Make Money on Amazon & Increase Sales Rank (5 Step Amazon Product Launch Marketing Strategy)
IMAGINE YOU’RE JEFF BEZOS
Ranking on Amazon is easy when you think about it from Jeff's perspective.
(looking good, by the way)
Back in 1998, you built this little marketplace.
Now, it's got 2,000,000+ people on it selling everything under the sun.
A shopper looks for something:
How do you make sure they find the best stuff?
You could get employees to hand-pick items for page 1.
So, you make the A9 ranking algorithm (a set of rules that Amazon’s computers follow) to control what shows up... automatically!
The better the product, the higher its ranking.
You (Jeff at Amazon) are here to make money, so "better" products:
- have sold a lot in the PAST (sales history)
- have sold a lot RECENTLY (sales velocity)
- are likely to sell a lot in the FUTURE (sales forecast)
- are PROFITABLE for Amazon (healthy margins + Fulfilled by Amazon)
- are LIKED BY CUSTOMERS (high conversion rates, good reviews, good seller performance)
It's great being Jeff, but let's switch back to you.
You’re 1 of 2,000,000+ sellers in world’s biggest store.
Let's show Amazon that your product deserves to rank at the top.
YOUR FORMULA TO RANK ON PAGE 1
Your competitor makes 20 sales/day.
And you make 5 sales/day.
There’s no reason you’d rank higher than them.
But if you make the same (or more!) sales/day, you can rank higher than them and make more money on Amazon.
Look at sales estimates on page 1 for your "main keyword" (defined as the keyword with the intersection of highest-traffic and high-relevance to your product).
Estimate sales with Amazon seller tools like JungleScout, Unicorn Smasher, or manually.
The average page 1 swaddling blanket seller sells ~ 900 units/month, or 30 sales/day.
We know that if our listing doesn't sell 30+ units/day, there’s no reason why the algorithm would rank us on page 1.
The name of the game?
CLOSE THIS SALES GAP by any means necessary.
Here’s your proven 3-step process to do that:
- Get Sales
- Get Reviews
1. OPTIMIZE YOUR LISTING (AMAZON SEO)
Amazon got 1.1 million searches per second (in 2013).
Most of your sales will come from people searching for things.
The words they search are called "keywords".
If your listing is missing relevant keywords, you’re missing traffic and sales. For, like, no reason.
So, first off: let’s cover this base.
Fix the leaky roof before furnishing the place, if you know what I mean.
Amazon listing optimization costs you $0 (only the time it takes to learn how).
Do it once, get passive sales forever.
Here’s everything you need to know.
An Amazon listing is made of 4 parts of text:
- a title
- 5 bullet points
- a written description, and
- back end search terms (which are basically like tags, and aren't publicly visible)
Before you write anything, brainstorm a list of 25 keywords related to your product.
Find them using:
- your intuition and experience
- Amazon search bar suggestions
- borrowing from similar listings
Done is better than perfect. Allot 10 minutes max.
Plug all 25 keywords into Merchant Words one at a time.
Download each of the 25 CSVs from MerchantWords.
Compile the results into 1 "master" spreadsheet (I prefer Google Sheets).
- Remove duplicates (with Google Chrome extension “Remove Duplicates”),
- highlight the search volume column (Column B), and sort by highest-to-lowest search volume.
- Delete keywords that aren’t relevant to your particular product, even if they have high traffic. Delete keywords where, if a customer typed it into Amazon, they’d be disappointed to find you.
Armed with a clean keyword list that shoppers use to find products like yours, write a listing that’s persuasive AND uses your best 50 keywords, or so.
There’s no additional benefit to including the same keyword 2x.
This is from Amazon's article "Optimize for Search and Browse". Row 1 addresses this point.
FYI, pt. 2:
Start your title with your "main keyword" (highest traffic/highest relevance).
We’ll start our title with “swaddling blanket”, and then never have to use that keyword again.
- Whatever keywords you can’t use in your title, use in your bullets.
- Whatever keywords you can’t use in your bullets, use in your description.
- And the rest in your Search Terms.
Again, for a full optimization course, read this
2. GET SALES (HISTORY & VELOCITY)
Your listing is now optimized (i.e. good Amazon SEO), so you won’t lose sales from organic search traffic. So that's good!
Optimization is necessary but not sufficient for ranking.
It's time to get Amazon sales.
Recall the 2 types of sales Amazon wants to see:
1. BUILD SALES HISTORY
It’s like building a resume.
They want to know that your product has sold consistently day-to-day in the past because it's a good predictor of future sales.
The longer you’ve been making sales, the better (e.g. a 30-day track record > a 14-day day one).
2. BUILD SALES VELOCITY
History is great, but Amazon asks: “what have you done for me lately?”
That’s sales velocity.
