Amazon is a fun place to play and make money if you know how to utilize the platform. Amazon expert Brenda Crimi keeps her pulse on the things that are going on within Amazon. With their company, AMZ Alliance, they help product owners and renters take their products and bring them to market through Amazon. Brenda talks about the importance of keywords in your book title or product description and generating legitimate reviews. She also touches on what people who are brand new to Amazon absolutely must know to avoid some of the biggest mistakes.
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Bringing A Product To Market Through Amazon with Brenda Crimi
I have a special guest and it’s a little bit out of sequence with what we’ve been doing, but something that a lot of you guys are asking for. I have Brenda Crimi who is an expert on Amazon. While I specialize in the books, Brenda specializes in products. We’ve had a lot of people come to us saying, “I have a book, but I have a product I want to sell with the book. I want to bundle this whole thing. Is there a market for it?” I thought it would be timely. Welcome, Brenda.
Thank you for having me. This is exciting.
Could you tell people a little bit about your background and how you got here to what you’re doing?
I don’t know that I got out of high school and said, “I’m going to sell on Amazon.” Amazon didn’t exist then. The bullet-pointed version of my background is I’ve been a serial entrepreneur for many years. I’ve had several businesses. I’ve had franchises. I have a wide range of entrepreneurial business foundation. When I developed my business as a systems expert, I was a professional organizer and what I did is I transitioned that into developing systems for small businesses. Through that, I created an organizing system for this product and went to bring that to market. This was in 2010 and this was before Amazon. I was totally schooled in how to bring a product to market and spent a lot of money trying to bring a product to market that probably shouldn’t have been brought to market. There wasn’t enough of a demand for the money I needed to put forward to bring that to market.
Fast forward through other endeavors and business models and so forth, I took it a little respite and I was taking a mental break, but I couldn’t sit still. I started dabbling on Amazon. A friend of mine was selling on eBay and things, so I took some training course and started dabbling with the concept. In our first year, I took that dabbling and turned it into a $250,000 in sales. I’m like, “We’ve got something here.” Playing that out for the first twelve months and honing in my skills and continuing to do so, that was about a few years ago. I’m a perpetual student so I keep my pulse on the things that are going on within Amazon.
I took that knowledge and immediately went, “I’ve had the experience of bringing a product to market. If I would’ve known all the ways in which I could utilize Amazon to bring that product to market, that would have made a difference to me and the financial situation I was in. I have to go and tell people this.” We hung our shingle, AMZ Alliance. We started a business about a couple of years ago, our consulting side. We help product owners and inventors take their products and bring them to market through Amazon and utilize that platform. It’s exciting. I love doing it. It’s rewarding because it speaks to my heart because I was once in those shoes. Still, we have our own products that we sell.Amazon listings are pretty much the same thing, and this applies to products and to books. Click To Tweet
Brenda has helped me with the book end of this because Amazon started advertising books. We went in search of keywords for some of our clients’ books and it’s amazing the tools you have that can help people see how much is selling. Can you talk about those a little bit? I bet a lot of people don’t even know they exist.
My assumption is that the algorithm that Amazon uses for ranking and products is also the same for books. I’ve talked to a lot of authors and how they set their books up on Amazon and the keywords. With the Kindle Direct Publishing platform, they started in January 2018 offering sponsored ads for their books. I was like, “That hasn’t been offered through books before.” It’s looking at book information from the perspective of keywords. What are people searching for to find the content that you have in your book? Develop content descriptions and titles that adhere to those keywords. I’m getting ready to launch my book called How To Sell Your Product On Amazon. I came up with that title, I don’t know why that escaped me, but I came up with that title not because I thought it was a flashy good title. I did some research on keywords and found which ones were the most popular, what were people searching for a book like that. I created my title to accommodate that search. Hopefully, it’s going to come up within the results a lot easier.
Brenda helped me with a little bit of the advertising for the books. I can’t even stress how important those keywords are. We put the book we were putting in through the manual process versus the automatic process. In the automatic process where we let Amazon scan the words, our keywords were and, the, of. The program itself did such a poor job. It’s important to have those keywords researched and be able to manually put them into those ads. Is it the same way on the product side?
