Promoting Yourself on the Marketplace

If you’ve spent much time in the Amazon Marketplace, you’re all too familiar with the wild and cutthroat environment in which sellers find themselves.

Luckily, while it sometimes seems like voodoo the way listings are organized, there are some tips you can take from more traditional marketing to help increase your odds of reaching page one of the listings screen.

The three cornerstones to traditional digital marketing revolve around three types of media: owned, earned, and paid.

Owned media refers to the information over which you have direct control. In the case of your Amazon listings, the listings themselves constitute your owned media. They’re *your* entries, and you have control over what they say and how they say it.

Owned media is your bread and butter. Because they’re yours to adjust as needed, and don’t cost anything, owned media is your best long-term bet for success, and they don’t cut into your margins. On the downside, owned media is a slow mover. It’s often the result of trial and error as you constantly fine-tune your listings to try and play to the priorities of the search algorithm and try and anticipate the search behavior of your customers.

Bottom line– owned media is free and effective, but results are slow and there’s a high level of effort involved in keeping owned media relevant.

Working with the Amazon Template

Earned media refers to promotions you get as a result of others. Traditionally, a story on the television or in the newspaper about your business would be considered earned media. For Amazon, reviews you receive from your customers are your most common earned media.

Earned media can carry a lot of weight with both your customers and the algorithms that prioritize listings. Customers put a lot of trust in reviews and are just as likely to share a review as the listing itself. The other advantage to earned media is that you don’t have to do anything other than business as usual- your customers do the work to generate the buzz about you and your products.

On the other hand- customers can be fickle. Once they get their product, they move on, and you’re not likely to hear from them unless something went wrong. This means you’ll probably still want to spend some time to reach out to your customers and encourage them to tell their friends.

Bottom line– earned media carries a lot of weight and can have a fairly quick impact on your listings. But earned media means relying on the efforts of others, so it’s much less reliable.

Customer Product Review Guidelines for Sellers | Community Guidelines | How to Submit a Review

Lastly, paid media refers to promoting your information by paying a company for better visibility. For Amazon, this comes in the form of Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands, where you pay, on a per-click basis, for featured placement on the Amazon Marketplace. Unlike other media types, paid media can be immediately beneficial, as it helps ensure your customers are seeing your listings right away.

This prime real estate comes at a cost, however. You will pay Amazon each time a customer clicks on your link- whether they purchase or not- and while you have some influence on how much per click, and how much total per day (Amazon recommends budgeting no less than $10 / day)- this has the potential to erode a profit margin that’s already pretty slim.

Bottom line– paid media will ensure your products are seen by customers for the opportunity to immediately convert visits to sales. But at a price.

Advertising on Amazon

So, with all these options, what’s the best way to proceed? There are many possible avenues, but here’s our suggestion.

  • While owned media is your best long-term investment, paid media will help jump-start you. Use paid media as a tool to drive sales with the intent of generating reviews. This will keep your products in play while you fine tune the listing itself.
  • Encourage your customers to leave you feedback. Reach out to them after they’ve received the product, check in and make sure everything went well, and request they leave a review on your store or the product. Their reviews go a long way to improving your clout on the Marketplace.
  • Owned media is your bread and butter, but you’re playing the long game with this one. Put in some time to hone your listings based on the search terms you believe your customers are using. Review other competing listings and see how they word theirs. And keep a weather eye on pricing.