EP 249: Being Efficient and Finding Success in eCommerce Marketing with Mike Begg | AMZ Advisors

In this episode, Stacy sits down with Mike Begg, who is the Co-founder and Chief Strategist of AMZ Advisors, a full-service eCommerce consultancy. The two discuss how to maximize your sales on Amazon, as well as all there is to know about finding success in eCommerce marketing.
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Stacy Jones (00:01):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of influencer marketing and branded content agency, Hollywood Branded. This podcast provides brand marketers, a learning platform for topics first to share their insights and knowledge, on topics which make a direct impact on your business today. While it is impossible to be well-versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom line results. My goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy, or money, whether you are doing a DIY approach or hiring an expert to help. Let’s begin today’s discussion.Speaker 2 (00:31):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. Here’s your host, Stacy Jones.Stacy Jones (00:35):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones and I’m so happy to be here with you all today. I want to give a very warm welcome to Mike Begg. Mike is a co-founder and chief strategist of AMZ Advisors. A full service e-commerce consultancy that manages over a hundred million dollars in ad spend per year. And he’s achieved incredible growth for their clients by optimizing their accounts, creating in-depth content marketing strategies, and running effective off-platform marketing campaigns. Mike also operates AMZ Courses, which educates Amazon sellers on how to maximize sales on the platform. Today, Mike’s going to be sharing his advice on what makes e-commerce marketing successful and what makes an efficient business. We’ll learn what works from Mike’s perspective, what should be avoided, and how some businesses just miss the mark. Mike, welcome. So happy to have you here today.

Michael Begg (01:23):
Stacy. Thank you so much for that awesome introduction. I’m glad to be with you as well. And I appreciate the opportunity to speak with your audience.

Stacy Jones (01:32):
Awesome. Well, I love e-commerce and figuring it out and it’s certainly, it’s not just the wave of the future. It’s the wave of the now, but can you share with our listeners how you got to where you are today? Joining me as this expert guru of all things e-commerce marketing.

Michael Begg (01:47):
Of course. Well, my agency, I’ve been running for about six years now, but prior to that, I started as an e-commerce seller. And even prior to that, I started in retail. I actually started working for Sears in real estate development. During that time I saw some interesting trends happening with physical retail, brick and mortar stores compared to what was happening in e-commerce. Myself, and my two partners kind of saw the opportunity there started building our own brands and selling those online. And once we realized that we were competing with a lot of other big brands out there and beating them in a lot of senses, we saw an opportunity to help a lot of other brands succeed specifically on Amazon, but in e-commerce in general. So that’s kind of how I got to where I am now. And now we’ve been running our company, like I said, for six years.

Stacy Jones (02:38):
And you’d outlasted Sears.

Michael Begg (02:39):
Yes. Yes. I did beat Sears. I tried to get them as a client, but they didn’t want to work with me at the time.

Stacy Jones (02:45):
That obviously a mistake.

Michael Begg (02:46):
Yeah. Big mistake on their part.

Stacy Jones (02:49):
So when we’re talking about mistakes, e-commerce is rife with them. So many people are like, “I have a product. I’m going to sell it. I’m going to become a bajillionaire and I’m going to do it all through this giant called Amazon.” But where do things start going wrong when people approach this with the mindset that like, you can just throw their product up there and just become mega millionaires?

Michael Begg (03:14):
I think that’s exactly what the problem is, is that they think they can just throw it up there and it’s going to start selling overnight. I think a lot of people get frustrated with the Amazon platform or the lack of success because they don’t understand all the parts that go into it. So when we talk about, a broader marketing sense, there’s SEO, there’s paid advertising, there’s all of these different factors that go into building your brand online or whether it’s on your own website or anywhere. And all of that exists within the Amazon sphere as well. So, you need to have SEO in line for the Amazon search algorithm. You need to have graphic design optimized to create a good brand experience, to help conversions or increase conversions as much as possible. And then figure out how to implement a paid advertising strategy. And that’s very difficult for a lot of brands to manage internally. And it’s even more difficult if they’ve never sold online before.

Michael Begg (04:09):
So kind of pulling that all together, I think is where a lot of brands fail and they just get to that initial point where they’re like, “Oh, well the products are there. They’re going to start selling on their own.” And unless you’re, Nike or Adidas or have some massive brand recognition, that’s not going to be the case.

