Amazon is a great platform for e-commerce sellers – with one big drawback.
No matter how much you sell on Amazon, you don’t own your customers. Amazon does, and they can effectively shut off your business at a moment’s notice.
There’s no doubt it’s still a super-effective sales channel for an online business. If you can rank high on Amazon search, the potential for organic sales is better than you’ll get anywhere else. But ideally, you’ll build an audience for yourself too, and enjoy the best of both worlds.
Thankfully, it is possible to grow an audience for your Amazon business, without breaking Amazon TOS or using grey-hat tricks.
Doing so sets you up for greater success on Amazon, as well as a layer of protection should anything go wrong.
Every business needs customers. But understand, your customer base on Amazon is merely a borrowed audience. Amazon customers are only sustainable as long as you’re allowed to sell on Amazon, and as long as you show up in the search rankings.
Even if you’re able to keep selling on Amazon with no problems, an audience can be a powerful tool that will help you get a leg up over your competitors.
There are a few key benefits to having your own audience, such as the following:
A low-cost sales channel
The more sales channels you have, the more potential customers you’re exposed to, the more money you can make. It’s pretty simple math.
The cost of paid ads, such as social media ads or PPC, adds up over time and cuts into your profit margins. But with an audience, such as a list of emails, Facebook Messenger subscribers or a social media community, you have a low-cost way to reach out and drive additional sales to your Amazon store.
An email list, for example, you can continually send marketing emails to for little to no cost whatsoever, opening up the possibility for really high ROIs.
A channel for customer service and review outreach
The level of interaction you can have with your customers on Amazon is quite limited. Amazon’s careful not to give you too many tools to divert customers away from their site. For that reason, you can’t create personal relationships with your customers as you’d like to.
By building an audience and capturing customers’ real contact details, you now have an avenue to do this. You can contact your audience from your branded email address or social channels, which makes things like regular customer service and asking for reviews a lot more effective.
A layer of protection for your business
We touched on the fact that you don’t own your Amazon customers, which is a big dark cloud over your head if you’re only selling on Amazon.
There’s a constant risk of suspension, your products getting flagged and taken down, or competitors targeting you with black-hat tactics.
Today, with the quick trigger Amazon has, and the sophisticated attacks coming from bad actors and scammers, you absolutely have to have a plan B. That means building your own audience, which you can turn to for your main sales channel should anything go wrong.
As the title says, we’re focusing on building your audience through Facebook Ads. But why Facebook Ads?
It’s not the only way to build an audience. Any external traffic channel works, as long as you can get in front of customers before they reach Amazon (diverting customers away from Amazon is against TOS and will get you banned).
Google Ads, YouTube/Instagram influencers and blogging (Google SEO) can all be used to grow your audience, to varying degrees of effectiveness.
But Facebook Ads are the go-to. The first reason being their huge user base. There are almost 2.5 billion monthly active users on Facebook. That’s massive, and means that whatever your target demographic is, you’re likely to find them on Facebook.
On top of that, their targeting tools are better than any other social media platform, allowing you to manage your ad campaigns really effectively, getting your ads in front of the right people at the right time.
Ever notice how you’ll think about something, then all of a sudden see an ad for it? That’s what you can do with Facebook’s ad targeting.
It’s a goldmine for advertisers, and the big reason they spend more than $40 billion on Facebook Ads each year.
Now let’s look at how you can use Facebook Ads to grow your audience.
The key is to set up a sales funnel that does three things:
- Qualifies people as part of your ideal customer profile
- Captures their contact details
- Sends them to Amazon to make a purchase
This way you’re driving sales, which helps your cash flow and organic Amazon rankings. At the same time, you’re building a powerful brand asset for future use, in the form of a customer list.
The first step is targeting. You need to get in front of the right people.
You should accept a bit of trial and error when narrowing your targeting, but ideally, you’ll limit the ’’error’’ portion as much as possible.
Instead of starting from scratch with a cold audience, you can use your past Amazon customers as a base. The customer details made available by Amazon aren’t completed (you don’t get their email addresses), but with what you do get, you can create a custom audience based off the broad characteristics of your past Amazon customers.
Layer this with specific interests related to your product and/or niche, and you’re part of the way to a focused target audience for your ad campaigns. This tactic has seen us get leads at ⅛ the cost of building an audience from scratch, in tests we’ve done.
Capture contact details with a landing page
Where you send customers after clicking on your ad is important.
You don’t want to send people straight to your listing. That way, you’ll lose the chance to capture their contact details, and thus build your audience.
The best practice is to run your ads to a landing page instead. Place a button on the landing page, for people to submit their details (email address or Facebook Messenger) and opt in to your list.
The landing page also serves to qualify the people who click your ad. A lot of people will click your ad who aren’t ready to buy just yet. Sending them straight through to your Amazon listing will result in very few sales per impression. This drop-in conversion rate damages your rankings, hurting your organic Amazon sales.
With a landing page, people who aren’t ready to buy, or aren’t actually interested in what you have for sale, bounce before they reach Amazon, with no damage to your conversion rate.
How to incentivize lead capture
A simple opt-in form won’t provide great results. People don’t just offer their contact details for nothing. You need an incentive.
The best type of incentive for this type of funnel is a single-use promo code. It’s the type of incentive that appeals to everyone, and it encourages people to buy your product. Using specifically single-use codes (instead of a generic multi-use coupon) prevents abuse, or people leaking the code and the opt-in becoming useless.
You can use a software tool like LandingCube to build a landing page for your Amazon product, as well as automate sending out single-use codes to people who opt-in. This lets you set up sales funnels super quick, and start building your audience ASAP.
Double down with lookalike audiences
Building a customer list is a gradual thing. You won’t go from 0 to 10,000 right away, or with one campaign. It takes a while.
The great thing is, the more people you add to your list, the easier it is to expand your list further. Once you start collecting email address or Messenger subscriptions, you can create additional lookalike audiences based off these profiles.
Lookalikes can range in size from 1% to 10% (of your target country). 1% being the most closely related to your original audience. You can play around with these settings, as well as layering with different interests, to continue finding new people to put your products in front of.
At this point, you could think about replicating this funnel on other traffic sources, but you could just as easily continue to iterate this strategy on Facebook. There are more than enough users for you to build a huge audience for your brand.
Ceding all control over your online store to Amazon is risky business. If you want something that isn’t going to disappear overnight, you need to think about building your own audience.
Use this audience to drive sales, develop relationships with your customers and diversify off Amazon, and you’ll be well on the way to building something much bigger than just another Amazon store.
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