Originally published on August 16, 2019, updated July 1, 2020
Emma Schermer Tamir, Co-Founder of Marketing By Emma, joined us for a webinar centered on writing stunning product listings. Your product listings can help elevate your sales and define your brand. Writing exceptional product listings makes them stand out in an extremely crowded marketplace. By watching this video, you'll learn:
Take a look at the webinar and let us know if you have any questions!
Plain and simple — you need to do everything you can to get ready for Q4. During this highly competitive time, ensuring that your product listings are optimized, informative, and appealing to buyers is crucial. Not only can this go a long way towards boosting sales, but you’ll also improve brand recognition and reputation.
eComEngine recently hosted a webinar about Amazon listing optimization with Emma Schermer Tamir, co-founder of Marketing By Emma. She provided some absolutely phenomenal advice on how to create compelling product listings that will stand out from the rest.
Whether it’s finding the right light bulb for their fridge or the perfect Christmas gift for their boss, people who shop on Amazon have a problem — and they are looking for a solution. The last thing they want is to scroll through product listings that are wordy, irrelevant or lacking the descriptive information they need to make a purchase.
As Tamir said, “Of course, you need to be using proper keywords for SEO, but at the end of the day, it’s a person making the purchasing decision. You want to appeal to them.” In order to make that connection, she has a number of suggestions, including:
We can get so caught up in using the right words that we forget to focus on building relationships. Anyone can tell customers what a product is, but your job is to let them know why they need it. Show buyers that you understand their needs, and they will keep coming back.
To be a great Amazon seller, you need to know your product. At any given moment, you might be able to rattle off details about the materials used, manufacturing process and a million other things that make it unique. It’s great when you can be passionate and excited about something that you are sharing with the world.
It becomes a problem, however, when you forget that your customers don’t share this knowledge base. If your product listings contain information that is overly complicated or inaccessible to the average buyer, you run the risk of alienating them, which is the last thing you want to do.
You need to meet your customers where they’re at. As Tamir explained, “If you start from what they know and expand on it, you’ll bring them in.” Focus on the details that are truly important and use language that’s easy to grasp. Have confidence in your product and try not to overthink your descriptions. Once they’ve received the item, they’ll discover all of the little things that you know they’ll love about it!
In the webinar, Tamir suggests approaching product listings as you would a first date. If you do things right, maybe they’ll want to come back for another date — or even a long-term relationship! It’s a great analogy and can be a useful guiding principle as you prepare for Q4.
When you listen to the video, you’ll really get a sense of why your product listings are the beginning of a meaningful conversation you’re having with a customer. Much like when you’re on a date, you want to put your best foot forward while focusing on:
It can take some time to find your rhythm, but refining the message you’re sending in your product listings is absolutely worth the effort. It’s easy for customers to scroll over to a competitor’s pages when your listings don’t give them what they need. Don’t lose the sale by overlooking this important aspect of your business.
Even if your current product listings are great, give them another look before the holiday season begins. Ask friends and family to give them a once over and be open to their honest feedback. A strong Q4 can truly make or break your business and you want to take this opportunity to thrive. It all starts with wooing them on this “first date.” Don’t blow it!
Liz: Hi everybody. Welcome to today's webinar. We're going to give everybody a chance to get logged in. So we're going to get started in about a minute, 45 seconds, something like that. We've got a great program for you today. We're going to talk about product listings, how they can impact Q4. And Emma is here to give you some great tips on how to really, really win at that part of your Amazon business. So I see that there's still people logging in. So if you'll bear with me, we'll get started really soon. Okay, let's get started. So my name is Liz, I am the industry liaison at eComEngine, I'll tell you about eComEngine in just a second. We've got Emma Schermer Tamir here, she's the co-founder of Marketing by Emma. She is so knowledgeable, and she's sort of the Amazon product listing whisperer. And she's got a really, really great presentation for you today. Emma, say hi to everybody.
Emma: Hello everybody. Thank you Liz for the kind words.
Liz: Oh, so good to have you here.
Emma: I'm really excited to be here today.
Liz: I'm going to tell you a little bit about eComEngine, I'm going to go over our special offers after that, and then we'll get into the agenda. So eComEngine is a company that makes tools for sellers on the Amazon marketplace. We were founded in 2007 with our flagship tool feedback five, which you've probably heard about. FeedbackFive helps you manage your seller reputation. MarketScout helps resellers make smart decisions about what to sell on Amazon. And RestockPro is a great tool that helps you manage your inventory and order the right amount of stock for Amazon FBA. SmartPrice is coming to market soon, so stay tuned on that. Let's talk about our special offers and then we'll get started, we've got some great content.
Liz: So if you use the coupon code Emma, you can get a customized demo and a 30-day free trial of FeedbackFive and RestockPro or 150 credits on MarketScout. And now that Q4 is approaching, if you're going to implement a new tool into your Amazon business, this is a really, really good time to do it. You don't want to wait very long because Q4 is busy, and you don't want to be learning something new. So let us get you that information and those tools to help automate segments for your business now instead of later. Also, today, one lucky participant is going to get a free listing by Emma. So we'll be picking that a little bit into the presentation. I've got a randomizer going, I'm inputting your names into it. So we will pick that person, and that person will be connected with Emma after the webinar to get their free listing scheduled.
Liz: So that's awesome, and thank you Emma. That's a really generous offer, especially as things are ramping up and Q4 is approaching. Also, if you've got questions, please input them into the chat in Zoom. We'll try to take questions during the program, and we'll also have a Q&A section at the end. And without further ado, Emma, let's jump into the agenda.
