by TurnKey Guest Blogger | Guest Posts
This post was written by our friends at FreeUp for the TurnKey Playbook for Amazon Blog
So you’re ready to consider hiring freelance virtual assistants for your online business – Congratulations! Hiring remotely is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. They will help you get unstuck and fuel the growth of your business.
Here are 5 tips to keep in mind as you begin the process of looking for and hiring freelance virtual assistants for eCommerce.
1. Value Your Time
Delegate Simpler Tasks
When you find yourself spending too much time working on repetitive tasks, you are hurting your business. As the owner, you might want to spend some time systematizing those tasks by SOPs. You need these to keep things optimized as you aim to automate what you can — this is how eCommerce businesses like yours can get ahead.
Once you’ve created the different processes and systems to execute repetitive tasks, you are ready to outsource them to freelance virtual assistants.
Avoid Becoming Overwhelmed
Another sure sign you’re in need of a virtual assistant is that you find yourself completely overwhelmed by the number of tasks on your to-do list. You may hesitate about delegating these tasks because you’re good at them or you enjoy them, but you need to spend your time focus on what tasks that cannot be handled by anyone other than you. If you continue to perform these tasks you run the risk of getting burned out because there’s just not enough hours in the day. As a result, these delegatable tasks won’t get done properly anyway.
Hiring a virtual assistant will allow you to regain some freedom in your business and give you time to focus on growth and help you maintain the passion that you had for your business at the beginning. Not only that but if your business is reliant solely on you to complete every day-to-day operational task, how will you ever take a break? You need to have the flexibility to get away when you need to and spend time with friends and family, or at the very least know that your business can function in case of an emergency.
2. Know Your Weaknesses
As you look into different areas of your business, you will encounter different tasks that you continually performing, but aren’t necessarily good at. You can continue trying to develop the skills needed to perform these tasks, but that may not be the best way to tackle it. If you’re not an expert in these areas, you won’t be able to complete them with excellence or create the best processes for their completion.
Your business deserves the best! Hiring people who are experienced in the areas where you lack knowledge is a worthwhile investment. From creating the process or system to performing the actual work, you need freelance virtual assistants who have made careers out of doing these exact tasks. With the boom that eCommerce has experienced over the past decade, these professionals are easy to fins. Moreover, hiring them will save you the time and hassle of learning eCommerce tasks, which are usually highly technical.
3. Prepare a Detailed Description
Before you even begin to look for freelance virtual assistants, you need to know exactly what you’re hiring for and exactly how to enumerate these tasks. The more attention you give to the task description you’re going to post online, the better your chances are of attracting the right candidates.
Since you usually do not speak to freelancers face to face, a proper description of the position you are hiring for will help both of you determine whether or not it’s a good fit.
If you’ve spent some time creating systems and processes within your business, then this shouldn’t be too much of a burden for you. Just make sure to be as clear as possible about what you want done and how you want it done. Be sure to add in any other requirements you have, like specific skills and experience, along with your personal preferences. Being clear from the outset will ensure that you are able to find the perfect match for your tasks and your business!
4. Don’t Settle
If you’re busy – as most business owners are – you’ll be tempted to hire as fast as you can. For most people, this means picking up the first freelance virtual assistants who respond to your postings and seem “ok”. Don’t make this mistake!
You need to be careful and patient throughout the hiring process if you want to find the right people for your business. The Internet is a wild world with a lot of scammers lurking around, and because you’re online, there’s a higher chance of attracting them.
Consider utilizing a contractor marketplace like FreeeUp rather than an online hiring platform. FreeeUp pre-vets freelance virtual assistants with a focus on eCommerce so that you don’t have to wade through dozens of resumes, cover letters, profiles and portfolios (on top of trying to weed out the scammers and spot the true professionals). You submit your request and get introduced to the best match. This allows you to use your valuable time to focus on a final interview before you hire and do a test project to make sure you have the right fit.
5. Properly Onboard Hires
Once you’ve found a few great freelance virtual assistants to work with, don’t just send them off to start working on tasks. You need to spend some time to properly acquaint them with your business. Even though it seems that there are thousands of stores just like yours, every eCommerce store is unique.
Onboarding is a very important step when working with remote contractors. Freelance virtual assistants don’t have the benefit of a central office location where they can meet everyone they’re going to be working with on a daily basis. They won’t be able to get a feel for the company culture or the work environment unless you talk to them about it. They won’t know what you expect from them unless you tell them directly because there are no conversations to listen in on or water cooler talk to guide them during their transition.
