The Amazon Sales Flywheel
So before we dive too deep into the actual launch process, it's important to take a second to understand exactly how selling on Amazon works and what drives sales and rank.
Contrary to what you will see in most articles about this topic, the way that ranking on Amazon actually works is a fairly simple and straightforward process.
Getting your product to show on the first page of Amazon search results depends on only a few simple factors.
Essentially, the entire thing boils down to how likely your product is to sell if your product is shown to someone.
If we take them into something about it, this does actually make sense.
After all, the job of any search engine (which is really what Amazon is) is to give the user (in the case of Amazon the buyer) the results that are most likely to get the user to take the next action.
While in the case of a search engine like Google, this would be to get the user to click through to the article they are searching for, on Amazon is to get them to click on and purchase a product.
In order to determine which products are most relevant, Amazon uses a few factors.
The first thing you'll need in order for your product to rank on Amazon is traffic.
There are hundreds of thousands of listings on Amazon that have never seen a single visit, so if you can get even one visit you're already in a better position than tens or hundreds of thousands of other listings (we'll talk about one of the easiest ways to direct traffic further along with this article).
After you've gotten a visit (or two or 5000) to your listing the next factor Amazon looks at is how many of those visits turned into sales.
This is referred to generally in the marketing world as your conversion rate (or as Amazon refers to it your “unit session percentage”).
Essentially, Amazon wants to know if you and I both have a listing if they send a visitor to one of our listings, which of those visits would be most likely to result in a sale.
The person most likely to result in a sale, will virtually always rank higher.
The third and final thing that Amazon really considers in their ranking algorithm is overall velocity.
If a product starts selling very well, it may rank higher than higher converting products (at least for a short amount of time), which is something we will want to keep in mind during the launch process.
While the actual ranking algorithm from Amazon is likely substantially more complicated than these three factors, everything that happens inside of the algorithm comes back to one of these three things.
All of the different launch strategies are an attempt to take advantage of one or more of these factors to help your product rank higher faster.
The interesting thing is, these three factors all feed into each other and when a product is launched correctly can result in what’s referred to as a growth flywheel but is more commonly known as the snowball effect.
If we can push heavily on two or all three of these factors, we can ensure that a new product will launch and drink quickly and stay high in the search results for the long term.
Preparing For The Launch:
Now that you have a basic understanding of the “Amazon Flywheel” and the things that make a product rank inside of the Amazon ecosystem, it’s time to dive into the 4 step launch process.
Side note: if you’re reading this article, you should have done the first two of these steps already. If not….do them NOW, these lay the foundation of your product launch success.
Create and Optimize Your Listing
Once you've gone through the product selection process the first step in getting prepared for your launch is to create and optimize your listing on Amazon.
Before reading further this article, make sure that you follow the optimization steps that we laid out in our full guide.
Learn how to create a fully optimized listing here
Send Your Product In To Amazon FBA
Once you created your optimized listing, it's time to send an inventory into Amazon FBA.
To create your shipment, log into your Seller Central account, navigate to the inventory tab and click on the manage FBA shipment button.
From here, you'll see any existing shipments that you created and by clicking on the “send to Amazon” link in the upper left-hand corner of your inventory view, you can create a new shipment plan.
Step 1: Choose inventory to send
Once inside the “send to Amazon workflow”, you'll have the ability to choose one of two methods to create your shipment.
The first option under the SKU selection method is to select from the list.
This option allows you to choose any SKUs for listings you have created and should be used as your default option.
Additionally, Amazon gives you the file upload option if you're creating a more complex shipment plan this may be significant, but if this is your first shipment using the “select from list” option.
Once you have chosen your SKU selection method, Amazon will populate all of the SKUs you created inside of your seller central account and allow you to indicate the number of boxes and/or units of the inventory you want to send.
Keep in mind that this is the first time you're creating a shipment, Amazon will ask for a variety of information including the box dimensions so make sure to have it on it and.
After you've indicated the number of boxes you will be shipping, select the confirming continue button in the bottom right-hand corner of the page and that will take you to your shipping confirmation section.
Step 2: Confirm shipping
Once you've indicated all of the products he was to ship, along with their quantities, Amazon will give you a summary screen inside the shipping confirmation step.
Additionally, they will ask you to enter the date you want to select for the shipment (usually today).
And the mode with which you want to ship.