Emma: Awesome. So I'm first going to tell you a little bit about Marketing by Emma, then we're going to dive right into a lot of the red flags and no-nos that I see people making all the time when they're optimizing their listing or really doing any sort of communication for their business. And then we're going to talk about what it looks like to actually nail the digital first date, so what you can do to make customers excited to be clicking add to cart with your products. And then lastly, we'll wrap up with some special offers and questions. And like Liz mentioned, we'll also have a little bit of time in the middle of this presentation to field some questions. So if you're curious, don't be shy about asking away.
Emma: So how many of you have launched a product and you've spent all of this time researching and finding the best manufacturer, and you're so certain that this product is just going to blow people away and they're going to be so excited and everybody's just going to be purchasing, it's going to be a runaway success? And so you're imagining something like this, and you go live and quickly you turn to this. So you're having people that are coming to your page, but there's not a lot of action going on. Your conversion rates are low and people just aren't buying. And so then the question becomes why? What's going on? What is happening that people are getting to your page but they're not feeling that excitement and enthusiasm that's making them want to click add to cart.
Emma: And what I'd like to do here is take a step back from writing during this whole conversation today. And I know you're probably thinking, but this is about listing optimization, and we're going to have to write to do that. And I think what happens is when we're trying to think about writing, it's very easy to forget that we're actually building a relationship and we're needing to communicate with another person. And so before we ever get to writing, let's just think about the things that we need to do in order to build trust, in order to build rapport, in order to get somebody excited enough to want to give us a second chance and invite us into their lives. So in a date that would obviously be a situation of a second date.
Emma: In the eCommerce world, that's adding to cart and inviting your product rather and your brand into their lives so that not only are they excited about this product, but if you're doing things right, perhaps they'll even get excited about your brand and they'll want to know about other products that you sell. And there'll be excited when you're launching new things. And so you're not even just getting them hooked on a product, but on everything that you're doing because they're just so excited and bought into you as a business. So let's just review some of the common red flags and no-nos. And then we'll go more deeply into each of these for the rest of the conversation today.
Emma: So the first one is being unrelatable. So this can look like a lot of different things, and sometimes it happens when we're nervous. Sometimes it happens when we've just been spending so much time living and breathing a particular product that we forget what it's like to not be living and breathing that product. So maybe we're using terminology that people aren't familiar with, maybe we're assuming that they don't know things that they do, or maybe we're just so excited that we're really confident and proud and that's coming off as being arrogant or being very self-centered, which then leads us to the next red flag and no-no, which is only talking about yourself. So forgetting that there's another human there that they have their own concerns, their own things going on in their lives, reasons why they're searching on the internet for a particular product, for a particular solution.
Emma: And if you're only talking about yourself, then you're not really creating an opening for them to see themselves reflected in your product and to get excited like you'd like them to. Empty chatters, so this is the chatty Kathy scenario where you're saying a lot of words, but you're not really saying a lot of substance. So using a lot of unnecessary filler words, maybe you think that you need to take advantage of every single character that you're allowed for the bullets. And so you make these beefy 500 character bullets that would actually be really off putting to somebody who is just seeing these huge blocks of text that prohibits them from being able to easily skim them and get the information that they want to be able to make an informed decision.
Emma: Conversation killer. So this is sort of like the 13-year-old brother who whenever you ask a question, you get a one word answer like fine, no, okay. There's no attempt to engage with the other person, there's no curiosity, there's no real facilitation of dialogue. And I know that you're probably thinking dialogue, but this is me putting up a page on a website, and there's no interaction. And while you might not be able to have conversation, there are ways to still begin to build a little bit of relationship and conversational rapport, even if it's a one sided thing that's happening whenever somebody's on your page.
Emma: And the last one is poor language skills. This can be a catchall for everything from incorrect grammar to odd or awkward slang usage. Really any ways of using the English language that's not the appropriate usage for that particular person and that particular situation. And so when we're thinking about these in a real life context, that's something that we do naturally all the time when we're interacting with people. If you're interacting with the president of a bank, you're going to use very different language and you're going to speak very differently than you would to somebody who's a close friend and you're hanging out at a barbecue on the weekend. So keeping all of these things in mind and really the underlying thing of all of this is remembering that you're trying to connect with the person that's looking at your product page.
Emma: Of course, you need to be doing things like using proper keywords for SEO and all those different things. But at the end of the day, it's a person making the purchasing decision and you want to make sure that you're appealing to them. So when you're doing all those things, then you can take what was perhaps going to be a disaster date where that person would just never call you back to something that, like we mentioned, it's not only a second date, but perhaps even a longterm relationship. So again, forget about words and focus on building relationships. That's really what I want you to be taking with you today and having in the back of your mind throughout the rest of this webinar. Don't tell them what it is, but rather why they need it. So this is really talking about getting to the underlying benefits that your product is providing. And that means what sort of problems are you trying to solve, and how are you going to have a positive impact on your customer's lives?
Emma: So the first problem as we spoke about is being unrelatable. So some symptoms of this can include oversharing. So that's somebody asks a simple question and then 15 minutes later, that person is on the 20th different topic and you have no idea how they got there when you just simply asked how the weather was. It's also can include nerding out. So you go into all of these details, you're maybe using technical language that the average person wouldn't understand or you're relying on this idea that that person has certain understanding of how things work when they don't. And then bragging, so being really boastful about how great you are. And if you've ever been in that situation in real life, if you think back to that, you might remember that maybe you even have some physical signs of feeling like you're pulling away.
