Originally published on August 13, 2020, updated September 14, 2020
Learn best practices for Amazon product photography, images, and infographics as well as copywriting techniques that will increase sales. Watch our webinar featuring two industry experts:
Robert House, Founder of ProductPhotography.com shares his expertise working with Amazon brands to create images that convert.
Emma Schermer-Tamir, Founder of Marketing by Emma, shares how to boost conversion rates and build your brand with well-crafted copywriting that makes people take action.
Watch the webinar and you'll learn how to:
You can watch the webinar above or check out the show notes below for the recap and a full transcript.
Having a complete and optimized Amazon listing can help more shoppers find your product. eComEngine’s Colleen Quattlebaum moderated this informative webinar that covers Amazon product photography and copywriting best practices from experts Robert House of ProductPhotography.com and Emma Schermer Tamir of Marketing by Emma. Let’s review some of the highlights!
The most important thing you can do as an Amazon seller is put effort into creating a product listing that attracts buyers. This is definitely not an area where you should cut corners. Use every available space — including SEO-friendly titles, high-quality photography, and descriptive bullets — to give shoppers the information they need to make a purchase decision. When you do this, it will have a positive impact on:
A great listing shows customers that you care about their experience and the service you provide. As Schermer Tamir explained, you want to build that relationship with customers so that they're excited to purchase from you. They may even become repeat customers or buy your other products.
In a traditional store, customers can inspect an item before making a purchase, but they don’t have that luxury in the online retail space. For that reason, it’s essential to have high-quality images to set realistic expectations.
While House also shared great detail about infographics, supplemental, and lifestyle photography in the webinar, here are a few things he explained about your main image:
The goal, he noted, is to “.... get through this imaginary barrier of, ‘Can I trust this seller? Can I trust this product?’ and allow the customer to evaluate the product on its merits, rather than having a thought in the back of their mind that, ‘Maybe I'm not yet really convinced of the legitimacy of this seller or of this product.’”
Ideally, your Amazon product photos should emphasize the benefits of your product and clarify any points of confusion. Images should be clear and any text should be easy to read on desktop and mobile. Use fewer words to make the maximum impact — a picture is worth a thousand words, after all!
When creating an Amazon listing, Schermer Tamir advised that you “... want to be very thoughtful about how you're presenting your product in a way to really make it stand out, to make it very clear what you're selling, and to help make that decision for customers as easy as possible.”
The Amazon marketplace is highly competitive and growing every day. Ready to set yourself apart from the competition? Keep the following in mind as you put together your product listing:
As she suggested, sellers need to focus on the things that buyers need to see before they invest any more time looking at your listing. This might be ingredients, size, compatibility, etc. Shoppers should be able to find this information quickly.
Expanding on this, House emphasized how good photography can elevate a brand’s reputation and credibility. “We don't want to oversell the product or undersell the product… but we do want to show the product as it truly is,” he explained. “By doing this, we're beginning to earn the shopper's trust and allowing them to evaluate the product objectively without wondering in the back of their mind whether or not the seller is legit or the product might be hiding something.”
Think about the key features of your product. Why do they matter to your customers? Schermer Tamir said sellers should “... keep asking why until you get to that deeper driver of human behavior.” Do shoppers want to feel more confident? Are they looking for security? Meeting these needs will help you create a marketing strategy that resonates with buyers.
To be successful, you want to really understand your customers. If you cast your net too wide so that you can sell to everyone, it can dilute your message. By crafting a targeted product listing, you will connect with the kinds of shoppers who will return over and over again.
This recap really only scratches the surface of what is covered in the webinar, so definitely take the time to listen and find out how you can use Amazon product photography and copywriting to increase sales and take your business to the next level.
Colleen: Welcome everybody today to our webinar on Amazon product photography and copywriting to increase sales. Joining us today is Emma Schermer-Tamir. She is the founder of Marketing by Emma. She's an Amazon copywriting expert and she has helped over 700 businesses from all around the world to boost their sales and build their brands.
Colleen: I'm also excited to have Robert House here joining us from Las Vegas. He is the owner of ProductPhotography.com and his company makes it easy to get professional photos of your products quickly and affordably on your website and Amazon. They both have some great tips to share with us today. Emma and Robert, would you like to share a little bit more about yourself?
Robert: Yeah, go ahead, Emma.
Emma: Well, I'm really excited to be here and I hope that through this webinar, you'll get some great tips about how to really connect with the customers that you're trying to target. Amazon becomes more and more flooded with different sellers all day, so these tips should really help you not only stand out but convert the right customers.
Robert: Definitely, and I am very much looking forward to sharing some insight from a photographer's perspective on how you can use product photography in your Amazon listing to increase sales. We started this company in 2003, so pretty soon we're going to be at 20 years of doing just product photography, which is pretty exciting and also makes me feel kind of old, but very much excited to share a little bit of what we've learned over the years to help people with their listings.
Colleen: Good. Thanks ago to both of you for joining us today and for those of you who don't know who I am, I'm Colleen with eComEngine. I'm the marketing manager here and eComEngine has been around since 2007 and we have a full suite of Amazon seller tools, one of which is FeedbackFive which helps you to manage feedback and reviews on Amazon and we also have RestockPro, which is an inventory management tool for FPA sellers and Market Scout is a product research tool for Amazon sellers, as well as SmartPrice which helps out with algorithmic repricing of your Amazon items.
