by Jessica Dahlquist, Director of Operations | Coaching, Full-Service, Special Events
Are you one of those last-minute shoppers who binge buys on Christmas Eve? Or do you have you had your shopping list all checked off since late August? The holiday season and end of Q4 are MAJOR opportunities for sellers to up their game and achieve their highest sales of the year (unless you sell boogie boards, then December is probably not your top month!). Increased sales don’t happen on accident, you need to properly plan in order to see maximum returns in Q4.
When should you start planning for the holidays?
Since you may need to apply for some of the promotions you’ll want to run, we recommend planning for the holidays and its coordinating promotions at least a month in advance. This ensures you won’t miss the window to apply for certain deals.
Once you know what promotions you want to run, you should immediately start applying for them. Opportunities disappear the closer you get the holidays. If you know you want to do a Black Friday deal or a coupon, look for the application window NOW so you can ensure you don’t miss out.
Beginning prep this early will also ensure you have enough time to order the inventory you’ll need to get you through the holidays. Don’t miss out on sales because you’ve run out of stock in Q4! Avoid this hazardous mistake by forecasting early and planning ahead.
What promotions are most effective?
The answer is that it varies for everyone. To start, look at which promotions have worked best for you in the past. Have lightning deals been successful? Does it work to offer a discount on multiple quantity purchases? Have coupons been effective?
TurnKey Pro Tip: We see coupons that offer a dollar amount discount convert better than the percentage off ones because customers don’t like doing the math!
If you take the time to run promotions and ads for the holidays, make sure you get the word out about your deals. In addition to reaching out to existing customers, now is the time to attract new customers into the fold. Running external ads work very well in order to share your deals. People tend to trust Amazon more than purchasing on individual random websites, so it’s worth pushing people over to your Amazon listing versus just advertising to your website.
So, take some time to prepare for the holidays and maximize your Q4 sales. If you want even more strategies, our Client Manager Jenna is over on our Playbook for Amazon podcast chatting with Jeff on Episode 18 all about what she’s doing to help clients prep for the end of Q4!
by Jessica Dahlquist, Director of Operations | Coaching, Full-Service
For most business owners, the end goal of building a thriving business is to sell it for a tremendous profit. It’s like investing in a home and then selling it once it has appreciated. Selling a business for top dollar doesn’t come easy, but if you’ve done your part to make the business attractive to a buyer, you can expect a pleasant return on your investment!
Jeff Lieber, the founder of Turnkey Product Management, started as an Amazon seller. He sold puppy and baby products for several years and eventually grew the business to the point where it became attractive to potential buyers and selling made sense. When he went to his accountant for the next steps, he was shocked by the response he got. He was told that his next step was to clean up his books, to the point where anyone could walk in and think that running his business looked doable.
Jeff thought his books were fine, but they were only fine because HE understood them and HE knew where to look for information. Someone else wouldn’t be able to make sense of them, and they certainly wouldn’t want to take them over in the state they were in. Just as you’d declutter a house and landscape the yard before you put it on the market, Jeff set out to give his business some “curb appeal”.
He hired someone to compile all the sales information from his years of selling, created legible spreadsheets, and was able to show a clear upward trajectory in his sales. It took a bit of doing, but once that was finished, he had a much cleaner business to present to buyers. More important, without changing a single system or increasing sales by a single dollar he increased the value of his business.
Our #1 tip for selling your business: Clean up your books. Think of it this way, if it wasn’t yours, would you want to “move into” your business? If not, what things need to be organized, systematized and dialed in to make that transition seem not only doable but sustainable and profitable for the buyer? Once you’ve answered those questions, you’re on the way towards selling your business for the big bucks. Good luck!
