Many sellers rely on Amazon for all their sales. This is fine, for the most part. Amazon is a powerful channel for e-commerce sellers, with a huge customer base of engaged shoppers. It’s absolutely possible to build a thriving business on Amazon alone.
Yet if you’re looking for an extra edge, driving external traffic to Amazon might be the answer.
This post will explain why this is such a powerful strategy, and how you can do it most effectively.
Why Drive External Traffic?
You want to rank high on Amazon and get a lot of organic sales. But while this is the number one thing you should aim for, it’s getting harder than ever to do.
External traffic both helps you rank higher, and offers another path to get sales (outside of visibility on Amazon).
Here are some of the biggest things off-Amazon traffic allows you to do.
Boost your BSR & keyword rankings
It’s a pretty simple formula. More traffic = more sales. Since sales velocity is one of the major factors in Amazon’s search algorithm, this often translates into better keyword rankings.
Think of external traffic as a supplement for your Amazon traffic. Anything extra you can drive to your listing on your own is a bonus.
Instead of relying on people to search for your product and find it, you go out and find customers yourself.
Skip over the competition
Selling on Amazon has become incredibly competitive in the last few years.
It’s not only tough getting seen in the first few organic results in Amazon’s search engine. There are Sponsored Product and Sponsored Brand ads to contend with as well.
If someone clicks through to your listing, there are even Sponsored Product ads on your listing. Then there are related products chosen by Amazon too.
It’s hard to show off your product on its own on Amazon. But advertising in other channels allows you to do this.
You put your product in front of your target customer, where it’s seen before any of your competitors’ products. It gives you the chance to make a sale before the extra noise comes in, such as related and sponsored products.
Build a list (email or Messenger)
An email list is one of the most important brand assets for an online business. Yet, you’re not able to collect emails selling only on Amazon.
Amazon protects their customers’ details fiercely. Any attempt to get your Amazon customers’ real email addresses will put you in violation of the Terms of Service.
However, the key distinction is whether you make contact before or after they get to Amazon.
If you make contact with customers before they reach Amazon, it’s fair game to capture their contact details.
With a customer list, you have so many more possibilities to grow your brand than without. You can:
- run marketing campaigns
- push cross-sells and up-sells
- build long-term relationships with your customers
- launch products for much lower costs
Additionally, your list gives you a fallback plan if you find yourself unable to sell on Amazon in the future. Whether because of a TOS violation, black-hat tactics from other sellers, or just a desire to have more control and sell on your own site.
While email has long been the go-to for building a customer list, Facebook Messenger is becoming popular in its own right.
With much better open rates and engagement rates, Messenger is proving an even more effective marketing channel for many online stores, especially for reaching out and asking for reviews.
How to Drive Traffic Effectively
There’s no doubt driving traffic can be beneficial for your Amazon store. But if you don’t do it the right way, you’ll miss out on a lot of the benefits, and could even hurt your rankings.
Here are the key steps to take to get the biggest return from off-Amazon traffic.
Before you start: optimize your listing
External traffic doesn’t make up for a poor product listing.
If your listing is a mess of keywords and isn’t optimized to buy, you’re not going to make sales.
As a result, all the time and money you spend driving traffic will go to waste.
Before you even think about marketing off-Amazon, audit your listing to make sure it’s set up to convert viewers into buyers.
Your images usually have the biggest impact. Unattractive or unclear images are a good way to turn people off.
Your listing copy (description, bullets, heading) is the other big one.
A lot of sellers use this area to scribble all the related keywords you want to rank for. Even if that manages to appease the search algorithm, it will send your customers running.
Optimizing for keywords is important. Indeed, you should also audit your keywords at this step, so you have a better chance of converting momentum from external traffic into organic sales.
But you always need the balance between customer-centric copy and keywords.
Choosing your channel
Once your listing is ready for you to send traffic, you need to figure out where it’s going to come from.
Not all traffic sources are the same. It’s possible you’ll need to do a little testing to find what works best for you, and for your products.
If you already have an email list, this can be a great, low-cost traffic source.
Alternatively, Facebook Ads are the go-to for many e-commerce businesses. Facebook brings with it a huge base of users – people from all demographics with all types of interests. The platform also gives you sophisticated tools to target your audience.
Facebook Ads are getting more competitive and expensive, so nailing your targeting and getting ad copy/creative right is a must.
Influencer Marketing is another powerful way to drive traffic. Find people related to your niche who already have an engaged audience, and partner with them to promote your products. Amazon even has their own program to connect brands with influencers.
Other channels you might want to test out include:
- Google Ads (formerly AdWords)
- Blogs & Google SEO
Don’t send traffic directly to your listing
Once you’ve settled on a traffic channel, most people fall into the same big mistake.
If you send traffic straight to your product listing, you miss out on a lot of the benefits of external traffic. You even risk hurting your Amazon keyword rankings, too.
As mentioned earlier in this post, one of the best reasons to drive your own traffic is that it allows you to build a customer list. But if you send people straight from external channels to your listing, you’ve missed this chance.
Say you’re running ads on Facebook. You link your ad to Amazon. Someone clicks through, but you haven’t captured an email or Messenger subscription. If you try to get their contact details after this point, you’ll be in violation of Amazon’s terms, since they’re now an Amazon customer.
On the other side of the coin is the damage you’re doing to your conversion rate.
Average conversion rates on Amazon are very good. Around 13% for regular Amazon customers, and over 70% for Amazon Prime members.
In comparison, the average e-commerce conversion rate across all platforms hovers around 3%.
People on Amazon are there because they’re looking for a product. Thus, buying intent is at its highest.
In comparison, people in other channels often aren’t in the same “buy now” mode. Even if they are interested in what you have for sale, many aren’t ready to buy just yet. A lot of the time they’ll click through to the listing, like what they see, but still bounce without buying.
Conversion rate being a big part of the Amazon search algorithm, sending a lot of non-converting traffic to your listing can easily tank your search rankings, and put you worse off than when you started.
The solution? Drive traffic to a landing page, or similar sales funnel first.
Sales funnels for external traffic
The quality of your sales funnel is a big factor in whether you get a significant kick out of traffic you drive.
A funnel will:
- Qualify your traffic
- Filter out those who aren’t ready to buy
- Allow you to retarget
- Capture contact details
- (Optional) send an incentive for people to buy
Here’s an example of a Facebook to Amazon sales funnel, using a landing page:
Using a software tool like LandingCube, you can generate a landing page which shows off your product and its benefits
An added bonus is sending discount promo codes from your landing page, which people need to opt in with their email to receive. Discounts are a great reason for people to subscribe to your email list, and also increase conversions on Amazon.
You could also replace the email opt-in with a Messenger flow. Your customer clicks a button to open a Facebook Messenger conversation to claim their discount.
When the customer replies to the conversation, they’ll be added to your Messenger list, which you can use to build out your relationship with them in the future.
Driving External Traffic to Amazon – In Summary
As more competition joins Amazon, third-party sellers need more ways to get ahead.
External traffic not only gives you another channel to bring in sales, it also helps you rank higher and make more organic sales.
Driving your own traffic also allows you to build a customer list, a powerful asset for growing and protecting your brand.
Build out a sales funnel for your external traffic, and you’ll be able to hit on all the benefits of off-Amazon channels, and give your business an extra edge.
About the author:
Andrew Buck handles content and customer support for LandingCube. As well as writing about Amazon (and cryptocurrency from time to time), he has a passion for movies and martial arts.