The $4,000 Lesson: How To Launch A New Product On Amazon FBA Without Breaking the Bank
Quite recently I launched a product on Amazon — Completely by accident…
You might ask how could I do something as complicated launch a product on Amazon by accident?
Simple, I never intended for Amazon to be the primary distribution channel for my new product — I really wanted to sell on my own ecommerce website. But when the conversion rate of your product on Amazon is 30% higher than your site at a fraction of the marketing costs, you just gotta roll with it.
But anyways along the way I discovered that facebook is a pretty good way to validate a product idea as well as build a following to get a nice sales spike when you launch as well as set a “sales rank floor” on your products.
All of this without expensive launch services or relying on expensive amazon PPC budgets (I’m in a rare niche where there are only a few good keywords and they all horribly expensive relative to my profit margin).
Step #1 Validation
I’m a huge fan of the notion of the lean startup — where you can test demand for a product or service without a large upfront investment to get started.
So I started off my product launch with that idea in mind. But rather than a website lander with my product and offer, I opted to go an even simpler route: a facebook page about the niche my product was in.
Having managed a variety of Facebook pages I’ve long since learned that the easiest way to build likes and REAL engagement is to run a fan page that is focused on a niche or sub-niche that your product caters to. Mainly because the narrative you tell is more trustworthy than if you page was branded.
So I started a page called “I Love [My Niche]” (sorry guys I’m not giving away my product or niche and waking up to more competitors in a week). And started posting 4–6 pictures of both motivational quotes about the niche and pictures of people in my demographic doing activities that my product would have an impact on. NOTE, my product is highly visual and appearance based so the content you use for your products will vary.
To promote the page, I made the simplest like campaign ever.
I uploaded 6 pictures to split test and used a single sentence ad copy:
Do you like [niche]? LIKE us!
Pretty simple eh? Before I killed that ad it generated me the better part of 5k likes in 14 days and cost me about 3 cents per like.
Another key thing to note I did not use the niche in my interest targeting, instead I actually targeted existing brands and complimentary products to my product. E.g. toothbrushes and toothpaste. This heavily targeted focus cut past casual likers and allowed me to access people highly likely to buy my product when it came to launch day.
As I passed 1k likes, I discovered something absolutely fascinating. People were messaging me and wanting to submit pictures of themselves doing niche activity — all without the intent of promoting or selling anything.
As an experiment I started posting these pictures up and titled the posts “Fan of the Day”. To my surprise more of these submissions started streaming in. There is a lot of merit and rewards if you take the time to deeply interact with your fans on this level.
Here is where the validation and testing comes in, after about 2k likes I started posting pictures of my first product prototypes and mock ups of the packaging with a small blurb featuring a benefit of the product and how it would solve a problem my customers have in the niche. At the end of each post I would add one of two call to actions.
What else would you like to see in “x” product? Please comment as we would like to know.
Comment or share if you think this product is awesome and would like to try some?
My belief with social media marketing is that if you don’t ask you won’t get. So I’m always making it abundantly clear to my followers exactly what I want from them.
Step #2 Launch
A few weeks roll by and I finally get my inventory into Amazon warehouses and I start my launch process.
I’m a huge believer in using heavily discounted pricing to push up product rankings in the Amazon search results. It just works and more often than not is cheaper than brute forcing your way to the top with Amazon PPC.
I know lots of folks use launch tools like Viral Launch or Zonblast but they’re absurdly expensive to use. While I may try them out later on. I wanted to see if I could achieve good results with a similar strategy on my own. Here is what I did.
- I created a single use coupon code took a fixed dollar amount off so that my product would cost $4.99 to purchase which was close enough to my product cost.
- Then I created a facebook dark post with my best product photo. I wrote a very short 30–50 word blub that indicated I was running a launch party and would be giving away a limited number of vouchers for a $5 product (I started with 30 vouchers). To claim a voucher all they had to do was comment and share the post. (I made a HUGE mistake here, I should have directed them to email squeeze page and collected the email address).
- Naturally I got all 30 vouchers claimed within the day and quite a few additional people hoping for a voucher. The voucher code was privately messaged to the first 30 responders and I added a comment and live post on my page offering everyone else a 30% discount on the product.
This little launch spiked my product’s Amazon sales rank to 15,000 and got me my first 8 reviews 7–10 days after the products shipped out.
Step #3 Maintenance
While it is nice to see a spike in sales ranks, it will drop and fade away if you do nothing to maintain it. For my product I realized a hard truth:
- At a sales rank of about 20k I would only sell 7–14 units per week
- At a sales rank of 10k I would sell 35–42 units per week
I realized I could stabilize and maintain a desired sales rank if I sold a certain quantity of product at a discount — and the profit from the increased organic sales would more than pay for the promo units I sold.
So each week I would run a 10–15 unit promo on my page and using facebook dark posts for $7 (which left me about $1 profit after all COGS and amazon fees).
The upshot of keeping a minimum sales rank floor allowed me some stability when forecasting when I would need to replenish inventory.
This method is far from perfect and obviously won’t make you rich over night. But it allowed me to stay lean as possible and conserve resources until I felt ready to scale up.
I’m always learning and would love to hear your feedback on ways to optimize and improve what I’ve done so far.