– Welcome to Branded By Amazing. This is episode number nine, and today we’re going to talk about the different ways to rank your products on Amazon. I am Matt Clark, the CEO of Amazing,
– And I’m Mike Mcclary, the Chief Product Officer of Amazing.
Zoof – Best Product Research Tool For Amazon
So news item for today, is we’ve been working for about six months now with a software platform called Zoof, its just Z-O-O-F.com. And they have a awesome suite of tools available for Amazon sellers that we just loved the speed, the quality, the ease of use. And so we wanted to work with them to sort of take the platform even further. And so, we’ve been working hard over the past few months to build a new way to select products on Amazon.
And so we call this tool Spotlight, and it’s now available inside of Zoof. So Zoof only has one membership level. And so we basically get a 14 day trial, then you start paying after that. And so it’s included in the membership level, everyone gets access to. You can sign up for the 14 day trial, give it a try, see if you like it. And if you love it, then keep it and become a paying member of Zoof. If not, you can cancel your free trial and you’re never will be build anything. So we highly encourage you to give it a try.
And so we wanted to kind of reinvent the way people find products on Amazon, because most of the tools out there, they’re kind of, a variation of something that, I mean, maybe other people came up with it too, but we had a version like this and it kind of gave away for free, like I dunno, like seven years ago. And basically you’re just trying to take all the products available on Amazon and come up with an easier way to kind of filter through them. And so most of them just have this big database or Chrome extension, which requires you to go, do a whole bunch of searches on Amazon, or they just have this big database of products that lets you come up with filters to run. And so we wanted to come up with a much easier way that somebody who knew nothing about selling on Amazon, could basically fire up the software tool and within seconds, find great products you can sell on Amazon. So maybe Mike just kind of give him a little bit of an overview of how does this thing work.
– Yeah, so were the other other tools that previous existed would just give you a list of thousands of products, and the one thing that we always saw that was kind of an issue is, they share the same product over and over again, a red hat, a blue hat, a green hat, a gray hat, whatever the products are. And it doesn’t really tell you, is this product good apprehended or not? So Zoof just ask you two questions. First thing is, what’s your budget? How much do you have to invest in your first order? And that’s going to include purchasing the inventory and also getting that product shipped all the way to Amazon, to sell. Cause you have to like spend money on vocals things in order to get their product there. So you give it your budget. It could be as small as 1,000, it can be as much as $100,000, we’re pretty much unlimited, that’s where we start.
Once you’ve done that, then Zoof asks you one other question, and that’s what categories do you wanna sell? And we let you choose up to five. It can be sports and outdoors, tools and home improvement, home and patio, any of these other categories you want, you tell us if that, and he hit a button and then it goes to the database, millions of products. And then based on your criteria, plus other criteria that we’ve been using refining over a years to determine whether or not something good product opportunity, it will filter only to those products out there. And so it’s not going to just give you thousands of products that may be different variations in the exact same product, it’s gonna give you one product.
So for example, if a coffee mug was a good raw product opportunity, it would show you a coffee mug. And it would tell you, here’s how much we think you’ll need to spend your first order if it’s a laptop case. If it’s anything else, that tells you one iteration of that product and whether or not it’s a good opportunity in order to make the process really, really simple. In the background, what Zoof is doing, it’s looking at all the competition. So it looks the entire market for that product that looks and see what the people are selling it for, how much revenue they’re generating, and also, what the depth of market is. Are there a lot, or are there other successful new products doing well without a ton of reviews? And then the other part that’s looking at as well that no other tool does that kind of like Zoof does, which is incredible.
We were able to work them figures out. It gives you the estimated profitability because what Zoof does, it’s gonna go out there and tell you exactly what the Amazon FBA fees are, what the Amazon referral fees are, and that’s going to estimate manufacturing costs, shipping and even duties in order to use all that and calculate what the profitability is. And for us, making a good profit off every product, is important. Otherwise you don’t really have a reason to have a business. So Zoof tells you that. All the criteria, plus the profitability shows you one product, not thousands for each different one out there and allows you to wealth and find a great product opportunity.
– And we’ve also built in a really cool feature that allows you to kind of plan a brand within the software tool, which we’ve never seen anywhere else, but for us, it just made sense because it’s like, “Okay, great, I find all these opportunities, but you’re not just gonna all of a sudden launch three products and start sourcing them like overnight. So you need a way to kind of track these things on an ongoing basis. And then also like whether you already own an existing business, or you’re starting a new one, you want to kind of start planning these out in a brand. So say you’re looking at bicycle products and you’re like, “Okay, cool, I’m gonna start a brand new bicycle brand.” This tool allows you to kind of start selecting some of those products, putting them in like a mock brand within the software tool.
