How to Prepare an Amazon Product Launch in 2021
Some people talk about launching products on Amazon as if they were preparing a cup of coffee. They have (casually) accomplished a ton already and there is (casually) much more to come.
Other people become nervous and anxious, like before a first date. Actually, this might work… maybe.
No matter which of these categories you’re in, launching a new product on Amazon is never the same as the last one. Because of this, there is no such thing as “too prepared” in the world of e-commerce.
While we can’t possibly list everything your particular product needs at launch, let’s dig in and sort through a few of the major things you MUST NOT MISS while preparing to launch your product on Amazon.
Amazon Product Launch Checklist 2021
1. Revisit the Competition
If it has been more than a few weeks since you did your Amazon product research and niche analysis, you should look at your competition again. Run a Cerebro search on your top 10-20 competitors, look at the keywords movements and trends – now we have all this valuable information inside Helium 10, learn how to find it here – try to see if something has changed drastically since the last time you looked.
What exactly are we looking for?
a. Large increases or decreases in search volume – This may indicate seasonal products, which I strongly advise launching only after you’ve had some experience with Amazon.
b. Several new competitors are appearing in your category – This indicates that you have to move fast and get some leverage before the niche gets too crowded.
c. Main competitors getting a ton of product ratings in a very short period of time – This may indicate that they are using black hat techniques. If you’re in a niche where the big players are doing this, you might have a more difficult road ahead in your journey (building a brand in that niche).
This doesn’t mean you can’t be successful there, it only means that you must be prepared to spend more money and invest more time. Still, if your product has unique features and you make sure to market them and create perceived value, you will be fine!
2. Keywords, Keywords, and more Keywords!
Keep your keyword research consistent. You don’t need hundreds or thousands of keywords in endless spreadsheets and pivot tables. 50-100 keywords are more than enough and can cover everything you need. If the niche you’re launching in is not too crowded, you might not even have 50 targeted keywords in total.
a. I am talking about very relevant keywords. This is something a lot of sellers don’t pay enough attention to. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not all about search volume. Relevancy in a launch is more important than search volume because during the first days and weeks of your product’s life you’re telling Amazon “who you are” (the product, of course).
b. Choose the most important and relevant 20-30, maybe even more, phrase-form keywords and put them in your listing. This is done easiest and most efficiently using Helium 10’s suite of Amazon seller tools – Cerebro, Frankenstein, and Scribbles.
c. Regarding your product description – if you have Brand Registry – the text inside your A+ Content description will not index, so you need to place those keywords elsewhere. The best place to this is within the description of the photos you will add in your A+ description. Each photo description allows for 100 characters and all get indexed to help with your ranking (* I first heard this information from Kevin King, and we’ve tested it at AZRank across multiple campaigns – works like a charm, indeed).
d. Backend – if you still have Subject Matter fields, I strongly recommend you to use them and fill them with phrase-form Keywords – 5 lines x 50 characters each.
Don’t forget, your Title still remains the most important, though.
e. Download a Category Listing Report (you need to activate that with the help of Seller Support) and download it – after the listing is created. You’ll see that it has many other fields that you can’t normally see in Seller Central. Fill those out, as many as possible, with keywords and valuable information about the product. Amazon likes the listing to be as complete as possible – this is the best customer experience they want to offer shoppers.
f. Select 6-10 keywords (the more the better) for the launch and for your first PPC campaigns – more details about this later.
I strongly advise all sellers to launch even if they have only 5 of 7 listing photos. But those 5 need to be very good. Of course, there will be changes afterward and maybe you’ll get new ideas for different approaches. Still, you need to launch having great (or almost perfect) photos. You may need to enlist a professional for this, ideally someone who knows Amazon. Even very talented graphic designers can struggle with Amazon images because they don’t know what the best practices for Amazon listing photos should be.
Ideally, you’ll want a 60-90 second video for your listing to show your product in action along with a 15 -20 second video for a Sponsored Brand Video Ad. PPC campaigns with video ads typically perform very well, why not use them to your advantage?
