Amazon Listing Optimization Tips with Private Label Profit Founder Karyn Thomas | Branded EP #16

Welcome to Branded By Amazing EP16!

Mike McClary: Hey there and welcome to episode 16 of the branded by amazing podcast. I’m Mike McClary, Chief product and today, or lucky to have one of the premier listing optimization experts, a one, a good friend of mine as well. Who’s helped thousands of people improve their listings and get better sales conversions on Amazon.

She’s the owner and founder of private label profit and has also spoken at many online events and in person events, including seller con that we host here at amazing. So I want to welcome Karen Thomas to the podcast.

Karyn Thomas: I’m doing so good. It’s so good to see you, my friend, and I’m so honored to be on your podcast.
So thank you so much. It’s always a great day when I get to talk with you still. Thank you

Mike McClary: so much. Thank you as well. It’s a feeling is mutual. It’s kinda hopefully get together in person again, sometime soon after the pandemics has be dying down again, but it’s great. Talk to you see you and kind of it’s a big time here in the entire Amazon e-commerce marketplace.

We’re kind of heading into the fourth quarter. And I know like again, you have some great ideas and you can always help people out with their listings. But one of the things I want to first ask you about is like, you know, kind of give us a little bit of what you’re doing now and you know, how you kind of get.
And this Amazon workspace business.

Karyn Thomas: Oh Mike, it’s an incredible story. I’m not going to lie. It’s, it’s pretty much like a Cinderella story because you know, I really have you to thank for it. And Matt and Jason, when, you know, with. Original founders of ASM. So I’m so excited to share my story because it’s pretty exciting.

You know, back in early 2014 I took the ASM course with my ex-husband at the time. And, you know, we absolutely were blown away. We had taken, you know, so many different online courses and training just cause we really both wanted to have our own business and we’re very entrepreneurial, but we know we just never saw success.

So maybe that’s our own fault or maybe we just. A really good learning systems that we could fall along and kick tickets step by step. And there was no missing pieces. Cause I feel like, you know, in the past, when we tried to learn things, there was always like, we’d get to this like sticky point where we’re like, oh, they’re not explaining this.

And then we would just give up. So we took ASM and we were just blown away. It was by far the most. In a lot of ways, like easy system, because, you know, I had tried some pretty crazy things like network marketing and, you know, just things that were like excruciating, like trying to like beg people to like buy my stuff.

So with this system of like, Finding a great product, sourcing it, making it unique, making it special, and I’m putting it on Amazon. And then having people start buying it online without us having to twist people’s arms, it was so exciting. So mind blowing for us, and it was incredible to see, you know, our business ramp up and meet so many amazing people.

And then fast forward a couple of years later, I was at a mastermind actually in Austin. I don’t think you were there for that one, Mike, but Matt was talking about, you know, you wanted to do a membership platform for different, you know, sub courses, just small niche topics. And, you know, in our business, I thought my specialty was listing optimization because you know, in the several product listings we had, we were getting incredibly high conversion rates and it, you know, from what I knew and talking with other people, it just wasn’t normal to have that high of conversion.

Mike McClary: So we’re talking about maybe your conversion rates were well above, like what, 30, 35, 40%. Something like that, right?

Karyn Thomas: Yeah. And now. You know, 75 to 80% of it was really high. And so basically I was so honored and grateful to create a course and, you know, work with, you know, Matt had the great idea to work with, you know, five people just to test it and make sure that it wasn’t just, you know, I was getting lucky or.

You know, it was just my specific niche products. So we tested with five different case studies and they also saw a huge lift in conversion and sell as well. So, you know, I launched that course on your platform and it was so cool because kind of without planning it or thinking ahead too much, which kind of is embarrassing on my end.

It kind of launched my own mini agency because people watched the course, they liked it and they’re like, Hey, they reached out to. Now would you mind just writing my sales copy for me? You’re obviously really good at it. And then, you know, kind of expand into there to meet people’s needs. Then they wanted images and video and A-plus content and storefront design.

So that’s kind of where I’ve been the last few years.

Mike McClary: Yeah. So you, you took ASM or amazing selling machine. You know, our, our flagship, you know, Amazon FBA private label training program. Had great success. Like you said, you’re your superpower. You may not even realize that was really writing compelling listings and getting incredible conversions.

