The Million Dollar Case Study Session #12: Amazon Product Launch Strategies

Gen FurukawaProduct Marketing, The Million Dollar Case Study30 Comments

Session 12 of the Million Dollar Case Study was laced with excitement and anticipation. The pieces are quickly (or slowly, if you’re as excited as us) coming together to launch.

We started the session with a sneak peek at the production of the hooded baby towels. They are looking great, and I can personally attest to the fact that they are incredibly soft and luxurious. I may or may not have even tried using it myself as a test 😉

Here are some of the pics that the supplier sent Greg:

 

 

Another update is that the manufacturing is running slightly behind schedule. Greg was smart to include a clause in the purchase order agreement to get a 5% discount for every 7 days the production is delayed. You can get a copy of the agreement used for Jungle Stix here (it’s the same template he used for the baby towel), with the relevant details modified.

Here is the complete webinar replay:

And the slides:

 

So what does it take to launch a successful product on Amazon these days?

When launching, our biggest goal is to rank for primary keywords relevant to our product. We covered this in Session #11 on keyword research and listing optimization. Ideally, we want to uncover the most relevant keywords, and get our product listing to appear in the organic search results when people search for that particular keyword or phrase.

Here is a visual of the main priority to the Launch Strategy, and the underlying tactics to execute on the goal:

 

There are a variety of components that influence the keyword ranking, but there are three that we can directly influence in this launch strategy:

  1. Sales velocity
  2. Sales history
  3. Conversion rate

So at a high level, we get some quick sales, establish a strong sales velocity and sales history. How? We will do this with promotional giveaways.

This means offering a discount coupon to shoppers – they get our product at a discount, and we get guaranteed sales (boosting our sales velocity, sales history, and conversion rate). That’s a win-win all day!

One preface to this strategy is that you can expect to spend money when you are launching a product. It is an upfront investment in your product, with which you will reap the benefits of over months and years in the future.

 

Let’s clarify what is within amazon’s Terms of Service

I think one of the most important lessons that Greg has emphasized throughout the whole case study is to do everything clearly within Amazon’s Terms of Service. This is most important as it relates to generating product reviews, especially since the change in Amazon’s Terms of Service last October, that restricted incentivized reviews.

So what is allowed and what is not allowed?

 

So the most important thing: you are not allowed to offer incentivized reviewsThis means that you can not offer discounts, money, or any other compensation in order to get a review.

However, one important channel that you will need in your launch will be emails. The good news is that sending follow up emails to customers is completely allowed by Amazon.

 

The different strategies to launch a product

There are various strategies and channels that you can employ to launch your product. Greg gave a great overview of the pros and cons of each of these strategies. Let’s take a quick look at each of those here:

Promotions via Deal Sites:

This method is quick and simple, as it just requires a subscription to a deal site where you can promote your product with discounts to boost your sales velocity in the early days


 

Launch to an existing audience who are interested in your niche: 

You could reach out to an audience that are interested in your product niche to let them know about your new product launch. This method requires having access to an audience from the get-go.

 

Paid advertisements: 

You could run ads on platforms like Google, Facebook and other social media networks to gain traffic to your new product listing and generate sales. Very few sellers are readily equipped to do this in a profitable way, but for those that are, it can be useful in the long-term.


 

Build your own email list: 

Similar to launching to an existing list, you could build your own list of people who are interested in your product niche. This requires upfront work as shown below.

 

Use Amazon PPC:

As well as running ads to generate outside paid traffic, you could utilize Amazon's own PPC platform.

Launch tactics summary

As you can see all of these launch strategies have different nuances. As I already mentioned, we are going to start by using a deals site to run promotions and generate sales. This is because it's the fastest and most cost efficient way to launch. But that doesn't mean the rest of these tactics are redundant, we will definitely return to a few of these in the future to continue our Amazon product marketing and reach that $1 million dollar mark.

Ultimately, everything can be summarized with a simple matrix evaluating the effort, difficulty, and cost required to execute these strategies:

 

How will we get reviews?

So how are we going to start for the Million Dollar Case Study?

Use deal site promotions

For the Jungle Snugs launch, we will use the discounted marketplace, Jump Send, to get our initial sales velocity. This will help us improve our Best Seller Rank and Jump Sendkeyword ranking.

 

Set up automated email campaigns

Alongside this, we want to complement our strategy with email campaigns. This helps to maximize our likelihood of getting a review and provides extra delight for Jungle Snugs customers.

Why set up automated email campaigns?

