In this post, I am going to detail exactly how I launch products. I’ve been using this strategy throughout 2017 to huge success and I’ll be using it in the future as well. It’s a completely white-hat approach I’ve used to launch multiple New Best Sellers on Amazon. With incentivized reviews now being banned, it’s more work to launch new products but it’s arguably easier to do with a higher probability of success as this additional work weeds out a lot of the competition.
The big key to this strategy is building a list of an audience off of Amazon. Amazon is not unlike most traditional brick and mortar retailers in the world: they reward brands that have heavy marketing campaigns that result in higher in-store sales, normally through more predominant shelf space. Except for Amazon rewards sellers who bring outside traffic and sales to their products with more predominant organic search listings.
By using my strategy below I not only build a list I can promote my product to from day one but I can also validate potential product ideas. Hopefully, you’re able to use either this complete strategy or parts of it, for your next product launch. For those who learn better with their ears than their eyes, I did a podcast on this very topic as well.
How To Build Your Off-Amazon Email List and Audience and Validate Product Ideas
The way I build most of my off-Amazon lists is through contests through social media, specifically Facebook. You can also listen the Podcast I did on running a Facebook contests for a more thorough guide on running these contests.
To execute this strategy you have to know the niche you’re going to sell products into. You also have to have to have a few different product ideas in mind. So, for example, I would know that I plan to sell pet products. I know I will probably sell dog collars, dog cages, or dog leashes but I don’t know which one will be the most successful and I want to determine that before developing that product.
Building a List and Audience through Contests on Facebook
The first thing I do to build my audience is give away a gift card for one of the main competitors in a niche I will be selling in. For example, if I intend to sell a cat toy in the future, I will start targeting an audience on Facebook of people who like Petcetera. Every day I will give away a $25 gift certificate to Petcetera for people who enter the contest (simply providing their email). I normally run this contest for 30 days. If you join my.ecomcrew.com (for free) you can see some of the talks I’ve given on running contests.
I tend to pay around $0.50 per subscriber on Facebook. To get a subscriber list of 5000, this means I’ll pay 5000*$0.50 + 30*$25 = $3250 or around $0.65 per subscriber. To get more subscribers you may actually be able to get a lower cost per subscriber as the cost of the contest scales better with more entries. Below are some actual numbers for the ads I ran while validating one product.
My goal is to either get their email or get them pixeled on Facebook or ManyChat (or ideally, all three).
Sale of Generic Product for Feedback
After I’ve built this audience for about 30 days. At this point, I try pitching my potential product(s) to this audience. Of course, at this point, I don’t have a product. If my number one potential product is a dog collar, I will try and find a product on Aliexpress (or even eBay) that will likely closely resemble the product that I will ultimately develop (I’ll actually drop ship this product from Aliexpress/eBay to any potential customers). It’s not going to be exact and in fact, it’s going to probably be inferior to the product I’m developing. But I know that if I can sell that inferior product then I’ll be able to sell the superior product that I ultimately do develop.
My goal at this point is to try and achieve a 1% conversion rate on the campaign I run, knowing that I will probably get 5x this conversion rate on my superior product. I sell the product at cost. After I run the campaign I’m going to find out one of a few things:
- I met or exceeded the 1% conversion rate number, I have a solid product idea, and my dog collar will perform even better when I start selling it
- My conversion rate was close to 1% (0.75%-0.99%) which indicates I have a solid product idea with some tweaks to the ad copy and/or product
- My conversion rate was well below 1% (<0.75%) and I should consider other products
When I’m selling this potential product I send them to a Clickfunnels page. At this point, I may or may not have a website for my new brand and regardless, Clickfunnels is a much quicker and more compact and effective way to develop a landing page for this product. If you sign up for ClickFunnels under our affiliate id (click the preceding links) email us to [email protected] with the email you signed up under and we’ll send you the exact landing pages we use that you can duplicate for your product.
After I’ve Built My List/Audience and Validated My Product Idea – The Amazon Product Launch
At this point, I have a list/audience of around 5000 people. I’ve also validated that my product idea is solid. Now what?
Remember the ultimate goal of all of this is to launch a product to become a New Best Seller on Amazon and sustain its rankings. Being able to convert people through cold traffic on Facebook is great but let’s face it- Amazon is the gold mine where 80% of people shop through.
What I Do While I Wait for My Products
To develop my product and have it Amazon-FBA ready is probably going to take the better part of three months. Perhaps shorter (or longer) but on average it will take about three months to develop, manufacture and get landed at Amazon FBA. In that time I don’t let my list and audience go cold. I’ll run the occasional contest or pitch other potential products in that time. The worst thing you can do is let that list and audience sit silently for months.
