How We Are Launching Products On Amazon In 2020
It seems as though the “perfect” strategy for launching and ranking a product on Amazon changes every 3-4 months. At least for us, it does… There are many reasons why this is a reality, which we will dive into. Most people will read that last statement and be slightly intimidated by how fast the landscape changes. That’s one way to look at it… We find that the harder something is, the more barrier to entry… which means if you truly know what you’re doing, you will outperform your competition every time. My goal in this post is to give you as much insight as humanly possible when it comes to launching and ranking on Amazon. The “Do’s” the “Dont’s” and everything in between.
I’d like to state here that this post will be of far more value to intermediate and advanced Amazon sellers. If you are a total beginner, you’ll certainly get a ton of value, but none of it will be actionable. This best suits sellers who already have products selling and truly want to go all-in with their business.
In full transparency, it’s also necessary to state that it’s very hard to directly compare/contrast some of these ideas and strategies against each other. It’s one of the big challenges as Amazon sellers and product launch experts. What I’m saying is… on some of the tactics and processes shared, you’re just going to have to take my word for it. I’m only sharing exactly what is absolutely crushing it for us right at this moment in 2020.
Before I really dive headfirst into the exact strategies that are working amazingly for launching and ranking on Amazon, I want to show you a few of our recent product launch screenshots just to give you an idea of what we are able to do over and over… and more importantly… how you can replicate this for yourself.
Category: Cell Phones & Accessories
Launch Start Date: 11/18/19
Launch End Date: 12/7/19
This product was listed on Amazon on November 13, 2019. And as you can see on the bottom right there, our first day one, day one of the launch was November 18 of 2019. This was a brand-new product that had no rankings to speak of.
The launch ended on December 8, 2019. We have eight keywords now in the top 10. We have 10 in the top 50. And we have many that are in the top 10 organically on Page 1 of Amazon.
What you’re seeing in the image above is a Facebook ads dashboard. This is one method that is involved in our Amazon product launches. And this product right here is evidenced by the yellow box.
We generated all of those results that I just showed you with only about $1011.69 in ad spend. So over about three weeks, that’s what we were able to pull off.
Category: Cell Phones & Accessories
Launch Start Date: 11/18/19
Launch End Date: 12/7/19
This product is pretty amazing. It’s evidenced by the red box on top, $290.19 total spent on ads in a 21 to 23-day period of time, generated that result.
Product number two was listed on September 2 of 2019 and launched on November 18, 2019. Again, organic ranking is zero, and the product is in an extremely competitive category. Post-launch; we have six keywords in the top 10 and have nine in the top 50. We are number one on Page 1 for several amazing keywords.
Launch Start Date: 11/14/19
Launch End Date: 12/7/19
Product #3 after launch
FACEBOOK AD SPEND
Here’s product number three; listed on Amazon November 5 of 2019, launched November 18, 2019, just like the other two.
Post-launch, December 8, we have some great rankings. We have 5 in the top 10, 8 and the top 50. Another satisfying result.
Evidenced by the blue box is the ad spend that went into this product.
Around $1100 spent if we tally up the campaigns. In total, for all three products that were launched on the same day, we spent $2,416.84 to generate all of those results. Mind you that the majority of these sales also came from cold traffic, and not a recycled buyers list.
It’s also important to note that all three of these product launches took place during the hardest time of the year to launch a new product on Amazon… in the heart of the Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas Holiday madness. I strongly recommend that you launch your product before this time, or wait until after and blast away in January after the insane buying activity has settled down.
You may be wondering… wow, these launches are being run for a long time… what gives?
You would be correct. We have found that 21 days is usually our sweet spot for Amazon product launches. It is not always necessary to run them for this duration but helps in a big way to ensure that rankings stick for the long haul.
I’m going to get into my top 5 reasons where I see people going wrong with their launches
but this is worth mentioning here as a little bonus…cutting off your launch early will crush all your momentum.
It is paramount that you be making consistent organic sales before the launch is stopped.
At Coul Products, we will keep sales slowly dripping into the product even when it’s ranking at the top of page one. We must communicate to Amazon that our product is there for the long term. One of the worst things you can do is go from selling 30 units per day, down to 3.
The real key is to slowly taper off the sales until the organic sales, plus sponsored ads sales match, or exceed the sales you were generating with your launch promotion. This is a MAJOR key that not many people talk about. Sustaining rank is harder than gaining rank 100% of the time. Don’t throw your hard-earned money and time down the drain by committing this no-no!
From what I’ve seen, and also speaking with many Amazon sellers is… most people seem to think this mythical God is sitting on top of a mountain that chooses which products to rank and which products to display on Page 1 of Amazon. And “if my product isn’t ranking, Amazon doesn’t like my product.” Or… my product quality is bad… or there’s something else wrong with my product. Time to give up, or reinvest into another product because this one didn’t work.”