Hear the full story of the lessons Jeff learned while selling his Amazon business by listening to Episode 5 of the Playbook for Amazon Podcast.
by Jessica Dahlquist, Director of Operations | Coaching, Full-Service
A Quick Note From TurnKey:
In this article we briefly mention Amazon Giveaways. While the rest of the article is still up to date and valid, as of October 10, 2019, Amazon Giveaways is no longer a feature hosted by Amazon. We loved this strategy so much and are sad to see it go. That being said, the principles that made the giveaway effective still apply:
- Leverage social media, email lists, etc. in order to send people over to a landing page to collect even more customer email addresses.
- Use squeeze pages to share more information and connect with customers. Video is a fantastic medium to include on the landing page because it gives you the unique opportunity to talk to your customers and pitch to them as if you were in the same room.
- Offer a discount code to people who watch the video.
So don’t worry just because Amazon isn’t offering this feature anymore. You can still find ways to incorporate the aspects of this strategy in order to impress your customers and increase sales! If you need more support, we have lots of other strategies to help you grow your sales, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
If I asked you to show me your to-do list right now, my guess is that it’s a mile long? Business owners at every stage in the game suffer from the same issue: an overwhelming amount of work to do and an inability to take action on many of the tasks because they aren’t prioritized properly. I don’t want you to feel paralyzed by the length or complexity of your list. I want you to feel empowered that you can take action TODAY on some of those items and really make an impact on your sales numbers in the process!
How do you do that? At TurnKey, we call it our 90-Day plan. When it comes to optimization and strategy on Amazon, it might feel like you want to check every box all at one time. However, when you create an intentional plan for execution, you can gather much more effective data on what is working and not working in your Amazon strategy which allows you to stop wasting time on ineffective strategies and activities and invest it in more meaningful ones.
First, think about what your major pain points are on Amazon right now. Is it the number of reviews you have? Is it your images? Is it figuring out PPC and dialing in an effective ad budget and plan? We suggest you choose 3-5 pain points you want to tackle over the next 90-days. Next, you are going to create goals and a game plan that will help you succeed. Sound good? Let’s get started!
Let’s say, for example, you want to reach 100 customer reviews in the next three months. Our favorite way to make a goal actionable is to reverse engineer it and break it down into bite-sized pieces. Here’s an example:
- I want 100 customer reviews in 90-days.
- That means I need about 33 reviews per month.
- To do that I’m going to focus on one thing that can help me achieve this goal per month:
- Month 1: Improve my autoresponder to make it more engaging and lead people to want to leave genuine reviews
- Month 2: Implement a review funnel
- Month 3: Run an Amazon Giveaway to increase traffic, educate on the product, etc…
So now you have a plan of attack for what you’re going to do each month. Simple right? But what if you don’t know how to create a more engaging autoresponder? Well, you have two options: Either Google “compelling autoresponder sequence” and see what you come up with, or get TurnKey’s Growth Course (which is clearly the superior option in my humble opinion). The course has a module dedicated to improving your autoresponder sequence. We break down step-by-step exactly how we create an effective autoresponder sequence and how that leads to more reviews. Implementing those changes will really set you on the path to improving your sequence to get you more reviews.
Month two, you decided you wanted to implement a review funnel. What if you don’t know where to start with that? Again, break down this goal into 3-5 reasonable steps to get the information you need and take action on that information. Maybe your first step is to watch that webinar on reviews you signed up for a while back but haven’t gotten to. Take out your calendar and schedule a time to watch it. Then list out all the steps you need to take to really follow through on creating that funnel. This may sound tedious but trust me, once you get some momentum you’ll be plowing through these action items in no time.
Month three, thankfully you’ve already purchased the TurnKey Amazon Growth Course, which is now doing double duty because there is another module in that course telling you exactly how to run an Amazon Giveaway. This is such a great growth strategy because not only will it lead to reviews, but you’ll get increased traffic, sales, and fans! So make a plan to go through that module, plan out when you want to run the giveaway, how many units you want to give out, make a plan for your video and squeeze page, etc… Even though it may feel like your to-do list is getting longer, you’ll be checking boxes left and right and seeing the fruits of your labor.