Colleen: So, without further ado, I'll just jump into the agenda just to remind everybody what we're talking about today. Today, as you probably saw in some of the email marketing and on our website when you registered, but the things that we're going to cover today are why are photos and copy so important and how to make choosing your products easy. I'll talk about how you can build trust and communicate quality through your images and copywriting and how they can help elevate the urge to buy from all of those potential buyers looking at your listings.
Colleen: Ultimately, the goal is to get them clicking add to cart, to buy your items. Robert and Emma have a lot of great tips. Let's see. Emma, let's go ahead and get started with why photos and copy are so important. What can you share with us?
Emma: Let's do it! Let's click through to the next slide because I think this kind of summarizes things pretty perfectly and I always have a way of having my video and everyone else's heads right in the way of what I'm trying to show, so I just move myself here.
Emma: If you look at this listing, this is an extreme example but it is a very effective example at showing you how important it is to make sure that you have the correct imagery and the correct text to give your product the best chance at succeeding. The main image here is of the sole of the shoe, which is making it almost a mystery as to what kind of shoe this is and the title is really not giving us any more indication, other than it's a leather something by a brand named Patricia Nash.
Emma: Then in the bullets, again, we're sort of left with nothing. While this may be an extreme case and not necessarily something that most of you sitting here watching are doing with your listings, you still want to be very thoughtful about how you're presenting your product in a way to really make it stand out, to make it very clear what you're selling and to help make that decision for customers as easy as possible.
Emma: They're going through potentially 20, 30 different listings that all look very, very similar and so, your images and your copy are really the only tools that you have as a seller to make sure that you are communicating your product in a way that customers will understand what it is and why it's better than all of your competitors.
Emma: In addition to converting, which is obviously what we're all after when we're selling, you want to be converting as much of your traffic as possible, but you have to understand that Amazon also functions differently than a lot of other search engines, in that they are trying to make sales as quickly as possible and as seamlessly as possible and they're trying to get the right kinds of customers.
Emma: When you do these things correctly, both with having really strong imagery and very strong text, you can also have a lot of residual benefits that you may not immediately think of. Everything from indexing and ranking better so that you have increased visibility without necessarily even having to pay more for advertising. You may even find that you're paying less on advertising because you're ranking better and you're getting more of the right traffic.
Emma: You're also getting the right buyers, so perhaps minimizing returns, negative reviews that can really have a negative impact on your overall performance, and making sure that the sales that you're making are ones that will be lasting, can be a chance to cross promote other products and really start to grow your brand and then of course, building that relationship with your customer which is what every brand wants so that they're not just choosing you because you're the right product but they're choosing you because they're excited to purchase from you and they will maybe even want to repurchase from you or look and see all the other things that you're selling. It's very important. Not something to be overlooked.
Colleen: Robert, tell us from the photography side, why it is so important.
Robert: Yeah, well it sounds like a simple answer, right? Because your listing comprises solely of photography and copy, right? That's pretty much all it is, but going into a little bit more detail beyond the basics of simply showing the item and listing the specs, we're trying to build trust and we're trying to convey quality. We do that by making sure we put care and attention into the copy as well as into the product photography.
Robert: Care and attention with our listings, I think it says something about you as a seller. If you put car and attention into your listing, you're likely to put care and attention into the quality of the product and the sourcing of the materials and the safety, things like that. We want to get through this imaginary barrier of, "Can I trust this seller? Can I trust this product?", and allow the customer to evaluate the product on its merits, rather than having a thought in the back of their mind that, "Maybe I'm not yet really convinced of the legitimacy of this seller or of this product."
Robert: As far as product photography goes, throughout this webinar, I'm going to be talking about the four main image types that we classify photos as when we're shooting for Amazon and those are going to be your main image, any supplemental images, infographics, and then lifestyle photos.
Robert: One thing I want to mention really quick is that I'm not really going to be talking much about the Amazon product image requirements, mainly just for the sake of time. That could be its own webinar just in and of itself, talking about those. But feel free, if you do have questions on the Amazon product image requirements, feel free to put them in through the system as a question and we can answer those in the Q&A.
Robert: Talking about your main image, that's where I want to start and we really can't understate the importance of the main image for your Amazon listing. It's like it's your billboard, right? It's how we get people through the door. It's your very first interaction with your customer, so we want to do the very best we can with it and put the time into just getting it right.
Robert: We want to keep our main images as clear as possible and as focused on the product as possible because shoppers are really good at immediately identifying the features that they're looking for. For example, if someone is searching for wooden kitchen tools, but on an image search you see kitchen tools featuring a metal handle, it's really easy for our brains to identify that and quickly sort in or out those features that we see.
Robert: You want to make the features your product does have as easy to identify as possible so that if your product does have what a shopper is looking for, it can be identified very quickly which is why I like to keep things very simple and as uncluttered in the main image as possible. I don't really like to add extra visual elements that aren't part of the product itself or that might detract from the product itself.
Robert: Making the image as large as possible is extremely important obviously. We crop our images as tight as possible to get rid of any white space and make the best use of that square of real estate that we're given by Amazon. In using that real estate, we also want to tailor the layout of that image to eliminate as much white space as possible while also remaining aesthetically pleasing in that arrangement.
Robert: Along those lines, I want people to not forget that a large percentage of shoppers are using mobile devices. As professionals, as a photographer or Emma as a copywriter or viewers as sellers, it's easy to forget that because right now, I'm on a laptop. I often work on a desktop computer and it's easy to forget that a lot of people are viewing this on a tiny mobile device, right?