Well, on average, less than 1% of customers will leave a review on a product. We want to improve this. Therefore, we can increase the likelihood of converting a sale into a review by multiples if we add follow up email campaigns. Greg has experienced improvements of 4-10x just by adding simple follow-up email campaigns to customers. There is so much that you can do to add value for each purchase using this method, too.

However, like with any great power, comes great responsibility. There are some general guidelines when creating your email campaigns that you will want to follow, in order to generate the best results.

Amazon-compliance-with-Jump-Send-865x487
 

The email sequence for Amazon sellers

Greg has a simple three-email sequence, that follows this structure:

It's important to get this right, and to avoid bombarding your customers. In order to strike a balance, follow these guidelines:

  • Keep it to three emails per purchase
  • Ensure each of these three emails has a core single message, don't over complicate things!
  • Ensure you use the same brand personality as in your product listing, and further instill the value of the product into the customers mind
  • Add value if you can, for example, this could include sending an interesting attachment related to the product

Overall, you are letting the customer know that you are there, you are friendly and that you care. Many people who purchase from Amazon don't realize or forget that there's a business owner behind the product. This is your opportunity to shine.
 

A few nifty Jump Send features

One important feature built into Jump Send is that email campaigns are ended once a customer leaves a product review. This directly addresses the issue of not sending too many emails, or unwanted emails.

The other unique feature that you can include some blank stars encouraging the recipient to rate the product. Once you add the simple Autofill tag, your emails automatically include the product and some blank stars, like this:

 

 

This simple visual has a tremendous impact on Click Through Rate: Greg’s tests have shown that it has improved clicks by 59%. That kind of lift can really impact the number of reviews you get for your product, which only reinforces social proof and conversion rate.

 

A note on returns 

Sorry to bring up such a sad topic so early 🙁 But returns are a fact of life for any ecommerce business owner. The good news is, your automated emails can help with this too. By simply reaching out to your customers, you increase the chance that they will get in touch if something is wrong, rather then just leaving a bad review.

Additionally, Jump Send has another unique feature which allows you to trigger a separate email when a customer triggers a return request. This further allows you to ensure the customer has the best support when they really need it.

 

A look at getting immediate sales with promotions

Greg mentioned that generating sales velocity is imperative to securing a great keyword ranking, and the beauty of deals sites was that it could be done in just a few minutes, and that was not hyperbole. The simplicity of creating promotional coupons and getting the product in front of thousands of shoppers is not to be missed.

I went through the process with Jungle Stix, which is strikingly simple.

Step 1: Enter your ASIN to Jump Send

 

Step 2: Choose your approval method

How much do you want to monitor your giveaways? You can choose whether you want to approve each give away manually, or automatically approve all giveaways:

Step 3: Add coupons

Add the coupons that you will use. You set up your coupons in your Seller Central dashboard, and determine the exact discount that you want to offer. It is a very simple process, and here's a video to walk you through the whole process:

Step 4: Review & publish

You will want to review everything, and once you publish, you will start getting requests to purchase within minutes:

 

In Conclusion

So that is the our launch strategy recap. In a nutshell we are going to:

  1. Generate initial sales with promotional giveaways (on Jump Send)
  2. Run email campaigns to generate more reviews
  3. Run Pay Per Click campaigns to get additional exposure for our main keywords

 

Join us next week with Amazon PPC Expert Brent Zahradnik, to learn how to set up and execute profitable pay per click campaigns (PPC). The webinar will be held on Wednesday, May 17th at 1p ET/10a PT:

 

JOIN THE MILLION DOLLAR CASE STUDY

 

This will be highly valuable content for new sellers and experienced sellers alike, see you there!

 

Gen Furukawa
Let's Chat

Gen Furukawa

Marketing at Jungle Scout
If dreams came true, Gen would be playing alongside Steph Curry in the NBA. He's living the best possible alternative, in San Francisco helping others use Jungle Scout to build profitable businesses.
Gen Furukawa
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30 Comments on “The Million Dollar Case Study Session #12: Amazon Product Launch Strategies”

  1. Do you know any alternative to Jump Send in the UK.

    I know it says on their website that they are planning to launch in the UK shortly, but for the meanwhile, is there anything as good or similar to Jump send?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hey Clive! Unfortunately, I don’t know of any off the top of my head, I would have to dig around and try and find one. Sorry about that.

  2. I would assume once a few reviews and sales trickle in you would move from an automatic PPC to a manual with subsequent ad spend increase?

  3. Hello.
    How many coupons/promotional giveaways are you going to give per day during launch period.
    How many days will it take?