Are recent sales trending up? Down? Flat?
More recent periods are weighed more heavily (i.e. making 20 sales/day in the last 7 days affects ranking more than if you made 20 sales/day for 7 days 3 months ago).
Based on these 2 factors, Amazon makes a sales forecast, reflected in your Best Seller Rank (or BSR) which is always in flux based on your sales + what your competitors are doing.
We need sales to get the ball rolling.
How does a new listing get sales without prior sales?
How do you get a job without prior work experience? (like those darn millennials!)
You'll hear a lot of different tactics (and we’ll discuss 3 good ones), but it's all the same idea:
Sell your product at a discount to an audience that’s likely to buy it.
Sellers offer discounts because it gives shoppers a reason to buy now instead of later. Also, the lower the price, the more reliable the daily sales.
We're not interested in making a profit per sale.
In fact, it's fine to lose money on each individual sale...
...as long as it's part of a larger strategy to rank on Amazon and enjoy the money made from long-term, organic sales.
(budget permitting, of course)
You were Jeff. Now, imagine you’re Elon at SpaceX.
You need giant rocket boosters to get your ship off the ground.
But then, once you’re in orbit and gravity weakens, you can coast.
Relax. Spread your solar panels.
The system works for you now, instead of weighing you down.
You need enough sales history and velocity to rank.
But once you do, organic sales happen on their own because of your rank, and you can ease off the discounted sales.
The goal isn’t to sell at low prices forever; only until you hit escape velocity.
But until you reach this tipping point, be aggressive.
The system won’t tip in your favor without initial force.
There's no reason for Amazon's algorithm to favor you over someone who’s making more sales (history and velocity).
HOW TO GET AMAZON SALES
So... the multi-million dollar question: how to get initial sales?
Here are 3 proven ways.
It’s all the same idea:
Sell to a group of people who are likely to buy. Send them a coupon code along with your Amazon link. Everything else is secondary.
1. AMAZON PRODUCT LAUNCH SERVICES
belowcost.club, or similar.
Amazon product launch services like ours have a large group of targeted Amazon shoppers.
We take your Amazon link and coupon codes and distribute them to ready-to-buy shoppers.
Shoppers are notified of your deal by email and online.
Sellers control how many coupons they send, so they control how many sales they get per day. This builds consistent sales history and velocity. It works well and is automated.
2. FACEBOOK ADS
Same idea, but you get shoppers from Facebook yourself.
This means full control over process and pricing.
LEAD FORM + SINGLE USE CODES
- Create a new Campaign
- Choose the "Lead Generation" Objective (shoppers send you their names and emails directly on Facebook)
- Target: people who live in the United States (to cut out vacationers) and who speak "English US" (assuming your product is listed on Amazon.com)
- Budget $5/day. Scale as results come in. If you’re not getting results, don’t spend more.
- Make the Ad creative like: “Want this swaddling blanket for $1? Enter your name and email here and we’ll send you a coupon!”
For more on how to make single use codes, watch this.
Alternative Facebook ads strategy:
LANDING PAGE + 1 GENERAL USE CODE
- Pick the "Traffic" Objective.
- Drive the traffic to a landing page (use a website tool like Wordpress, Shopify, or Clickfunnels) that offers a public, general-use coupon code.
- This is less secure (because a general code can be shared and used infinite times), but avoids the logistical difficulty of assigning a unique code to every shopper.
Facebook ads are pay-to-play.
But remember: it's OK to invest money acquiring early customers because, again, the objective is to rank and make organic sales long-term.
3. Amazon PPC
Appear on page 1 today…
...for the right price!
Shoppers you reach with Amazon ads are:
- browsing Amazon already, and
- searching for a keyword related to your product.
So, you’d be remiss not to do this.
You can't offer single use coupon codes here for a deep discount, but PPC can still drive sales. Especially if your public retail price is compelling.
At the beginning, think of PPC as “buying data”.
Maybe not profitable initially; you’re buying information on which keywords work and which don’t.
- Run an Automatic campaign at $10/day.
- After 7 days of Automatic, make Manual campaigns centered around keywords that work well in Automatic. Follow the money.
- Tweak campaigns over time. Spend more on campaigns with low ACoS. Turn off campaigns with ACoS over 100%.
- As PPC improves, the proportion of daily sales starts to shift from highly discounted to full-price, as it should.
HOW TO GET AMAZON REVIEWS
Asking family and friends is out of the question because the reviews will be tracked and removed.
Focus on sales (as we’ve been doing) because every new sale can be converted into a review. One precedes the other.
Realistically, expect a ‘purchase-to-review’ conversion rate from 1-5%.
On their end...
Amazon prompts shoppers to review. This process generates a baseline review rate of 1%.
On your end...
Focus on getting sales (through launches, Facebook ads, and PPC) and then use Amazon's native Buyer-Seller messaging system to contact people who bought.