Stacy Jones (04:26):
So with the sellers that go on to Amazon, you just mentioned SEO and brand awareness and marketing. And so what you’re saying is you can’t just throw a product onto Amazon and not have an actual strategy with the website, with social media, with brand building, with traditional channels. That you can’t just go in and be like, “My product is going to be on the Amazon store and just become number one on its own.” Right?

Michael Begg (04:53):
For sure. I mean, all those other aspects are important, not necessarily to sell on Amazon itself, but it’s more of keeping the concept of your branding consistent across all of them. So, using basic things like similar colors, similar imagery between your social media, between your website, between Amazon, it’s all going to improve that customer experience over time. And when we’re talking about building a brand or building a product or anything, you really need to have that customer experience be consistent, no matter where they’re purchasing from you, or the likelihood of them purchasing again is pretty low. That’s another big mistake that we see is that, brand loyalty doesn’t matter as much to most consumers on the Amazon platform. So really going out of your way. Yeah. So really going out of your way.

Stacy Jones (05:41):
I call it on price.

Michael Begg (05:42):
Yeah, exactly. Price is the one.

Stacy Jones (05:43):
And star.

Michael Begg (05:44):
Yeah. Ratings and price are the main ones. But the way you get those ratings over time, the way that you build a brand following within Amazon, and then try to leverage that traffic outside of Amazon is by creating a good shopping experience for your customer on the platform.

Stacy Jones (05:58):
And so that good shopping experience, if you had to dial in and tell someone what that means, how would you explain how you get a good shopping experience?

Michael Begg (06:08):
Well, in a good sense, Amazon does help handle a lot of those aspects for you. I mean, obviously customer service, customer experience is very important. So if you’re selling your products through FBA or Fulfillment by Amazon, Amazon is sending your product to the end consumer. They’re going to handle that customer service piece for you. That’s extremely important. The other aspect that’s very important to consider is shipping times. And with FBA, we know that we can get our prime products in a day, in some cases, two days in others, some even have same day delivery at this point. So that’s another great aspect of the customer shopping experience, but really it’s also about capturing shopper attention. People have less and less of an attention span when they’re shopping.

Michael Begg (06:51):
So if you don’t get them immediately, when they hit your page by leveraging the product imagery that you have on your Amazon listings. To create something that looks attractive, something that’s eye catching, to get them to actually engage with that listing immediately, you’re probably going to lose them. And it’s going to be hard to get them back to the page to purchase in the future.

Stacy Jones (07:12):
Okay. So you’re adding your products to Amazon. You’re on your way to your mega millionaire-ness. Looking at brand consistency and making sure that you have good imagery that you’re having good copywriting as well. And I would assume right now that one of the best ways to stand out from a lot of other people is making sure that your English has really honed in because that’s going to automatically show that you’re different than a lot of the vendors on Amazon instantly.

Michael Begg (07:38):
Yeah, for sure. I think everyone maybe has experienced this at some point where you search for a product and you just see that the bullet points are poorly written. Or the title doesn’t really make sense, or it’s jam packed with keywords, or there’s other grammatical errors. There are a lot of foreign sellers. So there’s a lot of sellers from Asia and from other countries that are on the platform, that are lacking in that sense. And they don’t have that ability to really coherently put their brand message across to the client. They’re really competing on price point because they’re the manufacturer and they can keep it lower. And that’s a good opportunity to stand out from them. Yeah. Like you said, if your product doesn’t coherently make sense in the copy, then most shoppers are going to assume, “Ah, this product’s cheap. It’s coming from Asia. Poor quality.” Whatever it may be, and that’s going to be one way, right off the bat, that your shopper’s going to have a negative experience on the platform.

Stacy Jones (08:38):
And then you just said, that they might actually drop in too many keywords to try to boost up their SEO. I don’t think most people think of Amazon and SEO is going together, hand-in-hand. Most people think, SEO is their website, SEO is their blogs, SEO is all of these things. Can you go and dive in a little bit more about SEO and word choice within the Amazon eco center?