    Thank you

  4. Hello.
    You mentioned in post “Greg mentioned that generating sales velocity is imperative to securing a great keyword ranking, and the beauty of deals sites was that it could be done in just a few minutes”

    How will selling through Jump Send increase keyword ranking? Is there some “connection” between each sale and keyword in the Jump Send service?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Alexander,

      Sales velocity is one of the things that greatly impacts your product listings rank, as determined by Amazon’s algorithms. So using Jump Send promotions allows you to boost your sales velocity for a new product, and thus have a positive impact on your keyword rankings over time.

      Other things that also affect your rank include reviews, price, availability and sales history!

      Using Jump Send is a fast and effective way to get the sales velocity up, especially when you first launch.

      Many thanks for joining the case study,
      Kym

  5. Hello to you Thanks for the post. Amazon also has a giveaway service. What is this service and whether it is also used as one of the methods to launch a product
    Thanks
    Erez

  6. Hello to you
    Amazon also has their own service of giveaway.
    What is this service and whether it can be used as one of the methods for Product Launch
    thanks
    erez

    1. Hey Erez,

      Sure, you can set up offers and discounts on Amazon. In fact, you still have to do this to use a deal service like Jump Send. The difference with Jump Send is that you will get your promotion in the eyes of thousands of shoppers who are looking for the best deals. So this helps to increase your sales velocity much more effectively.

      Cheers,
      kym

  7. Hi. Thanks a lot for this great and inspiring video. I have a issue with Jump Send: When I click on PUBLISH it appears “Asin already exists.” Can anyone help me on this? I already sent a email to jump send support but I didn´t have answer. Thanks once again.

    1. Hey Nuno,

      Thanks for sharing your question. I’m not certain what the issue is, will need more details, would you mind forwarding the email you sent to Jump Send to [email protected]? thanks Nuno!

      Gen

  8. Hey,

    Thanks for the video I learned alot.
    I want to launch a product on amazon.co.uk. do you know any good deal sites for the uk market?

    with kind regards,

    1. Hey there,

      Unfortunately I don’t know of any deals sites that work in the same way as Jump Send. You can still set up promotions in Seller Central though when launching your product.

      You could maybe try to get some traffic from submitting your promotion to sites like Hotukdeals, but I’m not sure how effective that would be!

      Cheers,
      Kym

  9. Hey

    I’ve used Jumpsend in the past and reviews left would show but not have the verified badge. How has this changed recently? People used to say if the discount was less than 50% it would still count as a verified review. Was this true and if so, is this still the case?

    Thanks a lot,
    Amy

    1. Hey there Amy,

      Great question! There is definitely a rumor doing the rounds that if the discount is <50% it would still count as verified. But this has not been confirmed so it's just a rumor. It does seem that verified purchase review badges appear when the discounted product percentage is lower though, so there could be some truth in it. What Amazon say on their help page is that a product had to have been purchased at a price that is available to most buyers.

      Your best bet is to contact AMZ support to see if you can gain any insights from them (and do let us know what you discover)! 🙂

      Thanks for joining the case study,
      Kym

  10. Hey Kym, Gen, and Greg!

    I’ve been following along and putting everything into practice. One thing I’m seeing that I hope you guys have a solution for is, I receive bounceback emails from Amazon saying that my email message couldn’t be delivered because the customer doesn’t want emails from the seller. Is this common? It literally has happened on 90% of the people that purchased an item on Jumpsend.

    Thanks,

    Jason

      1. Thanks Gen!

        That does shed some light on the issue.

        Any chance we can blacklist jumpsend buyers who’ve opted out of Amazon emails so we don’t waste that product on them?

  11. Hey guys, really enjoying your case study!
    I chose a product, sourced it, and now its sitting in amazons warehouses. I’ve setup a 74% off deal on two deal sites (jump send and snagshout) but I only got two bites so far. Do I need to go lower in price? Do you usually get a bunch of takers immediately or does it take a couple days?
    Thanks

    1. Hey Spencer,

      I would leave it for a few days to see if it picks up, and if not try some different deals to see if that works out better.
      Meanwhile, I would also suggest a two-pronged approach of setting up some Amazon PPC campaigns during your launch period too, which can help to increase sales velocity and in turn help to increase your rankings!

      Let us know how you get on with your launch 🙂

      Kym

  12. Hey

    I have created a coupon in Jump Send offering 60% discount from 24.99 to 9.99, but no sales and coupon were redeem after the coupon was launched for 15 days. So please suggest what else I can do or Jump Send may help to enhance the coupon redemption rate.

