Amazon Reviews - Necessary?

Amazon Reviews - Necessary?

But actually, yes. Reviews of your product on Amazon (or any other website your product is on) are essential in today’s world of online shopping. A large majority of the population does at least some of their shopping online. Have you heard of the retail apocalypse? While it may not be entirely true that shopping malls are dead (per real estate developers still developing brick-and-mortar stores and even Amazon using brick-and-mortar), there is a surge in purchasing products online. Nearly 70% of Americans have purchased something online at some point (NPR/Marist). Also, if your product is not on Amazon, you should get it there. Amazon claimed over 50% of online traffic sales in 2018 according to Business Insider.

So what drives purchase decisions for this large majority of consumers shopping online? You can’t physically see the product you are buying to see if there are rips and tears. You can’t sniff it to see if there’s a weird odor that will make people think you have BO all day when you really don’t. You can’t try on that pair of jeans that look so great for the price. So how do people know what they want? Easy, REVIEWS!

Take for example my recent online shopping experience for a phone charger (and yes, I could have walked into a store less than a mile from me and picked one out, but THIS one shows up to my doorstep in just 1 day!) Without any hesitation, I typed in “AMA…” and Google auto-filled Amazon for me (no I don’t have an Amazon shopping problem). Within one minute of being on the site, I had thousands of options for a phone charger – should I get the pink one? The 5 pack? The cheapest one? How should I pick? *Hint – reviews!

As a recent college grad, I normally choose the cheapest thing I can find. However, I also want something that will last me more than 3 weeks, especially with phone chargers. So who can I trust to steer me in the right direction? Of course, random strangers leaving reviews – for real though.

While it may seem unheard of to trust strangers on the internet, 4.5 stars are what made me buy the 3-pack of 6-foot phone chargers for $8.97 instead of the 5-pack of assorted sizes for $11.99 with 1.4 stars. Ya the latter is the better “deal” for the price, but 1.4 stars is a deal breaker.

Bottom line, I trust people’s reviews. Other people trust people’s reviews. You NEED reviews to build trust with consumers. People are more likely to leave negative reviews than positive, so those positive reviews are key! You don’t get that face-to-face comradery with online shopping like you do in brick-and-mortar stores. Reviews DO influence the purchasing decisions of consumers. I would *almost* never purchase something with no reviews – I don’t want to be the guinea pig.

So ICYMI, reviews on your products (especially on Amazon) are necessary. Also, do your part and leave reviews on products you like (or don’t like). We can all trust strangers together!


  • Amazon claimed over 50% of online traffic sales in 2018 (Business Insider)
  • Reviews are necessary and do matter!
  • People trust strangers on the internet who leave good and bad reviews
  • BONUS: Here is a short list of what NOT to do to get Amazon reviews

Should you call out your competition?

Should you call out your competition?

Apple vs. Google, Hefty vs. Glad, Coke vs. Pepsi… the list could go on forever. Competitions suck – but they are inevitable. *cue Thanos* In lieu of the recent social media battles between CLIF Bars and KIND Snacks, it got me thinking about brands calling each other out on ‘flaws’ all the time. Is it really worth it to call out competition in YOUR ads? Has bashing the ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend ever actually helped your argument? Maybe in your lifetime, but not mine.

Comparative advertising is advertising your brand as superior in reference to your competition. This can be a side-by-side comparison of the newest Apple and Google smart phones, or it can be the Bud Light Knight trekking across the countryside to return a barrel of corn syrup to the Miller castle. Both ads directly call out the competition in a not so subtle way.

But does this work? With this type of advertising, you run the risk of law suits (MillerCoors sued Anheuser Busch in March over the Superbowl ad), dilution of your brand reputation (annoyed consumers over CLIF vs. KIND Facebook battles – see the Facebook post below), or worse, inadvertently advertising for your competition using dollars from your bottom line. Comparative advertising can unleash a beast – one that is much larger than bachelorette Hannah B(east).


First things first, if you decide to go this route, you must have all the facts. You cannot claim something that is untrue about your competitors – the law says so. Any John Cena commercial about “Hefty Hefty Hefty” being less expensive than “wimpy wimpy wimpy [Glad]” needs to be proven true to avoid getting *trashed* by the media and legal systems. Who wants to spend money on an ad campaign to have any results be *disposed* of in legal fees?

Also, do you really want to be known as the brand that bashes others to try to get ahead? A reputation takes years to build and seconds to destroy. While there are successful one-liners and sarcastic brand voices out there (think Wendy’s Twitter), if that’s not your brand and aligned with your brand’s values, you may want to stay away. People don’t like the Regina George’s of the world.

