Amazon: The Journey to Page 1 (Part one)

This is the first post (of several I have planned for this year) where I’ll track our progress as we attempt to make our way to the top of Amazon search results for some key terms.

Reinvigorating Marital Bliss

Last week, I mentioned that one of our goals for 2022 is to reinvigorate Marital Bliss! There are a few ways we’ll make progress on that goal, but the cornerstone of the strategy will be through Amazon sales growth.

Prior to this year, Marital Bliss had almost no real representation on Amazon. Years ago, there weren’t many products available or much demand for games for couples. As a result, part of our sales strategy became positioning our game as a product that wasn’t on Amazon, and I believe a good portion of our success came from that strategy. If Marital Bliss had been easily available on Amazon, I’m not sure UncommonGoods, TJ Maxx, or Marshall’s would’ve been as interested in carrying it over the years.

After our exclusivity with UncommonGoods ended, I met a great guy at GenCon who became our Amazon seller for a number of years. It wasn’t a big focus for either of us, and we didn’t put much effort into the listing. As a result, the listing was… not great. Here’s a screenshot of the listing from last year.

Oh, Amazon listing, what’s wrong with thee? Let’s count the ways:

  • The title was just “Marital Bliss” which needs a lot of work. No keywords, no targeting. The only way someone would find our game is by searching “martial bliss” directly.
  • The “Brand” was “Michael O’Mara Books”? I don’t even know what that means, or how it happened. My suspicion is that instead of creating a new listing of our game, someone grabbed an old listing for an out-of-print book called “Marital Bliss” and started selling our game under it.
  • There was only one picture, and that picture wasn’t even compliant with Amazon standards. To top it off, the product box was years old (we updated to a newer, bigger, better box in 2017).
  • There are no additional bullets with information.
  • The game is out of stock! Oof.
  • The product description (pictured later in this post) was a few sentences, and lacked target keywords.
  • But… we had 51 ratings, and 4.5 stars! That’s a good starting point.

Getting to Page 1!

A big part of our strategy is to get to the first page for some of our main keywords. One of the keywords we optimized for is “Couples Games.”

So, why do we want to rank on page 1 for that term? There are some pretty compelling statistics to support it. Across Amazon, products on the first page get 80% of all clicks. Just think about it… when was the last time you searched for something, scrolled all the way to the bottom, and then clicked on the second, or third page? What about page seven?

More importantly… the first 3 listings on page 1 get a shocking 60% of the clicks!!! Many of those clicks convert to purchases, which then reinforces the top position. It becomes a virtuous circle (for the top performers, anyway). The more sales, the higher on the page. The higher on the page, the more sales.

At the end of last year, if you searched for “couples games” Martial Bliss wasn’t on Page 1, or Page 2, or… even Page 7. It didn’t show up at all. So we set out to make some big changes.

Jumping ahead… here’s a picture of our updated listing.

So, what’s critical to optimize a listing?

  • First, figure out where you want to rank. What are your keywords? Who is going to buy your game, and what searches will they use? This is part science, part art. Your first updates are going to be based on educated guesses, but the good news is that Amazon provides so much data on the back-end for sellers, that you’ll soon be able to refine your page over time, and make it much more compelling for your buyers. You don’t want to change your page every day, but I’m planning on monthly-ish updates in the first part of the year, as I review purchasing behaviors, and ad results, and see what keywords work and which don’t.
  • Max out the title length – The title is one of the most important ways to rank for keywords. Use the space that’s available to you (but don’t just stuff keywords in there). Personally… I don’t love our title, but it seems to be working, so I’m not going to touch it for now.
  • Make sure the brand is accurate! This was a huge challenge initially, because “Michael O’Mara Books” already owned our listing. Fortunately, we own the trademark for Martial Bliss in the U.S. and Amazon has a whole “brand owner program to support products and trademark owners. If you’re making a game or product, and plan to sell on Amazon, get a trademark. The extra benefits Amazon provides to brand owners outweighs any costs you might incur to register the trademark in the first place.
  • Pictures! We now have six pictures and a video. Being a scrappy entrepreneur… I took all the product photos myself, in my garage on a makeshift table. And then, spent a lot of time in Photoshop optimizing them. It worked, but next time I’ll probably at least invest in a light-box.
  • Five bullets that sell the product AND heavily feature our targeted keywords.
  • BOOM. now we have 55 Ratings! (Actually, compared to our competitors, I think our number of ratings are a weak point, and something I’m working to increase).
  • Another great benefit for “brand owners” is that you get access to Amazon’s A+ content for your listing. I guarantee you’ve seen it on Amazon, and just thought that some listings were just better than others. Just compare these pictures. One is a block of text (you can’t even add paragraphs!). The other is for brand owners, and lets you use pictures, text, and everything else a shopper would need to make a decision to buy. The benefits, and differences are huge.

Establish a baseline

So, now that we’ve made our updates, how will we know if we’re improving? Fortunately, I remembered to take a screenshot of our starting point. Amazon makes it easy and public. If you scroll down to the “Product information” part of most Amazon listings, you’ll find the Best Seller’s Rank. As you can see in the image below, Martial Bliss started out ranked at #220,264 in the Toys & Games category, and #10,097 within the “Card Games” sub-category.

So, where do we rank now?

Well, it changes every day. Hop on over to our Amazon page, and check it out! And, while you’re there… if you’ve played our game, leave us a review!

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