Schedule a time to meet with new hires and introduce them to your business and the people they’ll be working with. Write down your personal preferences and your expectations regarding the tasks they’re going to take on. Then discuss these with them so everything is clearly laid out. Make sure that everyone is on the same page before they get started on whatever you’ve hired them to do. Also, be sure to build in periodic check-ins to state expectations and offer feedback.This will make everything go so much more smoothly and prevent costly misunderstandings.
Hiring freelance virtual assistants can be a truly rewarding experience if you go about it carefully. Make sure that you keep these 5 tips in mind as you prepare to search for the people you need for your eCommerce business, hire the right fit for each task, and integrate them into your business operations.
Start Your Virtual Assistant Search Now on FreeeUp
TurnKey Tip: Pair our Inner Circle Coaching with a great hire from FreeeUp! Not only will you get the customized strategies you need to grow your business, but you’ll also get a quality team member to help you implement those strategies!
by TurnKey Guest Blogger | Guest Posts
This post was written by our friends at PingPong for the TurnKey Success Blog
If you sell on Amazon, it can sometimes feel like there’s a different fee hiding around every corner. But what are sellers really paying for and why? Is it possible to pay less in fees and make more money on Amazon? Yes, it’s possible! The first step is knowing what you’re being charged for and what to do instead.
In this post, we’ll cover 6 types of fees Amazon sellers run into, and how to keep those fees from cutting into your profits. From FBA fees to high currency exchange rates, we’ll take a look at a few of the costlier Amazon fees and strategic ways to lower them, so you can increase profits.
Amazon Fee #1: Fulfillment Fees
When you have items stored in an Amazon FBA warehouse, they need to be moved around when someone orders from you. Sometimes by robots, sometimes by humans. The items also need to be packaged and sent on their way. Amazon’s fulfillment fees pay for these services.
Amazon FBA fees are charged per unit of product and based on two factors:
- The size of your packaged product (dimensions on each side)
- The weight of your packaged product
Based on these two qualities, a product falls into a pre-determined bracket and gets charged accordingly.
Here, we can see an example of a dry erase board and how the fees are calculated:
How to Lower Your Amazon Fulfillment Fees
It might seem like there’s not much you can do about it, and there’s no point in dwelling on it since Amazon charges according to product size and weight.
But if you pay close attention, you may be able to make a slight change that puts you into a lower bracket. For example, you can try making your packaging more compact or adjust your product to make it weigh less.
Obviously, it’s not always an option, but it’s worth examining your products for smart opportunities to reduce their size and weight (and increase your profit margins).
Amazon Fee #2: Multi-Channel Fulfillment Fees
Multi-Channel Fulfillment by Amazon is a service that’s not limited only to orders from the Amazon platform itself. Amazon allows you to use its system to fulfill orders that are sold on other platforms or your own website.
The fees Amazon charges are calculated by unit, which is placed in one of the predetermined fee brackets. They’re based on the product’s weight and size, plus speed of delivery. There are three options:
- Priority shipping (next day)
- Expedited shipping (2 day)
- Standard shipping (3-5 days)
How to Lower Your Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment Fees
Again, a way you can save money here is by studying your brackets to see if it’s possible to reduce the weight and or size of a single product unit.
You may also choose to have your products delivered via a longer delivery period. This is a tradeoff, obviously, however, note that your can pick and choose delivery times on a product-by-product basis to maximize profits.
Amazon Fee #3 – Amazon Storage Fees
When you have inventory in an FBA warehouse, you’re essentially paying rent to store your items with Amazon. Unlike the previous fees that are paid on a per unit basis, here you’re charged by the cubic foot of space your inventory takes up.
Exactly how much you pay in Amazon storage fees depends on three factors:
- The amount of cubic space taken up by your inventory
- The time of the year
- How long the product has been housed in the warehouse
How to Lower Your Amazon Storage Fees
Amazon increases the storage fees during the 4th quarter or the last three months of the year. Not surprisingly, this is due to increased holiday shopping. If your product is seasonal and know you won’t sell many items during the winter, you can avoid higher storage costs during the holidays by having a summer blowout. You can also potentially save money by adjusting your packaging to make your products more compact.