Finally, isn’t the point of an ad campaign to highlight your brand? Why would you want to bring up the competition when your brand should be front and center for the ad you are paying for? The “Share a Coke” campaign was monumentally successful and didn’t even mention their Cola Wars counterpart. Just a thought to sip on.

In all reality though, this type of advertising has been effective in the past and will continue to be in the future. When Wendy’s tweets get extra *beefy* in efforts to *fry* McDonald’s, they get thousands of likes and retweets – people think it’s funny. But when you have an all-out drag out on Facebook like CLIF and KIND, people get irritated, and your brand may end up with crushed nuts.


There is a very fine line between funny and irritating, and BMW and Audi have been driving that line for years.

So stay true to what you want your brand to be remembered for. Do you want to be that annoying aunt constantly posting replies on Facebook that no one even likes, be the sarcastic uncle who gets all the laughs at someone else’s expense, or be the mom who is proud of her kid and wants to tell the world? It’s your call [to call out your competition or not].

TL; DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)

  • Comparative advertising can be effective if done well.
  • Be aware of claims you make in comparative ads – false claims can end up in expensive legal battles.
  • Stay true to your brand voice.
  • Your ad should elevate your brand, not your competition’s.
  • There are lots of puns so you should read it all😊


Eat the frog

Eat the frog

"Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain


Twain has the right idea, and many successful entrepreneurs and business owners have adapted this concept into a philosophy that keeps them on track and focused. Personally, I have lived by this philosophy for several years and it has never failed me.

So how does it work?

Step 1: Create a list of to-dos. I’m a major list creator, so much so that I sometimes have lists of what lists I have. Each morning, as I set out to start my work day, I create an all-encompassing list of things to do. This list is primarily focused on the goals for that day, but often include larger projects that I can complete in stages. The key is to make your list as comprehensive as possible first.

Step 2: Prioritize your list. Once your list has been created, you want to take a few moments and prioritize it. I generally categorize my list into things I can complete today, those that are deadline focused ,those that are in stages and those that aren’t deadline focused but would be great to accomplish as soon as possible. Once you have a priority in mind, you know where you need to spend your time.

Step 3: Read your list. Read it, and as you do so, mark the items that make you groan vs the items that are relatively simple to complete and don’t bother you much.

Step 4: Biggest Groan = Frog. That one item on your list that you simply do not want to do. Perhaps when you were reading your list you were trying to imagine ways to procrastinate it. You will know what that one thing on your list is. For me, it’s often something to do with cash flow- I just simply hate reviewing accounting and financials- I’d much rather be spending my time on fun marketing projects, and writing.

Step 5: Eat the Frog. As Twain said, the key to having a positive day is to eat a frog first. That biggest groan on your list- do it first. Get it out of the way and the rest of your list will be no big deal.

It works. I do it every day and it keeps me on task, plus the feeling when you accomplish that thing you were dreading is a natural high that keeps you going all day. Mark Twain knew what he was talking about.

Shiny Penny Syndrome

Shiny Penny Syndrome


Distractions. We all have them. There are the regular distractions like cat videos on the internet ( or my personal obsession with how-to cake decorating videos) and then there are big picture, big idea type of distractions that can cause more heartache than they are worth. Entrepreneurs and small business owners can be known to suffer from shiny penny syndrome.- every idea we have is a new shiny penny- and we want to shift our focus to it.

The fact of the matter is we are idea people, and all of our ideas are shiny pennies that often distract us from our original, or bigger goals. You need to be careful otherwise you might inadvertently derail yourself. Take George for example.

George has a new product that is well thought out and designed for consumers who don’t want to use plastic grocery bags. His product is a specialized re-usable bag with unique imagery and branding that he is launching online, and in the geographic area of a city that has recently disposed of the use of plastic bags. Before launch, however, he has a new idea- what if we can customize the imagery on the bags?! What a great idea. George gets distracted by this new shiny penny and runs with it, offering custom orders online. The problem is that the amount of work and overhead it takes George for the custom bags is much higher than the standard ones, and his original idea. He switched gears too early with offering the custom bags that he never gave the standard ones a chance, and now he is underwater in both time and money.

This isn’t to say that George’s custom idea wasn’t a good one- it just maybe wasn’t the right time to switch gears so quickly before giving the original idea a chance to grow. Ultimately, George had to close up shop because he realized he didn’t have time and financing to cover the custom orders. He may relaunch and try to start again, but what’s to stop him from being distracted by the next shiny penny idea?

That’s why having a clear business growth plan is important. You will have new ideas, and that is a blessing, but knowing when to follow those ideas and when not to make a huge difference in your business. It’s not saying “no” to your shiny pennies, it’s being disciplined enough to say “not now” and take note and work it into your overall plan.

The moral of the story: keep and save your shiny pennies and use them wisely when it makes sense to do so.