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This post is about how Amazon sellers can use digital media to identify their target customer, build an audience and expand their reach. Essentially, it’s a guide to understanding your Amazon customers.
Amazon provides sellers with an amazing platform to make great money and live a life of freedom. But selling on Amazon is more competitive now than it’s ever been. And it will likely get even harder going forward. Amazon sellers can get an edge up on their competitors by gaining a firm grasp on marketing. Perhaps the most important aspect of marketing is customer research- understanding your customers.
Who is Your Customer?
To start, let’s get down to the basics…Who is your customer? What problem do they have? And how do you solve their problem? Getting crystal clear on these questions is the most important aspect of marketing.
Together the answers to these questions make up your value proposition. A value proposition is the total of benefits delivered by your brand to your target customers.
- What you offer & how you offer it
- The benefits customers associate with your product (cost savings, time savings, looking better, etc)
- How your offer differs from everything else in the market (including doing nothing, which is always the default)
Forget Facebook (for now), forget email autoresponders. You need to get first things first.
Digital technologies should help you further understand who your customer is, what their problem is, and help you solve it more effectively. Without considering these most important things, anything beyond that is fluff.
Finding Your Target Customer on Amazon
Without customers, you do not have a business. Getting super clear on who your customer is, what problem they have and how your product solves their problem is essential.
So how do you figure out who your customer is? You probably have some ideas to start off. Maybe your product is geared toward women or men? Or people of a certain age group? What activities do they like to do?
Start by writing down who your best customer is. The customer who has a real problem that you solve better than anyone else. What is this person like?
- Male or female
- Age group
- Income level
- Place of residence
- Hobbies & Interests
Take some time to create an image of this person. Make them real.
At this point, this exercise is simply to create a hypothesis for what you think your customer is like. So don’t be worried if you have to do some guessing. It’s meant to guide more than restrict.
That being said, it’s important that you don’t try to market to EVERYONE. You have to make some tough decisions. You can’t make everyone happy. And by trying to please everyone, you will water down your value proposition for your target customer. Think about the individual who gets the MOST benefit from your offering. These people will be willing to pay more and will cause less fuss later on. Try to make this one person (and people very similar to them) happy.
Doing exercise of creating an image of your target customer will help you make better business decisions going forward. And as corny as it sounds, actually giving your target customer (or customer avatar) a name can be super helpful. It makes the avatar more concrete.
Example Customer Archetype
An example of a customer archetype for a bodybuilding supplement company might go something like this:
Jimmy Buff is a 24-year old male from Tallahassee, Florida. He currently works in retail sales, having recently graduated from FSU with a degree in Business Administration. He’s interested in bodybuilding, experimenting with different diets (Keto, Pale, etc), hip-hop & house music. He spends hours at the gym every day, and most weekends goes out to clubs. He wants to put on more muscle and cut-down some fat. He has a problem with maintaining energy levels; currently solves that problem with lots of caffeine, but is seeking something with fewer side effects.
Your decisions going forward should be guided by how they will serve your target customer.
- Will a new product help solve the target customer’s problem?
- How well does your content, branding, packaging, etc speak to your target customer?
- Do you advertisements trigger responses from your target customer?
Here is a more detailed worksheet you can download and fill out to nail down who your target customer is.
Give Your Customers A Seat At The Table
At every Amazon headquarters meeting, with Jeff Bezos sitting at the head of the table, there is an empty chair at the table. The marketing execs, development wizards and operations gurus are all there. And beside them is a chair with nobody sitting in it. That empty chair represents the interests of the customers. Giving the customer an actual seat at the table keeps Amazon.com focused on who they are serving, at the end of the day.
“I’ve already been doing fine on Amazon without doing this nonsense. Why should I waste my valuable time with imagination?”
If you are reading this, the chances are good that you’ve already been selling on Amazon. You never did anything like this and you are doing fine. So why should you even bother doing it?
Ever heard the distinction between working in your business and working on your business? Working in your business is carrying out the day-to-day tasks like fulfilling orders, responding to customer questions, etc.
Working on your business, instead of carrying out processes, is creating processes, strategizing, planning for the future. In The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber suggests that as businesses grow and mature, entrepreneurs should spend more and more time working ON their business.
By creating your customer archetype and articulating your value proposition, you are fine-tuning your business concept.
You can go on with business as usual and create average results. But if you want to truly excel, you have to stand out. You have to solve a real problem for a real customer better than anyone else. Taking some time to create a clear image of your customer and the solution you provide is an important component of creating a brand that stands out from the crowd.
Techniques For Customer Research For Amazon Sellers
Going beyond this exercise in imagination, there are some more tangible ways you can learn about your customer.