Michael Begg (09:06):
Of course. So SEO does have a completely different context within Amazon. When we think of Google in traditional sense, you have your keyword density within your blog posts. You have your link building to get more traffic to the website. And all of that is going to help you improve your ranking within Google. If we’re talking about Amazon, the metrics are a little bit different. So first of all, we’re going to be looking at the keywords, but they can’t be too densely populated. It needs to flow coherently. It needs to be good sales copy to really start the indexing. And there’s also additional opportunities to use keywords in the backend of the Amazon listing that will help you, but that’s just one piece of it. So from that, that keyword copy that you’re creating for the front end of the listing. You then need to start selling the consumer when they actually come to your product.

Michael Begg (09:55):
So for example, if I’m selling a toothbrush, and a consumer searches toothbrush, and they go to my page and they buy my product, that is a relevancy signal to Amazon for that keyword. So the more relevancy signals you can send to Amazon for the keyword, the better your SEO is going to be, or the higher you’re going to show up on the search page results. So there’s two different ways we explain this is, sales velocity and sales history. Sales history, the longer amount of time that you’re getting sales on the Amazon platform, the better you’re going to rank. And sales velocity, the frequency of sales that you’re getting on each keyword, and the higher the conversion rate for those keywords, the better you’re going to rank. So when we think of those two concepts, how your sales are actually doing on the platform, is really going to determine how your SEO works for Amazon.

Stacy Jones (10:43):
And so when you’re talking about the backend, I mean, Amazon. So you’re trying to kind of like, meta-tags really, with going into the keywords and making sure that Amazon is, just like Google, knowing what to serve up to the person who’s typing in whatever long description or short description in the search bar that they’re looking for.

Michael Begg (11:04):
Yes, more or less. It’s very similar in that sense. And that we have, for example, the title on the front end, the bullet points and the product description, and we’re going to put keywords in there. At the most important being in the title, the next most important the bullet points, next most important is in the product description and then leftover keywords in the backend. Amazon will take these keywords and then pretty much just put them together in any way that they make sense. So you could have toothbrush in the front end, red in the back end, and Amazon’s going to rank you for red toothbrush. Even though those keywords, aren’t actually next to each other. So yeah, they’re combining all the different keywords that you have within your listing to index it within Amazon search results. And then it’s just a matter of trying to figure out what keywords or what indexing is going to be the most profitable and lead to the most sales for your brand.

Stacy Jones (11:56):
Yeah. And that’s what Amazon is looking for too. They’re trying to make sure that your site is clean and optimized because their only win is if you make sales.

Michael Begg (12:05):
Exactly Amazon is very customer centric. They want the search results for whatever the customer is searching for to be relevant, which is exactly why they focus on that conversion rate so much. So whenever someone types in a keyword, how much is your product converting on that keyword, is going to determine how relevant it is for future consumers that are going to be searching for those types of products.

Stacy Jones (12:26):
How much do reviews fall in here with Amazon deciding how it’s serving up. Obviously we like reviews. Like, I like something, and if something has 4.5 stars, I’m way more likely than purchasing something that has 3 stars. That’s a no-brainer, or even if there’s a big price differential. But how much does it impact what Amazon actually serving up to customers to purchase?

Michael Begg (12:50):
When it comes to the ranking itself, it doesn’t have that much of an impact. But when we think about how it actually helps consumers convert, that does have a big impact. So like you said, you’re more likely to buy a product that has a better product rating. There’s actually a study where they figure out what the ideal product rating is to maximize conversions. And it’s about 4.7 to 4.8. If you’re at 5 people think they’re all fake reviews. If you’re below that.

Stacy Jones (13:16):
It’s fake.

Michael Begg (13:16):
Exactly. If you’re below that, the product is not as good quality. So that’s kind of where you want your products to be. And obviously the more reviews you can get the better. But it’s just having any type of social proof to really get going. I mean, if you have a good product, if you even have 20 reviews compared to your competitor, that might have 100 or 200 or even more. It’s better to just have something than have nothing and that’s going to help you convert. So then again, that’s the social proof really comes in on the customer purchase side more than the SEO ranking side itself.

Stacy Jones (13:47):
And then the next thing, I can hear our listeners right now, I can literally hear that, even though, the void of silence out there. They’re like, “Well, how the heck do I actually get reviews? Besides friends and family. How do I get people to actually sit for a minute and type something nice about me?” How do they go about that?

