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Online Income Bible cover small reso

How to make money online

Fellow ImportDojo readers,

In the past 8 months or so I’ve been working on a new eBook about online entrepreneurship, how to make money online, how I built one of my businesses, scaled it and sold it. It’s divided in 3 parts where I explain how I built mine, how you can make money online (absolutely no get-rich-quick schemes but hard work) and the last part explaining in great detail how anyone can build an online business.

 
I’ve just released a Amazon Kindle version titled “The Online Income Bible” that I am giving away for 5 days for free (07.01 – 11.01) here: Amazon Kindle eBook
 
I genuinely want to help people and I’d love to get your feedback on it!
If you’re too late for the Kindle promotion I am also giving it away for free (lifetime) on my new personal website here
 
I do hope this helps some people here who might be just starting out but not sure how.
All the best and too our success!
Manuel
 
Ps.: happy to answer any questions on the book or even online entrepreneurship
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How to increase traffic to your Amazon listings

How to increase traffic to your Amazon listings – This is a guest post written by Dave Barry, which outlines a number of ways you can get more traffic to your listings on Amazon. Dave is an Amazon Seller and also a co-founder of AMZEurope.com. AMZ Europe specializes in listing optimization for Amazon UK & US and Amazon EU (Germany, France, Italy & Spain).

INTRODUCTION

Poorly performing products on Amazon arise due to:

  1. A lack of traffic – not enough people are clicking on your listing; and / or
  2. Low conversion – not enough visitors are buying your product.

In this post, we’ll focus on issue #1.

A lot of effort goes into listing a product on Amazon, including product research, negotiating with suppliers, logistics, photography, keyword research and copywriting. As such, when your product is not being seen by enough potential customers, it can be enormously frustrating.

Does your product have low or declining traffic?

To answer this, you need to determine the number of people that are visiting your listing.

You can find the number of views a particular listing is receiving in seller central:

    • Under the “Reports” menu, click, “Business Reports”
  • On the left side of this page, under subheading “By ASIN”, click on “Detail Page Sales and Traffic”
      • You will then be presented with a table of data for each of your ASINs
      • Find the relevant ASIN (you may need to scroll down) – column “Page View” will display the traffic or number of views your product listing has received
    • In the top right of the screen, you can adjust the period for which you want to see the data

If it’s a product that you have been selling for a while, check the traffic over the past 6-12 months.

A significant drop off in traffic or a steady decline indicates a problem and your focus should be on addressing this, using the tactics we’ll discuss in this article.

However, beware of the seasonality of some products when performing your analysis. Seasonal products are in higher demand at a certain time of the year and thus, will receive more traffic during this period.

For example, if you’re selling board shorts, you can expect a reduction in traffic in the months following the summer. You can check the seasonality of a product by inserting its main keyword into Google Trends.

Launched a new product that’s getting very little traffic?

This is common at the start and likely due to limited sales history and low number of product reviews (people tend to buy products that have a larger number of positive reviews) relative to your competition. Follow the tips in this post to increase the number of visitors to your new product.

Is your listing being suppressed by Amazon?

Before we discuss the methods that will help increase the traffic to your listings on Amazon, we must quickly check if your listing is being suppressed

What does this mean?

In simple terms, it refers to when Amazon lowers the ranking / limits the visibility of your listing – leading to a reduction in traffic and sales. It arises when some part(s) of your listing is not compliant with Amazon’s rules.

Is my listing being suppressed?

Here’s how to check in seller central.

Under the “Inventory” menu, click, “Manage Inventory”:

    • If you have suppressed listings, you will see “Suppressed” in the top navigation pane
      • To solve this and restore your listings to normality, you’ll usually need to provide some additional information or make an adjustment to your listing e.g. reduce the number of characters to your title.
  • If you do not have any suppressed listings, you will not see the “Suppressed” option in your navigation pane.

Here is a more detailed overview of listing suppression from Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200898450

BOOSTING YOUR TRAFFIC

1 – Improve Your Main Image

When a customer searches for a product like yours on Amazon, what is one of the first things they see?

Your main image.