Amazon Fee #4 – Amazon Referral Fees
These are the fees Amazon charges you for successfully selling an item on their platform. It’s charged by the percentage of the total sale price. In most cases, it’s 15%, but for Kindle and digital products it can zoom up to almost 50%.
How to Lower Your Amazon Referral Fees
Consider changing the way you categorize your product with Amazon. By carefully choosing your category, you may be able to find new categories to list your product where the fee is lower. It’s a potential instant boost to your bottom line.
Amazon Fee #5 – Return Processing Fees
Most items sold on Amazon come with a no questions asked, 30-day return policy, which can be very painful for a seller. Here is what happens on Amazon when a customer returns an item:
- The customer gets refunded the total sum they paid from your account.
- Amazon refunds you for the referral fee that was charged when the purchase was made.
- Amazon charges you a return processing fee which is equal to the fulfillment fee that was initially charged on the total cost of the product sold.
- Your item either goes back to your inventory or is deemed unfulfillable and destroyed.
So essentially, not only do you miss out on a sale, you also end up paying the fulfillment fee twice on that order (once when it got shipped to the customer and once when it was returned to the fulfillment center by the customer) even though you might not even get to keep the product that got returned.
How to Lower Your Return Fees
Avoiding returns can be a huge boost to the bottom line for your Amazon business. The best way to combat profit-killing returns is to educate your customers and prospective customers about what your product does and how to use it.
Educating customers reduces the chances of these two likely scenarios from happening:
- The customers buy the product thinking it’s something that it’s not (wrong product)
- The customers buy the product without knowing how to properly use it (needs instructions)
Another reason to take returns seriously is to keep in mind that getting too many of them can hurt your seller rating and even get your listing suspended.
Amazon Fee #6 – Currency Conversion Fees
Currency conversion is an important factor in your Amazon business if you sell internationally. Amazon has its own way of converting currency. Although it’s not prominently displayed, there are fees that comes along with this service. These rates tend to be on the high end of the conversion rate spectrum at around 3.5%. That’s quite a chunk of your earnings, especially since it’s taken off your profits after paying the fees you owe Amazon.
To avoid these fees, you can try to set up a foreign bank account that would allow you to receive the funds in the same currency as the Amazon marketplace where you’re selling in. In the old days, this meant facing the possibility of having to visit that country to set up a bank account, plus provide a business address in that country. Not exactly the easiest option.
How to Take Control of Amazon Currency Fees
Another option that makes cross border payments easier and cheaper is a global currency account. In one fell swoop, you may be able to slash 2-3% off what you were paying to exchange money using Amazon Currency Converter.
With a global currency account like the one from PingPong, you’ll have an account that’s licensed, regulated, and trusted around the world. PingPong has more than 43,000 customers who rely on them to get the best rates on currency exchange.
You can also control when you exchange your currency to take advantage of the best FX rates. Better control, lower rates means higher profits for your business. Plus, make free VAT payments and free supplier payments from the same multi-currency account to save even more.
Setting up a multi-currency account online is a simple fast, process – your account may be approved within 48 hours. You can even ask for a free rate comparison to see how much you’ll save first.
by TurnKey Guest Blogger | Guest Posts
This post was written by our friends at MerchentWords for the TurnKey Success Blog
In 2018, Amazon beat Google as the destination for 54% of all online product searches. As an Amazon Seller, this is important for two reasons. Firstly, this means more people than ever are accessing Amazon regularly, which increases your potential customer base. Secondly, due to the fundamental difference in nature between Google and Amazon, that means more people are shopping online. Therefore, not only the quantity of potential shoppers has gone up, but the quality as well.
The primary difference between searching on Google versus searching on Amazon is the intent. Keywords that come from Google are research-based; their primary purpose is to deliver information. Whereas keywords that originate from Amazon are purchase-based, they drive a sale. That means that it’s more important than ever before to ensure your keyword data is current, accurate, and properly placed.
There are two types of purchase-based keywords you can use to optimize your listing and ad campaigns: top-of-the-funnel and long tail.
Top-of-the-funnel keywords are broad seed keywords that have high search volumes like “shirt” or “phone case.”
Long tail keywords are phrases with two or more words with lower search volumes that tend to be specific to the product you’re selling or a niche audience. In the example above, some long tail keywords would be “workout shirts for women” or “clear iphone 6s case.”