Michael Begg (14:06):
That is a challenge. And it’s a challenge that most sellers face on the platform. Well, one way you could do it was a program called Early Reviewer Program, which Amazon essentially shut down. And that was a way to get your first five reviews. There is a program called Amazon Vine where you can enroll your products and then consumers that are in the Amazon Vine program. So these are people that leave a lot of reviews on the platform will be introduced to your product. They’ll have the opportunity to purchase the product and then leave a review for your product that way. That’s another good way to get reviews.

Stacy Jones (14:37):
Do they get discounts or what makes them actually want to join, or is it just the fact that they’re in a special VIP privileged arena? And so they’re proud to leave reviews and make purchases.

Michael Begg (14:47):
Yeah, I believe they do get some compensation for it. I can’t remember exactly how that program works, but yeah there is some incentive for them to continue to review the products because I think they get introduced to special discounts based on whatever category they are the most interested in. A reviewer might be in the pet supply category, for example, and get access to all the pet supplies. That can be very beneficial for them if they love pets or if they have a lot of pets. So that’s one way to kind of approach it. And then beyond that is really where it comes into having a good brand and a good brand loyalty outside of the Amazon platform. So if you have your own email list, if you’ve been running your own DTC website for awhile. You could reach out to your email list and ask them to leave reviews for your product. So there’s a lot of different ways to approach it, but yeah, you really need to get those initial reviews to really get your product selling as best as it can be within the Amazon platform.

Stacy Jones (15:50):
How much insight is Amazon giving you as a brand that’s selling? Are they giving you the emails of the customers that are purchasing from you?

Michael Begg (16:00):
No, that is unfortunately something that they don’t give you. And this is one of the challenges that a lot of people have with the Amazon platform. When it comes to Amazon’s data, they very much keep it to themselves. They don’t share it with the sellers. You do get some access to some demographic stuff, such as, male, female, gender demographics, income demographics, some educational demographics, I believe, and how other household demographics. But you won’t get access to the actual emails of the customers. You won’t be able to reach out to them outside of the Amazon platform. And this is really where you kind of need to start approaching the Amazon platform from a different angle if you’re an established brand.

Michael Begg (16:43):
This is a hugely important piece. Amazon is the incredible best platform to go to for brand awareness. If you want someone to find your product, you need it to be on Amazon because about 70% of all consumers are starting their product search on Amazon. So by not being there, you’re already excluding yourself from a huge part of the potential audience that may be purchasing your product. But Amazon, isn’t going to be your most profitable sales channel over time. You need to find a way to leverage the brand awareness that you’re building with Amazon to turn that into brand loyalty and then figure out how to get them to purchase from your website or from another platform where you are more profitable and you have more access to the data.

Stacy Jones (17:25):
And that doesn’t include being able to include information in mailers and the product that’s being shipped out about you, unless it’s actually baked into your packaging or inside your product, right?

Michael Begg (17:36):
Yeah, exactly. I mean, that’s one way to do it. Product to insert the cards are very common practice where you may get a card that says, “If you have any issues with your product, email us directly. If you have any questions, email us directly. If you want your warranty downloaded from our website.” So there’s a lot of different ways that sellers do approach that, but there are other options that are more powerful within the Amazon advertising platform where you can actually retarget a lot of these customers and then drive them off platform. So Amazon does a really good job controlling all this data and then forcing you to essentially pay for it. In other ways, to get customers to come to your website.

Stacy Jones (18:15):
It’s like Facebook, you’ve gotten that all these companies who have spent tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars building their communities. But they don’t actually have access to their communities and the communities don’t get to see their content unless you’re paying Facebook to do so.

Michael Begg (18:32):
Exactly. It’s very much, Amazon’s world and you kind of have to play by the rules just to be successful in it. But the ones that do figure it out that can leverage this entire process of SEO building. Getting the best conversion rates, driving the most traffic, converting the most customers, retargeting these customers, getting them somewhere else. They’re the ones that are going to succeed the most on Amazon in the longterm.

Stacy Jones (18:58):
So what are some other hints and tricks that you tell your clients on how to approach and what they should be doing to become the masterminds behind Amazon sales?

Michael Begg (19:09):
Well, we always try to approach it from the concept of a sales funnel and try to explain that to our customers of how we need to help them create this sales funnel within Amazon. And then essentially have Amazon just be part of their broader e-commerce sales funnel.

