Episode 63 – Boost Your Sales Follow-Up Process with Amazon Email Automation
Who doesn’t want happy customers?
More importantly, how happy are they exactly, and why?
But, as with all things Amazon, there are bigger, sometimes unknowable questions.
Principal among them is this; how do we as Amazon sellers establish a sales follow up process in order to find the answers to these questions without getting our account suspended?
Because while I think that collectively as a group, we are inherently good people who genuinely care about our customers’ happiness, for most of us the thought of ending up on the wrong side of Amazon’s ire is a constant overriding concern.
On today’s episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Customer Success, Bradley Sutton has with him Barcus Patty, Helium 10’s new Product Manager for our recently released email Follow-Up tool and he’s just the guy to answer these questions.
Barcus explains that not only are reviews the gold-standard of socio/business interactions, they quite simply turn the wheels of eCommerce sales.
Emails are such an easy and effective way to connect with our customers. I’m guessing however that you probably have more than a few unanswered emails in your inbox, never mind the emails that you still hope to send out.
That’s where Amazon email automation programs such as Helium 10’s Follow-Up come into play.
Barcus tells a story of receiving a $22 lapel microphone that he had recently ordered. The package it came in was itself layered with many forms of extremely informative and helpful information.
Then, after opening the box, he found it wrapped in a cleverly paced series of step by step instructions. The cherry on top was an evocatively heartfelt invitation to reach out to the company with comments or questions.
Before even using the microphone a first time, he found himself loving the product.
It seems like such an easy way to put your finger on the scale of customer happiness. Whether it’s adding a little humor or quickly responding to concerns and almost immediately turning negatives into positives, automated email responses will help you stay ahead of the curve.
As we know, we are all doing business on a very big Amazon playground. They make the rules. Still, their very obvious number one objective is keeping their customers happy.
An automated email Follow-Up program that helps you mine reviews in order to level-up your customer service is not only making Amazon’s customers happy; it’s going to bring you more business.
The key according to Barcus, is understanding the rules and being careful with your language. And, as he says, “it’s getting harder and harder every year to get reviews, you want to take any opportunity you can to touch people.”
Tune in to this episode and listen as Barcus talks about writing subject lines that could get you 40% open rates as well as offering insider tips on using under-utilized Helium 10 Follow-Up filters.
And, if you don’t already have an Amazon email automation program in place, take a close look at Helium 10’s Follow-Up, we think you’ll be more than impressed.
In episode 63 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Barcus discuss:
- 02:35 – #1 Reason Why Amazon Sellers Need to Automate Their Email Outreach
- 03:28 – Scaling an E-Commerce Business 101
- 03:53 – A Tool Like Helium 10’s Follow-Up is “Absolutely Crucial”
- 05:00 – A $22 Lapel Mic Creates a Connection (And a Review)
- 06:55 – Are We Even Allowed to Ask Customers for Reviews?
- 09:30 – Taking Care with Our Language
- 11:12 – Trending Amazon Disciplinary Trends
- 14:17 – More Reasons to Follow-Up with Our Customers
- 16:25 – Barcus Offers 2 Under-Utilized Follow-Up Filter Tips
- 18:55 – Taking Advantage of Any Opportunity to Touch People
- 19:20 – What Kind of Open Rates are We Looking At?
- 21:10 – Common Misconceptions About the Email Follow-Up Process
- 25:40 – Reaching Out to Our Discounted Buyers
- 28:00 – What About the System-Wide Opting Out of Amazon’s Messages?
- 30:45 – New Helium 10 Features and Amazon Video Linking Capabilities
- 33:30 – Barcus’ 15 Second Follow-Up Elevator Pitch
- 34:17 – The #1 Tip for Someone Who Wants to Automate
Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.
Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:
- Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
- Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
- Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
- Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation.
- SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.
