- Why are follow-up emails important?
- How to send proper follow-up emails
- How many times can you ask for a review on Amazon?
- Can you send an email requesting a review and later use the review request button?
- How does Amazon punish sellers for violating the review solicitation guidelines?
- Emails / messages that convert the best
- What are the best subject line strategies on Amazon?
- How follow-up emails are good for sellers
- What is a good open rate for Amazon?
- What is the “Request a Review” feature?
- Follow up email vs “Request a Review” button
- About Feedback Whiz
In this interview, we’ll talk about followup messages, which Amazon sellers are sending to their customers. Our guest today is Henson from FeedbackWhiz, a software tool to automate your followup messages. Henson will give us an overview of what was happening with followup messages in the past, and what is happening right now in the last several months when Amazon is implementing different rules and restrictions for follow up messages, Henson will also give us an overview of the differences between trying to acquire reviews, using messages, and also by clicking request review button in the Seller Central platform, which is provided by Amazon. And finally, you will hear some tips on what kind of subject lines to use for your followup messages and what to write in the actual message as well.
Today is a very exciting day. We have Hansen from FeedbackWhiz with us to discuss some of the things related to follow up emails. So before we start, could you please introduce yourself and let us know how you help sellers?
Hey, thanks for having me on today. Hey everyone, my name is Henson. I’m from FeedbackWhiz and we’re an Amazon software company that helps sellers improve profits and get more reviews. And today’s topic, we’re going to discuss a little bit about follow up emails and the whole buyer or seller messaging communications and getting reviews from your buyers. And there’s been some changes that been going on for a year or so. Amazon is not very good with communication sometimes when they change the rules or the ways they regulate some of these messages. So wanted to just kind of give a quick overview and give you guys some insight on what’s the best ways to try to get reviews these days through emails.
Why Follow Up Emails Are Important
So tell us first, perhaps why follow up emails are so important for sellers?
Yeah, so I used to sell on Amazon back in 2013, 2014. This is way before Amazon kind of went crazy and I experienced the growth phase of when Amazon started to climb a lot. And back then, yeah, things were very, very different. You know, there wasn’t as much competition. It’s very easy to be ranked number one. Getting reviews was easy, because you can basically send as many messages as you want to your buyers. And after some time, it’s very easy to communicate but since then Amazon has implemented a lot of changes, especially in the email side and they’ve restricted how much communication you can have with them and what kind of communication you can have and what’s the purpose of the communication. So we can just dive right into it with the emails.
How to send proper follow-up emails
Basically for Amazon, you’re not supposed to use emails for marketing purposes. So five, six years ago you can get away with those kinds of things. But now Amazon has really implemented, very strict rules on how you can send the messages and what kind of messages you can send. So the content you send inside is very important. So a lot of mistakes sellers do, especially the new ones that come on Amazon, they automatically think that I can use emails as a way to basically advertise my product or incentivize buyers to give me good reviews, right? And this is just not the case. You can’t use emails for that purpose. The purpose of emails is to, you can collect reviews, but you have to do in the right way and we’ll discuss that. And then the other way, the other purpose is sending them necessary information or getting the necessary information to complete the order. Right. So cases where let’s say you’re selling a item where it has to be customized and maybe the buyer has to give you some information, like a name or address or something, right. In that case you have to communicate with the buyer and those are scenarios where you can contact them for things outside of asking for reviews or feedback. The primary purpose of buyers messaging is that Amazon still allows you to request for reviews or requests for feedback and also provide customer support. So you keep in mind, those are the things that you want to use the emails for and not for other purposes. So we can quickly go over like things that you shouldn’t do, so it’s crystal clear what you can use emails for. So when you ask for reviews specifically, we’ll talk about sending emails for reviews. You never want to like compensate them for like giving them a free product or offering them a discount in exchange for a review. So you absolutely can’t do that. But you can offer them a refund or reimbursement. And if you ask for a review or even asking them to remove a review or change a review later on. Right. They’ve even gotten very strict to where the way that you structure your email to ask for a review, you can’t just ask them, could you, if you had a positive experience, could you leave a review? And if you had an issue, please contact us. So you can’t even use those kind of conditional statements. It has to be very neutral and in a way where you’re just asking a review like naturally. So one way you can reference is Amazon has an automated template. They send out through the review request button, and if you read that template, the way that they ask for review, it’s extremely neutral and there’s no like suggestive language or any type of incentives when they ask for reviews.
