A product launch is one of the most important steps to finding success on Amazon.
Your product launch gives you the momentum you need to start ranking and make organic sales.
To get it right, you need a plan. Competition on the Amazon marketplace is too high – more than 2 million sellers on Amazon US alone – to blindly list your product and hope it will sell.
Your plan should include how you’re going to create your product listing, which keywords you are trying to rank for, how to maximize conversion rate, and how to generate sales velocity.
All these aspects go towards forming a successful product launch.
Keep reading for all you need to know to formulate your Amazon product launch strategy.
Before you create your product listing or drive traffic, there are a couple of things you should check off first.
Product research: validate your product before launching
Lack of research can derail your product before you even get started.
Keyword optimization, traffic generation and customer service can all be perfect, but it means nothing if your product is no good.
On the other hand, if you’re launching a new product into a space that is too competitive, you’ll probably flop as well.
It’s always worth the time to make sure your product is high quality, and that the market you’re entering is not too crowded to make an impact.
Part of your product research process should include extensive keyword research. Make sure there are enough Amazon customers searching for keywords related to your product to sustain your sales.
Do your keyword research before you launch on Amazon. Ideally, you will have several high-priority keywords in mind; those with a large number of searches, highly relevant to your product.
You’ll need to know these keywords for when you create your product listing, to start generating sales with Amazon PPC, and also for more advanced techniques designed to boost your rankings for specific search terms.
Creating Your Listing
Step one of your product launch is to create your product listing on Amazon. It’s important to get this right before driving traffic to your page, or else you risk spending money on traffic that doesn’t convert, or doesn’t move your rankings.
Here are some things to take care of when setting up your listing.
Keywords are the foundation of a successful Amazon product. They tell the search engine what your product is, and determine which searches your product does and doesn’t show up for.
As mentioned earlier, you should have done extensive keyword research before launching your product, to make sure there are enough keywords with enough search volume for your product to make money.
When you create your listing, you should include all these keywords somewhere in your title, bullet points, product description, and backend keyword fields.
Don’t over-optimize. Repeating a keyword 20 times in the bullet points alone is not going to make your product rank higher for it. It’s more important that your listing reads well, and that a large range of phrases are mentioned.
Include the most important keywords higher up. Keyword space in your title should be reserved for your most valuable, relevant keywords, which will help your product generate more clicks from search results and PPC.
Then use your bullet points to add any other hyper-relevant keywords, and long-tail keywords that reference different use cases for your product. This will both help you rank for these searches, boost your conversion rate for people who click through from the search results
Keywords are just one part of setting up your listing. The other side of the coin is how you will convert shoppers into buyers of your product.
The consequences of poor copywriting are major, particularly when launching your product. You’re going to be sending a lot of traffic (potential buyers) to your listing, so if your copy is not convincing enough, your amount spent per sale goes up significantly.
The bar for convincing customers your product is worth their money is high, as Amazon listings have no shortage of related products and ads from competing sellers to draw customers’ attention.
To maximize conversions, stick to copy that is short, choppy and easy to scan. Large blocks of text are not good for Amazon listings, as most people have a short attention span when shopping.
Focus on benefits, not features of your product. This means writing about how your product helps the customer, rather than its physical features.
The site Marketing Examples outlines this beautifully:
It’s a bit of an art to create a product listing that finds the perfect balance between keyword optimization and conversion optimization. But if you can get this right, you can expect to be a step ahead of other sellers in your niche.
Images & A+ Content
In addition to your copy, make sure you “wow” potential customers with high-quality images, video, and A+ Content (formerly Enhanced Brand Content).
These help spice up your Amazon listing, and do wonders for your conversion rate. Visuals can also be used to promote your brand and create a lasting image in your customers’ mind.
When you put up a new product on Amazon, you also need to set your pricing. You may not think of this as a part of a product launch, but pricing can greatly affect the success (or failure) of your launch.
If you price your product too high, you may struggle to get enough sales. While if you price it too low, you won’t make enough profit to afford more inventory.