To get more clicks and increase your traffic, you’ll need to have a top quality main image that stands out amongst your competitors.

Amazon has specific rules for your main image, which you should abide by to avoid potential suppression of your listing. In summary, your main image should be on a pure white background and your product should fill 85% or more of the image – while these are rules, following them will also better showcase your product.

Here are some other ways to improve your main image:

    • Hire a professional product photographer – in a competitive niche, this can help you get more clicks
    • Ensure it is high resolution – 1,000 px minimum in height or width
    • Present your product at a different angle than your competitors
    • Feature any extras or bonuses provided with your offering e.g. a carry bag or user guide
  • If you have high quality packaging, include this in your main image

Torn between two potential main images? Perform a split test to confirm which one will generate more traffic.

Split Testing (also referred to as “A/B Testing”) is done to find out what works best in your listings, and will ultimately generate more profit over the long term. In simple terms, it involves deriving two options / variants (main images in this case) and determining which one provides better results.

Use option 1 as your main image for 7 days. Then, change to option 2 for the following 7 days.

You can then compare the traffic and performance of your listing with these 2 main images. The image which provides more traffic and sales is the one to use for your listing going forward.

The 2 week time period above is used as a guideline – you can do longer if you wish, although I would not recommend a shorter test period. The more data and clicks you compile, the more confident you can be in the results provided.

Software like CashCowPro and Splitly can help you automate the split testing processing.

2 – Evaluate Your Pricing Strategy

Pricing is another key variable in determining whether a potential customer clicks on your listing or those of your competitors.

Finding the sweet spot can be difficult. Price too high and you’ll prevent customers from clicking on your listing. Even pricing too low can reduce traffic, as it may suggest you’re selling a low quality product and turn off some buyers.

However, if you’re not getting enough traffic, here is my advice on pricing.

To start, review the pricing of the top sellers in your niche – it’s fair to assume they have tested and determined an optimal price that attracts customers and sales.

Go to Amazon and check the price range of the top 3 to 5 sellers in your niche.

If you’re significantly above this range, you might well be pricing your offering too high.

If your product is new (with very few reviews) or in decline, an effective way of getting more clicks is to lower your sales price. This should increase traffic and sales, and in turn improve your ranking on Amazon.

Once you have restored your listing to a healthy level of traffic and sales, you can then consider a price increase.

Be careful not to price too low. I made this mistake on a listing myself. Traffic and sales on one of my products were in decline, so I wanted to offer a larger discount to customers to regain my ranking and sales.

I lowered my sales price to $8.99. However, this actually had a negative effect on conversion and sales!

My product had become an add-on item on Amazon. If your product is listed as an add-on item, it can only be purchased by customers that check out with a shopping cart of $25 or more.

Lowering your price is definitely a tactic that works to grow traffic.

However, it’s important to note that competing on price may work temporarily, but there’s nothing to stop a competitor pricing lower than you. Downward price pressure like this erodes your profit margin.

To avoid this, ensure your product offers some unique value / features compared to your competitors. This will help you succeed amongst the sprawling forest of generic private label products being sold on Amazon.

3 – Run A Lightning Deal

What is a lightning deal?

It is a promotional offering, where you provide a special discount for your product and Amazon features it on its Deals page for several hours.

This is almost guaranteed to provide a large influx of traffic and along with it, sales!

It’s an excellent way to revive a slow moving product listing.

However, not all products are eligible for lighting deals.

To check if your product(s) are eligible, go to seller central. Under “Inventory”, click “Lightning Deals”. The lightning deals that you can opt to run (if any) will be listed under “Recommendations” at the bottom of the page.

If the product you are seeking to boost is not eligible for a lightning deal, check back a week later as this page is updated on a weekly basis.

4 – Find New Keywords

The keywords included in your listing have a major impact on the traffic your listings receive.

Your product will not appear in Amazon’s search results if a customer uses a keyword that is not in your listing or search terms (also known as “back-end keywords”).

As such, by failing to include just one high-volume keyword that’s relevant to your product, you’ll be missing out on a significant amount of traffic.

