You did everything by the book. You did product research, found an amazing product, found a way to source it with great margins and everything is set. All that’s left to do is to list it on Amazon and wait for the sales to pour in. But then, after all that hard work, they don’t. Or, they do, but it’s nothing like what you had expected. It’s just not getting the exposure you had hoped. You need sales, and to get sales you need traffic, which brings us to what this blog post is about: how to drive traffic to your Amazon product listing.
Sure, you might’ve messed up. Maybe the demand for this product isn’t what you had expected. Maybe you underestimated a couple of competitors that are giving you a hard time. There many different reasons that can cause your product not to sell. But it’s hard to know for sure before you drive qualified visitors to the product listing, and then see whether they buy.
If your listing isn’t even getting any exposure to begin with, then it’s really hard to tell where the problem lies. At that point, it’s just all speculation. However, if you drive an ample amount of traffic to your listing and it doesn’t convert, then you most likely have a product-related problem (pricing, audience-product mismatch, bad product…etc).
There are two primary ways traffic can reach your Amazon listing: being referred internally or externally. Internally is basically anywhere within Amazon including the Amazon search engine, suggested/similar products, Amazon ads….etc. Externally is anywhere outside Amazon: your own website, social media, google search…etc.
It’s almost always advisable to focus on internal traffic first because these are visitors who are already on Amazon looking to buy. It’s also often cheaper. We’ll review some things you can do in both cases, but let’s start with internal traffic.
Traffic from Amazon
So before running any paid advertising, let’s first make sure your foundations are solid. Here are some tips to maximize your chances of pleasing the Amazon search algorithm:
- Work on claiming the buy box. The merchant that owns the product’s buy box gets the majority of sales, so you want to stack the odds in your favor as much as you can. Two tactics that go a long way here are: using Amazon FBA and making sure your price matches or is below the current buy box price. There are other factors involved, of course, like seller rating, reviews…etc but these two things alone could really help as Amazon almost always favors FBA listings when it comes to the buy box choice, sometimes even when they’re a bit more expensive than competing listings.
- Craft an awesome title. Use the Amazon search bar to grab suggested keywords related to your product and include them in your title when appropriate. Type in your product keywords, pull up, say, the top 10 competitor listings and find out what common phrases they’re using in their titles and how you can craft a title that’s better than them. Mix and match common words/phrases from competitors and add in your twist to create a kick-ass product title.
- Images that tell the whole story. If multiple competitors source the same product from the manufacturer and use manufacturer-provided images, it might be a good idea to take your own photos. Might sound hectic but it’s worth it. Make sure your product is clear without having to zoom in, and include images of people “using the product” or photos of the product in its “natural habitat” aka: lifestyle images. If the product comes with a few accessories make sure you take a photo of the product box’s inside. You might also want to take a shot of the box from outside if it contains usage instructions, ingredients….etc.
- Brief bullet-points then more creative selling. Typical customers will skim through the bullet-points right under the product to quickly compare it to competing ones and ensure it has the core features they’re looking for. Once they’re convinced that this is a potential purchase, you need to further sell it to them in the product description. This is where you can get a little bit more creative and use “free flow”, non-bullet point paragraphs to paint a picture in your customers’ mind about how they’re going to use the product and how it’s going to make their lives better.
Once your listing optimization is on-point, you could start thinking about paying for exposure. The first approach is to use Amazon’s internal advertising system to show up in places on Amazon where your customers are likely to click-through to discover your product. This includes the Amazon search page, product page, and other places.
Sponsored Products is one way to run ads on Amazon. The way it works is similar to when you run ads on Google, for instance. You can target buyer keyword searches and even specific products that your ad will show up on. The advertising system runs through an automated auction. You and other advertisers bid on a keyword or placement, then Amazon chooses who to prioritize based on the bid (how much you want to pay for a click on your ad from that keyword).
