Here at YLT we’ve been helping more and more new and established Amazon sellers, who are looking to sell in Europe and Japan. Most FBA sellers ask us the same questions, so now it’s time to share what we’ve learned in the past 18 months and save you guys some time. Expanding into other markets in the Amazon machine is a smart move, but like most scaling, there are a few important things to watch out for if you want effective selling in new markets…
Get Your Amazon Listing Translated By Someone Who Understands How Amazon Works
Translation is easy, right? Sure, there are thousands of people flooding the market with translation offers on upwork.com or fiverr.com. But there’s a catch. Like all outsourced services, it’s often hit and miss. If you’ve ever hired freelancers, you already know this. We’re not saying that all freelance translators are lazy or unreliable, but you get what you pay for. A $5 dollar job is okay if you want something risk free translated, but when it comes to your precious Amazon business, you want to think twice.
So what are the pitfalls? Aside from the quality of the translator, you’re going to need someone who totally gets the Amazon ecosystem…
Remember keyword research? Yes, that’s just as relevant in your target market and language as it is in your own. In addition, you’re going to need someone who is not only a native translator, but a marketer. Translations aside, one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made in marketing my own business, is assuming that a writer is the same thing as a marketer. Think about it – a journalist writes news stories, not movie scripts! The point here is that you need to hire for the specific task that needs doing, which in this case is an Amazon listing translation. We all know that this point makes obvious sense, but you’d be surprised how common this mistake is.
Internet marketers with any level of experience know that great copy is as important as a great product – so why should your German Amazon listing be any different?
So what does this boil down to?
- Quality keyword Research
- Natural marketing translation
Quality Keyword Research
Keyword research is critical for any listing on any type of search engine. Your Amazon listing in Japanese is no different. You’ll need someone who can do that research in the target language (the one you want your new listing in) so you can optimise for sales in the same way you do in your own language.
Let’s take an example. You are selling a clay foot frame for children. In your German Amazon listing, you use “clay” as a keyword. You don’t use the long-tail “clay foot frame” because your translator isn’t clued up to how to market an Amazon listing. What’s the result?
You’ll rank badly for what you intend, and you’ll rank low down in the listings for every clay product under the sun. More often than not, something like “clay face mask” – which is clearly not going to help your new listing generate kick-ass sales… In addition to losing immediate sales, you’re also going to lose favour with Amazon. Why? Your impressions will sink like a stone and so will your clickthrough rate. Then you’ll end up losing out on in every direction on your listing because your product is not relevant to the specific search results.
Remember keyword stuffing? Yes, that now outdated tactic used by old-school marketers to prop-up on page SEO. The one that ruins your click-through rate?… Cheap translators don’t know that this is a bad idea. Why would they? They’re just regular translators. They’re just guessing that it works for Amazon’s algorithm. What they don’t get is that customers have no interest in clicking on something that just has a load of randomly stuffed keywords. If you remember the older days of the internet you’ll remember seeing this and also how much of a turn-off this is to your traffic.
If you take this route, you’ll need to comb your Japanese Amazon listing to make sure that the job is done properly.
Nurture Your Click Through Rate
You need to nurture that click-through rate, as that’s what is going to keep your listing healthy. Being seen is not enough. Being valuable in the search results is what it’s all about for a successful long-term sales-generating Amazon listing.
Natural Marketing Translation
Natural marketing translation is more straightforward but still critical. This is the sales writing element of your foreign market Amazon listing. If you get a cowboy translation done, then you will more than likely start leaking sales because your listing doesn’t actually attempt to sell your products.
Languages don’t translate literally. If they did we’d be out of a job, and the world would be using Google translate for everything. So you need someone with some experience who can do a solid translation of the meaning of both the individual words (where possible) and the overall meaning of the phrase or description.
In most languages we have 2 words for the same thing; one is good and one is bad. For example, “direct” is a positive word to describe that someone talks clearly. “Blunt” means exactly the same thing, except that it’s negative, meaning clear, but rude with it. Clearly, this type of difference is critical when you are dealing with buyers…
This is the kind of distinction a high-level marketing savvy translator will be able to do, which lower level ones frequently miss.
Last but not least, the translation needs to be done using words that sell. We all know the difference between “old” and “vintage” in our own language. One of these words will encourage you to buy, the other will not… Your listing should be packed with the magic that will nudge your visitors to the all-important buy button.
Choose Your Amazon Marketplace Wisely
Okay, let’s keep this point short and sweet.
The majority of the Amazon sellers we work with are expanding into:
Why? Because they are the most mature markets for e-commerce where our clients are looking. They may not be the biggest populations, but they have populations that are buying in large numbers on Amazon. So we suggest you point your basic research at these markets first, to save you some time and improve your ROI.
Local Markets Local Style
Different cultures, different tastes – that’s the way the world is… Be aware that your product may have some value in a new market that it didn’t have in the original one.
Ever been to China or Japan? You’ll see female students doing their homework in Starbucks using an iPad with a cover that looks like a cute pink bunny rabbit with cute plastic ears. And not just a few girls – a lot!!
Personally I don’t remember seeing any pink bunny iPad (or iPhone) covers at Starbucks in either Barcelona or London in the last couple of years (I’ve stayed in all 3 for a while in the last 2 years). Why? Because the cultures are different. Your pink bunny covers don’t sell as well in the UK as they do in Japan… So it is a good idea to do a little research on what is being sold in the country and prepare for that. You might just find that you get higher sales numbers because you stumbled upon something that is far more valued in your new market.
Localise Your Customer Service:
According to recent figures (as well as your own common sense), 80% of customers prefer to buy in their own language. Sure, you can Google translate a few things, but there’s no substitute for being sure that you totally get the product description – after all, what if you want to send it back and it turns out you didn’t understand the terms?
The same goes for customer support. Amazon emails are generally written in English. Non-English speaking customers always get pleasantly surprised when they receive a template or an email follow-up from the seller addressing them in their native language. Let’s just go back to the basics of business here – in order to succeed you need to be slightly better than the other guy. If it takes a Japanese customer service e-mail ( or better still, feedback survey) in your Japanese Amazon listing to make the customer experience smoother and more referable, then it is a small price to pay.
If you would like to see more of how you can be successful in international markets, and read our clients’ reviews, you can find out more about it here. We love questions, so why not hit us up with one?