Whether you’re brand new to FBA or adding a new product to your offering, there is one thing that all sellers work out very quickly: it’s a jungle out there.
By the time people dissect and bisect their way through any of thousands of product listings, your new product simply might not come up for them, especially knowing what we do about product visibility on Amazon.
Given the relative speed with which your competition can set up and get moving, what you need for any product you decide to sell is a solid launch plan, designed to maximize visibility of your product.
Here’s how we’d do it:
#1. Build a Launch List
Yep, you get to leverage the vast amounts of traffic which Amazon attracts, but, that traffic has a ton of options. If you want to get a jump on others, you need to treat your product launch the same way every other successful online product launch outside of Amazon begins; by building a launch list you can generate buzz with.
As Jeff Bullas points out, a mistake made in unsuccessful product launches is often a failure to build pre-launch buzz. To do so, it helps if you’re building a list to which you are able to market to.
How can you go about building your list? Here are a few thoughts:
- Starting from scratch? Begin with who you know and talk to family and friends about whether they are interested. You’ll often find you already know people who are happy to be advocates for you.
- Set up a basic landing page using a tool such as Launchrock. Drive traffic to that page from paid advertising and promotion on social media.
- Set up a website for your brand. Have an opt-in form to collect email addresses.
- Create a Facebook page for your brand and use the “sign up” option to collect email addresses.
Another important point about building your own list and platform is that you don’t have direct access to your customer data with Amazon. Obtaining customer information is important for long-term business growth because it means you get to keep communicating and building up a relationship with customers. This in turn makes your business a more attractive proposition should you decide to sell it later on.
#2. Use Facebook
Having your own Facebook page set up and active is another great way to build your brand and get some better visibility. The key is to establish engagement early.
You should have already defined what your ideal audience looks like and given thought to the type of content which will interest them. Target them through paid advertising to drive “likes” for your page.
To develop engagement, post daily and think of anything which will grab the attention of your audience. You don’t want to be constantly pitching a sale. Being informative or funny in a way your audience appreciates is also a good way to engage them.
A suggestion to help build your list and provide a point of interest is to develop a quiz, much like Crystal Ski Holidays have done with their quiz, “What type of skier are you?” Make it fun and shareable so that you naturally attract some “free” advertising via your followers. Also, make sure you collect email addresses from it so you are adding to your list.
#3. Optimize your Listing
One of your best chances on Amazon is to hit it right out of the gate. To do so, it’s important to ensure you’ve done everything you can to optimize your product listing.
Best Seller Rank is a key metric for monitoring how well a product is doing, but obviously as you launch you are starting at the bottom. While we don’t know the exact calculations that go into Best Seller Rank, we do know some factors influencing it which you can do something about.
For example, you can:
- Optimize your product descriptions. Define your voice, use good keywords and make them appealing to your customers.
- Work on creating an appealing brand. Build your own website and drive traffic to it
- Look for strategies to win the buy box.
- Drive traffic via promotions to your listing as part of your launch strategy.
#4. Launch Product
Launch the product to your list and your Facebook followers first. You may choose to do so in conjunction with a special offer or giveaway, as we’ll go into next. The idea is that you produce some sales velocity and history quickly, so that your Best Seller Rank gets a boost.
Now, as you may have heard, gathering plenty of reviews is also an important part of boosting the visibility of your product, however, you need to be careful. Amazon very recently updated their terms and conditions to implement a ban on incentivized reviews, with the exception of those generated through their own Vine program.
This means no more giving products away, or heavily discounting them in exchange for an “honest review.” According to TechCrunch, they are doing this in order to preserve the integrity of reviews as they have found that the average incentivized review is higher than one which is non-incentivized.
The bottom line? You can use promotions to drive sales velocity, but not to encourage reviews.
#5. Use Promotions
Promotions are an excellent way to drive momentum for your product, but as we said, use them for that purpose rather than with an expectation of a review.
Anyone who has a professional seller account can use Amazon promotions (here are their instructions), just make sure you do them right. There are horror stories out there of sellers who created 99% off coupons at the request of a deal site, only to have their entire inventory wiped out by a few people.
An article on “FBA The Next Level” tells us why: if you create percentage off coupons, even if you check them as “one use only”, that doesn’t prevent one person from adding up to 999 products to their cart and getting 99% off the lot in one transaction. It may be unethical, but it’s not illegal.
The way to prevent this from occurring is to only use coupons which offer a dollar value amount off. This way, buyers will only receive that dollar value off no matter how many units they add to the cart.
How will you promote your promotion? Begin with your list and your social media followers. You might also want to use paid advertising to drive traffic to your offer.
#6. Use Paid Advertising
One of the outcomes of Amazon’s crackdown on incentivized reviews is that there will be a greater need to rely on paid advertising to drive traffic to products. The disadvantage to sellers is that with more people relying on services such as Amazon’s Sponsored Products, costs will be driven up as it relies on an auction model.
Advertising with Amazon is still a relatively easy thing to set up and a quick way to get some results for your product though. Many people have advised to wait until you have a few product reviews before using paid advertising, but it is important to get traffic and sales early, so there’s no harm in using PPC from the beginning.
We’d also suggest using Facebook advertising to target a very specific audience. It’s a great way to test out and refine who you should be targeting.
#7. Optimize Email Campaigns
The most powerful way to optimize your email campaigns is to segment your list and send out emails based on a specific customer profile, product or niche as appropriate. Use your list to build an ongoing relationship with your customers.
Send out thoughtful, relevant emails which will actually be helpful to your customers (rather than just a sales pitch). Showcase “best practices” or uses for your product, especially if there are some your customer may not have thought of.
While you’re not allowed to ask for incentivized reviews, you can work on creating an excellent buying experience so that the customer is inclined to give you a review anyway.
If you’re launching an FBA product on Amazon, you can’t just rely on their large platform to get found, in fact, its size is exactly why it’s difficult getting your products noticed. What you need is a good launch plan, much like any other product outside of Amazon would be launched.
Work on building a list and your own, branded platforms to drum up engagement. Start with people you know and work to grow your list through promotions and paid advertising.
As they say, the key to a successful launch is building the right level of pre-launch buzz; be active and engage with people!