Smaller shipments will almost always be under the small parcel delivery option and larger shipments will almost always be in the less than truckload.
Lastly, Amazon makes you select the shipping carrier you can choose to use either the Amazon apartment carrier (almost always less expensive option) or you can select any of the normal freight carriers for your country and pay their posted rate.
As a general rule, using Amazon her carrier will almost always result in a lower shipping cost and a better delivery experience. If however, you seem to have a special framework out of the specific carrier in which to use them as long as they're listed in the list of non-partnered carriers or choose the other option, you'll be able to ship using your preferred carrier.
Once you select your carrier, Amazon will ask you to accept any charges related to the shipment and confirm that you are shipping it.
Step 3: Print box labels
Lastly, after you confirm your shipment, Amazon will ask you to print the box labels and give you the instructions for how to properly label your boxes to ensure the carrier will pick them up and that Amazon will be able to accept your shipment on delivery.
Keep in mind, that while you don't need any sort of special printer for this process (you can print labels on regular 8.5 x 11 paper) if you're going to be shipping things to Amazon frequently that a label printer can be a worthwhile investment.
Once you have printed and labeled your boxes, follow the instructions to have your carrier pick them up and you’re good to go.
Keep in mind that it can take several weeks for Amazon to officially “check-in” inventory and make it ready for sale/fulfillment on the site, so plan ahead!
Build Your Launch List
Once your inventory has been sent to Amazon, you are in a little bit of a waiting game.
During this downtime, there are some things you should be actively doing to ensure you have a successful product launch.
One of the biggest keys to success is being able to drive traffic to Amazon once your product is launched.
One of our favorite ways to do this is by building what's called a launch list. Paragraph if you'd like to learn the exact step-by-step process we use to create our profitable launch lists, you'll want to check out this guide.
How to quickly build a profitable email list
Create Your Promotional Code
One other thing you should be doing while you are waiting for Amazon to check in your inventory is setting up your promotional codes.
While you do not have to discount the products to have a successful launch, giving special benefits to your social media followers or the people on your email list is a great way to drive highly qualified and high converting traffic and get your initial boost in sales.
If you're curious about how to set up an Amazon promo code correctly, you'll want to check out
the ultimate guide to Amazon Promotional Codes
The Simple 5-Step Process We Used To Generate $64,000 In 12 Months Working Part Time On Etsy.Yes, Send Me The Roadmap!
Now we have all of the preparations out of the way, it's time to launch our product on amazon.com.
We like to use a simple two-step process to accomplish this objective.
As discussed above, we need to generate not just a few initial sales, but we also want to drive as much traffic to the listings as possible in the first few days of the launch.
Both traffic and sales are crucial to show Amazon the people are interested in our product and both help to establish our long-term organic rank, which will be the biggest source of sales over the long term.
Use Your Launch List:
The first step into our lunch process is to use the email list we built during the prelaunch phase.
To maximize the performance of this list, we use what is called the email profit push method.
The Email Profit Push Method
While this method can be stretched out over a larger number of days, for a product launch we typically prefer to use the three-day version. Below I will dive into the types of emails sent each day and tell you how many are ideal.
On the first day, you’ll need to send at least one, but ideally two, emails.
The first email is simply announcing that the product is now live on Amazon and that anyone on our email list can use the promotional code we created during the prelaunch phase to grab their discount.
Keep this email simple and simply tell people what the product is and why they should grab it right away.
If you choose to send a second email on day one, I typically prefer to resend the original email (it already has all of the explanation in it) with a new subject line and perhaps a new introduction letting people know that you are resending to make sure they have seen the email.
During day two of our product launch process, I like to send one additional email.
Here, instead of the direct sales email, we prefer to use the hybrid method.
If you didn't read the email list building article went further on this post, a hybrid email is a content-based email with a reminder about a product you have for sale.
For example, if we are selling a new bass fishing lower, we may send an email directing people on our list to check out a great video about bass fishing that we found on YouTube.
After the main body of the email has concluded we will remind them about the sale in the PS section.
It's important to remember that in the sales reminder we should be including the deadline for the promotional code to expire to help push them to action.
On the third and final day of the three-day email push, I generally suggest sending three emails.
While this may sound like a large number of emails to send, we want to make sure everyone on the list has a chance to take advantage of the deal and by sending emails at different times during the day and ensure that the maximum number of people will see at least one of them.
