Selling FDA Regulated Products on Amazon: Tips, Tricks, and Warnings

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the regulation of products, medicines, and foods that affect public health – and that includes products sold on Amazon. Even though a product may check all of the boxes – low competition, affordable manufacturing costs, high demand – the risks of running afoul of a federal agency may cancel out the rewards of selling FDA regulated products on Amazon.

As a general rule, anything that has not been cleared for over-the-counter use by the FDA or is considered dangerous by the FDA is barred from being sold on Amazon. But what about products that might or might not have FDA restrictions? Are derma rollers medical devices? Is hand soap a cosmetic? How can you be sure that your product fulfills both the legal requirements of the FDA and the selling policies of Amazon?

For private label sellers, understanding this information and integrating it into product research is crucial for avoiding disastrous financial consequences. Listen to our recent podcast for more details on selling in restricted and niche markets. 

Am I Selling FDA Regulated Products?

Generally speaking, the FDA is in charge of regulating foods, drugs and biologics, medical devices, electronic products that give off radiation, cosmetics, animal drugs, and tobacco products. Some of these products need FDA approval before being sold, and others do not. All of these FDA regulated products fall into Amazon restricted categories.

Categories that require the most regulation from the FDA – tobacco products, drugs, biologics, animal drugs and foods – are outright prohibited or require special permission to sell on Amazon. We will focus on products that do not need FDA approval and may be easier for private label sellers to market successfully.

Keep in mind that these products are restricted by Amazon and may have additional requirements other than those stated in this blog. Amazon takes restricted categories very seriously. If you list a restricted product without the proper FDA approval or complying to listing guidelines for that category, you could permanently lose your Amazon selling privileges.

Label Requirements

All Amazon products, even those that do not require FDA approval before being sold, must follow certain labelling guidelines:

  • Labels must not state that the products cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent a disease (this includes conditions like dandruff and acne) in humans unless that statement is approved by the FDA
  • Labels must not state that the product is “FDA Approved” if it is not FDA approved
  • Labels must not use the FDA logo

The FDA logo is for federal government use only. Displaying the logo on a product, a product’s label, or a listing detail page may violate federal law and will likely lead to the removal of the listing from Amazon as well as to possible legal consequences.

The FDA logo cannot be used to suggest the FDA endorses a product or service. We have seen Amazon remove many listings that do not follow guidelines.

Third party sellers must ensure that their manufacturer understands these Amazon labelling guidelines, especially since they often do not get a chance to see the finished product until it has already been manufactured. And though it may be tempting to use “FDA Approved” to advertise the safety and effectiveness of your product, misleading buyers can lead to negative reviews and returned orders, which in turn can cause your seller account to be suspended. It is always better to be open and honest about a product’s functionality and to rely on keyword optimization and advertising strategies, rather than false claims, to gather reviews and boost sales.

Medical Devices

All sellers are permitted to list medical devices that are authorized by the FDA for over-the-counter purchase that are not otherwise restricted and are appropriately described and labeled. All products that have not been cleared for over-the-counter use, are considered dangerous, or have been recalled by the FDA are barred from being sold on Amazon.

Medical devices that do not need approval and can be marketed by all sellers include:

  • Eyeglass frames
  • Tanning devices
  • Otoscopes
  • Ionized or ionic bracelets
  • Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs)

For sellers in the Professional Health Care Program, the list of permitted products is more extensive and includes Class I, II, and Class III medical devices that have been cleared by the FDA, like tongue depressors, powered wheelchairs, and some pregnancy tests.

Some products ride a fine line between being considered a medical device or not. Derma rollers, for example, are commonly used to treat acne scars. But the FDA considers any device that treats a disease or condition, like acne, to be a medical device. In addition, features like the length of the needles and method of use could cause a derma roller to be classified as a medical device. To avoid breaking FDA regulations, both the seller and the manufacturer must be careful of how they make and describe the product.

Dietary Supplements

Dietary supplements do not require FDA approval before going on the market. The only exceptions are supplements that contain a new dietary ingredient, in which case the manufacturers are required to notify the FDA at least 75 days before selling.

Amazon requires that supplements be correctly described and labelled. Most importantly, supplements cannot make structure-function claims on their labeling or listing, unless the claim has been approved by the FDA. Structure-function phrases make claims that the product can affect the structure or function of the body. This includes phrases like “reduces pain” “anti-bacterial” and “fights Parkinson’s Disease.”

If the label includes structure-function claims, the manufacturer must submit a notification to the FDA and include a disclaimer on the label that states the product has not been reviewed by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease. Any content on the listing that includes these claims must also have the disclaimer.

Cosmetics

The FDA does not approve perfumes, makeup, moisturizers, shampoos, hair dyes, hair relaxers, face and body cleansers, shaving preparations, or ingredients within those cosmetics. The only ingredient that has FDA oversight is color additives (an extensive list of additives can be found here). The FDA also monitors reports of adverse reactions to these products.

Some cosmetics may count as drugs, and would therefore require FDA approval. Products that intend to make people more attractive are generally classified as cosmetics, but if a product intends to affect the structure or function of the skin or body, it is classified as a drug or even a medical device. Soap has its own set of definitions and may be monitored by a separate regulatory committee.

For example, Face Cream A claims to make people more attractive by making wrinkles less noticeable: it would be classified as a cosmetic. Face Cream B claims to remove wrinkles or increase collagen: it would be classified as a drug or a medical device. Even if Face Cream B could not actually remove wrinkles or increase collagen, the claim alone is enough to cause the product to be reclassified and fall under FDA scrutiny (this is why avoiding structure-function claims in your product listing is so important!)

Amazon prohibits the sale of cosmetics that have been determined to present “an unreasonable risk of injury or illness” to users. If you are unsure as to whether your product falls under this category, a complete list of prohibited items can be found in Seller Central.

Medical Foods

Medical foods are used to manage a disease or health condition that requires special nutritional needs. This includes gluten-free foods, but does not include meal replacements, diet shakes, or products for the management of diabetes which can be managed by modifying a normal diet. Medical foods are intended to be used under the supervision of a technician. If your food product is gluten-free but is not intended for the management of Celiac disease, it cannot be marketed as such and does not fall under this category.

The FDA does not have to approve medical foods before they are marketed, but medical food manufacturers must comply with other requirements including good manufacturing practices (GMP). Medical foods do not have to include nutrition information on their labels, but the same substance-function claim restrictions apply.

Final Thoughts on Selling FDA Regulated Products

Because private label sellers do not manufacture their products themselves, it is more likely that they will be penalized for not complying with Amazon restricted category listing guidelines rather than for going against FDA violations. But the FDA can take regulatory action if safety issues arise with a product after it has been sold, which could be disastrous for a seller’s reputation. These requirements are as much for the seller’s safety as for buyers.

All of these regulations prove just how important product research is to becoming a successful seller on Amazon. Of course, the easiest way to stay out of trouble would be to choose an unrestricted product that does not need FDA approval in the first place. Luckily there are millions of profitable products just waiting to be discovered.

If you decide to move forward with selling FDA regulated products, do not hesitate to reach out to us for market research tools, listing optimization services, and more. At Viral Launch, we want to provide you with all the information you need to become successful on Amazon. For more on Amazon selling strategies, we encourage you to subscribe to our blog, check out our Youtube channel, and listen to our Follow the Data podcast.

Amazon Enhanced Brand Content: Your Complete EBC Guide

Amazon Enhanced Brand Content (EBC) is one of the most customizable tools in a private label seller’s marketing toolbox. With EBC, you can add your own creative touch to your product listing to build brand recognition with high quality photos, graphics and video.

Two of the largest challenges for private label Amazon sellers are differentiation and instilling buyer confidence.  First, your product must somehow stand out from the thousands of others in that market. Second, you must convince online shoppers that your product will fulfill their expectations, even though they won’t have the chance to see the product for themselves until after it arrives at their doorstep. Luckily for private label sellers, Enhanced Brand Content can help with both.