Like nowadays people are getting 15, 20%. That’s good. But getting, you know, above 50. Crazy. And then I do remember back in 2016, we launched seller pro, which was our monthly subscription service, and we need a good content and came to you as the listing optimization expert. Now I think to date, that’s still one of the most popular and a well-respected courses in the entire seller pro system, as a matter of fact, so good job creating that.

That’s that’s an awesome job. Thank you so much. And then I also remember you spoke at our events as well. I can remember you being on stage and doing a little dance. You taught me a little dance as a matter of fact, while you’re up there and here’s your topic optimization as well?

Karyn Thomas: It was Mike and that was such, just an incredible moment for me, because I always wanted to be on stage speaking, but yeah.

So terrified to do it. It was just like such a big moment. And then it was just so exhilarating. It was so much fun. I loved it. And I’m so grateful. Like I said, I have you to thank for it and amazing because it’s just been such an incredibly exciting experience the last seven years of my life. Yeah. You know, I I’m just so honored.

Mike McClary: Well, that’s awesome. You’ve helped so many people and that’s really what I want to talk to you about today. I feel like, you know, a lot of people understand the basics of building an Amazon FBA business, but they don’t always really hit the mark on certain things. I mean, you know, you gotta have a good product.

We know that if you don’t nothing else you do will really help, but after having a good. Is just as important as having a really compelling listing on Amazon. So for those of you listening right now, you know, we call the product on Amazon, the product detail page or the Amazon listing. It’s basically the thing that has the title, the price, the images, everything like that.

It may seem simple to go out there and just throw some basic information about your product out there, but. It’s critical to treat it like it’s a mini website or business in order to really create a great listing. And so Karen you’ve probably, I don’t know, helped hundreds, if not thousands of people through your course through actually working with them and optimizing their listings.

Biggest Misses with Product Listings / Case Study

So I wanted to have you on Karen to talk about first, let’s talk about what are some of the biggest, I guess, misses or problems you see with the listings you’ve seen?

Karyn Thomas: Yeah, I’ll take this in two folds if you don’t mind. So I think, you know, the obvious. Would be, you know, people that have a really great product, but, you know, it’s, and I understand I, as being a seller myself, I understand it’s, it’s an investment to really create a great product to have inventory in stock.

And so sometimes, you know, then it’s like, oh, but then to have good content created, it’s kind of the next investment. And it’s kind of scary. It’s like, I don’t know if I’m ready to invest. You know, I just invested in my inventory. So I understand that, but it’s tough because if you don’t, you’re really shooting yourself in the foot because now you’re in 2021, people want really good quality.

They want to feel like they’re buying from trusted brands. And so it’s really tough to compete if you haven’t put in the effort and the, just the quality in your content. So obviously that’s, that’s the basic number one, having really good quality images. Sales copy, hopefully video, if that’s available to you and then kind of the stage from there.

I want to share if that’s okay. Mike does a quick case study where I think, you know, a lot of people are at now. I think it’s talked about a lot to have really good quality creative, but then on top of that, I think a lot of people don’t always know what to do with that, or how to use that. And actually, you know, worked with someone a few weeks ago, who, you know, he was a very successful seller.

He’s just, this one product was an eight figure product, a year product. It was, you know, expensive, you selling
it for about $190. And he started losing traction in his organic ranking, was losing sales. And, you know, he asked me, you know, what’s the problem here. And I looked at his listing and, you know, right off the bat, it was gorgeous, amazing content.

He told me you spend $8,000 on new images and someone wrote their sales copy and video. And it was really, really good. You could tell this was like deluxe. He invested in it. So the next problem is how do you use it? Right. And what I have found, and this is kind of my secret sauce is selling the why, because a lot of times we think, you know, the best thing is just to list everything was all the cool features.

All of the amazing things about it and what makes it special. And that is important. But what I found is that people buy based off of emotion. And so if you’re not really selling those, hitting those big points of why someone wants to buy it and also answering those big concerns that they may have, then people are going to hesitate, right.

Then be like, oh, this looks like a good product. It’s a good price, but is it really going to give me what I want? And so I told him, You know, I see just right off the bat, a few quick things, you’re not answering in your images, you’re not answering in your sales cup. And the thing is, and I’m one of those people that just has a very short attention span.

And so you don’t want to make people dig too hard to find those answers, right? So basically how I do this is kind of looking at questions. And if this is like a newer listing, then I look at the top side. Competitors and looking at what people are asking, looking at what people are complaining about and the one, two star reviews and figuring out, okay, now how can we address this?