So you can see the total profit and you can start tracking suppliers and really start helping your business come to life, all within a software tool, no spreadsheets, no none of that kind of stuff. And also we’ve built in some cool features for existing sellers. So this isn’t just for new people find a product for the first time, if you own an existing brand and you wanna start adding products to that brand, you can find products that are great opportunities within Zoof, and you can actually start planning those out next to your existing products because we’ve built in the feature that allows you to pull in your current products and brand, right?
– Yeah, and it’s a great way to see the overall revenue per brand, overall profit per brand, and also track one of the things you mentioned there, something to add to it, suppliers. So instead of thinking about the old days, when you had these spreadsheets out there to track everything manually, we try to think of everything you put into a spreadsheet, and put it into Zoof, so you can track it all in one place. And then once you’re selling, you can even see your profits and sales every single day. It’s an amazing tool, tons of features out there for new sellers and existence of his life. And that’s why you and I are both using it exclusively in our businesses now.
– Yeah, so highly recommend you give it a try. It’s basically free to try it for a couple of weeks. So there’s not a big risk. Just go to zoom Zoof, Z-O-O-F.com F as in Frank, go to Zoof.com and try it out for 14 days. If you love it, keep it, if you don’t, definitely let us know, we would love to hear your feedback. So that’s our news for today. Now we’d like to get into our main topic, which is how to rank products on Amazon. We’re on episode number, what episode are we on? Episode number nine here so far. So we’re kind of right now just trying to cover the fundamentals of the business model that we’ve been teaching people over the past, since basically 2012. We’re helping people kind of get up to speed and know the basics, know how we think about this business. That’s kind of where we’re at right now.
How to Rank on Amazon
And so ranking products, is one of the next, most obvious things for us to get into. The reason this is important like if you go out there and find a product, whether you found it somewhere else, or you found it using Zoof, or you found it using amazing selling machine, however you decided what product to sell. Once you get alive on Amazon, you need to find a way to get people, to actually see it. And one way, and now is using paid ads, which our previous episode that we just recorded, was all about different ways to use Amazon paid ads, but you’re paying for every single click.
And so that can get expensive. And that potentially, you may not make profit directly from the ads. You could potentially even be losing money. So you need a way to get sales that are not ad driven. And the way to do that, is to actually go out there and rank products. And this general system of ranking products, has changed somewhat over time. I think in general, the main strategy is you get people to whether it’s real people or back in the day, it was kind of fake accounts and stuff people are doing, or highly incentivized, like people getting a product for a dollar, basically to go out there and search for a relevant keyword.
They buy your product. Amazon sees that a lot of people are buying your product instead of other ones after that keyword being searched for. So they start ranking your product higher, and you do that enough. And eventually you can rank for almost any keyword out there. In general, that’s still the kind of main approach, but the way to do it has changed over time. As Amazon’s rules have changed, Amazon’s policies, what they allow, what they don’t allow. And so that kind of part has changed a bit over time, and what’s the different features available?
– Matt, one thing, no matter what the ranking strategy is, there’s one thing you have to have, or no strategy will work. And that’s a well optimized listing. I know this is something that you really talk about a lot, and I think you’ve actually done in your own businesses. So you want to talk a little bit about what that means to you?
– Yeah, so, I mean, I think in general, I’ve kind of seen that this is almost like a pyramid or upside down pyramid when it comes to doing anything in marketing for a business. It’s like at the very bottom base level. So you’ve got to have a good product, because if you don’t have a good product, you can still have a well optimized website or product listing page on Amazon. You can run all the ads on the planet, but eventually people are gonna find out your products’ terrible, and you’re gonna get bad reviews and the whole machine doesn’t work. So first kind of level of the pyramid, is to have really good product that people are actually happy with.
So they give you good reviews. They hopefully come back and buy it again, if it’s relevant for your product, or they at least tell other people, but if nothing else, at least you’re getting good reviews and avoiding bad reviews. Next level of this thing, is to have a good page to send people to. So I sell a couple million dollars a month on a Shopify using a brand.
