who your audience is, and then get rid of all the other people that you know are not going to buy your product. And DSP allows you to do that. It allows you to layer all sorts of audiences and exclude audiences, if you know you don’t market to people under the age of 30. For example, because you sell a product, you know, more niched for 30 to 50, you can exclude all those demographics, exclude people who maybe shop for particular products. And then you can include those people as well. If you want to target people who, who are shopping your customer, your competitors, you could do that if you want to retarget people who looked at your product page and then left you can retarget those, if you want to retarget people who maybe you sell protein powder, and you want to make sure that they’re coming back to buy a refill again, and again. And again, you can exclude the people within the last 30 days, and then target everyone else who’s purchased your product in the last, you know, six months or so, whatever your lifecycle is for your products, however fast it takes them to consume those. And so you can make your Make sure you’re front and center to a variety of different customers and be very, very specific as to which customer sees your ad. And one thing I love about DSP is that it allows you to be wherever your customer is. And so if they’re reading on cnn.com, I can push ads over there. If they’re on Twitch, I can push ads there, if they’re watching TV on their amazon fire, I can push ads there. And so wherever they are, we can be advertising to them and advertising to them at the moment, they’re either interested in a product like that or ready to purchase that product.

James Thomson 32:12

I want to throw a little bit of a curveball here. One of the areas where I see brands, utilizing the opportunity to talk to customers and tell their story is around product packaging. And when I see what customers do or don’t know about brands, and how engaged whether it’s transactional, or actually a repeat customer and a loyal customer, I’m often a little stunned by how little time goes into product packaging for many of the Amazon brands. So tell me a little bit more about your thoughts on how can brands be leveraging better product packaging, to build, engage with customers and make that first purchase, allowing the loan that tells the story and hopefully bring them back for another purchase?

Liz Adamson 32:58

Yeah, absolutely, especially in selling on the Amazon Marketplace where you’re that much further removed from the customer during the transaction, it’s so much more important to have branded and well thought out packaging. So as that product enters the customer’s home, and and you know, I’ve got a product right here, I just picked up a, you know, a Google nest thermometer, you know, and it’s very, you know, it’s got the logo, it’s got the product, it’s a very nice packaging, it’s got, you know, this nice image on the back, making an experience because that’s what again, that’s what branding is about. It’s about creating an experience. So as you create an experience with your with your packaging, and a customer will remember will remember that packaging, you can put in inserts that you know with warranties or to direct them here or there to shop for more products, offer coupons and an additional purchase things like that, that you have to look at the packaging is just another way to again, engage with that customer and stay in touch with them. Really.

James Thomson 33:57

Let me ask if I’m a startup brand on Amazon, I don’t have a lot of margin to work with because cash is tight and I’m getting started. How should I be marketing my brand on Amazon? I don’t have this infinite PVC pipe that some established friends do and yet I want to figure out how to build my flywheel. Take me through what you would do if you were in the shoes of that type of entrepreneur.

Liz Adamson 34:22

Yeah, and I’ll be honest, it is difficult if you have to be very creative. Because so much of Amazon right now it has become pay to play if you look at the top above the fold search results. It’s just littered with paid advertising. But it’s not impossible. You just have to get super creative and just there’s a lot of elbow grease that goes into this and it goes back to a lot of what we talked about social media influencers, packaging, and again focusing on building your brand as a personality that customers will think of you know, once they purchase your product, they’re so enamored with it. They want to come back and buy your newest launch or buy a refill or whatever it is and Definitely leveraging products, the free tools like storefront posts and live to help create that brand story that you’ve created and help build up that following. So it can take a little longer to launch without investing heavily in PPC. But if you’re patient, and if you’re creative and scrappy, you can use these types of social media tools and brands, tools to help kind of create attract followers and remarket and build up that brand loyalty and following.

James Thomson 35:27

So you talked about at the beginning of the discussion that for a lot of brands, if they allow their brand to be nothing but a widget with some custom packaging on it, it will be just another widget. And so as we think about, I’m a new brand, I’m getting launched, I don’t have a lot of margin, I need to tell my story. To what extent is the mere telling of a story, going to differentiate your brand, compared to so many brands that never bothered to tell the story that they really are just the widget with custom packaging? Yeah, yeah,

Liz Adamson 36:02

it goes back to, you know, I think goes back to what kind of story you want to tell, and there’s a number of ways to brand you, it can be, you know, let me backup a little bit more. It’s, when you build a brand, you usually want to build that brand based on your own personal values, or the values of your company, right. So if you are a scrappy startup, you know, retro, I don’t know, you know, think of whatever adjective you want, you know, build that into your branding, and then you will appeal to that customer, if you’ve got a workforce of 20 things right out of college, and they’ve all interned with you, and you’ve got a pool table in the office, and you’ve got this very certain vibe in your offices, you know, I’m just gonna use that, as an example. Find a way to leverage to insert that into your brand about how fun and hip and scrappy you are. And you’ll appeal to that same market segment, with your messaging with your social media posts with your with your, the way your with your product design with your packaging. So you have to know who you are first, as a brand, how do you want to be defined? What kind of values do you have and and you could even pick causes, like, maybe you’re into the environment. And, you know, maybe you don’t need to plant a tree for every person, you can find a cause you can find values, you can find personalities, and build that into your branding, and you’ll attract people, that those things are important too, as well.

James Thomson 37:26

So I’m now no longer a new scrappy brand. I’ve been on Amazon for a while. I’ve started to experiment with some of the different tools. Let’s say I’m six to 12 months into my journey on Amazon. I’m starting to get some sales, I’m starting to build up enough margin that there’s opportunity for me to do additional things. What should I be migrating towards? When it comes to both advertising and marketing levers that Amazon makes available to me? I can’t do everything on day one. So how do you think about the sequencing of options?

