Struggling to launch products?
That’s normal. Today, launching products is one of the hardest things about selling on the Amazon marketplace.
It takes a lot of trial and error to get your product launch process down. However, a lot of that can be saved when you learn from the experiences of other high-level Amazon sellers.
We sat down with Tony Brooks, COO of a supplement company doing over $2 million in sales on Amazon, to talk to him about the ins and outs of launching products on Amazon.
You can view the video below, or scroll down to read a summary of Tony’s insights and how to effectively launch new products on Amazon today.
How to Launch Products on Amazon – Insights From a Launch Specialist
No one knows it all when it comes to Amazon, but Tony Brooks comes close.
Tony has been working with Amazon businesses for more than 5 years. He’s currently COO of a supplement business that’s doing more than $2 million in sales. He also runs a service to handle new product launches for other businesses.
That means he’s been through a lot of trial & error and spent a ton of money on product launches (in multiple competitive niches).
That also means he has a lot of insights that you can take away for your own business, whether you’re running a solo operation or a multi-person company.
Launching Amazon Products Today
The ins and outs of Amazon are constantly changing. Strategies that worked 6 months ago may not work now. And strategies from 2 years ago almost certainly won’t.
But the foundation of how product launches work is the same. The oversimplified explanation is, you need to generate sales velocity, which Amazon will pick up on, and subsequently rank your product.
Smaller details related to product launches and ranking are changing, which you need to be aware of.
Deal Sites & Deep Discounts
These have been two of the staples of product launches for some time. Many sellers rely on heavily discounted giveaways, often to “deal hunter” sites or communities.
In recent times, many in the Amazon seller community have theorized two things:
- Deep discounts don’t give the ranking power they once did
- Deal sites don’t work, or can even get you banned
What’s Tony’s input on these two points?
He disagrees that deep discounts are dead (up to a certain threshold). Tony’s company frequently launches products with 80% discounts, and he says they still see great results from this.
Above this (99% giveaways for example), there may still be a cutoff where Amazon doesn’t attribute full power to heavily discounted sales. But 70-80% discounts are still proving effective.
Rather than the amount of the discount you’re offering, it’s the quality of customer you should be concerned about. This is where deal sites and communities come into it.
Many of the customers in these communities are only interested in cheap products. They don’t have a great lifetime value for Amazon.
Amazon recognizes this, and doesn’t give the same weight to a customer who only buys heavily discounted products, compared to a loyal Amazon shopper.
The takeaway is, if you put in the work to reach real, high-quality customers for your product launch, Amazon will reward you with that valuable ranking juice.
The Value of External Traffic
While you can also use Amazon PPC to launch, Tony does product launches with external traffic (Facebook Ads in particular).
Why? Because Tony (like many other high-level sellers) believes the A9 algorithm favors sellers who send customers from outside of Amazon.
This makes sense because Amazon knows they can extract a lot of money from these customers. Once a consumer buys something on Amazon, they keep coming back.
External traffic is like free advertising for Amazon. You’re spending your own money or resources to get people onto their site. Amazon sees that, and rewards you with more ranking power.
The Cost of Product Launches
I think sellers have this negative mindset, like giveaways are a waste of money. Most seasoned sellers know Amazon is cash intensive.
You have to think of this as you’re buying a billboard on Amazon. It’s like you’re buying advertising space on Amazon, the largest e-commerce platform in the United States, maybe even the world.
Another thing about product launches today is the cost. Many sellers complain about how much money is required to launch. From the cost of ads, to the cost of discounted products, it adds up.
Tony doesn’t disagree with this. He agrees that to launch, especially in a competitive niche, you need a lot of cash flow.
The important thing to think about is that Amazon gets a massive amount of traffic. Some search terms get tens of thousands of searches. When you spend a lot of money on a product launch, you’re spending for the visibility that allows.
The cost of a product launch is like you’re buying a billboard to advertise on Amazon, which is invaluable advertising and visibility for your product.
Facebook Ads: Mistakes and Misconceptions
A large part of Tony’s businesses and product launches run through Facebook Ads.
Tony comes across a lot of sellers unfamiliar with Facebook Ads (as do we), who make the same mistakes with their ads, which leads to misconceptions that Facebook Ads don’t work for Amazon sellers, or that they’re too expensive.
Here are a few of the key takeaways from what Tony has to say on Facebook Ads.
The Cost of Facebook Ads
Cost is the biggest thing that comes up from people who speak against Facebook Ads.
While it’s true that they’re not cheap, compared to a number of years ago, the cost can be cut down by having the right assets and processes in place.
Audience targeting is huge for Facebook Ads. Simply put, if you aren’t getting your ads in front of the right people, you’ll end up wasting a lot of money.
When you build your audience, you have to provide Facebook with as many data points as possible, to help fine-tune your audience.
This starts with assets such as emails, Messenger subscribers and Facebook Pixel data. Having this information on past customers, or people interested in your business gives you a starting point to begin making use of Facebook’s powerful audience targeting, without shooting blindly in the dark.