For Helium 10 members, you have access to two complete tutorials on how to set up both of these kinds of videos inside of Freedom Ticket. These were recently added so if you haven’t had a chance to see those modules, make sure to do so now!
5. Instructions / How to Use / Product Documents
All of these can be uploaded in the “Manage Product Documents” section of Seller Central, where they will become visible on your listing for all customers (I know you’re already thinking how “creative” we can be here, but I believe it’s better to stick to Amazon’s Terms of Service here).
Learn more about avoiding common product document errors here.
6. Up Your Influence
Find micro/nano influencers on Instagram (or elsewhere) who are willing to accept the product and promote it. Bloggers would be ideal. Nothing fancy, you don’t have to pay tons of money for this.
This, in turn, will also have an impact on your Amazon ranking.
Every small piece of external traffic going from Google to Amazon matters. Especially for a new product.
7. Listen to or Read Bradley Sutton’s Maldives Launch Strategy (at least twice)
Try to apply as many things from it as possible. We also tested it at AZRank with several campaigns – new and established products – and in most cases, it worked wonders.
Strategies from the Maldives to apply right away:
- Ship the products to your home or to a 3PL warehouse, then create the listing only the day you ship to Amazon.
- Start SFB (search-find-buy) purchases within 24 hours of the listing being live (using FBM, if the FBA is not yet available). Don’t underestimate the FBM potential sales for ranking and for getting organic sales.
- The keywords you target with SFB (and PPC) should be in your title and should be long-tails, very relevant to your product; ideally, they should contain the main keyword as the “root”.
- Targeting more keywords with SFB, all having the same root is also very helpful for ranking your main keyword.
- When you select your keywords to target and/or root (maybe your niche has more than one main keyword), make sure to search your competitors and see how many of them have that specific keyword in their titles. The keywords where you have the smallest number of competitors present are the easiest to rank for. Still, some of them might still have very good ranks, even though they don’t have that specific keyword in their title. So make sure to analyze that carefully.
- X-Ray, within the Helium 10 Chrome extension allows you to do that so much easier now…
- Put phrase form or build phrase-in-phrase keywords throughout your listing (Front End and Back End), even if they have the same root.
- Gradually increase the SFB numbers/day. Make the plan look like : 1- 2- 3-3-5-5, instead of 3-3-3-3-3.
- Crucial for ranking: start ASAP, better to give away fewer units than you might think, but immediately after the listing is active, rather than wait to see what is happening.
This is because you will have positive history from the first day
8. Finally, Set Up the PPC and the Actual Launch
I must mention that this is just one approach, there are many others that work very well.
a. Select 6-10 long-tail keywords (the more the better, depending on your budget, of course). Three can work, 20 can work. Bottom line, don’t just do one keyword for the Search-Find-Buy campaign. The more keywords you use, the better you’ll get ranked on many other related keywords
b. Try to have the main keyword inside these long tails. We had dozens of successful campaigns when the main keyword has a very high Search volume got to page 1 without a single SFB purchase made on it.
c. Start the Search-Find-Buy Campaign from day one, slowly, 1-2 units/day on different keywords.
d. Set up 2-3 PPC campaigns on these selected keywords (and more). Divide them into several campaigns based on search volume. I recommend EXACT match type to start with.
e. Set up a Product Targeting Campaign where you target ASINS. Not a very high budget, but enough to get a few clicks. This will also tell Amazon “who you are” – that’s the main goal.
f. Set up Helium 10 Follow-Up automation for Request a Review. Since the Early Reviewer Program is not available anymore, you can make use of Vine reviews if you have Brand Registry, which is very good. But after Vine or if you don’t have BR yet, then this automation is what you need.
g. Try to use all advertising tools Amazon currently has available and focus on the new ones. A lot of sellers don’t use them, so this is huge leverage for those who do. Video Ads work very well (and you don’t need a pro studio to make them).
If all of the above is in place (and karma is on your side), there are 99.9 % chances you will have a very successful launch!
And for the next one, rinse, repeat and try to improve a little… always be learning from your first mistakes!