Do you see how you started out overwhelmed by the impossibility of getting 100 more reviews, and now you have an actionable plan to achieve that goal? Plus, you’ll get tons of data by taking action on these strategies. You’ll learn what works for your product and what doesn’t, so you can improve and replicate these systems week over week. Be sure to circle back to your plan every 30-days to see what ground you’ve covered, do any of the goals need to be adjusted, and then continue on with the information you’ve gathered.
Unfortunately, not everyone who starts a 90-day plan finishes it. Many sellers fall prey to becoming too ambitious with their 90-day plan and then don’t follow through. Just like all the people that sign up for a gym membership at the beginning of January and then stop showing up by mid-February. We don’t want you to be part of that statistic; we want you to THRIVE on Amazon!
Here are three tips for following through with your 90-day plan:
- Sign up for TurnKey’s Inner Circle Coaching. Having an expert hold you accountable to your plan and to your progress will give you the kick in the pants you need to really see evident change on your sales. Plus, as you go through these 90-days, they can help guide you as you get more information about what’s working and what’s not, and help you adjust your plan as needed. We’ll even make your 90-day plan with you!
- Have a friend hold you accountable. Speaking your goals out loud to a trusted friend or colleague can also be a great form of accountability. While they may not be an expert on Amazon, ask them to check in with you every few weeks to see how things are going. If you know they’re going to be checking in, you’re much more likely to get some work done so you have something to report!
- Choose a goal related to a pain point that would really alleviate some stress in your life. If you know the changes you are making will make your life easier, your more likely to see them through to completion.
- Make sure the goal you set is reasonable. Expecting 1,000 reviews in 90-days will only leave you disappointed and less likely to follow through. Set a goal that you would be thrilled if you hit and delighted if you surpassed.
So it’s been 90 days. You’ve worked your way through your plan and, hopefully, accomplished your goal. What’s your next step? Make a new 90-day plan! Evaluate what you’ve learned over the past 90 days. If needed, you can choose to make new goals that relate to your previous ones, or if it makes more sense, take on a new pain point. You should always have new goals for your business so that it does not stagnate. Always continue innovating and making needed changes to your Amazon business in a systematic and reasonable fashion. You’ve got this!
by Jessica Dahlquist, Director of Operations | Accelerators, Coaching, Full-Service, Motivation Monday
We hear from Amazon sellers every day who are intimidated and overwhelmed by their competition on Amazon. They feel like there’s no way that they can compete against the big brands who already have a following when they are just getting started. This type of thinking is something we like to call a scarcity mentality. It’s the idea that you have to either win everything or you get nothing.
Let me tell you a little secret about SCARCITY MENTALITY…it will not make you money! While you are spending so much energy worrying about someone else, you could use that energy to focus on improving your listings and growing your traffic. So promise me you’ll switch your energy to something that is worth your time, right now! Got it?
I guarantee your competitor is not doing everything right on Amazon and there’s plenty of room for opportunity for YOU to shine. Don’t worry about what they are doing, but instead let them educate you on what’s working and not working for customers, and take that information to improve your listing.
Here’s how to put this motivation into action: go to the listing of a competitor who intimidates you. Then, you’re going to make an old-fashioned list of pros and cons. First, write down all the things that you love about their page, their product, and their engagement. Do they have great images? Are they really personal when responding to questions? Are their bullet points engaging?
Next, put on your customer hat and write down all the things that you’d feel their listing is lacking if you were looking to purchase their product. Are there too many keywords stuffed into their description? Is their product missing any key components that your product offers? Are their images sterile? What are customers saying in the reviews about where this product fails to deliver?
Now take a look at your product. I guarantee that your product has a UVP or unique value proposition. What makes your product stand out? What problem does your product solve that your competitors’ product doesn’t?
Finally, go back to your listing and look at it from the perspective of a brand new customer. Do they fully understand the VALUE and BENEFITS of your products? Do they know how their life will change when they buy it? Are your bullet points highlighting not just the features, but the benefits? Once you ask yourself those honest questions, make the changes that create a clearer reflection of your brand. Once you do that, you can feel confident that you came to compete no matter who you are up against.
