All things being equal, building a customer email list is a piece of cake. There are so many tools available that can automate the process and rake in hundreds and even thousands of emails a month. For Amazon sellers, however, the process is not that simple. Yet Amazon sellers must be able to build a customer email list to grow their business. Email marketing begins with that customer email list, and it is one of the best ways to increase conversions.
Let’s first look at why Amazon sellers can’t build their customer email list the usual way. Then we’ll get into how they can work around this to gather the emails they need to grow their business.
Amazon Customer Emails Are Off Limits
On your own website, the people who buy products are your customers. On Amazon, these people are Amazon’s customers. The advantages that you gain as a seller on the global marketplace are somehow offset by the inability take control over customers. Amazon provides you with a ton of traffic from online shoppers who trust the platform and its amazing fulfillment network and buy a lot because of this. You have to be satisfied with this. Amazon is also a business, and they are not going to let go of their customer base. They have built it up to an astounding size over the past years with great effort. Amazon is guarding their customers to make sure that they stay with the platform.
Amazon sellers have access to names, shipping addresses and phone numbers. This is all that they realistically need to make sure that they can take care of any problems with item quality and delivery. Sellers can contact customers via email only through the Amazon messaging system, which does not release customers’ actual email addresses. Amazon knows that this single piece of data is an invaluable asset. In addition, sellers are strictly banned from promoting through the messaging system, which includes sending links to any websites other than Amazon.
So how do Amazon sellers build a customer email list? Is there any hope of gaining maximum return on investment as a seller on the platform? The simple answers to these questions are yes, but sellers must take great care not to step on Amazon’s toes when applying the following techniques.
#1 – Have Your Own Website
Many Amazon sellers are content to remain on the marketplace. It is a safe haven, after all. Amazon can be a very complicated place to do business, but it has a lot of perks as well. For businesses that want to grow, however, email marketing is a must. If you want to grab hold of this method that has the highest ROI, particularly for online businesses, you must build outside of the Amazon marketplace. With your own website, you are free to woo your customers and collect their emails to use for this purpose.
Building a website as an alternate selling platform can be very inexpensive. With the large ROI that you can expect from your customer email list, you can make back whatever you spend very quickly. All you need is a simple sign-up form and you are on your way to gathering the emails of customers that you can call your own.
#2 – Use Package Inserts
Amazon sellers are allowed to include a small card – technically a thank-you or warranty card – into their packaging. If you are very careful not to violate Amazon’s terms of service, you might be able to use this card to send your website and social media links. Amazon will not be too happy about you trying to take away their customers, so tread carefully here. A QR code with the promise of a special offer in place of bare links might work better. If you are successful, you will be able to invite customers to an outside platform where you can start building a customer email list.
Remember that a thank-you card must be primarily just that, and the same goes for a warranty card. If the thank-you offer or the warranty requires customer sign-up, then you are probably fine. Just be sure to check the TOS carefully and stay updated with any and all policy changes.
#3 – Leverage Other Platforms
Amazon and other similar marketplaces are not the only spaces where you can build a presence. You can take advantage of social platforms such as Facebook to make a name for yourself. Reaching out to potential customers on these social channels can be very rewarding. A social presence allows you to meet the shopper where he or she is relaxed and open. It lets you build a relationship rather than simple displaying your products and hoping for a sale.
A Facebook store is one of the more aggressive social marketing methods. Your store can help you build a customer email list a lot faster than organic relationship-building. You can have perpetual links to your website and your opt-in form for anyone to click.
#4 – Free Content
Providing free content that users can appreciate has proven to be a great way to attract customers. You can offer free instructional videos, eBooks, an informative newsletter – any kind of digital content that provides value to your targets. The offer of free and useful information will also earn you points with shoppers by showing that you are looking out for them. Building loyalty while building a customer email list is two birds with one stone.
This free content will allow you to entice shoppers to sign up so you can build your customer email list. If you are doing an eBook, you can even offer it via Amazon and include links in your listing. This is perfectly acceptable. Be careful, however, not to tell Amazon customers about a newsletter via the messaging system. They will not find this acceptable seller behavior. Stay outside of Amazon when you make these kinds of offers and you will stay safe.
Start Building Your Customer Email List!
These are just a few ideas to get you started on building your customer email list. There are a variety of email marketing programs that you can utilize to build your list. We personally use, and recommend to our clients, Active Campaign to build out our email list. The intuitive interface and powerful email automations make this a great platform to maximize your email campaign results. As you test out these methods, you are likely to find other ways and think up ingenious ones of your own. The trick is to stay on Amazon’s good side by abiding by their terms of service while gaining the freedom to build your own customer email list. Put some effort into a couple of these methods and do some experimenting to see which ones work best for you. Email marketing can be a huge payoff, especially when you listen to your target audience and use that information to provide them with greater value.