To ensure all important keywords are identified and included in our listing, we must perform comprehensive keyword research.

With Amazon recently reducing search terms to a maximum of 250 characters, it’s more important than ever to identify and target the right keywords.

Tips when doing keyword research:

    • Experience with keyword research is preferable, including familiarity with tools and software that can provide data and automation to enhance the process;
    • Keyword research should be done by someone with (a) comprehensive vocabulary and (b) understanding of your product / niche, to ensure all important keywords (high volume and relevant) are identified; and
  • Understand the difference between keyword research for Google and Amazon. People search on Google for information, services and products, while searches on Amazon are just for products – prioritize keywords that have buyer intent, over more informational keyword phrases.

In summary, investing time in keyword research is essential as it has a major impact on the quantity and quality of traffic directed to your listing.


Don’t have the time or knowledge to perform comprehensive keyword research?

Hire us! Our listing optimization services features detailed keyword research, along with copywriting for Amazon US & UK, and localization (a mix of copywriting and translation) for Amazon EU (Germany, France, Italy & Spain).


As part of our listing optimization services, we also optimize your product title to get more clicks / traffic, which we’ll cover next.

5 – Optimize Your Product Title

Along with your main image and pricing, your product’s title is the other key variable displayed in search.

These 3 factors provide the first impression of your product to customers. The better they are, relative to your competition, the more traffic you’ll get.

We have covered main image and pricing already, so now let’s talk about improving your product title.

The first goal of an Amazon Product Title is to capture the attention of buyers. We do this by placing the most important keywords at the start of your title. If buyers don’t see keywords relevant to their needs, they likely won’t click on your product. This is also important because mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) display fewer characters of your title – almost 60% of Amazon customers report that their primary way to purchase products on Amazon is on their smartphone or tablet.  

Titles must be written in a compelling way too, encouraging customers to click on your product, instead of your competitors’ offerings.

It’s important to note that product titles in most categories are limited to 200 characters (including spaces). To maximize space and feature as many important keywords as possible, your title should not comprise grammatically perfect / full sentences – it should be a mix of keywords and copywriting.

For example, let’s assume we are selling a wallet made from high quality leather. In a full sentence, we would write, “the product is made from premium leather”. For an Amazon Title, the phrase “Premium Leather” is better – we don’t waste too many characters, but emphasize the important feature we want to.

You can derive a new title for your product using these tips.

However, it’s important to verify that it actually improves the performance of your listing.

Run a split test to check if the new title gets more clicks than your original title.

Next up, we’ll talk about advertising. While this is a paid method to increase your traffic, it is certainly an effective one.

6 – Advertise on Amazon

There are 2 ways to advertise your products on Amazon:

Sponsored Products for promoting / advertising individual listings.

Headline Search Ads – available to brand registered owners, with 3 or more product listings.

Low traffic and not advertising your listings on Amazon?

Get started with sponsored products. It’s easy to do and will drive traffic to your listing. Amazon offers a $50 credit to those starting out oo.

If you are advertising on Amazon, but still have low traffic, there are a few things you can do to get more traffic from advertising:

    • Increase your bids on keywords – this will improve your ad placement and help you get more clicks
    • Increase your daily budget – this will increase the number of clicks you can get from advertising in a particular day. Do this if you are regularly spending / reaching your daily budget / limit set on Amazon.
  • Perform keyword research to identify new keywords to target in your advertising campaigns

BONUS TRAFFIC TIPS FOR AMAZON EUROPE

For those selling on Amazon Europe (UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain), here are some other ways to increase your traffic.

A – Enable FBA Export

FBA Export allows sellers to choose which European countries their products can be shipped to.

If your listing’s export settings in Seller Central (pictured below) is set to “Disabled” or “9 Countries”, you are missing out on traffic from many countries in Europe.

Update to “26 countries” and open up your listing to traffic and sales from a number of other European countries. Note that sellers are not charged additional fees for FBA Export orders – as you can see below, there are “no additional fees for FBA Export orders on Amazon”.