And so that one, the equivalent over there, is to have a really good web page that converts people. Amazon’s equivalent is your product listing page. So you wanna have a really good place people are gonna go to whether it’s from paid ads or from organic rankings, the page that they’re gonna go to, that you’ve put your best foot forward to convince those people, to buy your product. And so that’s the next most important thing. Once you are making sure that you actually have a good product. So an Amazon that means having great images, video if you can add them there, having great bullets, product description, and really monitoring and managing your reviews.
I mean, we’ve seen especially, now with the rating system, it’s a little bit different, but especially back in the day, you could get one star review and it could cut your sales in half. If that’s the one that’s kind of sticking there at the top of Amazon, because people are seeing that instead of other stuff. Eventually, hopefully if you have a good product, those kind of get pushed down, but that is something you want to monitor because it can have a huge impact on your product’s performance and conversion rate.
– Absolutely, so you have to have the foundation that upside down period we talk about, good product, good listening, everything.
And then the next step then, is to have a launch strategy. So one approach, not saying it’s the optimal approach, would be just grade listing and see what happens. For those of you who are selling on Amazon, if you go to the Amazon forums, you will see people talk about this all the time. Hey, I’ve listed a product, it’s not selling, what did I do wrong? I think the back, the strategy or lack of a strategy, what you’re doing wrong. Nowadays, not doing anything to promote your product, is a formula for not being successful. So we don’t recommend that. I mean, there’s a chance that that could work if you already have maybe a really strong brand outside of Amazon and people are searching for it, you have that with your copy.
– Yeah, I mean, like if you’ve got, we’ve seen it with a person that we worked with at one point that had a really popular brand outside of Amazon, they’re running a lot of traffic and this was kind of our situation. Is that you can even like us before we even listed the brand on Amazon, we saw that there were tons of suggested searches. You would start typing our brand name into the search bar, and there’d be like 20 suggested searches that all had our brand name, just cause we were running so much traffic through Facebook, that people, when they saw it and they kind of wanted to buy it, they would go check it out on Amazon immediately to see if it was available on there, and it wasn’t at the time.
So we basically just had to list our products there and pretty much immediately we were doing almost nothing and producing $50,000 a month in sales, just cause we were producing a lot of sales and pushing three, 400 grand a month in ad spend outside of Amazon. So it is nice if you’re in that situation, but most people are not.
– Yeah, let’s assume you don’t have a million dollar grand going into this. And so you want to get your product ranking back 2014 so a year after I’d learned from you started selling on Amazon, we identified something called, I dunno why the name, the super URL. But basically, as we were, we did some live calls where you and Jason and everyone else, all the mentors about an amazing selling machine program, we’d get on live calls and talk about what’s working, what’s not working. And we noticed that when people were searching for products on Amazon, and you do a search, you click on that product, the URL at the top, looked a little odd.
It wasn’t just Amazon’s in the product name, it had all the search terms that someone’s search word on there. And we thought, if that shows how someone searched for product, could we use that URL as a link and give it to people, and tell them to buy our product in order to move up and search for those specific search terms. And you know what? Worked like crazy. And so people went out and started using the super URL all the time ranking products, worked great.
However, didn’t work that well forever, Amazon catches on this kind of things, not saying the black attack or anything, but it’s something that when they see it, that’s kind of gaming the system, they tend to filter or water down the results you get. And so that started not working as well. Then I was just thinking about this, getting ready to go, back in early 2017, you and I held a workshop and we invented what we call the launch and rank system. We had a workshop, couple of thousand people were joined us throughout the workshops of this. And we did a combination of sending traffic via Facebook using coupons to another version of the super URL who was kind of a brand URL. And then that worked for several years as well, getting products up and ranked on Amazon. It was great.
I mean, that was one thing I think we taught at some masterminds at other workshops as well, but that was the practice strategy that people were really using for a long time. And of course, Amazon didn’t really like that as much. And so watered down the results, yet still kind of works. And then the next way that, one thing that always is true about Amazon is, if something’s not working, count on some people go out to keep testing something until it works. And so when that wasn’t getting the results we were hoping for, we went kind of the old school approach. You mentioned PPC. And we found that a combination of PPC with a strong coupon, Amazon coupons, is a great way to rank. And when you, so when you started launching your brand on Amazon, you guys use any kind of discounting at all?
– Yeah, we would do some coupons. We’ve had one on there just because we’re trying to manage the price between the store in Amazon. And so we basically listed the full retail price on Amazon, but then we had a pretty aggressive coupon on there for people to go out there and buy it, which was still kind of comparable to some of the discounts we run on the website. Yeah, that definitely was part of our strategy.