While Sponsored Products can be a highly effective way to boost your Amazon listing, it can still be quite tricky to get a positive ROI. It’s easy to waste money on ineffective keywords or placements that drain your budget and don’t deliver sales, hence it’s highly advisable to watch your ads like a hawk (like you would do with any PPC platform) and optimize your ads, placements, and bids based on the results they deliver.
Amazon also offers other types of sponsored ads like one for Kindle book authors as well as “Sponsored Brands” (formerly “Headline Search Ads”). As of writing this and till the end of the year, Amazon is also offering $50 in promotional ads credit should you choose to enroll and add a payment method today. Pretty sweet and it’s a good incentive to start testing Amazon ads now, especially if it had crossed your mind a few times already.
Do note that you need to meet the eligibility criteria to run sponsored ads. As per this page, you need an active, professional seller account which would allow you to run sponsored product ads. If you wish to run sponsored brand or store ads, you will need to be enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry. Your products also need to be buy-box eligible and deliver to all US-based addresses.
Attracting More Amazon Reviews
Reviews don’t just boost your conversion rates by providing social proof, but they can also move you up the rankings in Amazon’s search results leading to more traffic and sales. Unfortunately, most customers are reluctant to leave a review after purchasing a product.
One of the best ways to increase the rate of reviews you get on your Amazon product listing is email reminders. Do note that Amazon has gotten quite strict lately with regards to reviews, they now prohibit incentivized reviews. You can’t ask a customer for a “positive” review in exchange for a product. You also can’t ask a buyer to remove a negative review. You must always ask customers to provide their unbiased review.
To follow up with customers and ask them for a review after they place an order, you can use the seller central dashboard or third-party tools such as Jump Send (from the team behind Jungle Scout). This allows you to send personalized, timely and completely automated email follow-ups to clients, freeing up your valuable time to focus on high-level business aspects.
Traffic from External Sources
CNBC reports that Google and Facebook are estimated to account for over 70% of all digital advertising in the United States. It would only make sense for me to recommend those two external traffic sources to start with if you’re looking to drive traffic from outside Amazon.
Facebook and Instagram Ads
You can run ads on both Facebook and Instagram through a Facebook ad account. I recommend creating a Facebook Business Manager account to house all your assets under, and then start running ads from there.
There are a lot of different approaches you can take when creating Facebook Ads for a physical product, but here’s one approach I’d highly recommend: Video ads. These work especially well if you have a highly visual product. You’d simply record a video of 1 min or less showing how the product works with some background music and text overlay, that’s it.
Done, the video can get a whole lot of engagement. Think BuzzFeed-type videos. You can then run ads to the video using the “Video Views” campaign objective or the “Engagement” objective.
For the targeting, I’d recommend trying out 5-10 ad sets, at least, going broad with each and only using one or two broad interests per ad set. For instance, if I’m selling a kitchen appliance, I may use this targeting for each of the ad sets: “Cooking”, “Cooking Channel”, Kitchenware”, “Cookware and Bakeware”, “Top Chef”…etc.
Facebook’s targeting suggestions engine does a pretty neat job helping you with this:
I also do recommend running a few different ads per ad set. For instance, a video ad, a photo ad, a collection ad…etc. Video ads tend to perform best so you might want to create a few different video ads with varying thumbnails. So it’s basically going to the be the same video but you change the thumbnail. The thumbnail has a huge impact on whether a user chooses to play a video, and hence testing several ones is important.
Next-Level Facebook and Instagram Ads
You can take Facebook and Instagram ads a step further by using custom and lookalike audiences, as well as running retargeting ads. So for instance, you can have Facebook create a list of people that engaged with your post or page, and then you can target those people with similar ads or the same one. You can even create a “lookalike audience” of those people.
This basically means that Facebook will take your original “seed audience” and create a whole new audience that is similar in characteristics to your “seed one”. This is a very powerful targeting tactic that can help you scale with Facebook ads and allow you to be a lot less dependent on generic interests for your targeting.
One of the advanced tactics to use when running ads is retargeting. Spiralytics report that people who are retargeted by display ads are 70% more likely to make a purchase than those who aren’t.