How many times can you ask for a review on Amazon?
The biggest thing with Amazon that they changed the last year or so and they’re really enforcing on this, the number of times you can ask for review per order. So it’s very important to know that you can only ask a review or feedback once per order. So seller reviews and seller feedback are different, right? So if you’re asking for reviews and asking for feedback, if you want to ask for both, you have to combine them in the same email. Otherwise you have to just ask for either, or you can do two separate emails, one for seller feedback and one for reviews. So that’s one of the biggest things they’re monitoring right now is like the number of messages you’re sending out per order. So if you send out too many messages for order, then you get flagged.
Can you send an email requesting a review and later use the review request button?
I jump in here to ask a question. So if a seller would send a message asking for a review and would later would like to use the request review, but then which we will discuss later, is that according to do’s or not?
No, you can’t do both. So you have to choose which one you want to use. If you either use buyer-seller messaging or use user review request button, you can’t do a combination of both. However, if you’re using buyer-seller messaging to send information, like there’s a lot of sellers where they have a PDF files with product instructions or warranty, or necessary information to complete the order and they use buyer seller messaging to send that out in the initial phase of the order. And then later on you want to use a review request button to ask, that’s okay, so you can combine it, but you can’t use buyer-seller messaging to ask for a review and then use the review request button to ask for a review, that will be considered asking for a review twice.
How does Amazon punish sellers for violating the review solicitation guidelines?
Okay. That’s good information. And how Amazon can punish sellers, who do something like breaking those rules.
Yeah. They have some kind of automatic algorithm, I guess it scans through your messages or your activity, and they can see if you violate it and if you violate it, what they do is they usually give you a 30 day suspension, not, sorry, I don’t want to use the wrong word suspension. It’s called a proactive message restriction. Suspension just sounds really bad. It’s you’re not getting your account suspended. You can still sell a lot of people. That’s the fear. It’s like, Oh, I’m going to get my account suspended. I can’t sell. Like, this is not a suspension. This is a message restriction. So proactive message restriction means you’re not allowed to send messages to your buyers for 30 days. And that 30 days windows, as soon as it’s up it gets lifted. So you don’t even need to call Amazon or contact them. They just automatically remove it. Now, the thing you need to watch out for is that if you get too many of these. I’ve seen some sellers, I think they got like three, three, four, or even five of these in a row. Right? So some, some of these sellers use tools and they forget to change it. Right. And they don’t even realize you’re getting restricted. Right. And it’s a lot of softwares. They don’t tell you when your messages are not going through. So they have no idea, right? So three months down the line and they come back and they figure out, Hey, my message, my emails aren’t going through and then suddenly Amazon. So there are cases where Amazon does say, Hey, you’re not allowed to use a buyer seller messaging anymore because you keep violating it. So it’s very important for sellers to keep on top and go inside seller central or these feedback was we send out alerts right away where we started detecting that if you have zero open rates, which means their emails are not going through. And 90% of times, their open rates means that you got restricted. So that’s a big flag right there. And if you get an email from us and then you should go in right away and you can even email us and we can help you fix the problem. So you need to stay ahead of that because too many too many of these restrictions in a row will get you banned from sending messages completely.
Emails / messages that convert the best
Okay. So now we’ve covered the part of asking reviews and asking too many reviews. Are there any other things that sellers should avoid?
In general, not really. I mean the best practices I would say is, if you’re using buyer-seller messaging the content you write inside, you just want to keep it friendly short, nothing too long, right? Because the more stuff you write, the more issues that can come up, right? Because sometimes Amazon might not like the way the language is. So you want to kind of come up with something short and direct and usually shorten direct emails that we’ve seen always have higher conversions because people, these days, they don’t want to read like an essay. Right. They don’t have time to read all the stuff inside. So you want to be very direct and short and friendly. And sometimes if you say the right messages right away, people react to it and they’re able to write your review. So yeah, besides that the biggest thing really is make sure you’re only sending one review request per order and nothing more than that. So besides that nothing else has really changed on Amazon side.
What are the best subject line strategies on Amazon?