I’m here to tell you that it takes a very proactive marketing approach to get a product ranked on Page 1.
Who am I?
My name is Pete Coulis, and I am the CEO of Coul Products.
Coul Products is an Amazon centric agency where we provide a myriad of services for Amazon sellers, most notably being our supercharged product launch service. We launched dozens of products every single month on Amazon with a literal 100% success rate.
What do I quantify as a successful launch?
When we rank to the top of page 1 for the keyword phrases that we target. We have yet to fail on doing that for any single product or any single client. We’ve made this work in cell phones, home & kitchen, supplements, pet supplies, health & household… you name it…
As time goes on and things continue to get more and more competitive, it’s impossible to ignore that “Just” getting to page 1 is not enough to tip the scales and open the flood gates. My criteria for a super successful launch is getting more rigid. My goal with every launch that we conduct is to get the product ranking organically within the top 1-5 positions for our target keyword phrases.
Statistics show that 50-60% of the sales that occur on page one are coming from the top 1-3 ranked products.
Without getting ahead of myself… the holy grail scenario is to have the headline ads search placement, sponsored product placement, and a 1-3 organic placement. Here is an example executed by Optimum Nutrition here:
Here’s the reality… the landscape has evolved and it continues to evolve at an alarming rate. If you have sold on Amazon for any length of time, you know how true this is, because what worked six months ago doesn’t work today. And what works today is not going to work six months from now. The only way to stay on the cutting edge of what’s working is to be doing this every single day, 24/7.
When I analyze the conversations I’ve had with Amazon sellers of all shapes and sizes, I can boil down to 5 main reasons why people are failing to execute a successful product launch.
5 main reasons why people are failing to execute a successful product launch.
1. Deep Discount Coupons:
I still see a tremendous number of sellers relying on these 80 to 90% off coupons. They do not work anymore. Not only do they not rank your product, but they can be very lethal to your selling account. In fact… if you still use this method, there’s a high chance you will get greeted with this not so flattering email from Amazon:
The first line reads “We contacted you about misusing the bestseller rank feature on our site.”
Nowhere in this email does it say that it’s be caused by coupons. but this is indeed the reason.
It’s however worth noting that this generally happens to new Amazon seller accounts. Amazon treats aged seller accounts with sales history much more leniently as compared to brand new accounts. If you have a brand-new Amazon seller account, it is highly recommended that you “ease” into your product launch slowly at first. Going from zero sales to 50 per day can understandably raise a red flag for the bots. Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Once you have some established sales history, reviews, seller feedback ratings, brand registry, etc… you then have much more freedom to undo the flood gates.
2. Using PPC Only To Rank:
You’re feeding Amazon all the wrong signals, especially in the early stages.
Let me explain:
- Sales velocity and conversion rates are incredibly important for ranking on Amazon.
- If ten people visit your product listing, and one buys, you have a 10% conversion rate.
This is why I’ve never understood the PPC only launch.
Before diving into why I don’t believe it’s the best way to go, it’s worth noting that it is possible to rank to Page 1 just with PPC.
But about the only way you’re going to be able to do that is by:
- A: spending a lot of money and waiting months
- B: your product has to have little competition
From all our experience, this isn’t the most efficient way to launch a new product.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Look at this product right here. This person is obviously trying to launch using just PPC. They have zero reviews. They’re in amongst all these other products that have 20, 30, 40, 50, 70 even you know, over 100 reviews. What do you think this is going to do for their conversion rate? If you were a buyer, I want you to just put yourself in a typical consumer’s shoes.
If you were in the market for a Jade Roller, would you click on this listing and buy this product when it’s surrounded by all these competitors that already have this social proof and reviews?
The answer is no. And what this does in the real world? It kills your conversion rate.
Even if a customer clicks on this listing, the chances of them buying are literally slim to none, which is going to destroy your conversion rate.
You need reviews before you start running PPC. You need a sales history before you start running PPC. These are the things that people fail to realize and I just see so many people spinning their wheels.
Did you know?
- 7/10 customers buy products on the first page of Amazon and never scroll past.
- And the first three products on Page 1 garner 50 to 60% of the sales.
This should open your eyes as to how critically important ranking in the top 3-5 for your best keyword phrases is for your PROFITABILITY.
Forget sales, we want to profit. The “P” word seems to be conveniently forgotten about when people are flashing their Amazon selling “success.”
I see guru after guru flaunting a Lambo that was bought with the money they made from their course.
Believe me when I say that it’s EASY to inflate your sales revenue number. The problem is nobody will ever tell you what their take-home is. Chances are they don’t even know this information themselves!