Robert: We want to optimize our images so that they're clear on all devices, but even... If it looks small on your computer when you're viewing it, just imagine what it's going to look like on a tiny mobile device. It's already small in our search results when we search on our desktops. It's even tinier on these little mobile devices.
Robert: Another thing is I can't remember where I read this, but I read somewhere that up to 65% of Amazon sales originate, not necessarily complete but originate, from a mobile device and that's only going to increase over time, right? Again, if it already looks small on your desktop, on a results page on your desktop, just keep in mind what it's going to look like on your customer's mobile devices.
Robert: To that effect, and this might be a little bit controversial, but in some cases, it may make sense to leave some of the pieces out. Especially if you're selling a product that comprises... It's a kit or has several components. Sometimes it makes sense to leave a little bit out.
Robert: Something that we often discuss with clients is whether to showcase their packaging within the main image and it does work in a lot of cases, but only if it enhances the product and it doesn't interfere with showing the product as large and clearly as possible. We get people who come to us and say, "Hey, we put a lot of time and money into developing this awesome packaging and we want people to know that when you buy this, it's going to come in a nice box."
Robert: You absolutely should show that, but sometimes we want to show that on a supplemental view rather than on the main view if it's something where we have to compromise and make the product smaller than we'd like to, and then end up making it less clear and not quite as large.
Robert: If we can go to the next slide, I want to talk about really quick, just touch on these three images. These aren't images that we did in our studio, but I will show you some of our work in some of the later slides. None of these photos are bad, but they just touch on some of the things that I just talked about.
Robert: The photo on the far right is the one that I think does the best job here, just showing the product clearly and as large as possible and in a pleasing arrangement. But that photo on the far left with the box, we're getting into talking about that thing or just seeing that thing that I just talked about which is we have this box, it's taking up maybe 25 or 30 percent of the image and my personal opinion is it's not really adding a whole lot of value to that photo and that layout.
Robert: We can kind of envision that if we didn't have that box, we could probably do a better job presenting the product itself in a more appealing way and certainly larger. The image in the middle also is a nice photo. There's nothing wrong with it, but it has some of these extra elements that I don't really like to do in a main image because when you're seeing these results on an Amazon search page, I do feel like these kind of stock photo and graphical elements that are added to the image do tend to take away from the product and limit a little bit our brain's filtering ability to immediately identify what it is that we're looking for.
Robert: When I was searching these images and I saw this one, the first thing I saw about it was the vegetables in the upper right corner. I didn't really see the spoons and all the details until later. It's not a bad image. I like this, but probably more for a supplemental view rather than for the main view because we could probably do again a little bit better on the arrangement and also make the products a little bit larger if we didn't have some of these extra elements in the photo. Yeah, I think that's about it for this section.
Colleen: Thank you, Robert. That's helpful.
Robert: Yeah. I think Emma's going to kick us off with how to make choosing your products easy.
Emma: I think what's really interesting is that photos and text are really working together to achieve a lot of the same goals. Some of that is going to be done visually through imagery and some of that is going to be done textually through your copy. Ideally, you want all of this to be really well honed to work together so that when somebody's looking at an image and then going in and digging a little bit deeper in to the copy itself, they're reinforcing that and you're continuing to make that decision as seamless as possible.
Emma: So, this idea of really making it clear what the product is and helping to focus the attention is so important when you're thinking about how to create the copy for your listing and this is a great example again of what not to do.
Emma: It doesn't take much effort here to see that this is a very aggressive attempt at keyword stuffing, which is fortunately something that seems to be a technique that is falling out of trend. I don't see it as often as I used to and it's something that it's not going to be the main focus of this conversation, but every time I talk about listings and I don't talk about keywords, then I think people translate that to mean that it's not important.
Emma: Keywords are super important. Your keywords are what is allowing you to index and is what is allowing you to help drive the traffic to your listing. You want to be very thoughtful about the keyword strategy that you utilize, but I'm not going to be digging too deeply into how to actually go about that and how to focus your words, but when it comes to writing the listing itself, you want to be very thoughtful about how you're integrating keywords into your listing so that you're not taking away from what you're really trying to communicate.
Emma: Because the keywords are speaking to the algorithm, but the rest of your copy and the majority of your listing is meant to be speaking to your customers. If we dive into these bullets a little bit deeper... Oh, can we go back? Sorry. No, back to the example. If you dig into these bullets, you'll see that it's really hard for your eyes to know what to focus on.
Emma: Just like an image that's cluttered and it makes it difficult for everybody to just hone in on what they need, the same thing is happening with this Frontline example where it's a lot of text, so the bullets are longer than what I would encourage. They're also not doing anything visually to help break up one bullet from the next and so, it makes it very difficult to look at these.
Emma: If you have some particular things that you must meet in your flea and tick prevention, this listing is not making it easy for you to find that information. Maybe the ingredients are very important for you, maybe the actual application or how frequently you use this is important to you and all may potentially be found within here, but somebody's going to have to work really hard to find that information.
Emma: Rather than throwing everything there, when you're writing your bullets, you want to think about what are the five most important things that somebody absolutely must know about your product and then make each bullet focused on that one particular topic. You have other places, you have your images, you have your description, you have plenty of space to fully explain what your product is, so don't feel like you have to push everything into the bullets.
