Karon Thackston picks out the most common mistakes sellers make, and shows how to write effective bullets and descriptions
This post is by Karon Thackston from copywriting company Marketing Words. Karon and her team create Amazon product listings which convert better, rank higher, and make more sales.
As I look at the boom in Amazon sales over the last four or five years, it reminds me of Google’s growth. As Google began its journey to becoming the number one search engine, website owners went absolutely crazy, to the point that they lost sight of one of the most vital pieces of any business – customer experience.
Unfortunately, I’m starting to see the same phenomenon occurring on Amazon today.
While you do need to incorporate keywords to tell Amazon what your product is about, you shouldn’t sacrifice quality. Humans also have to find value in the copy you write before they will convert into customers.
Yes, having exceptional rankings on Amazon is a priority, but Amazon isn’t the one with a credit card in its hand – shoppers are. When prospects scroll through the search results, they glance at the information including the title, image, price, and more. There has to be something there to capture attention or, with the swipe of a finger or click of a mouse, your listing will be out of view, never to be seen again.
Even if you do get a click to your product listing, if your well-ranked page doesn’t offer solid details that inform, entice, and persuade, your sales will still be lacking.
There must be an even balance between ranking criteria and customer experience. In essence, you’re serving two masters: Amazon and shoppers.
The Three Most Common Mistakes in Amazon Listings
Let’s take a look at one example. At the time of my search for the phrase “chocolate chip cookies” this listing was on page one of the search results, positioned at number eight. Despite that, the Best Sellers Rank was around 179,000 which would suggest that sales were very slow.
1. Keyword-stuffing titles
One of the biggest mistakes sellers make when writing Amazon listing copy is to simply stuff product titles with keywords. Yes, search terms are needed in your title, but titles that are difficult to read make shoppers stop and think. You never want your prospects to be forced to figure out what you’re trying to say. The flow of the copy should be seamless and easy to read.
2. Just throwing it out there
A second common blunder is not going through the writing process. You might be surprised at how many sellers actually write their listing copy inside the fields of the “Add a Product” section. They type it in, without re-reading, and upload the page to Amazon without a second thought.
Sentence structure, grammatical errors (that hinder readability), and more, can cause browsers to roll their eyes and give up trying to understand what you’re saying.
Did you know that according to a study by Microsoft, people now have shorter attention spans than goldfish?
This means that any hesitations can cause a site visitor to abandon their current course of action. To ensure your listings score high for readability, follow this general writing process:
- Write a first draft of your copy.
- Allow it to sit for a minimum of 24 hours.
- Read it out loud and revise anything that sounds off, or caused you to hesitate.
- Ask others to read your copy, and pay attention to the feedback they give you.
- Revise again.
- If you feel your copy is now ready to upload, send it to a professional proofreader or editor (not your cousin who took English Lit ten years ago in high school) for a final going over.
- Now it’s OK to add it to Amazon.
3. Under-optimizing and under-testing
Lastly, sellers neglect to optimize their listing copy for both customers and Amazon. Titles should include a combination of useful, decision-making information (for humans) and search terms (for Amazon).
Keep in mind that Amazon titles do not appear the same in every platform.
As you can see above, practically no platform shows the same number of characters. The limits are as follows:
- Desktop View – 160 characters
- Tablet Amazon App – 141 characters
- Browser (smartphone)– 84 characters
- Amazon App (smartphone) – 78 characters
- Sponsored Ads (sidebar) – 34 characters
So, it is important that you insert useful information as well as keyphrases in the first 34, 78, or 160 characters. That way, shoppers on every platform, whether viewing organic or sponsored search results, will find what they need.
How to Write Feature Bullets
When it comes to length and content, bullets seem to be created in extremes. Either you find sparse bullets that offer bare-bones details, or excessive bullets stuffed full of keyphrases. Again, balance is key. Here are two examples:
Example one has practically zero information. Example two has too much, including a good deal of useless text that could get in the way of the shopper instead of helping them make a decision.
While certainly not perfect, the example below does a much better job of catering both to Amazon and shoppers.
Most people automatically default to writing bullets with a feature/benefit combination, but there are numerous other ways to write conversion-friendly bullets.
Instead of listing the feature first, swap the order and begin with a benefit. Using the last bullet from the product above as an example, you might put the benefit (that the customer’s satisfaction is guaranteed) at the front of the bullet:
“Your satisfaction is guaranteed. Love your premium chocolate biscotti in their classy box or your money back.”
Target segment bullets
Designing bullets specifically to speak to a particular segment of your audience is an excellent approach, as this bullet demonstrates:
“Certified Kosher product means you can easily use these delicious snacks as a Hanukkah gift.”
While average gift buyers wouldn’t necessarily care if a product is Kosher, Jewish customers definitely would. If you have a large segment of your audience with special requirements, you might try creating a bullet just for them.
As the fourth bullet shows, you can also point out uses of your product to shoppers:
“Elegant corporate gift sure to be appreciated by business colleagues and clients.”
How to Write the Product Description
It’s often considered the last resort for conversions, but if properly written, the product description can be a powerful persuasion tool for boosting sales. This section of copy falls at the bottom of the page for desktop shoppers, but on mobile (where 72% of Amazon shoppers buy), it comes before the feature bullets, giving it additional weight.
A common mistake is for sellers to simply repeat the copy from their bullets in the description section. That’s a waste of sales space. Instead, make the description and bullets work together as a team.
Here’s a great example of a description that whets the appetite and conjures up the desire to eat more cookies!
Overall, achieving balance gives you the opportunity to appease Amazon’s search engine without alienating human visitors.
If you look at your listings with a customer’s eye, instead of strictly from a seller’s point of view, you’re more likely to create listings that are effective for both rankings and conversions.
Karon Thackston can be contacted through Marketing Words. As well as providing copywriting services, Marketing Words have eBooks and video courses to help sellers create their own high-quality product listings.