Stacy Jones (19:26):
Versus their only sales funnel.

Michael Begg (19:28):
Exactly. When we talk about it that way. If we’re starting at the bottom of the funnel, these are people that are ready to purchase. This is the low hanging fruit. Maybe they’re familiar with your brand. Well, there, we want to focus on advertising campaigns that are for specific search terms that are for your branded searches. These are really going to help people convert, purchase your product, right? When they hit the platform. In the middle of that funnel is the product consideration. And this is going to be creating a lot of ads to target competitor products or other products, they may be viewing on the platform and try to get them to your product page. And then at the top of the funnel, we’re talking about brand awareness and how to get the most visibility. And this is where you see, if you go to Amazon, you see the ads that are right at the top. It says like the brand name and has some imagery, that’s the brand awareness piece or one aspect of the brand awareness piece. And that’s the top of the funnel.

Michael Begg (20:22):
So really starting and building the fundamentals with the SEO and then building out all these aspects of the sales funnel within Amazon, is the thing that we try to help our clients do. And then once we move beyond there, like I said, we talk about the broader e-commerce funnel. Amazon is that top of the funnel. It’s that brand awareness piece, it’s where you’re going to find the consumers. And leveraging the Amazon DSP platform, is really where you’re going to be able to start reaching more people through Amazon and then try to bring them somewhere else.

Stacy Jones (20:51):
Yeah. I think I’m one of those people who, if I’m doing some sort of keyword search on Google or Yahoo or whatever platform, and I see the sponsored ad listings that are the first five, six, whatever it might be. It seems to be like there’s more and more, it used to be two. And I just skip over them and I go down to the next listed, and I find that I do the exact same thing on Amazon where the ones that are sponsored, I like, “Yap, yap, yap, yap, yap.” And then I’ll go down to the next one. But what’s interesting to me and I’ve caught myself many, many times on this, is if that same item that is an ad that’s being run is listed below and within the first 10, I hone in on it. It’s like it’s caught my interest. It’s flashed in front of me. I never pushed the saley one and I always go down, but it’s often, it’s like this double hit, that seems to be a strategy that a lot of people use.

Michael Begg (21:47):
Yeah, exactly. It’s a strategy in a few different ways. Within the Amazon platform, we talked about conversions before. Showing up there at the top is a great way to increase conversions because it’s one of the first things. You sound like the ideal customer because you’re not costing us ad money, but at the same time, the next step there is glance views or how many times a customer is seeing your brand or becoming familiar with your brand before they’re actually purchasing it. So, like you said, just by seeing that ad before, now you see it as one of the top organic search results. You’ve already seen it once, you’re seeing it again. Now you’re more interested in it. You’re going to click on it, read more about it. The more touch points that you can create within the Amazon platform for your brand, the more likely that consumers can be purchasing over time. So that is a perfect example of leveraging the ad space to just increase your brand awareness on the platform and just keep get people more familiar with what your brand is.

Stacy Jones (22:43):
Yeah. And I have a funny one because I know all things advertising. This is what I live and breathe all the time. And so sometimes I watch how I trigger. I’m like my own little, case study and test study of what does this person do? I’m like, “Ah, this is what this woman does.” It’s interesting. But I do give higher benefit to the brands that are listed that are advertising, because I’m like, “Ah, they must be doing better because they can afford to advertise and be listed. And they’re competing against all of these other brands for the same space.” So in my head I’m almost giving them plus signs, but then I’m also giving them negative signs because I want that organic true, review. That’s the power of what I’m looking at instead.

Michael Begg (23:27):
For sure. Yeah. And I think that speaks to a lot of consumer psychology. Obviously, if we see something more than once we kind of associate a higher value of the brand or we think it’s a better brand or a better product, a better quality product. And I think that right there speaks to the value of advertising within the Amazon platform and why everyone needs to be doing it.

Stacy Jones (23:49):
Yeah. Okay. So what are other things that people can be doing with Amazon?

Michael Begg (23:56):
That’s another very good question. Amazon, we talk about brand, we’re talking about physical branded products. There are other opportunities to advertise non-branded products using the DSP platform. So again, if you sell a service or you sell a financial good or something like that, you can use Amazon’s DSP network to advertise those types of goods as well. So it’s not exclusively a physical products that you can advertise within the Amazon platform. That’s the kind of connotation that comes [crosstalk 00:24:27].

