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Email Marketing

How to Collect Buyer Emails Without Breaking Amazon ToS

Email lists can help Amazon sellers build a stronger business by making sales on and off Amazon, and building deeper customer relationships and brand recognition. Sounds good, right? But doesn’t collecting emails go against Amazon’s Terms of Service?

Let’s see exactly what Amazon has to say on the subject. Here are the Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions related to email marketing taken directly from Amazon’s site:

Attempts to divert transactions or buyers:

Any attempt to circumvent the established Amazon sales process or to divert Amazon users to another website or sales process is prohibited. Specifically, any advertisements, marketing messages (special offers) or “calls to action” that lead, prompt, or encourage Amazon users to leave the Amazon website are prohibited. This may include the use of email or the inclusion of hyperlinks, URLs, or web addresses within any seller-generated confirmation email messages or any product/listing description fields.

Inappropriate email communications:

Unsolicited emails to Amazon customers (other than as necessary for order fulfillment and related customer service) and emails related to marketing communications of any kind are prohibited.

Direct email addresses:

Buyers and sellers may communicate with one another via the Buyer-Seller Messaging Service.

So it’s pretty clear that you cannot use emails to redirect customers from Amazon to another website. And it’s also clear that you cannot send marketing messages of any kind to Amazon customers. Amazon has its own messaging service to contact buyers.

So they key to building email lists without breaking Amazon’s Terms of Services, then, is collecting emails before a potential customer reaches Amazon. Why is this ok? Because if you collect an email off of Amazon, then it’s not Amazon’s customer.

There are two criteria for building email lists without getting into trouble with Amazon:

  • Collect the email off of Amazon
  • Collect the email before a sale is made on Amazon

By following these rules, you aren’t redirecting customers away from Amazon. If a sale is later made on Amazon, then you are directing customer to Amazon.

And you aren’t messaging Amazon’s customer. You collected the email all on your own, so it’s not Amazon’s customer, it’s yours.

Methods for Collecting Emails

Five years ago, it was much easier to sell exclusively on Amazon, but today, the Amazon marketplace is very, very crowded.

So the general strategy that I am recommending is an integrated approach. Take advantage of all that Amazon has to offer while also building your brand off Amazon – which will then help you generate more sales on Amazon.

And if you use the right tools, you can take advantage of Amazon’s popularity and built-in trust factor to collect emails.

1) Email Opt-in Forms on Your Website

Including forms for people to enter their email on your e-commerce website is probably the simplest way to collect emails.

With a tool like Sumo, when visitors come to your website, an email capture form pops up, prompting them to put in their email. Enticing potential customers to join your list with a newsletter on new product releases is one way to collect emails.

2) Content Giveaway with a General Purpose Landing Page

Another way to collect emails is by giving away a valuable piece of free content.

What types of content work?

  • A recipe e-book if you sell cooking appliances.
  • A PDF workout guide if you sell exercise equipment.
  • A 5-day mini-course (sent through an email autoresponder).

Basically, you want to give away something that your target customer will find a lot of value in and will help them use your product more effectively.

The goal of the content is to lead them toward eventually becoming your customer.

You can give away this content through an automated email when someone enters their email address through an opt-in your site. Or you can use a landing page tool like Leadpages. Then you can drive traffic to the landing page through Facebook Ads, influencer partnerships, or other sources.

3) Discount Promotions with Amazon Landing Page Tool

While the two methods above are very effective among people who sell info products and even e-commerce businesses, this third method is especially effective for Amazon sellers, as it utilizes a tool like LandingCube, specifically built for Amazon sellers.

A landing page is generated from an Amazon listing, and on the page, single-use promotion codes are offered in exchange for email addresses.

Amazon sellers can use a tool like this to build a sales funnel for their Amazon business.

Landing Page
Landing Page

Just as with method two, you get in front of potential customers on social media, paid ads, blogs – basically you go to where your target customers spend time on the web – invite them to click on the link, and they arrive at the landing page. There, they see a page similar to the Amazon listing where they are offered a discount code for your Amazon product. If they are interested in the offer, they enter their email address. Then they go to Amazon to buy the product at a discount.

And you have their email to further develop a relationship with them, promote your brand, and get repeat sales.

Email Marketing

Why Should Amazon Sellers Use Email Marketing?