B – Keyword Research & Amazon Europe

If English is your first language and you’re selling on non-English speaking marketplaces (Germany, France, Italy & Spain), make sure your keyword research is done by a native speaker.

A comprehensive vocabulary is key to ensure the best keywords for your listing are found, and included in your title and search terms – both key to generating traffic.

Also, a native speaker will also ensure that only keywords relevant to your product are included in your listing and search terms – non-relevant keywords will lead to traffic from customers not specifically searching for a product like yours, and likely hurt your conversion rate. Also, targeting non-relevant keywords is technically forbidden by Amazon.

You may be tempted to save money and just translate your English keywords. But this is not recommended. Without doing the “research” part, you will fail to identify keywords and limit the potential traffic to your listing. Furthermore, direct translation of keyword phrases (two or more words) from English into another language will often produce a phrase that has a totally different meaning than intended.

C – Product Titles for Amazon Europe

As we learned in section 5 above,a good Amazon Product Title captures the attention of buyers by including the right keywords and being written in an appealing way.

The best way to ensure this for the non-English speaking marketplaces (Amazon Germany, France, Italy and Spain) is to hire a native speaker to write and optimize your listings for Amazon EU.

A poorly written or translated title (like the example below) will reduce your credibility in the eyes of your potential customers and is certain to hurt your traffic and sales.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I hope you liked this post and use the tips provided to increase your traffic on Amazon!

If you’re looking for help with new listings or to boost your current listings, check out our listing optimization offerings for Amazon US / UK and Amazon EU (Germany, France, Italy & Spain). Designed to increase your traffic and sales on Amazon!

We have also created a listing optimization blueprint – it’s a checklist you can work through to improve your listings. It’s based on what we’ve learned from optimizing hundreds of listings to date and I’m sure it will provide you with a few helpful tips – download it for free here! www.amzeurope.com/amazon-listing-optimization-checklist

Before signing off, I’d like to say a special thanks Manuel. There is a lot of excellent content on his website, and it’s a real pleasure to have my post featured here.

If you have any questions for me, you can get in touch directly through AMZEurope.com or comment below. Please share this post if you like it too!

Zero to Hero Brand Evolution

Brand Building – Moving Forward From Amazon

How to grow your ecommerce business – In the previous blog post, Manuel went over some great strategy and techniques on how you can pitch your products to retailers and wholesalers across the world.

Today’s blog post marks the final blog post of this great series. This post will be all about thinking forward and expanding your business into other areas.

Expand Into The Other Amazon Global Markets

Amazon is still the number one E-commerce marketplace in the world, and it will be for a long time. Although we believe that Amazon has some disadvantages for sellers who wish to have complete control over their business, you should always list your product there. Currently, the markets which we recommend expanding to, are:

    • Amazon EU(UK & Germany should be a priority).
  • Amazon Japan

These marketplaces have a much lower volume than their US counterpart, however, the traffic and sales are increasing year-on-year and Amazon has been investing heavily to attract buyers & sellers to their marketplaces outside the US.

Expand Into Other E-Commerce Marketplaces

There are a number of ECommerce marketplaces that allow you to list your products, some also have a similar fulfillment service like Amazon FBA. While not all ECommerce marketplaces are ideal(some have very low sales volume), this will allow you to increase your brand visibility and target markets which your competition is unlikely to target.

In my opinion, the marketplaces that make the most sense to register a seller account are:

    • Walmart & JET
    • Newegg
    • Sears
    • Ebay
  • Rakuten

Focus On Growing Your Online Store

Having your own ECommerce store is only to have complete control over your brand & pricing. One of the things I like about having an ECommerce store is that I have complete freedom when it comes to:

    • Creating special offers/giveaways.
    • Store Design & Branding
    • Customized Packaging
  • Control over Customer Service & Experience

However, the best thing about having your own store is that it’s a challenge! While Amazon definitely needs some mastering – all the buyer traffic is already there! With your own store, you need to spend an enormous amount of time dedicated to bringing traffic to your website.