Bradley Sutton: Why is it important to follow up with customers who have purchased your products on Amazon? What kinds of things can, and can’t you say when messaging your customers? What’s a subject line that got one seller a 40% open rate on his emails? Find out this and more on today’s episode.
Bradley Sutton: Hello everybody and welcome to the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10. I am your host, Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that is a completely unscripted and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the ecommerce world. I’ve got a co-employee with me today. Barcus Patty is calling in remote here. Barcus, how’s it going?
Barcus Patty: It’s great man. Thanks for having me on.
Bradley Sutton: Now, this is your first time. I remember you were out here at the office last week. I wanted to record the episode, but we had some hardware failures. We’ve got this cool new piece of equipment here, and now I can hear you. I can’t see you, but I think everybody else can, if we have this YouTube recorded here. Anyways, I wanted to reach out to you because you are our resident expert, our product manager for our Follow-Up tool.
Bradley Sutton: Don’t worry guys, this is not going to be some kind of a Helium 10 sales pitch or anything. But what happened here at Helium 10 is; I was kind of like the go-to guy for almost any tool that we had, and I was doing okay for a lot of our tools. If anybody had any kind of use case or people in the Facebook groups, people here internally, had an issue with Cerebro, wanted to know how to use it, I was like, “Hey, this is a great way to use Cerebro.” But one thing that I never really used before I was working here at Helium 10 as a consultant, because it just wasn’t in my tool shed, was using automated emails. So yeah, I made a couple of the emails or a couple of the videos for Follow-Up once we launched a tool.
Bradley Sutton: But honestly, I am no expert on this subject at all. You are. You were brought on as an expert on this, and you know more about our tool. And now, since you’ve been here, I’m sure you’ve been studying just the space in general about e-mail follow-up. So, I had a lot of questions I wanted to ask you and also give you an opportunity to talk about some of what you’ve noticed are the frequently asked questions about any kind of email automation in general when it comes to Amazon accounts. So my first question to you is, what would you say is the number one reason that people should be trying to reach out in some kind of automated way to their Amazon customers?
Barcus Patty: Okay. The number one reason would be because reviews are just the gold standard or social proof. We all know that we need reviews to make this wheel turn and turn and turn and turn faster—more views, more sales—and keeps kind of building and gaining momentum. And I think with emails, in general, I think a lot of people don’t connect the way that they should with their customers. But it’s such a simple and effective way to do so, and once you have these emails going out, and they’re working and they’re effective, it’s automated. And then, one of the big processes in scaling any business, whether it’s a restaurant or selling products online, is automating or delegating what you can. The more that you automate and the more that you delegate, the more that you can do things, free up your time, and work on other things that you’re good at. So, I guess it’s kind of a bigger question, but basically you want to automate and delegate everything that you can. And this is just a necessity. Now, there are tons of ways that we’re not going to get into about gaining reviews and connecting with people, but using a tool, like Follow-Up, is absolutely crucial in 2019, because it gets harder and harder every year to get reviews.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, I agree. Now, obviously, you’ve been in the Amazon space for a number of years. What have been the things that you’ve heard from people who we’re not using any kind of automated email service? You still are going to get reviews. It’s not like if you’re not contacting your customers after that fact, you’re going to get zero reviews. We know that’s not true. So, there is a regular review rate, and there’s one that maybe can happen after you are contacting them. Can you give us any kind of numbers? I mean, I’ve heard things in the past, sometimes one out of every 200 organic orders get reviews or one out of every 100, but what’s your experience on that?
Barcus Patty: I would say 5% is high for somebody who’s not following up. And I would say it’s probably average for somebody who is following up. I think that there’s always room for improvement, in my opinion, when it comes to this, because it’s always about that connection. I bought a product the other day and it really applies to this as an example. I was going to do a video for the group. I bought a product. It’s just a plugin lapel mic. It just plugs into the audio jack of my computer, $22. It’s not an expensive product, but I was blown away by the packaging and the way that they connected. There are instructions and upsell and how to connect and how to contact them if we have any questions; that’s just on the outside packaging and it’s not done in a spammy way.
