Brand building through your Amazon listings⎜ Marketing By Emma ⎜ EP 216
Ryan Cramer: What's up, everyone? Welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm your host, Ryan Cramer, and this is Crossover Commerce, presented by Ping Pong Payments, the leading global payments provider helping sellers keep more of their hard- earned money. What is up, everyone? Welcome back to another episode of Crossover Commerce. I'm your host, Ryan Cramer, and this is my corner of the internet, where I bring the best and brightest in the Amazon and e- commerce space. If you're new to the show, welcome. Thanks for tuning in live on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter, or if you're listening to this at a different date, we appreciate you tuning into your favorite podcast destination. That could be Amazon Music, Spotify, Google Podcasts. You name it, we're probably on there. Just searching for Crossover Commerce in marketing for when new episodes come out, that is going to be the best way to find all the great content we have coming out of this podcast, or you can, of course, to our presenting sponsor website, Ping Pong Payments. Go into usa. pingpongx. com/ podcast. Catch all of our past episodes, I should say, all 200 and... Gosh, we're on 16 already. Had to double- check my number for a second, all past episodes, plus transcripts and any other links or resources that we talk about during the episode of all of our past guests are going to be found on there. Plus you can check out more about Ping Pong Payments, helping more people save time, money, and effort when it comes to their payments. That can be paying out your employees. It can be receiving funds from all the awesome marketplaces you're going to be selling on in 2022. Let Ping Pong help you save money. Super easy to do. You're going to put money back to your bottom line. I promise you you won't regret it. Super easy to do and free to sign up today. Just make sure you mention Crossover Commerce sent you. That being said, again, episode 216 that I already said. I was joking pre- show with our guests today that it's been 200 and... Let's do some quick math, almost 210- plus episodes that she has been on as a single guest. I'm going to say that is the word I'm looking for or phrase I'm looking for, since she's been on very beginning, one of the original friends of the show that I like to call people after they make it through an episode with me, has come back in various capacities and highlighted episodes of 100 and 200th episode. But I felt it was time for her to come back and talk about one of the great... I told her I was looking at her greatest hits of 2021 and leading up to this year. She's got so many speaking engagements lined up this year. She's traveling the world, and she's just doing so many great things in terms of brand building and Amazon listings itself. So I thought it was going to be appropriate we call today's episode Brand Building Through Your Amazon Listings. So without further ado, welcome back to the show friend of the show Emma Schermer Tamir of Marketing by Emma. Emma, welcome back finally inaudible.
Emma Schermer Tamir: Hey, Ryan. Yeah, I'm so glad to be back. Also, your intro got me so pumped. That's amazing. I love it.
Ryan Cramer: That's the goal.
Emma Schermer Tamir: Truly. How did 210- plus episodes pass so quickly? Where has the time gone?
Ryan Cramer: I don't know. That was October. I was looking beforehand, and I was joking with you. That was October 5th, I want to say, of 2020. Gosh, we're already at... Call it two years later, two calendar years later. But yeah, you've been busy, but so have I. So we had to get you back on. We're not going to... We don't call it recycling. We call it new content, just catching up with our friends. You and I talk all the time, so this is just an easy way to publicly say that we're still talking to each other, right? We're not in a theater or anything like that.
Emma Schermer Tamir: Definitely not.
Ryan Cramer: At least I'm not aware of.
Emma Schermer Tamir: No.
Ryan Cramer: No, but you've been super busy. So catch us up. What's life been like since the end of 2020? Gosh. Moving into today, what have you been up to?
Emma Schermer Tamir: I have no idea.
Ryan Cramer: No one knows. We don't even know we're-
Emma Schermer Tamir: I'm terrible. Even if I go back, like," What did you do two weeks ago?," I'm like," I don't know. That thing could have happened yesterday or it could have happened five years ago." I have no sense of time.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, isn't that the case?
Emma Schermer Tamir: No, we've just been hard at work growing the team, really continuing to always be strengthening our processes and our internal systems, making sure that we are not just staying up to date, but really making sure that are staying ahead, doing what's working now, but also what's going to continue to work and help businesses grow and reach their goals on Amazon and whatever other platforms they're choosing to sell on online.
Ryan Cramer: I love that. Well, obviously, I call 2021 the year of a thousand paper cuts, where everything... It was knowing enough where it stung for a little bit, but it was nothing that you couldn't live through. But adding up, it was a painful year for a lot of people in various different ways, right? We saw lots of changes to TOS, little tweaks here and there. I think that's Amazon's game now, is they want to throw a little bit of curve ball, just keep you on your toes to make sure you keep on coming back and trying to optimize, right? But how big is the team now? You mentioned growing the team. How big are you guys doing?
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah, so we are 10.
Ryan Cramer: Wow. That's awesome.
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah. Yeah, so it's still pretty small, but 10 really awesome people that are fantastic at what they each do on a daily basis.
Ryan Cramer: Right, and just rewind for people, if they're not familiar with the work that you guys do, you do all sorts of listenings, copywriting, any sort of marketing through written word, correct?