While this requires a lot of hard work and testing, in my opinion, it’s more rewarding and it can be scaled significantly once you have a working formula

Outsourcing

We feel this step is the most important part of any business. A successful business is a scaleable business. While you should always retain control over the key tasks of your business, it is important to delegate tasks, especially those tasks that are time-consuming or you have no expertise in.

With the rise of freelancing and outsourcing websites, it is very easy to find very skilled freelancers or companies for your business. In my opinion, these are the tasks that you should definitely outsource:

Importing

    • Product & Packaging Design
    • Product Inspection
    • Logistics(Freight Forwarder, Warehousing etc)
  • Product Sourcing

Business

    • Legal & Accounting
    • Social Media Marketing
    • Company Branding
  • Graphic Design

Of course, what tasks you outsource depends entirely on you, however, if you want to scale your business and achieve freedom, you need to delegate tasks.

Conclusion

This blog post concludes our Zero To Hero: Building a Brand series, we hope that this series proved helpful in your efforts to build a truly successful and global brand.

Building a brand takes a lot of effort, however with the right strategy in place, you will have a company that has great products and it’s loved by its customers.

We would appreciate any feedback you have on this series and if there is anything we can help you with, kindly leave a comment below.

All the best & happy selling,

Duncan & Manuel

Zero to Hero Brand Evolution

Brand Building – Retail & Wholesale

How to sell to retail – My background is actually retail, so I naturally started out with retail before moving onto Amazon. When a friend told me about FBA I didn’t even know that Amazon let’s third parties sell on Amazon. 

I thought they only sell their own product. I am glad that friend pointed me to FBA, otherwise it would have been a lot more difficult to get my brand off the ground. 

It has been nearly 3 years since I started my own business and as I said I started in retail. I had collected many contacts in retail and that was the natural way to go for me. 

Looking back I am happy I started out in retail as it helped my brand immensely to get exposure while creating a second income trough Amazon.

The ultimate goal of any brand or company is to get their products in front of as many customers as possible. The only way to do this is by listing your products through all the sales channels that are available to brands.

The most powerful or “rewarding” sales channel is retail and wholesaling. Retail has the power to move your product quickly, thus getting huge exposure for your brand and products.

The Challenge

Retail is notoriously one of the hardest sales channels to get into. Your products must not only be appealing to consumers, but also packaging and marketing materials have to be of a higher standard than E-commerce.

However, one of the hardest challenges is finding retailers who are willing to take on a new brand and its products. Retailers often don’t take huge risks with their capital and prefer to invest in brands that are already established or brands that carry really unique products. So the key is to have unique products rather than generic.

Selling a Garlic Press that has some accessory doesn’t make you unique. The retailer will buy this product from his trusted source. 

Larger items also have the issue of shelf space; which in retail is limited. On top of that you can’t just knock on a retailers door and expect a smooth and fast process.

Retailers have decision maker hierarchies and it is often difficult to get to the right decision maker. Often times retailers already have their suppliers or connections and they aren’t open to a new supplier. Reasons being that they already may have great buying conditions and relationships with their existing suppliers.

In some cases I worked on a potential retailer for over 2 years before getting an order (in my previous job) and in those 2 years there were 3 changes on decision makers and I had to start from the beginning again.

The new guy might not be open to you as the previous guy was and maybe he is already bringing sources/suppliers to the job and you need to start all over again convincing the new guy. 

On top of that most larger retailers get emails and phone calls every day from new suppliers wanting to sell them their product. So it is a long and windy road to get into retail, sometimes as much as 2 – 3 years. But once you have your foot inside the door you are in a great position. 

Solution and how to get into retail

One word – relationship. If you have a good relationship the price or your product doesn’t really matter. 

Someone is likely to buy from you if you have a relationship with him right? The more credentials you have and the more history you have with a person the more likely that person is to buy from you right?

An example. Let’s say you need a new health insurance. You already have an insurance from your trusted childhood friend (let’s call him Steve). Steve is quite expensive and maybe his insurance package doesn’t even have a lot of benefits. 

But you still buy from him because he’s your friend and you’ve known him for years & on top of that you trust him. You even have him over at your house for BBQ’s, you meet up for beers etc. 

