Guest blog by Karon Thackston, President of Marketing Words
Amazon FBA sellers are still adjusting to the new rule book, figuring out how to improve their customer support and, most importantly, continuing to gather positive reviews of their products.
We reached out to digital marketing expert and successful author of ebooks for Amazon businesses, Karon Thackston. She is going to to share her perspective on writing emails that will lead to organic reviews, as well as how to manage your Amazon customer service.
Take it away, Karon!
After Amazon’s change in review policy last year, a shock wave was sent throughout seller communities everywhere.
Previously, private labelers included, and depended on, the ability to give away free product samples in exchange for reviews. With that privilege taken away, many sellers have turned to email, but there are pros and cons to that alternative.
The pro is that email is readily available and, provided you follow Amazon’s terms of service (TOS), you can use it to request both feedback and reviews.
The con is that the email templates you’re using are probably the same ones (or very close to the same) other sellers are using. The more customers see the same old tired emails, the more they’ll be ignored.
Breathe a Breath of Fresh Air Into Your Emails
I’d be willing to bet that you’re using an email template that’s very similar to this one, aren’t you?
I am X from X, and I just wanted to thank you personally for purchasing: “X.”
We noticed that your order was delivered recently; I just wanted to make sure that you’re happy with your new product. If you have any issues, please let me know so I can make it right.
Your Feedback is so important to us!
If you think we’ve done a good job, I would really appreciate it if you would leave us your review by clicking the link below.
Leave us a review.
If you’re not satisfied, before leaving a negative review, let me make it right. Email me and I will do whatever it takes to make you happy.
As a customer (not as a seller), what do you think of the above email?
As a customer, is it something that would inspire you to go leave a review? I buy a LOT on Amazon and, therefore, get a ton of these requests. Honestly, even though I know how important it is to leave reviews, I usually don’t respond to these. They get deleted before I even read them because I already know what they say.
But what if you received an email that was actually helpful? One that gave you something instead of only taking? Maybe even an email that you would want to save and refer to from time to time? Now that would probably get your attention, right?
It’s time to shake it up and create something your customers will actually want to read.
Emails That Add Value
Let’s say you sell herb grinders. Instead of emailing your customers that boring blob of text above, send them something like this:
We’re excited that you’ve received your order and know you’ll have fun experimenting in the kitchen with your new herb grinder!
Wondering what’s for dinner tonight? Here is a quick recipe your family will love to help get you started.
Authentic Italian Marinara Sauce
2 tablespoons of fresh parsley
2 tablespoons of fresh basil
1 tablespoon of fresh oregano
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 can tomato sauce
Place all herbs and spices into your herb grinder. Whirl it around until the combo is down to a medium grind.
Put tomato sauce in a pot over medium heat. Stir in the herb mixture and simmer for 10 minutes. Voila! You have an authentic Italian tomato sauce you can use for English muffin pizzas, spaghetti, meatball subs, seafood pasta, tomato soup, and much more.
Have Questions or Issues? We’re standing by to help. Just reply to this message and we’ll take care of you right away.
Leave a Review — When you’ve had a chance to use your new herb grinder, please click here to leave a review. Other shoppers will appreciate hearing your experiences.
Thanks again and bon appetit!
See what I mean? Yes, you’re offering help. Yes, you’re asking for a review. But you’re also providing something your customer wants and needs. This is the same strategy we use at Marketing Words when writing customized review-request emails for our clients.
What You Don’t Want to Do
It is boring and totally unnecessary to send emails duplicating what Amazon sends. For example, because Amazon sends an email telling customers their orders have shipped, you don’t need to.
Don’t duplicate information in your follow-up email that is already available in your listing. Chances are, most shoppers have already seen that. Also, if it is information that is needed in order to make a purchase, customers probably don’t need to read those details again after their product arrives. Make sense?
If you send fresh information that customers want and need, it isn’t seen as bombarding them with email. It is a welcome message that holds value for the customer.
Managing Emails & Customer Service
The larger your Amazon business grows, the more work will be required to stay on top of after-purchase and customer service messages. You don’t want these to fall behind on these because it will reflect badly on you as a seller.
There are three effective ways to manage your emails.
My best recommendation is to use software to send these emails automatically. The Launch feature in the Jungle Scout software allows you to schedule personalized emails to be sent at specific times. This ensures that each customer receives an after-purchase message, allowing your customer service to shine while also requesting product reviews.When looking for a software product to use, you’ll want something with added value such as the ability to manage coupons, automated refund emails (in addition to review request emails) and analytics that can show you what is and isn’t working.
Hire a Virtual Assistant
Unlike software programs that are set up once and work automatically, a virtual assistant (VA) may require extensive training. However, especially if you have other tasks for the VA to perform, it may be worth hiring someone who is experienced in Amazon-related business matters to help you manage your growing workload. VAs rates can vary, costing anywhere from around $10/hour to $50/hour, depending on the services they provide, their level of experience, and where they are located.
Do it Manually
In the early days of your business, this is probably the option that is most affordable. Keep in mind, though, that paying someone else (a software company or a VA) to help you can give you more time to attend to money-making tasks instead of doing administrative work. What’s more, a software service or VA will likely to accomplish the tasks much faster than you would.
In a nutshell, here’s the bottom line when it comes to emailed review requests:
Focus on providing great customer service and giving your buyers something that will help them have a wonderful experience with your product after they receive it.
Good luck and here’s to generating amazing reviews for your products!
Karon Thackston is the author of the highly acclaimed “Amazon Advantage: Product Listing Strategies to Boost Your Sales” ebook. Check out her newest guide, showing you how to write customized, engaging review-request emails that customers appreciate and respond to. Get “Review Advantage: Email Strategies for Getting Amazon Product Reviews (Legally!)” today.