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah, exactly. So we are really focused on not just putting together a listing that does what it needs to do from the SEO side of things, but what can you do to really make a piece of copy that's going to be compelling, engaging, making people want to buy this individual product, but also want to buy from you as a brand? That's critical to being able to be successful, is to make sure that you are really establishing those relationships, getting that buyer loyalty, and making sure that you can help your business reach its full potential.
Ryan Cramer: Right. That's easily done through... I say easily. For you, it's easily done, but a lot of people have questions of what's the best way to do that? So when they're studying on Amazon, I'm assuming that the forte is looking at something and polishing up to optimize it in the sense of Amazon and product listings. That's changed a little bit over the last year plus or so. What are the most major things, just high- level, that has changed for you and the team that make it so that everyone else needs to be aware of it?
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah, great question. So I would say there are a few things that have changed. Some were substantial and some smaller, but all important. So I think we all... Well, not all of us. If you have gotten into Amazon in the last year, then you probably didn't remember this, but for anybody that's been around a little bit longer, you probably remember the panic over the not being able to capitalize a full word or words in your bullets. That was a big, breaking news piece. See, this is when I say I'm bad at remembering when things happened. I feel like that was a year and a half ago, but maybe I'm totally off. It is something that you'll still see people doing, and that's why I mention it. I think that's a really important note to consider whenever you are writing for Amazon, which is taking whatever someone else, is doing as justification for why you can also do that is a really dangerous game to play, because Amazon isn't just every day looking at every listing that's on their site and running it through to make sure that it's following all of the rules. It's more of like if somebody flags it, then they'll take a closer look. Then it might get suspended or deactivated or whatever, so wanting to make sure that when you're putting together a listing that you're following all those little, tiny rules so that you're not getting penalized or losing out on really valuable sales opportunities, just because you capitalized something that you shouldn't have. That's a really big bummer of a way to miss out on sales.
Ryan Cramer: Expensive learnings, as we like to call them in the biz.
Emma Schermer Tamir: Right.
Ryan Cramer: Something where you don't want to have to learn it the hard way and cost yourself money. For example, maybe you can clarify for people, emojis in text, yes or no. Is that a thing?
Emma Schermer Tamir: No.
Ryan Cramer: So that's a thing that probably as a person who's constantly seeing those as either bulleted points or even any sort of emoji, why is that not the case anymore? Why are you not allowed? You can put it in, but why is it bad now?
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah. So those, you need to use an HTML code in order to insert those, and you're not supposed to be using any HTML besides line breaks in the description. So any other part of the listing, if you're inserting code there, that is technically against the rules. But I would also take a step back and say are emojis really in line even with what you're selling? Because so often, maybe I'm looking for a power tool. So if I'm looking for a power tool, I want something that is going to be really strong, that's going to be a professional, but easy for a beginner to use. It's going to be able to help me look like I'm a pro and that I know what I'm doing when I embark on my next Pinterest project. By the way, I don't do any of these things. I stay very far away from-
Ryan Cramer: You just know people who do.
Emma Schermer Tamir: ...power tools. Just imagining. So if I'm looking for that, does an emoji really communicate those things? Does it communicate professional quality, really strong, capable toolm or is it cheapening the product somewhat?
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, I associate it with spam that you see in any sort of spam filter or any sort of email. Again, I put it in the freaking title here. So I put I an emoji here. So let's not get that... It's supposed to shorten the idea of what it is. That's the genesis of an emoji. But like you said, the professionality of putting it in a subject title or even a copy of listing or listing copy, I just feel like, yeah, you're right. It cheapens it out, and it conveys a certain sense of spamminess, I would say. That's what I initially feel if, if that's-
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah. Well, it's the fit of where you're using it. So let's expand beyond Amazon for a moment, and you mentioned that it's in the title. It makes total sense that you would use an emoji in the title. This is also being shared on social media, and emojis are a core component of how we communicate online. So that makes sense. But when it comes to representing your business and your product, there are certain types of businesses and products where an emoji will make a lot of sense, and there are other types where it won't. So should you use these on Amazon? No. Could you consider using them in other places? You can use them in your images, like if you edit in an emoji and whatnot.
Ryan Cramer: Sure.
Emma Schermer Tamir: But then it becomes a question of," Does this make sense for how I want my brand to be perceived, and does this make sense for how I'm trying to communicate with my customers?" So that's where you need to make sure that you're really giving that extra thought and not just using it because you read somewhere that that's just a good thing to use, but always asking that question with any tactic that you're trying is," Does this align with my goals and how I'm trying to engage with the world?"
Ryan Cramer: Right. The voice of the brand, if you will. I know we dove into that way back when. But as branding becomes more apparent on Amazon and a lot of people, especially on this podcast, have said," Now is the time you have to build a brand. What does that sound like? What does that look like?," why is it important for people to say," Even in the text, I have to really create this voice of what I'm trying to purvey to the end buyer"? Why is it so important now to stand out that way? What are the benefits?
