Do product launches work anymore? In case you were wondering—Yes, they do. Just be sure to avoid these common pitfalls that can stifle your product launch efforts.
There has been a lot of talks lately about how product launches don’t seem to help get new products ranked to page one, but there is also plenty of new product launch mistakes going around as well. Rest assured, new product launches can still work so long as you do them the right way.
With so much uncertainty filling the forums on Seller Central and beyond, how do you know if you are making any new product launch mistakes?
Before we get into that, here is how a new product launch typically goes down: A seller offers a certain number of units in their inventory at a heavy discount (typically between 80%-90% off from the regular price) in the form of a coupon targeted for a certain keyword. The coupon is distributed out via promotional campaigns such as PPC, Facebook ads, sponsored ads on Amazon, etc.
The goal of this new product launch strategy is to generate enough sales to become a significant blip on Amazon’s radar to move up the ranks to page one. The problem many naysayers have with this strategy is that it allegedly doesn’t deliver the results as described.
Helium 10’s own Manny Coats recorded an episode of the AMPM Podcast on this very subject, which you can view here:
Whether you have tried the CPR method or not, following the steps is only half of your success. There are plenty of ways doing a new product launch can go wrong if done incorrectly.
Mistake #1 – Giving Up Too Quickly
If you hope to succeed in using the CPR method, you must let the campaign run its course. There have been many sellers who check in on their keyword ranking with tools like Keyword Trackerwithin only a few days to find that their ranking hasn’t moved. They figure the product launch campaign isn’t working and give up halfway through.
The problem with peeking early is it gives you a false impression as to your actual ranking for a particular keyword. Amazon typically updates their number every five or six days, meaning you are likely to have a much more accurate ranking position by the end of the CPR process.
Mistake #2 – Stopping the Campaign If Your Ranking Drops
While this occurrence may seem alarming and prove that the CPR new product launch process doesn’t work, it’s quite the opposite. You’ll be relieved to know that product ranking can drop all the time for even the most successful products; it really depends on the circumstances.
Maybe a product had a bad sales day or week, so it dropped a bit in the rankings. Perhaps a competitor had a really good week and moved up the ladder. If your number drops in the very beginning, don’t fret because this is actually a normal occurrence. Often, a product using the CPR method correctly will see a sharp spike upward in ranking at the end of the CPR campaign.
IMPORTANT: If you are trying to relaunch an existing product that hasn’t been performing too well in sales, you will most likely need to run a longer CPR campaign than the standard eight days.
The reason for this is that Amazon tracks your sales, conversions, and other relevant data tied to your overall sales in regular intervals (a day, a week, a month, etc.) to get a good idea of your product’s sales velocity. New products have no sales history to weigh them down, so they can rise much more quickly if done correctly.
If your product was underperforming prior to your relaunch using the CPR method, your ranking average may slow the progress of your climb up to page one. The breadth of time it will take to achieve the same results as a new product launch can vary on the product and its ranking before the campaign.
Mistake #3 – Using the Wrong Kind of URL for New Product Launches
For some sellers who have tried the method, done all the steps correctly, and still got nothing significant in results, the problem may lie elsewhere.
Sending prospective buyers directly to a product listing can have multiple negative effects, including lowering your conversion rate, which in this case is page visits versus purchases. If people who are just curious about your ad click on the link and are taken right to the sales page, your likely to have a high bounce rate of people who decided right then and there they didn’t like your product.
Instead, opting for a 2-Step URL has been shown to increase conversions because it gives people a place to decide if they are interested in your product or not before proceeding on to your listing. A 2-Step URL also allows sellers to link directly to their own storefront with a search for the desired keyword already laid in. In essence, any of your storefront’s products on Amazon that matches the keyword will pop up.
On rare occasion, a seller will go through the process and reach page one ranking, but their sales fall off after the campaign finishes. If this situation occurs after going through the new product launch process, there may be another underlying issue with your product listing.
Check your listings for these common problems:
Does your chosen keyword phrase have good search volume? – Unfortunately, if no one is searching for your keyword, they won’t find your product. You may want to choose a keyword that has more searchability. You can find a much more suitable keyword for your product using Magnet.
Is your price better than your competitors? – You may have ranked higher through the campaign, but if your product is more expensive than your nearest competitors and offers little in value or differentiation as justification for the higher price, you could be losing sales to those ranking under you.
Does your product photography look good and professional? – This problem is really a case of first impressions. If your photos look amateurish or unclear, that can be enough to deter buyers from your listing in favor of another. Ensure that you have professional product photography in high definition and shows engagement.
Does your product have sufficient reviews? – Having little to no reviews can also heavily deter customers away from your product listing. Without reviews, your product seems unfamiliar, undesirable, and untrustworthy to anyone seeing it on page one. There are methods for getting reviews without breaking Amazon’s rules.
What is your product’s star ranking? – If your product does have reviews, but it’s rated lower than competitors, you may be losing out to them just over that. Additionally, having a good rating, but a bad review pinned to the top of your review section can also have negative effects.
Are you offering a coupon right on your product listing? – Many sellers have discovered that by giving even a small discount right on the page, it attracts more attention from buyers. If one or more of your competitors are offering an on-page coupon, they may be stealing the spotlight.
Mistake #5 – Not Running Sponsored or PPC Ads for Your Listing
Even if you have done everything right as far as a new product launch is concerned and managed to reach the top of the rankings for your keyword, you must work to keep it that way.
Other competitors with the same ambitions as you are always going to be trying to dethrone you from being the highest ranked product, so you need to maintain your presence and brand authority through marketing.
You must maintain your “king of the hill” status with sponsored ads on Amazon, Facebook ads, PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns, and other means of keeping your product in the minds of your customers.
How Manny Coats Succeeds with a New Product Launch
There are two Helium 10 tools that are critical to making the CPR method work: Cerebro and Magnet. Within both tools are the “Giveaway” columns, both Daily and Total, letting sellers know just how many products need to be sold at a discount (AKA giveaways).
Cerebro is a reverse ASIN lookup tool that allows users to get the important data from existing competitor products by revealing things like which keywords they are ranking for.
Magnet searches for the best keyword selections related to your query.
In both Cerebro and Magnet, the “CPR Total Giveaway” and “CPR Daily Giveaway” columns tell sellers how many units need to be used as giveaways in the new product launch in all and per day, respectively.
The CPR method requires a minimum of eight days to see measurable results (some products may require more). Whether you are searching for a keyword on your own through Magnet or are getting it from a competitor via Cerebro, you will get similar CPR suggestions for your 8-day new product launch period.
To achieve desired results, refer to the numbers provided by Helium 10’s proprietary algorithm for figuring your giveaways per day and total. By following the steps of the CPR method, the road to page one will be an easier one.
The Helium 10 Software Suite will allow you to gain an unfair advantage over your competitors as it was designed and battle-tested by Amazon's top sellers. So if you want more sales, more time, lower PPC costs, and if you want to discover hidden keywords your competitors don’t use then start using Helium 10 -- the same tools top Amazon sellers use on a daily basis.