Barcus Patty: And then, when you open the package there’s a paper band around the package; the little carrying pouch that comes in and it’s like, “if you have any trouble, do this and this and this first.” And then, “here’s what’s included in the package.” And then you open it again and then there are instructions again. And it’s like, it doesn’t seem overwhelming at all. And I was blown away by this $22 lapel microphone that they went to so many links to make sure that the customer had all the information. I’m going to leave them a product review because I loved the product before I even used it. Does that make sense? I was just really blown away that they went to that to make sure that the customer knew exactly what was in the package, how to connect with them if they had any problems, where to go buy an accessory to it, and they just covered all the bases. That’s another part of the process of getting reviews. They created a connection with me, and it was just over communication.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So, yeah, it helps with reviews. I think we all agree that that’s one of the most important things that people can do. But we’ll talk a little bit later about some of the other things that contacting your customers after the fact can help. But right now, I want to talk a little bit along the same line on reviews. There are misconceptions out there. There’s confusion about what people can and can’t say, how many times they’re allowed to say it. I mean, a common thing that I get in the first place is “Wait a minute, are we even allowed to ask customers for reviews anymore?” Can you tackle some of these frequently asked questions, I guess, or misconceptions about terms of service and what we can and can’t say?
Barcus Patty: Yeah. In terms of what a seller can and cannot say is pretty simple. Number one, you can’t have any promotional or marketing messages in the context of the language with which you’re communicating with the customers. Meaning, when you’re communicating with these customers for customer-service-only, for issues about orders, instructions, best tips, practices, if there are any care instructions, anything like that. That’s what is supposed to go in these messages. You can’t say, “Hey, grab 20% off your next purchase.” We completely understand why you want to say that, but Amazon is very strict that you can’t say anything like that. You can’t direct them back to your Amazon storefront. And again, we understand completely that it’s logical as a seller to try to upsell and to get a repeat purchase.
Barcus Patty: We understand that as sellers it just makes sense. But Amazon doesn’t want that in its messages. There cannot be any external links. That means, there are no email messages to email addresses of any kind inside these messages. No links to a YouTube channel or social media, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, anything like that. You can’t direct them back to your website. This is in the email messages. So again, Amazon just wants this for customer-service only. You can certainly ask Amazon buyers for a review. You can only ask him one time per order. So, if I buy a product from Bradley, and he sends up three messages to me, only one of those emails can have a request for review. And you want to be careful about when you send them; for example, you don’t want to ask for a review as soon as somebody orders a product or as soon as it’s delivered.
Barcus Patty: And then when to do that really depends on the type of product. But back to what you can and cannot say. You can’t ask for positive feedback only. I’ve seen in the past, big sellers and small sellers get suspended for language similar to, “Hey, if you have any questions, if you have any issues, contact us first before you leave a negative review.” Now, that makes sense. Again, it makes logical sense. As a business owner, you want to catch everybody that’s having a bad experience and try to turn that negative into a positive. But that language, when you say, “Contact us first before you leave a negative review,” Amazon looks at that as you only want positive reviews. Well, yeah we do. We only want positive reviews, but you have to be unbiased about this.
Barcus Patty: Now, you can certainly say, “Hey, if you have problems or questions, please contact us here.” But you can’t say, “Please do that before you leave a negative review.” You can say, “Hey, please give us your feedback as a seller, how we did as a business” and “We would love to have your opinion about the product.” You can ask for product reviews, you can ask for seller feedback, and you can ask people to contact you if you have problems and questions, but you can’t intermingle that information and be like, If-then statements.