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah. So it's very rare that you're going to come across a category on Amazon that isn't already pretty saturated with products. That doesn't mean that you can't launch something and be successful, but it does mean that you are going to have to do some extra legwork if you want to be competitive on more than just a race to the bottom in terms of price. So if you're coming in, you say," I want to make a space for myself here," one of the really critical pieces of that is being able to be thoughtful of how can you be different and give somebody a reason why they should choose you over everybody else? If you're not innovating on the product side, then you really have to be innovating on the brand side in order to be able to do that. So some people will naturally gravitate towards certain people, and others will gravitate towards other types of people. So the same thing happens with the brands that we use. A really strong brand is as much of creating an opening for connection with some people as it is also pushing other people away. So it's being very specific about who your customers are and who your customers aren't. While you're able to do that, then you're able to give people something that says," Hey, this product is for you. I see you." There aren't that many great examples on Amazon of brands that are doing that, so I think that one of the best things that you can do when you're really trying to wrap your mind around these concepts and consider what does branding even mean on more than just a surface level is looking beyond Amazon, so looking at what really innovative D2C Shopify brands are doing and how they are launching these products with a really specific perspective. An example that I've been talking about recently, there are two activewear brands, and they're both made of recycled plastic materials. So they're selling essentially the same products that are made of essentially the same things. So they can't just lean on the sustainability element as their differentiator, which would be a stage one type of branding exercise, and say," Yeah, we're really committed to sustainability and to really making sure that we're being mindful stewards of the earth." That's not good enough, because there are plenty of other activewear companies that are doing that. So they've each taken a very clear perspective where if you look at their websites, you'll get two very different experiences. The style of photos are different. The colors of the products that they make are different, the types of models that they use. All of these things create two very different experiences of who this brand is and will also relate to very different types of people. So these two brands that I'm talking about, one is Girlfriend Collective, and the other is... I should choose a better substitute, because I can't pronounce their name. It's V- U- O- R- I. I'm actually wearing some of their joggers right now. They are truly sensational and comfortable.
Ryan Cramer: Vuori?
Emma Schermer Tamir: Vuori. I don't know.
Ryan Cramer: Vuori?
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah, yeah. I don't know how you're supposed to say it. I feel like they could have chosen a better, more easy to pronounce name.
Ryan Cramer: Call the customer service line. Say," I just have a quick question. How do you pronounce the company you work for?" That's it. There we go.
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah, I should do that, if they even have a phone line. A lot of these companies-
Ryan Cramer: They might. crosstalk.
Emma Schermer Tamir: They might. They might. So I'm actually a customer of both companies. So it's not to say that you can't be a crossover and have multiple sides of your identity that relate to different types of brands. So that's just something else to consider as well. I feel like maybe I confused you a little bit with all-
Ryan Cramer: No, I think maybe taking that initial idea, I think that there's going to be more and more iterations that it's just not good enough as good anymore to say," Yes, we're going to be"... I saw that. I always love it when people naturally just curiously... Nonchalantly is the word I'm looking for, lift up their branded Yeti mugs. Always my favorite.
Emma Schermer Tamir: Exactly.
Ryan Cramer: You still get people asking for those, and I'm like," I'm sorry. That was back in 2020." So again, no, I get the point I think you were making, Emma, is I think it's not just as good anymore to let the features really shine. I think it's just to say where you continuously stand out. Again, if it's recycled material, that's one thing that people's looking for, but there can be four or five or, like you said, these two brands. What's that next step? Is it money going back to a cause, or what's that origin story, or, gosh, I don't even know. All these different... It doesn't have to be feature- centric. It can be obviously story- centric or, again, brand- centric I think is more how people are differentiating themselves, because all the iterations, like you said, it could just be color. It could be feature. It could be this does this differently than everything else. But that's not good enough anymore. Is that what you're saying more?
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah, and I love you bring up this idea of features and benefits and story and all these things. I think those are terms that we hear a lot, and I think they get overly simplified to a point where you may be missing out on the full power of them. So with something like a benefit, their one singular feature can have 10 different potential interpretations of 10 different benefits. Just let that sink in for a minute. It's never so linear as each feature has one singular benefit. It really is who's reading it, and what do they care about and how could they interpret that benefit to them on a deeper, more emotional level? So having a clear sense of your brand identity and your customers will help you then filter what benefit you're going to be choosing to really present your product through so that something like using recycled materials, it can mean just that it's creating less waste and it's protecting the world for future generations. But not everybody is necessarily concerned with future generations. If you're someone that's maybe... I'm not making a value statement that this is good or bad, but if you are 18, 20, you might not be thinking about having children, or maybe even if you're my age and you don't have children, that's just not necessarily the frame that you're reading things through. So somebody that's a parent, on the other hand, that might have a real impact on them that they fear that what will the state of the world be like for their children when they get to a certain age, whereas people that don't have children yet or might not want children will be looking at it in a different way and might say it's more about the now. So it's protecting the oceans, because both of these brands are also using ocean plastic, so plastic that's collected from the ocean and then spun into fabric. But they've also expanded it in different ways where Girlfriend Collective, they're using recycled materials, and they have that sustainability element, but they've actually expanded it to be also a brand that's really about inclusivity with body shapes and sizes and gender and all of those and race. So the sustainability part is a piece of that bigger picture that they are trying to create, where it is about making the world now a place that everybody is welcome and where we treat each other well. That might be like," Whoa, you're getting really deep here with this," but those are the types of questions you want to be asking and the depth that you want to go to in order to be able to do this really, really effectively.
