In the days of yore, there were only a few channels on television.
If you wanted to get a message out, you simply bought enough advertising to push your message in front of people.
What was scarce what the air time or the shelf space in a store.
Today is different.
There’s an unlimited amount of mass media channels and…
…the only thing that’s scarce is attention.
With the advent of the Internet, there is no limited “air time” or limited “shelf space.”
It’s a blessing and a curse.
A blessing because now you can get “air time” You can get your products out there.
The problem is, “Who cares?”
Who’s watching and paying attention?
Attention is scarce.
Learning how to sell on Amazon.com is how you can get your products out there in front of millions of potential customers for example.
But how will customers notice your product?
How will your ideas spread?
If you’re selling someone else’s product the task becomes much harder, but if you’re aiming to build a sustainable business, one that makes the competition on Amazon irrelevant, you’ll build your own brand of value.
But let’s say you’ve started to develop a brand, and you want so badly for your products to be noticed (and thus purchased).
How do you bring attention to your products?
Do you Advertise?
Advertising is the price of being boring.
Advertising can bring traffic, but not everyone advertises…
Amazon.com used to advertise, and then, they decided to stop.
Analysts thought this would be the end of the world for Amazon.
What Amazon decided to do was put that money they’d spend on advertising and put it into offering free shipping to their customers instead.
You’ve witnessed what that’s done for them. They’re the largest marketplace on earth and continue to improve. (See the book Free Prize Inside for more on that).
What did Amazon Do?
So what did they do?
What did Amazon do that increased their sales and helped bring them to the very top?
They didn’t go for an expensive advertising campaign to drive eyeballs to their site. In fact, they cut advertising out of the picture.
Amazon went against the idea of advertising, of trying to promote themselves through TV, billboards, radio, you name it.
What they did something is something special.
They did what you can do.
What can You Do?
Let’s circle back to what Seth Godin said about attention being scarce. If attention is scarce, it gets really hard to push a message in front of someone, and it’s something that they don’t appreciate.
What can you do that Amazon did?
They made something remarkable, and as Seth wisely said, something remarkable is simply something worth making a remark about.
Your product, your brand, your website, your message—find a way to make it remarkable, worth making a remark about.
Being remarkable isn’t limited to your physical products.
Shoes are Kinda Boring…Right?
Think about TOMS Shoes. A shoe’s a shoe right? The innovations in shoes are pretty small from year to year. How do you make a shoe remarkable?
TOMS did it. But they did it in their message.
With every pair you purcahse, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need.
They’re shoes are great, but there are a lot of great shoes.
TOMS did something remarkable with their brand and their message and it’s been a catalyst for their success.
The possibilities are endless.
If it can be done with a shoe, you can do it.
What is it about your company, products, brand, or message that you could make remarkable.
Sometimes it’s giving away something free (to your customers or someone in need).
Sometimes it’s creating a community that shares a common interest.
Sometimes it’s the product itself that has something about it that makes it remarkable.
How much attention is your product getting? It’s getting as much as you give customers reason to remark about.
Even though attention may be scarce, the possibilities are endless to enable your customers to be the ones who spread the remarkable about your company, your brand, your message, or your products.read more
I buy a lot of products on the Internet. It’s easy, and convenient.
Time isn’t wasted driving to the store, looking for what is needed, and then driving home.
One item that I ordered online was a live bonsai tree.
Cultivating bonsai trees is a hobby of mine, but I discovered a problem with the order when it arrived.
Find out in this episode of the 7 Pillars of Selling Online Radio what the seller did and the effect it had upon me as a customer.
You also discover 3 Keys to offering great customer service to your own customers and how it can help you win more business, and receive good feedback in the marketplaces like Amazon.read more
Crafting the perfect product images for your listings on Amazon, eBay or your own website can take a lot of time and effort, but there are a few shortcuts that with the right equipment make it go so much faster.
Check out the video I created showing how to clean up the background of a product image. You’ll also see the tools that are helpful in making a great product image.
Below are the links to the tools mentioned in the video.
The Fancier Photo Box and Lights
It’s been updated since I purchased it, but it’s the same idea with two lights and a photo box.
The photo box can fold up so it doesn’t take up a ton of space when you need to store it.