What is Enhanced Brand Content on Amazon?

Enhanced Brand Content is a simple way to visually enhance the product descriptions of specific ASINs in your catalogue. EBC is one of several marketing services available to private label sellers, though it is currently only available for sellers who are enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry. EBC is still in a “promotional period” and is free to use – though that may change in the future.

Enhanced Brand Content is your chance to share special details, additional information and instructions that do not fit in your main listing. EBC is especially useful for complex products, new or innovative products, and products in highly competitive markets.

Your EBC differentiates your brand from other brands in your market – generic and name-brand alike. Using consistent colors and fonts across your registered ASINs will increase brand recognition and provide a more coherent look across your catalogue. If you are competing in a crowded market, well-designed EBC could be the deciding factor between you and your competitors.

Consider the example below. Stackable steamer inserts is a fairly competitive market with not a lot of variation between products. Which stackable steamer insert do you think buyers will choose, if everything else is equal: one with a block of text, or one that visually informs the shopper through the use of infographics, cooking tips, and in-depth instructions for care? Any way that you can set your listing apart from competitors can help you claim more market share.

 

Though the copy is not indexed by Amazon, EBC indirectly helps your ranking by providing extra details that make shoppers feel more confident about purchasing, thereby driving sales, increasing conversions, and potentially decreasing the number of returns. To help your listing’s organic rank, remember to ensure complete optimization of your title and bullet points and add back-end keywords. EBC is indexed by Google, so do not forget to add alt text to images within your EBC modules to help rank higher in Google Search results.

How to Add Enhanced Brand Content to Your Amazon Listing

EBC can only be added to ASINs registered under your brand. In Seller Central, access Enhanced Brand Content under the Advertising menu and enter the SKU of the product you wish to enhance. If you choose a parent SKU, all variations will show the same EBC content.

Choose one of the 5 pre-made EBC templates or create a template of your own. Modules include text, images, images with text overlay, comparison charts, sidebars, highlights, and specifications.

You can use up to 7 modules per template, but you are not required to use them all. It is far more important to provide high quality relevant photos and informational content. If you decide not to use all 7, Amazon will automatically reformat the content to make up for the extra space.

Not every template will work with the type and amount of content you have. For example, if your product has detailed instructions, choose a text-based module. If you have several infographics you’d like to use, choose a template that favors large images. You can always preview how the content will look and make any necessary changes before submitting to Amazon.

Consider using an infographic instead of a text block to share information in a visually engaging way.

Photos or graphics must be equal to or smaller than the maximum size allowed per module. Text can be bold, italicized or underlined, and can include bullet points and numbered lists. Some content will cause Amazon to reject your submission, including but not limited to:

  • Contact information including addresses or numbers
  • Blurry or low quality images
  • Images with unreadable text
  • Warranties, guarantees, boastful comments or promotional claims (like “cheapest pepper grinder on Amazon” or “#1 best selling item”)
  • Use of copyright, trademark or registered symbols
  • Grammatical errors, punctuation errors, misspellings, strings of all-capitalized words
  • Any violations to Amazon’s Terms of Service or Selling Policies

Amazon will approve or deny your submission within 7 business days. If denied, Amazon will include suggestions on how to edit your content to remove violations. If approved, your EBC will go live on the product’s detail page. You can submit up to 20 templates for review at a time.

Adding Video to Enhanced Brand Content

As of summer 2018, brand registered sellers can also add video content to brand registered ASINs. Video content appears with the main images tiles at the top of the listing. Short videos are a great opportunity to assure buyers that your product looks and acts as you say it will, and to share information with buyers who will not take the time to scroll down for the rest of the EBC. You do not need EBC in order to add video, but the more information you can provide buyers, the better.

Add video the same way you would add EBC: choose an SKU under Enhanced Brand Content in Seller Central, and then click Upload Video. Amazon may reject your video submission if it goes against their content policy. Once your video is approved, it will appear in your product listing in a few hours.

Final Thoughts on Amazon Enhanced Brand Content

There is no single marketing strategy that guarantees overnight success, but combining Amazon Enhanced Brand Content with other proven marketing strategies can help you perform better in the long run.

Here at Viral Launch, we want to provide you with all the information you need to become a successful Amazon seller. For more on Amazon selling strategies, we encourage you to subscribe to our blog, check out our Youtube channel, and listen to our Follow the Data podcast.

Already Launched a Product but Need to Optimize Your Listing?

Once you’ve got a product up and selling, it’s time to think about optimizing your performance for increased sales.

And that means keyword ranking. Make sure you have all the most relevant keywords for your product with Keyword Research.

What is Keyword Research?

Watch this quick explainer video for an overview of what Keyword Research is and how it can help you increase your sales.

Now that you understand what Keyword Research offers, it’s time to start using it to optimize your listing.

Keyword Research Tutorial

Join Amazon Expert Cameron Yoder for a quick tutorial of Keyword Research.

Once you’ve got the hang of using Keyword Research to find the highest volume, highest opportunity keywords for your product, it’s time to start writing your listing.

Keyword Research Listing Builder

After the initial launch of Keyword Research, we added an awesome new feature to help you write your listing. Check out this blog about Keyword Listing Builder and find out how to use it.

Still have questions about using Keyword Research or your Pro Subscription? Login to your Viral Launch account and live chat with a coach! Just look for the chat symbol to start a new conversation.

New Amazon Listing Builder Tool in Keyword Research

Keyword Research just keeps getting better. The most powerful keyword tool in the galaxy now features an integrated Amazon Listing Builder Tool. Find the most relevant, high volume, high opportunity keywords for your product, and create a new listing or add to an existing listing.  This blog will focus specifically on our new listing builder tool.  If you’re looking for a general introduction on Keyword Research, click here

How the Amazon Listing Builder Tool Works

After running a search, simply select the high-volume, high-opportunity terms you want to use, and click the Create Listing button to get started. Selecting your keywords allows you to weed out any terms that may not apply to your specific product.

A hyper-relevant keyword list will be important as you write. Not sure which words to keep and which to save? No worries. You have the option to remove keywords within the Amazon Listing Builder Tool as you work. 

Inside the Amazon Listing Builder Tool, you’ll see Total Search Volume and Used Search Volume for the keywords that you’ve selected. You’ll also see an Optimization Score for the keywords you’ve actually captured in your listing and their placement. 

As you write your listing, your Used Search Volume will change and so will your Optimization Score. If you have really solid, full keyword integration, you’ll see an Optimization Score of Perfect, Exceptional, or Great. And you should be capturing most, if not all, of the Total Search Volume for your product.

If your keyword integration is lacking, you’ll see a score of Good, Average, Mediocre, or Needs Work. Click into the score to see a breakdown of the calculation including how much search volume you’ve captured in your title, bullet points, search terms, and description. 

Import an Existing Listing

Our Amazon Listing Builder Tool provides sellers with an awesome opportunity to optimize existing listings. Using the Import Listing button, you can see how optimized your current listing is, find missing high opportunity, high volume keywords, and easily add these terms to your listing.

To import a listing, simply click the Import Listing button, and enter the ASIN of the product you’d like to work on. Your current listing content will appear in the corresponding sections. And you can see your current Used Search Volume and Optimization Score.

Not getting a very good score? Sort the keywords in your bank by Volume to see if there are any high-volume words you’re missing. Then add them to your listing. Keep an eye on your score to track your improvement. Then, once you’ve captured most of the search volume, sort by Opportunity to look for words with little-to-no competition. 

Customize Character Limits

If you’re starting a new listing from scratch, make sure to adjust the character limits for your listing according to your Seller Central Account. To change the character limits, select the settings icon beside the section header and enter the character limits for your product. Not sure how to find out what your character limits are? Check out our quick and simple guide.