Ryan Cramer: Right. Do you think it's even more simple that people try to do those general arching statements, like you said, as eco- friendly? Is it because of the limited nature of which Amazon gives you to explain what the product is? You want to hit on so many different benefits of almost the wide net catch approach instead of the going deeper in that capacity. Is that where you see a lot of customers of yours, but also a lot of sellers, that's where they're caught up in," I want to keep this as wide- ranging as possible of"... An example Steven Pope used is the crème brûlée torch, when he was on a while ago as," Hey, the crème brûlée torch is fantastic, obviously, for cooks and home cooks and whatnot that are trying to make crème brûlée, but other feature is, hey, it can be a cigar lighter. Now it opens up capability for men or for a different audience." Is that why you think there's a lot more generalized terms in listings instead of featured or focused approach?
Emma Schermer Tamir: I think that's maybe part of it, but then it starts to be really confusing, right? So if in one listing you're talking about that this is a crème brûlée torch that's made for professionals that want to serve the most delicious, mouthwatering, beautifully crafted crème brûlée, and then in the next one, you're saying," Light your cigars and smoke a stogie when you're leaning back in your man cave," it's jarring. I would actually propose maybe just have a new product that's the same thing and just position it in a different way.
Ryan Cramer: Right, or maybe is it something as simple as creating a new listing, similar product-
Emma Schermer Tamir: Exactly.
Ryan Cramer: ...but in an entirely different frame of reference in that regards?
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah. It's all about positioning, because it's like you are going to need to choose one central thing to lean into, because if your title's like crème brûlée torch cigar thing, something else, something else and somebody's looking for one of the something elses, they're not going to see that in the title. So they might not even click into it. But then if they do click into it and what they really care about is crème brûlée, but then you're talking about all these other things, then they might lose some trust that this is really the best crème brûlée torch, because the best crème brûlée torch is going to be speaking to all the nuances of what a chef cares about and maybe the other types of things that you can do in the kitchen with a crème brûlée torch that would be more adjacent to those types of activities that wouldn't be so different from what the core functionality is. That's going to impact how you stylize the images and how you approach the A- plus content. You don't want to confuse people, and you don't want to also say," Oh, yeah, and we do this and this. Oh, but wait. There's more," that infomercial thing.
Ryan Cramer: Just wait. Amazon might bring it back. We never know. But wait. There's more. This product can also watch your children while you go out on the town. Who knows? Who knows?
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah, yeah. So it's helpful to think about what might those other uses... what those could be, but being thoughtful of does this make sense to where my primary objective is, and if there's really something there, maybe that should just also be its own listing and product. It's the same thing. You're not having to make any extra effort to do almost anything, but just listing it with a different set of keywords and copy and creative.
Ryan Cramer: So you're more of the advocate of just to have the wide net approach, go deeper, plant your flag, basically, of," This is what this thing does. This is who we serve. Here we are. This is what this product's for."
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah.
Ryan Cramer: Okay. So in that regards, I'm very curious to hear in that capacity, how does one start? How do I generate a brand voice if I'm just beginning or I'm just selling or if I'm just going through a,"Hey, I only have a few products. What's going to be the most meaningful? I have a couple different ways I created this product that are meaningful to me. How do I find one and really stick with it and start to build on that brand?"
Emma Schermer Tamir: That's a great question, and I think that question is what actually keeps a lot of people from doing it at all, because I think there's this idea that you have to have all of this fully thought- out before and if not, then just don't even worry about it. I look at brand identity as something that's similar to our own personal development, where the more time that you're in business, the more you're able to interact with the world, the deeper you'll be able to go. But also, you might find that you change, because when we engage with certain people or experiences, we learn," Oh, actually this is really important to me now, and I wouldn't have thought to do that." So I would say first step is really just to approach this from a point of curiosity and a sense that you don't have to have it all figured out before you start. You just need something to lean into. Then you'll be able to start getting feedback from your customers and by how you perform and from just the experience that you gain and then to use that to continue to build on what you're doing. So to start with, I would say going out and even just researching what brands resonate with you. Look around your desk or wherever you're sitting, and I can see right here I have four Apple products within an arm's reach of me right now. So clearly, I love Apple products. I'm a supporter.
Ryan Cramer: I'm a supporter of Apple products. You do it like they're in a Goodwill.
Emma Schermer Tamir: crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: You do it like they're a nonprofit.
Emma Schermer Tamir: No, I mean crosstalk.
Ryan Cramer: Trillion-dollar industry. Come on.
Emma Schermer Tamir: I like the choices that they make, and I'm willing to even sacrifice certain types of functionality because I really like them as a brand and I like the products that they create and I like the thought that they bring to things. So looking around and seeing," Okay, what brands resonate with me?" So I have my Apple products nearby. I'm also wearing my Vuori pants that I mentioned. I have my Yeti from Ping Pong, which I didn't buy, but I'm a huge fan, and I love it. So I have these things that I love that if I needed to go buy more of or if I wanted to buy a gift for somebody, I wouldn't just go searching for a tumbler or searching for joggers or searching for a headset. I would go and I would look for what those brands are selling and buy whoever I'm gifting that.