Emma: And so those same things are happening if you're reading something and there's somebody that's really bragging or really feeling like they're seeing themselves as superior, and that's not creating an openness and a welcomingness that invites somebody in to learn more and to be able to feel like they're in a safe and trusting space to really continue forward with things. So let's look at an example. This is Duracell, I'm sure everybody's familiar with Duracell batteries. And I had no idea that batteries could have such technical terminology that would totally go over my head. But let's just look at the first couple of sentences here, and I'll show you what I mean. And this is a great example of sort of all of these things that I just mentioned.
Emma: So Duracell, quantum alkaline batteries give you a one of a kind quantum leap in power. It's the only battery with high density core technology featuring more power boosters. So they're saying high density core, power boosters, quantum leap and power. These are all things that sound really cool on the surface, but they actually mean nothing to me as a consumer. Does this mean that their batteries are longer lasting? Does this mean they're stronger so they can power devices that require some sort of stronger batteries than the average battery? Really while they might sound cool to them and the sort of terms that they're using internally without communicating the underlying benefits of what these things are, they're just leaving us in the dark. And so then they're not really doing anything to communicate why Duracell is actually better than Energizer or any of the other batteries out there.
Emma: So again, I struck out the word writing, focused on communication instead. Communication improves in direct ratio to the number of things we can keep out of it that shouldn't be there. So this is really my goal with this quote and sharing this with you today is the idea that what are the core main details that somebody needs to know in order to make an informed decision about your product and to get excited about your product? And everything else, get rid of it. Maybe those are details that you could share at a later date like in an insert or in a PDF that has details about other ways to use your product. So somebody doesn't need to know every part of a product in order to make an informed decision, they need to understand that this product fits their needs and is solving the problem that brought them to make this search in the first place.
Emma: And we skipped slides. So this was where we determined to create a little break to answer some questions and also do the listing giveaway. So Liz, I don't know if you've had a chance.
Liz: I have randomized and I am good to go. So Zach Glass is the winner of the free listing. So Zach, if you email me at email@example.com or send me a message over the chat with your email address, then we can hook you up with Emma and you can get your free listing. So congrats, Zach. And if anybody's got any questions, send those on. We're ready to educate and all that stuff. So Zach, don't forget to get in touch. And Emma, I think for now we're good with questions, so just continue.
Emma: Awesome. So I think that this picture does a really good job of representing what our minds can look like when we're trying to write about a product that we've spent a long time learning and researching and developing. So we've collected all of this information about the niche that we're selling in and the materials. And so we're sort of in this swirl of information, and how do we actually go picking apart the details that we need and figuring out what somebody who doesn't know anything about this topic, what they need to know, but how you can communicate that in a way that is going to be relatable to them. And so this is actually a really common problem that a lot of us face, it's a cognitive bias called curse of knowledge. And essentially this pink circle represents what you know. So that's all of the information that you've collected through all of your research and development.
Emma: But the customer, their knowledge is in that green circle. And so if you start talking on the left outer edge of information of what you know, you're going to be speaking so far away from what they know that it's going to be totally over their heads and you're really going to be alienating them rather than getting them excited and piquing their curiosity. However, if you can start off in this space that they know and then slowly start to bring in some new information, then you have an opportunity to really start educating people about why some of the things that you're doing are better and justifying your knowledge and expertise. But you want to make sure to always start with where they are. And that can be something that's really challenging and one of the best tools that you can have in order to remember what it's like to have that beginner's mind and to not know about this topic is to have a conversation with real people that don't know about this particular niche, that don't know about this world and explain to them what your product is, why it's so great.
Emma: And anytime that you see them start to feel a little bit confused or give any sorts of body language to suggest that they're bored or they don't know what you're talking about, those are good indications that you might be talking on that outer edge that they're not relating to. But that's also a good way to practice some of these other things that we're talking about today and to really get some feedback about how real people are going to be responding to how you're presenting your product. So some side effects of the curse of knowledge include focusing on details rather than the big picture. So that's getting really obsessed about the little things, like maybe you are manufacturing a bag and so you know everything that there is to know about lining materials and stitching. And so the stitching that you've chosen is this really sophisticated thread, and the type of stitching is so unique that it's going to last for 100 years.
Emma: And all of those little details may not matter to the average customer. The fact that it's going to be long lasting does, but they don't need to know every single little detail when they're at the point of making a purchasing decision. And in fact, just like when you're getting to know somebody and the more you get to know them, the more you love all those little things about them, that's something that once somebody is interacting with your product, they might start to really fall in love with all those little details. But they wouldn't fall in love with them on the first date, they'll fall in love with them later on as they're seeing your product in action in their lives. So another side effect is trying to share everything. So the inability to hone in on what's really important. So again, thinking about what is absolutely necessary to communicate and then chopping the rest.
Emma: Assuming people understand things they don't. So sometimes even basic concepts might be more complicated than what we realize for somebody that knows nothing about a particular industry or field. And so really making sure that even if somebody is coming in with zero knowledge, that you're making the information that you're communicating very graspable obviously without dumbing it down because if there are people that are more knowledgeable, you still want them to relate to what you're writing about. But really making sure that you're communicating in simple, accessible ways. And then over complicated, again, being inaccessible and using jargon. So that's something like Duracell where they're using all of this battery terminology that really doesn't mean anything to the average person.