If you want more information about what you can learn from your competitors, check out a recent episode of our podcast, Playbook for Amazon. In Episode 9, we cover “How to Study Your Competitors to Beat Them”.
by Jessica Dahlquist, Director of Operations | Coaching, Full-Service, Motivation Monday
We hear from budget-strapped Amazon sellers every day, who feel like they are hemorrhaging money. They are desperate to get their sales up, and they don’t know how to do so on their own. They would love an Amazon Fairy to come and sprinkle some magic fairy dust on their listings and make their products sell! But they don’t have the time or experience with Amazon necessary to make that happen on their own. Sound familiar?
The thing that many of these sellers don’t realize is that there is no shame in asking for help. In fact, behind every success story you’ve ever heard about, is a team of people supporting that successful person’s vision! The key is to recognize that you don’t know what you don’t know and seek out people who can help fill in the gaps on the road to success.
TurnKey’s founder, Jeff Lieber, saw the need in the market to offer sellers more support in growing their sales. He started by consulting for his friends who were struggling on Amazon, and sure enough… after a few months of his tips and tricks, sales started to turn around for them. In fact, those earliest consulting clients (William Painter and EcoQube) are STILL with Turnkey today.
So, if you already feel like you aren’t making enough money, when do you bring in an expert to help? Well, just like anything in business, you have to be willing to invest in the long-term vision of a product. If you know your competitors are doing $100k+/month on Amazon and you’re at $10k/month, you can feel pretty confident that if you have a good product and you’re willing to do the work, there’s room for significant sales growth and it’s worth trying to make room in the budget to hire an expert to help you to become a key player in the niche.
Hiring an expert will cost you money, but it will SAVE you in three areas:
- Time: The only thing we cannot buy more of is time and an expert can make your path to excellence so much more efficient by showing you exactly how things should be done the right way, versus you trying to figure things out the hard way.
- Optimization: If you were to hop on a call with one of our TurnKey team members, we could probably suggest 3-5 things right off the bat that we would improve about your listing, and that’s without even going into the backend. When you hire an expert they will bring things to your attention you may never have even thought of, and those details can make the difference in thousands of dollars in sales per month.
- Potential: You may not really know how your product will do on Amazon. The truth is some products crush it on Amazon while others fall flat. You could waste years trying to get your product to the top of the leaderboard not knowing that you were already close to the ceiling in your niche. When you bring in an expert, we can help manage your expectations and understand your product’s full potential on Amazon in a much shorter time frame. This will help you decide how much you should invest in developing this platform.
Now that you recognize you need an expert in your corner, the key is to be sure you are getting the level of involvement you need from that expert. At TurnKey, we offer options ranging from full-service Amazon management to one-on-one coaching, to accelerator courses, all the way down to monthly group coaching to ensure that we can meet any business where they are. We even offer PPC Management and done-for-you services.
If you’ll remember, earlier in the article I mentioned EcoQube, founded by Kevin Liang. Kevin was originally a full-service client who really valued the insights and growth we provided for his business. It allowed him to reach heights on Amazon that he always hoped were possible. Over time his needs changed, and when it made sense for him to launch an in-house Amazon management team he became a one-on-one coaching client. TurnKey is here to support sellers all along their journey. If you want to hear more about Kevin’s story and experience working with TurnKey in all our different services, tune into the Playbook for Amazon Podcast Episode 3.
If you’re considering hiring an expert, I urge you to take the plunge. Don’t sit around wishing you knew how to crack the Amazon success code when there are people who have already cracked it for you! Want to know what level of Amazon support you need? Apply today and we’ll analyze your business and come up with a plan that will meet your needs. There’s no risk and you might just get the Amazon fairy you’ve been dreaming of!
by Jessica Dahlquist, Director of Operations | Coaching, Full-Service
You put your blood sweat and tears into crafting the perfect Amazon listing. Sales are on the rise and you’re feeling great. Selling on Amazon is the best! Then suddenly, seemingly out of the blue your listing gets suspended! Every minute that you’re unable to sell feels critical to your brand’s credibility and your business’ bottom line. You need to get back selling FAST!