The Amazon business, just as any e-Com or physical products based business is a long game. As long as you are aware of that and have that mindset going in, you’ll be better prepared for the experience.
Let’s take a look at this typical scenario:
We have a 39% Profit Margin On This Product:
This screenshot represents a very typical product at a $21 price point. If you take into account the storage fees, referral fees, FBA fees, manufacturing, shipping, customs, any additional costs… you’re going to be netting about $8.59 per unit, and that’s a 39% profit margin.
Wondering what tool this is?
It’s the Helium10 Profitability Calculator.
We use Helium10 for just about everything in the accounts we manage.
39% margin is solid, but this is where most people stop.
This is where most people think “hey I’m going to be making a 39% margin. I’m going to be rich in a year.”
Let’s factor in some costs:
- Software: The typical Amazon will have monthly software costs of $200-500.
- Sponsored ads: The majority of high-volume Amazon brands would be okay with a 39% overall ACoS across their entire account. What happens though at a 39% ACoS? That means you’re breaking even on that 39% profit margin product.
- What about any other external advertising like Facebook, Instagram, or Google?
This is the truth that everyone loves to gloss over.
This is why very few Amazon businesses turn a respectable profit at the end of the day.
This is why it is more important than ever to obsess over high page 1 organic rankings. Preferably in the top 5.
It’s easy to get sales on Amazon. It’s not easy to be profitable.
3. Using super URLs To Rank:
Hopefully, you can now see how crucial it is to rank organically in order to make a profit. This topic is a perfect Segway.
Super URLs have been a staple in the Amazon launching game for years now. 3 years ago, they worked so well it was almost like cheating.
Today… not so much. You now know how important it is to be ranking in the top 5 for your best keyword phrases. Super URLs will not get you there if you sell a moderate to high competition product.
That being said… Here’s a little recommendation if you want to know the best URL structure that’s working today from our experience.
I’d roll with a 2-step ASIN structure. This can be easily created using a cheap tool like Pixelfy.me.
You may have also noticed on most Amazon search result pages that you see several new “sections” now.
Most notably the:
- Amazon Choice section
- Editorial Recommendation section
- Recommended Articles section.
This means potentially there can be three sections back to back to back that push down some of the organic listings halfway down, even three quarters down the first page.
This is yet another reason why it’s more important than ever, in my opinion, to be ranking in the top five for your given keywords. If you are relying on super URLs to do so, or just PPC, it’s not going to happen.
Why have Super URL’s Lost Effectiveness? Nobody knows, but I do have a hunch.
Amazon has become so inundated and desensitized to these URLs. So many launch services blasting the platform with the same URLs. So many courses teach students to use the same URLs. The list goes on… I firmly believe that if you can find a way to give Amazon a totally different “look” than your competitors, you are going to get rewarded in a large way.
One of the fixes we made that helped us leapfrog competitors was to work directly with what Amazon likes and wants; real organic searching and buying behavior aka Search Find Buy.
SFB is certainly all the rage now in 2020, but we’ve actually been doing this for well over a year now. Just like all things good, word gets out!
What is Search, Find, Buy?
Imagine if we could get an Amazon customer to go to Amazon, type in the exact search phrase that we want them to type in that we want to rank for, actually scroll down the listing, click your listing, and then buy your product. This sends far more powerful signals to Amazon in terms of a ranking standpoint.
The rankings evidenced here by 2 hyper recent launches are not possible with a super URL unless you want to giveaway 3,000 units.
Let’s see an example of another recent product
Category: Cell Phones & Accessories
Launch Start Date: 1/20/20
Launch End Date: 2/7/20
…And product #5
Category: Health & Household
Launch Start Date: 1/20/20
Launch End Date: 2/7/20
FACEBOOK AD SPEND:
4. You Think It’s a Simple Math Equation…
“Hey! Jungle Scout and Helium10 told me I need to give away 100 units over eight days, and then I’m going to rank on the top of page 1. Done!”
This is going to be brief.
In short… all these numbers are VERY rough estimates and it takes much more nuance.
Don’t be fooled.
- Is the sale happening at full price or a coupon discount?
- If it’s a coupon, then how large is the percentage?
- Is the customer buying through a URL, PPC, or Search-Find-Buy?
- What traffic source is this customer coming from?
- Are the traffic sources diversified in any way?
You can see how there are several factors that influence rank that go FAR beyond the # of units sold / # of days. If it were that easy, then people would be able to absolutely crush it just using a platform like RebateKey. I’m not in any way throwing shade at these types of services, but for the purposes of executing a launch to the best of your ability, you must be in full control of the sale from start to finish. No platforms…
This leads me perfectly into number 5.
5. Relying On One Traffic Source:
“I’ll just use Facebook to blast a bunch of sales and hope for the best.”
If you sell a very competitive product in a very competitive category, relying on one traffic source is going to be costly on most occasions.