It also comes with different color backdrops you can use within the box.
You can view the Fancier Photo Box here.
Nikon DSLR Camera for Product Pictures
I use a Nikon D60 (now it’s one of the older models), and I love it. It’s a great camera.
I did tons of research when selecting a camera, and now I can’t remember why I chose Nikon over Canon.
When my wife and I traveled to Europe, it was interesting to see that almost all the DSLR cameras we saw were Nikon.
The advantage of the DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras are that you have greater flexibility of focus points for the pictures that you take, making the pictures look very professional.
When a picture is what really needs to sell the product, it better be good, so we got a Nikon camera pretty early in our business.
You can view the Nikon Cameras on Amazon here.
Adjustable External Flash
We bought an external flash for our Nikon, and have loved it.
It helps produce natural lighting for the shots because the flash can be angled up instead of straight on at the product creating harsh shadows.
We got the SB-400 Flash.
Adobe Photoshop for Product Image Editing
You can buy Photoshop by itself or as part of a suite of Adobe products (pictured below).
For the price, we bought the suite of products so we got more bang for the buck.
Photoshop is the one I’ve used the most recently, but I have used the other programs in the suite as well, and they’ve come in very handy.
What have you seen when shopping online?
As I’ve shopped for products online, and I see a website where the pictures look terrible, I make a quick judgement about the seller, the site, and the product, and that judgement usually leads me to buy the product from someone else.
Product images are one of the most important parts of your business as you sell product online in marketplaces like Amazon or on your own website.
By making the images crisp, and the backgrounds clean, you’ll be putting your best foot forward with the part that potential customers will notice first, the image.read more
Matt Cutts of Google explains why your product should have its own blog or website page.
It’s a common problem, you have a product for sale, it’s listed on Amazon, but the listing on Amazon appears first in the search results.
Where’s your own site? No where to be found.
Matt Cutts at Google shares some insight as to whether or not Amazon always gets the best placement and what you can do about it.
Check out the 2 minute clip below:
Why do Amazon.com pages tend to rank well for product queries?
Did you catch what Matt suggested?
Have a page dedicated to your product!
Is it that simple? Not really, there are some things to consider…
Why would you want to rank better than Amazon in the search engines?
First of all, by ranking, we’re talking about if a person searches on Google and your own blog or website appears high up or even first in the search results on Google.
The reason why this is important is that the first results in Google, or any search engine, get loads of traffic.
The first spot could receive as much as 80% of the clicks from the search.
That means that your business could be missing out on major sales if you’re being outranked in the search engines.
If you receive the traffic to your site first, you can make the sale through your own ecommerce system, or you can point an Amazon affiliate link to your product on Amazon’s site and earn a commission for the referral (assuming you sell your product on Amazon).
But 7 Pillars says to sell on Amazon as a major strategy because Amazon already has traffic, why would we want to go through the effort?
The answer is that’s it’s not all that much effort.
How do you Create a Product Page that ranks better than Amazon?
1. A Blog Post or Webpage that Offers Incredible Value
Create a page on your company or brand’s website dedicated to your product.
…and here’s where most retailers go wrong…
They simply put the product description of a few sentences and upload pictures. Perhaps they post the product manual or instructions.
Boring! Who cares? And if no one cares, neither does Google nor the other search engines.
So what can you do to not be outranked?
Write a 1,000 word article about your product (yep, just 1,000 words).
Here’s what to include:
- Features of your product (what it does)
- Benefits of your product (why someone might buy it)
- Testimonials (get permission and follow FTC disclosure guidelines)
- Pictures of your product from multiple angles (back, front, side)
- Drawbacks of using your product (your product doesn’t do everything, let people know, and they’ll show appreciation with their wallets)
- Good video of the product in use (get some Royalty Free music to put in the background)
Post the page on your business or brand website, and whenever you mention your product online, link to that page.
Why do you need to write such a long feature about your product?
- It’s what will make your page different (most product detail pages have only a few sentences if that)
- It will provide real value to your potential customer (people searching on the Internet about products have questions and want to learn)
- The search engines like good content because readers like good content
At the bottom of your product feature page, link to where the reader can buy the product either on your own site or on Amazon.