Sponsored Products Search Term Reports
For instance, you can use Amazon’s native Sponsored Product ads to see the exact wording used by people who click on your ads and buy your products. The actual language used to trigger purchases on your products gives you valuable insights into shifting (or doubling down) on your marketing.
For higher click-through rates, you want to make sure that the search terms that result in sales are contained in your product title.
For higher conversion rates, you want to make sure these terms are sprinkled throughout your listing.
And for terms that don’t lead to sales, consider switching them out.
How to do this?
To find out
- Login to Seller Central and click Reports
- Navigate to the Reports tab
- In the drop-down menu, click on Advertising Reports
- Choose the Search Term Report
- Request Report, then once the report is generated click Download
- Open the report in Excel or Google Sheets.
- For Google Sheets:
- New > Google Sheets
- File > Import > Upload
- Select the downloaded file from your computer (txt or csv)
- For the import location, choose “Replace data at selected cell.”
- For Google Sheets:
- Sort by ACoS (the best performing search terms are the ones with lots of sales & low advertising costs…low ACoS).
- Bold and Freeze (View > Freeze > 1 Row) the first row for ease of reading
- Click on the ACoS COlumn (M), then navigate to the Data tab & click Turn on Filter
- Then click on the drop-down on the right side of the ACoS cell and sort by A>Z (you can uncheck 0.00% to exclude search terms with no sales).
Now you can see which search terms resulted in sales with the lowest advertising cost. These are likely your most profitable keywords.
Keep in mind, however, that the more data you have, the more reliable the insights. A good benchmark is 1,000 impressions, 10 clicks, and 3 sales. Data below this may not be reliable enough to make decisions like replacing your product title with.
You can play around with the spreadsheet to only include search terms with data above these thresholds.
The purpose here is to find the search terms that customers use before buying your products. So you can make sure your content is tailored to your customer’s actual buying habits.
Using Amazon Buyer Data & Facebook Ads to Learn About Your Customers
If you have been selling on Amazon, you have an invaluable source of data to learn about your customers. People purchases from you in the past because they found value in your products. It is likely that these past customers are generally representative of your ideal, target customer.
So you can use the buyer data provided by Amazon to learn about who your customers are, make marketing decisions, increase the awareness of your brand by people similar to your past customers and gain more customers.
But tread carefully. Amazon doesn’t take lightly you marketing to THEIR customers.
What kind of buyer data does Amazon provide sellers?
- Buyer Names
- Recipient Names
- Shipping addresses
You can use this data to create Custom Audiences & gather Audience insights.
With Custom Audiences, you upload the names & addresses of your past customers, and Facebook matches these to Facebook profiles. Then you can target these people with ads.
And with the Audience Insights feature, you can learn a lot about who your customers are (Age, Gender, Lifestyle, Relationship Status, Occupation, etc).
You can use this data to test your hypotheses about who your target customer is. How well does the data from Audience Insights match the customer archetype you filled out? This will tell you how close your hypothesis about your customers match reality.
And for a step-by-step guide to using Amazon buyer data to create facebook audiences, check out this chapter in our traffic guide.
Using Amazon Product Reviews To Learn About Your Customers
A much more work intensive, yet potentially highly valuable process is digging through your product reviews, clicking on reviewer profiles and seeing what other kinds of products your customers are interested in.
This can give you a better idea of their buying habits, hobbies and give you a context of what problems they face so you can better improve their lives.
If you go to a Customer Review, click the name of the reviewer (which can be seen in blue below as pointed out by the red arrow).
That will bring up the public profile of the particular reviewer.
From there you can see other reviews they left. As well as wish lists and gift ideas. This will give you a better indication of what their buying habits, demographics and interests are.
Two More Ways Amazon Sellers Can Conduct Customer Research
Customer Research Surveys
If you have an email list, you could send out a survey, using a tool like Google Forms or Survey Monkey. Include some of the most important questions from the customer archetype exercise (demographics, main problems, other products they would like, etc.).
Insights From Customer Support Team
If you have employees/assistants who regularly deal with customer support, they may have unique insights into the common characteristics of customers.
Amazon Customer Research: In Summary
Most Amazon sellers know little about who their customers are. Many can get away with this because Amazon essentially sends them customers. However, gaining a deeper understanding of your customers will help Amazon sellers take their business to the next level.
In this post, we’ve described several ways to conduct customer research for Amazon sellers, including.
- Customer archetype exercise
- Search Term Report analysis
- Product Reviews analysis
- Facebook Custom Audience & Audience Insights
Utilizing these techniques will help you learn more about who your customers are, what makes them tick and what they need. So that you can better serve them & attract more people like them to buy your products.