Organizing Keywords in the Word Bank

Once you have adjusted your character limits, you’ll want to organize your keywords in the keyword bank. Sort by Priority Score, Exact Volume, and Opportunity Score so that you see the keywords you want to prioritize first. You also have the option to toggle between Phrase View and Unique View, which allows you to see individuals terms or complete search phrases.

When in Phrase View, you have the option to remove terms that do not apply to your product by clicking the trash icon. But be careful. There may be individual words within that phrase that are still important to your product. And that’s where Unique View is really helpful. Make sure you’re seeing and using every last keyword you can by scrolling through individual terms. You’ll see the number of times that term was used in a search phrase to help you determine how important it is.

 

Using Keywords from the Bank

As you use the terms you collected from your search, you will see them grey out in the word bank on the left side of the screen. And once you use a term, for example first aid kit, it will grey out and cross out in all other phrases that contain it. So first aid kit for car will be partially greyed and crossed out, letting you know that you still need to use for car in your listing.

Ideally, you would use for car somewhere after the term first aid kit to maintain the phrase order. That’s why we offer Phrase View, so you can see the phrase order and hopefully keep your keywords in that flow. For example, let’s say you want your title to start:

Travel First Aid Kit

You can easily add in for car and get the whole phrase. And as long as first aid kit is used early in the title, you can fit the second half of other, similar phrases like first aid kit for kids

Travel First Aid Kit for Car: Emergency Kit for Kids and Adults

You can get the most ranking power when you keep a phrase completely intact. Maintaining phrase order is the next best option, but eventually even that becomes an impossible puzzle too. You’ll have to make choices about which phrases to maintain and which to split up. 

These difficult choices are why creating an elegant, optimized listing that is still readable for your customers is so hard. You can get the most effective listing for your product and the power of Keyword Research in your listing without spending hours deliberating over which keyword to use and where to use them.  

Would you rather leave your listing copy to the experts? Try our recommended Amazon product listing service!

Backend Search Terms

Once you have finished writing the visible content for your listing, you can add any terms that remain in your keyword bank to your backend search terms. Simply use the Move Unused button in the header of your word bank. Up to 250bytes of unused terms will immediately copy over into the Backend Search Terms section.

By default we only show one field for Backend Search Terms. Amazon is only indexing 250 bytes for this section, which can all fit in the first field. Based on our research into Backend Search Terms, there is no benefit to using the additional fields.

Saving and Exporting

Our Amazon Listing Builder Tool continuously and automatically saves your work. You can see the last time your work was saved under the Import Listing button. If you want to leave and come back to a listing, you can find it in the History tab under Keyword Research on the left-hand navigation inside the Launchpad. 

If you are ready to use your listing, you can copy all content to your clipboard with the Copy Listing button below your Optimization Score or download the content as a CSV file. And if you decide you want to start over, you can delete the content from all fields with the Clear Listing button. You also have the option to copy or delete individual fields with the clipboard icon and the X at the far right side of each field.

How Do I Get the Amazon Listing Builder Tool?

The Amazon Listing Builder Tool in Keyword Research is available to all subscribers on Intermediate, Advanced, and Pro plans. Subscribe today, and start setting your listings up for optimal traffic and sales on Amazon with the most relevant, high-volume and high-opportunity keywords in the galaxy.

SUBSCRIBE TO KEYWORD RESEARCH

Already subscribed? Login to your account and check out Listing Builder

 

 

Breaking Down Amazon Listing Optimization

Every Amazon seller wants to know how to optimize their product listing. Product copy is extremely important. To hit sales targets, you need to get Amazon listing optimization right. Content helps buyers understand the details of your product. And more importantly, it determines how visible your product is to those searching on Amazon.

When it comes to search visibility, here’s what you need to know. Say you’re selling a trash can, and you use the keyword trash can. But you never incorporate the term garbage can. When a buyer searches for garbage can—the word you didn’t include—your product doesn’t appear in their search results. Not because your product isn’t relevant but because you didn’t put that term in your listing. Without a wide enough variety of keywords, you lose out on potential buyers and potential sales.

Including a variety of relevant keywords is vital to your visibility. Basically, your product won’t appear on page one for a keyword that isn’t included in its listing. So, what’s the key to Amazon listing optimization?

Finding the Right Keywords

It’s all about finding the right keywords and being strategic with keyword placement. Strategic placement of a wide variety of keywords improves your chances of indexing and ranking for multiple keywords, not just the obvious ones. This makes your product much easier to find in a crowded marketplace and can also improve your conversion rate.

Using Keyword Research, you can find the most comprehensive set of keywords that are relevant to your product. You’ll see a lot of different metrics for each keyword, including exact and broad search volume, search volume trend lines, and three different scores. You can read more about what each score means here.

We recommend sorting by Priority Score first to get a good list going for your product. Priority Score will show you the most relevant keywords with the highest volume first. Use the checkboxes along the left-hand side of the results table to select the keyword phrases that apply to your product. Then copy the keywords to your clipboard.

Paste your list of keywords into your document of choice, and then go back to Keyword Research. This time sort the keywords by Opportunity Score. Look for high volume words that have a score above 700. Copy the terms that you find to your clipboard, and paste them into your document too.

Expand Your Visibility

Before you begin writing, you should know that Amazon’s search algorithm values unique keywords. This is different than Google SEO, which prefers pages that repeat on one or two main keywords. But on Amazon, having a wide variety and less repetition is the most beneficial approach.

When you construct your Amazon copy, you will naturally repeat some keywords. But if you focus on using a wide variety, you will expand your visibility. Not every shopper will use the same search term, so including a variety helps put your product in front of more buyers.

Once you use a keyword, don’t worry about using it again. For example, if I’m writing a title for a first aid kit, I might start out like this:

Travel First Aid Kit

Now that I’ve used first aid kit in the title, I’m not going to use it again. But if I want to capture the keyword phrase first aid kit for car, I can simply add for car to my title and include the whole phrase.

Travel First Aid Kit for Car

But what if I want to include the phrase first aid kit for kids? Ideally I would use for kids somewhere after the term first aid kit to maintain the phrase order. So for example, with the title I’m building, I might do something like this.

Travel First Aid Kit for Car: Emergency Kit for Kids

Notice how first aid kit and for kids are still in the correct order. You can get the most ranking power when you keep a phrase completely in tact, but you’ll have to make choices about which phrases to maintain and which to split up.

Focus on Amazon Listing Optimization

These difficult choices are why creating an optimized listing that’s still easy for your customers to read is so difficult. And it’s why we offer our copywriting services. Depending on what stage your Amazon business is at, you will want to outsource the actual writing of your listings to a professional copywriter.

There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to writing product copy for Amazon listing optimization. Enlisting the help of someone who has written hundreds of listings ensures these moving parts get put together in a strategic way that maximizes ranking potential.

At the same time, if you’re just starting out and trying to save money, DIYing your listing can help keep costs down. Just make sure that you’re being strategic with your keywords, especially in your title.

The title is the most important part of any listing. Amazon gives weight to the keywords in the title more heavily than anywhere else, and with each sale, the words in your title are fair game for a ranking boost.

You want to have a good combination of high and low volume keywords here while keeping them extremely relevant to your product. You want to be clear on what your product is and what its major features are without making your title a long jumble of keywords. So make sure it’s readable and accurate for your customers.

If you’re looking for all the benefits of Keyword Research but don’t have the time or skillset to write your own listing, let our team of professional copywriters do it for you. You’ll save yourself time and increase the profitability of your FBA business.  Whatever you decide, just remember to focus on getting your Amazon listing optimization right.  

 

Optimize My Listing

 

4 Huge Differences Between Amazon and Google SEO

Google vs. Amazon. The competition is fierce between the two search engines, but should companies be using the same SEO strategy for both? The short answer: No. And here’s why:

Don’t believe Amazon is a search engine? Consumers do. According to a study conducted by BloomReach, 55% of consumers began their product search on Amazon. And, 9 out of 10 users said they will check Amazon even if they find the product they want on another retailer’s site.