    Thanks.

    PW

    1. Hey Peggy,

      As I understand it, you are saying that your discount was set up but no one took advantage of the offer? It might be worth you firing an email to [email protected] so that they can take a look at your offer and ensure everything is working correctly. The team would be more than happy to help you out!

      Thanks,
      Kym

  13. I gave away over 100 units and have sold over another 100 but I still only have two reviews. Im using jumpsends default email campaigns. What else can I do to get more reviews?
    Thanks

    1. Hey Spencer,

      Since incentivized reviews were banned, sellers do have to work smarter to get organic reviews.

      Besides your giveaways, here’s a few tips you could try:

      – Review your automated email campaigns and see if you can improve the messaging
      – Add an insert to your product to ask for reviews
      – Try giving away some useful content alongside your product that will make the customer see more value in it and be more inclined to leave a review (for example, a free ebook, guide, recipes, use cases and so on)

      We have quite a few articles on this over at the Jump Send blog.

      Many thanks,
      Kym

  14. Hi:

    Just a couple of quick questions. I am impressed at your email system, we use an in house bot that actually uses the amazon email system to send out emails. The reason we went that way was is that I found that non deliver-ability (emails that end up in junk mail, treated as spam, etc.) suffered when sending email from a 3rd party email account. How do you address that? What is the send email address that your email program uses and how do maintain it on the white lists of the major email providers?

    I also believe you might find Cialdini,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Influence:_Science_and_Practice (principals)

    Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition

    https://www.amazon.com/Influence-Psychology-Persuasion-Robert-Cialdini/dp/006124189X

    an excellent reference for crafting emails to maximum effect.

    Looking at a typical product we get about 2.3% of customers to leave feedbacks. (Number of feedbacks over time / Number of orders), how does your email system compare? I know your click through rates are higher, but feedback left seems to me to be the gold standard.

    Thanks, I appreciate the time this might take to get answers but I think they might be useful to you as well.

    1. Hey Chris,

      Nice – I love that you’ve taken the initiative to build something for your emails 🙂

      Emails are sent to an anonymized email address, which looks like this: [email protected]

      Since all of the emails we sent go to that subdomain, we don’t have to worry about gmail, yahoo, hotmail etc. spam filtering. This makes the deliverability rate 100%.

      However, if the email is crafted in a spammy manner, then it can still get caught by Amazon – but this would be the same regardless of whether using a 3rd party or not.

      We see CTR of up to 3.7% for email sequences that are well structured. Of course getting reviews or seller feedback is of huge importance, but there’s no real way to translate your “conversion” rate in that sense. You could make some guesses based on how many reviews you have received in a specific time period, but it’s difficult to say how many are attributed to the email itself because of the way that Amazon works.

      Hope this helps to answer your questions!

      Kym

  15. Many thanks for this helpful post. My only query – presumably any reviews gained this way will show up as unverified? Amazon (in the UK at least) have been retrospectively deleting unverified reviews (even on products where they were obtained legitimately prior to the TOS change and where I only have a few for a product!)

    1. Hey Kim,

      It’s a little bit of an unknown as to how Amazon deals with unverified reviews these days. Some sellers did see older unverified reviews get removed after the TOS change last October. Equally, I know that several sellers have launched new products since the TOS change, and had unverified reviews appear on their product listing without a problem.

      Not that an unverified review is one where it is not verified that the person actually bought your product – as anyone can log into Amazon and leave a review on a product.

      Verified reviews are of course always going to be better, which is why using a platform like Jump Send is useful, as you can send automated emails to all of your actual customers and ensure they are happy, and ask for a review. Even if you are running a promotion, so long as you never *require* a review in exchange for a coupon or discount, this is still fine too.

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kym

  16. Kym:

    I agree you can’t say an email caused a result in terms of feedback, but you easily measure the total percentage that are left. You have to download the orders off the back end, count the total number for a given item over some period and then compare it to the number of feedbacks left during the same time period for that item. It takes about 10 minutes per item unless you build software to do the analysis. Overall very clunky but useful for optimization if the numbers are statistically significant.

    I am glad to see that your system is using the Amazon seller email function to send out the emails, that is very powerful in terms of deliver-ability and your system allows graphics which really rocks. Some email systems may suppress graphics though so adding a naked link in addition might make for a good experiment.

    We always stay within the TOS in terms of our emails so spam and Amazon problems thankfully have not been an issue.

    Thanks for taking the time to answer my query, I really appreciate it.

    I expect to be testing your system in the near future.

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