Emma: And you're wanting to make sure that nothing that you're doing and nothing that you're saying is going to make the other person feel stupid. Because if they feel stupid or if they feel like they don't know enough about something, then they're not going to feel like your product is the right product for them and that maybe your brand is not the right product for them. Because if you're not making them feel good, if you're giving them a bad feeling, they're going to quickly click elsewhere. So here's an example from Samsung. This is a $10,000 television, so I would expect that they would really be impressing on us why they're going to be justifying that their television is $10,000. They use a lot of terminology here, 8K, AI up-scaling, quantum processor, 8K HDR.
Emma: And it's just a lot of very technical words without really focusing on the core benefits of what this television will do for my TV and movie watching time. So there's really no emphasis on the experience of interacting with this TV in my life, and instead they're just using a lot of technical terms that I might not know about, but I just want the best TV. And so how am I supposed to know if I'm not familiar with all these terms that this is the best TV for me and that this is going to create unrivaled television viewing experiences with real life imagery. That might be tucked away in there, but it's not a compelling message that they're making it easily grasped and conveyed through this copy.
Liz: Hey Emma, we have just a couple of questions.
Emma: Let's go through it.
Liz: One is, do you have any secrets to getting listings fixed? So I guess this is on listings that you share with other sellers. If that's wrong, then ping me. But she says that seller support is pushing back real hard against doing anything about these listings, they're claiming brand registry on brands that aren't registered as a reason to not make requested changes to listing. Do you run into that in your line of work?
Emma: I'm having a little bit of trouble following the question. So they're being flagged because they're saying that it's infringing on somebody else's product that's brand registered, is that the question?
Liz: So I think it's a product that's not brand registered that there are multiple sellers on and sellers as you know can request changes to the listing but that Amazon is saying that it's brand registered when it's not. So they're having a hard time getting the listing changed to really increase sales for everybody that's selling it.
Emma: So that's something that I don't have a lot of experience with overall. If you're the one that's manufacturing or if you're in a position to be registering your brand, then I recommend always doing that, especially when you start investing into really developing the creative collateral of your business. So things like your Amazon listing and your imagery, you're going to be so much more protected if you can do Amazon's brand registry, getting a lot of protection and privileges to be able to guard your intellectual property.
Liz: So maybe if you're a seller of an ASIN that other sellers are also sellers of, maybe it would be good to contact the actual manufacturer or whoever created the listing to make changes to that.
Emma: I know that if you're trying to change your title, for example, you'll actually need some sort of documentation to demonstrate that the manufacturer has changed how they're calling that product in their product catalog. As far as the other parts of the listing, I'm not totally sure with what the processes are for doing that, but I would guess that the manufacturer or whoever owns the rights to be selling it on Amazon would be the appropriate person or entity to be interacting with to do so.
Liz: I think I saw an article not too long ago about that, so I'll forward that onto you Char. And we also have a question, is it good to have minimum content or is more better, the more the better? Of course, you have limits. But is it better to completely fill up all of the fields in your listing or is it better to keep it brief or does that just depend on the product?
Emma: I think it's definitely a case by case basis. I would say there's really no scenario where you should be using 500 character bullets or really even 400 characters. For me, my sweet spot is keeping it at 300 characters and under in that 200, 250 range is a good length per bullet to be able to communicate your point in full and make sure that you're getting the necessary information without totally flooding somebody. And so that's what I was speaking about a little while ago, which is this idea it can be really tempting to feel like you need to share everything but also to take advantage of every square inch that Amazon gives you. And at the same time if you're doing that, then you might be actually putting your foot in your mouth because if you're having these huge blocks of texts, 500 characters is quite lengthy. And it just looks like these huge blocks that are just visually very off putting to a customer.
Emma: And then if they're looking for specific details, anything from measurements to materials, you're making it more difficult for them to be able to find what they need. As for the description, I typically like to use if you just have a standard description, you're not doing EBC, I encourage people to use as close to the 2,000 characters as possible because you also have some more flexibility with how you can actually format that. You can break lines up, you can create little bulleted sections for things like the measurements or star ingredients or whatever you might be selling and ways to differentiate things that you can't as easily do within the bullets.
Liz: Awesome. Thank you.
Emma: Any other questions or should we hop back into things?
Liz: I think let's hop back in and then we'll pause in a little while.
Emma: Okay, great. So problem two, only talking about yourself. So one of the easiest ways to identify this problem is just look at every single sentence that you're starting. And if it's starting with we, our, your brand name, the, words like that, it's a good indication that you're putting your focus on your product or your brand and not on the customer. And as we all know, we're all our own favorite topic. So the more that you can really embrace that and put the customer at the center, the higher likelihood that you'll have that you'll be getting them excited that you'll be helping them imagine themselves interacting with your product and helping them to understand how this product is the perfect product for them.
Emma: So again, failure to show why something matters to the customer. So how is your product going to interact in their lives? How is it going to solve the particular problem that they've gone online to hopefully address by making a purchase? And another thing would be obsessing over the minutia. So really focusing on all of these little details that you care about because you've spent forever developing the perfect product, but that the customer may not care about or may not care about yet.
Emma: So here's an example from Sensodyne. As you see, I underlined every single one of their bullets is starting with their brand name and a focus on the toothpaste. So even if the rest of the content here is valuable to me, they're really framing it on them instead of on me. So by simply making a switch and starting each bullet with the benefit of a particular aspect of their toothpaste, they would refocus this whole section of their listing to make it more customer centric, to make it more inviting, to make me have a better sense of whether this is the correct toothpaste for my particular teeth requirements, and they'd have much more success. But instead they're very matter of factual, they're very focused on themselves. And there's actually really no reference at all to the customer at all. It's very dry, it's very much just matter of fact.