The first email on the final day should be a simple reminder letting them know that the sale is ending at midnight and reminding them of the reasons why they should be interested in your product.
The second email is similar to the email we sent on day two and is more of a hybrid-style email with a gentle reminder that the promotion is ending.
The third and final email is what I would consider being a hard sale email.
Essentially this last email simply tells people that the sale will be ending at midnight and that this is their last chance to buy.
While this is often easiest enough to write, also almost always the email that leads to the most sales because people don't want to miss out on the deal.
Turn On Pay Per Click:
The second stage of the launch process involves using Amazon's existing traffic to help drive potentially interested shoppers to our listing.
Amazon offers a variety of different advertising options to help us with this, but to start with my suggestion is that we use Amazon's sponsored products option (often referred to as Amazon).
To get started with a new Amazon PPC campaign, first, log in to your seller central dashboard and click on the advertising drop-down.
From here, you want to click on the campaign manager button which will take you into your advertising dashboard.
Click on the yellow create campaign button located in the middle left of the screen and choose sponsored products from the options that are available to you.
From here, we're going to set up two different campaigns.
The first is going to be an automatic targeted campaign, where Amazon selects power keywords for us (this option is selected by default inside of the campaign dashboard) and the second is a manual target campaign where we can enter our keywords.
The reason we set up both of these campaigns is for whatever reason sometimes even the same keywords will perform better in the manual campaign than they will be automatic or vice versa.
This process is essentially the same with the biggest difference being in the manual target campaign we have to physically upload a list of keywords and any automatic targeting we do not.
To begin with, let's set the automatic target campaign.
Once we have entered the campaign dashboard, we need to give the campaign name start date, and a daily budget (I would suggest a minimum of $20 a for lunch campaign).
The next thing we will need to do is select what Amazon calls a campaign bidding strategy.
Here, we have three basic options to choose from, although this is your first time through my suggestion would be to leave the default option which will allow Amazon to adjust bids up to and down by as much as 100% to start capturing traffic for you.
Once you select your campaign bid strategy Amazon will ask you to create an ad group (all you have to do is give it a name) and select the products you wish to advertise.
Once you have selected the product you want to advertise, Amazon will ask you to set your bid and they will start you off with a suggested default bid.
In terms of Amazon advertising, your bid is how much you are willing to pay anytime someone clicks on your ad inside of the Amazon ecosystem.
For most markets, setting this default bid somewhere between seven $0.75 and one dollar should be enough to start bringing in traffic.
Once this is done, press your launch campaign button and let Amazon start tracking traffic.
Setting up A Manual Campaign
As mentioned above, I usually suggest setting up a manual campaign, as well as an automatic campaign.
While the majority of the campaign creation process is the same, there are a few small differences I wanted to point out here.
The campaign creation process begins the same way, by going to the advertising tab and creating a new campaign.
Once this is done, the differences start in the “ campaign settings” section of the campaign creation dashboard. New paragraph. Here, instead of leaving the automatic Targeting selected, you'll want to switch the option to manual targeting.
From here, your campaign creation process is the same until you reach the targeting section.
Here, you'll want to select the “keyword targeting” option, this will allow you to manually enter the keywords you wish to target in the next section.
inside the keyword targeting section, you can start by selecting the suggested keyword or click the enter list option to manually enter any keywords that may be relevant for your product.
Amazon will ask you if you want to set a specific bid or match type for these keywords, but at this point, it’s best to leave the default bid and all match types at this stage.
This will allow Amazon to gather as much data as possible, which is what we want during the first few days of the launch.
We can (and should) come back later and change the individual bids or match types, once we have some data back from Amazon telling us what is and isn’t working.
Once you've entered all of the relevant keywords, press the launch campaign button (located in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen) and your campaign will begin to run.
That’s a Wrap:
If you’ve made it this far, it means you’ve successfully listed and launched your product on Amazon.
While there is still a long way to go to master all of the in’s and out’s of the process, you now have the skills under your belt to repeat this process with your next product.
If you missed our listing creation guide, make sure to check that out here.
Chris ShafferChris lives at the intersection of business strategy and growth tactics. Having consulted with dozens of different businesses (as well as building several of his own), he brings a unique perspective on what's working across the eCommerce world in businesses of all shapes and sizes.
The Simple 5-Step Process We Used To Generate $64,000 In 12 Months Working Part Time On Etsy.Yes, Send Me The Roadmap!