– And so these coupons right inside of Amazon’s advertising menu, they really stick out. So if you do some searches on Amazon, you look for whatever the product is. You’ll still today notice that a very small percentage of the people who sell on Amazon, are using these coupons. They’re a little green tag that shows up under there. And so, as we were noticing, these coupons became more and more prevalent. You see them more, they stood out more. We decided to start using that as a ranking strategy.
So the strategy which still works today, it’s a great strategy and Amazon loves strategy. You start launching a product with Amazon PPC, and then use a really high level discounts, something around 50% off. So even if you have no reviews, you just start a product out there. When people do a search, they’ll click on your ad, they will then see your product out there among the others with a really big, bright green colorful discount.
And chances are that it’s higher than, if they didn’t know the coupon, they’re gonna click on that and they’ll buy the product. When that happens, there’s this flywheel effect. Amazon sees people searching for a certain search term. They see a clicking on your ad. They see people buying your product, and then they start moving you back up in the search rank for that. That strategy to date and probably forever will work great because it gives Amazon exactly what they want, a high-converting product, and they’re making money off ads as well. And it’s a great strategy to get going. You don’t always have to keep the 50% discount.
That’s a great way to get started. So it’s still a very good strategy. Now, there is another strategy we’ll talk about right now, called cashback offers. And that’s something that we’ve been using also and inside of amazing selling machine. And it’s a way to really incentivize people to buy your products as well. I don’t even know if you guys even needed to use that for your life could cost you a copy at all, did you?
– We just use some basic coupons cause we had an email list and there was already getting a bunch of brand traffic. So we didn’t do any like full cash back offers.
– Okay, so the way the cashback offers work, and this is used in all types of industries, it’s not just on Amazon. If you think about right around us, Walmart, Target, Menards, other big discount stores, they offer rebates all the time where are you buy products and then they’re give you either a check or cash back as an incentive to buy the products. Well, the same strategy can work on Amazon where you will have your existing customers or maybe people you know, buy your product and then you offer them a cash back or a rebate offer and that allows Amazon to see it as a full price sale, which we tend to believe that full price sales actually can be more of a ranking boost.
And then that’s going to come up in the ranking. Now the key having this happen, is that people search for your product before they do that. That’s kind of the secret sauce.
People may be wondering why would I just give away products to rebate people? If you ask them to search for keywords you want to rank for, then that will help you move up in the rankings. And then a little trick is don’t start off with your most competitive keyword. Start with what we call a long tail keyword. Something that’s much longer than your primary keyword everyone is searching for. Think about for example, it could be an iPhone X ClearCase, really long one, not just an iPhone case, but something much longer that doesn’t get as much traffic, but that people will search. We’re still, you’ll still get ranking for that.
– Yeah, we actually use this strategy with PPC, with the cash back offers and with a coupon. I used it on one of my wife’s products. She’s got a small branch that sells on Amazon. I kind of want to test out some of these strategies. So it took one of her products that wasn’t really ranking for much of anything. It wasn’t producing a lot of sales, used exactly the strategy coupon code PPC, highly targeted. Didn’t want to waste a bunch of money on PPC. She’s extremely frugal. And so she would not have been happy about that either. And then used for the cash back offers, we actually sent him an email and text message out to all the past people that have opted in using our package insert.
And we also use the tool that we have inside of amazing selling machine, if you have access, but we use both of those. And it was kind of funny, we were emailing and texting the existing customers and she doesn’t do a ton of communication with them, so maybe they didn’t quite trust the relationship, but some of them thought we were like lying to them where we’re gonna like screw them over or something like that.
We’re like, no, we’re literally going to pay you back 100% for this product. And so we did get quite a few that did, I think it was like 20 or so, which was kind of the target. And so we did that and within a week and a half, she was ranking basically top three for the two keywords that I was targeting, like it worked amazingly. And then I was tracking daily, the amount of sales we were getting from rebates, the amount of sales we were getting from ads, and then the kind of ones left over, which you are basically organic sales. And then pretty soon, the product went from nothing to producing basically 10 organic sales a day. So it worked amazingly well.
Yeah, people may be a little hesitant to spend that money, invest that money in those rebates or cash back offer starting off, but once you get sales coming organically, it’s definitely worth it. I think it’s an investment in launching your product.