Emma: So what matters to people, people matter to themselves. It will come as no surprise that one reliable way of making people care is by invoking self-interest. So again, really getting people to be thinking about how your product is the correct fit for them, making them the center of attention, and then centering everything else around that and always tying it back to how is this benefiting them? How is this solving their problems? So problem three, empty chatter. Symptoms include too many words. So simply just either because you think that certain words make you seem more of an expert or that it just looks like what it should look like. Or again, trying to take advantage of all of the 500 characters that some categories are allowed to use for each bullet. Whatever the case may be, more is not better. Say what you need to say and nothing more.
Emma: Being overly repetitive. So it can be really valuable to prove a point by sometimes tying things back and repeating yourself, but using the exact same thing over and over again isn't pushing the conversation forward. And it's either you're saying something that they already know, so then you're just hitting them over the head with it or you're taking up space that you could be using to say something else. And another example of this would be simply using the exact same content that you're using in your bullets and the description. And while it's true that some people might only look at one and some people might only look at the other, there are people that are going to look at both. And so for those people that are looking at both, that means that there are probably people that like to research their products a bit more and you're not creating a very user friendly experience by doing that.
Emma: And then purposeless texts. So whether that's information or just unnecessary words that don't need to be there, be ruthless, cut what doesn't need to be there. Because attention is something that's in very short supply. And even on an Amazon product page, there are so many things that are competing for that customer's attention that would be taking business away from you. So you want to do everything you can to grab hold of that attention and then to hold on as tightly as you can until they know this is the product for me and they click add to cart. So anytime that you're providing excess information, anytime that you're committing any of these other errors like using jargon or anything like that, you're making an opening for somebody's attention to drift or be pulled towards something else that's not your product, and you don't want to let that happen.
Liz: We have an interesting question around that. So somebody asked about the Samsung TV listing in particular, and she said, if I'm paying $10,000 for a TV, I want the specs. And I always understood that bullets are for tech info and the descriptions where you go into the benefits or in the bullets give the spec and then give the benefit. Are you saying to only put the benefit into bullet points, I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I think that that's where the balance lies is communicating the actual information that a true researcher is going to look at in addition to making the text engaging to someone who really wants to be sold on the product. So it's a mix between both and you have to find the balance, is that-
Emma: Exactly. So I think of specs almost as your supporting evidence. So you're making a claim, you're saying that this is the benefit that it provides and then your specs are what you can use to actually be supporting those claims that you're making. So they work in harmony, it's not an either or thing, it's both. And then something like the description where you can make it in a more easily digestible format to put those specs there and have it be just spec focused, that's a more natural place to do just the specs within the larger context of the description. So I say both, but how you'll do it in those different sections would vary because also remember that the bullets appear first when you're looking on a desktop computer or a laptop. But when you're browsing on mobile or on a tablet, the description is actually what's appearing first. So we can't assume that the bullets are going to be the first encounter with the information that you're providing. And so you want to make sure that regardless of what part it is that the essential details are there without just repeating the same thing verbatim.
Emma: So here's an example of a Covergirl mascara. You don't have to read all of this, but I'll tell you, I did. And the first bullet is actually the only bullet that talks about mascara. The rest are about other Covergirl products and types of makeup, generally about Covergirl as a whole. But not only is the first bullet the only one that talks about mascara, it doesn't even include the basic details that probably a lot of people would want to know about mascara, like if it washes off easily, if it's hypoallergenic, if it's safe for people that were contact lenses. If you look at the image, the main image, they actually have the jumping bunny cruelty-free certification. And funny enough, they don't even mention that in their bullets despite the fact that they reformulated their entire line to be cruelty-free. So they're missing out on all of these fantastic benefits that would make people really feel confident in choosing this mascara over other mascaras.
Emma: And instead, they're just throwing together a bunch of information that does not speak to the customer's basic concerns, but is also not doing anything to address the underlying benefits that this mascara does. Because if we're looking at it purely on a functional level, mascara is something that makes your eyelash more prominent. But that's not really why people choose to wear mascara, people choose to wear mascara perhaps because it makes them feel more confident when they're in work situations or it makes them feel more flirtatious when they're on a date or they just like the process and the ritual of getting ready in the morning and being able to practice the artistry of applying makeup. So there's all these different reasons that people might be choosing to use mascara and Covergirl is addressing none of those things. And then in addition, they're not including many of the details that a lot of consumers would want to know when they're browsing mascaras to purchase.
Emma: So again, what I was just talking about, you don't sell what the product is, you always sell what the product does. So in the case of the mascara, most people know what a mascara is. If somebody gets to a mascara page, I can't imagine that they don't know what it is, but it's really what it does that has the power and is what is going to get people excited. So knowing that they can go for 16 hours wearing mascara and it's going to look great, that's something that's going to be really valuable to that person when they're making a decision. But again, there's no mention of that there. So how is that person to feel confident to trust that this mascara is going to be something that they can apply and just hope that it's going to do what it needs or are they going to look for another mascara that reassures them that it's going to be long lasting, that it's going to not create dark circles under their eyes, et cetera?
Emma: So conversation killer symptoms can include one word answers. So this would be the case of being just spec focused. So these are the measurements, these are these details, these are these details. And even something like measurements, not all of us naturally understand what a measurement might mean. Some of us use different reference points to get a better sense of the size of something. And so even something like size, being able to provide some different qualifiers, like identifying that it's compact or that it's larger than the average television or whatever it might be helps to give people that don't have an immediate reference point with those dimensions to understand how that product is going to be interacting in their lives and maybe comparing to similar products that they've seen in the past. And also omitting important information, so simply failing to provide key details that the average person would need to know.