Ryan Cramer: Right. I think the coolest thing, speaking of Yeti, I read a really cool... the how Yeti was formed, actually, believe it or not, of just the story of which they were like," This is the problem. This is how we encountered it," was they were two, I think, brothers or they were family members or friends, something along the lines while they were fishing. They just had the notion of," I can never keep our ice cold enough, because we kept fishing and everything would melt," and obviously it would ruin their fish. Nothing would last long enough. So what they decided to do instead of competing with the name brands, like Igloo and all those other... RTC maybe is one of them out there. Instead of leaning into those brands, they said," We're going to do what... We want to solve the problem, and we're not going to compete with the brand. We'll just build our own. Even if that means that our products can be three or four times more expensive, people are going to understand that we solve problem. It is what it is, and we're going to lean into that and say we're not a cheap solution, but you know what? If you're like us, there ain't no other solution out there. So you have to actually pay out more." Again, they have great products across the board. They're expensive, or it's an investment- worthy product. That's where they took it, was it's an investment- worthy choice that if I want this problem solved, I'm going to make a personal investment into it instead of it's a monetary transaction. Does that make sense?
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah.
Ryan Cramer: They took that mindset of," It's going to be higher- end material. It's fixing a problem, and that's what our brand voice is doing. We're fixing the problem that every person like us has."
Emma Schermer Tamir: So you see, I didn't know that story, but as soon as you tell me that, I can actually see it reflected in other parts of their brand.
Ryan Cramer: It makes sense.
Emma Schermer Tamir: So even in their name, Yeti, which is taking this mythological backwoods creature, that's speaking to this outdoorsman activity, but it's also mythological, something that didn't exist that they absolutely needed. Also, their aesthetic choices and the way that they design their products, but also in the way that they design their ads and their images and their logo and all of that stuff-
Ryan Cramer: It makes sense.
Emma Schermer Tamir: ...it all really connects with that and tells a story and makes a clearer picture of things.
Ryan Cramer: Handles kept breaking. I think it was, yeah, everything keeps melting. There was a lot of them. It was just really cheap, and you had to keep replacing it over and over. So that's where their warranty comes in. A lot of how they've built up the company, again, it's a billion- dollar, I'm assuming, industry right now that stands alone, and it's fantastic. They continuously grow on that, but they never derive from that notion of," This is who we are. It's high- end products, but it's going to do exactly what we said from the beginning. We want great products that are going to last you a long time and do that functionality." So that's why it resonated with me. I'll have to find that article. I forget where it came out. Again, social listening is what I do best, and I just go through it, read a ton, and apply it to a future knowledge set. But yeah, it was really cool in terms of that brand perspective. Do people need to start... Do you suggest that they start with imagery, or do you suggest they start with the verbiage that they're using when writing their listing? Which one comes first, the chicken or the egg?
Emma Schermer Tamir: This is going to be an annoying answer for you, but both. So you need to have an understanding of where you're wanting to go visually, but also make sure that you have a solid idea of what the organizational structure is that you're trying to achieve and then how to mesh those together. So if you're thinking about your A- plus content, for example, and you are just thinking about images, you could create a really beautiful A- plus content layout, but it wouldn't necessarily make space for presenting all of the information that you're wanting to be presenting in a logical, cohesive, impactful way. So having that outline of," Here's the content that I want to be focusing on," then thinking about how to represent that visually, and then coming back in and filling in and making the copy more solid is typically the way that my team approaches things like that. So it's like first get a basic outline, then think about how to represent that visually, and then figure out how to really meld the two together for something that is going to be visually impactful while also communicating in a way that's going to be persuasive and engaging for your customers.
Ryan Cramer: If I'm a brand owner, do I make a cohesive brand voice or use similar verbiage on Amazon as well as my D2C site? Do you keep them separate, or do you keep them almost identical? Is that a pro or a con for sellers?
Emma Schermer Tamir: So as far as writing something in the exact same way?
Ryan Cramer: Right.
Emma Schermer Tamir: So just copy pasting what you have?
Ryan Cramer: Do I do that, or is that a bad practice?
Emma Schermer Tamir: No. Do not do that. So this is just an assumption that I'm making, but I think if Amazon launched today, they wouldn't design the product pages in the way that they have done. They're old- fashioned. I think that it would be way too complicated for them to change them, but the layout is really not...
Ryan Cramer: It's hard to find, to be honest with you.
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah. It's really like when you look at a website of a company that you love, a product page is a completely different experience versus what it looks like on Amazon. So you're going to really confine yourself if you're just copying and pasting things over. Now, should you have continuity of voice and give customers a similar experience of your brand and how you communicate? Most certainly. But do you need these lengthier bullets? Not that you should be doing long bullets, but even 200 character bullets are long when you see how bullets are traditionally used in other spaces that aren't Amazon. That's not really going to be really customer- forward, and there also might be type of callouts that you wouldn't be able to make on Amazon or it wouldn't make sense to make. So if you offer guarantees or other types of deals and stuff like that, you have more flexibility to say those types of things without running up against Amazon's TOS. So both from how the page is structured and what people would expect when they're looking at a website, but also in being able to take more liberties with creative freedom and also with what you say are things that should be exciting when you're going about creating a product page for your own website, for example.
