How to Capture Customer Attention on Amazon with Mike Begg [EP. 54]
When an eCommerce platform is packed with giants, how do the small businesses stand out?
Amazon is filled with copycat competition from players big and small. Between that and the limited options for creating a unique brand experience, it may seem like an impossible task to capture and retain customer attention.
Michael (Mike) Begg is the Co-Founder, CMO, and Chief Strategist of AMZ Advisers. As a former Amazon seller, Mike experienced first-hand the frustrations that come with maximizing brand awareness on a platform crammed with competition. Now, Mike helps eCommerce businesses develop Amazon-specific marketing strategies to dominate their category and bring in the maximum amount of revenue possible.
In this episode of The Opportunity Podcast, Mike shares his knowledge and experience for exploding your Amazon presence, making the most of each sale, and the techniques he uses within his own company to scale online sales for eCommerce brands.
Listen to The Opportunity Podcast Episode #54
Topics Discussed in this episode:
- Why eCommerce is a brilliant opportunity for entrepreneurs
- How to create a unique brand experience on Amazon
- The A9 algorithm: what works and what doesn’t
- Mike’s top tips for designing an Amazon listing
- Emerging trends for Amazon sellers
- How to create winning video content for Amazon
- The best Amazon advertising features and how to take advantage of them
- How smaller brands can win against bigger businesses
Why Become an Ecommerce Entrepreneur?
There are few people as innately passionate about the opportunity for eCommerce entrepreneurship as Mike. This stems from his belief that eCommerce “levels the playing field” for anyone with a great product, brand, or talent for marketing. He believes this is all you need to compete with the big brands that have dominated the commerce space for decades.
He describes emerging eCommerce businesses taking market share from the established brands as “like guerrilla warfare” – and Amazon helps facilitate it.
While AMZ Advisers specialize in Amazon support, Mike believes that all eCommerce platforms (like Shopify, Etsy, and Walmart) play an important part in giving entrepreneurs opportunities to build great businesses. The challenge is working out how to leverage the platform for your own brands’ success.
3 Ways to Stand Out on Amazon
While platforms like Amazon give you everything you need to launch an eCommerce business, it can be difficult to create a brand experience. Amazon controls much of your customer data, so you can’t rely on a data-driven foundation to build brand loyalty.
Instead, Mike suggests three different methods for developing your brand on Amazon to stand out from the competition.
1. Consider your off-platform efforts
What you post on social media channels and your website should create a cohesive brand experience alongside your Amazon platform. Mike suggests:
- Creating and sharing content that matches your brand colors and guidelines
- Designing all storefronts (on Amazon and elsewhere) with a similar look and feel
- Staying focused on a unified brand image across all platforms
Essentially, all of your assets – eCommerce platforms and other channels included – should tell the same story to reinforce that unique brand experience.
2. Pay attention to SEO
The keywords you use in your Amazon listings are integral to success. Mike recommends figuring out the best keywords for your listings within your category first. Next, work out the best places to put them within your content so that Amazon correctly indexes your listings (and they perform better).
3. Scale your advertising
After you’ve developed a strong brand image and winning listings, Mike suggests looking into how Amazon’s Demand-Side Platform (DSP) can help you boost your advertising and retarget previous buyers to drive more sales. A strong advertising strategy can make all the difference to getting those initial customers in the door and keep them coming back again.
How to Take Advantage of the Amazon A9 Algorithm
Amazon’s organic product ranking algorithm known as the Amazon A9 Algorithm determines search results. Like optimizing content for Google’s SEO preferences, there are some dos and don’ts when it comes to designing a successful listing.
From his experience, Mike believes the factors which influence the algorithm most are sales velocity and sales history.
Products ranked at the top of the first Amazon results page are the products that have had the most sales on that search term – aka the best conversion rate for that particular keyword. This is how you get the coveted “Amazon’s Choice” badge.
According to Mike, other products most likely to show at the top of the results page are the long-standing ones. If you’ve been selling for longer, you’re likely to have an extensive sales history and a strong conversion rate over time, which can also help you rank higher.
