On the heels of the successful launch of the Tesla Roadster on February 6, 2018, the internet couldn’t resist turning a photo of Elon Musk – beaming with happiness as his rocket sped off toward space – into a Valentine’s meme.
You may not be launching your products into space, but any Amazon entrepreneur knows the feeling that was so clearly painted across Musk’s face just a couple months ago.
When you launch a product, you are launching so much more than the product itself.
Chances are, a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into the creation of your product and brand.
So, it’s no surprise if you experience a little Elon-Musk-like euphoria watching your sales take off across the internet.
But as with launching a rocket into space, launching your products on Amazon requires a lot of analysis and preparation, especially if you are looking to expand beyond the US market into new frontiers where many sellers are still hesitant to go.
While Elon Musk has his sights set on Mars, Amazon sellers looking to grow their business are beginning to look toward Germany – the second biggest Amazon market on the planet.
What goes into a successful product launch on Amazon.de?
What is different?
How will you need to adapt?
If you want the maximum ROI possible in the shortest timeframe, you must have a carefully planned marketing strategy with very specific steps to make your product launch as profitable as possible.
Thankfully, we have the exact formula you’ll need.
Judolaunch has been successfully launching products in the Amazon Germany marketplace for years, with over 500 successful product launches to date.
Here are our 7 steps for a powerful Amazon.de launch that will get your product to the top of the rankings and help them stick there long-term:
1. Opportunity Assessment
Whether you are launching a brand new product in Germany or you are porting an existing product from the US to your new market, you will want to know if it will do well before you ever make the investment.
Just because a product does well in one market does not automatically mean it will do well in another.
This is one reason we don’t always take on certain products here at Judolaunch.
If our opportunity assessment shows that a product will not do well in a particular market, we will not undertake a launch.
But, how can you conduct a similar assessment on your own?
Let’s use a sleep mask as an example as we go through all seven steps.
To begin your opportunity assessment, simply type in the English word for your product on Amazon.de.
If you type in “sleep mask,” it quickly becomes obvious what the main keyword is for your product upon examining the main listings.
In every single listing, one of the first two or three words is schlafmaske, the German word for sleep mask.
Nine out of ten times, this strategy is going to get you the main keyword for the foreign marketplace that you’re looking to launch in.
After this, delete the main English keyword and type in the main foreign language keyword that you just discovered.
If you have installed the tool Amachete (our number one favorite tool for finding opportunities on Amazon.de), you will see that tool in action off to the side.
It will show you the daily sales data for each of the products, the bestseller rank, the average review, the total number of reviews, the price, and when each product first hit the market.
Just from the information Amachete provides on sleep masks, you will easily be able to tell that this is a great opportunity.
It’s not one of those product niches where only the top product is getting a ton of sales while the rest suffer. It’s obvious that there is room for everybody to play.
There are companies doing 80 something sales a day, others doing 30, others doing 20, then a couple in the tens.
This is a good product with a lot of demand and room for everybody to be successful.
In our books, this is a great opportunity.
But, you never want to rely on data from just one tool. Proper assessment requires analysis from several different angles.
For this purpose, Marketplace Analytics is another good tool. They have an entire page just for niche analysis. You can type in a keyword and it analyzes the entire niche, showing you the number of sales each product is doing in the top 27.
In our ''sleep mask'' case study, Marketplace Analytics reveals numerous sub-niches within the niche of sleep masks.
There are silk sleep masks, cotton ones, premium ones, and cheaper masks. This is good news as it indicates that there is space for a lot of different products within the niche.
A third tool you can use for opportunity assessment is Jungle Scout, which now works for Amazon.de.
Jungle Scout basically does the same thing as Amachete, but it is a good way to cross-reference your findings because you never know if one tool is messing up data.
2. Keyword Research
If you’ve been in the Amazon business for even ten seconds, you know the importance of keywords. When it comes to doing keyword research for a new market, the point is to actually do it and to use the appropriate keyword research tools for the given market.
Some improperly assume that they can simply translate their English keywords into the foreign language of their new listing and call it a day.
However, cultural differences (and bad translations) can make this a disastrous strategy.
By doing keyword research in German with tools that obtain their data from Amazon.de, you are tapping into information from actual German consumers instead of making assumptions about what they may or may not be searching for based on data from the US market.
Not all keyword research tools will draw data from Amazon.de, so it is important to ensure that you are using the right tools.
Marketplace-Analytics.de (the same tool mentioned above) is a great tool for this.