Emma: Can we go to the next slide please? Think about what is the key buying criteria of your customers. Really get a very clear sense of what are those things that somebody has to check off before they even invest anymore time at looking at your listing. Whether that's a compatibility question, whether that's size, whether that's ingredients. All of those different things, they may not be exciting, but customers need to find that information quickly if they're going to continue to give their attention to your listing.
Emma: You also want to set it up for maximum schemability, so that's using an economy of words and being very thoughtful about every single word that you're using but it's also utilizing things in the bullets like all caps headers for each bullet to help focus what each section is about, so people can quickly zoom into what they want to see. Then that's also in the description, if you're not using A+ content and you're just creating a standard description, using some very basic HTML tags to help visually break up your text and then organize it in a way that customers can find that essential information.
Colleen: Robert, what can you tell us about making yourself, your products the easy choice?
Colleen: Infographics can obviously help.
Robert: Yeah, another way we can make choosing your product easy is through the use of infographics. Infographics are where we combine images and text and graphics to illustrate concepts quickly and visually so that a shopper doesn't need to go searching down through the listing too much to find this information and isn't left with unanswered questions.
Robert: We use infographics in three main ways. First is to illustrate any concepts that aren't immediately clear. In the example to the right here, we're showing the process of getting a sleeping mat back into its original bag which I always seem to have trouble with anytime I've gone camping.
Robert: We'll try to illustrate certain processes that need more explanation. Another one we do commonly with infographics is doing exploded views of products in order to show the assembly and the disassembly of the parts to a consumer. Pepper mills are coming to mind, that we've done several exploded views. Those have lots of parts and people are going to be disassembling them to clean them and fill them.
Robert: Then also water infusion or flavor infusion bottles. Sometimes those have several parts. We've done a lot of those where we're doing exploded views of those and pointing things out in the infographic for that.
Robert: We can also use infographics to point out details with annotations. Let's say you have a backpack and you want to show off the quality of a zipper and the fabric and maybe do a close up of the handle or a pocket. These might be minor details that don't necessarily warrant their own separate standalone image, but we can show them together and annotate them clearly in an infographic and it doesn't take as much as space on the sidebar of your listing as it would if we treated each one of those as its own photo.
Robert: Another thing I like to do in Amazon listings is illustrate scale. For any product that we have where size isn't immediately apparent, I like to use dimension lines and show exact measurements inside an infographic when possible. We can also use a reference object such as a silhouette of a person to illustrate scale.
Robert: Keep in mind that you're not limited to use a single infographic. If you want to explain how something is assembled in one image and then point out key details or scale in another, you can absolutely, absolutely do that. Then finally, if your infographic is going to be using a lot of text and you'd like the words shown in the image to have the same voice and writing style as the rest of your listing, we can absolutely work with your copywriter, such as Emma, to make sure that the language fits your brand style.
Robert: So, kind of to wrap up that section, yeah, I think great copy, concise copy combined with infographics work together to help make choosing your product easy and prevents the shopper from needing to hunt down information.
Colleen: Great. Thank you, Robert. We do have a couple questions that came in that, Robert, I wanted to see if you don't mind addressing two questions here. One seller said that Amazon almost always suppresses their listing when they add a box in the original listing. The example was a vinyl glove with the box or carton. Is there any way around this? I guess you had the utensils that showed the box but he says Amazon tends to suppress it.
Robert: Right. Yeah, because really for those Amazon product image requirements, you're really only supposed to show the product itself in its entirety without showing too many extra unnecessary elements and they may be considering the box to be that. Sometimes also though, if your box or packaging has a web address on it, that's another reason that they may be suppressing things like that.
Robert: Obviously they want you to complete the sale on Amazon, so some people have done that, I recall, in the past, putting their web address on the box and that's kind of a no no, so that could be part of the thing. Clearly a lot of people are able to get their boxes up there. That can be just kind of a hit or miss or luck of the draw kind of thing, but I really think that putting your box in there for your main image isn't really an absolute necessary thing to do anyway.
Robert: You may be better off ignoring it and putting in a supplemental view, which they're not really usually going to have an issue with unless again it has a web address on it.
Colleen: Okay. The next question is about requirements. This seller said, "I can't seem to find the optimal DPI and size for the best resolution results in our listings."
Colleen: He says he crops first to make it really tight for every product, but the lifestyle images lose so much of the quality once it's been uploaded and converted.
Robert: Right, yeah. Amazon has a... Their minimum resolution requirement is a 1000 pixel square. Pixels per inch or DPI, that's not really relevant when we're talking about... That's more of a print thing, you know? The height and width is what we need to focus on, which their minimum is 1000x1000, right? The question then comes up, well, if 1000x1000 is the minimum, then is it better for me to do more and what's the max I can do?
Robert: We've tested this and we found the answer, so the maximum image size that is worth putting up on Amazon is 1500x1500. You can put up a much larger image if you want to. You can go 3000x000, it's not going to break anything but if you go beyond 1500x1500, Amazon will simply automatically size it down to fit.
Robert: Again, there's nothing wrong with uploading more, but you're not going to get more quality on the Amazon listing. But you absolutely do want to make sure that you go all the way up to 1500x1500 rather than just meeting the minimum of the 1000 square. Go up to 1500 and that way, you're going to make sure you get the maximum amount of detail in the image, but more importantly the zoom view because that's really where that comes into play, that resolution is on those kind of mouse over or click to zoom kind of thing. 1500x1500, that's the minimum you want to be and that's the max that will be able to be used.
Colleen: Good. Speaking of quality, how can you use images and copy to help build trust and communicate that quality of your product?