While suspension is a major stressor for Amazon sellers, we want you to know that the world isn’t going to come to an end and there are things you can do to help resolve the issue. So take some deep breaths, clear your mind of all of those “what-if” scenarios that are floating around and let’s get to work!
The first step in resolving a suspension is to determine why you got suspended in the first place. Amazon will notify you of your suspension in the “Performance Notifications” section of your Seller Central account. The top three reasons for suspensions are:
- A major increase of returns or bad reviews: If your product’s performance has shown a downward trend, Amazon will try to protect itself and its customers by putting a hold on your ability to sell on the platform.
- A violation of Amazon’s terms of service: Amazon’s ever-changing set of rules and regulations can make it especially difficult to ensure that you are compliant. Staying on top of Amazon’s TOS is critical to maintaining your selling status.
- Selling a restricted product: There are limitations to what you can sell on Amazon, and you must be very careful not to misrepresent your product, sell anything in violation of Amazon policies, and maintain the various approvals needed to sell your product. This is especially true of ingestible or topical products. For example, recently some CBD products have been riding the line of complying with Amazon’s restriction policies. They are having to constantly verify that they are not mislabeling their products or misleading their customers.
So now that you’ve determined the why behind your suspension, you need to create a plan of action to resolve the issue. If your returns and bad reviews have increased, you may need to revamp your customer service or put some better systems in place to ensure customer complaints are handled more effectively. If the issue was violating policies, you may need to change your listing. If your product is restricted, you may need to alter your packaging or get the proper approvals from Amazon.
The best way to resolve any suspension is to own your mistake and reaffirm to Amazon your desire to make things right. They want to see you are trustworthy and committed to being a legitimate seller, and not someone who simply wants to take advantage of the platform. Amazon is a well-oiled machine, and they don’t want a disruption to their system. Suspensions are their way of quickly and efficiently eliminating a product they deem to be problematic to their platform for one reason or another. It may not always make sense to you, but just understand that if you want to be a successful seller on Amazon, you need to play by their rules. If you can make it as easy as possible on them to reinstate you, by making an action plan and coming to them with that plan already in place, you’re going to be much more likely to have your suspension lifted quickly.
Once you have a plan to address the reason for the suspension, you can start the process of getting your listing reinstated. Go back to the “Performance Notification” section in Seller Central, and click “Appeal” next to the suspension notice. This is where you’ll let Amazon know your plan to resolve the reason for the suspension. Be very clear that you understand the issue and that you have a detailed strategy to address the problem. Even better, explain how you’ve already started executing that plan.
Be respectful, professional, and decisive when it comes to explaining your plan of action. Be concise and direct (bullet points are fine) when addressing the reason for the suspension and the solution to the issue, and don’t get off track with extra information unrelated to the rectification of the issue that caused the suspension. No matter how upset you are about the suspension, do not use this appeal as a platform to express your frustration. The last thing Amazon wants to see is a message from a disgruntled seller arguing about the suspension and complaining about the injustice of it all. This tactic will not motivate them to move things along for you.
In the event the suspension is more complicated, and the appeal is not effective in getting the suspension lifted, we would recommend using the services of Thompson and Holt. They are experts at suspensions on Amazon and they would love to help you troubleshoot the issue so you can get back to growing your product sales.
Above all, don’t let a suspension get you down. You now have the knowledge to get the issue resolved, so you can get back to selling. If you’re in need of an Amazon expert to help you through issues like suspensions, effectively managing your listings, growing the number of customer reviews your product has, etc… we would love to chat with you about the services we offer at TurnKey Product Management. Come check us out and let us show you how you can take you Amazon sales to the next level!