You need to include both to ensure customers can find your listing and then purchase your product once they’re there. High traffic with low conversion rates leads to little profit; while low traffic with high conversion rates leave money on the table.
There are four key elements to an Amazon listing: product name, product features, description, and search terms. Amazon’s algorithm looks at each of them differently, so it’s essential to know which keywords to place where. Let’s go through each one individually.
Your product name (aka title) should include top-of-the-funnel keywords that accurately describe your product. A concise and relevant title will improve search results, catch a customer’s attention, and drive traffic to your product. Each keyword in your title should be relevant to your product and searchable on its own.
When formatting your title include the brand, product, and critical attributes like size, color, and quantity. Search each of these qualities individually in your keyword tool of choice. Find relevant keywords with high search volumes and place them in your title.
Be careful of how many keywords you include. You want your title to read clearly on desktop and mobile. Amazon also limits the number of characters by category so be sure to review the guidelines for your product. The trick is maximizing your number of keywords while also keeping it readable.
Here’s an example of a good and bad title we found on Amazon.
This title is concise and informative. Chances are, you know exactly what this product looks like without seeing the picture.
This title is overstuffed with keywords and truncated in the search results. Many of the keywords, such as “8 Hours Playtime,” are better suited as bullet points.
Pro Tip: Capitalize the first letters of each word in your title and use numerals (2) rather than spelling out numbers (two).
Listed in Seller Central as Key Product Features, customers use the bullet points in this section to quickly obtain information about your product, especially those shopping from their mobile devices.
Think like a buyer, not a seller. If you were coming to Amazon to buy a product like yours, what would you want to know? Use each bullet point to highlight a top feature or benefit of your product. This area is a great place to include both high- to mid-volume keywords and long-tail keywords that characterize your product. But most importantly, this is your chance to highlight the aspects of your product that make it something you MUST have! Communicate the “WHY” behind why someone would want your product, and you’ll sell your customer in a heartbeat.
Amazon recommends writing this section in sentence fragments separated by semicolons or commas rather than full sentences. Again, think about how you can make it easily readable, while also maximizing keywords and character limits.
Here are our real-life examples.
Good Bullet Point:
Bad Bullet Point:
The top example quickly communicates which devices these headphones work with instead of the lengthy and hard-to-read approach of the bottom.
Pro Tip: Only include brand names in your listing if they are pertinent to your product. Amazon will suppress listings that include branded keywords to boost search traffic.
This section helps customers learn essential details and make a connection with your product. It should include product-related information that answers common customer questions and help guide them in their purchase decision.
This section is an excellent place to utilize keywords you haven’t used elsewhere on your detail page and continue telling the story of your brand and sharing why someone should buy your product. Think about how, when, and where customers are using your product; consider including care or operating instructions, and warranty information. Also, be sure that any product claims you make are truthful and can be substantiated.
While including the proper keywords is essential for Amazon search ranking, also ensure your copy reads well! Use correct grammar and punctuation and make sure that each word or phrase you include makes sense within the sentence.
Bad Description :
In the second example, the seller uses this section as an extension of the product features. It isn’t in paragraph form and repeats keywords used earlier in the listing. Using a variety of keywords allows more customers to discover your product. Keep it brief though, Amazon only allows 2000 characters. While spelling variations are useful (e.g., “lite” vs. “light”), consider using them in your backend search term section to maintain consistency and avoid duplication.
Pro Tip: More people than ever are shopping on their phones. Keep your language mobile-friendly! Convey essential information clearly and concisely, so you limit unnecessary scrolling.
Search Terms (AKA “Hidden” or “Backend Keywords”)
It’s important to place your most relevant, highly-ranked keywords into your title, description, and bullet points. For those that you can’t fit, you can include as search terms.
The search terms section is the place for keywords that don’t fit into the visible part of your listing but can help enhance your discoverability. Use this as an opportunity to get indexed for new searches; include spelling variations, other use cases and occasions for your product, and niche audiences. Consider incorporating relevant phrases in other languages.
Remember, this section is limited to 250 bytes, so do not include symbols, punctuation, duplicates, brand names, or misspellings.
The Ultimate Listing
By combining all of these techniques and tips, you’re well on your way to finding success. Even if you don’t sell on Amazon, Amazon keywords can play a large part in helping you be profitable in e-commerce.
