Launching products on Amazon is tougher today than it’s ever been.
Valuable search terms are more competitive, meaning you need to sell a lot more to get your product to the first page. Yet commonly used methods to get visibility for your product, such as launch services and heavily discounted giveaways are becoming less effective.
What’s more, Amazon is beginning to crack down on these launch methods, making some sellers fear they’ll be suspended for high-value giveaways.
Today, you need new ways to rank products on the first page. The top sellers are building launch lists, which they can use to drive targeted traffic to new products and gain a spike in sales velocity.
This boost in sales translates into rankings, which is the golden goose for Amazon sellers.
Learn how a launch list helps you, and how to build one of your own, in this post.
Benefits of having a launch list
A launch list takes a bit of cost and effort to build. It’s not as quick as signing up for a launch service. But the benefits are clear, and pay off big time for future product launches and promotions.
So, while your competitors are taking the easy route at first, you’ll start to pull away before long. The effort you put into building a list becomes clear over time.
Here are some of the major ways a list helps your business.
The hardest part about driving people to your products is targeting. You usually have to spend a bit of money sifting through to find the people who want to buy what you have to sell.
With a launch service, you have no guarantees the right people are going to see your products. Even worse, these services can be hunting grounds for hijackers, who snatch products up for cheap and then resell them on your own listing.
Having a list of buyers means you’ve already done the hard work sifting through people who may be interested, and have gotten through to the ones who are interested. You’ve got a warm audience, which means your launches aren’t starting from step one. You’re already ahead of the game.
Cheaper to send marketing messages
Marketers traditionally get an astounding ROI from email and Messenger. Reports show email, in particular, generates $44 return for every dollar spent.
That’s because it costs very little to send an email or a message on Facebook Messenger. In fact, the only reason that the ROI isn’t higher is the cost involved in getting someone’s email or other contact details.
Once you’ve gotten someone on your list, the cost of sending promotional material to them is laughably small. Even if your emails don’t convert very well, you’re almost certain to get a better ROI than you will with paid ads or other channels.
Easier to get reviews
Sales aren’t the only thing you want from a good product launch. Reviews are crucial too.
Most Amazon sellers pull their hair out trying to get legitimate reviews for their products. And it’s even worse for new products – you can’t get sales without reviews, but can’t get reviews without sales.
If you launch your product with a launch list, you can use that list again to ask your buyers for reviews. The more personal channel of communication (compared to Amazon’s messaging system) should result in more reviews. In turn, this helps kick start your product with the social proof it needs to convert.
Leverage look-alike audiences to grow your audience even further
You can also use your list to build an even bigger list.
The bigger your list, the better. A list of 1000 targeted buyers will bring you more results than a list of 100 will.
Facebook Ads have a great feature called lookalike audiences. After uploading your list as a custom audience, you can use Facebook’s targeting tools to send ads to people with similar characteristics or demographics to your original list.
You can run ad campaigns to capture contact details from people in your lookalike audience, and grow your list bigger and bigger.
Before long, that list of 100 people will turn into 200. Then 500, then 1000, and so on
How to Build your List
We love talking about the benefits, but let’s get practical. How can you build a list of your own?
The first thing you should know is that it will take a little work. Something as valuable as a customer list doesn’t fall to you out of the clouds.
It’s also not as easy as buying a list of emails from people interested in [x] niche. Cutting corners and doing something like this is going to come back and hurt you later.
Here’s what you can do to build your own list of targeted customers.
Use Past Buyers
Before you do anything, consider that you might already have a customer list.
If you’ve already been selling for some time, you have some customer details available to you already. You don’t have the important details like email addresses, but enough is there for you to work with.
By exporting customer data from your Fulfilled Shipments reports, you can create a custom audience of past buyers in Facebook. Then, as we talked about earlier, you can create lookalike audiences and run ads to build a list from shoppers with similar interests.
You can also drive ads to the original custom audience of past buyers, and get them on your list, though this is a little bit of a grey area with Amazon’s ToS.
Besides this, if you’ve been selling on your own site as well as Amazon, you likely already have a customer list. If so, you’re starting the 100m sprint 50m in. Make sure you leverage this, both to drive sales and rankings on Amazon, and to build a bigger audience.
One more thing you need to consider is that you need an incentive for people to join your list. You might get a small percentage of people signing up without an incentive, but the conversion rate won’t be worth your ad spend.
The best kind of incentive is a single-use promo code. The customer needs to opt-in to receive their code, by providing their email, or subscribing on Messenger.
Discount codes are an attractive incentive (who doesn’t like a discount?). Even better, they help you convert more when your customer goes on to Amazon.
Using your Launch List – Product Launches, Re-launches and Promotions
As well as using your list to build an even bigger list, you’ll want to use it for marketing purposes too.
Here are a few ways you can put your list to work.
Launching new products
Product launches can make or break you on Amazon. A good launch, and you’re on the express train to the first page. A bad one, and your product is stuck on page 9000, where no one is ever going to find it.
Use your list to drive quality buyers to your product as soon as it launches, to have a much higher chance of getting to the first page. Additionally, you can use 2-step URLs to ensure the sales you’re getting are for the valuable search terms that are going to make you money.
Launches aren’t only for new products. You can also re-launch if you had a bad initial launch, or for some reason you need a fresh start.
Maybe you had quality issues that resulted in a lot of bad reviews. Maybe you made some mistakes with your listing or keywords strategy early on that tanked your rankings. Or you might want to try your luck ranking for a higher-volume search term.
Either way, you can use your list to re-launch your listing and get things off on a good note. This is especially worthwhile if your product is some kind of consumable, that your original buyers may be likely to buy again.
Events like Black Friday, Prime Day and Christmas are great opportunities to generate some excitement, and with it, more sales. Some sellers have a process in place to run a promotion every month, to continually drive sales.
As we’ve established, the boost in sales velocity helps your rankings. Fast moving stock also helps you save on storage fees, which add up over time, and provides you with more cash flow to re-invest in your business.
Product launches are a hard thing to get right, but pay off big time if you do so.
A great launch puts you in a prime position to start making organic sales, and with a proven launch method you can rinse and repeat this for every new product.
Instead of relying on external launch services that don’t allow you to own your audience, try building a list yourself. It takes some work, but by not taking shortcuts, in time you’ll have a long list of warm, targeted buyers, and a big edge over your competitors.