Building Your Assets
The hardest part about the Facebook Ads process, for Amazon sellers in particular, is building the assets we just talked about.
Tony’s businesses use LandingCube to gather Pixel data, which can then be used to create lookalike audiences or retarget past landing page visitors.
A lot of people don’t realize how valuable Pixel data from a landing page or your own site can be. While this data might not carry quite the same power as a huge email list, for Facebook audience building, it’s very close.
This is the best way to start building audience targeting assets. Drive traffic through a landing page, and use the data provided by the Pixel to target more people with similar profiles.
If you’re capturing email address or Messenger subscriptions, you can also use these assets to create bigger lookalike audiences, or retarget customers for future promotions.
What happens is, if your ad fatigues, it means people have seen your ad so many times that they’re just just going to scroll past. Your ad spend, your cost per click and cost per coupon starts going up.
This is a common pitfall that causes many people new to Facebook Ads to slip up.
Anyone familiar with Facebook Ads knows that ad fatigue is a real thing. After a while, your ads end up getting shown to the same people, people who have seen the same ad over and over.
You might recognize this yourself, with ads that keep appearing on your timeline, and now you subconsciously scroll past them every time.
To combat this, make sure to switch out your ad copy, ad creative and targeting every so often, when you notice ad spend and cost per click going up.
Don’t run the same ad continuously for too long. Even if it gets great results at first, most ads will fatigue in time without any changes.
Launch Strategies of 7-Figure Businesses
Tony’s launched a ton of products, in incredibly competitive categories like vitamins & supplements.
So, while the tips and strategies he discusses may not necessarily work for every seller and in every situation, he’s got a track record of success on Amazon.
To help you build a powerful product launch strategy for your Amazon business, here are some of the key points to take away.
This is how you fine-tune your strategy, and eventually come up with a product launch formula that works wonders. Even if you improve your results by a small amount with each test, these improvements add up big over time.
Deep Discounts Are Powerful
If you have an engaged list, and you’re not up against a huge amount of competition, you can get away without using high-value discounts for your launch (as this case study shows).
But for fast results, against big-time competition, deep discounts are your friend. They’re attractive to buyers, and Tony’s experience shows that they are still super powerful for ranking… as long as you’re sending quality buyers to Amazon.
Rebates are an alternative many are turning to, and also appear to work well for ranking products. But based on Tony’s evidence, it’s just as important to focus on quality traffic as full-price sales on Amazon.
Build a Messenger Audience
Tony leans heavily on building Messenger audiences though. Some of the advantages of this kind of audience are:
- Easy to grow (JSON ads + deep discounts is an effective and low-friction strategy to build a Messenger list)
- High engagement rates
- Easy to use for retargeting and building Facebook audiences
Even though you’re now going to have to pay to send messages to your list, the higher open rates and engagement from Messenger compared to email may justify this added cost.
We took one company, they had 500 people on their ManyChat list. Now they have 35,000, within two months.
Qualify Your Traffic
Conversion rate is a key ranking factor in the Amazon search algorithm. A good way to tank your conversion rate is to send a lot of unqualified traffic to Amazon.
That’s why it’s vital to have an intermediate step as part of your external traffic sales funnel. You might want to make your product launch as low-friction as possible, but sending everyone straight to Amazon will result in poor conversion rates.
Instead, use a simple funnel involving a landing page or JSON messenger sequence to give low-quality traffic a chance to bounce before they reach Amazon.
If they’re going through another step, they’re most likely going to convert, and your conversion rate is going to be higher.
It’s like a second date. And you don’t want your bad first date getting on to Amazon.
Time Is a Valuable Asset
Running a successful Amazon business, or just managing a product launch, takes a lot of work.
As your business grows, you’ll soon realize that time is a more important asset than just about anything else in your business.
You won’t have any time to do valuable tasks like keyword research and avatar research if you’re spending all day putting together landing pages or Messenger sequences.
That’s what LandingCube is for. LandingCube takes these tasks off your plate, so you can focus your attention on what is going to grow your business.
LandingCube has been an essential part of helping me, because I don’t need a dev team to set up landing pages and distribute coupons. It saves me a lot of time, I can give it to my VAs to set up. I don’t have to worry about it, I can focus on other things like Facebook ad strategies and audience targeting.
A software tool like ours lets you “set it and forget it”. Like Ron Popeil.
Awesome Products Will Beat Out Unoriginal Ones
There is a market for so-called “boring” products, and you can make a lot of money with these products. But marketing will always be so much easier for awesome products.
This approach is one of the biggest factors in the success Tony’s had. Launching products people love is a great way to build an engaged list, who are happy to keep seeing ads or receiving emails/Facebook Messages.
We’ve got people who are really happy they’re getting these discounts. They want to be on this list, they’re extremely happy, so we’re able to retarget these people and give out coupons for sometimes a dollar or two dollars.
If you’re interested in Tony’s launch service, you can get in touch with him at tony (at) tbttrade.com.