Amazon may only be a product search engine, but a search engine nonetheless. Consumers will still go to Google to look up the menu of that new taco joint or to figure out what the word “lit” means, but Amazon holds the market share when it comes to product searches.

SEO Strategy Differences

So if Amazon is a search engine like Google, you should be able to market your product the same way on both and achieve the same results, right? Wrong.

Amazon and Google SEO aren’t even in the same ballpark when it comes to ranking. Sure, they both operate under the same general premise of using keywords to achieve ranking, but how they go about that is drastically different. Let’s take a look at what the 4 main differences are:

1. Longtail vs. Short Tail

When you’re writing a blog or reworking a webpage, most Google SEO experts know you should target one or two longtail keyword phrases throughout your copy. But Amazon SEO focuses less on longtail phrases and more on individual short tail keywords. Although keyword phrases may come naturally when writing the copy, breaking up the phrase does not limit your ability to index and rank for that phrase.

If you’re writing about a letter board and the phrase “black felt letter board” comes up as a high volume phrase in your search, you could use “letter board” in the title and “made of black felt” in the bullets and still rank for the full phrase. While maintaining full phrases is vital for Google SEO, individual keywords are the name of the game when it comes to Amazon SEO.

2. Repetition

Although keyword stuffing is no longer valuable for Google like in the early SEO days, carefully crafted repetition of your targeted phrase throughout your copy is vital. When it comes to Amazon, a single usage of a keyword is enough to get you ranking for that word. Of course, keywords used in the title will be weighted more heavily in terms of ranking, but you still have the potential to rank for a keyword used only once in the bullet points of a listing. On Google, a one time use of your targeted phrase isn’t enough if you’re looking to be on page one.

3. External Linking

When you’re trying to drive traffic and improve your Google SEO, external sites that link back to your page are incredibly important. Google has a wealth of websites at its disposal, so whether you’re sharing on social sites, have a blog that links to pages on your website or are collaborating with others in your space to share and promote content, Google places value and trust on how many external links are connected to your site or page.

Amazon, on the other hand, functions within itself. Their algorithm focuses on the keywords users are searching within their own site and whether or not your product page includes those keywords. Of course, increased brand recognition and traffic from outside of Amazon may result in increased searches, sales and ranking inside Amazon, but your external digital presence is not considered when ranking your product. Nor does Amazon allow sellers to link to external sites or product pages from their listing.

4. Clicks vs. Conversions

The final difference between Google SEO and Amazon SEO might be the biggest. Google’s algorithm was designed for selling ads, whereas Amazon’s algorithm was designed for selling products. Yes, you can purchase products through direct links on Google, and ads do exist on Amazon, but the main driving metric is different.

Google SEO places significant weight on the number of clicks your page receives, where those clicks are coming from and what your bounce rate is – i.e. how many users click into your page, then quickly click out. The longer they stay, the more relevant Google deems your page is to that search phrase.

Since Amazon SEO is focused on selling products, they want to know your conversion rate. If you’ve got the sales volume (volume, not velocity, check out our podcast about this for more info), that helps drive the desired ranking. Although other factors are considered, a phone case with 1,000 sales will inevitably rank higher than one with 10.

The Takeaway

While you may have a general understanding of Google SEO practices, applying the same SEO principles on Amazon won’t help you. In fact, it might hurt your ranking.

Treating each search engine as a distinct platform with different driving engagement metrics is the best way to achieve success on both.

If you’re still unsure how to properly integrate keywords to index and rank on Amazon, check out our listing optimization page and sign up to have one of our Listing Specialists optimize your listing for you!

OPTIMIZE MY LISTING USING AMAZON SEO

What is Opportunity Score? How to Quickly Find Keywords and Drive Sales

The saying goes that opportunity often looks like work.

That’s certainly been true of using the available Amazon keyword tools over the years. Paying for keyword results that may or may not be relevant, sometimes spending hours trying to decide which ones to put in your listing. It’s exhausting.

Then there’s fierce competition to think about. So many sellers have zeroed in on the same group of keywords, making those keywords competitive and difficult to rank well for. It’s like if Google Maps showed only one Starbucks in all of Manhattan.

That store would constantly be packed with people and nearly impossible to place an order with. You’d probably use a different map to see all of the other Starbucks locations and visit one with the shortest wait possible to get your coffee immediately.

Amazon keywords are kind of the same in that the main keyword for your product is the one showing up on all the current tools. And that keyword is overcrowded. You have to decide if it’s worth it to wait in line for a sale. And until now, there haven’t been any other tools to show you the open keywords for your product. So you’ve had no choice but to wait and wait and wait for a sale in a crowded market.

But with the Opportunity Score feature in Keyword Research, the latest Viral Launch, game-changing software, you can identify all of the keywords that your competitors are not taking advantage of. While they’re focused on the same group of overworked keywords, you can locate and strategically incorporate hidden gems. Core keywords they don’t know about.

So, how does Opportunity Score work to help you get these keywords that you can immediately begin ranking for?

How Opportunity Score Evaluates Keywords

To put the most relevant and high opportunity keywords in front of you, Keyword Research runs a Reverse Market Lookup that reaches across all Amazon markets associated with your seed word. The result is an enormous pool of keywords related to your product.

Until now, a popular method of identifying important keywords was through a Reverse ASIN Lookup. A Reverse ASIN tool requires you to input an ASIN (product) or a list of ASINs. The tool then pulls a list of keywords that the given product or products are indexed for within Amazon.

The only problem is that a Reverse ASIN Lookup doesn’t show you the full picture because it can’t. A reverse ASIN lookup assumes that the listings associated with the ASINs have virtually perfect keyword use while ignoring the probability that the listing is almost always missing vital keywords, keywords that allow you to truly stand out in that market.

Keyword Research takes a widescreen view of a keyword’s market performance by evaluating thousands of listings. It does a Reverse Market Lookup to find virtually every associated keyword and then runs each term through our Market Relevancy Calculation. This process ensures that you see all of your product’s most important keywords without having to weed through the irrelevant ones.

How Opportunity Scores Are Calculated

Let’s look at a search result page for the seed keyword tshirt to better understand how Opportunity Scores are calculated.

If you search the term “tshirt” in Keyword Research and sort by Opportunity Score, “tees for men” comes up as a 1,000 Opportunity Score keyword. So what does that mean?

Basically we’re looking at all tshirt products and finding where tees for men is showing up. All of the orange-shaded listings have tees in their title but not for men. The blue-shaded listings have for men but not tees. And the blue-ish brown-shaded listings have tees as well as for men.

But since tees for men is a 1,000 score keyword, we know that tees and for men do not appear consecutively and may not even be in the correct order in the listing title. Since so few sellers have included tees in their title, and even fewer have included both tees and for men, the Opportunity Score for the phrase tees for men is 1,000. That perfect score means that 0 of the top 10 listings have that full keyword phrase in the front end (or the title, bullet points, and description) of their listing.

Opportunity Score sifts top sellers for a particular keyword, screens their listing content, and scans whether or not those listings are using that particular keyword. For the listings that are, it then weights them by identifying where the keyword is placed and in what context – title, bullets or description. This weighted system is what produces each keyword’s Opportunity Scores.

How To Read and Implement Your Opportunity Score Results

You’re looking for keywords with a high Opportunity Score and solid search volume. Anything north of 8,000 exact is a good mark to shoot for. But keep in mind that search results are relative to your product. For instance, product X’s top keyword may have search volume of 1.5 million, product Y’s top keyword may have search volume of 5,500.

Keywords with Opportunity Scores of 1,000 are obviously ideal but so are keywords with scores in the 700-900 range. What you’re looking for is a balance of essential high volume keywords and high opportunity keywords that other sellers aren’t prioritizing.