Stacy Jones (24:26):
I didn’t know that, I honestly, this is news to me. What kind of services can you include on there?

Michael Begg (24:32):
Yeah, it’s actually interesting. So when we think about the DSP network where we’re advertising across multiplied networks, so we have Amazon itself where maybe you’ve seen an ad for, I don’t know, flights or travel company or whatever it may be, you might’ve seen them from time to time. But then beyond that there’s Amazon owned and operated, which is a lot of their other websites, which is like Goodreads, IMDb, the movie website.

Stacy Jones (25:00):
I know. And that’s something that I might go to with my agency, we’re all things Hollywood. And so I’m really visiting this. I’ve lived and breathe and all of a sudden one day, I’m like, “I can sign in with my Amazon code? What?”

Michael Begg (25:11):
Exactly. You can see the Amazon ads on there and then other third-party networks. So if you’re selling anything, Amazon advertising is becoming more and more massive for your company. When we look at the largest advertisers in 2020, I think Amazon actually past Facebook and Google. So I think they are the largest advertiser overall. So no matter whether it’s a physical good or a service good, it’s a great opportunity to reach a lot of customers.

Stacy Jones (25:38):
Interesting. Are there any other mistakes that people typically make?

Michael Begg (25:45):
That’s a good question. I think on a lot of the other mistakes, it all comes into the customer experience. Amazon FBA or having Amazon fulfill your products is one thing, you can also choose to have your products fulfilled yourself. And then you’re a lot more involved in the actual product shipping, a lot more involved in the customer service. If your products are not arriving on time, it’s going to have a negative effect on your product listing ranking. It’s going to lead to decrease sales. If you’re not responding to customers in a short enough time period, it’s going to have a negative effect on that. It could lead to bad reviews. So I think a lot of people are hesitant to do the FBA program because of the cost of it. But unless you really have the bandwidth within your brand handle those customer service aspects. To make sure that your orders are going out on time for the fulfillment. That you’re responding to customer concerns, quick enough. You’re going to run into a lot of other issues for your e-commerce brand.

Stacy Jones (26:42):
Yeah. Because you’re going to have customers like me who are like, “It’s not prime. I can’t get it the next day. I can’t get it today. This is BS.” And then all of a sudden you’re off to the races to look for a competitor who can fulfill my must have now need. Even though in reality, I probably don’t have that much of a need. But seemingly I have a need to get it within 24 hours.

Michael Begg (27:03):
Yeah, exactly. And I think that’s another good point, and this is another mistake is that, even when you’re looking at, if you go to an Amazon page and you see that it’s not going to get there in 24 hours, well, there’s other ad placements right there on the page. And these can be your competitors that do have the prime badge that are going to get it there in two days or less. So if you’re not defending that ad space as well, you’re just putting the opportunity for another competitor to come in there. Advertise to your target audience and then potentially steal that customer from you. So that’s another big mistake and that’s more on the defensive advertising side and what we talked about, the bottom of the funnel, that’s exactly what it is.

Stacy Jones (27:41):
Then you’re almost there setting it up where you’re doing all the advertising, all the marketing, you’re doing the selling and that comfy sweatshirt that you’re getting that looks like a giant blanket and it was going to be this awesome thing for you. It’s going to go off to another seller in a heartbeat because you’re not doing free shipping or you’re delivering in nine days instead of the two days or the one day. That’s being looked at. And people are not, at least I’m not, that picky about the brand, if it looks like it’s the same.

Michael Begg (28:16):
Yeah, yeah. Brand loyalty is something on the Amazon platform that’s very hard. There’s a lot of good examples of Amazon creating their own brands and kind of knocking off a lot of other well-known brands, or better design brands with a lower quality product. So I think, and this goes back to the way you set up your listing, but always talking to your product quality, the features of it, unique selling aspects of it is extremely important. Because a lot of consumers really don’t care. They just want the lowest price item.

Stacy Jones (28:48):
Yeah. And then on the flip side of that, since I’m using me as a psychology model here for everything. If I go to a site or a brand and I look for it and I realize it’s going to be hurdles to shop through whatever that normal brands, website, channels are, I often will look up that brand on Amazon and see if there’s an easier, faster way to get it. So there’s an interesting thing with brand loyalty that happens too, where you know what product you want. And this works well if you happen to be someone who carries product, I guess, or if you are a brand who happens to be in lots of different places that you’re able to be sold. But that’s a barrier if you’re not actually living on the Amazon platform also.