They have keyword research tools and keyword tracking tools for the German market that are very helpful and accurate.
( Disclaimer: we are by no means affiliated with Marketplace-Analytics)
You put in an ASIN of the top-selling product in your category and it will give you all the keywords that people are typing in that bring them to that listing. It will even indicate which keywords people typed before buying that product.
This is a massively helpful and effective tool for getting new keyword ideas that you never would have thought of on your own.
In our example of the sleep mask, there is no way that you could know how many people are typing in the keyword phrase, “eye mask for mom in silk bag.”
But they are because Oprah posted about an eye mask in a silk bag on her blog.
You’re not going to guess that on your own, but the Reverse ASIN Keyword Inspector Tool will.
This tool will find those long and medium tail keywords that you wouldn’t think of on your own.
And since you have so much space in the back end of your listing, you can just take the entire document that Reverse ASIN gives you and throw it into your back end.
You can also do a manual search on Amazon.de. This is especially good for generating medium tale keywords that you can add into your back end as well as into your bullet points, description, and title (if it applies to you).
The most accurate and relevant keyword data you can get is from your own automatic pay per click (PPC) campaign.
However, since this data is not generated until after you launch a product and run a campaign, incorporating PPC keyword data into your listing must be done at a later date.
Thankfully, manual research, Marketplace-Analytics.de, and Reverse ASIN are enough to help you make a strong launch.
That said, your PPC campaign data is the best way to get keyword data that is tailored to your product based off of real results.
You can see the search volume for each keyword, the conversion rate, and how many sales each keyword led to.
You can use all of this data to optimize your listing on the front and back end, as well as any future PPC campaigns.
3. Translation Quality
One of the pitfalls we’ve seen companies fall into – even big $20 million companies that come to us to do a launch – is bad translations.
It is amazing because it’s such a cheap, easy, simple thing to get right, but so many companies get it wrong.
And, while it is simple to fix, the effect of a bad quality translation on the customer experience and listing conversion rate is staggering.
If your listing looks like it was written by a five-year-old, people are not going to trust you.
It’s as simple as that.
You need to inspire trust with your listing in order to make that sale and have people click that “Add to Cart” button.
So, how do you guarantee a good translation?
First things first, do NOT let Amazon auto-translate your listing for you.
They’ll try to.
If you have a listing in the UK, for instance, and you use the global expansion option to create a linked listing in the German market, they will do an automatic translation to German that is going to sound like it was written by a five-year-old.
It’s going to be really bad.
Do not allow this to happen!
Amazon shouldn’t even have this feature because so many companies just leave the translation up to Amazon thinking it’s their only option.
It isn’t. You have options.
A cheap option is to simply hire a freelancer to do the translation.
Of all the jobs you can hire on Upwork, translating has the most qualified contractors. And you can get a translation job done for $40, with 20-30 people applying for a job at that price.
If you want to get a pro marketing expert to do your translations specifically for the German market, you can always come to Judolaunch.
If you are working with us, we want your launch to go well and, if we see that your translation is terrible, we will ask you to improve it, whether by working with our team of translators or going out and finding someone to hire on your own.
We know that your conversion rate is going to be abysmal if your translation looks like it was done by a five-year-old.
So, definitely go with one of those two options and don’t go for cheap translations done by Amazon or even a friend.
You do not want to mess this up.
4. Image Creation
The images you include in your listing will communicate more to your customer than anything else on your page.
Images are the most important component of an online customer’s decision-making process because it is their one chance to interact with the product in any meaningful way before they purchase.
If you were to take a moment and observe the search habits of the typical Amazon customer as they search for and select a product for purchase, you would quickly see that they do not read a single word of your listing until they are well into their search.
Not a single word.
In the beginning, they ONLY see pictures. If they like what they see, that is when they will click and read the rest of what you have to say.
Your sales copy could be out of this world, but if your main image is terrible, you won’t get the click and they won’t even get to the page that you have pored over to optimize for keywords and the perfect sales copy.
This is why your main image is literally the most important part of your whole listing.
And the second most important component?
Your other eight images.
Putting your images in the wrong order or missing one or two key photos could completely botch your conversion rates.
Even if everything else is in place to ensure a strong algorithm from the start, if your conversion rate is low because you have bad images, that will negatively affect the algorithm and send you back down the search rankings.
There are so many people who do not invest in their product images, so just doing this one step right will give you a huge advantage and put you in the top 10%.