You want to find the sweet spot where you’re making as much profit as possible, but you’re not pricing yourself too high above the competition, where the price will drive customers to buy from other sellers.
During a product launch, it’s not a bad idea to drop your pricing or discount your product, as you can afford to sacrifice profit to generate sales velocity to get your product off the ground.
However, it’s not the best idea to change the base price during this time. The reason being, Amazon’s algorithm doesn’t like when your pricing jumps up in big increments. If you price your product low during the launch, then put it up a lot afterwards, you might see your rankings drop as a result
Instead, it’s best to use one-off or limited discounts for your launch period, such as Amazon coupons, discount codes, or post-purchase rebate offers.
Think about this before you kick off your Amazon product launch, as you’ll need to factor in the cost of discounting your product when budgeting your launch expenses. Thus, you may need to put aside capital for several shipments’ worth of inventory, as you may not be making much (if any) profit for a short time.
Product Launch Goals
Know what you’re trying to achieve when you launch a new product.
That way, you can craft your launch strategy in a way that works towards the right goals.
Here are three things you should get out of a successful product launch.
Sales are the first thing you’re looking for when launching a new product.
Amazon doesn’t promote products that don’t get any sales. So before you can start making organic traffic, you need to show Amazon that people are willing to buy your product.
Sales don’t guarantee you’ll start ranking and getting organic traffic, but you’re not going to rank without them.
Translate sales into rankings
Selling products is important, but search rankings are the real carrot.
You want your product to rank for keywords, and start generating organic sales from Amazon search.
Generally speaking, strong sales velocity will result in organic rankings for your product.
However, sales don’t always correlate to rankings.
You need to ensure, first, that your product listing is well optimized for keywords. That way, the sales you get will go towards ranking boosts for the right keywords.
Additionally, your sales will only translate to rankings if you sustain them over an extended period of time. Aim for at least 7-21 days of steady sales. This is better than a large spike, followed by a quick drop.
If you’re trying to gain rank for particularly difficult keywords, you can also make use of advanced ranking tactics like 2-Step URLs and Search Find Buy. These strategies require more investment, but may be worth it if you have one or two keywords with sufficiently high search volume.
Lastly, you need to get some product reviews.
Product reviews are critical for ranking, generating clicks from the search results, and converting customers that land on your page.
The first few reviews are the hardest to get. Once you’ve got enough to maintain a good conversion rate, you should start getting reviews organically on between 1-5% of your sales.
However, when you don’t have any reviews, it’s difficult to get sales from people shopping on Amazon, through organic search or PPC.
And without sales, you can’t get reviews.
That’s why review generation needs to be part of your product launch strategy. Without product reviews, you’ll struggle to get any meaningful traction in organic rankings and sales.
How to Get Sales For a New Product
One of the hardest things about launching a new product on Amazon is the flywheel effect of sales and rankings.
You need sales to rank. But you need rankings to get sales.
That means you need proactive ways to drive traffic to your listing, since you can’t sit back and wait for organic sales.
Here are some ways to do this:
While organic search is king, on Amazon you can pay to “jump the queue”, by investing in Amazon PPC, or Sponsored Products Ads.
This lets you bid on your target keywords, to push your product to the top of the results page for these searches.
You can also buy sponsored ads on other areas of the Amazon platform, like product listings, which can be very effective.
This makes Amazon PPC a powerful and popular tactic for product launches. When your product doesn’t yet have the history of sales needed to rank organically, you can pump money into aggressive PPC campaigns to generate the necessary sales momentum.
The problem is, you usually need a few reviews to run PPC effectively. If you run sponsored ads for a newly launched product with no reviews, you’ll struggle to convert sales, as you lack social proof (a necessary part of selling products in e-commerce).
So Amazon PPC can be great during a product launch, but only once you have at least 3-5 reviews. Try starting up PPC campaigns midway through your launch period, once this goal is met.
With Amazon PPC needing social proof to run effectively, the best way to launch your product on Amazon is by promoting it with off-Amazon ads.