Robert: Yeah, we want shoppers to know that behind this product and listing, there are real people who care about their product. They care about you as a customer and they want you to enjoy the product that you've purchased. This helps you as a customer and also helps the health of the seller's Amazon account.
Robert: Let's talk a bit about building trust and conveying quality through the use of product photography and we can take a look at these two images here. I'm actually going to start with conveying quality first and then we can talk about trust on the next slide. But on this slide, the image on the right here is one that we shot for a client and the image on the left is a competing product currently for sale on Amazon.
Robert: You can probably tell by looking at them that the products are very similar, maybe even the same. If you asked someone, "Which of these two products do you think is the higher quality product?", very few are likely to respond that they think the one on the left is the higher quality. The most common response would probably be that they look the same, but I think maybe the one on the right might have a higher quality finish.
Robert: If you ask which one they're more likely to buy, it's probably going to be the one on the right. As far as I know, these two products are pretty much exactly the same in construction and finish. I remember having this product in my hand and it's a very nice, high gloss, chrome finish. You can see yourself in it. But even knowing that and having that advantage, myself knowing that they are exactly the same, I can't help but be influenced by that myself to lean towards... If I was put in a position of wanting to buy one of these, I would lean towards buying the one on the right, all other factors being the same, just because it looks better. Even though I know better, there's something about that. If given the choice between the two, I would probably pick the one on the right simply because the image is a better quality.
Robert: We can, yeah, move on to the next slide here. Now we're getting into that third category of images which we almost always include on a listing, which is supplemental photos or detail shots. I'm not going to linger on this slide too long just for the sake of time, but here we're trying to be thoughtful and answer as many questions as we can visually for the shopper. We're trying to be thoughtful about showing alternate angles that will help the shopper make a decision.
Robert: We want to be honest about the true construction of the product. We don't want to oversell the product or undersell the product either, but we do want to show the product as it truly is. I think the more we can present thoughtful and useful images to showcase the product and its features, the more appreciation the shopper is going to have for you as a seller, that we care about them making an informed decision based on these photos, that we're not trying to hide something negative or some negative aspect of the product.
Robert: By doing this, we're beginning to earn the shopper's trust and allowing them to evaluate the product objectively without wondering in the back of their mind whether or not the seller is legit or the product might be hiding something. So, that's-
Colleen: Thank you.
Robert: I think we're onto Emma.
Emma: Yeah, so my mind is going in all these different directions as Robert is talking and I'm like, "Yes, exactly. 100%," and one of the things that really... Well, there were actually two things that really stood out to me that he said, one of which is how important communicating quality is and I would say that quality and trust go hand in hand.
Emma: It's not only that I was more attracted to the image on the right that really shows this high chrome, glossy finish but it just looks more professional. It looks like a more respectable company whereas the other one looks like something that you just did yourself.
Emma: Even a product like that which is you're going to be exposing it to heat and you're going to be boiling water that you're then going to be consuming, so if you want to really trust the vessel that's going to be heating your liquids that you're then going to be putting into your body, you're going to trust that product so much more and the same is said for the text.
Emma: Let's say you had a great picture but then you get into you and you see bullets that are like this, which all of the red is just actually only some of the issues that I'm seeing with this listing here and we don't have to necessarily pull it apart. It's not that a customer is going to be looking at your listing with a red editing pen to say all of the grammatical and spelling errors that you made, but all of those little errors add up and they may cause somebody to pause and just have a little bit of an off feeling or to lose interest.
Emma: Or in more extreme cases like this, to really look at it and question, "Is this product truly a product that I want to bring into my household?" This is a WiFi camera. Well, if they're not really presenting themselves in a way that's professional, I may think that this is a product I can't count on or maybe they even have some special software in it that allows them to spy on me in worst case scenario.
Emma: Neither of those are things that you want to be communicating to your customers. So, you want to make sure when it comes to your copy, that you're really keeping an eye towards detail and making sure that you're writing everything with impeccable English, first and foremost. There are free tools like Grammarly that you can use as a resource if you're just not that confident with your grammatical skills or if English isn't your native tongue.
Emma: But then you also want to take that a step further and you want to be really thoughtful about how can you present your product, just as Robert was saying, in an honest way. A lot of times what I'll see people be tempted to do is to really oversell their products with their language and I liken that to the late night infographic... Late night-
Emma: ... infomercial sort of thing where it's the best and the greatest and the most innovative and if you can truly say that, that's fine. But if you cannot back up those sorts of statements, then it ends up coming across as really disingenuous, as over the top, and as just aggressive marketing and sales rather than trying to just honestly sell your product.
Emma: People can tell the difference and they can see through that and so not only are you potentially overselling your product, again setting yourself up for a negative review or a negative customer experience but you're also cheapening how your brand is coming across and potentially influencing how your customers are really thinking about your product.
Emma: Impeccable grammar and spelling is a must. Thinking about how to use keywords in a way that's not going to detract from what it is that you're trying to say. You can have the very best, most amazing keyword and if you can't fit that into a sentence in a way that makes sense, then use it in the backend.
Emma: Your front facing listing copy isn't the only place that you can integrate keywords and so, don't try to force something that doesn't fit. Avoid really exaggerated claims and it may even be worthwhile to indicate who shouldn't buy your product, which I know that sounds a bit extreme but that will really go a long way to helping foster customer trust, whether it's somebody that chooses to buy your product and now they have more confidence in you, or someone that you've saved from making a poor choice but is maybe now more interested in your brand and would want to look and see if you do have a product that meets their needs.