Email marketing can help Amazon sellers take their business to the next level.

Emails are a direct line to the customer, but selling on Amazon alone does not allow sellers to develop customer relationships in the same way that email enables. Yet collecting emails and employing the basics of email marketing can allow Amazon sellers to get more sales on this enormous retail platform. It also gives them the option to drive sales off of Amazon and build a more robust brand that is less vulnerable to penalization threats from Amazon.

In this piece, I’ll discuss how Amazon sellers can build and use email lists to grow their business – all without violating Amazon’s Terms of Service. But before we get into tactics of collecting and using emails, let’s go over 5 benefits that Amazon sellers can gain by using email marketing.

Why Should Amazon Sellers Use Email Marketing?

Selling exclusively on Amazon has some serious disadvantages, but Amazon sellers can collect emails to diversify their approach and mitigate these perils. To build an off-Amazon sales channel makes the business more robust, and collecting emails enables that.
However, many Amazon sellers are concerned about getting kicked off the giant retail platform, so I’m going to explain how to get the best of both worlds: build email lists in order to sell on and off Amazon.

1) Drive Additional Traffic to Your Amazon Listings from Your Email List

Have an email list? Great. Make more sales on Amazon. This is the most obvious benefit.

On Amazon, if customers search for your (non-branded) keywords, you have to compete with all the other listings that show up in their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

 

Amazon Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Amazon Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Sales are being poached through Display Ads and Sponsored Product Ads on your own listings
Sales are being poached through Display Ads and Sponsored Product Ads on your own listings

But by driving traffic to your Amazon product listings via email, you lessen the competition.

Amazon rewards sellers for driving their own traffic. Your rankings will spike from the increase in traffic and sales and then Amazon will send you more customers through organic searches.

2) Use Your Email List to Sell Off of Amazon

One of the amazing benefits of selling on Amazon is having access to a huge base of customers primed to buy. (Get it? Amazon’s membership program is wisely called Prime.) People searching on Amazon already have a high intent to buy, compared to people searching on Google or scrolling through Facebook.
However, this does not come without costs. To sell on Amazon, you must pay referral fees (between 6% and 20% depending on your category) and closing fees. And if you take part in the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program, you pay fulfillment fees ($2.41 to $4.71 for standard-sized items) and storage fees. That’s a lot of fees.

And while almost every e-commerce business would benefit from selling some products on Amazon, if you could generate sales off of Amazon as well, you could forgo Amazon’s fees and keep a higher margin.

The median Return on Investment (ROI) of email marketing is 122%, according to a June 2016 survey from Direct Marketing Association and Demand Metric.

If you have your own e-commerce website, you can make additional sales and keep more money from each sale. Emails allow you to drive sales to your website so you can take advantage of all that Amazon has to offer, while mitigating its downsides.

3) Nurture Customer Relationships

Emails allow you to build a brand in a way that Amazon alone does not allow. With emails you can interact with your customers in a more meaningful way.
While 26% of small- and medium-sized businesses surveyed by DMA used email to drive sales, only 22% used email to increase engagement and a measly 7% used email marketing to drive brand awareness:

what do clients use email for

4) Get Repeat Business

Because email marketing gives you the ability to stay in touch with customers, it’s one of the best ways to encourage repeat purchases.
And repeat purchases are really great. Why? Every time someone buys from you, the chances they buy again increases. According to RJ Metrics, while only 32% of first purchases result in a second purchase, 53% of customers who buy twice will buy a third time, and so on.

Getting loyal, repeat customers is one of the best ways to turbo charge your business’s growth.

5) Keep Selling via Email if You Get Kicked Off of Amazon

When a customer buys on Amazon, the online retail giant is pretty adamant that it is their customer, not yours. They don’t give you access to customer email addresses because they don’t want you redirecting their customers to other sites.

However, if you collect emails in a compliant manner (we will discuss how to do that below), then if you get suspended from the Amazon marketplace, no problem – you can keep selling off of Amazon with the emails.

6) Sell Your Business at a Higher Profit with an Email List

If you want to eventually sell your business through an online business brokerage like EmpireFlippers, having an email list will make your business more valuable.

An email list contributes to a company’s “moat.” It makes it more robust to competition, which is why it increases the valuation multiple for FBA businesses.

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