For example, if you’re selling a flashlight, you must include flashlight up front in your title. But you can also include the phrase flash light, which has an Opportunity Score over 900 and high search volume. This allows your listing to catch searches for both terms and puts your listing in front of other sellers for the term flash light. More opportunity, for more searches and more sales.

And it’s easier than ever to find high-volume, high-opportunity, keywords with our new filter feature. Create a custom filter for Exact Search Volume that is Great or Equal to the volume you’re interested in, and apply it to your results. Then you can sort by Opportunity Score and see the highest opportunities with the highest volume.

What Opportunities Can You Find Today?

With competition on Amazon continually increasing, you can’t afford to miss opportunities to get ahead of the curve. Along with the accurate keyword results and monthly search volume that Keyword Research provides, Opportunity Score adds that turbo boost you need to shoot past other sellers in ranking, compete with even the best of the best in your category, and drive sales.

Start discovering keyword opportunities for your listing today with Keyword Research.

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3 Crucial Scores for Your Amazon Keywords

If reviews are the currency of Amazon, then Amazon keywords are the lifeblood.

Without the right keywords in your listing, you miss out on thousands of potential sales each month. But by including your most relevant keywords, you can capture every possible impression driving thousands more in revenue each month.

Viral Launch Keyword Research, the most accurate Amazon keyword research tool on the market, provides you with a list of your product’s most relevant search terms. With one simple search, you can quickly find your most important keywords alongside search volume taken straight from Amazon.

Still not sure how to do keyword research for Amazon? Keyword Research provides all the metrics you need to determine how to best use each term. You’ll see exact and broad search volume, search volume historical trends, CPC suggested bids, dominant categories, and three important scores.

These scores include Relevancy Score, Priority Score, and Opportunity Score. Each of these metrics rates the keyword on a scale of 1 to 1,000 and will indicate, in different ways, how to best utilize the keyword for your product.

Relevancy Score

Relevancy Score is what allows Keyword Research to provide the most relevant Amazon keywords for your product of any keyword tool on the market.

Relevancy Score is a scale between 0-1000 that rates how relevant each keyword is to your seed keyword. To determine relevancy, Keyword Research runs a massive Reverse Market Lookup. This is similar to a Reverse ASIN Lookup, but bigger and better.

Essentially, we’re looking at the top-selling listings across your entire product market to ensure we’re capturing all your most important Amazon keywords and running multiple reverse-ASIN lookups. This ensures you don’t miss any crucial keywords for your market. And as a result, we gather a large pool of hyper-relevant keywords for your product.

The downside to a Reverse ASIN Lookup, as opposed to a Reverse Market Lookup, is that it only finds indexed words for one single competitor. That means you could miss some really crucial words for your product. In contrast, a Reverse Market Lookup finds the most comprehensive list of indexed words from all of your top competitors.

Next, we take that comprehensive pool of keywords and run it through our sophisticated Market Relevance Calculation. This proprietary process weeds out irrelevant terms and gives you a list of hyper-relevant Amazon keywords. From that Market Relevance Calculation, we rate each term based on its importance.

For example, garbage cans has a fairly high Relevancy Score, meaning it is very closely related to the seed term according to our Market Relevance Calculation.

 

Using the Relevancy Score

  • Place highly relevant keywords in your title and/or bullet points
  • See which keywords most directly relate to your product
  • Determine which keywords your top competitors are using most frequently

Priority Score

Priority Score is a scale between 0-1000 that rates a keyword’s importance based on relevancy and search volume. To arrive at this score, we look at the term’s Relevancy Score and factor in the search volume. A highly relevant, highly searched term will have a high Priority Score. But a less relevant, less searched term will have a low Priority Score. The higher the Priority Score, the more important the keyword, when it comes to optimizing a listing.

For example, trash can has a high Priority Score, meaning it is highly relevant to the seed term coupled with relatively high search volume.

High priority words should be placed in a product’s title, whereas mid-priority keywords can be placed in the bullet points, description, or backend. When using Keyword Research to optimize your listing, we suggest sorting your resulting terms by Priority Score to ensure you’re seeing your product’s most important keywords first.

Using the Priority Score

  • Place high priority keywords in your title
  • See which keywords have the most sales potential with a good combination of relevancy and volume

Opportunity Score

Opportunity Score ranks Amazon keywords on a scale of 0-1000 to show you terms with low competition and high opportunity to rank. A high Opportunity Score means the term has not been integrated into the front end of the top performing listings that are ranking for that keyword. A low Opportunity Score means the term has been integrated into many of the top ranking listings.

For example, garbage cans and trash cans (both plural) have very high Opportunity Scores, meaning the top products are ranking for these two terms without even having the phrases in their title, bullet points or description. In other words, the top-ranking products for these keywords are neglecting this term, which will make it easier for you to rank with the keyword in your title or bullet points. And combined, there are over 15,000 searches per month up for grabs!

Trash can (singular) has a low Opportunity Score, meaning most of the top products are prioritizing this phrase by using it in their front end.

For high opportunity Amazon keywords, there is a lot of potential to rank by simply adding the word to your listing’s title or bullet points. For example, in a search for bluetooth headphones, you’ll find the term “audifonos headphones” with over 33,000 searches per month and an opportunity score of 1,000.

This means none of the top ranking listings for audifonos headphones actually have that term in their title, bullet points, or description. Your opportunity to rank here is high because the top ranking listings are not prioritizing this keyword at all. No other keyword tool offers this kind of strategic insight

And as an added bonus, high opportunity Amazon keywords are less competitive, so these markets also tend to have lower quality listings. So if you’ve got great reviews and good photos, the addition of a single keyword could mean increased impressions and high conversion rates, bringing in thousands more dollars in sales every month.

You can also use Opportunity Score in conjunction with Suggested CPC Bids in order to find high opportunity, low-bid terms to target.

Using the Opportunity Score

  • Place high priority keywords in your title or bullet points for easy ranking
  • Find hidden-gem keywords that your competitors are neglecting to use
  • Bid on high opportunity, low-bid keywords with Sponsored ads for low competition

Prioritizing Your Amazon Keywords

Because keywords are the foundation for how your product is discovered by Amazon shoppers, it is crucial to include the right terms. On top of that, it’s important to know how to best prioritize them.

Your title is the most important element of your listing’s copy, so include highly-relevant, high-priority and high-opportunity keywords. With each sale, the words in your title are fair game for a ranking boost.

Your bullet points are secondary and should be used for your remaining important keywords, along with additional mid-level terms.

Your description and backend keywords are great places to include long-tail keywords so that you can be found for anything a shopper searches relating to your product.

Whether you’re researching a market in conjunction with the Viral Launch product research tools or you’re seeking relevant Amazon keywords for your current product, Keyword Research shows you all of your related terms with just one simple search. And with the Relevancy, Priority, and Opportunity Scores, you can ensure you’ve got the most comprehensive understanding of your product’s Amazon keywords.

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5 Tips for Product Photography from Viral Launch Lead Photographer Dustin Kessler (Follow the Data Ep. 21)

5 Tips for Product Photography from Viral Launch Lead Photographer Dustin Kessler (Follow the Data Ep. 21)

Having high-quality images of your product is integral to your success on Amazon. Photos can make or break your sales, especially in the age of Amazon where the primary indication of what your product is like comes from your photos. Join host Cameron Yoder for a conversation with Lead Viral Launch Photographer Dustin Kessler where he reveals 5 tips for creating better Amazon photos. 

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Follow the Data Show Notes

Podcast Transcript

CAMERON YODER:
To click or not to click, that is the question. Really, though, that’s the question that shoppers are asking themselves as they scroll through Amazon search results. And one of their main considerations as their eyes quickly pass over the page is product photography. Having high-quality images of your product is integral to your success on Amazon, encouraging shoppers to click and convincing them to purchase. Photos can make or break your sales, especially in the age of Amazon where the primary indication of what your product is like comes from your photos.