Bradley Sutton: Well, what are some things that you’ve seen? I mean, I know it’s not too, too, too serious. Maybe you have, but I personally haven’t heard of somebody, just because they worded something wrong, getting immediate suspension of their entire account. But I mean, it’s something that is more frequent at least that I’ve seen in messages—I keep calling it a message board. This is not 1999—Facebook groups and the like where people get kind of like a slap on the wrist or a warning message like, “Hey, you did this and your buyer seller messages. Better not do that anymore.” Something like that kind of email. But what are some of those borderline things that some people are putting in these messages that you have seen that frequently generates maybe these warning messages from Amazon?
Barcus Patty: Yeah, the slap-on-the-wrist messages. So external links: at the very least, Amazon will scrub it. So even if you put in an external link, “Hey, view our video on our YouTube channel,” Amazon just won’t send it to the buyer. It just gets automatically scrubbed out. Some of that stuff, if it’s repeated, like external links, phone numbers, email addresses, it gets scrubbed. And if you keep on doing it, Amazon will be like, “Hey, don’t do that anymore.” As far like the context inside it, that’s really the most. I am seeing sometimes where people get a slap-on-the-wrist message where, “Hey, you’re sending promotional content inside these messages.” “Hey, we’ve noticed there is still a slap on the wrist” or maybe “Delay or turn off your messages temporarily.”
Bradley Sutton: And what kind of messages generated that? What were they saying? Did you ever look into like what caused that?
Barcus Patty: Yeah, they had a coupon code with the link back to their, like a two-step URL back to their product, with like a 20% off coupon code or something. So very promotional, very marketing, very repeat purchase. And then, also if you send out too many messages, especially at one time, then Amazon can be like, “Hey, you’re sending too many messages.” If they catch something like that, if that’s a flag, at the very least, they’ll send you a message back. “Hey, you were sending out too many messages. We’ve turned it off for a few days.” That’s where you want to be very careful with any type of email tool like Follow-Up where you can send to past orders.
Barcus Patty: Meaning, if I just signed up for Follow-Up, I just enabled it, then I want to be able to send back to the past seven days. Well, if you just ran this huge promotion where you had 1500 orders in the past seven days, and your account’s not used to that, and then all of a sudden, you send out 3000 messages over the course of seven days, Amazon could be like, “Hey, what’s going on?” You do that over the course of just a few days. There’s a balance there. So you want to be very careful when you do stuff like that too.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now, let’s take it back a little bit. We had talked about some of the main reasons why somebody should be trying to contact their customers after the fact, and we’ve been talking for a little bit mostly about how it helps get reviews. Another thing I heard you mentioned is about the seller feedback. I imagine that’s especially helpful for those arbitrage sellers, wholesale sellers; maybe they’re doing some fulfilled by merchant; they’re very concerned about their seller feedback score, because that plays a role into them fighting for Buy Box with other sellers. But other than seller feedback, other than reviews, what else would you say would be a major reason to follow up with your customers via email?
Barcus Patty: For me, I look at it as an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive and to uncover any things that people don’t like about your product or they actually love. If you’re asking people engaging questions like, “Hey, why did you buy this?” “What led you to buy this product?” “Is there anything that you think that we can improve upon the product?” All that information is gold. Any information you can get from your buyer is just gold. And if you’re getting it for free through something like that, then it’s even better. But you might be able to uncover something like, “Well I bought this…” You might see that a lot of people are buying your products as gifts. Well then maybe it’s a seasonal product.
Barcus Patty: Maybe it’s for a man, and you start targeting towards gifts for him and maybe during Father’s Day and stuff like that. And then you start targeting those kinds of keywords— Father’s Day, gifts just for him. So, you might be able to come up with some information that way. But also, you might find, let’s say, everything’s been going great with your manufacturer, but they send a bad batch for whatever reason. If it’s a consumable, maybe it expired early, for example, and you can find out that a lot of people were leaving negative reviews because it smells bad, or it expired. You could be able to really catch something just by getting that information and just those messages as well. Does that make sense? Everything’s going great and “Wow, we’re doing really great, but I got a few negative reviews,” but you’re not asking people questions in these Follow-Up messages so you don’t know what’s going on. All of a sudden, you just got a ton of negative messages, negative reviews.