Ask them for honest feedback as part of your customer service sequence.
You don’t need lots of reviews.
In the short-term, focus on getting your 1st review. Preferably a good one.
The marginal benefit of going from 0 to 1 review is very high.
By the time you have 50 reviews, conversions increase by 4.6% (this is worth a lot of money over time).
2 notes on Amazon TOS compliance:
- Ask for honest reviews only.
When using Amazon's Buyer-Seller messaging system, stay in compliance with Amazon policy by asking for an honest review.
Not “good” feedback.
Not a "5-star" review.
An honest opinion.
- Only mention reviews after the purchase is made.
The buyer shouldn't get the discount because they’re expected to review.
It’s not a trade. So, not this: “I’ll give you a discount if you review”. Amazon banned this practice in October 2016.
Asking for reviews is more like an afterthought; a chat you have with the buyer post-purchase.
“Hey, how was your experience with the swaddling blanket? If there's anything we can help with, feel free to let us know. We love our customers and want to make sure that you have the best experience possible.”
They say: it's great!
You kindly request they share their experience as a review on your listing.
Automate your post-purchase message sequence with a service like Feedback Genius or Salesbacker.
EXAMPLE AMAZON PRODUCT LAUNCH MARKETING STRATEGY
Here’s your entire plan in 1 place:
1. FIND YOUR FORMULA TO RANK ON PAGE 1
The average page 1 swaddling blanket seller sells 850 units/month. That’s 30 sales/day. This is the gap we need to close.
2. OPTIMIZE THE LISTING (AMAZON SEO)
Do keyword research, incorporate at least 50 high-traffic/high-relevance keywords into your listing, make it persuasive.
3. GET INITIAL SALES WITH BELOWCOST.CLUB & FACEBOOK ADS
belowcost.club is good if you can offer a significant discount. You can get a lot of sales and control the daily quantities.
Facebook is good if you want maximum control over who you reach (because Facebook offers precise targeting) and what price you want your product to be. You can offer any %-off, but it’s better to create a “gotta have it” deal.
Use both to get sales rolling.
4. TURN ON AMAZON PPC (AUTOMATIC, THEN MANUAL)
Launch an Amazon PPC campaign on Automatic, first. A modest budget. $10/day or something. This generates additional sales closer to full price.
So, you have a mix of 3 sales sources (belowcost.club, Facebook, and Amazon PPC).
- 66% from low-priced sales
- 33% from Amazon PPC
= 30 sales/day
Slowly, like a gradual ramp, shift proportions from low-priced sales to high-priced ones, while maintaining your daily sales history and velocity.
- 50% from low-priced sales
- 50% from Amazon PPC
= 30 sales/day
- 33% from low-priced sales
- 33% from Amazon PPC
- 33% from organic sales (because we’re ranking now)
= 30+ sales/day
As soon as you start ranking for keywords (i.e. you’re getting sales from customer searches), try lowering your public retail price.
We're starting to appear for some keywords, and this will help organic traffic that finds the listing convert more easily.
Our swaddling blankets normally sell for $30. Lower the public retail price to $15 for 3 days, enjoy more organic sales, rank higher, appear higher for keywords...
Rinse and repeat.
Maintain daily sales velocity at all costs.
Increase belowcost.club submissions, Facebook ad spend, PPC ad spend as needed.
Once you’re on page 1, eventually increase your price to normal levels. You keep the ranking, but now sell at full price.
Congratulations: you’re profitable!
- 33% Amazon PPC
- 66% from organic sales
- (with belowcost.club and Facebook to drive additional sales as needed)
= 30+ sales/day
YOUR 3 UNFAIR ADVANTAGES
Understand these 3 virtuous cycles to make money faster:
1. PPC CYCLE
From running Amazon pay-per-click campaigns, you know which keywords generate sales. Add those keywords back into the written text of your listing, so you rank for them organically.
2. ORGANIC SALES CYCLE
Organic sales beget more organic sales. Page 1 sellers have an inherent advantage because they’re on page 1. At that point, it’s yours to lose.
3. PROFIT CYCLE
When product #1 is a success, reinvest the profit back into more products to build a strong portfolio.
This takes time. It looks weakest at the beginning.
Most will quit before they enjoy the momentum. That's why business success is synonymous with “never give up”.
Flywheels need time to gather speed.
READY TO MAKE MONEY ON AMAZON?
Build daily sales history and velocity with belowcost.club.
It's the most affordable way to get listings off the ground and start getting organic sales. It’s 100% unlimited, so you can sell 1 or many ASINs.
Also, you don't have to worry about the infamous sales “death spiral” where you have a slow sales day, so Amazon ranks you lower, so you have a slow sales day, so Amazon ranks you lower, etc.