Facebook Ads are the best for this. They’re scalable, they give you a huge audience to target, and the creative options allow you to sell your users on the product before they get to Amazon.
This is important as you can’t rely 100% on your product listing to convince users to buy a new product.
Combining a Facebook Ads campaign with a promotion to entice new buyers is the best way to get your first sales coming in. Better yet, you can retarget your first buyers with an additional set of ads or a follow-up email (as part of a landing page funnel) to encourage them to leave a review.
Proactive methods like these will help you get additional reviews quicker, which is vital for getting your product launch off the ground, and getting organic conversions started.
First reviews are even tougher to get since the Early Reviewer Program shut down, so there is almost no reason not to launch with Facebook Ads.
The one method that beats Facebook Ads as an effective launch strategy is launching to an email list.
If you have an engaged list of buyers interested in your brand, product line or niche, this should be an essential part of your launch strategy.
This allows you to get your first sales without needing to pay for Facebook Ads. You can also get away with offering very small discounts during your launch, or even launching at full price (see this case study for an example).
A launch list is also super effective for getting an early reviewer or two. Many people will be compelled to share their thoughts on the product already, without any push, if they’re part of an “exclusive” launch group.
Follow-up emails to people who clicked through to Amazon from your list will produce more reviews still, particularly if you’ve done a good job keeping your list engaged prior to your launch.
You can combine launching to your list with Facebook Ads at the same time – this is one of the best practices if you’re selling in a competitive space and need a lot of sales to get the ball rolling.
Additional traffic channels
The three channels we outlined above are the most effective ways to get initial sales for your product. However, depending on your product, niche and experience, you may be able to drive external traffic from channels like:
- Influencer marketing
- Organic social media
- Your own e-commerce store
Wherever your customer base or target audience hangs out, you can theoretically advertise your product and drive traffic.
Amazon Product Launch Strategy
Using what we’ve talked about earlier – the goals of your product launch, and the different options for generating your first sales – here’s a launch strategy you can use as inspiration for your own Amazon product launch.
Build & optimize your listing
First, set up your product listing. This includes doing your due diligence on product and keyword research to ensure there’s room in the market for your product, there’s sufficient keyword search volume to maintain organic sales, and you can price your product so you’ll make enough profit.
Set up your listing, combining important keywords from your keyword research with sales-focused copywriting and attractive visuals.
Choose a few of the highest priority keywords – those with high search volume and high relevance to your product – to put in high-visibility places like your product title and bullet points.
Start driving traffic with Facebook Ads (and your launch list)
Next, kick off your launch by driving traffic to your product listing.
If you have a list, start here, framing it as an exclusive first chance to buy for members of your list.
After the initial period of launching to your list, start up Facebook Ads. If you don’t have a list, start with Facebook Ads straight away.
For your Facebook Ads, you will most likely need to offer a discount for buyers of your product, to encourage them to click through from the ad. Try to keep this below 50%, as high discounts will carry less weight for ranking, and won’t allow you to get verified reviews on your discounted sales.
If you do need to offer large discounts in your launch period, consider rebates (cashback after purchase), which are more powerful for ranking purposes.
Provide extra value to your customers & encourage reviews
Part of your Amazon product launch strategy should be a plan for how to get reviews.
Of course, there’s no strategy to be sure of getting reviews, as Amazon wants this to be totally organic, of the customer’s own free will. However, you can make it more likely for customers to leave reviews, in ways that are not against Amazon’s terms of service.
A great way to encourage a higher review rate is providing additional, unexpected value to customers. The more value a customer gets out of their purchase, the happier they will be, and the more likely they are to reciprocate and write a nice review.
Examples of this could be free content, a free gift, or a discount code for their next purchase.
You should not connect this value-add with the review – it’s against TOS to say “here’s a discount code if you leave a review”.
However, you can use the subconscious reciprocal effect of an unexpected gift to your advantage.
Offer a freebie or discount to the customer as a “thanks for buying” gift. Follow this up by asking for honest feedback on their purchase in the form of a review on Amazon.