If people aren’t familiar with your site or brand, they may not feel comfortable buying on it.
Some will, and if they buy, it’s a bonus because you won’t have the Amazon seller fees.
If you link to Amazon, customers will be more likely to buy because of trust and name recognition with Amazon.
Since you’re selling your product there anyway, you win in either case!
Because you provide more value in your detailed description, you’ll get the traffic, and have control over the page you want to rank first for your product.
2. A Detailed Review/Comparison
Similar to creating a blog post or webpage, create a review or comparison that shows how your product stacks up to the competition.
You’ll include most of the items listed above, but just make sure that the reader knows that you’re the company behind the product. Don’t mislead, that’s bad.
Create a chart showing how your product stacks up.
Post YouTube videos that real customers have posted about your product.
Include the good, bad, and the ugly. It’s your chance to respond!
3. Create a Website Dedicated Specifically to your Product
If the product is truly yours (your brand, etc.), create a website dedicated to your product. Put the product name in the url (example: http://productname.com).
It’s easier than you think to create a website.
Download WordPress (the best, free way to create a website for non-techies) and have it installed on your website host (some hosting companies will do it automatically upon request).
You can then type and create posts about your product. Provide updates, and maybe even create a following of loyal fans.
If a website dedicated to the product itself isn’t feasible, create one for your brand and write your product feature pages there.
It’s not Rocket Science, but it does Require some Typing (harsh I know)
It’s easy to see why the search engine and more importantly potential customers would want to read your detailed post or information on your site if you provide tons of relevant, targeted information about your product.
Unfortunately, on Amazon and other ecommmerce solutions and platforms, you can write only so much about your product.
They limit the space and ability to format the text.
So, put in the effort on your own product pages and provide tremendous value to those searching about the need your product fulfills.
The possibilities are endless, but with a little bit of work upfront, you can enjoy the benefits over and over again of selling online.read more
I make my living selling products on Amazon.com, but selling products on Amazon isn’t the only way to make a nice income.
What is the Amazon Affiliate Program?
Amazon.com is a website where you can buy products (most people know this).
It’s also a place where you can sell your own products (not everyone knows this).
But, Amazon is also a place where you can earn money by referring someone to the site. If that someone buys something (or lots of somethings), you get a commission from Amazon.
Most often, you’ll create a link (Amazon shows you how to do this) to a specific product on Amazon. Someone clicks on your link and buys they product you link to or ads other products to their cart, you get a commission.
It’s called the Amazon Affiliate Program.
Why you should care about the Amazon Affiliate Program.
If you sell products, like I do, what benefit does the Amazon program give you?
For me, it was a ride of a lifetime (more on that later).
Essentially, you have the chance to
- Make extra income without having to purchase and hold on to inventory.
- Provide your customers with a wider selection of products.
- Test products you’d like to carry by first seeing how well referrals to similar products perform.
Even if you don’t currently have a business selling products online, you can get started with the Amazon Affiliate Program earning referral income with little to no startup costs.
But aren’t the Commission Percentages Small?
Yes, compared to other affiliate programs, the commission percentages are small, but the benefit is that sales are higher because you’re sending buyers to one of the most-shopped websites in the world.
Just ask Paula and Wanda. Two friends from Australia, Paula and Wanda have built an entire business using Amazon Affiliate Sales making $19,023.09 in a single month and averaging about $10k each month.
They got me interested in taking better advantage of the Amazon Affiliate program (more on what they’ve done below).
So How Can you Apply the Affiliate Program to a New or Existing Internet Business?
It’s pretty easy, you sign up for an Amazon Affiliate Account and start use any or all of the following 3 methods (#3 is my favorite):
1. Integrated – Make a seamless integration of Amazon Products into your Website
One way to integrate Amazon affiliate products (again, you have pretty much the whole Amazon catalog of products to choose from ranging from lawn mowers to Russian nesting dolls) is to make them a part of your website.
The “Amazon Webstore” lets you build your own ecommerce site with your own products as well as include products from Amazon’s database of millions of products. Customers on your website could buy your products and buy products sold by Amazon, and you get a commission.
It’s pretty easy, but if you already have a website selling your own products and don’t want to switch (which could take a lot of time and effort), you could look into some more technical options that require programming or add a simple “aStore.”
