49% of all digital shopping searches start on Amazon. That statistic speaks to the importance of Amazon to consumers, while also highlighting the need for Amazon Advertising as a means of outshining a competitive field. However, what if a brand wants to guide the other 51% of shopping search traffic to an Amazon business? Amazon Advertising—or internal advertising—is not the only way to drive traffic to a brand’s Amazon detail pages. As VP of Marketplace Strategy, I consistently see the game-changing difference that a comprehensive, external strategy makes for my clients. While there are various retail strategies to consider and the role that Amazon plays will vary by brand and even by product, this article will focus on the best ways to drive traffic to Amazon from external sources. With that in mind, here I offer the questions a brand must answer prior to pulling external traffic levers, as well as ways to advance Amazon sales from off-Amazon sources.
DETERMINING THE GOAL OF AMAZON
If your brand is committed to driving meaningful Amazon growth, an external traffic driving strategy is just as important as an internal one. I often see brands fall into the following categories:
- Smaller, indie brands launching on Amazon. For these brands, a complete, external marketing strategy is required for growth on Amazon.
- Mid- to larger-sized brands that have chosen to prioritize their own DTC efforts, while still selling on Amazon. This strategy is a fine one, as long as it has been pre-determined and set. Keep in mind that driving media to DTC will still have a halo effect on Amazon.
- Mid- to larger-sized brands that prioritize wholesale partners (in beauty, Sephora and Ulta are good examples) and use Amazon to catch those consumers who prefer that channel, or for replenishment.
Once your company determines how critical Amazon is to their bottom-line growth, then the proper external levers can (or must) be applied.
TOP EXTERNAL TRAFFIC DRIVERS1. E-mail Lists
- Whether you are a vendor or a seller on Amazon, you cannot collect e-mails while selling on Amazon, which means that customer e-mails need to be gained before consumers shop Amazon.
- Accordingly, build an e-mail list to foster long-term relationships with customers. Send an e-mail at launch and during promotional periods such as Prime Day and Holiday. All e-mails should include a CTA with a link to the brand store. Create a source tag to link from the e-mail to the brand store to track performance.
2. DTC through Shopify
- If you choose to prioritize Amazon over your DTC business, use your DTC site to drive the final product purchase to Amazon.
- Using a Professional Sellers Account, Shopify merchants can create Amazon listings directly in Shopify, sync their inventory across both sales channels, fulfill Amazon orders in Shopify, and track sales from both channels in one place.
- Create a source tag to link from social media ads to the brand store, in order to track performance.
- Drive to your Amazon brand store from organic posts through link in bio (Instagram).
- Use paid ads on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest to promote your Amazon story.
- Post social content at launch, when new products are available, and during top Amazon promotional periods.
- The most successful brands don’t use Amazon Advertising as their only form of SEM. We recommend employing Google Adwords, Bing, and Yahoo! campaigns toward promoting an Amazon business.
- All paid ads should drive to brand store and track pertinent analytics.
- Create a source tag to link from SEM ads to the brand store, in order to track performance.
5. Influencers and Bloggers
- Partner with those who have an existing audience to promote your products as an effective way to reach your target market. These collaborators typically already have an e-mail list, social media followings, and a blog where they can promote products.
- Leverage Affiliates to drive traffic to Amazon with an incentive, up to 10% commission, through the Amazon Associate Program
- Leverage the Amazon Influencer Program to drive traffic to Amazon from influencers with an established fan base.
6. Press & PR
- Features and articles in magazines, TV segments, and newspapers will drive buzz, build brand awareness, and create a halo effect with Amazon sales.
- Direct efforts to the Associates Program, earning up to 10% commission.
7. Traditional Media
- Audio (streaming and traditional radio, podcast advertising) and television (both linear and addressable) offer strong opportunities for reach and can effectively encourage audiences to seek products on Amazon.
I sometimes find that brands new to Amazon need to step back and consider that this channel requires not only a strong on-Amazon effort, but a comprehensive external approach. If you are seeking to shine on Amazon this year through intelligent strategy, please reach out.