How can we solve this? Has it better information. In this case, he had some, you know, one and two star review problems that he had fixed, but he didn’t mention. So I said, okay, right on image number two, let’s say new and improved design and what the issue that they fixed and the bullet point, or excuse me.

And then in image three, let’s talk about why someone wants to buy this. What’s the main result, and this was an exercise product and it was a great product. And for me, it was obvious because I’m their target demographic. So I said, we need to address, you know, they’re going to burn 300 calories in 30 minutes using this product.

And no great about people want that just so clear. So obvious to them, even though as a seller, you may think, well, this is obvious, of course, they’re going to burn calories. Of course they’re going to whatever, but just making it obvious and clear again, people just feel like, oh, they’re answering my question.

I’m in the right places. Exactly why I want it. And they don’t have to think so hard. Right. And then if you have, you know, some good features to kind of justify that with logic, then it’s going to really help cement that easy buying decision. So they’re not confused. They’re not thinking, oh, you know, anytime people are hesitating and they’re thinking too hard, that’s when you’ve lost them.

So if you can answer those questions really quick in your images, and I also say mirror those in your bullet points really quickly. So I did the same thing, new and improved design. X Y and Z fastest way, or an easy way to burn 300 calories in the next bullet point, etc. So that it’s really easy for people to scan it and quickly see, okay, they’re getting, they’re going to give me what I want with this product.

And it’s so crazy, Mike, because literally just making those adjustments, he didn’t get new images. Do you have anything crazy? Literally just making the adjustment is infographics to add in that he went from going, you know, 26 sales a day, all the way up to 80 sales a day within the course of the last three weeks.
So it’s, it makes a huge improvement in your sales and conversion. If you can really sell the why of your product.

Optimize Your Listing Suggestions

Mike McClary: Now that’s, that’s incredible. And you mentioned something earlier that I don’t know if everyone’s quite understand what that means. You said mirror the images and the bullet points. Can you go a little deeper into exactly what that is?

Karyn Thomas: Yeah. So most listings have, you know, five or six bullet points that they can have. And, you know, a lot of times people just keep those really short and basic, like imported from China or made from organic cotton or just really basic features. Right. However, I recommend to use that space. Right. Use, I usually like to have those bullet points between like 200 to 400.

And right in the beginning of the, the bullet point is really addressed that main point. So like I said, in this particular example was new and improved design with X, Y, Z, and I forgot what the improvement was, but so in that first bullet point, if I have that, then in the, obviously the first image is going to be your hero hero image on a white background, but the second.

Image is I want to mirror what I said in the first bullet point. So if I send new improved design that I’m going to have, you know, maybe a beautiful lifestyle image with someone using the product, and then I’m going to say new and improved design XYZ with what the improvement was. And then the second bullet point, if I say you know, burn 500 calories in an hour or whatever, this was, okay.

Burn 200 to 300 calories and a half hour. And I said it more clever than that, but then in the next image on the third, I mentioned, I’m going to say. Burn 300 calories in 30 minutes. And then in the third bullet point, if I say something like it makes a gift, a great gift idea that I want to say something about that and the fourth image.

So that way I’m just kind of going back and forth that they can quickly scan. And a lot of people don’t like to read too much the bullet points. So they’ll read maybe the first sentence. So that’s where you want to say again and what you want to. Really cement and their mind of what they’re going to get and why they should buy it.

Bullet Points

Mike McClary: No, that’s great. I guess some people are, some people are more visual. Some people are more, they like to read and I guess by mirroring those, you’re kind of covering both of those different targets. Yeah, exactly. Right now, when you mentioned at the beginning of the bullet points you want to, like, I guess that’s kind of like your attention graph.

Yeah. Like a few words, they’re kind of like used to like burn 300 calories in minutes. And then you go on to describe that in a little more detail afterwards.
Karyn Thomas: Exactly. Right. Like I like to think of it basically like writing. If you were writing an like a newspaper ad or email campaign, like you want that first sentence to be your headline, that’s gonna grab attention.

And then, you know, in the next two to three sentences, talk about how it does that. Nope. Instead of leading with it has, you know, all the bells and whistles and you talk, a lot of people start with all the features, right? It has. 10 different functions and 30 different speeds.

And you know what I mean? And that’s cool, but if you don’t hit the wide first and people just, it glazes right over them, and they’re not going to pay attention to those small details, but if you’ve grabbed their attention first with a great catching headline with the first sentence of your bullet point, and then talk about, you know, we’ve added 20 new features with the dah dah, dah, then you can talk about.