Okay. So having only one chance, what are your best suggestions to grab customer attention? Let’s say with the subject line of the message, do you have any tips for sellers?
Yeah. So subject line is still the number one most important, element for the buyer to react to your email because that’s the first thing they see inside the inbox. So with subject lines, you need to have a high open rate because if your open rate is too low, then they’re not even going to open the email that you’re never going to get reviewed. Right. The strategy with subject lines still hasn’t changed all over these years. It’s a psychological kind of thing. Like people just react to the subject line, right? If you have a catchy subject line, or if you have a too direct subject line, it can go either way. Sometimes they open, sometimes they won’t. Now in our studies and all the testing we’ve done, the subject lines that get the highest conversion rates are subject lines that actually believe it or not, don’t have too much information inside. They’re very simple, but they contain some keywords and the keywords are really Amazon, right, your order number, right. And something to do with that order. So anything in terms of those three elements and not disclosing any more information than that will you usually yield you the highest open rates. For example, like if I use a subject line that said “Can you please write a review for this item “, a lot of people will think, hey, this is a great subject line because I’m being very direct and people know what this email is about, but that actually goes the other way, because it’s too direct and many times when people read that in their inbox, they don’t have the time of day, or they just don’t want to write a review or something. They won’t even open the email. Now the subject lines that we recommend are usually like regarding your Amazon order ID or information about your Amazon order and then you can use like a tag to automatically populate the order number. So things like that, it makes it sound like something’s kind of important with the order, right. With Amazon order, but it doesn’t get really give too much detail. So there’s an element of mystery there where the buyers will most likely click to open it. Then once they open it, that’s where you need to use the other strategies of templates, colors, logos, whatever, pictures,you have to AB test it, right? Because every product has different audience, right? Every audience can react differently to different types of messages. So I still really like customize emails because for some of the bigger sellers, they don’t sell just one type of product. They sell like many different types of things, right. There’s toys and games, supplement, outdoor, sporting, whatever. They all cater to different demographics of people. Right. And every demographic is people. If you really want to nail it down and get the highest conversion, you have to understand like what kind of messages or what kind of words should I use that will bring the best reaction out of them. So,
How follow-up emails are good for sellers
So knowing the customer is not only important for optimizing the listing and doing the photos and everything, but it’s also important to write, follow up emails that would crack the interest of the customers. Right?
Yeah, absolutely. Over the years, follow-up emails have, you know, they’re not as effective as they were, three, four years ago, but it’s still a free ride. Meaning Amazon still allows you to use this to get reviews. It’s not easy to get reviews these days. Right. So you have to use this to your advantage. If it’s automated, once you set it up, you don’t really need to do anything really. You just monitor, you can periodically monitor open rates and let’s say open rates dropped, then you can try something else. Right. Or if your conversions drop, maybe try different templates. So it’s not something that’s like very cumbersome in terms of selling on Amazon. So you should definitely it’s definitely something you should have running.
What is a good open rate for Amazon?
So what do you consider a good open rate for follow up email?
Usually you want something above 30%. Yeah. 30% and higher would be the best. Right. And some of these subject lines, if you test over like the ones I recommended, like regarding Amazon order ID, I think in general, in our system, we usually see a range of a 35 to 45% open rate. But again, after some time, you might want to change it a little bit because if everyone starts using the same email and people start reacting and they start realizing, hey, this is, I already know this. Right. But I say like variations of those three elements that I talked about, you want to just change around all the time.
What is the “Request a Review” feature?
Okay. Awesome. So do you have anything else you would like to share with our viewers?