While I’m waiting for my products, I spend a bunch of time developing an incredible product listing page. We used to have the mentality of trying to get the listing page up as quickly as possible and worrying about perfecting it later. This was flawed logic. You want your listing page perfect from the beginning to have the highest conversion rate possible and get the best traction possible. On day one I want really good titles, imagery, bullet points, enhanced brand content and backend keywords. For the photography, I will often have one or two completed production products air shipped to me while I wait for the bulk of the shipment to be sent via air. This allows me to prepare the photography in the 20 days or so it takes to airship the rest of the shipment.
The other big hack when preparing your listing is to set the “Start selling date” at a time in the future. Want to get the New Best Seller badge when we launch our product. It’s not the be all to end all but it will help our sales. We don’t want to set our “Start selling date” as a date prior to us actually selling the product and lose the eligibility for that product. Set the date to a time beyond when you expect to start selling it and change it to the date you actually do launch the product. You can set the date when you add your product to Amazon’s catalog under “Offer” (make sure you’re in the advanced view if using the browser-based product tool as opposed to a spreadsheet)
At this point, I also set up my Amazon paid advertising. This includes Sponsored Ads, Product Placement Ads, and Headline ads (if you don’t use the latter two options of advertising you need to start to now). I am very aggressive with my bidding for the first 3 weeks. A 50% ACOS is fine with me at this point.
When My Products Are Ready to Launch
Once my products are (finally) at Amazon I’m ready to launch the product. At this point I have the following:
- A validated product
- An email list
- A Facebook audience
- A Many Chat audience
- A killer Amazon Product Detail Page
- Amazon Sponsored Ads, Product Placement Ads, Headline Ads
Now here’s where this hard work starts to pay off. My launch strategy is as follows:
- Set my Start Selling Date to the correct date
- Make sure my Amazon Ads are all running
- Drip my product launch to my email list over 21 days
- Advertise on Facebook to my Audience over 21 days
- Encourage anyone who engages us on social media or elsewhere to leave a review
Setting the Start Selling Date and Amazon Ad Review
The first two things about my launch strategy are pretty basic. I set the Start Selling Date (which I set above to an arbitrary date) to the actual date I will be selling. I also make sure all my Amazon Ads are running and that nothing has been rejected or paused.
Dripping to My Email List
The big bang in this whole launch strategy is my email campaign. When I’m doing my email blast, the important thing to remember is that I’m not blasting it all in one go. I’m dripping to it over the course of three weeks. Why? Because we want to show Amazon sustainable and consistent sales over a duration of time. It’s better to have 50 sales a day over three weeks than 1050 sales in one day.
My emails sequence is as follows:
- Initial product sale launch
- We remind the list again in two days
- Ten days later we ask for people to leave a review
In our email, we’re basically telling me to be the first to access our new product at an amazing deal. We don’t actually discount the product a huge amount here, no more than 20% (this discount is simply our Amazon list price, no coupon code required). After our three week launch, we allow Profit Peak to run its magic and figure out the best price for our product.
We follow up the initial email two days later with a reminder email and then ten days later with a review reminder. There’s no real way to correlate the emails to buyers/non-buyers on Amazon so everyone will get the latter two emails regardless if they purchased/didn’t purchase. It’s a slight weakness but not major.
For all of the links to our Amazon detail page, we send use an Amazon Associates affiliate code. It helps track our sales and we also get a kickback of course on the affiliate income.
Advertising to Our Facebook Audience
We still have our Facebook audience of course at this point so we’re also running ads to this list the entire time. We’ve tried a combination of running ads both to a ClickFunnels lead page first and directly to the Amazon listing page and seen similar results. A ClickFunnels page allows you to get more creative with your marketing, specifically by including multiple videos and more imagery.
If you have multiple videos for your product and/or marketing that goes beyond what you can do with Enhanced Brand Content then go to ClickFunnels or similar lead page. If you don’t, going directly to your Amazon listing suffices.
Be Guerrilla About Soliciting Reviews
Finally, we’re being really aggressive about soliciting reviews. Aside from sending a final review request email, we are also very obsessive about monitoring our social media and other platforms for any feedback from customers. We send a private message to anyone who has left a positive comment about their purchase on Facebook and ask them to leave an Amazon review. The same thing goes with anyone who emails us. If anyone says anything negative we’re also pro-active about correcting the problem before it results in a negative review. In one of our most recent product launches, we got over 100 reviews in the first six weeks. Sales velocity + reviews = money.
Read more: How to Get Amazon Reviews in 2018
As you can see, there’s a lot of work that goes into my product launch strategy. The good thing is that much of the effort that goes into the first components, specifically the list and audience building, can be directly carried over to new products, assuming they’re in the same niche. There’s a heavy fixed cost to building that list but it reduces quickly over time.
What does your Amazon launch strategy look like? Do you have any questions about my launch strategy? If so, share in the comments below.