Bradley Sutton: So, in a nutshell, it helps with customer service.
Barcus Patty: Absolutely. But also, there are two filters that are really important that to me are underutilized in Follow-Up. There is a trigger for if anybody returns a package or if anybody gets a refund. And the reason we have those two different filters is that some people might just need a replacement. Like, I ordered a product a few weeks ago, and I talked about this in the workshop, and I just needed a replacement. I didn’t want a refund; the first one came damaged, so I just got a replacement. But then, there’s also one for somebody to get a refund. You can have two separate triggers.
Barcus Patty: I have it just set up so that if somebody has a product returned or replaced, or if it’s refunded the message is very clear. It’s like, “Hey, it looks like we might’ve dropped the ball. I see that you got your product returned or replaced.” Both messages are very similar, but it’s, “Hey, it looks like we might’ve dropped the ball somewhere. Is everything okay? How can we make this right for you?” And for the majority of those people that you can try to contact that way, most of them aren’t going to reply. They’re just not. But what if you can take that one person that’s like, “I’m really mad that I wanted a refund because it was damaged in shipping.” Well, that’s your golden opportunity. You can be like, “Well, I’m really sorry to hear about that. Can I make this right and just send you another one?” And what if that person’s like, “Oh my gosh, they went out of their way to contact me and then out of the way to replace the product, I’m leaving them a five-star review.” The great thing about that situation is it’s not going to happen all the time, but when it does happen, it’s automated.
Bradley Sutton: And then speaking of customer service, I’ve heard that some people use it for maybe they have something – Obviously, a mason jar wouldn’t need instructions on how to use it, but it could be that maybe that lapel microphone or whatever that you got is kind of strange to put the plastic clip piece on or something. But a PDF that has instructions on how best to install it. That is definitely something that somebody could put in a Follow-Up message. Right?
Barcus Patty: Absolutely. And if you have something that has instructions, you’ve probably got instructions somewhere. You should have them on your listing; you should have them in your packaging and if you already have them there, you got that PDF already in some form. If not, create a PDF with it, turn that document into a PDF and attach it, because you never know if somebody missed it on the list. And you never know if somebody just threw away the instructions like all of us guys do. We don’t read instructions, but then maybe, they happen to see that email. I’m like, “Oh, okay. That’s how you do something.” You want to take every opportunity you can to touch these people.
Bradley Sutton: Now, sometimes people who are familiar with traditional email marketing, I’ve heard things like, “Hey, in this day and age, 2019, we get like 2% open rates on our emails.” So, in your experience, I’m not just talking about Helium 10 but just in general, especially now that Amazon buyers can opt out of these kinds of messages, what kind of open rates are you seeing on emails overall, would you say, on average?
Barcus Patty: We can run numbers on our end. And across the board, the average is around 20-21%.
Bradley Sutton: Oh wow.
Barcus Patty: That’s across the board for all our customers. Now you’re going to have some people lower than that, and you’re going to have some people higher than that. We had a couple people on the call last week, and one guy said he had a 41% open rate using Follow-Up. And when we started talking to him; we were asking him and he had really great subject line, “The five tips to do this with this product,” “Three steps to this.” So, any information you can give somebody, if you’re going to have best tips, best care practices, and if you have 25 best tips, don’t put them all in there.
Barcus Patty: Or if you do, make the subject line “Top three tips on how to take care of this product,” especially if it’s a beauty product or a supplement. Sometimes, there are supplements that you need to eat with a meal; sometimes you need to take only with water. There’s all different types of scenarios. With beauty products, I know what works really well is instructions: “How to use this type of cosmetic,” How do you use this type of beauty product?” Of course, videos work the best, but in an email form like that, if you have instructions, be very clear, but tell the people in the subject, “This is what’s in here”; tell them, “Instructions inside.”