Emma: So with the Covergirl mascara, no mention of the fact of if it's hypoallergenic or safe for sensitive eyes or not safe for sensitive eyes because if it's not safe for sensitive eyes or if it's really difficult to remove, those might also be details worth sharing with people because then you're going to also minimize people making a purchase and realizing that it's not the right product for them and sending it back. And you want to also make sure that you're only selling to the right people. If you're just selling to everybody, but some of those people aren't the correct fit for your product, then you're creating other problems for yourself. So here's an example of ARM & HAMMER baking soda. It's a pretty straight forward product, but they're very vague about really all of the information here. It just looks sloppy, it looks lazy, and it's in some ways almost disrespectful to the customer because there might be other elements that are important when deciding upon a cleaning product that they're just simply failing to present here, and the average person may or may not know.
Emma: So for example, when you're thinking about a cleaning product, things that people might care about are, is it safe for households with children and animals? There is no mention of that. It says hundreds of uses, but it's pretty vague on what that means. And is this something that can just completely replace every single one of my cleaning products? And if so, then maybe that means that this is a fantastic product for minimalists or for people that live in really small apartments that have very limited storage space. Or maybe it's even something that you should consider taking when you're camping, but there's no mention to all of these different things. Instead, they're relying on the fact that they think everybody knows everything they need to know about baking soda. And obviously if they're purchasing baking soda, then they wouldn't choose anything other than ARM & HAMMER.
Emma: But what happens if we have another baking soda that comes in and addresses all of these points? Then suddenly maybe I'm thinking, well, is this baking soda somehow different? And just because of the way they're presenting it and addressing those benefits and addressing the way that it's used, they're making their product appear to be very different than what ARM & HAMMER is doing. And they're doing almost the exact same thing in the EBC. So they don't even bother to create any sort of lifestyle imagery or anything to show some of these. Even though there are hundreds of uses, maybe there are a few uses in particular that are really outstanding that a lot of people use it for, and there's really very little information provided there. Here's another, this is a Glade scented oil refills. Now, what I love about this is the bullet simply says one, what's even more perplexing is that both the image and the title suggests that there's a seven pack and warmer.
Emma: So they're really making the customer rely on looking at the image to get the information that they need. So if they're not looking at that image carefully, it could be very confusing. So then I think to myself, well, maybe the two will be better. Maybe the whatever this two, I guess two pack is will be more optimized. But interestingly enough, the bullets still says one. And even more confusing is the picture shows that you're getting two warmers, but the title mentions just warmer, it's not even warmers. Again, why would you want to make the assumption that somebody is going to be looking at the picture and then trying to count the warmers? Why not help them to really understand exactly what they're getting. But even more than that, why don't they make that extra little effort to communicate some of the key things that people are really caring about when they're searching for something to freshen the fragrance in their homes?
Emma: So maybe if they are nervous about inviting people over for the first time and so they want to create a very warm and welcoming environment, there's no mention of that. Perhaps they're sensitive to certain chemicals, there's no indication about what the ingredients are in this and if it's something that might cause allergies for certain individuals. So they're leaving out all of this information that's very critical for a lot of people's decision making processes. Absent why a decision is harder to make. And when in doubt we look to science, to data to guide decisions. So essentially, you really want to focus on giving people a clear why, and then we actually want to use the science and the data or the specs or whatever it is to be backing up that why. So we don't want to be doing one or the other. We actually want to be using these in tandem to be making a really strong case for why it is that your product is the best product for what they're after.
Emma: And lastly, poor language skills. So symptoms can include incorrect slang usage. My favorite example for this is I a few years ago was working on a product that was for surfers. And I'm not a surfer. And I understood that in order to be able to write really effectively, I was going to have to use some surfing's slang, but that I needed to be very delicate with how I used it. Because if I use it incorrectly, then I would look like I was somewhere that I shouldn't be. And if I didn't use it, then I would also not really be relating. And so there's a very fine balance of how to use slaying effectively. But again, being really clear on who your end user is.
Emma: Grammatical errors. So there's really no excuse for making any sort of grammatical spelling errors. There are tools that you can use, like Grammarly, like Google Drive, anything like that has built in grammar and spell check. Ad then always ask somebody to read it over as well because those things demonstrate a lack of attention to detail, which can be really off putting, but can also diminish the trust that you're trying to build with your customers. So they might not actively think, oh, there's an error. But in the back of their mind, they might be thinking these people they're trying to win me over, but they're being sloppy with when they're supposed to be making this great first impression.
Emma: So Orville Redenbacher right at the very first bullet, they are saying that I'm getting 329 ounce bags, 24 of them. So that's something that they simply omitted a period, but it's actually providing false information. Because if I was purchasing this and I thought I was getting 329 ounce bags of popcorn, I would be very disappointed to see that there were actually 3.29 ounces. If we go a little bit further down, we'll see that select products contain real butter and that I need to see the package ingredients for details. So they're essentially telling me that I need to scroll through these pictures, find the image of the ingredients label and read through to see whether this contains real butter.
Emma: And it would have taken them no more time to simply write that this product does contain real butter. Or if it doesn't, then it's probably not a good idea for them to be drawing attention to the fact that some of their other products do. Because I would assume most people would prefer real butter unless perhaps they're vegan, in which case then they should present that in a whole different light. So another way requesters can manipulate similarity to increase liking and compliance is to claim that they have backgrounds and interests similar to ours. So that's really relating to the customers and helping them to understand that you get where they are, you relate to their problems and that you, because you relate to them, you also know how to solve them. So you have the credibility that you understand their unique situations and you're not somebody that's an outsider that's just coming in and trying to fix the problems.