I’m Cameron Yoder, your host for Follow the Data: Your Journey to Amazon FBA Success. In this show we leverage the data we’ve accumulated at Viral Launch from over 30,000 product launches and our experience working with 6500 brands to help you understand the big picture when it comes to Amazon and, more importantly, the best practices for success as an Amazon seller.
In today’s episode I sit down with our lead photographer, Dustin Kessler, to talk about the best practices for product photography, what to do, what not to do and why a professional photographer is worth the investment. Let’s jump in.
Dustin, how are you doing today?

DUSTIN KESSLER:
I’m doing pretty good. It’s a Friday, and we’re killing at the office, getting a lot of stuff done. Excited to be here.

CAMERON YODER:
Dustin is excited to be here. We are killing at the office. We’re in a time of transition right now. We’re actually doing some construction on the office, opening up the space a little bit as our team continues to grow.

So Dustin, I want to introduce Dustin a little bit, and then I’m going to have him talk about himself just a little bit, too, but Dustin is our lead photographer at Viral Launch, and he has over a decade of experience in commercial photography specifically. And he’s worked with clients ranging from local coffee shops to Fortune 500 companies like Samsung and Walmart. It’s pretty crazy. He’s also done a ton of product photography with Amazon and Viral Launch specifically. So Dustin, maybe intro yourself a little bit. Also maybe answer first how many products do you think you’ve shot for Amazon specifically?

DUSTIN KESSLER:
For Amazon specifically I would probably say – I mean it’s definitely in the hundreds if not more than that, but I kind of – you know, I got into photography over 10 years ago now, just kind of picked it up as a hobby, really, really enjoyed it, started doing a lot of research. I’m the type of person when I get into something I really just like throw my entire self into it and learn as much as I can. So I picked it up in high school, ended up going to college for it, and about halfway through college I fell in love with just the idea of commercial photography, of telling a story through a scene, a product, lifestyle from the automotive field, to product, to fashion, whatever it was, just that entire commercial realm is kind of what I fell in love with. So it’s been a really interesting journey since then. I’ve done a lot of different things from, you know, just local coffee shops, helping them grow and helping them, you know, have this visual presence in this digital age, whether it’s through social media, or ad campaigns, email campaigns, anything like that, to working with, you know, huge Fortune 500 companies like Samsung and Walmart and others just to name a few. But it’s been a great journey, and I’m excited to be at Viral Launch, and we’ve done a lot of great things for a lot of great people. So looking forward to continuing that.

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah, I think one thing that a lot of people forget, especially in this space – well, a lot of people kind of forget to, number one, get a hold of fantastic photos.

DUSTIN KESSLER:
Sure.

CAMERON YODER:
But also the importance of telling a story with photos is something that not a lot of people know of, and that’s something that – I mean you, you are really passionate about, but it’s something that is hard for people in, I think that are selling on Amazon, to really see. And so today I’m really excited to kind of just pick Dustin’s brain for all of our listeners when it comes to photography specifically on Amazon because this is a space that’s really important. It’s something that’s going to capture your audience’s attention first on Amazon, one of the first things that they see. So Dustin, if you could, maybe break down a handful of tips that you have for us. What would be maybe one of your first tips that you would tell people, that you would tell our audience when it comes to photography on Amazon?

DUSTIN KESSLER:
So with Amazon, you know, you don’t have a physical product in front of you, right? You only see – you only see what the seller is showing you through their listing, whether it’s your photos or it’s your text, whatever it is. So you don’t have that product in front of you. You can’t have it in your hands. You can’t have that like tactile like oh, this is what the product is, right? So the biggest thing when it comes to e-commerce photography, and in this case Amazon photography specifically, is you have to be able to tell a story with your product, right? You have to be able to show your product in a way that makes people relate to it, makes people think oh yeah, I can definitely see that product in my house. I can see that product in my life being used for whatever purposes I decide to use it for. And you know, if you have – if you just have that main image, that main studio white background image, yeah, it could be the nicest main image in the world, but if you have nothing to follow it up with, you know, what story is that telling people? What is that relating to people? It’s just saying hey, here’s a product, right?

CAMERON YODER:
So that story then, that story is what evokes an emotional response, right? So the whole – this kind of falls into the idea that your photography should evoke an emotional response from a customer looking at your photos. And so is that accomplished then by the story, essentially?

DUSTIN KESSLER:
I would definitely say so. You know, there’s that phrase that a picture says a thousand words. When it comes to product photography and telling a story through your product it’s not as much you as the seller saying these thousand words. You want your photos to say that. You want your photos to develop the story of their own and evoke that emotional response within the potential buyers because each buyer is going to be different. They’re going to look at the same products and the same story that you present, but if it doesn’t tell the story of your product well enough it’s not going to relate with them.

CAMERON YODER:
I do – I want to focus on this a lot because I think this is maybe – this is a very important aspect of product photography on Amazon. Could you give us – I see maybe listeners asking, okay, or telling themselves hey, okay, now I know that I should tell a story with my product, but can you give us like a comparable example of what that would be just for any random, like any random product on Amazon, what would telling a story for something like, I don’t know, oven mitts or like a grill brush look like?

DUSTIN KESSLER:
So we’ll take – we’ll take like the grill brush, for an example. You – per Amazon’s terms of service obviously you have to have a white background image as your main image, and at the end of the day there’s only so many ways that you can, you know, that you can slice that cake for the main image. You can pose it different ways, try to fill up as much of the frame, have like a badge on there, even though that’s a whole other, that’s a whole other story in itself. But there’s only so many ways that you can do that main hero image. But if you light it correctly, make sure it’s good, the product is in focus, like those are the main pillars for that main image. But then once you get into that story itself with those images with this grill brush, like there are so many different ways that you can use this product, right? Whether it’s, you know, getting flavor onto chicken as its grilling, or a burger, or a steak, whatever you’re using on the grill. Like there’s so many different ways that you can use it, and being able to tell that story of those uses is really important. But you also have to remember other aspects of the product. Is it dishwasher safe? Is it, you know, is there a certain temperature of liquid, stuff like that, where most people when they’re just taking a picture of their product they’re like okay, I’m going to take a picture of the product out of the box, in the box and then maybe next to a grill, right? There are so many different ways that you can show that product in use and tell that visual story.

CAMERON YODER:
Do you think there’s a – is there a benefit to telling that story through like a linear progression of how it’s used, so like oh, you open up the grill, like you put the grill brush in the grill, you wash the grill brush after, whatever? What do you think; is there a method to having a linear progression, or not necessarily?

DUSTIN KESSLER:
I think there’s definitely a lot to say for having that linear method of photos. That’s one thing that we do for our clients specifically is when we send them out a photo set, a completed photo set, we generally try to lay out the photos in what the best story that we feel would look like. And you know, say hey, upload these photos in this order and see what your conversions are like in this way. At the end of the day it’s each person’s prerogative whether or not they put it in that order. I think there is something to be said for that story, though, in that order because it, you know, it shows somebody something from start to finish.

CAMERON YODER:
Right.

DUSTIN KESSLER:
It’s like reading a visual book where you open page one, and you’re like okay this is the product. Open page two, this is where you start using the product. And by the end you see the entire progression of that story.

CAMERON YODER:
That’s good. So okay, tip number one, tell a story. What about, what’s another tip?

