Why bother advertising your products off Amazon, especially if you have your own online shop? The short and sweet answer is to increase your ranking on Amazon and increase conversion rate – but the way of going about that will take a bit more explanation.
Related Post: The Complete Overview of ON Amazon Advertising & Marketing and a pretty little Infographic of ON & OFF Amazon Marketing and Advertising
Off-Amazon Marketing, as the name implies, has the sole purpose of driving traffic to your product listing. This can be done in five different ways, but each way basically consists of a link placed on an external site which leads to your product on Amazon. Although there is a ‘backlink’ to your Amazon product, the link does not lead directly to a better ranking in Amazon search results – in contrast to Google’s search algorithm. So, your ranking on Amazon will increase due to higher conversion rates and more sales, not because of more backlinks floating around the web.
But why drive traffic to Amazon if I have my own online shop?
If you sell on Amazon as well as through your own channel (website, Etsy, ebay), then you should have your own reasons for making that choice. Maybe you were lured in by the appeal of Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA), where Amazon packages and ships your products for you – for a small fee, of course. Or maybe you’ve gotten complains from your loyal customers about how Amazon doesn’t accept PayPal payment – but ebay does.
We’ve reached the level of complication where an example would help: meet Bob.
Bob sells handmade leather iPhone cases. He started selling his cases on ebay, but his business is now booming; He no longer has time to package and ship all his orders. So he opened up a shop on Amazon. Bob knows that Amazon FBA also ships for orders off-Amazon, for example, on ebay and Etsy orders.
Bob also recently discovered WordPress. It was love at first site. (oops! Sight)
So, Bob is really in a pickle. His Amazon shop doesn’t have many orders since his product listing isn’t ranking well. And his online shop is pretty much just getting traffic from his loyal customer base and others who know his home-grown brand. He wants to further increase total sales – whether on Amazon or not – and here are his methods.
5 Off-Amazon Marketing Tactics to Hype Up Your Listing
1. “Pay Per Click” (PPC) Advertizing
Bob runs PPC ads on Amazon so that he can jump to the front page (albeit not organically) of Amazon search results. His ads are getting way more impressions than his listing organically gets, and therefore more conversions (purchases) too.
Bob also decides to run Facebook ads, linking them to the new site he just built. There, customers can see pictures of his workshop, read a bio about Dave, find more information about his handmade leather techniques, etc. His site visitors develop a soft spot for Bob’s eco-friendly business model and charming countenance. They click on his iPhone Case Shop, and the ‘click here to buy’ button sends them to Amazon.
It’s important to note that Bob ‘warmed up’ his customers before they reached their buying decision. If his PPC ads simply sent them straight from Facebook to his Amazon listing, then they were less likely to convert (purchase). After seeing the ad, they wanted to click around a bit, getting more information about the product and company. But if they went straight from ad click to Amazon, they got distracted by other ads on the Amazon listing, or clicked around in the section ‘what other customers viewed’ and ended up purchasing something else. Usually something cheaper. (That’s an assumptions, since Bob doesn’t actually know what they purchased instead of his iPhone case.)
So even though the customers are purchasing on Amazon and not on his website, they’re at least still purchasing. And the increased sales increases his Amazon ranking in turn.
Since Bob now has a steady stream of traffic visiting his website and liking his Facebook page, he decides to expand into email marketing (also called CRM, Customer Retention Management). The problem with Amazon, he learned early on, is that Amazon doesn’t want sellers to contact their buyers at will. If it’s directly related to an issue with a purchase, that’s no problem. But they frown heavily upon emails sent asking for a review – and contacting customers to encourage them to buy again is prohibited.
So what will Bob do when the new iPhone comes out? Will the customers who bought his case for the iPhone 7 remember his company when iPhone 8 rolls out?
Bob gets smart and decides to get his customers’ email address a different way: through Facebook and his website. He offers a $10-off coupon when customers sign up for his newsletter. Violá! He now has a list of customers that he can cross-reference with the coupon codes to know what they purchased. So when the iPhone 8 rolls out, he’ll be ready with a list of targeted emails to send out.
3. Reviewers & Testers
Bob follows a few niche blogs on handmade leather products. So he decides to reach out to one of the authors and see if he’ll write a review about his product. He of course doesn’t have to only stick to bloggers. There are YouTubers (vloggers), instagramers, celebreties, and others.
One thing Bob definitely avoids is compensating customers to get a product review. As we’ve mentioned in this article on Amazon’s review policy updates, incentivized reviews (ones written in exchange for a free or discounted product, or even for cold, hard cash) are strictly prohibited.
We mentioned coupons earlier when Bob sent out emails to his customers when the new iPhone came out. But what if he were to reach a new group of people with some coupons? He can creat unique coupon codes in Amazon Seller Central and share them on coupon code websites to reach more people. A few of those sites are:
Many more coupon sharing platforms can be found online – simply google around for them.
The leather craftsman blogger that Bob reached out to was so enthused about the iPhone case, that he asked Bob if he could do a giveaway. Contestant entrants emailed him (so Bob could add them to his newsletter list), and the winner received a free iPhone case with custom engraving.
Amazon has a special area under the ‘Promotions’ tab in Seller Central to create giveaway promotions. It was easy as pie.
Tip: Giveaways are a great way to promote your product, gather emails and gain feedback about customer desires – but make sure you have a large enough reach to make the promotion worth your while.
Off-Amazon Advertizing Increases Organic Ranking of Listings
It might not have a direct effect on ranking like Google’s search algorithm takes note of, but the correlation is positive. More sales equals higher ranking on Amazon. Always. This is what could be called a ‘positive feedback loop’.
Marketing and advertising your product both on Amazon and off creates a positive upward spiral. The more sales a product gets, the higher its ranking. Of course, there are other factors Amazon considers in its ranking algorithm as well such as number of reviews (and their average score), click through rate and conversion rate.
It’s important to utilize both on-Amazon marketing as well as the tactics listed here above. Because both your sales and listing ranking will increase that much faster.