Emma: So this is an anti bark device. There are all sorts of problems here, even the way that they spell their name with capital letters or non-capital letters is inconsistent throughout this listing. But they're also really failing to address what it is that would drive somebody to be searching for a product like this, which I have a dog. This particular example may have come from my own frantic search for a solution to stop that dog from barking incessantly at anything and everything that happened to move by our window. And there's no relating to that space of you've tried everything or even building confidence that they really understand the unique challenges that a dog owner faces and particularly if you're wanting to make sure that you're taking good and careful care of your animal. They're also really needing to build trust with me because this is an ultrasonic device, which means that I can't hear it.
Emma: So I have to trust that when I push that button and I see the little light go off that something is happening because if my dog doesn't respond, is it that it doesn't respond to ultrasonic sounds or is it that this little gadget is actually just not doing what it says that it's doing? But I have no way of identifying that. And so trust here is really important to make me feel confident that this isn't some gimmicky thing and that it's actually going to do what it says it's going to do. So let's just recap really quickly over what we've discussed. So first and foremost, building a relationship. So focusing on the customer that's going to be purchasing your product and doing everything you can to make sure that you're establishing rapport, that you're identifying with them, that you're building trust, that you're getting them excited, that you're getting them curious. Focusing on the other person is best way of doing all of those things. So by showing interest in them, you'll actually get them excited about you.
Emma: Mirroring them. So this is what I spoke about when you're naturally interacting with other people and you might pick up on their body language or the particular types of word choices that they're making, all of those sorts of things that we do naturally. Make sure that you're also doing that when you're writing about your product so that you're relating to them with the language that they're familiar with. And in all the little things that this particular sector people care about and understand. Commiserate, so really relating to their problems, relating to the frustrations or the challenges that they're experiencing that have created enough of a pain point that they're going in search of a solution. And then immediately after that, get them excited about the benefits you'll bring. So that contrast of this terrible problem and then helping them to see that there is actually a solution and getting them excited about the ways that their life can positively change as a result, that's going to make it even more impactful.
Emma: And then really helping to create an image of them with your product in their life. So helping them to imagine what it's going to be like and get excited to be having this product that you're selling with them unwrapped out of the box and in use. So here's an example of a listing that we've actually helped create and launch earlier this spring, it's been an amazing success. I actually realized that I did not introduce myself at all in the video getting, so I realize that's a little late to do. But I am co owner of Marketing by Emma and we've helped over 650 brands from all over the world sell on Amazon and on other platforms through really effective marketing writing. And so this is an example of what you should be aiming for when you're creating your listings. If you'll see in maybe when you're watching a replay of this, you can pause it and read through it.
Emma: And what you'll see is that we're not providing every single piece of detail in these bullets, they're very short and they're very focused, and they're succinct. And they're also really emphasizing what the benefits of this particular water toy for young children is. But another thing that it's doing is remembering that the end user is not the same for this product, which is a little swimming pool toy for babies and toddlers as the person buying it. So babies and toddlers aren't getting onto Amazon and ordering this product, parents and caregivers are the ones that are purchasing this. And so we want to make sure to address the people that are making the decision so that they're going to be the ones that are going to then create this experience for the people that are using that.
Emma: And that's particularly important to be thinking about as the holidays approach because you want to make sure that you're building confidence with the person that's buying the product so that they know that the person maybe that they're gifting it to is going to be able to enjoy the benefits that you're talking about. Or perhaps it's not even a gift, but it's something that they're going to be using when they're hosting their very first Thanksgiving or trying to manage the very busy time of year that is this fall and holiday time. And so they need something that they can rely on, they need something that they know is going to be a solution that they've been looking for. And so the more that you can really address those points and give that confidence, the higher likelihood that you're going to have of making them feel secure that you're the correct choice for them, especially when they have so many things going on.
Emma: You don't want to leave any questions because then people are just going to get confused and maybe they'll be indecisive. You want them to be as competent as possible that this is the correct thing moving forward so they can just check it off their list. And when you do that, then you're able to create this wonderful situation where somebody is super excited to purchase from you, and it's just the beginning of a long and happy relationship. So that was a lot, I know. Any other questions that we can answer in the last few minutes as we wrap up here?
Liz: We do have a few. So the first one is, have you found that using all five bullet points seems to help or is there a specific number of bullets that seem to optimize the listing?
Emma: I always use five because if you're thinking, oh well, there's not really enough information for five here, then even split that information up, or maybe you're missing out on an opportunity to emphasize a different point. In a perfect world, sometimes you'd be able to have seven or eight bullet points because sometimes you're forced to find creative ways of combining information that you wouldn't typically do if you had a more free formed space like a traditional website. So I think that those separate bullets are a great opportunity. And if you have them, use them.
Liz: Awesome. And what are your thoughts on capitalization on the first part of the bullets?
Emma: I'm a fan of it mostly because it helps to really clearly identify what that bullet is about so the customer can know, is this something that I care about? Is this something that's going to intrigue me? And it's a way, since you're not able to bold or do any other formatting, it's a way of being able to frame the bullet so that the customer can more easily understand what it's about.
Liz: Great. Someone else said, I would like to know where the balance lies between making a title easy to read and simple and loading it with keywords so that it triggers SEO. What is the best practice?
