Amazon is now the world’s largest retail seller outside China. Consumers spent a whopping $610 billion on the platform from June 2020 to June 2021, according to The New York Times. The ecommerce giant’s power has “won the Internet” and now eclipses Walmart in sales. Amazon offers ecommerce and traditional retail an incredible opportunity to reach the largest swath of consumers in a single place. But competition is fierce on the platform and the demand for eyeballs and closed sales requires expertise and attention. Successful Amazon advertising funnels and marketing doesn’t only fall on the marketing department. It’s a team effort that stretches from promotion through fulfillment. Read on to learn how to master your Amazon marketing strategy from first impression through repeat purchase.
Believe it or not, the marketing funnel was invented more than a century ago. Elias St. Elmo Lewis is credited with creating the sales model that defines how a brand attracts consumer attention and drives purchase. The OG funnel included four distinct advertising and marketing funnel stages, also known as the AIDA model: awareness, interest, desire and action.
The funnel starts wide at the top with awareness as you cast your net to inform potential customers that your brand exists. Those people naturally thin out as they move through the marketing funnel stages and compare products, read reviews, shop for the best price, etc. The narrow action phase at the bottom of the funnel reflects your true customers who have converted. And conversion can be defined however you like, for example, requesting a sample, scheduling a demo, registering for an event or buying your product.
Despite the passage of 100+ years, the marketing funnel remains a useful framework for companies as they think, plan and execute strategies to find, engage and move consumers to act. It’s important to note, however, that the digital path to purchase is anything but linear as the original funnel intended. Consumers move in and out of stages as they determine which product (or marketplace) best solves their problem. Regardless of the shape or direction of the consumer journey, the advertising and marketing funnel, or marketing sales funnel as some call it, matters as much today as it did in the early 19th century.
There’s no denying the path to purchase is far more complex as consumers have more options than ever before on what to buy and where to shop. But, as Amazon and Whitebox advocate, a full-funnel approach results in “more success than advertisers who hone in on a single stage.” What does this mean in practice? Rather than focus on awareness alone, Amazon recommends building a strategy that addresses every stage of the funnel so no matter where that consumer is in their search, they have the potential to be moved to action.
It might sound complicated but with the right data, tools and experience, you can meet and exceed KPIs up and down the funnel.
Digital marketing funnels may include four stages like the original framework, while others expand to six steps. For our Amazon advertising and marketing funnel tips, we’ll focus on four stages: awareness, consideration, conversion and loyalty. Keep in mind your strategy should be fluid and optimized based on a number of data-driven factors including seasonality, product releases, consumer behavior, competitive intelligence and more.
The top of the funnel is the widest for good reason. You want to capture the attention of as many consumers as possible. Amazon is a fantastic engine for awareness as its reach is massive. Consider that 74% of U.S. consumers begin their product search on Amazon! With those kinds of eyeballs, you want to make the best first impression possible—and you can without breaking the bank. Fortunately, data-driven digital marketing has moved us past the days of “spray and pray” advertising. With real-time data, marketers can actually see where their dollars are having the greatest impact and optimize on the fly.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a must for any marketer’s data-driven Amazon advertising plan. To truly benefit from search, you’ll need a dedicated team testing and optimizing continuously. Algorithms change, as do consumer search behaviors. Use the data you have at your disposal to mine insights to expand your reach. Remember you want to cast a wide net, so focus on general terms to expand your paid search to those consumers just beginning their journey. For example, if you’re a high-protein snack brand, consider putting spend against your category “high-protein snacks” over your brand name. In addition, you may want to promote other items in your catalog that are complementary to your snack brand. For example, maybe you sell a high-protein drink that you can also showcase alongside your best-selling snack. And of course, always keep tabs on how your competitors are faring on search. If your closest competitor is spending heavily on “keto snacks,” there may be an opportunity to steal share by advertising against their brand name.