Start up PPC campaigns (once you have a few reviews)
Monitor your reviews over your launch period. When you have 3-5 reviews on your listing (ideally positive reviews, giving you a star rating of 4 or more), you can start advertising on Amazon.
How aggressive you go with Amazon advertising depends on the competitiveness of your niche. If you’re in a particularly competitive space, you probably want to put a lot of money into PPC during this initial launch period.
If your target keywords are not as competitive, you can afford to be a little more reserved. Watch how your sales and organic rankings are progressing from your external traffic channels, and if you’re not seeing the results you want, try increasing your spend on Amazon.
Drip feed sales from your Facebook Ads or list over 21 days
Don’t email your entire list all at once. You want a sustained flow of sales, rather than a short spike. So segment your list and hit them all over the space of 7 days (or longer, if your list is very large).
Like when blasting your email list, you want to maintain steady sales from Facebook Ads over a longer period. Set a daily budget, so you don’t spend your entire campaign budget in one day. Ration the total amount you want to spend over around 21 days, to ensure your sales are sustained and consistent.
Whether you use a launch list, Facebook Ads, or both, map out how you’re going to maintain a consistent sales volume for a three week launch period, and it will be more likely your rankings will stick.
After initial launch period, pivot to evergreen Google Ads
You should look at an initial period of around 21 days for your product launch. During this time, be fairly aggressive driving traffic from Facebook Ads and your launch list, as well as advertising with Amazon PPC.
All going well, you should be getting organic traffic by this time. If so, don’t cut your external traffic completely. Unless you’re number one for every single keyword, there is still room to grow your search rankings, and external traffic is a powerful way to do that.
After your initial launch, pivot your Facebook Ad spend into Google Search Ads. Google Ads are an excellent evergreen traffic source – they don’t require as much upkeep as Facebook Ads, and are easier to run profitably.
You can also use a lot of the same tactics you’re using with Amazon PPC, in terms of targeting buyer-intent keywords.
Switching to Google Search Ads at this time will cut down your ad spend, while delivering a steady buffer to your sales, and increased ranking power that will help keep your organic search rankings trending upwards.
Amazon Product Launch Services: Worth It?
Launching a product on Amazon is a lot of work. So is it better to pay someone else to do it for you?
It can be. If you have the budget to pay a launch service, and feel you lack the expertise to do it in-house, then an Amazon product launch service may be the way to go.
But understand that this will increase the cost of your launch, as you’re paying for the service’s legwork and skill in addition to the standard cost necessary to launch a product.
It’s not worth it to skimp on price and hire a cheap product launch service. These services are most likely using black-hat or grey-hat tactics and cutting corners, which will leave your Amazon brand in danger of suspension.
There are also Amazon product launch services that act as deal sites – you advertise your product with a discount in front of the site’s audience of buyers.
This is not an effective way to launch products today. This is good for selling a lot of stock quickly, but it doesn’t do a lot for your rankings.
You need to heavily discount your products to get sales from these sites, which dilutes your ranking power. Selling to these “deal-hunter” customers are also not great for your rankings, as Amazon sees them as low-quality buyers, and thus gives less ranking power to their purchases.
Amazon product launch services like these can be good for liquidating stock before closing your listing, or running out of stock that’s about to be charged long-term storage fees. But for a product launch, it’s best to either pay for a quality service, or do it yourself.
Your Guide to Launching on Amazon: In Summary
Your Amazon product launch should not be taken lightly. This is your opportunity to generate vital momentum, and ride this momentum to high rankings and organic sales from Amazon search.
Getting it wrong means a lot of wasted time, money, and energy, and can set your product several steps behind the competition.
To guide your launch strategy, understand that your goal is to generate sales, translate these sales into organic search rankings, and get your product’s first few reviews.
Do it right, and after 2-3 weeks you should start seeing results, getting visibility in Amazon search and positive reception from your customers.
This will let you start profiting from the huge and profitable machine that is Amazon’s third-party seller marketplace.
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