Emma: I treat titles as a peculiar puzzle. I find them to be ... So I have a small team of in house writers and the title, believe it or not, is the hardest skill for them to learn. They master everything else much faster, but the title is definitely a balance. You don't want to pack it full of keywords, partially because Amazon frowns about that, but also because the customer, that's not very customer friendly either. If you just sort of see this repetition of a bunch of random words, it's not communicating extra information. So yes, it is a really important space for you to be working in those keywords that you're wanting to be indexing for. However, you don't want to go over the top.
Emma: I realize that's not a very hard and fast answer, but thinking about how can you creatively maybe even combine some of those words, because a lot of times if you look at a keyword list, and again this is why I think of it as a puzzle, maybe you see that you have three words in one phrase and then you actually have two of those words and another word and another phrase. So is there a way of maybe combining some of those things together so that it's not looking like an overabundance of keywords but you're maximizing your opportunities for some additional words that you're wanting to make sure to rank for?
Liz: Right. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Somebody else actually said that you put a lot of focus on the relationship aspect, the why you need this product, but where do you balance the fact that Amazon search algorithm is searching for key terms and titles, bullets and descriptions far more than backend key terms. So he was asking about the balance between keywords in the selling proposition. And I guess what you just said is you've got to create it in a way that it makes sense. You still have to keep your keywords in mind, but you still want to create an experience. So finding the balance is different for every product.
Emma: Exactly. So never assume that you're just going to naturally include the keywords that you need to include when you're writing about a product. We require that we always start when writing a listing with a list of keywords to focus on. And so whether that's something that we're providing for clients or they're providing, that's a necessary piece of information that we need in order to do an effective job. And so today the focus was really on the customer not so much on the algorithm, but that balance is very important because obviously if you're not indexing properly, then you're never going to get to the customer.
Emma: And so a way of thinking about that is any time that you're going to refer to your product, maybe that's just a chance for you to include an extra keyword in a different way and thinking about different spaces like that where you can add in keywords, but where it's flowing naturally rather than just, again, cramming in a bunch of unnecessary and off-putting terms. And also being mindful of not including misspellings or different languages into the body of your copy because you can put those in the backend. The front end should really be focused on the customer experience in addition to the important keywords.
Liz: And we had a comment that Amazon uses more than keyword data to determine listing, they also use conversion data. And I think that's a good point too.
Emma: Exactly. And they need to because their end goal is to help people find the best fit product that they're going to want to purchase. And so they're not simply trying to drive results to pages, they're trying to drive sales from the pages that they're sending people to.
Liz: Customer obsessed, right?
Emma: Exactly. It's all very much woven together, you can't really pull it apart and treat them as separate because they're not.
Liz: We have just a couple more questions, I know that we're running up on time. Someone asked, what is considered a good session rate?
Emma: A good session rate. You're starting to ask me questions that I can't say that I have a firm answer on also because there are many different types of shoppers. So some people are just going to look at a few images, and that's very different than somebody that's going to read every different aspect or maybe they're even looking for something really specific like they have a certain shape of something that they need a case for. And so they really want to be sure that that's it, so they're going to spend some extra time studying it. I think that the better value is looking at your conversion rates and seeing if all of these different types of shoppers are they getting the information that they need to be making that decision.
Liz: Awesome. Someone asked, what are your thoughts on text overlays in gallery images?
Emma: I love infographics because a lot of people are visual shoppers. And especially with things like lifestyle images, if you simply have an image of a person that's interacting with your product, as they say, a picture says a thousand words or whatever the term is. And so essentially a person could be looking at that picture and they might be making an assumption that's totally different than what you're trying to communicate with that picture. And so text allows you to really focus their attention on what it is that you want to focus their attention on. But also if they're not going to be reading your listing, then it's a way of actually being able to emphasize some of your key benefits and some of the important features to really start to pique their interest and to help them already begin to make that decision without going elsewhere.
Liz: Awesome. Another comment regarding session rate said session rate equals conversion, Amazon listings rate from 10 to 25%. And if you're under 5%, you have a problem. So that was helpful. One person asked about your splash easy listing and commented that the brand name was in each bullet point and wondered if that helped the SEO on that particular listing.
Emma: So in that case, part of that is ... With Amazon, it can be interesting because not everybody is out to build a brand. But if you are interested in building a brand, then Amazon creates a really unique opportunity for you to be able to do that because you have access to millions of customers that are going to have an increased level of trust but also are going to be searching for products that they might not otherwise be able to find if you're just sitting there on the internet. And so that's really the main focus there is about building a brand and creating that confidence that this isn't just a product that you're purchasing from a brand that takes great pride in developing high quality products that are educational and that are safe and that are made in the USA and all of those different things.
Liz: Awesome. Emma, this has been great. We've gotten some great feedback and some really lovely comments from people who have attended. Again, if you want to, we've already given away our free listings. So yay Zack on that, already connected to you guys via email so that I wouldn't forget. But again, if you want to sign up for any of eComEngine's tools, use that code, Emma because if you use that then I'll be getting in touch with you personally to schedule a personal one-on-one onboarding. Which we do for everybody, but just a little bit of extra love. And this webinar will be emailed to you. The recording will be emailed to you if you registered, it will be live on our website, it will also be on YouTube. And if you want to contact Emma, just email her firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you want to contact me, email me at email@example.com. Thanks everybody for attending, have a super Tuesday. And we'll definitely be having Emma back, so start thinking of your questions ahead of time.
Emma:Thanks, this was awesome!
Liz: Thanks Emma. Bye everybody.
Originally published on August 16, 2019, updated July 1, 2020
This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.