Yeah, we can talk a little bit about this review request integration that Amazon recently launched about, I think it was about four or five months ago and for people that don’t know about it, it’s a feature inside your seller central inside your orders. When you go into your orders,for each individual order, there’s like this neat button on the right that you can click on. And when you click on it, it says, request your review. And what that does is Amazon will automatically ask for a review for you, right? You don’t have to use buyer-seller messaging anymore and set up your templates and all that. And this message is hundred percent TLS friendly. So you don’t also don’t need to worry about getting any message restrictions or things like that. Now the biggest drawback with the review request button is that you can’t customize your subject line, you can’t customize your template. It’s the same subject line, same template that every seller is going to send when you use it, you also can’t see things like open rates. Amazon doesn’t tell you that there’s no way for anyone to track it. The only thing you can really see is that if you use that only you don’t use buyer-seller messaging, you can see, have my reviews rate gone up, has it gone down? You can gauge it. And most sellers,uwhen this first launched, saw a very positive review rate, meaning that a lot of people were actually reacting to it, which is good because that’s the, that’s the goal of what Amazon wants to do. The whole reason they released this was because they wanted to try to stop sellers from sending too many emails. There’s just too much headache with sellers, not understanding the rules. So a lot of them are getting suspended, things like that. Now the other drawback is that if you send this review request, if you use this feature, after some time people will stop reacting to it because it’s the same email. Right. And then they get the same subject line. So in the beginning it’s new and fresh people open it, they react. But then after awhile, it’s just like how the send the seller feedback. You saw the conversions drop, drop, drop, drop, keep dropping. But the pro is that, hey, you don’t have to worry about getting any type of suspension there.
Follow up email vs “Request a Review” button
So what is the best tactics right now to use? Would you rather recommend using follow up email with the review request or using the button?
It depends on where you are, I would say in the Amazon phase. If you’re like a seller that just started off and you don’t really want to go through the hassle of building your emails or let’s say you don’t have a brand logo. Because the biggest advantage of the customized buyer-seller messaging emails is that you can throw in things like your logo and your brand. And then that gives you extra exposure. Let’s just say you’re just selling retail arbitrage, or you don’t really care about reviews that much, but you still need feedback reviews then it’s okay to use because it’s simple, right. Once you set it up it gives you the same purpose, but the bigger sellers that have brands and like I said, they want to get really increased reviews positive reviews, they would use this feature because with the review request button, it’s, it also can hurt you because if you’re requesting review from every single person, there’s a lot of people that have issues. Like refunds or returns. So you’ll also notice that a lot of your reviews become negative too. You have a lot more negative reviews on there as well. Whereas with buyer-seller messaging and software, you can filter those type of orders out and exclude from sending them. However, I will explain later that we actually have a functionality for both now and you can actually use both to your advantage. So it kind of levels the playing field and it’s really like up to you on which one you want to use.
About Feedback Whiz
Okay. Would you like to introduce the tool you have?
Yeah. So with people that already know about feedback, we’ve always traditionally been using buyer-seller messaging, which is sending the messages through emails, which you can customize. And then with the review request button that came out six months agothere, wasn’t a way to automate it unless you use a Chrome extension. And for people that don’t know Chrome extension, you have to install in your browser, your browser has to be open and then it has to run in the background. So it’s kind of inconvenient, I would say, because it requires you to do have a few things set up and then you can’t really track like open rates. You can track how many you send, you can’t filter it, you can’t send it, any time of day. So we’ve been working on developing a solution for this. And now we have a solution where we can automate the review request button without a Chrome extension and it gets sent through the backend and we can now use it with the campaigns with feedback , meaning you can send it any time of the day you want, set like how many days after it’s shipped or delivered you can even do like exclusions. So with the refund data and return data, things that we have, you can prevent sending those messages to those types of orders. So there’s a huge benefit there. And it’s just really exciting how we have this functionality now. A lot of other tools are still using the Chrome extension. So I think a lot of sellers will be very happy to start using this now, and then they have two options. They can either use buyer-seller messaging traditional way, or they can use our new review feed functionality.
I think now it’s the time where the seller should run to seller central and start testing different options they have regarding using follow up emails and as well, the button. So before I let you go, could you please let our viewers know if they have any questions, what’s the best way to reach out to you?
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll definitely help you out if you have any issues or questions, especially if you’re using buyer-seller messaging during this whole year we’ve been just offering sellers. Even if you use other tools, just email us, we’ll spend some time we’ll look through your templates, your campaigns, make sure you’re compliant, because our goal is to make sure that you don’t get hit with any type of restriction. So if you have any questions or doubts yeah, just shoot us an email. We’ll be happy to take a look at your set up for you.
Awesome. I’m sure a lot of sellers are appreciating your help a lot. So thanks a lot again, Henson for coming here today to talk about follow up emails and we’ll wish you all the best in your business.
Thank you so much for having me today.
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