Ryan Cramer: Do people put incorrectly certain items in the listing wherein obviously it can be duplicated later on? For example, dimensions of a product, is that necessarily needed and to put it in my product listing when it's going to say dimensions later on under product listings and in specifications? Does that make sense?
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah.
Ryan Cramer: I'm literally looking at one right now, and it said in their listing... It has dimensions of the product, when that can obviously be put somewhere else on the page. Are people not optimizing when they think about a product and they actually look at it from a customer perspective? It's being duplicated multiple different ways. This is a bean bag chair that my wife and I are looking at for our son. It says in dimensions twice, multiple times throughout it of," This is how big it is." They can use that for more product features or functionality or brand voice. Is that what you're seeing a lot of?
Emma Schermer Tamir: I would say it depends on what the key buying criteria are of the customer. So with those key points, reinforcement is a good idea, being that depending upon the device that you're on, you might be looking at some parts before others. So if you're on mobile, then you're looking at the A- plus or the images and maybe seeing the bullets afterwards, whereas if you're on desktop, it's going to be reversed. Some people are more visual buyers, so they're going to go right to the product images. So those things that are vital for understanding your product, it's really helpful to be reinforcing and communicating. So in the case of a beanbag chair, maybe yes or maybe no. I could see that maybe if this is in two cases. So one is someone needs a super compact beanbag chair. Most of them are way too big, and they take up too much space on the ground. So in that case, if this is smaller and great for small spaces or corner, I could see that as a pro. Alternatively, maybe you're looking for something that's an unusual shape or larger, and so if any of those times where the dimensions are actually speaking to a benefit of the product being bigger, smaller, or a different size, then the dimensions can be helpful, because they're going to be reinforcing that right. Now, should it be multiple times in the bullets? No. But to have it in the bullets and then maybe again in the A- plus, also because then in the A- plus, you can visually demonstrate it. So if you have a picture of the beanbag chair in a room and then you have the little lines that are showing the height and the width, that's helpful for people like me that can't just look at written dimensions and get a visual understanding of what that means.
Ryan Cramer: Right. Well, yeah, the listing itself, the first one is it's made with SmartMax fabric, tough, stain- resistant, water- resistant, easily cleaned with damp cloth. Next thing is the product dimensions, but it just says the dimensions and the weight, not like," Great for small rooms" or" Great for lofts or your child's room" or anything, just dimensions." Covers our double- stitch, seal with two safety locking zippers, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." Then crosstalk. Yeah.
Emma Schermer Tamir: So the safety... Safety stitching, is that what you said?
Ryan Cramer: Yeah. It said covers are double- stitched and sealed with two safety- locking zippers.
Emma Schermer Tamir: So that's really interesting to me, right? Because that is a feature of the product. So it's this design that has these safety lock zippers. That's not something that I've heard of before, and I've seen tons of products out there. So it's something that might be unique to this product that could actually make it a really fantastic choice for parents, and what a loss to not help me understand why the safety lock is important, but then to also frame it for me so that even if I'm not 100% sure I want this beanbag chair, now I know that I need the functionality of the safety lock zippers. So even in my other shopping, I'm going to be looking for that, and then maybe I don't find it, because this is unique to this product. So they've sold me on something that if I've never bought a beanbag chair before, I wouldn't know I needed, or maybe I thought that this was just common practice and that every beanbag chair came with that and it wasn't something to be concerned with.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, and here's the mess, too. They talk about the safety features of it. There's not one single child that's listed in any of these pictures. It's all adults. Then your assumption is," Do I need to protect my wife or my significant other from this beanbag chair?" Now things start to get interesting. Anyway, this is my initial look- through, not to pooh on all of this brand. They have shoppable features. There's a lot of features that they're taking advantage of. I think when I start to initially just look at this in talking through it with you, something doesn't line up with me in terms of the cohesiveness. It's 90% there. It could be 100%, if that makes sense. But hey, they've got great reviews. They've got a lot of good traffic. They've got all the A- plus functionality in there. So they're on their way. I want to pivot real quick, Emma. This is something that a lot of people have talked with about branding, how I think a lot of it last year was," Do I make my brand really personable, and how much do I do that, especially when I want to possibly exit my business?" I'm really curious about that, is first the functionality of is that going to harm or hurt my ability to share or sell my brand with somebody else that you've experienced, whether it's too personal or it's too much of a personalized story and that doesn't resonate with somebody maybe that wants to exit their brand?