Emma: They're going to find out one way or the other if your product suits them. Better to make it clear before they purchase than to go through the cost and hassle of creating that transaction and then having it end up in a return.
Colleen: Okay. Emma, I do have a question that came in about bullet points. Is there a certain number of words that should be in each bullet point? Should they just be one line each or can they contain more information than that?
Emma: You will want to check your category's style guide to see what your specific character limitations are, so that will somewhat dictate things but a lot of people in most categories can get away with using up to 500 characters per bullet. I would say that there is really no reason that you should ever make bullets that long.
Emma: That just looks like huge, really unattractive and sort of intimidating chunks of text that nobody is going to be particularly attracted to, so we personally, assuming that we're not working with tighter restraints, try to keep the bullets within the 200 characters range or so. 100 characters, it can be a little bit difficult to get all of the information there. 200 gives you just that little bit of extra space so you can make sure that you're fully explaining things, but it's still restrictive enough so that you have to be really mindful of every single word and making sure that it should be there and that it's helping to push that conversation forward in some way.
Colleen: Okay. Great. What else can you tell us? Any other tips to help elevate that urge to buy?
Emma: Oh my gosh, so many tips. Where to begin? I'm sure that Robert has some great suggestions on that note.
Robert: Yeah, we're kind of getting into that home stretch, right? Now is when we get to have a little bit more fun and elevate that urge to buy. Hopefully by now, we've kind of broken through that imaginary wall of doubt. We've convinced the shopper, hopefully, that this is a quality product sold by a reputable company and now we're getting closer to closing the deal.
Robert: With lifestyle photos, we use lifestyle photos in several ways. Firstly is to show the product in its natural setting. We finally get to get away from just showing an object on a white background and now we get to give the product a little bit of context. This is our opportunity to allow the shopper to visualize this product in their home or in their office or on their person and say, "Hey, I'm excited to have this in my home. I think it's going to look great."
Robert: We get to begin to appeal a little bit to the emotional side of the mind, rather than the analytical so much which we've been focusing on in a lot of the previous image types. Sometimes besides showing a product in its natural setting, sometimes we also use lifestyle photos simply to use a backdrop other than white. You know? To use a material such as wood or stone and add in some props just to give the product... Maybe a product that doesn't necessarily look its best on white but we have to on a lot of the previous images, now we can choose a background that contrasts well and show it that way.
Robert: In the end, we're moving towards getting them to imagine the experience of owning this product, getting them to look forward to the shipment arriving and hopefully getting them excited to hit that add to cart button.
Emma: Something that's really important to think about with your imagery and your text is looking for those opportunities to be able to use imagery and text together to make your message even more powerful. When you see a lifestyle image like what Robert just showed with the silverware tray or even earlier on when there's the tea kettle that is used at different angles, all of these things are trying to communicate a lot of information and sometimes, the information that is communicated by your photo may not necessarily be the same message that your customers are interpreting from it.
Emma: By thinking about how you can intelligently incorporate text into your images, it can be a great way to make sure that you are really controlling the message so that every single person that looks at your photos understands exactly what it is that you're trying to demonstrate. Whether it's a lifestyle image and so then it's really what Robert was speaking about, about helping customers to visualize this product in their lives and so, that's going to benefit from using some more emotionally driven language. Or you have more of a technical image like the case of the sleeping bag where it would be very confusing to look at those photos without any text and try to understand what it is that is being demonstrated there.
Emma: By being thoughtful about how to make your text and images work together, you can really start to set yourself apart because it's something that I don't see enough Amazon sellers doing and it's really kind of this still relatively untapped real estate that you have on your listing. A lot of people that are shopping, they're not necessarily going through every section of your listing with a magnifying glass and reading it and thinking about it and contemplating it.
Emma: Maybe they scroll through your bullets and then they scroll through your pictures and then they look at your reviews, so your photos can also be a great place to really reinforce the key benefits of your product, important features that you want people to know and just the image on its own may not make that clear enough.
Emma: When you're using text in your images, you want to be very thoughtful about how you're doing that. You don't want to create this explosion of text all over your image. You want it to be very thoughtful, almost like a magazine ad where you have a great image and the focus is on the image and then that text is there just to help really summarize everything you're seeing and make it that much more compelling.
Emma: You shouldn't have to zoom in to read what's being written there. Sometimes it can be very helpful to evoke a little bit of emotion or to emphasize those benefits, but it can also be great for clarifying points of confusion. Something that may be hard to explain just in words or depict just in images, by combining them together, you can make it much clearer to customers so that they have a strong understanding of what it is that you're trying to show.
Emma: Then as I was saying, this really allows you to control the message. When I'm talking about using text in your images, your listing images aren't the only place to do this. You also have your A+ content if you're a registered brand where this is also incredibly important to be thinking about because your A+ content is really that place where you can bring words and text together in a way that is not only helping your product stand out, but your brand stand out as well.
Colleen: We have some examples that you wanted to share, right, Emma?
Emma: Let's compare two listings side by side here. On the left, we have [Intex 00:45:58], which they're a pretty well known brand, they're sold in Walmart and a variety of different big retailers and you see at the time that I took these screenshots, they were number 35 in toys and games, so they're not doing poorly.
Emma: On the right, we have a product that we actually helped launched last spring and when I was taking this screenshot, it was number four in toys and games. As soon as the weather got warm again this year, it just shot right back up. I know that these two look pretty different, but they're actually very similar. They're both inflatable pool types of toys to be used with young children, to help them cool off in the backyard.