Bradley Sutton: Okay. That’s cool. That’s cool. You’ve only been doing this a couple months here, but I’m sure with the amount of messages that you see and the amount of research that you’ve been doing, let’s talk about some of the common misconceptions. We talked a little bit about it before, but what are some other misconceptions that people—not necessarily those who bought the Helium 10 Follow-Up tool, but just following up in general—what are some misconceptions or may be incorrect things that people are saying and believing out there?
Barcus Patty: I guess the number one is that “can we even ask for a review?” Is something like follow-up or any type of email autoresponder compliant with Amazon’s terms of service? The answer there is “Of course, yes.” We know, me and you working in Helium 10, of course, it’s compliant. We go above and beyond to make sure things are compliant. But can you misuse Follow-Up? Absolutely. I can also misuse Amazon PPC. I can misuse Facebook advertising. The software by itself is compliant with Amazon’s developer Terms of Service and seller’s Terms of Service. Asking people for reviews, absolutely compliant. If you go to seller central, you can go to the seller university, and it’s in several other places. Amazon states that you can contact people and ask them for review.
Barcus Patty: They also state that they send out messages automatically asking to leave reviews, but you can also still follow up with those people. That’s probably the biggest question, the biggest misconception. I guess the second one really encompasses several different questions, but it’s really about customer data. Can I use a customer’s name in an email sequence or why can’t I use it anymore? Can I download the customer information? And the answer to all that is “No.” Amazon as well as any tech company these days is really focused on privacy and they should be. They’ve restricted the ability to use something, like a customer’s first name, in a tool like an email autoresponder. You also cannot export those customer details to put them in another spreadsheet or to send them to Facebook.
Barcus Patty: And that information is just against Amazon’s terms for developers, software providers like Helium 10. And again, it goes back to privacy; something like a customer’s name. And this is something that’s pretty recent. It was a few months ago that Amazon changed the rules, and they changed it for everybody. And it’s just something we have to comply with. Of course, we want that first name as business owners. We want to have that first name in the email because it creates a more personal touch. But it’s also Amazon’s rules and it’s Amazon’s playground. We have to do what they say to keep nice with them as software providers just as much as sellers do. Those are the two biggest misconceptions right there. And then, I guess the last one, we get this question a lot too, is about if I turn on or enable follow up and I start setting everything up, is my other service provider that I switched from going to stop automatically?
Barcus Patty: The answer is “No,” because number one, we don’t know who you’re using. Just because we’re connected to your account, doesn’t mean we can send these messages on your behalf. It doesn’t mean we get to see everything. It encompasses your seller central account. We don’t know who you’re using, and we’re not connected to that in any way. You have to go disconnect this service, canceling it throughout the process with that software provider. And you want to make sure that that’s turned off before you turn on another tool like Follow-Up, because you certainly don’t want two email services sending out probably the same context for the same orders. Number one, it creates a negative experience for the customers. But again, you don’t want to run into a situation where Amazon’s like “You’re doubling up on these messages or sending the same message over and over again.” At the very least, it would be a slap on the wrist. I would say that’s the really the top three questions we get quite a bit.
Bradley Sutton: A while back, we had added a percentage discount filter on Follow-Up. But regardless if somebody is using Helium 10 or another tool company that’s sending out emails, why is it best to try to weed out or filter based on discount percentage? And then what is your suggested practice for what people should put in that field?
Barcus Patty: That’s a great question. Bradley, that’s something Amazon kind of changed I would say maybe about six months ago. Basically, you don’t want to send out any messages asking for reviews if anybody purchased your product at a large discount. There are a couple answers to that question.