Liz Adamson 37:58

Yeah, yeah, that’s a really good question. And we start with the marketing funnel. And if people from the marketing funnel are not familiar with it, the bottom of it’s an upside down triangle, the bottom of the funnel, are people ready to purchase what they have, they have decided they need a product that solves this problem. And they’re going to Amazon and they’re going to purchase whatever they find. And then as you move up the file, it’s people who are still researching the product, or people who are maybe just starting to think about, you know, this problem that they want to solve. So we start at the bottom of the funnel with those people, that’s the low hanging fruit. Those are the people who have their wallets out, so to speak, they’re ready to show them the product. And so that is those optimized product pages. It’s that storefront it’s a sponsored product ads, specifically, those are at the very bottom of the funnel. And I would sprinkle in sponsored brand ads as well, just very, very targeted sprint sponsored brand ads. I want to be very broad with those. But you can do a lot with a small marketing budget. Usually we’ll spend, you know, between three and $5,000 for a handful of SKUs to run just a very basic bottom of the funnel. Sorry, that’s

James Thomson 39:00

my advertising monthly.

Liz Adamson 39:03

yeah, yeah, yeah, monthly spend. So that very basic bottom of the funnel, of sponsored product, a little bit of sponsor brand would be what you’d want to do to get started when you’re ready to start investing in advertising.

James Thomson 39:14

So let me ask you about additional marketing tools that you expect or would like to see Amazon build, or tools they have today. You want to see them evolve, so as to give brands more marketing capability, not more advertising, more marketing capability. What are your thoughts?

Liz Adamson 39:33

Yeah, I would love and we know Amazon’s doing this but I would love for Amazon to really get serious about this new manager customer experience tool like that. They’re kind of beta testing and launching it, see how it works. I would love for them to really get behind that and give us more kinds of templates to use. Let us customize those templates. And really create like a well thought out opportunity email marketing list, basically, you know that we can use to to mark and do email. All emails are free, you know, we’re not paying for it right now. And email marketing is used heavily in the rest of the e-commerce world. We’ve all signed up on you know, you’ve been shopping on a website, you buy some clothing, whatever you get added to their email list and all of a sudden you’re on there, you’re getting emails once a week about sales, you know, products and things like that. So I think it’s one of the next big things Amazon really needs to look at if it wants to continue to attract brands to the platform as we need to be able to remarket. Another kind of exciting thing is, is we’re kind of watching with curiosity, this the whole Amazon Live experiment and wondering if they’re going to try to build it as large as a YouTube experience, you know, where and created into this, just this viewing experience, where people will just, oh, I want to go watch videos on this, I’ll go to the Amazon Live platform and watch, you know, I’m interested in cooking, and I can go watch my cooking shows on Amazon. And as an added bonus, I can click and buy my ingredients, you know, or I can click and buy the puppet they’re using?

James Thomson 40:55

Or can I actually go back now and look at stuff that has been posted in the past on Amazon Live? Is there an indexing or database of

Liz Adamson 41:03

safe way to do that? I’m familiar with that. But there’s not a great way to do that. What I’m what that’s one of the things I’m hoping Amazon will do actually is right now on your storefront, you can create a sub page that has your Amazon posts, I would love to see Amazon, create a sub page with your Amazon Live feed where you can go back and watch past videos right now it’s not it’s not there’s not a great way that I know of on how to do that someone might come and say they figured it out. But I’m not sure what that is right now. I would love for Amazon to make that easier where you could in essence, have your own YouTube channel on Amazon. Only this Amazon Live channel could go in and watch past videos and then purchase products based on you know, whatever it is you’re demonstrating.

James Thomson 41:44

So to finish our conversation today, I want to ask you, what’s your favorite lazy approach for marketing your brand on Amazon? I don’t have a lot of time and I have a lot of money. But I actually want to do something interesting to get my brand out there. What would you know, lazy is obviously a loaded word. But if I don’t have it, I don’t have a lot of time or money. What would you suggest to a brand owner to do to take advantage of this massive Amazon channel?

Liz Adamson 42:09

Yeah, it’s you know, lazy is an interesting word that is a loaded word. as a practitioner, I would tell you lazy won’t get you very far but I also understand that you know you’ve got other priorities and you’ve got to balance things and so what can I do if I have to do the bare minimum and that just goes back to solid product page storefront if you can, and then some really basic sponsored product ads you can even turn on you know, I can’t believe I’m saying this we can just run automatic it’s an automatic sponsored product ad that will just do things for you it doesn’t do it very well but it will do things for you and you won’t have to do a ton of management and so those those those kind of two three things that the the the product page storefront and maybe an automatic sponsored product campaign, that could be your probably best way to kind of set it and forget it and again, it can’t leave on saying those words because that it’s it’s it’s a it’s a bad word in my industry. But you know, so won’t get you stellar results that won’t get you exponential year over year. That will help you maybe do a launch and then just a really easy way to probably maintain some sales letters.

James Thomson 43:12

I want to thank you for joining us today. For listeners interested in learning more about Liz and Buy Box Experts, please visit buyboxexperts.com. And be sure to join us again next time on the Buy Box Experts Podcast.

Outro 43:25

Thanks for listening to the Buy Box Experts Podcast. Be sure to click subscribe, check us out on the web and we’ll see you next time.

Meet the Speakers

Liz Adamson

Liz Adamson

VP of Advertising at Buy Box Experts

Buy Box Experts
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