How to reach those 21 reviews in a post-incentivized world? It is a well-known fact that the number of reviews stops mattering after 21 reviews. After that, it’s the number of stars you have. We all know that almost everyone was using the same strategy for growing Private label business on Amazon and getting those initial reviews, so I am gonna try to explain how to launch and promote new products on Amazon.
Unfortunately or luckily, those days are over. No more discounts in exchange for the review. Unfortunately for sellers who were “gaming the system”, by generating lots of reviews in a day and luckily for a majority of sellers with high-quality products. Now, we just have to think smarter and work harder to make sales happen.
How I launched and promoted the new Amazon product?
I was thinking, testing and at the end discovered that Facebook is more than a way to validate a product idea as well as build a following to get a nice sales spike when you launch.
All is done without launch services and expensive amazon PPC budget. (PPC is horribly expensive for almost all good keywords comparing to profit margins after new Amazon TOS change in October 2016).
Let’s say I was launching and promoting Led Badminton Shuttlecock as an example product.
I am a big fan of a lean startup — where you can test demand for a product without a large upfront investment to get started.
So I started a Facebook page about the niche my product was in. But rather than a website landing page with my product, I decided to go with a simpler and cheaper route.
Firstly I joined several Facebook groups related to Badminton, started to be active in those groups and simultaneously started a page called “Lovely Badminton Shuttlecock” and posted 10 photos of both motivational quotes about the Badminton and Badminton Shuttlecock and photos of people playing Badminton on various occasions and on different places.
After a few days, I started to share those photos in above-mentioned groups with a single sentence copy
“Do you like Badminton Shuttlecock? LIKE us!”
Within a month this strategy generated me almost 5,000 likes in 14 days and cost me about 15 work hours and zero money invested.
This heavily targeted focus cut past casual likers and allowed me to access people highly likely to buy my product when it came to launching day.
As my page passed 1,000 likes, I was surprised with something absolutely amazing. I’ve started getting messages from people wanting to submit photos of themselves playing Badminton, without the intent of promoting or selling anything. Fascinating experience.
I saw these photos as an opportunity and start using them as Top, pinned post with a title “Fan of the Day”. To my surprise more of these submissions started coming in.
I realized the time for validation has come. After 2,000 likes I posted photos of my product prototype and mock-ups of the packaging with a small blurb featuring a benefit of the product and how it would solve a problem of playing Badminton in the dark.
My belief in social media marketing is that if you don’t ask you won’t get. So I’m always making it simple and clear to my fans exactly what I want from them, so at the end of each post, I would add one of two calls to actions.
In what color would you like to see in Badminton Shuttlecock? Please, write in the comment. I would like to know. Or, share if you think this product is awesome and would like to have one?
Three weeks later and I get my inventory into Amazon warehouses and I started with my launch process.
I’m was a believer in using heavily discounted pricing to push up product rankings in the Amazon search results. It just worked so many times before and it was cheaper than brute forcing your product to the top with Amazon PPC.
I know lots of folks use PPC but it’s absurdly expensive to use. While I may try PPC later on, I wanted to see if I could achieve good results with a 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 $9.99 to purchase which was close enough to my product cost.
Then I created a Facebook dark post with my best product picture. If you are unfamiliar, the Facebook dark post is an option when you are creating newsfeed ad that optimizes for either page engagement or website visits that allows you to create a post that is unpublished (will not show up on your page). I wrote a very short 40 word blub that indicated I was running a launch party and would be giving away a limited number of vouchers for a $10 product (I started with 20 coupons). To claim a voucher all they had to do was to comment and share the post. (I made a mistake here, I should have collected the email address).
Of course, I got all 10 coupons claimed within a few hours and a few additional people hoping for a voucher. I sent a coupon code to the first 20 people and I added a comment and live post on my page offering everyone else a 10% discount on the product.
NOTE: I did not use the Badminton in my interest targeting, instead I actually targeted existing brands. This heavily targeted focus cut past casual likers and allowed me to access people highly likely to buy my product.
This little launch spiked my product’s BSR to 5,000 and got me my first 21 reviews first week after the products shipped out.
As you probably know, it is nice to see a spike in sales ranks but it will drop and fade away if you do nothing to maintain it. For my product I realized: at a BSR of about 10,000 I would only sell 1 unit per day and at a BSR of 5,000 I would sell 6 /day.
So, the idea was to stabilize and maintain the desired sales rank selling a product quantity with a discount and the profit from the increased organic sales would more than pay for the discounted units I sold.
Every week I would run a 10 unit promotion on my page and use Facebook dark posts for $5 (which left me about $1 profit after all costs).
The strategy of keeping a minimum BSR allowed me some stability when forecasting new orders from my supplier.
I know, this method is far from perfect and clearly won’t make you rich overnight, but it allows you to stay lean as possible and conserve resources until you are ready to scale up.