Launching On Amazon In 2021
What is the best strategy to launch on Amazon FBA in 2021? I’ve seen quite a lot of people asking this question around various FBA related forums and frankly, I was quite tired of answers like “low price and tons of PPC”. Although price is a major factor and leveraging Amazon PPC is a must-have, there is so much more you can do to maximize the chances that your product launch will be successful.
Breakdown Of The Basics
*Consider skipping this part if you are an experienced seller.
First, you have to acknowledge, that Amazon mainly works as a search engine; not many people there are browsing through the categories using the navigational menu, most of them are, with buyer intent, searching very specific things by writing keywords into the search bar.
So, if you want to launch your product successfully on Amazon, you have to rank for relevant keywords that people are searching for. More generally, your success on Amazon is, among other things, determined by how good you’re at keyword ranking.
How does the organic keyword ranking works?
You’re ranking for a particular keyword (your rank for that keyword is improving) when someone searches for that keyword and then buys your product = when you’re getting sales velocity for that particular keyword.
To get the sales velocity organically, the following must happen:
Potential buyers have to type the particular keyword into the Amazon search bar and let the algorithm search.
They have to find your listing and click on it (impressions; click-through rate = CTR).
They have to make the purchase (conversion rate = CVR).
What does it mean for you and your product launch? From the very beginning, you want:
To rank for keywords that people search for → maximize chances for impressions.
As many people who searched for a particular keyword to click on your listing as possible → maximize click-throughs.
As many people who clicked on your listing to buy your product as possible → maximize conversions.
To simplify and wrap this up:
Impressions + clicks + conversions = sales velocity.
Sales velocity = keyword ranking.
Keyword ranking = successful launch (success on Amazon in general).
How To Maximize CTR And CVR Of Your Amazon Listing = Listing Optimization
Below you’ll find the factors that I believe have the biggest impact on the click-through and conversion rate.
Product differentiation and brand positioning.
Not surprisingly, the most important factor is the product you decided to sell and your brand strategy. This all comes down back to the product research phase. To be confident that you have a good enough product to launch, ask yourself two following questions:
Why would a customer buy your product(s) over those of competitors?
What place you will fill in the core keyword searches?
If you don’t have a clear answer to both of these questions, you’re most likely going to have trouble.
Main Listing Image
Visual differentiation from the competitors, consistency across the brand.
If you want to catch someone’s eye, you have to visually differentiate yourself - if your main image looks the same as those of 10 other competitors who have more reviews and sell at the same price as you do, you’re most likely screwed because people won’t even click at your listing.
An impactful, unique main image is the key to a great click-through rate.
If you already have or build a brand (If you don’t, I strongly recommend that you do so - check out the article on leveraging branding to get more sales here), the main images of your products should follow the same, or at least similar, pattern - this helps you with brand recognition (people will easily recognize your brand) and brand legitimacy.
In other words, you want to interrupt the pattern of competitors, and at the same time, keep a consistent pattern across products of your brand.
Price has always been one of the most important deciding factors of the buyer - when people can choose from two products that are both offering the same fundamental features, most of them will choose the cheaper one. It's wise after all - why would you pay more if you can have (more or less) the same thing for less.
What does it mean and what does it have to do with a product launch? Usually (yes, there are exceptions, e.g. Veblen and Giffen goods), when the price goes down, the demand for the product increases = both the click-through rate and the conversion rate are going higher. The opposite is also true; when the price goes up, both the click-through rate and the conversion rate are falling. Meaning that when you’re launching your product, it’s usually best to temporarily keep the price down (I suggest somewhere around breakeven) so you enjoy higher click-through and conversion rates and get the sales velocity going.
You probably won’t have any reviews at the start of your product launch and I don’t recommend using any shadow tactics - you don’t want to risk your account and it’s possible to launch without reviews.
Secondary Listing Images & Video
Your main image creates expectations, your secondary images & video should confirm them.
When people click on your listing, you’ve already won once. Still, you can screw it up if your secondary images aren’t optimized.
What should be in the secondary images depends heavily on the product you sell - some products are more about showcasing the beautiful design while others, generally those more complicated, tend to benefit from explanatory secondary images. Generally, lifestyle photos where your product is the focal point with simple graphics do the best.
In any case, high-quality photos are an absolute necessity if you want to get noticed on Amazon in 2021.