DUSTIN KESSLER:
I would say something that a lot of people don’t necessarily think about, and this may just be because people aren’t trained to think this way, is correctly lighting your product. There’s a lot – there’s a lot that goes into photographing products so features stick out, but also making sure that just the product overall looks very appealing. You can have a beautiful looking product, but if you shoot it and light it incorrectly it could look really boring. It could look – the image can look really flat. There could be, you know, no emotion evoked from that image, and that’s not something you want to do. Another thing that like in this digital age that we see people doing is the convenience of having cell phones with pretty good cameras, honestly, is both a blessing and a curse. But in the Amazon space I would go with the latter because you can take a photo of your product on your phone. It will look great, you know, it will look nice and crisp and bright, but that’s on your phone. Once you get it on to Amazon and you put it next to professional photographs, you know, maybe your background isn’t completely white. Maybe it doesn’t stick out as much. Maybe it isn’t quite as in focus as you thought. So there’s these things that are convenient for everyday life that aren’t necessarily convenient for product photography on Amazon. Because if you have a cell phone photo next to a professional photograph you’re going to tell a difference.

CAMERON YODER:
Oh yeah, absolutely.

DUSTIN KESSLER:
Especially with the white background photos.

CAMERON YODER:
Let’s say someone – let’s say someone listening bought, like just bought a starter kit, like a photography lighting starter kit. So they have maybe a handful of semi-good, semi-good equipment to use for product photography, but they’re not the best, maybe the most professional photographer, but they have good, like decent lighting equipment. What’s a really simple recommendation that you would give them on how to really just enhance or make the most of simple lighting equipment?

DUSTIN KESSLER:
So generally most like photography studio starter kits are a white like backdrop box, which most of the time we call a lightbox in the industry, two to three lights that they can set up, and obviously whatever camera they’re using, right? So that’s generally the starter package for when people buy like basic studio equipment. I would say YouTube is your best friend, especially if you’re the type of person that you’re eager to learn, you’re willing to do and put the work in that is required to learn these things to better your Amazon business. YouTube is definitely your friend. Look up lighting tutorials and stuff like that for product photography specifically because there’s going to be a difference between, you know, lighting a portrait and then lighting a bottle, right? It’s just going to look completely different. So I would definitely suggest people, you know, jump on YouTube. Go spend 30 minutes a day and learn because at the end of the day learning more stuff is not a bad thing.

CAMERON YODER:
Right, right. That’s right. Well, okay, what about, what’s another general tip that you would give everybody?

DUSTIN KESSLER:
So this is a tip that I think a lot of people kind of overlook, and it is don’t overload all of your images with text and graphics. This is something that we see sellers doing all the time on Amazon, whether it’s on your main image, which if you put text and graphics on your main image you run the possibility of getting it flagged and taken down. Obviously nobody wants that. But just in general, in the rest of your photo stack on Amazon having so many words and all this text and all these graphics and callouts, like for some products it’s beneficial, but that’s the minority of products. At the end of the day your photos should speak for themselves.

CAMERON YODER:
Where is the line? What is too much?

DUSTIN KESSLER:
I think too much is when you’re trying to basically copy every single one of your bullet points and put it on all of your photos, and I think that a lot of people try to do that. They try to condense their bullet points into – or don’t, or just literally copy their bullet points and put it on the photos. Or for like a mop with, you know, a telescoping handle, you don’t necessarily need to show a photo that has six additional detail photos of how to turn the handle. It’s pretty intuitive, right?

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah, it is.

DUSTIN KESSLER:
And there’s always – there’s always room for putting that text and putting those extra graphics on like a card that you put in the box. That’s how a lot of instruction manuals in most products in retail stores or companies that have been doing products for, you know, 40, 50 years, they have instruction manuals for a reason. You don’t necessarily have to have an instruction manual in your photo stack, and a lot of people get hung up on trying to explain so much about their product when 99% of people are going to be able to figure it out on their own. And it distracts from the image, and it gives you less room to tell that story and evoke that emotional response like we talked about at the beginning. And if you are not evoking that emotional response right away you’ve already lost that person. You only have a couple seconds to effectively communicate what your product is and what it’s about and really relate to that person. And if it’s – you know, if somebody’s looking at a photo and they’re not sure where to look because there’s text everywhere, you’ve already lost their interest.

CAMERON YODER:
This is one specific area that I think a large majority of sellers on Amazon that have graphics fall into, text or graphics overlaying in images, fall into the category of it being a bit much, right, of it being too much.

DUSTIN KESSLER:
Absolutely.

CAMERON YODER:
So if you’re going to include text or graphics in your images I would really encourage you to be really intentional about it. Ask yourself if you need that text or if you need that graphic. Again, it can work really well, but since most sellers seem to fall in the latter category of it being a bit much I would really be careful with how you use it.

DUSTIN KESSLER:
And I would recommend like – some of the text and graphics that I see as beneficial are actually things that don’t necessarily relate to the product specifically, but more the seller in the sense of okay, if you have a product in a market that you see competitors with reviews about getting, about products being returned because of, you know, an issue or a defect or something like that and it seems to be a consistent trend, if you’re going to make it your company policy to have, you know, a moneyback guarantee maybe throw that up there as a graphic on one of your photos in your stack. Things like that I can see being beneficial, but trying to take your entire listing and throw it on your product in the graphics just, it looks tacky, and it looks like an ad, and it doesn’t evoke an emotional response at all.

CAMERON YODER:
All right. What’s tip number four?

DUSTIN KESSLER:
You get what you pay for. Quality is definitely worth the money. You can look up plenty of examples of, you know, big Fortune 500 companies skimping out on photographs. They’ll just hire, you know, somebody with a camera. They won’t do their homework on them. They won’t set a standard for what is worth the money and what isn’t. And it starts to go down a very slippery slope of who can I pay the cheapest amount of money just to get photos done.

CAMERON YODER:
What would your vetting process be? What would your vetting process – let’s say you’re not spending – let’s say you want to save money and you don’t want to spend an absurd amount of money on a professional photographer, but you still want really good quality. What would your vetting process be for good photographers?

DUSTIN KESSLER:
Definitely the way that people present themselves. Do your homework. That’s the biggest thing. Do your homework and shop around. If you go to a photographer’s website and you see some photos that you really like, do you think it can translate into your product? That’s a big thing of okay, I found this incredible wedding photographer. She’s awesome, or maybe it’s a person that shot your wedding. Photos turned out amazing, but there’s no way that they could, you know, translate that into photography for your specific product. So definitely look for people that are well versed with product photography. It’s worth the time to do your homework and shop around because if you just hire any photographer they could be great in one area but not great for your product.

CAMERON YODER:
Really like if you have – if your goal is to increase your sales and you have just bad photos it’s not going to happen, right?

DUSTIN KESSLER:
Right, exactly.

CAMERON YODER:
Right.

DUSTIN KESSLER:
And then you’re going to be, you know, you’re going to have paid for the service. You’re going to have paid for these photos, and you’re not going to improve your business at all. So it’s worth the time to wait a little bit to find the right photos or the right photographer, I should say, than just paying somebody to do your photos because you’re essentially losing money at that point. Photography is an investment.

CAMERON YODER:
Yes.

DUSTIN KESSLER:
And if you’re going to put money into an investment you want to make sure that you have the most probability to win at the end of the day.

CAMERON YODER:
I like to think of it like this. Think about how you’re paying for photos one time. It’s not a subscription. It’s not anything like that. It’s a single payment, and sure, it might be an initial upfront investment for you. However, think about how much more money you’re going to make after the fact you have these photos in hand, and customers seeing these professional photos done, think of how many more customers are going to buy your product because of those photos. It’s an upfront investment, but it’s going to make you so much more money and save you so much more time than the alternative, which is not having professional photos done. So tip number four, quality photos. Do you have anything else you wanted to add to that?

DUSTIN KESSLER:
To that, just kind of to make an example I guess for a lot of people listening, kind of going to bring back that wedding photography. A lot of people have experience with wedding photography in the sense that either they know somebody that’s had wedding photography done, they’ve had it done themselves, whichever it is. If you hire a really good wedding photographer the images that you get back you’re going to remember forever. If you hire a not so great wedding photographer and the images you get back are subpar, you’re going to remember your day. You’re not going to remember the photos. And it’s the same with product photography. If you hire somebody just to take photos of your product, potential buyers, they’ll click on it, and then they’re going to forget the image. If you hire somebody who knows what they’re doing and can tell an emotional story with your product and elicit that response, those people are going to remember that photo, which means they’re going to remember your product. So kind of to draw all back to that, like quality is worth the money, especially to make sure people remember who you are.