– And you’re also getting the reviews, cause Amazon really does not play around with reviews stuff, like that’s the thing, cause they’ll just lose trust in their platform. So if you’re doing any review manipulation whatsoever, you should stop doing it because Amazon is not gonna like that. And so this is a way to get real. I mean, remember kind of going back to the pyramid, if you have a good product, that’s the first step. So then all you have to do, is get people to buy that product and then you should get positive reviews or at least not get negative reviews. And so you just have to find a way to get sales and then your good product will hopefully get reviews for you. And so the more sales you can get, the more reviews you can get. So this is a kind of way to kind of engineer that process.
– So, of the strategy we’ve talked about here, one, if you don’t really feel comfortable yet, or don’t know how to go out there and do cashback offers, you can definitely launch your product using PPC and a high discount. That is absolutely strategy. Still works today, will probably work for a very long time. And if you believe that you really wanna invest a little money upfront and take advantage strategies that we’ve been using and seeing working right now. Also tie that into some cash back offers when people search your product. Those are definitely working to the strategies that we recommend.
Strategies We Don’t Recommend
Now I’d be remissed, if I didn’t talk about a few strategies, we don’t recommend, that work because they’re considered black hat tactics. And two of those, I’m going to talk about the two that I’m aware of right now. One is the add to cart strategy.
Now, again, we don’t use any of these. I don’t personally know if people that are using these right now but I do know people who’ve used in the past, the scene work exceptionally well, but we do not recommend these, but want to talk about these because we know they’re out there. The strategy is if you get 100 or maybe 1,000 people, just a lot of people to go out there and add your product to the cart, after doing a search for it, you will move up in the search rankings for that search term, even without them making a purchase.
Seems kind of weird that you think that Amazon would value the purchase more than just adding to the cart, but the way that their algorithm work, is they know that typically the average person who adds a product to the cart, will end up buying that product. So they really put a lot of value in just these add to carts.
So they’re also showing when that happens, they start showing you more and more for that search term. Now that’s one way, another way which is very similar, is when you have a lot of people, add your product to a wishlist that seems to trigger something on Amazon’s algorithm side as well. So if they search for you, they find you and then they, after wishlist, they somehow move you up in the search rankings. Now these are black hat tactics, definitely don’t recommend you using them because eventually like we’ve seen in the past month or so, Amazon really coming down hard on any companies who are trying to aim the system, especially on reviews.
But they also, they found those reviews by finding a database of customers these companies were using in order to organize that. So if that same thing were to happen, when you’re trying to organize these black hat tactics, chances are Amazon would shut you down, but we want to be aware of them. We just want to make sure you know, that we’re aware of these out there. We’re not blind to them, we just choose not to teach them cause we’re always focused on building a longterm lifelong brand that you can grow, get cashed out of and potentially sell later on down the road as well.
– Yeah, I mean, if you’re really willing to play the long game with this stuff, it’s like, you can make a lot of money doing this. I mean, we’ve talked some different conversations with, it’s like the biggest buyer of Amazon FBA businesses. And this is the number one thing they look for, is what they call a review moat. Meaning that you have a lot more reviews than anybody else in your market because for them, that kind of means the product is probably going to be more consistent in terms of sales. So if they’re investing money in this business, they wanna know that it’s still going to sell well, two or three, four years from now. And so, if you’re willing to go with a little bit lower price, if you’re willing to run some ads, if you’re willing to do some cash back offers, the longer you play that game, the more sales you get, the more reviews you get, the more likely you can make a lot of money over the long-term.
However, a lot of people aren’t willing to do that, cause they’re kind of, maybe you’re kind of building a business because you wanna make some income now that’s you’re kind of like, “Well, I don’t want to just keep, putting money into this thing or at least not be able to pull anything out for years and years. So it’s kind of up to you, but that strategy is available. If you were willing to take a brand new product and run the strategy for two years aggressively, so you could potentially beat almost anybody in the market.
So it’s something to think about. It’s just a matter of like, do you want to delay gratification that long. And most people aren’t, which is totally fine. So that I think pretty much wraps up today’s episode. If you have any questions about what we covered today or anything in the future, head over to amazing.com/branded you can fill out the little form, ask us a question, we’d love to hear from you on a future episode. Also, if you’re listening to this on iTunes or Spotify, give us a review. We would love to hear from you there also. So thanks for listening and we’ll see you in the next episode!
Matt Clark is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Amazing.com, a serial entrepreneur, and investor. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNBC, and Entrepreneur.com.