- Seller Labs
- On May 9, 2019
Day two of Resonate has was a masterclass in connecting with buyers — how to find them, how to talk to them, and how to get them involved in your Amazon brand. There was so much information going around!
But if I have to choose an overarching theme, it would be this: We fail at persuading buyers because we see customers as data points, not as people.
When Amazon announced the release of Brand Analytics, I was desperate to learn more (As you’ve probably gathered from my previous posts, I LOVE DATA). And while I’m still digging to find more information about things like the demographics report — and what value it could provide sellers — the idea of making decisions based on actual buyer data is extremely attractive. If you can find what’s working, you can do more of it, right?
But the problem with this thinking is that you’re applying logic to humans. We’re logical creatures to some extent, but we’re also highly emotional and not logical, especially when it comes to buying. Just think about all of the gum and candy and other “impulse buys” at the checkout of a grocery store. Or the phrase “retail therapy” for when someone is feeling down and buys things in order to feel better. Or my personal favorite less-than-logical buying behavior: drunk shopping, a $48B industry with most of that spending done on Amazon.
So while data is incredibly important to how you decide what to sell, your target audience should be even more important. After all, data doesn’t have a credit card.
So what does that really mean? Well, today at Resonate, we talked a lot about gathering data such as:
- Buying motivations
Then we talked about organizing those data points into personas. Think of a persona as a visual tool that helps you create a character who embodies specifics of the traits above. This persona helps you treat your buyers as real people so that your Amazon brand can speak to them in ways that resonate with them and inspire them to buy your products. You do this by fine-tuning your word choice, writing style, and visuals to:
- Optimize listings more effectively
- Craft better subject lines and emails
- Tailor advertising by understanding buying trends/behaviors
- Identify and prioritize new buying channels
- Encourage reviews
But it wasn’t all sunshine and violets today. While creating personas and learning how to speak to them is fun as well as productive and mission-critical, we also had to address the elephant in the room: black-hat tactics. We’re actually going to cover this pressing problem in depth in an upcoming webinar on June 5th: “Don’t Let the Bad Guys In or Let Them Win: How Amazon Sellers Can Survive — and Thrive — in a World of Black-Hat Tactics,” so I’ll keep it brief here.
The bottom line is that any time you talk about your buyers and growing your Amazon business, it’s like a beacon for what Amazon itself calls “bad actors.” They pop up like weeds and then they offer you classes and tools and hacks that promise to “get you hundreds of reviews,” “triple your sales,” “rank number one,” “eliminate your competition,” etc. in some ridiculously short amount of time. And of course we all want those things for our businesses, but at what costs? The money you gave the scammers plus your integrity and knowing that you likely have an Amazon suspension in your future?
We also explored a lot of common grey-hat tactics. If you aren’t familiar with these, they are behaviors that may not be explicitly illegal or called out in Amazon’s ToS, but they aren’t ethical or fair and they will definitely get sellers in trouble. Some examples we discussed included:
- Giving away products at a deep discount for a review.
- Joining “free review” Facebook groups.
- Bending the rules in your emails to push for reviews.
- Paying click farms to make products seem more popular.
Successful Amazon Brand Owners Build Their Businesses on Integrity, Ingenuity, and Hard Work
The Resonate crowd, many of them seven-digit Amazon sellers, acknowledged that these promises are tempting in such a competitive environment. But the crowd didn’t become the elite sellers they are by trying to game the system or trick Amazon or manipulate buyers. They did it by adhering to Amazon’s Terms of Service, working their socks off, thinking creatively, adding automations and efficiencies, and making genuine connections with their buyers. And it didn’t happen overnight.
The consensus was clear: The best path forward is to get back to the humans you sell to. Create awesome products for them, craft the messaging that makes it easy for them to find those awesome products, deliver delight that exceeds their expectations, and craft compelling and complementary messages to bring them back for reviews and repeat purchases.
This post is the final part of the “Dispatches from Resonate 2019” series by Seller Labs VP of Marketing, Molly Maple Bryant.