Michael Begg (29:30):
Yeah, exactly. To be an e-commerce now, you need to be everywhere. Any one that is a potential customer is going to go to Amazon search for your product. Again, this is another opportunity where if they search for your brand and you’re not defending your brand, another competitor can steal that ad space and get their product in front of the consumer. We call all of that leakage. So it’s really about creating kind of a combined strategy between all of your e-commerce sales channels and Amazon to make sure everything’s consistent. Again, the customer experience is very good. And you’re not the only one that was probably going to Amazon and purchasing, this is very common. When we look at conversion rates on your own website, your conversion rate might be 2%, 3%, 4%. On Amazon, the average conversion rate is 8%. So pretty much twice what your own website will be doing. So it’s another thing to consider. And another reason why you need to be there when your customers go to search for your product.

Stacy Jones (30:28):
And when you’re running your own ads, when you’re running them on Facebook and you’re feeding that beast, or if you’re doing Google ads. Is it worthwhile to be running ads that lead both to Amazon as well as your own sites? Or do you just concentrate on your own sites at that point?

Michael Begg (30:46):
This is a very good question as well. And what we recommend is we typically will send that traffic specifically to their own websites. And the reason why is because when we talked earlier about the conversion rates, a lot of people on social media are just kind of browsing. They might not be that serious in buying something right now. And if we’re sending traffic to our Amazon listing, that’s not a serious buyer right now, that’s actually going to have a negative impact on our conversion rate, that might affect our organic ranking. We might actually start ranking lower because our conversion rate is decreasing. So by sending them to our own website first, it gives us the opportunity to potentially, well, first of all, capture that customer information for retargeting in the future. And it’s going to have less of an effect on the ability for us to actually convert customers once they hit the Amazon page.

Stacy Jones (31:37):
And so you just touched on something that is a very big, hotly debated, topic right now. Because advertisers around the world are going, they’re all having an oh shit moment. Because Google basically has changed the laws of how we’ve worked, and how we’ve communicated, and they’re changing cookies. And this is happening across Apple with their app store, this is happening with Google. It’s all about data and transparency and what you can have and keep on having an access to from your consumers. How is that in this world impacting, in your opinion? This isn’t necessarily even an Amazon question, but it is an e-commerce question, because advertisers have just lost a lot of power.

Michael Begg (32:20):
Yeah, for sure. I think when it comes to, and this goes back to the point of sending them to your own website where you can really have those first party cookies in the sense, or really control the data and be able to remarket and retarget people that are interested in your product and service in the future. It used to be great with Facebook, where we could just plug in a look alike audience, or type in certain audience interests and target those types of people. Now it’s going to take a lot more work, I think, and a lot more money to actually acquire these customers outside of those platforms. So an interesting way to divert a lot of that ad spend that might not be as efficient on the social media side or on Google search at this point, maybe to actually go look at the Amazon DSP platform.

Michael Begg (33:09):
Again, if you’re selling a physical product, you have customers that are buying on Amazon. If you can retarget these customers with DSP and push them to your website. Now you have a great opportunity to essentially get the customers that are interested in your product or similar to customers that have purchased your product to get them to your website, possibly purchase there. At least have the opportunity to remarket to them through your first party cookies. And then, yeah, that’s a whole another shift that I think a lot more people are probably going to be making with a lot more of the restrictions around the customer data on the social media and Google side.

Stacy Jones (33:46):
Yeah. Advertisers are really being blindfolded a little bit and just being thrown out in a black hole and being told, “Good luck.”

Michael Begg (33:52):
Yeah, exactly. A lot of things that probably worked in the past are not going to be working now.

Stacy Jones (33:58):
Yeah. But supposedly it’s all better for consumers.

Michael Begg (34:01):
We will see.

Stacy Jones (34:04):
So Mike, you know a lot about e-commerce and Amazon and for our listeners who are interested in figuring out how they can get a leg up and they want help or they need your services, how can they find you?