It is. You have to think about Amazon’s algorithm is just that, it’s a computer program. It isn’t somebody looking at your book or your product and saying, “I get what this is. Somebody searches for something like this. I’m going to display your results.” You have to train that algorithm as to the relevance of your product or your book. Even though you may include keywords in your title and in your description. Then when you upload, you have the back-office search terms. You can also add additional keywords too. That’s the start of indexing your book. Your book or any of your products start getting indexed based on when somebody makes a purchase. For instance, if somebody is searching for, “How to sell on Amazon,” they put in the keyword in the search bar, “How to sell on Amazon,” and they happen upon my book and purchase it. That gives you huge ranking points. It’s like the algorithm goes, “That’s what you are.” The next person that types in, “How to sell on Amazon,” the algorithm’s going to go, “They must mean they want this book. The last time somebody typed it, they bought this book,” and Amazon wants to make money. They’re going to show the products that convert into sales and that’s how it’s trained.
When you put on those manual search terms, you’re training the algorithm. Back to the sponsored ads and to get a little bit more detailed about that, let’s say that I’m launching a book on How To Sell On Amazon. When somebody searches, “How To Sell On Amazon,” I want them to see my book as an option. I would use those keywords in the manual-sponsored ad, “How to sell on Amazon.” What will happen is then that will buy my position in the search results because organically I haven’t ranked up there yet. I have to prove that I can sell and convert into sales. I paid for the sponsored ad to get my products shown and my book shown. What will happen is then somebody will purchase it. That’s how you get it indexed for those keywords. The more that that happens, the higher you will rank within those keywords sets.
The difference between the products and the books though is that Amazon goes through the entire book versus with the product. It goes through the product description, doesn’t it?
No. With the product side, it hits on the title, the bullet points, the description and your back office search terms. In the book, it hits on your title description and the back-office search terms as well. I’m not sure that it scans content. I haven’t read and had confirmation of that. If you know that, that would be good information for me to know too.
The only thing I know about the scanning of content is that when you try to place a review and you’ve downloaded a Kindle product, it can scan and see how far and how fast you read that book. That will legitimize the review. I know it does that because it ranks actual book purchases higher than it does regular reviews. I’ve had a situation where I went through something fast where they wouldn’t post my review. I’m a fast reader, it wasn’t that I was touching it, but I noticed that it downed my review because of that. You have to be careful when you do that because Kindle knows if you read that book or not.
I will tell you too on the product side, Amazon takes their reviews very seriously. It is against their terms of service for someone to solicit a review in exchange for some type of benefit. You can’t go, “I’ll give you this free book if you review for me or this free product or I’ll refund your product when you buy it so it shows up as a verified purchase, and then I’ll refund you after you do the review.” Those are grounds to get your account shut down in a minute. You may be suspect to say, “How will they ever going to find out?” Their little spy bots know. It used to be when we first started selling on Amazon, it was like shooting fish in a barrel.
One of the ways in which we would rank products was to do the whole review thing. We could sell 100 products at $5 or a $1 in exchange for a review, and we’d get massive sales with the certain keywords right away and we’d be right at the top pages. Amazon is protective of their customers. These are their customers, even if they’re buying your book or your product, they’re their customers. They are smart about that. To get your first initial reviews, we’d have all our friends, mom and family, and stuff gives us those little reviews. It wouldn’t say verified, but it would certainly put a review up there. The little spy bots, based on your communication, it’s all in there. The internet’s all accessible. They know if you have some type of connection and they don’t care. Like you, if they perceive that it may not be about a valid review, they won’t post it or if it’s posted, they may come back and sweep it out later.
If you don’t believe in the power of those bots, back in around 2010 and 2011, authors were setting up Gmail accounts and reviewing their own books. They got caught because they were able to go into where you sign up for a Gmail account and see what the address was that’s attached to that account. I’ve got Juliet@JulietClark.com attached to my Gmail account. That spider would be able to go in and see that and see that Juliet Clark was the author. I’m not a techie at all, but there are ways. They’re good at that because the KDP program, which is the platform where you can give away your book for free on certain days, requires that you not be on another platform. You can’t be on BarnesAndNoble.com. You can’t be selling it on your website. They’re out there. They’re looking with it. What would you say to people that are brand new to Amazon and they’re looking to put products on? What are some things that they must know to avoid some of the biggest mistakes?