Emma: Let's take a look at the listings themselves and see how you want to be thinking about this. On the left hand side, not only is Intex, they're kind of going for the economy of words to the extreme where we really don't get any information at all. There are a lot of questions that I'm left with in looking at their bullets.
Emma: On the right hand side, you see that this listing is using those all caps headers that I was speaking about, so you know exactly what each bullet is about. If safety is really important to you, then you know exactly where to go to find more information about that. But what's also happening here in addition to making it easy to skim and making sure that it's all written clearly, but this listing is starting to hone in on who their target customers are.
Emma: They're really differentiating their product and their brand through their marketing. Like I said, the products are nearly identical in a lot of ways but what Splash Easy has done is they've said, "We're not just making an inflatable pool. We are making an inflatable tool that can also be used for educational purposes." This is a toy that can be promoting childhood development, so for parents that really care about that, not that all parents don't care about it but obviously some parents are going to be more concerned about those things and so they're really honing in on that and making it very much a central part of who they are and what they're doing.
Emma: In essence, they're almost creating a whole new product category by doing that. If we can click over to the... This is Intex's A+ content. It's almost that it would be better to not have A+ content at all because it's really a very sloppy job. What I find is that a lot of large brands are actually the worst offenders when it comes to optimizing listings, which I always see as a great opportunity for those that are not necessarily a well known brand to really take advantage of that ability to understand how Amazon works and to make yourself stand apart and to out compete these brands that if you were side by side on a shelf, it would be very hard to do so.
Emma: With Splash Easy, you see we have some lifestyle imagery of people interacting with this pool. We have the infographic demonstrating some of the different developmental benefits that you get when you're interacting with this toy. It's really helping to create an experience of what it is that you're getting with this product. It's not just talking about the features and its main functions, which is to have another activity that you can do with your kids outside and not having to be around a lot of people and to cool off when it's hot outside, but also really helping to connect with some of those deeper motivations that customers care about and helping communicate that in a way that is going to allow them to really succeed, which is... They've just done phenomenally well in a very short amount of time.
Emma: Finding the benefit is incredibly important and it's one of the things that is seemingly simple, but can be quite challenging to do in execution. Every time that you have a feature that you want to explain about your product, you want to ask yourself, "Why does this matter?", and then you want to keep asking why until you get to that deeper driver of human behavior.
Emma: Whether that's to feel more security or to feel more confident, it's those kind of softer feeling types of things that you don't necessarily have to hit head on but you want to be aware of so that you can speak to them in a way that's going to engage people and get them excited. It's not that you want to ignore the features of your product, but rather use those to support the claims that you're making in speaking about the benefits.
Emma: In order to do that, you have to have a really solid understanding of who your customers are. One of the biggest mistakes that I see new businesses make in particular is saying, "I just want to sell to everybody." When you do that, you really dilute what you're saying, so having a clear understanding of who your target customers are and how you are really going to connect with them will allow you to create a much more successful listing than to make a lot of very generic sort of text that is essentially just blending in with all of your other competitors.
Colleen: Right, well that's a lot of advice and a lot of great tips that Robert and Emma have shared, so hopefully everybody here on the call has also learned some new tips to help remove those barriers and compel those potential buyers to get them clicking add to cart.
Colleen: But one thing I wanted to jump in here and talk about is that while your images and copy are super important to get them to add to cart, it doesn't stop there. After they make the purchase, there is an impact after they buy. Obviously having an optimized listing with awesome images and copy is crucial to your success, but after they buy, they would be more likely to leave a negative review if your listings are not accurate.
Colleen: There's no better time now with Prime Day and the holiday season upon us. Take a look at your listings, make sure that your listings and your photos are complete and accurate. Make sure that you have those good quality photos as well as that your bullet points and your description is accurate.
Colleen: Here's an example of where a listing was not accurate or the picture maybe was outdated because it had a different name on the box in the image on the listing than what was received in the buyer's hands, so the buyer felt very deceived. The length of the pool was off by a few inches and clearly this person measured and just was very disappointed and it resulted in a one star review. So, take a look at your listings. Look at how you can update your copy, your photos, and most importantly just make sure that it's accurate so that you don't receive negative reviews.
Colleen: Having a review strategy in place is super important. For anyone who has not been using their request a review button in seller central that Amazon rolled out about almost a year ago now, I'd highly recommend it. We're seeing some great results from sellers who are using it. Our tool FeedbackFive allows you to automate the process of the request a review button, but some of the main reasons to use it is that it's 100% compliant with Amazon's terms of service, so you never have to worry about violating any of their guidelines when it comes to buyer seller messaging, because it's not sent through buyer seller messaging.
Colleen: Amazon sends the review and feedback request directly from Amazon to the buyer and they will actually automatically translate the email into the buyer's chosen language based on the preferences that they have on their Amazon account. With FeedbackFive, you can automate the process of clicking the request a review button, schedule different timing based on your ASIN, exclude refunds. There's a lot of flexibility.
Colleen: Then I mentioned we're seeing really good results. In fact, within ten days after activation, this is a study of about 1200 sellers on Amazon that have switched to the FeedbackFive request a review automation. Within that first ten days of switching, on average they're seeing about a 41% increase in reviews. Obviously having awesome quality photos, awesome copy, working with experts and professionals like Emma and Robert and then having a tool like FeedbackFive, all that combined can help you be more successful on Amazon, get better reviews and win the buybacks more often.