It’s going to be very difficult to rank in the top five for your target keywords.
I’m just being honest and telling you exactly what we experience. That’s why our launch strategy involves a multi-faceted approach, which utilizes 4-5 premium traffic sources.
If your goal is wanting the absolute largest chance of success, and more importantly sustained success with the least amount of money spent, you’re going to be wanting to use a multi-faceted approach that involves multiple sources of traffic.
Because Amazon gets used to one stream of traffic coming into the listing. Especially traffic sources that every other seller is using.
The overwhelming evidence at this moment tells us that Amazon A9 is quick to recognize predictable patterns.
Predictable patterns are not good from a ranking standpoint. Of the small minute percentage of sellers that proactively drive traffic to their listings, an even smaller fraction of those sellers are using multiple sources.
A perfect example of this is giving away exactly 20 units per day for 10 days in a row, all from the same traffic source.
If you have traffic coming from Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Google, Blogs, & SlideShare, you’re going to get a much better result than if you just used Facebook. (all things being equal.)
Also…what if the majority of those traffic sources that I just mentioned dripped sales into your listing over time? To help sustain ranking and brand authority.
What I’m getting at is the ever so popular ManyChat launch strategy…
Without a doubt, this is still a very relevant and effective strategy. It’s also one element of our launch process. Keyword “one” element.
As time goes on, it takes more and more giveaways to achieve your result. It just does. Amazon has become desensitized to these types of promotions because so many sellers, as soon as something starts working and it gets into the mainstream, it becomes less effective by default immediately. Ascertain strategies become commoditized, it’s important to have alternatives.
What if your traffic breakdown looked a little bit more like this image; super diversified, super real, super different from any other one of your competitors? This is the kind of stuff that stands out. This is the kind of stuff that well flags Amazon.
Multiple traffic sources
The point I’m trying to drill home.
Our strategies cost you less while yielding more results. It’s not just another giveaway blast.
- What if you could reduce your waste by 20%? I’m talking number of units you have to sell.
- What if you were able to rank 30% better while saving all that extra money?
- And what if you could sustain that level of sales post-launch month after month at the same time?
Now, multiply these numbers by 12. That’s how much you’re going to save and gain over a year.
Now…what if you could have all this done for you without even having to lift a finger? I’m talking pre-launch, mid-launch, post-launch.
I firmly believe that the first three to four weeks of the lifespan of your product on this platform is the most critical because this is the time where we must communicate to Amazon:
- What exactly our product is?
- What exactly we’re relevant for?
- What exactly Amazon needs to be placing us in the top of the search result for?
Some people refer to this as the honeymoon period.
I’m not trying to instill fear in you. I’m just telling you from the real-world experience of having conducted dozens and dozens of product launches for clients.
THE REAL WORLD LAUNCH PROCESS IN 2020:
- Determine your budget for your launch
- Choose the keywords you want to target based on this budget
- Be sure your listing is optimized to the tee. Especially the title and images. Remember the beginning of your title is the most important real estate on your listing in terms of keyword ranking. The main keyword phrases must go in your title.
- Obtain full-price sales via Facebook, and other high authority traffic sources. This is easy when the customer is getting an offer they can’t refuse.
- Gain verified reviews from these full-price sales, but not too fast. We don’t want to flag Amazon or be doing anything black hat. Usually, we aim for obtaining reviews from 10% of customers who participate in our launch promotion. This is a sweet spot that works for us.
- Once a solid base of reviews is achieved… about 10 five star reviews. We want to turn on Amazon PPC in a very specific way.
- After 2-3 weeks, the paid external traffic promotion will end and your product will be receiving sales from organic search, blog articles, and PPC.
- (optional) For increased success, we highly suggest finding 1-2 influencers to promote your product to their audience at a discount. YouTube is our favorite platform for this because the video stays up forever. Instagram can work also, but YouTube is generally more effective for selling on Amazon. You want to offer up a discount that you are comfortable to give out forever. A 25% off coupon, for example, would be perfect.
There are several nuances and layers to the steps listed above.
In a nutshell…this is how you can absolutely dominate in 2020 and leapfrog your competition.
One of the big takeaways is that there is no “1” magic way of obtaining huge results.
Each layer builds off of one another in a very strategic way and this doesn’t work if you take one of these things out.
Remember that anyone can rank well initially… that’s not the challenge.
The challenge is sustaining that rank over time and truly making a profit from your sales.
That’s what separates the Pros from the Joe’s.
If any of this sounds interesting to you, go ahead and schedule a strategy call with me below.
In this call I provide you:
A clear action plan of how to launch and rank to page 1 in days.
Max Efficiency: How to spend less and get more out of your launches.
A push-button solution that takes all the complexity out of your hands.