She's says it has been a great change of pace to work on PR for Zazzle which is trend based, light-hearted and fun.
Diana is very busy woman who is up-to-date on all of the many things happening at Zazzle. I recently asked her if she would consider an email based interview and she agreed. The interview below was assembled from a series of email exchanges we had with little editing.
What do you do as Director of Communications?
I’m passionate about the convergence of digital marketing – PR, SEO, social media, advertising – and the impact on retail brands. In my role at Zazzle, I focus on relationship-building with reporters and influencers – so that’s magazines, online outlets, national and local broadcast TV, bloggers, and other influencers. For example, I’ve worked with the folks at CBS The View for a national TV shout out on Zazzle – it’s a big opportunity for us. Zazzle can really fit into so many areas – pillows for home décor magazines, wacky presidential election products (Hilary Sports Bra or Bernie underwear), phone cases in fashion magazines, floor mats in automotive magazines, you name it. Plus, Zazzle is global so I work with magazines all over the world – Germany, UK, France, etc. Fun fact: the product that is featured most frequently is definitely pillows – home décor magazines are always featuring our pillows.
At one time, Zazzle said that if your royalty rate was set above 15%, then your product may not be a part of a particular marketing program. One could see it in in the product pages where some products qualified for a discount and others did not. I haven’t seen that around for some time. Is it still the case that you are excluded from Zazzle promotional programs based on your royalty rate?
All Designers are welcome to choose their own royalty rate, but we always recommend a rate in the range of 5%- 15%. For promotional purposes on our site or in marketing emails, we do not feature products with royalty rates higher than 15%.
Some years back, Zazzle stated that one of the marketplace influencers is your frequency of product creation. If you created products weekly your overall position in the marketplace would be better than someone who created product every few months. In light of Zazzle restricting the number of public products by account, does frequency of product creation still influence your position in the market place?
Given the recent changes we made with Automated Product Optimization, we recommend that designers continue to focus on quality over quantity. Older products that have not had any views or sales will be set to hidden within 15 months. The main focus is to continue to focus on creating detailed tags and descriptions and promoting your designs. It’s always important to review your designs that may not be performing well and also continuing to add new products. We can confirm that ‘frequency of product creation’ is no longer a factor in the marketplace today. The name of the game today is definitely all about quality. Check out this fun quiz we posted on the blog to make sure you’re on top of your game - https://blog.zazzle.com/2015/09/24/zrank-10-quiz-questions-to-help-you-improve-your-score/
The embroidered caps product page reverts to a page layout from long ago. Mine still show me the custom html I used in my store years ago. The result is that the benefits of the new product layout such as Collections, for example, do not show. When can we expect the embroidered caps product page to be updated with the current layout?
Unfortunately, we don’t have a timeframe for this change, but we’ve alerted our technical team and hope to have an update for you soon.
Many of the recent changes Zazzle has made result in a considerable amount of work by designers. Updating html descriptions or removing products to get under 100,000, for example. The current system for editing has not really changed since day one. And it does not lend itself to such large amounts of individual editing. Some of your competitors have implemented an editing option on a spreadsheet type layout that greatly speeds up editing of individual products. What is in the works for facilitating large amounts of editing individual products?
The Zazzle approach is a bit different from other sites out there. We want to emphasize the importance of quality over quantity. The most successful designers are spending the time and energy on each individual product to create unique tags and descriptions. We know it’s labor-intensive, but this unique content is better for SEO. The search engines want to see content that is unique and not spammy - so we know it’s more labor intensive, but we hope you’d see it as a labor of love. By creating these unique descriptions, then the products are much more likely to be perform better in search results.
Excluding new products, what “game changer” site enhancements are coming up in the near future that will get designers excited?
We know that a few eagle eyes in the Forum spotted something we’re testing - an improvement to the design tool. We’re still testing the ‘personalize it’ improvement so we have nothing firm to share yet, but we’re definitely always working on new improvements to Zazzle. There’s a lot more to come.
There are frequent discussions in the forum as to what the Hot Tags really are. My understanding is that they are the most frequent words searched in the market place on any given day. And yet, the numbers make little sense as they are so small. For example, today “wedding” is the top hot tag and the number is 86. It seems like there should be more than 86 searches. Can you explain what hot tags are and what the numbers reflect?
Those ‘tags’ and ‘hot tags’ pages are actually a count of the design tags used by designers on our site over a certain period of time. It’s not really something that the designers ought to focus on!
Zazzle recently introduced a kind of automated quality control that hides poorly performing products. It seems that a store’s zRank is partly determined by the quality of products in the store. Zazzle has said as much. So it follows then that as under performing product get hidden, a store’s zRank could go up because of it. Yes?
You are correct it could help zRank.
There are so many forum posts concerning stolen designs on Amazon they are difficult to count. I know Zazzle has been in ongoing discussions with Amazon. Where are we on that?
Zazzle and Amazon have come up with a "form letter" email that designers can personalize with the details of their copyright infringement claims and send off to Amazon. By including "Zazzle Image Report" in the subject line we have been assured that Amazon will make them a priority. The letter and more details can be found in the forum: https://forum.zazzle.com/news/special_instructions_to_contact_amazon
Besides the Zazzle Forum, where is a good place to go to keep up with Zazzle News?
There are a lot of changes happening at Zazzle as we grow and expand. We’re working to improve the technology behind the website and the interface that both designers and customers are using. We definitely will continue to communicate these improvements to our designers. Besides the forum check out Zazzle Chat. They are super fun. You can catch any that you missed at https://www.youtube.com/user/ZazzleTV
If you have any questions that come to mind, please leave them in the comments. I will forward those most frequently mentioned and include the Q/A in an edit to this post.