People abandon a purchase for a variety of reasons. Maybe it was a distraction, maybe they didn’t have money, maybe they were waiting to get back home to order. While you can’t stop someone from abandoning your website, retargeting ads allow you to follow them around the web and present them with your offer again and again, and that significantly increases the chances of catching them at the right moment to complete the purchase.
Creating landing pages would help you track the visitors who click-through to them, and hence be able to create a custom audience based on those visitors and then retarget them. You can also create a lookalike audience to target people similar to them. Landing pages also allow you to presell your products, collect customer emails so you can market to them later, and create special promotions/coupon codes to collect reviews and increase your sales velocity.
Google Ads are pretty straightforward. With Google, you can advertise on the search network, YouTube and the Google Display network. Because Google’s traffic is among the highest quality traffic there is, prices are often astronomical.
There are a few major tips I can give you when running Google Ads. First off, if you’re going after highly competitive keywords from the very beginning, you’re bound to lose a lot of money. Instead, I suggest going semi-broad. Use broad and broad modifier keywords to cast a wide net.
This will cause you to lose some money initially, but looking at your search terms report, you’d be able to see the “golden nugget” keywords that are driving good traffic to your landing pages without being too expensive. You can then isolate these keywords into separate campaigns, creating high-quality, conversion-driving campaigns without breaking the bank.
One other major tip is to always, always have at least 2-3 ads per ad group. Google rewards high CTR because high CTR means more relevance, and more relevance means the searcher is happy, and then so is Google. By creating different ads, you’re maximizing your chance of one of them standing out and getting a great CTR, thereby pleasing Google and lowering your cost per click.
You should also make sure you add as many Google ad extensions as you can. Ad extensions increase your screen real estate when your ad shows, hence helping boost your CTR and again, lowering your CPC and increasing your overall quality score.
One of the most effective ways to promote products. It’s very popular in the fashion, food and travel niches, among many other niches as well. People already follow and trust that “authority figure” and would often buy their recommendations blindly.
The problem is that some influencers are too expensive, and some have fake followers/engagement and that can lead to a lot of wasted money and effort. One way to minimize this is to use tools like NinjaOutreach to find high-quality influencers.
Once you’ve found and contacted a few influencers, you can then send them your product and they would review it and post about it to their followers through an instagram story, post…etc depending on your arrangement with them.
There are different approaches to this as well. You can buy a solo ad from a blogger in your niche that has a big list. You can email your own list as well. The recommended tools for email marketing are GetResponse, Drip and ConvertKit.
Before you decide to drive more traffic to your Amazon product listing, you need to evaluate whether the problem is with traffic, to begin with. Do you have a solid product? Is your listing optimized? Are you getting traffic internally from Amazon? Is it converting well?
Remember that one of the greatest advantages of selling on Amazon (if not the greatest at all) is getting free traffic from the internal Amazon search engine. Sure, you might need to boost the traffic a little using external sources, especially in the beginning, but your ultimate goal should be less dependence on external traffic sources and taking full advantage of the Amazon search algorithm.
Pushing more traffic to a subpar product or an unoptimized listing will usually do more harm than good, so it’s important to cross both of these potential issues off your list before planning to drive external traffic to your listing.
Once that’s out of the way, you’d need to decide whether you want to go with the landing page approach or not. Creating a landing page for your product gives you more latitude and flexibility when choosing an external traffic source. It also provides better visibility into your tracking data but comes at an additional cost and another step added to the funnel.
Finally, you’d start experimenting with different traffic sources and tracking the results. In parallel, you’d be working to encourage customers to leave reviews to give your listing social proof and an Amazon ranking boost.
Eventually, you should see sales start to pick up from within Amazon, and you should be able to be less dependent on external traffic sources. In many cases, you may choose to continue running traffic to Amazon from external sources if it brings you consistent results and a decent ROI.
Have you tried driving traffic to your Amazon listing from an external traffic source before? What was your experience like? Share it with us in the comments section below.