But make sure you hit the really compelling, eye-catching easy to read headline first and that first sentence.

Amazon’s New Bullet Point Guidelines

Mike McClary: Great advice, you know, and there’s also been some, I guess, announcements from Amazon over the year. They have to do all the time. Like there, they don’t want all caps anymore at the beginning.

They also don’t want emojis. Are you still seeing that, like, have they started suppressing listings because of that or are you still seeing good results by doing both of those are either one of the.

Karyn Thomas: That’s an excellent question, Mike. Yeah, I was doing that for a while just to kind of push the boundaries because I didn’t see as much punishment, I guess.

I can’t think of a better word for that. However, I have stopped doing that because I don’t think even if you don’t get suppressed, I do think it is kind of messing with the algorithm a bit. So I recommend. Keep it and just capitalizing. The first letter of the first was in the first letter of each word in that first sentence of the bullet point and then just putting it in brackets.

So it kind of helps it stand out without being in all caps without having. And then you kind of get around that by still keep being Amazons, you know, tos and also getting a little bit more attention to that first sentence.

HTML Content / A+ Content / Line Breaks

Mike McClary: That’s great advice. Yeah. Cause we’re kind of seeing that around all over the place as well.
Some people are noticing that their rankings are dropping when they have them in there. And who knows when Amazon is going to go through and update everyone, but eventually they do. What about as far as HTML? So, so there’s two kinds of content down below the fold. I guess I call it in the, in the description.

If you don’t know. A plus content and you know, a lot of people who aren’t brand registered don’t have that yet. They still have to write text. You don’t want to have something boring. Are you still seeing people being able to use like basic HTML, like with line breaks and bullets there? Or is that kind of going out the window as well?

Karyn Thomas: Yeah, that’s also gone out the window as well. So the only thing I do is line breaks and that kind of breaks up the text a bit, but yeah, I haven’t done anything else as far as. All cabs or bolded or, you know, some of those tricks that were powerful, the last, you know, seven years I’ve been game. I don’t do that anymore.
Just lime breaks.

Mike McClary: And I’m assuming your thoughts on A-plus content, if you can afford it, definitely do it.

Karyn Thomas: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And what’s really cool is, you know, if you do have brand registry, you can test it because in some cases I have seen that it does work better just having product description.

And I can’t explain it because, you know, even Amazon themselves says that if you do have a plus content, it tends to give you a lift and conversion and sales. And I do see that generally speaking, but I’d like that they have this new feature manage experiments. If you are brand registered that you can test.

So you could have, you know, an A-plus content design, and then verse just a simple product description, just the text to see how it does. You can kind of see week by week, what the difference is. They’ll give, you know, several traffic to your April’s content, some traffic to just the other experiment, which in this case, if it’s just the product description texts, and you can see what performs better.
And I like for me, I think it’s really good to test things so that. And then, yeah, a lot of times I would say nine and a 10, a plus content is going to perform better, but it’s good to test it. If you’re the, you know, that one person at a 10 that does better with just product description, then that’s good to know.

Mike McClary: Great. So there’s I know you can, you can test A-plus content now. That’s good. I heard of that recently. I think titles, you can test. Is there any, do they do images or pricing yet on there? You can test them.
Karyn Thomas: Yeah. And now they also have the main image that you can test, which again, I think is so powerful because that’s such a huge, huge, huge part of someone clicking on your listing.

So I really recommend testing that. Personally for me, I recommend kind of doing some crowdsourcing or using like pick Fu to test several images. Cause then you can get really fast results and then kind of take those top two. Best main images that people voted on and then test them on Amazon. Cause it does take four weeks to kind of get a good idea of what worked better.

So it’s longer, but you get a real result of actual people, actual real customers, test it versus, you know, pick Fu they’re not necessarily real customers and your target demographic all the time. So that’s where I think it’s really powerful to use both in that.

How to Prepare for Q4 Sales

Mike McClary: Awesome. That’s great, like great advice for anyone looking to optimize their listings.

Thank you so much for that. What I wanted to focus on next then? Right now it’s September the 22nd. So we’ll be heading this, this podcast will probably be released sometime here in a few weeks, but we’ll be heading into the fourth. You know, in general, maybe 40 to 50% of companies sales sometimes come during the holiday season.