Here at Judolaunch, we’ve done so many consultations and executed so many launches that we’ve seen what works best when it comes to image choice and content generation.
Here’s the exact formula we have seen work wonders to convert visitors to your page into actual customers:
Solo Shot With White Background:
In order to comply with Amazon and convey a clean, professional brand image, the solo shot with a white background is a must.
White-ish backgrounds will not do!
Only pure white backgrounds for a solo shot taking up as much of the frame as possible is acceptable.
Solo Shot, Up Close:
Most products will need an up-close shot showing the texture of the product, the label, or the packaging. It should be something that gives the customer an intimate feel of the product and its quality – like they can almost hold it in their hands it’s so close.
This image should visually display the product’s benefits.
How is the product going to help the customer? How is it going to make their life better? This image is all about the customer.
This image, on the other hand, is all about the product.
It will visually display the features of your product and highlight how it is different from and better than all the others products the customer could choose from.
Lifestyle Shots (2):
These images allow the customer to step into someone else’s experience with the product and imagine themselves using it.
The lifestyle image is so key because it taps into the customer’s mirror neurons that we talk about so much in marketing psychology.
Since you typically have room for two lifestyle images, you could include one of a man using the product and one of a woman, or you could show the product being used in two different ways.
Multi-panel Shot (Use Cases):
The multi-panel image allows you to show various different types of product uses in just one image. “You can use it on a plane! You can use it in a car! You can use it at your desk!”
And, because you are uploading HD images (of course) customers will be able to hover over the image and see each panel up close and read the text.
Product Specific Shots (2):
Your final two images should be tailored to your specific product.
Maybe your product comes with a case, maybe it comes in a bundle, maybe there’s an extra feature you want to highlight.
Whatever it may be, these last two images will be based on what your product is and what you want to convey to your audience.
5. Launch Preparation
You don’t want to just hop into a launch as soon as your listing is ready.
If you make decisions based on quantitative analysis, you will want to know exactly what the effect of your launch is when you execute it.
When you launch with us, we track all these metrics and report them to you.
If you are a data nerd and want to do it on your own, this is what you do:
Input your ASIN and main keyword into AMZ Tracker, Amachete, and Marketplace Analytics. It’s really important to use all three because you get different data out of all three.
Double check your listing and your back end to make sure everything is totally tight. This includes your keywords on your back and front end, your images, and the translation.
In Germany, we found specifically that having the keywords in the title has a huge impact.
Try putting keywords in the title without making it look like it was keyword-stuffed. Sometimes this takes a little bit of elegant grace.
These are the things that will ensure that you stay up in the rankings after your launch, so make sure you have your house in order before you launch.
Hot Tip: Categorize for the Best Seller Badge
We all know that there are many different subcategories that your product could fit into.
What you want to do is pick the one that will give you the highest probability of getting the best seller badge.
Here’s how you do it:
You can find it just by typing product classifier tool in the search bar in the back end of Seller Central and it will pop up in the help menu on the right-hand side.
When you open it, type your main keyword and then a bunch of browse notes (i.e., categories) will come up.
You will get anywhere between 10 and 20 different browse notes popping up for that keyword.
The next step can be a little bit tedious and will take about 20 minutes to do.
As annoying as it may be, it’s going to pay off huge because it’s going to give you a much better chance of getting a bestseller badge.
For each subcategory, go to Amazon.de and take a look at the top seller.
Use your Amachete tool to see how many sales per day that top seller is getting.
Do that for every single browse note/subcategory until you find the one where the top seller is making the lowest number of sales.
The one caveat is that you have to choose a category that is relevant.
Sometimes Amazon will recommend categories that are not relevant to your product, so you have to use common sense. However, there will be many relevant category choices.
All you need to do is look at each one and pick the one with the lowest competition that will give you the best chance of getting a bestseller badge once you execute your launch and beyond.
A bestseller badge bumps up conversion, gives you more authority, inspires more trust, and makes your brand seem more legit.
6. Product Launch
Why do you run a launch in the first place?
Your listing is done, everything is in order, the product is live on Amazon.de, so why do a launch?
The reason is, even with a good product listing, you will be stuck at the bottom of Amazon’s negative feedback loop until you get on top.
Because you are on page 20, no one is going to find your product, let alone buy it.
Amazon sees that you’re not getting any sales so your conversion rate is low, plus, you have no reviews keeping your conversion rate right where it is.
