182 Listing on Amazon – Making Your Words Sell with Dana Derricks Part 1 of 3
Dana Derricks is our guest today and he is the number 1 Amazon listing optimizer on the planet. It’s no small claim. His motto is ‘Go Big or Go Home’ which is just the kind of American thinking we need to have here. It’s also reflected in the amazing stuff in his book, The Amazon Listing Optimization Secrets Work Book. He’s here today to teach us about listing on Amazon.
Welcome to the show. Amazon Copy Writing specifically, everyone talks about listings but not many talk about the importance of the precision use of the words.
Dana’s Background as an Amazon Seller
Dana has quite a deep background in copywriting as he has been doing it for about a decade. He started copywriting for clients who were doing stuff off of Amazon. When he started working with an Amazon seller, that seller was doing $50K a month, which is great. But Dana helped him get that to $3 million dollars a month by helping fix his listing on Amazon. It was at that moment he realized Amazon was where it’s at.
Dana has worked with sellers one-on-one for almost 5 years and then started to realise he was making everyone else rich, so needed to get on Amazon himself. He launched his own Amazon company and did $635, 000 in first 12 months using all the strategies he had been using previously for clients. He is still selling on Amazon, and now works with people and teaches people the stuff that really works.
Dana is known as the Copywriting Professor. He realized he could affect more people if he taught what he knew than by only working with a small group one-on-one. The name came about purely by accident when he was digging around on Go Daddy for a domain name. Copywriting Professor was available, so he bought it and that’s how he got the name.
Words vs. Photos When Listing on Amazon
Images are great. They make a difference. But the copy is the number 1 thing that matters in your listing. Dana has worked with over 1000 sellers one-on-one in his career and been around the Amazon world for quite a while. He has tested everything and seen everything. When it comes to ROI, the most important thing is the copywriting for your listing on Amazon and getting it optimized. It’s not just about words, but about the format, and getting people to do what you want them to do, e.g. click on your listing and then converting.
The copy is important because words are what get you to do things. Images are important for sure, but still, people aren’t going to be swayed by the image itself. The words are what will get people to actually take the action that you want them to. Arguably one of the best things you can do on Amazon as a seller is to differentiate your product. Ultimately, if your product is very similar to the next guy’s product, then you’ll have to compete on things like price and reviews. It starts with the title.
What gets the customer to click on your title over anybody else’s’? And then, once they’ve clicked, what gets them to buy? It’s the bullet points that gets them to convert. Dana’s copy is speaking to them, giving them exactly what they want, and justifying all their concerns. The photos have an impact but the words are what persuade people to action.
A Word on Cultural Differences When Listing on Amazon
Selling on Amazon US means you need to know how to speak to Americans. Being one of them. Dana acknowledges, “We are not humble, we are obnoxious and belligerent when we buy things. People from the UK are reserved and passive and reasonable and rationale. We are not, we are aggressive. If you aren’t that way you will get squashed.” His advice is even though saying crazy stuff that sounds sales-y and like an infomercial can feel weird, it works. This is very important for the British listeners and readers. It’s a really good reminder that there’s a big cultural difference that needs to be respected.
The First Steps to Listing on Amazon
Do not sit down and copy the competition’s listing and just change the words. That is not a good strategy. If you do this, you will be so close to them that you will have to compete on the things like price and reviews that you don’t want to be competing on.
Dana says that 90% of copywriting has nothing to do with writing. The 90% is research. What he does for Amazon listings specifically is look at competitors who are making the money and see what they’re saying. Then take whatever nuggets from there and compile that into a little document.
Then, go into everybody’s reviews, scour them and see what everyone’s saying about the product. Sometimes they’re praising what they do like, but mostly they’re complaining about what they don’t like about it. That’s just the American way! See what is causing people to buy, or to come back and be really upset.
Dana believes writer’s block simply means you haven’t researched enough. When you’ve researched enough, you are exploding with words and things to say and write about. And you have to really condense it, especially for your Amazon listing. You have so much stuff to say, but you have to really cut out a lot of it because there’s not enough room.
The Winning Formula
Once you have all that information from your research, you can think about writing, which starts with understanding the proper format. In Dana’s workbook, he lays out the format that works in an Amazon listing.
Amazon is so different than any other place you might sell, like a bricks and mortar store. Selling in a store is not cut throat like it is on Amazon. There are so many people on Amazon, and many people are on their phones when they’re buying so they have a very short attention span. They just want what they want and that’s it.
The format is critically important and you can’t figure out how to write copy for your listing on Amazon from a general copywriting book because those rules don’t apply. It’s so different, it’s like a 20-second infomercial. Once you’ve researched, then you use the format, and then you get your keywords in. When you put all of them together, that’s the winning formula.
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The Biggest Mistakes when Listing on Amazon
The biggest mistake Dana sees is sellers who don’t get the format right. The two most important places are the title and the bullets.
In the Title
A common mistake is people will burn unnecessary characters using things like “space dash space” that other programs teach. Also, they won’t use all the space available. It’s not one size fits all but for a lot of categories it’s 200 characters and you have to use all 200. Not using them is a waste, so it’s to your advantage to fill all 200 characters.
In the Bullets
The biggest mistake is either ridiculously short bullets or crazily long bullets. Sometimes you see just a couple of words in the five bullets. The flip side is people using 500 characters per bullet, and then you have a huge blob of text that people don’t have the attention span for on Amazon. The biggest problem is that 90% of sellers are really bad at that.
Writing a Better Title
According to Dana, the title is 50% of your listing in terms of optimization. As long as you’re on page 1, it doesn’t matter what number you’re on, but people have to click on your listing. If they don’t click on it, you’ve already lost. When it comes to keywords in your title, you have to have them or else you don’t get indexed for those searches and you can’t get the traffic. However, your competitor is probably going after those keywords too. So your competitor probably has a very similar title in terms of those keywords.
So what are people going to look at? If the titles are similar, they’ll look at the price and reviews which are harder to compete on. Instead, Dana suggests focusing on getting the title clicked on, because that’s the only other purpose for your title other than getting indexed. That comes down to benefits. So you have to have some benefits in the title also or else people won’t click on it. Remember: keywords don’t get people to buy stuff, benefits get people to buy stuff. You need to include in the title something that’s valuable to the customer. Think of the title not just as keywords or just as a description of what it is, but selling people on why they should have the product.
Be sure to grab your copy of Dana’s book: The Amazon Listing Optimization Secrets Work Book and boost your listing on Amazon today!