Although the video feature is available for quite some time, a lot of sellers still don’t use video in secondary images. That’s a pity! Not only that you can enhance the shopper’s experience by using it, but it’s also perfect for advertising.
Secondary listing images don’t have an impact on the click-through rate, because people can’t see them before they click on the listing, but they have a huge impact on the conversion rate.
Listing copy is another factor that determines the conversion rate (and thereby indirectly impacting keyword ranking), but besides, it also helps with the keyword ranking directly. The goal here is to create such a copy that is persuasive and speaks to potential customers but also includes as many relevant keywords as possible… and this can be pretty tough.
A+ Content is a feature that only sellers with the Brand Registry can use. Although it’s quite deep below the fold, you definitely want to leverage it because it offers you quite a lot of space where you can further communicate the features and benefits of your product together with the brand message.
Amazon states that product listings with A+ content tend to have anywhere from 3% to 10% more sales… from my experience it’s less. The thing is that A+ content, similarly to the secondary images, impacts only the conversion rate - it’s not generating impressions and doesn’t help with the click-through rate. Nonetheless, thanks to its positive impact on the conversion rate, it’s surely a feature you want to use and optimize.
Listing Optimization Is The Absolute Priority
If your listing is not 100% optimized, you would literally be throwing money out of the window by investing in advertising. Why? Although ads would get people to see your product, both CTR and CVR of the unoptimized listing would be low (lower than it could be) and thereby you won’t get as much sales velocity as you could.
Once your listing is optimized, you can start the launch process itself. The length of this process depends on the product and category, but generally, it takes around a month.
How To Get More Eyes On The Product
To get impressions organically people have to find your listing in the search results. The thing is that at the beginning, your product will likely be somewhere on the 20th page for all the relevant keywords so getting impressions organically is almost impossible at this stage. Fortunately, there are lots of strategies on how to get more eyes on your product, below I've listed the ones I consider the most powerful.
Existing Customers Of The Brand
This doesn’t apply if you are launching the first product of a completely new brand or a completely separate product that is not connected to your other products in any way.
If you have an existing email or ManyChat list, you can benefit from it heavily during the product launch. Simply send out a promotional e-mail with a decent sale (generally, 25% should do) and use a 2-step super URL to boost your ranking for a particular keyword(s). Depends on the size of your list, but even if you get “only” 10 or 20 sales by doing so, it can mean the world in the end.
And what if you don’t have any list? Well, then I strongly recommend you read the article here and start building it - it’s an asset that has immense value during the Amazon FBA journey.
Amazon PPC Push Campaigns
Thinking about launching a product on Amazon in 2021 without using Amazon PPC? Forget it. Heavy push PPC campaigns are still one of the cornerstones of a successful launching strategy. A small disclaimer here, I am not an expert on PPC so please do your research and don’t follow the strategy mentioned below without carefully considering your precise situation, etc...
Nonetheless, most businesses I worked with succeded by using an approach that looked somehow like this:
Target 10 - 15 hyper-relevant keywords with decent search volume.
Target 5-10 most relevant competitors.
Use high bids - 2-3x suggested bids usually suffice.
Target the exact keywords only - don’t use auto campaigns during the launch.
Whether it’s through Google, FB, Reddit, YouTube, or Pinterest ads, or via cooperation with influencers, external traffic can significantly help with product launches.
Caution! Be careful to not hurt your conversions - consider that e.g., Google and Pinterest traffic usually converts around 4-5%. In comparison, conversions on Amazon are usually >20%. As I’ve already mentioned above, especially when it comes to product launch, you want your conversions as high as possible. So what should you do?
Give a discount of around 25% (lower price will naturally increase conversions).
Use a 2-step super URL.
What should you expect when it comes to finances? Unfortunately, it’s impossible to say how much money it generally costs to successfully rank a product on Amazon because it strongly depends on the product itself and its category (mainly on how competitive the category is). Anyway, I believe it’s best to know your numbers and be willing to go slightly into the red during the launch period. Although I’ve seen many sellers who made money during the first 30 days, IMHO, it’s not something you can count on.
Impressions + click + conversions → sales velocity → keyword ranking → successful launch.
Listing optimization is the absolute key to a successful product launch on Amazon in 2021.
Amazon PPC campaigns, external paid traffic, and existing customers of the brand can (should) be leveraged to launch successfully.
Although you may end up losing money during the launch period, it may still be a successful launch that will generate high ROI in the longer term.