Emma Schermer Tamir: So I think that that can be a roadblock that you encounter, but that isn't the only thing that you want to be considering when you put yourself in that position, because you also want to be considering of," Do you want to be the face of your business?," because there are certain things that come along with that you may or may not want. I'm speaking from experience. My business is called Marketing by Emma, and the logo is my face. That is challenging at times, to be the face of it, because it makes me feel like I take... Maybe this is just my personality as well, but whatever is happening, it all feels personal to me in a way that I don't know if it would if my identity wasn't so closely tied into who we are as a company. So I think that that's something that's really important to consider. I have seen plenty of businesses that did have a really central founder that are able to exit. So I don't think that's an impediment. It might change how you continue to stay involved with the company, and there's lots of different ways that that can look like. I would say it's more a question of what truly is your story, and what are you trying to do? So when we talk about a company like Apple, Steve jobs was a very prominent face for them, but he's also been dead for a long time. People aren't buying Apple products because of Steve Jobs or really even because of their origin story, even though it's a cool one. Apple for a long time was this little company that wasn't really doing that much, and then they got really innovative and just exploded with all of these amazing products in the last, I don't know, 20, 25 years. My timeline might be a little bit skewed. So you don't have to go that route, and you can still have a very personal connection with your customers, even if it's not through your unique story. So I would say it's more about what makes sense for you, what feels right, what aligns with your brand and where you're trying to take it, and then making that choice.
Ryan Cramer: Right. What about I guess on the flip side of that for a company that is acquiring all these brands? They have to run with either the identity that's already been established beforehand or they have to reconfigure and/ or build out a new one or enhance it, if you will. Is there a struggle of which to that you're seeing with either portfolio companies or just people who run multiple different brands, to keep them either separate or just enhance them as one goes to another and it's a different voice? It's a different viewpoint? Is that a struggle do you think that people are encountering or companies are encountering?
Emma Schermer Tamir: In fact, I would say... and this is from my limited view of clients of ours that have sold and what I've seen businesses in the space doing and whatnot. So I would hesitate to make an overarching statement.
Ryan Cramer: Just crosstalk.
Emma Schermer Tamir: But from my perspective, one of the easiest and quickest wins that a lot of these companies that are acquiring brands are able to get is through the branding side of things. So it's really like stepping up the listing, is repackaging it, and doing some of those things that either the business owner that sold didn't give a lot out of thought to or didn't have enough experience with or was too limited in their viewpoint. Amazon selling as a style of doing business began from a very product- centric point of," I'm going to use these tools to find out what type of search volume is there and unmet need and demand from customers, and I'm going to launch a product there." So that still, I think, is an underlying force in this space and how sellers are thinking when they're running their businesses, when they're making their listings, and recognizing that there is so much more growth that you can achieve. It is more complicated. It takes an extra depth of thought and work to do that, but that can be unlocked when you're doing that. So a lot of times, they might be great products, and the companies see," Okay, well, if we can also lean into this a little bit more, really put together some great product pages and things like that, we can take it to the next level."
Ryan Cramer: Right. Maybe in the last couple minutes that we have here, what's a good exercise maybe for an entrepreneur if they're listening to this and saying," How do I exercise my voice in the capacity I can just write it down and have that easily received by other people?" Is there exercises that you and your team do? I'm thinking wordplay or any... I don't know what it looks like. I envision one thing. I'm assuming I'm going to hear another.
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah. So I'm sure you've heard plenty of people talking about how important it is to do customer avatars, where you're making a really clear and detailed profile of the person or groups of people that are buying your products. What we don't do enough is that same exercise for our own brand. So it's really when we ask people," Oh, how would you define your brand?," and people might say," We have a sense of humor, but we're also sophisticated." That seems on the one hand like it's pretty specific and would be helpful and you'd be able to know how to write that. But when you dig into it a little bit, you actually realize that sophisticated and a sense of humor could be interpreted in a lot of different ways. There are multiple right answers to that. So if you can build out a brand identity profile as a person, it will give a lot more clarity to where you're trying to aim and what specific target you're looking to aim at. So if you say sophisticated and a sense of humor, they wear a bow tie, glasses. They're into small batch whiskey, and they're 30 years old.
Ryan Cramer: crosstalk. They subscribe to the inaudible, whatever that is. I don't even think that's a thing, but that's how I am projecting right now.
Emma Schermer Tamir: So that is where you suddenly start to feel like," Oh, yeah, I know that. I get what you're saying." There isn't as much left up to interpretation, but it can also be helpful. You say how to get started. It can be helpful to do something like that in a way to... It feels a little bit less intimidating, because if you're talking about their interests and the shows they watch on TV and all of those types of things, that's fun. That's interesting. That's something that will help you ponder these things in a way that doesn't feel so serious and doesn't have such high stakes. So that's a really good place to start, but it's also a really great tool to be able to use once you've figured that out to help make sure that whoever you're working with is on the same page with you.
Ryan Cramer: Right. I think that's good. How often should I just be exercising that viewpoint, if you will?
Emma Schermer Tamir: So I would say that once you do that work and you have a clear persona of who your brand is, then the deeper work starts of the why. So why are we really doing this? What is our vision? What are we setting out to achieve? How are we impacting the world? Those are big questions that we're going to continue to have to answer over and over and over again. So when it feels like there may be a mismatch, maybe you started doing things and then you've changed the types of customers you're serving a little bit or you have new packaging because you realize that when you started out that you didn't really care that much about sustainable packaging, but you have so many customers telling you that's really important, and so you make a significant adjustment with that. Those types of changes may be points at which you should reflect back on this and see," Has my brand grown up a little bit, or have they experienced a life change that is sending them down a different path, and how do we adjust for that?"