And so one of the topics I want to ask you was what can people do to prepare their listings? Or is there anything people can do to prepare their listings for the holiday sales? Do you have any advice for our listeners for that?
Karyn Thomas: Excellent question like, yes, I, I, I said this very passionately because I would say, I mean, I don’t know the percentage.

I’m totally just guessing here, but I do think it’s a big percentage. I would say, you know, 60% of people, if not more, do their holiday shopping on Amazon, it just becoming more and more popular, especially with what’s been going on in the world the last couple of years. And so really think about that and really find first of all, find great.

That you can use in your listing, that targets specific niches. So when, I mean by that, Looking for keywords, like a Christmas gift for her or Christmas gift for ten-year-old or whatever. Just really trying to find specific niche, target demographics that you can target for gifts specifically, because that’s going to really help you rank for those.

And then also just making sure that your listing is, is featured and centered around the holiday season. So what I mean by that is having, you know, really good. Images that show, you know, more of a Christmas theme, so you could talk or you could have, you know, a lot of sites like I’m trying to think. I, my mind is like, what’s that stock image site.

Mike McClary: Oh, like Shutterstock is one of them.

Karyn Thomas: Thank you. Shutterstock has really good like templates. If you just do like a Christmas theme or stuff like that, that’s really good. If you have. Kind of the background as a Christmas theme, and then you have, you know, your product or you have a lifestyle element in that theme that looks really good.

Or even just having like a little bow with something makes an amazing Christmas gift. And then also having that. Like I’m talked about before having that mirrored in your bullet points and saying, you know, right at the beginning of, let’s say bullet 0.2 or three makes a great holiday gift. And here’s why, because again, it just helps people get in mind.

Okay. I’m in the right place. I know it seems obvious, but it’s not obvious. You really have to be extremely clear. And the more clear you are, the better. Really talk about it, especially if you have a really beautiful packaged box, that’s going to look beautiful when they open it. Or if it’s a good size, maybe as a stocking stuffer, or, you know, maybe you want to talk about it for your holiday gift exchange or what makes a great white elephant gift or whatever the case may be, but make sure you’re thinking about that.

Do the keyword research and find some good low-hanging fruits. Some kind of more niche, specific keywords. So that means they’re not going to be, you know, a hundred thousand searches, maybe it’s, you know, a thousand or 1500 people search them that keyword, it’s not a ton, but it may not be as competitive.

So you can really get some traction on that.

Mike McClary: So what would you do with those keywords? Karen? Would you put it in your title, your bullets, the backend search terms or you just kind of gotta make a decision based on what.

Karyn Thomas: Yes, I would definitely have it in your bullet points. And then in your back end search terms.
And then if you do have brand registry, I recommend to testing your title because it’s, it is a big selling season.

So it’s tough to, you know, really just make a big test without. Having some data behind it. So if you can, I would recommend testing both versions, but if you can put it near the beginning of the title, it’s going to give you a lot more SEO ranking juice.

So that would be my suggestion. If you’re just starting out and you don’t have a ton of data behind your title. In my mind, you have a lot more flexibility to, you know, make changes and test it. But if you have a lot more history than I would say, test it.

Mike McClary: No, that that’s, that’s great advice. And, and on your image ideas, those are great as well.
We’ve been doing those. We, we like putting like a little bow around our packaging, so we definitely show our packaging Christmas, just like you mentioned. And we sometimes even put a little bitty Santas cap on timber products too, just to make it stand out there. So all graded by

Karyn Thomas: brilliant.

Mike McClary: Well, so these, this has all been great advice.

You know, the general stuff you’ve, you’ve told us about how to optimize listings. Also the specific advice on your images, your searches for the holiday season. Thank you so much for that. I also want to like give you a chance to let people know how they can contact you because you are, I mean, you do this for a living.
You help people optimize their listings. What’s the best way for people to reach.

Karyn Thomas: Oh, thank you so much for asking that Mike, so they can reach me personally by email Karen at private label, profit dot. Or I’m I’m on Facebook. Karen Mardi. Thomas is my name and, or just reach out on my website, private label profit, and yeah, I would love to talk with you and see how I can
Mike McClary: help.

Awesome. Thanks so much, Karen. And thanks everyone for joining us today. Again, this was episode 16, talking with Karen Thomas owner and founder of private label, profit speaker at Silicon and lots of other amazing events. So take care and hope to see everyone again real soon.

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