You get a phone call from an insurance company trying to sell you a new health insurance with much better benefits. You don’t know this company but the offer sounds appealing.

You take the offer and go to Steve and tell him he needs to make the same offer or you buy from this new insurance company. Steve probably can’t make the same offer but he’ll adjust his old package and give you more benefits, maybe even at a better price. On top of that he throws in a coupon or voucher for shopping at Amazon. 

You close the deal with Steve. That’s the power of relationships. And that’s how retailers work – they have their trusted sources and relationships.  “You need to become Steve”. 

Many of those relationships especially in the “old days” included some sort of bribery. For example if you switch to a new supplier that supplier would buy out your entire old stock from the old supplier. Back in the 90’s it wasn’t unheard of that a new supplier would invite you over on his yacht and take a trip down to the South of France.

Thankfully these “unfair” tactics aren’t accepted anymore – at least not with multinational retailers. There are strict enforcements in terms of bribery in big retailers. However, the relationship factor still plays a key role in doing business.

Today its just called “wining and dining” a customer. You take the customer out for a steak dinner and a nice bottle of wine and you probably don’t even end up talking business but a few days later you’ll get an order.  

Now the key is to build a relationship with the buyer. You probably won’t be able to close a deal for months or even years because every offer you send to a new prospect ends up in the “trash” inbox. 

1) Start out by visiting local stores that have maybe 20-30 stores in the area/country or state. Try to get an appointment with the Manager or Purchasing Department. Once you have an appointment prepare yourself with:

    • Company presentation (Powerpoint / PDF)
    • Product Catalogue (Can be PDF but prepare something nicely and don’t just show a link to your Amazon listing)
    • Bring samples and business cards
  • Bring your wholesale price list 

A store can probably take up 5 pieces per item/per store. So 30 stores makes 150 pieces, not bad for a first order. 

2) Once you are listed in a smaller or local store look into larger retailers that have 100-200 stores. 

Same principle applies in terms of preparation but you are probably not the only one knocking on their doors. So you need a bit of track record with a smaller retailer or your online portfolio. 

Retailers with more than 100 or 200 stores probably have their own purchasing department, maybe even a buying office in Asia. So you need to get to the decision maker. 

There are several ways to get to decision makers but the most effective yet also most frowned upon are cold calls. 

Email the decision makers or better cold call first. There are cold call guidelines for free on the internet. Key is to let the buyer speak and you only listen. 

Most buyers just want to talk about how great they are, let them. You need to make them feel that they have the upper hand. 

After your first cold call, follow up on the topics and email a proposal as discussed in the call. 

Give it a few days and then either email or call again. 

3) Exhibiting your products at a local or international exhibition is the best way to find retailers and wholesalers.

This time the buyers come to you and all you really have to do is follow up with the topics of the discussion. 

The key takeaway here is that getting into retail really is a marathon not a sprint but it can be very rewarding: 

The Rewards

The best thing about retail are re-orders. You might not make much money on the first order but if the item sells well re-orders will come and often times in much larger quantities than the 1st order. The good thing then is that the entire process is already set up and all you have to do is to place an order with your factory, knowing the entire process with the retailer. Or if you have stock back home you can just send in the new order to the retailer from your warehouse. 

From some retailers I get re-orders every 1-2 months for the same product and all I have to do is place an order to the factory and ship the item to the customer. 

These orders can be 2-5,000 pieces each time. Sometimes I make 1$ on a product, sometimes 5$. So in 1 day I can make 25,000$ in profits not really doing anything (a bit exaggerated – there’s still work to do :) ). 

Imagine how many months you’ll have to sell on Amazon for an order and profit that large. 

Conclusion

Getting into retail is very hard but as I said it can be very rewarding. It’s not a sprint so some deals can take 2 or more years but if the client is worth it don’t give up. Obviously the above is just a short visit into the topic, there’s much more to it such as contracts, advertisement material, sampling, pricing structures etc. 

If you need more help on the subject or are interested in growing your business into retail don’t look any further. I am working on material that is coming out in the coming weeks that should help immensely :)

All the best and happy selling,

Manuel 

ImportDojo

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