One of the biggest mistakes I see people making is spending thousands and thousands of dollars for their training. I don’t know if you’ve heard or it’s come through your Facebook stream about, “Come to this hotel for a two-hour learn to sell on Amazon thing.” There have been several of them that have been shut down by the Federal Trade Commission. What they do to get you in these hotel rooms for two hours give you little detail information, just a high level of what the opportunity is, and then they sell you into their program. A lot of times it’s, “Come to the weekend thing,” and the weekend thing’s maybe $1,500 up to $5,000. That whole three-day thing intensive is all about trying to upsell you into their $6,000 up to $30,000 program.You have to set up your listings to convert into a sale. Click To Tweet
I feel it’s my community service announcement duty thing to say don’t go to these hotel things. My message is twofold. One, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on your training. We have a training program that we endorse called the Proven Amazon Course. It’s $399 and there’s more content in there than you could ever consume. It teaches you how to find products, starting the business from sourcing used books in garage sales. You don’t have to have a whole lot of money to start all the way up to, “I have money to invest in my business. I need to find the right product. I want to do a brand.” Everything from A to Z is within that program. My first message is don’t go out and spend all that money to learn to sell on Amazon.
The second thing is you can’t necessarily do it on your own without some training. I equate it to creating a website. You could use Wix or some of those other plugin-type systems to create your own website. Are people going to find you? Amazon listings are pretty much the same thing and this applies to products and it applies to books. It’s about this algorithm and how you have to set up your listings to convert into a sale. The first part of the listing has to be seen. They have to be able to find you. The second detail of a listing needs to be able to convert, to convince that person that they need your product and turn into a sale. There are all kinds of strategies around that. Even though selling on Amazon may seem like a fill in the blank type of a system, it’s easy. It’s what you put in those blanks that will either make you successful or not. Arm yourself with that information.
The Amazon hotel thing is a lot like the real estate hotel thing where you’re spending $30,000, $40,000 on learning how to do it instead of investing and getting that product to market.
Save your money for the product because on the product side, you need a product to sell. That’s where the money comes in. You want an education on also how to choose products that have enough of a demand, that aren’t too competitive, that you can leverage and still ride that wave with.
How can people find you? If they’re interested in talking to you further about this and digging down deep? Is there a place to find that program that you were talking about? How can they talk to you directly?
On our website, AMZAlliance.com, you can find out all about us. There’s a contact us form in there, you can send me any information as far as ask me any questions there. You can reach me by email, Brenda@AMZAlliance.com. That’s an open invitation because my heart is there to support people on their success. If I can get on a quick 30-minute call with somebody or fifteen minutes and they can tell me what their intentions are, I can help steer them in the right direction. If you’re considering inventing a product and bringing a product to market or maybe you already have a product, I’d love to get on the phone with you as well because I can get into Amazon and I can extract data out of Amazon. It will help you understand what the category’s doing, what your competitor’s doing and how many sales per month they’re having. The cost, the competition, all that information.
Get in contact with me. I do provide that product analysis. I want to offer to your audience the opportunity. If they do decide to learn how to sell on Amazon through The Proven Amazon Course. I want to make a little side note that isn’t my education, it’s a course we endorse. I spent a lot of money on my education and I’m here to say that it wasn’t necessary. I’ve been spying on The Proven Amazon Course community for several years and their utmost integrity. In fact, I’m part of the leadership team and helping them rewrite some programs and things. You can find more information about The Proven Amazon Course on my website. To your audience, I’d also like to offer an hour-free consultation with me to help them with their little road mapping and where they should steer in that course. There’s a lot of content you don’t want to get lost in that. I have a free book and other free courses that I can offer based on what their needs are.
I appreciate you talking about all this.
It’s my pleasure. Amazon’s a fun place to play and make money.
Have a great day.
- Brenda Crimi
- AMZ Alliance
- How To Sell Your Product On Amazon
- The Proven Amazon Course
About Brenda Crimi
Brenda Crimi’s entrepreneur career spans over 20 years, during which time she’s operated several successful businesses, to include owning and operating a national franchise, consulting on systemizing small businesses, and inventing and bringing to market an award winning organizing product.
In 2013, and between projects, Brenda started “dabbling” with selling on Amazon. Through extensive training and research, she learned the skills to leverage the Amazon marketplace, and turned that “dabbling” into a ¼ million dollars in sales her first 12 months.
Because Brenda knows first-hand of the challenges and high costs associated with bringing products to market, she quickly recognized how invaluable and lucrative the Amazon marketplace could be to the success of a product launch. So, together with her husband and business partner, they formed AMZ Alliance as a platform to assist brands in launching their products on Amazon.