Barcus Patty: The first one is basically, Amazon doesn’t like a lot of reviews in a short amount of time from purchases made from a large discount, because they can look at that as incentivized reviews. Now, they very well might not be incentivized in any way, but Amazon can look at that. Now, if you get one person that a got a 50% off for 75% off and happened to leave a review, one or two people, that’s not a big deal. But if all of a sudden you ran a promotion, let’s say, you ran a Facebook campaign, 75% off, 80% off or whatever you did, and you’ve got a large amount of sales, and you’re asking for review, and all of a sudden, you got maybe 30, 40 reviews; that’s a flag. it’s a flag that will pop up for your account. We don’t like flags on our accounts; no flags. It’s like soccer, no flags. So that’s the short end of that. Now, you can certainly contact these people and give them instructional information and customer service and follow up that way. Just not ask for review.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. I don’t know if you mentioned it; did you mention a specific percentage that you suggest?
Barcus Patty: I would say, in general, if you’re going to give out any more than a 50% discount, just don’t ask them for a review. If it’s a beauty product, certainly send out those tips and instructions to best use that product and get the best experience. Just don’t ask them for a review.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. Now, talk to us a little bit more about the opt out. Now, like I said, a lot of people are opting out of buyer-seller messages. However, correct me if I’m wrong, this is not seller specific, so it’s not like, “Hey, I don’t like Barcus’ product here or Barcus’ messaging, so I don’t want to hear from him anymore.” It’s either kind of like an all or nothing thing, like buyers can opt out of all buyer-seller messages or they can accept all, is that correct?
Barcus Patty: Yes.
Bradley Sutton: We talked about the open rates being around 20%, but what’s the average that you’ve seen as far as how many Amazon buyers actually opt out of this kind of messaging?
Barcus Patty: Yeah. The opt-out rate that we show on our dashboard, that doesn’t mean that somebody has opted out of just your messages, like “Bradley said…” This is somebody who has opted out of Amazon’s third-party messaging system. And the only way you can really contact those people is if you have critical information. And that’s really part of another discussion. But there’s a way you manually, through Amazon, that if you have critical information, like let’s say, their product was not deliverable or if it’s a custom product, if you’re in handmade, for example, and you need custom instructions like “I need Barcus’ name… I need to know how to spell this so I can put it on this product and then send it out.” There are ways to send out those messages. The opt-out rate is just blanket – how many people, the percentage, have opted out in a certain period of time while you’re sending out messages. So, it’s really kind of a generic number, but it’s still useful because as software providers, we can’t track any clicks inside those messages. There’s no way to really see that it’s because of this. It’s because of that. But I would say that the average, we’re looking at 23% right now for an opt-out rate. Actually, let me just pull the last 30 days. Yeah, about 23%-24%. So yes, there’s a significant amount of people that opt-out of these messages. But again, this is automated. Once you have this setup and running, you can monitor it, but you don’t have to connect with these people over and over again manually; set it and forget it. So yes, it’s getting harder and harder to contact these people, Amazon buyers, through the buyer-seller messaging program, but that’s why we automate it. So you don’t have to really, really worry about it too much.
Bradley Sutton: Now, we’re coming to the close of this, but what are some other things in your experience that’s come up where you feel a message should be out there? It either could be misconceptions; it could be frequently asked questions; it could be some cool testimonial that we’ve gotten about how somebody was happy. It was kind of cool to remember that that one who said he gotten a 40% open rate just because of a subject matter. So, what are some new features that Helium 10 Follow-Up has or any promotions or anything at all. What can you tell us?
Barcus Patty: Sure. A few things. The biggest feature that we’ve changed in the past couple of months is you now have an HTML. You can send an HTML formatted message; meaning that you can really start to customize these messages instead of just a little bit of text and a little bit of images. That means that you can send GIFs
Bradley Sutton: You mean an animated GIF?
Barcus Patty: Yeah, an animated Gif. And you can already do that through the system. You just upload it as you do an image. You can also put in a link for a video, but if you’re going to do that, I would recommend that you use Amazon’s AWS S3 storage. If you Google Amazon AWS S3 storage, you’ll be taken to Amazon. AWS is a multitude of things that we’re not going to get into, but I’m going to get into a later workshop on how to properly store those. It’s not really hard, but there’s a lot of buttons to click, and there’s a lot of stuff you really don’t need to click. The reason you want to put a video there is because that creates an Amazon link.