Michael Begg (34:14):
Sure. The best way to get in touch with me or my company is at our website, it’s amzadvisors.com. Or if you have any questions or just wants some insights into the Amazon platform specifically, you can always email me directly, it’s [email protected]

Stacy Jones (34:32):
That’s easy enough. It will be in the podcast as well, notes, so that people can access that. And then if you had to give a few words of parting advice, as we start to wrap up, what would you suggest our listeners really keep in mind? What are the top three things that are your go-tos that they should absolutely be doing?

Michael Begg (34:51):
Yeah. I think the first one I would say is, we talked about that brand awareness piece, 70% of customer searches are starting on Amazon. If you have a physical product, you have to get your products there. The second thing you really need to focus on is how your listing looks. Obviously the SEO having good listing copy is extremely important, but having your imagery and your graphic design correct to create the same brand feeling on your other channels with the Amazon platform. And call out the features of your product immediately in those photos is extremely important. And then third, I would say the third most important thing is really defending the ad space. And in the branded search terms within the Amazon platform, that real bottom of the funnel piece that we talked about. If a customer is searching for your brand and a competitor brand is showing up, that’s just an opportunity for a customer to leave your brand. And they’re probably never going to come back. So focusing on those three things I think are probably the most essential aspects to getting started on the Amazon platform.

Stacy Jones (35:49):
Well, Mike, thank you so much for shedding all of this light on Amazon, which is a beast.

Michael Begg (35:56):
It is. And Stacy, thank you for having me here. I really hope that your audience was able to learn a lot from what I was speaking about today. And if they have any other questions, they can always reach out.

Stacy Jones (36:07):
I learned, I’m like “Amazon DSP, Amazon services. What? You can do all of these things.” So there’s a lot that I think Amazon obviously offers and is probably going to be unfolding in the days of tomorrow ahead. That is just more about their glory of taking over the world.

Michael Begg (36:23):
Yeah. I think Amazon is going to continue to become a bigger piece in everyone’s lives. So if you’re a brand, if you have a product or anything, just going along with the ride is probably a lot better than trying to fight it.

Stacy Jones (36:35):
Yeah. Well Mike, thank you again so much. And then to our listeners, thank you for tuning in to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I look forward to chatting with you this next week.

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Marketing Mistakes and How To Avoid Them Reviews 

Must-Listen For Every Brand Marketer (And Owner)

This should be required listening for everyone who owns a business, works in marketing, or is interested in the business of entertainment. Great stuff!

The Best Marketing Podcast Ever!

Stacy is a brilliant branding strategist and she really knows how to bring out the best in her guests! This show is fun AND educational! If you’re looking to understand the world of marketing, branding, digital marketing, influencer marketing and more, look no further. This show has awesome insight into some of the greatest marketing minds out there today, and they provide practical advice you can use in your business today. #FanForLife

Awesome podcast for all marketers!

Keep them coming

Practical and pointed advice.

Stacy does a really great job making this a highly actionable podcast for business owners. With a focus on marketing, she covers a wide range of related topics as well and is always very specific with her questions so that the listener gets pointed advice instead of vague concepts to take away. It’s also really helpful to the hear the why behind any marketing tactic so that we can decide if something sounds like a good fit for where we are at in this moment.

Love this marketing podcast!

Lori has a way of finding new insights to share every week. I loved being a guest, but I enjoy hearing her many fascinating conversations with other marketers even more. Great show!

I love Stacey Jones!

I absolutely loved being on this podcast! Stacey is amazing – real, down to earth, and genuinely curious and interested in learning – this makes for a very engaging conversation and valuable podcast!

Thank you for your podcast! I LOVE IT

I just listened to the episode named Insights To Product Placement Brand Marketers Need To Know, and I really enjoyed every minute of it! There are so many ways to approach product placement in a manner that provides wins for many – and it is not always driven by money. I am looking forward to listening to more!

Stuff we need to know!!

Anyone who is in business should be listening to this podcast! Incredible insights and advice.

Such a wealth of knowledge! 🧠

This is one of the most insightful podcasts that I have ever come across! Stacy does such a great job of sharing her wisdom and I love how she leads meaningful conversations with guests who bring so much experience to the table. Highly recommend checking this show out – you won’t be disappointed!

Awesome Podcast!!!

Stacy, host of the Marketing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them) Podcast, highlights all marketing and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!
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