Colleen: We're going to go ahead and jump into some questions, but before I do that, I'm just going to go ahead and put up on the screen here a few offers that we have. We have a 30 day free trial to try FeedbackFive. Emma has a free listing analysis that she will do as well a Convert Like Crazy listing optimization worksheet. You can download that right there on her site. Robert is offering 10% off their Amazon photography packages, so just mention this webinar anytime between now and the end of October to take advantage of that.
Colleen: Emma, one question that came up, you mentioned HTML tags. Can you explain what those are?
Emma: Yeah, so HTML is a very basic type of coding that you can use but you want to be cautious with how you use it. Some basic HTML tags, which would include to bold, to create line breaks, and to use bullets, are allowed by Amazon. You will sometimes see sellers that are using the emoji sorts of things. They may get away with that, but technically you're not supposed to be doing that. I would advise against that both because you're not supposed to be doing that but also because I personally feel that unless you have a very good product that fits that type of imagery, it typically just cheapens your brand and your product.
Emma: When I just type into the chat, I can type those. I'm typing right now. This is bold, this is line break. With HTML, you also have to undo something, so if you do bold, when you want the bolding to stop, you have to unbold. This is unbold and if there's another question, I'll just type this out while you're...
Colleen: Okay. Yeah, we have a question for Robert about the main image. Which image is better to use, an angle or front of pack image? I guess, yeah.
Robert: Of the pack?
Colleen: Of the pack, right.
Robert: Yeah, so it kind of depends on the form factor, right? Depending on whether it's more of a flat object or if it's a more three dimensional object. If it's something like a bottle, let's say, if it's a bottle, a skincare product, something like that, then we usually do do a direct straight on view rather than doing an angle. I'd say more often than not, when we're talking packs or just a product by itself, we do tend to do a direct, straight view rather than a three dimensional angle, unless there's something maybe on the side of it that you want to see that really grabs attention.
Robert: But yeah, to answer that question, I think I would typically go for a straight on shot for most products, but you've got to take it on a case-by-case. Yeah.
Colleen: Okay. We have a few questions about A+ content. Somebody was asking if Emma handles managing A+ content in your business. I think that's a yes. Right, Emma?
Emma: Yeah, we're a copywriting firm, so we can help with all of your A+ content copy, but what we find is that a lot of times if you're working with photographers or designers, somebody needs to take the lead on that full creative vision and so, we can also help you select what modules to use and even give guidance about the kind of images to create so then you just have a document that you can shoot over to your designer or photographer and they know exactly what they need to do and you really don't have to be managing that at all.
Colleen: Can you address the limitations with word count in A+ content? We have two different questions about that.
Emma: Word count in A+ content. That will largely depend on the module. For example, you have the product description module which goes beneath your logo. It's this sort of second section of your A+ content and there I don't remember the exact numbers, but you can write quite a bit.
Emma: I would say there's really no situation where you should ever be maxing out your character limits in your bullets or in your A+ content. The only place that I would say to max out your character limits is your standard description. There, you're typically allowed up to 2000 characters and that's something that... Your description appears most of the time above your bullets when you're looking on mobile devices, so I think that a lot of people make the false assumption because they're looking at their computers that your description doesn't matter but it does matter.
Emma: You want to be very thoughtful about how can you utilize that space to communicate things that perhaps your bullets aren't also the best place to do that. If you are selling a skincare product and you have some hero ingredients that you really want to emphasize, it can be hard to do that in your bullets but in your description, you can't create a bulleted list and talk about some of the really great benefits of each of those ingredients in a way that's very manageable for the customers.
Emma: When it comes to A+ content, what we're seeing is that you want to be very balanced with your imagery and text. I've seen some that go to the extreme of using almost no text and it's just pretty much a series of images and I don't think that that's utilizing that space to the best of your abilities, but you also don't want this really clunky image and then big chunks of text.
Emma: You want to think of it like a little website within your Amazon listing and how you would set that up so that if you had your landing page as a standalone, how would you design that to really communicate both your product and your brand and why you're worth spending your money there?
Colleen: I think we have time for one more question, because I know we're at the top of the hour here. Emma, in your Splash Easy product title, you used dashes and that was to separate ideas. We've seen other people use the pipe symbol or commas. Does it matter?
Emma: Yes. I don't believe you're even supposed to use the pipe symbols. The dashes are particularly important when you are listing a new product. If you put a dash after the first five words of your title, you can actually encourage Amazon to create a canonical URL and so, if you're putting some valuable keywords there, then that can help your SEO performance even when people are searching places like Google.
Emma: The dash after the first five words is what is helping to encourage that, so a comma or a pipe won't do that, but also if you're thinking from a customer perspective, that pipe is really narrow and it makes everything feel much more squished together. Similarly, a comma is like a long list of things, so a dash visually helps to create breaks between those ideas so that customers can more easily wrap their minds around what you're seeing.
Colleen: Great. Well, thank you all. It's been an awesome presentation. Thank you Robert, Emma for all of your insight and expertise. We will be sending out an email later this afternoon with a recording of this webinar so that y'all have full access to this to take a look at it again, but again, big thanks to everybody for attending as well as for our presenters and wishing everybody all the best. Happy selling.
Emma: Thank you.
Colleen: Thanks, everybody.
Robert: Thank you. Thank you. See you.
Originally published on August 13, 2020, updated September 14, 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.