Barcus Patty: Amazon treats that as an internal link, and then, that’s okay to put that link there. Going back to beauty products, videos are a great way to show how to use that product. If you have a video on YouTube, download it, upload it up to Amazon S3 storage, and then you can just be like, “Hey, here’s how to use this product.” Okay, so you can have a video in there, and you can really customize. There are also some limitations with the HTML that you can do within Amazon, and they’ve got some limitations there. That’s another workshop that I want to plan because there’s a lot of questions about how to use this properly. But that’s the biggest thing, and it really, really opens up the customization of your email.
Bradley Sutton: All right, now we’re going to play a little game here. I’m going to do some; I don’t know why I’m going to call it. I might make just a feature. I just literally came up with the idea right now; let’s call it like a 15-second elevator pitch. Alright. So, in 15 seconds or less, give me some top-performing or what Barcus’ top-suggested subject lines for a Follow-Up message. Give me your 15-second pitch on why, in 2019, it’s important that people are following up regardless of the tool that you’re using or if they’re doing it manually, why should people do this? Why should people contact customers? Go.
Barcus Patty: It is harder and harder than ever to get reviews. So you want to maximize every opportunity you can to touch that person. People want information, but they don’t want to have to ask for it.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. Sounds good. Sounds good. All right, one more thing here. 15 seconds or less. What is your number one tip for somebody who is just now starting to get up to “Hey, I’m about to start my own automated emails.” What is the best tip that you could give somebody brand new to email automation when it comes to Amazon?
Barcus Patty: Don’t be afraid to use a little bit of humor, and don’t be afraid to ask Amazon buyer questions, like, what led you to buy our product?
Bradley Sutton: I like it. I like it. Humor, we didn’t talk about that. But that’s definitely something—you kind of want to be memorable and catch people’s attention. So anyways, Barcus, thank you very much for joining us last second here on this podcast. I think this is very timely. Again, it doesn’t matter what tool people are using. Of course, our customers, our listeners out there who are Helium 10 users, they have free access to Follow-Up already as it is. But even if you’re not using Helium 10, guys, contacting your customers after the order is important. But I think we’ve learned today that you got to be careful with it. There are things that you can’t do that you can maybe get your email automation to do but could get you in trouble. So make sure that you understand the terms of service.
Bradley Sutton: Relisten to this episode so that you know what you can say, what you can’t say, what you should do, what you shouldn’t do as far as links and promotion goes. But guys, you’re going to be able to see an increase in your reviews by doing this. And as Barcus says, this is something that you could just set and forget, and it’s not like keyword research where every couple of weeks you maybe need to check out new trending keywords. I mean, unless something major is going on with your product, you could literally just set these emails up and forget about it for a couple of months, unless something major happens. So make sure you guys are taking advantage of this feature. And if you don’t know how to get it set up or you want to have a trial an on how to use it, absolutely make sure, if you’re not using Helium 10 now, use the code SSP 50 to try it out for the first month. And then with the platinum plan, you’re able to try out Follow-Up for a full month risk-free. If you’re not happy with it, just ask for your money back at the end of the month. And once you do start using it, if you have any questions at all, just hit that chat button on the bottom right, and customer service will be happy to help you. If they can’t answer it, guess who they’re going to go to? They’re going to go to this gentleman right here, Barcus, and he’ll definitely help you guys out. So again, Barcus, thank you very much for joining us. It’s like 10:00 PM where you are at night. So I appreciate you coming on at this time of the day and look forward to seeing you when you come back here to the office.
Bradley Sutton: Quick note, guys, don’t forget that regardless where you are listening to this podcast, whether it’s on your iPhone or on Stitcher, on Spotify, that you hit the subscribe button so that you can be notified every time we drop a new episode.
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