As if Amazon’s reach wasn’t big enough, Amazon DSP (demand-side platform) can broadcast your message even further. You can programmatically buy display, video and even audio ad placements in Amazon’s brand-safe web and app environments as well as across the web on third-party sites and exchanges. If you’re unaccustomed to creating ads in various formats or automated buying platforms like Amazon’s, an agency in the Amazon Advertising Partner Network like Whitebox can help you plan, manage and optimize your advertising efficiently and effectively. The Partner Network has first access to resources and tools to unlock greater value for brands. See how Whitebox helped Ricola launch on Amazon with a 57% year-over-year increase in sales.
Now that you’ve broadcast your product’s existence, it’s time to start some serious brand building. Here’s your chance to shine in your category.
Your brand store and product pages will do the heavy lifting. Put as much effort and intention into creating a memorable and compelling experience that showcases your clear differentiators. This is where an experienced Amazon advertising and marketing agency like Whitebox can bring your products and brand to life. In addition to high-end photography, your content creation, from descriptions to product detail to customer reviews, should clearly address the consumer’s pain point and how you uniquely solve it. Plus, with endless “shelf space,” you have plenty of room for that catalog of products. Individual product pages can highlight not only their unique advantages but upsell and cross-sell to your other pages for incremental sales. Product targeting placements perform well in this regard. You can run product targeting placements on your product pages to drive traffic to other items in your catalog.
Not only does this increase discoverability for your other products but it prevents your competitors from owning space on your dedicated pages. A win-win.
Always be selling. Let’s convert those in-market buyers. You’ve groomed your target audience to get to this point so now it’s time to close the deal. It’s important to keep in mind how consumers shop. Consider your own shopping habits. You hear about something in an article or on TV and you search for that product. But then your mom calls or your kids need something or a work meeting pops up. That must-have-it-right-now product is soon forgotten.
From retargeting to “Deal of the Day,” Amazon offers a wealth of opportunities to help convert customers and even increase basket size. Everyone could use a reminder and that’s what retargeting does best. Sponsored Products can target high-intent shoppers searching for your brand name or engage consumers who recently viewed your product pages. Another way to woo consumers is to retarget your competitor’s pages or brand name. Sponsored Brands gets your product in front of consumers searching for that other high-protein snack. Add in an irresistible incentive to buy now such as a discount with a “Deal of the Day” to close that sale faster.
Loyalty is the real testament to a brand’s power. It’s easy for consumers to be swayed by price but product quality matters more. That’s why putting a concerted effort toward keeping your current customers happy, engaged and coming back for more is a high priority.
Although Amazon doesn’t allow you to email customers directly, you can still build loyalty on the platform. Amazon Market Basket data, located in the Brand Analytics section, is an important and often misunderstood tool in your Amazon advertising toolbox. Market Basket data reveals what other products in your line consumers have in their shopping cart and how often. Why is this important?
Although we’re not mind readers, Market Basket data is the closest you can get to understanding how consumers think about and buy products.
If consumers regularly buy your high-protein snack and high-protein drink separately, there’s a high likelihood they’ll purchase those items together in a bundle. With that endless shelf space, you can test out a few bundle configurations in your store to gauge what consumers are interested in. Since this is a digital shelf, you don’t actually have to put the bundle together until it sells. A bundle discount can also convert a customer faster if they believe they’re getting a deal on products they love. You may discover greater interest for your bundles than individual products. Who doesn’t love incremental sales?
Although marketing leads the way, mastering the funnel hinges on collaboration and transparency across your business. The marketing and fulfillment sides of your business may not talk regularly, but we advise that these teams get on the same page in planning as soon as possible. Marketing can fill the pipeline but if there’s not enough supply to meet that demand, you could lose first-time sales or loyal customers. In addition, knowing what items are sitting on the shelf ready to expire can help marketing promote special deals on those products to move them out the door faster. A holistic view of your ecommerce data can boost sales and streamline fulfillment. Whether you work with a dedicated Amazon advertising and marketing agency, own advertising in-house or work with a holistic partner like Whitebox, it’s critical to have open communication and an aligned strategy between supply and demand. Once your front and back of the house are united, moving consumers through the funnel becomes a team success story.