Vox recently stated that “Amazon is uniquely qualified to spot and highlight shopping trends, as it’s where 75% of Americans do most of their online shopping.” Amazon shopper search terms give you incredible insights into high-level shopping trends, while simultaneously assisting you with the smallest of listing details.
As the experts in shopper search, MerchantWords is here to help you find the most relevant keywords to grow your business. We’ve collected and analyzed over 1.6 billion keywords and 390 million products since 2012. Our singular focus has been to ensure that you have the most extensive, accurate metrics available.
Utilize our shopper search data for product research, listings, and ad campaigns, or have our experts do the writing and optimization for you with our Listing Advisor service. Either way, we’re here to help you achieve success.
by TurnKey Guest Blogger | Guest Posts
This post was written by our friends at FeedbackWhiz for the TurnKey Success Blog
Getting product reviews doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. With effective automated email marketing, you can make the emails do the hard work for you.
To succeed on Amazon, you need to have a decent number of product reviews. Unfortunately, these are not easy to come by. In fact, most buyers will not leave a product review on their own, they often need a little prompting.
This is what makes automated email marketing such an important part of your seller’s toolkit. As simple as this sounds, it can be a challenge to get it right.
Here are some tips to help you automate Amazon product review requests:
About email marketing
Amazon allows you to contact buyers by email as part of the selling process. They have, however, very strict rules about the ways in which you can and cannot contact people.
The messages that you send must be related specifically to the product you are selling and you must never ask for a positive product review or offer incentives in exchange for one.
With the recently introduced buyer opt-outs, you must be careful to never communicate with a buyer who has opted out of receiving emails from you and limit all communication to urgent messages pertaining only to their specific order.
Having said all that, email marketing is still an effective way to build engagement with your customers and increase the chances that you receive a product review.
Emails are worth sending for all sorts of reasons – aside from the fact that email engagement makes it more likely that you’ll receive feedback, it simply makes good sense to keep the lines of communication open.
The key to successful emails
The most successful automated email sequences are friendly, helpful, and direct.
Using FeedbackWhiz, you can create automated email templates to make your life easier. By using an email template builder, you can quickly and easily design eye-catching and effective emails. You can create different emails for different purposes and schedule them to go out when you want them to.
It’s a simple way to design the perfect email sequence and boost customer engagement.
The perfect email sequence
So, what does that perfect email sequence look like?
Well, as with so many things in life, timing is everything. Every situation will be different and you may find your own schedules which work better for you, but generally speaking, we’d suggest a strategy using three separate emails.
The first email goes out as soon as you have sent the order. This is the order confirmation and reassures the customer that their purchase is on its way. This first email is also a useful way to build anticipation in advance of the package dropping through their mailbox.
Include a friendly note to say the product is on its way and include a link to tracking information. It might also be worth it to include contact details so that if the buyer has any questions, he or she can reach out to you for answers.
The second email in the sequence should go out shortly after the product has been delivered to the buyer. The timing of this email will depend on the product you are selling. Remember, some products require time before someone has a real sense of it. Most people need at least a week with the product before they are ready to leave a product review.
This email should contain a message checking in to make sure that everything is okay with the product as well as a brief prompt to leave a product review. Remind the buyer that Amazon depends on people like them leaving reviews so other people can make a more informed decision.
After this second email, you may want to stop. However, some sellers like to send a third email. This is basically a final follow-up that goes to anyone who has yet to leave a product review. Perhaps they have simply forgotten or maybe one more nudge may persuade them to spend a few minutes writing something.
Different strategies work for different sellers so it’s a good idea to mix, match and choose the approach that works best for you. The content of your emails will be crucial. You want it to be urgent and compelling, but also not sales oriented as this can put off the reader. It’s a fine balancing act and is not an easy one to get right.
FeedbackWhiz’s automated Amazon email templates allow you can track metrics about the performance of your emails. You can track open rates and use A/B testing to ensure you are delivering the right message, at the right time. Try out different variables in your email marketing to find the exact right approach.
FeedbackWhiz makes it easier to design and send out emails, but it also gives you metrics on how those emails are being received. Once you understand that you can design better and more impactful emails, you can elicit more product reviews and, in turn, boost your sales numbers.
Need a bit more help generating the reviews you need to gain sales? Check out our Review Generation Accelerator for step-by-step strategies to increase your review numbers!