In order to scale, you need to drive more conversions on the top search terms for your products. Mike says this is something that new sellers often overlook.
To achieve this, Mike suggests first understanding the top search terms for your product or category, then figuring out if these are the terms your customers are actually using to search. Next, craft your content around these keywords. Finally, explore how advertising and directing off-platform traffic to your storefront could drive more sales.
By focusing on increasing your conversion rate, you’ll get the “flywheel” of the A9 Algorithm going and be able to leverage it to boost your sales on the platform.
The other major factor in converting is your listing itself. While appearing in search and directing traffic to your listing is a big part of this, the listing itself also needs to convince viewers to convert.
Mike’s Top Tips for Designing a Winning Amazon Listing
Mike believes that images are key factors that contribute to the success of your listing, to higher conversion rates and are one of the most important parts of your listing also. So to really capture your potential buyer’s attention, Mike recommends doing these three things:
- Leverage the different types of content available within Amazon listings
- Include a clear and comprehensive set of product images
- Optimize your listing for mobile devices – pay attention to what information your buyer sees first, make it compelling, clear, and appealing to your ideal client’s needs
Generic product photos and text is only going to get your product so far using copy and product images to create a listing that is part of a brand experience will help you grow faster and see better returns on Amazon than those that stick to universal content.
How to Capture Customer Attention: Big Brands vs. Small Businesses
With so many sellers on Amazon alone and let alone products sold across the eCommerce web, it can be a real challenge to get in the right frame of mind to compete for sales.
Mike says that if you have a good product and know how to market it, there’s always an opportunity for you to succeed in your category, it just takes time.
He notes that consumer preferences are constantly changing and eCommerce categories are evolving at the same rate. Paying attention to trends and what people are following could help you make waves in a space early on, but the first mover doesn’t always have the advantage. Iterating on existing products or marketing strategies is also a great way to get ahead.
It’s also important to remember that bigger businesses aren’t automatically the best at capturing customer attention. They’re often slower to respond to changes and it can leave the market wide open for smaller, more agile businesses to take the floor.
“Smaller brands and eCommerce-native brands are nimble. Business owners can make a decision and instantly run with it – that’s a massive advantage for small sellers. They can outmaneuver the slower, bigger brands.”
While Mike is clear that it’s not always going to be easy to get your foot in the door in many of these marketplaces, and you may need to invest in advertising to get those initial sales going, he’s positive that the opportunities are still there. You just need to be patient and stay on top of your game.
Emerging Trends and the Future of Selling on Amazon
One of the biggest trends Mike is paying attention to right now is the focus on customer lifetime value. With the rising costs of customer acquisitions, one-time sales are less of a priority for many businesses and customer retention is more of a concern.
“Sellers are moving away from one-off sales as customer lifetime value becomes more and more important. But the cost of acquisition is increasing as the competition within the Amazon marketplace drives up advertising spend. So it becomes a math problem–how much can I afford to spend to acquire a lifelong customer?”
In terms of Amazon as a platform, Mike notes two big shifts.
The first is that Amazon is putting a greater emphasis on brands and how they utilize the platform. It favors brands that are focused on building a following and increasing engagement and using the new features available to brand-registered owners. Mike’s top tip is to get your brand registry done as soon as possible.
The second trend Mike suggests paying close attention to is fulfillment. This expands far wider than just Amazon, as other eCommerce platforms are increasingly focused on getting products to customers quicker than ever before. For individual sellers and small businesses, this means making sure that you can meet your customers’ expectations and deliver on time or faster than your competitors.
So how can you stay ahead of these shifts? Mike says exploring opportunities within Amazon is the best way to make sure your brand continues to capture customer attention. His number one piece of advice for all sellers is to check out Amazon DSP because “the value is there for everybody to access – whether your brand is big or small”.
For more Amazon insights, including the advantages to advertising, how to use video, and much more, check out the full interview with Mike. Press play on the player at the top of this page or find The Opportunity Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your usual podcast app.