Ryan Cramer: Right. The pubescence of a brand, basically.
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah, exactly.
Ryan Cramer: There you go. Well, crosstalk. Emma, I would talk to you all day if I could. But in the sake of time, I know we've pointed people to your social handles, but I want to know what's on the docket for you and the team. You said you're 10 strong in the company. What's on the roadmap for you and your team here in 2022?
Emma Schermer Tamir: Oh, a lot of stuff that I don't know I'm ready to talk about yet. But we have some good things cooking, some exciting changes on the horizon. So you're just going to have to stay tuned to find out more. But in the meantime, we're just going to be continuing to do our best to deliver the most awesome copy possible for people's Amazon listings and websites and any other marketing writing needs that they have.
Ryan Cramer: I love it. Well, at this rate it's going to be another two years. So, well, hopefully you delay that for another two years before you get back on the podcast.
Emma Schermer Tamir: Well, we'll be seeing each other in person-
Ryan Cramer: That's true. We will be seeing each other in person.
Emma Schermer Tamir: ...in about a month.
Ryan Cramer: That's right. Well, you said... Yeah, and I'm not going to say anything that's not public knowledge, I guess, at this juncture. But yeah, we will be seeing each other in a month at Prosper, and I've been told that you will show me around. The best tips I'm getting are from Emma, because you're constantly there, it sounds like, you said. You know Vegas way too well, or I should say it in a well way, I should say. Not too well.
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah. It can be an overwhelming place, so there are some little tricks and things you can do to make sure that you are able to-
Ryan Cramer: Stay alive.
Emma Schermer Tamir: ...go in one piece.
Ryan Cramer: Right. Yeah, for business or anything like that. Come back in one piece is what I've been told by my family. So that means that, hey, thanks so much as a friend of the show and just friend in real life. I'm excited to touch base with you in person, but then also for everyone, if they didn't catch the last episode two years ago. How do people get in touch with you or the team or just learn about more information about you guys?
Emma Schermer Tamir: Yeah. So our website, marketingbyemma. com, there we have email, phone number, WhatsApp, contact form, you name it. Whatever your preferred medium of communication is, you will probably find it there. So that's the best place to go. I would also say that we are always happy to do a free listing analysis. So if all of this felt really over your head or alternatively you just want a second opinion, we're always happy to take a look at your listing and give you some feedback about our observations. So that's just marketingbyemma.com/ freeanalysis, or you can find it as a top banner on any page on our website. Oh.
Ryan Cramer: Pressed the wrong button. I pressed Unmute. I pressed the single camera. This is what happens when I'm not looking at what I press. Sorry about that, everyone. No, I love that. We linked out to your website, too, on all the descriptions, too. So if people are interested, they can just click on those links and go to there. Again, it's marketingbyemma. com. Again, I was talking about this earlier. Hopefully no one's coming to you and say," You need to think about redesigning your logo," because you were talking about taking that personally. I would definitely take that personally, if someone's... Hopefully no one's done that.
Emma Schermer Tamir: Oh, I for sure had people say," You should also think of renaming your business." But interesting fact, apparently, and I didn't know this before we named our business, which is a whole separate story of how we ended up with Marketing by Emma, but apparently brands that have an owner's name in them actually are perceived with a higher trust value than those that don't. So a point for keeping the name as is, and there are other points for why people think maybe we should change it. But for the foreseeable future, Marketing by Emma it is.
Ryan Cramer: I love it. Well, thank you so much, Emma, for hopping on, again, our corner of the internet. It's been too long obviously to have you, a single episode, talking like this. So I appreciate it, as always, and we'll see you soon. So thanks so much for stopping by today.
Emma Schermer Tamir: Bye. Thank you, Ryan. This was awesome.
Ryan Cramer: Bye. Thanks, Emma, and thank you, everyone who was tuning into Crossover Commerce on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Twitter or, again, on your favorite podcast destinations. If you're listening to this later on when we release it, we're almost... I say we're caught up. It's always hard to catch up on the audio versions, because it's me uploading everything. You've got to magically make it appear. I won't tell you all the behind the scenes stuff, but if you go to usa. pingpongx. com/ podcast, you'll be able to catch up. Almost to our 200th episode is what we have released. I think we're on 187. The audio format, transcripts, key takeaways, you name it, it's there. Plus you can sign up for Ping Pong Payments as well while you're there. You might as well. It's convenient to do. That being said, thanks to everyone for tuning in. This is episode... or oh gosh, 216 of this podcast. That's it for this week. We'll catch you guys next week. If you want to be notified of future episodes, just follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Twitter or you can follow myself on our favorite social media channels. But in that case, make sure everyone have a great weekend, and we'll catch you guys next time under no other episode of Crossover Commerce. Take care.
Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Emma Schermer Tamir of Marketing By Emma, discussing why NOW is the right time to start brand building through your Amazon listings.
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