2. Embedded – Create a Mini Store on Your Site.
Amazon lets you create a mini-store on your own site called an aStore.
You can select the products that are listed there, and it acts like a little store. Customers can add items to their shopping cart, and then check out and pay at the end.
You can also add little widgets to install on your website or blog through the associates program, but they’re not the best either.
The “embedded” option has its place and uses, but it’s not what Paula and Wand use or others that are making a lot of money with the Amazon affiliate program.
That leads us to what is making money for a lot of people…
3. Quality Links – Links back to Amazon from Pages that Provide Tons of Value
The best way for making money with the Amazon affiliate program is by offering incredible value to the person you’re referring to Amazon.
You can do this on your existing website or create a blog or website dedicated to this purpose.
Before people buy something on the Internet, they often search for information about the product using the Internet.
If you provide a detailed description about the product, the pros and cons, and really give detailed information, enough that someone could become well informed by visiting your page, you provide value that’s hard to find in other places.
You’ve provided information they need to make a buying decision, so when they click through your link and buy, you get a commission.
So what’s the Best Way to Make Money with the Amazon Affiliate Program?
Remember Paula and Wanda (the ones who made a lot as Amazon affiliates)?
They created an eBook showing what you need to do to really create links back to Amazon’s products that provide real value to customers and that will be rewarding to you through commissions.
But whether on your own separate blog or on your ecommerce site, the Amazon affiliate program is a great way to earn extra cash that can literally run on autopilot.
There are a lot of great details of how to make it work well, and I’ll leave those to Paula and Wanda’s eBook called the Amazonian Profit Plan which you can read about with the link below:read more
If you had only 15 words to sell your product, would those 15 words be important?
It’s amazing how many sellers miss the point. It’s easy to see whenever you’re shopping online.
What is a Bullet Point?
- It’s text separated by a “point” that makes reading fast and easy
- It usually provides a summary for quick scanning
- It’s what is read more than long descriptions and is crucial in aiding your sales
Why are Bullet Points Important when Selling Online?
Multi-million dollar corporations as well as those of us running home-based businesses selling online will do more sales selling on Amazon.com than anywhere else. It’s where buyers are.
So where do bullet points come in?
- Bullet points on Amazon product listings are looked at more often than the description, so make ‘em count!
- Amazon allows only 100 characters (about 15 words) in product feature lists (bullet points) making word choice crucial.
- There are only 5 bullets you can use, so choose wisely what you highlight.
Unfortunately, seller after seller on Amazon fails to hit the mark…
You’ve probably seen products when you’re shopping online that have scant descriptions and bullet points. They fail to tell you the information you’re looking for.
It’s frustrating! And the seller unwittingly loses out on sale after sale.
Creating Magic Bullet Points:
Magic Bullet Points do so much more than list a feature of the product.
They help sell the product by identifying what the features can do for the customer.
Points to remember:
- Choose what sets your product apart and highlight the related benefits
- Start with the most important benefit first and work your way down
- Take advantage of all 5 bullet points on Amazon and all 100 characters
Examples of great Bullet Points:
Mike Denison gives some great examples of bullet points that sell product (not just describe features):
- Aluminum alloy
- Carefully constructed of high-quality aluminum alloy for years of maintenance-free enjoyment
- Carefully constructed of high-quality, rust-free aluminum alloy… so you can enjoy it for many years with virtually no maintenance!
You can see from Mike’s example that something as boring as the product’s material can be made more interesting to the reader.
Each bullet should be a selling point explaining why the product’s feature is important and how it will benefit the customer.
100 Characters or Less – Make them Count
An owner of a multi-million dollar company that sells online (Amazon creating a huge chunk of that revenue) was reviewing products his company had for sale.
We sat down and were looking at their products on Amazon, and the owner exclaimed that the main benefit of the product we were looking at wasn’t even highlighted in the bullet points or the description!
He had someone fulltime that wrote product descriptions, and they were missing the most important selling point.
Make sure your bullet points count by sharing the most important benefits and distinguishing factors of your products.
Your customers will thank you because they’ll get the information they’re looking for, and your wallet will thank you too.read more