CAMERON YODER:
That’s good. What about, what’s your next tip? What’s the last tip you have?

DUSTIN KESSLER:
Brand perception can go a really, really long way with photos. Just a visual, just a visual overall, whether it’s photos or package design when somebody opens up a box, they’re very similar in the sense that you can really kind of put yourself on a pedestal as opposed to just on a shelf with everybody else. You can spend that initial investment, get those great photos, make people perceive that your product is really, really good. But if you don’t invest that money and that time into finding somebody that’s worthwhile to hire to do your photos, your brand perception is going to definitely hurt from that. And you can make yourself look really, really good, or you can make yourself look really, really bad. Like I said before, you could have the most beautiful, high-quality product on Amazon, but if you have terrible photos of it people are going to think it’s a terrible product.

CAMERON YODER:
That’s good. Perception of brand bleeds into perception of product, right? It’s all connected. What is the takeaway from all of this? From these five tips, what is a big takeaway for people?

DUSTIN KESSLER:
Hire a professional. If your engine needs to be replaced and you know nothing about cars you’re going to take it to a mechanic. If you need photos and you’re not a professional photographer or you’re not super excited about learning how to become a professional or at least put yourself at a professional level, hire a professional. It will save you so much time and money. It will save you credibility with your product, and it will give you a much better brand perception.

CAMERON YODER:
That’s really good. Five tips – five tips that really encompass, I think, again what Dustin said, the importance of photography and the importance to really hire a professional, but not only a professional, but a good professional when it comes to product photography specifically. So Dustin, can you actually – a couple more things. Can you touch on how your work with larger companies, like we said in the intro, with something like companies like Samsung and Walmart, can you touch on how work with them has really helped your product photography with Amazon in the Amazon space?

DUSTIN KESSLER:
A lot of times that I’ve done larger gigs for, you know, Fortune 500 companies, these bigger clients that have this significantly larger budget, you start to look at all of these things that go on behind the scenes in the shoot, and you’re like okay, how can I kind of like roll this into my own process and make this a lot easier? So whether it’s a location scout, a talent scout, stylists, anything like that, those are all – you know, those are all separate positions on these big shoots whereas with us we condense that all into the people that we hire. So you know, we hire these photographers that can be their own stylists, can be their own location scouts, can be their own model scouts and talent scouts and find the best location, the best people to present products very well. And I think that’s something that’s been very big about – or very important, I should say, that I’ve learned from these larger shoots. And like don’t get me wrong; having a huge team of people sometimes is really fun. It takes a lot more stress off your shoulders, and you don’t have to worry about so many different pieces of the puzzle. But learning how to be able to do all of that on your own and trust yourself and trust your judgment I think is really, really important as a professional photographer. It gives you more credibility, and it gives your work more emotion, I think, at the end of the day.

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah, that’s really good. I think that’s really good. That’s an important perspective to take, or to bring into the Amazon space specifically. It’s something that you can take other places, too, not just Amazon, but to others. So that’s really valuable. Can you – actually there is one more thing that I want to touch on. Can you touch on I think a lot of people either run into this or are in it without actually knowing it. But there are people that are married to their photos. Sometimes it’s really hard to actually see what’s wrong with something that you’ve created, right, because it’s yours. So how, how would you advise maybe breaking the perception of, or breaking someone away from being married to their photos if their photos aren’t the best? How can we work around this, people being married to their photos basically?

DUSTIN KESSLER:
Sure. You know, and I think everybody kind of goes through this when it comes to photography, whether you are a professional or a hobbyist or you, you know, you bought a photography starter kit and you’re taking photos of your product and, you know, you think they look really great. But then somebody comes in and says hey, actually these don’t show your product very well. These aren’t that good. They’re not well lit, whatever it is. People tend to – and not just hobbyists or anything like that. Professionals do it, too. People tend to put a lot of their emotion into photography, which is a good thing, but also if you don’t understand how to remove that emotion and remove yourself from your work any critique that could make you better is only going to make you more stuck in your ways.

You know, I had the blessing of being able to go through certain college courses that were really, really helpful in teaching critique and criticism and feedback. Not everybody has that, obviously, but the one thing I’ve learned from all of that is if you can step back and objectively look at all the criticism and feedback and suggestions and changes, even if you don’t implement any of it, if you can look at it as being helpful or look at it as a way that you can improve or just look at something differently, I think that’s the first step in creating better content. You know, there’s editors in fields for reasons because if you write, you know, you write something and then it just went straight to print, what if there’s typos? You know, that’s why editors exist. And with photography if you don’t have – if you’re just putting stuff out and you never have anybody look at it, check over it, and you don’t take feedback or criticism, you’re doing yourself and your potential customers a huge disservice.

One of the things we do here is, you know, every time a photo set is done and ready to go to a client we have at least two people do a quality control check on it. And if a coach sees it going out and is like hey, like this doesn’t look right, they’ll say something, too. And at the end of the day the goal is to effectively tell a story. I had an example for myself when I did my first magazine publication shoot. I was super excited. I was like yeah, my work’s going to get published in a magazine. That’s great. It was an automotive magazine. And I spent eight hours on this shoot, went home, uploaded all the photos, had a peer of mine that has always been kind of a mentor to me. I sent him these photos on Facebook. I was like hey, what do you think of these? I just finished it. This is for my first magazine. And I was like hey, how do these look? And he told me that they looked like trash, just straight up. He’s like look, I’m going to be blunt with you. These are not good. You should – I wouldn’t publish this. And yeah, it stung, but at the end of the day I knew that the goal was to publish really good content. So I rescheduled with the owner. We shot the car again. And it turned out to be probably one of my favorite shoots I’ve ever done. So being able to remove yourself from feedback and criticism, remove your emotions from your work is just, it goes so far.

CAMERON YODER:
I would really encourage people in this space to seek out criticism, to seek out someone to prove your photos wrong because really your goal should be to provide the best photos possible for the price range that you’re comfortable with. And I don’t know, seek out criticism. Well, Dustin, what is one thing that you want to leave our audience with?

DUSTIN KESSLER:
I think at the end of the day the thing that I would like to leave most people with is you get what you pay for. Just because somebody has a nice, fancy camera doesn’t mean that their photos are going to be amazing. So do your homework before you buy. Make sure that who you’re buying from for your photos is worth the money that you’re comfortable spending, and don’t be afraid to spend a little bit more to get that quality.

CAMERON YODER:
Well, thank you so much for being on the show, Dustin. There’s a lot of valuable information here for a lot of people on photography in general, but also photography when it comes to Amazon specifically. So thank you, Dustin, for being here.

DUSTIN KESSLER:
No problem. I enjoyed it.

CAMERON YODER:
Well that is all for this week. Thank you so much for listening to Follow the Data. For more insights and reliable information that will help take your Amazon business to the next level subscribe to the podcast and check us out on YouTube. I’ve been working on a series of product discovery walk-throughs that show you how to really leverage the tool. Just search for Viral Launch on YouTube. Go to our page and look for my face in one of those videos. And if you’re listening on iTunes, please leave us a review and let us know what you think of the show. And if you know another seller who’s feeling lost in the Amazon information war out there, send them our way. We want to be a resource for sellers and the information source in this space. So please tell your friends. Spread the word and share the show with other Amazon sellers. Thank you again so much for listening. And as always, if you want to be featured on the show, have an Amazon related question or an idea for an episode, feel absolutely free to leave us a voicemail. Our number is 317-721-6590. Until next time, remember, the data is out there.