5 Reasons to Drive External Traffic to Amazon
Amazon is huge. It’s the third-biggest website in the US, according to Alexa.com (behind just Google and YouTube). Amazon has more than 300 million customers worldwide, and more than 90 million subscribed to Amazon Prime in the US.
So you would think there’s no reason to help get customers to Amazon, right? Well, not necessarily. As a third-party seller, there are several reasons to drive your own traffic to Amazon.
Everyone wants to be able to sit back, let Amazon attract the customers, and enjoy a ton of organic sales.
Yet by driving external traffic (traffic from sources such as Facebook Ads, Google Ads or your email list), you can not only increase your organic Amazon sales, but also build a business that isn’t 100% reliant on Amazon anymore.
If you’re skeptical whether external traffic is worth it, that’s fair, however, you may be missing a big opportunity, and your business may not be able to reach its full potential if you continue to get 100% of your customers from Amazon.
Here are 5 reasons to start using external traffic in your Amazon marketing strategy.
1. Boost Sales Velocity
It’s the most obvious reason, so it comes first.
More traffic to your product means more sales. Which means more money, which is the reason you’re doing business in the first place.
Odds are you’ll still get (a lot) more sales from organic Amazon search, as well as Amazon advertising (such as sponsored products and display ads). But that’s not to say additional sales channels won’t make a big difference to your bottom line.
Sell more products in a shorter space of time, and you’ll get more revenue, more cash flow (which can be reinvested into your business), and one more important benefit, which we’ll mention next.
2. Boost Rankings
Want to sell more? Then rank higher on Amazon search.
How can you rank higher? Well, sales velocity is one of the key metrics in deciding which product shows up #1, and which products wither away on page 99.
Amazon wants proven best-sellers showing up at the top of their search results. So as your sales velocity goes up, so will your rankings.
Driving your own traffic also gives you ways to sneakily target specific keywords. This means you can fix it so you rank for high-volume, high-value search terms.
Rank manipulation is against Amazon’s terms of service, and blatantly doing so may get you banned. But there’s a grey area, where Amazon sellers have been living since the dawn of time. Today, many sellers use special 2-step URLs when driving traffic, used to simulate a search on Amazon, and thus pass a little extra ranking juice towards a search term of their choice.
3. Lessen Reliance on Amazon
Many Amazon sellers’ biggest concern is the prospect of being suspended. Even if you play by the rules, it can happen at any time, for a number of reasons. Sometimes you may not even know why.
Not long ago, Amazon wrongly flagged many listings as containing pesticides, resulting in significant downtime for a large number of sellers as they tried to straighten things out with Seller Support.
Many also live in fear of being targeted with fake negative reviews from black-hat competitors, tanking their products’ ratings.
Whatever it is, the dreaded “Your Amazon.com selling privileges have been removed” notification means your sales are going to take a hit. Even if you get reinstated, you can expect a period, maybe days, maybe weeks, in which you have 0 sales, if Amazon is your only sales channel.
If you’re driving your own traffic, you have an opportunity to redirect this traffic to your own site and keep sales coming in while your Amazon store is shut down. And if you aren’t able to be reinstated at all, moving your operation to another channel will be a lot quicker if you already have a process in place to drive traffic.
4. Capture Contact Details & Build a List
External traffic lets you build a customer list, and this is huge.
You need external traffic for this, because any customers you get from Amazon are off-limits to contact. If you try to contact them on your own (outside of Amazon), you’ll be in violation of TOS.
The way to get around this is getting in front of customers outside of Amazon, THEN send them to your product listings. This gives you a chance to capture contact details, such as emails or Messenger subscriptions before they get to Amazon (when Amazon’s TOS kicks in).
Building a list is super powerful for a few reasons. First, it helps protect you against being 100% reliant on Amazon’s blessing. If you get banned, suspended, or drop in the rankings, you can pick up the pieces by selling directly to your list.
If the ban hammer never finds its way to you, a list is still really helpful to boost your sales on Amazon. You can use the list as a base to launch or re-launch products, or just to drive additional sales with regular promotions. It’s also a more personal, more effective way to reach out to your customers and get reviews.
The best way to build your list is to drive potential customers to a landing page, before they reach Amazon. Here you can offer a discount code as an incentive to opt in to your list. Those who opt in are likely to go on and buy from you on Amazon, while you can retarget those who don’t with the Facebook Pixel.
This kind of external traffic funnel is simple, yet extremely effective. It’s also very quick to set up, by using a software tool like LandingCube - letting you scale your strategy and build a bigger and bigger list.
5. Build a Brand
Finally, external traffic (as well as a customer list) makes it easier to build a brand.
Amazon used to be a great platform for dropshipping, or selling cheap Alibaba knockoffs, but not anymore.
The experts all agree that, today, you need to focus more on building a brand than just being a faceless Amazon seller. Creating and nurturing brand recognition allows you to build a stronger, more scalable, more resilient Amazon business.
Amazon is showing they’re looking to cater to private label brands (rather than generic third-party sellers) more and more these days, with the introduction of features like Brand Registry and Enhanced Brand Content, to cater towards these brands.
Yet Amazon still has restrictions on how well you can show off your brand. You will always have much more of an opportunity to build customer relationships and establish your unique brand image outside of Amazon - such as on your own site, or on social media.
Driving your own traffic allows you to impart your brand’s own uniquity, before getting lost in the throng of sellers on Amazon.
How to Start Driving External Traffic
It takes time to fine-tune your external traffic strategy, so it’s a good idea to start early, just operating on a small budget while you get to know whichever platform you use.
Facebook Ads are often the most effective for Amazon & other e-commerce sellers, with sophisticated targeting tools, and billions of users worldwide. It also allows you to closely integrate your promotional material with your social profile, building both your brand image and customer relationships.
Other traffic sources you can use include Google Ads, or other social media platforms like YouTube or Pinterest. An email or Messenger list is also very powerful, once you’ve taken the time to build one.
Split test variables, such as creative and targeting, to see what works and what doesn’t. Over time you’ll find a winning formula. When you do, you can begin to scale that with higher budgets.
Driving External Traffic to Amazon - Summing Up
Amazon is a great source of organic sales, which can sustain a small to mid-sized e-commerce store for some time. But relying on this for 100% of your sales is risky business.If you want to protect against things going awry, as well as boosting your profile on Amazon, you want to start driving your own traffic.
The end result will be greater peace of mind by having multiple sales channels, more revenue to reinvest in your business, and a powerful brand asset in a customer list.