You’re still not getting any sales and because you’re not getting any sales you’re not getting any reviews and so on.
This reinforcing feedback loop keeps you on the bottom.
It doesn’t matter how quality your product is, you’re stuck on page 20 and you need a launch to get you on top of that reinforcing feedback loop so you can stay on top.
Once you’re on top, you’ll stay there because you’re getting sales and reviews and have a great conversion rate which gets you more sales, which gets you more reviews, which gets you a better conversion rate, etc.
There are a bunch of different feedback loops on Amazon, but you’re either on the bottom of them all or you’re on the top.
The difference between the products that are on page 20 and the products on page one that are getting consistent daily sales and just killing it comes down to two things:
1) The quality of the product and the product listing.
2) The launch.
Those are the only two elements.
Once you have those two things working for you in a lucrative product category, you are on top of the world.
You’ve got the reinforcing feedback loop working for you instead of against you.
What a launch specifically does is it spikes your best seller rating.
A launch gets your sales velocity moving whether you are already selling and have an existing listing or you are starting from scratch.
It will also boost your conversion rates, both artificially and naturally.
The artificial boost occurs when a bunch of people are suddenly coming to your listing solely due to your launch promotion so they can get your product at a discount.
So many people are coming to your listing and buying that your conversion rate just goes through the roof.
That’s the artificial boost.
The natural boost happens when these customers get their hands on these products and write about your product, take pictures and videos of it, and even blog about it.
This allows other customers to vicariously put themselves in the shoes of someone using the product, giving them a chance to see the product through the eyes of a customer and see what the product actually looks and feels like and how it performs.
This gives you a natural conversion rate and boost over time that ideally keeps you on top.
This particular marketing strategy is not unique to Amazon or online retail.
Getting your product in the hands of passionate customers is an old school marketing tactic. Everyone does this, whether or not they’re worrying about optimizing their Amazon channel.
It’s just good business in general.
Hot Tip: Launch a Brand, Not Just a Product
The biggest difference in mindset that we have seen between extremely successful Amazon companies and those who are just doing alright is this: big brands like to launch their brand, the little guys like to launch a product.
There’s a huge difference between those two things.
There are many tangible benefits to launching an entire brand line, including short-term launch benefits as well as long-term general brand strategy benefits.
The multiple product launch is a strategy that big brands use to not only promote their entire brand all at once but also to exploit some very specific little hacks within Amazon that can make a big difference.
For instance, the multiple product launch helps you to take advantage of the “Frequently Bought Together” and “Customers who bought this product also bought” features of Amazon.
By using this strategy, you are launching your entire brand – your entire company – to the top of Amazon’s ranking system.
Doing this allows you to buy back the real estate on your own listing and cross-promote your own products for free, giving your products extra promotion free of charge.
You will see better results from this than even running a PPC campaign (which will require you to fork over quite a bit of money).
Another thing that big brands do versus little ones is the cross-product promotion.
This goes along with multiple product launches.
In the product description of one product, these companies will include a bullet point that explains how the customer can get 20% off of another product when they add this particular product to their cart.
All you have to do is set up a promotion in the back end of your Seller Central account that will create a code for 20% off once the original product is added to a customer’s cart.
When the customer goes to checkout, they’ll see the 20% off and want to take advantage of the deal before they lose it.
This is another reason why big brands that use these strategies show up in the “Frequently Bought Together” section of their listing.
If you have a consistent brand with all products serving the same demographic, the customer buying one of your products will likely need your other products, so there’s no reason why they shouldn’t buy the product from you instead of some other company.
This is another great way to buy back that real estate on your listing.
7. Quantitative Result Analytics
Your work has only just begun once you officially launch your product.
The final step of a successful launch is to track the key metrics of your results so you can adjust and improve as needed.
In all honesty, you should conduct quantitative analysis throughout the whole process leading up to a launch, but it is especially important after the launch because it is the moment you can dig into the numbers and see how successful and effective your launch actually was.
These are the key metrics you will need to track:
Average Sales Per Day: This is the most important metric because that is the bottom line of how much money you are making.
Best Seller Rank (BSR):
Sub-BSR :This is your browse note/category that we discussed in terms of aiming to get a best seller badge.
Average Star Rating
Total Number of Reviews
Best Seller Badge
These are the metrics that you want to track throughout a launch to see how effective it was in the short-term, medium-term, and long-term.
If you’ve done your work leading up to the launch, these metrics will be exactly what you hoped for, if not more impressive than you could have imagined.