Amazon FBA is getting more and more competitive these days.
Thankfully, there’s a secret weapon you can use to get an advantage on your competition. That weapon is external traffic.
Off-Amazon traffic channels can unlock a number of benefits for your Amazon store. These channels allow you to sell more and rank higher by reaching a wider audience. You’ll also begin to diversify your business, protecting against the risk of selling exclusively on Amazon.
Best of all, if your competitors are only getting customers from organic search and PPC, an external traffic strategy will allow you to get a step ahead.
In this post, we’ll share the best sources of traffic to level up your Amazon marketing game.
Cost & Benefits of Driving External Traffic
Before we get to the best external traffic channels, let’s touch on a couple of points—why you should market your products outside Amazon, and why the cost of off-Amazon traffic is justified.
Benefits: More Sales, Higher Rankings, and a Valuable Moat
First, the benefits. Number one is the additional sales you can drive with off-Amazon channels. While a huge number of people go to Amazon to search for products (66% of people start their product research process on Amazon), there are many more who look for products somewhere else. Advertising your product on multiple channels allows you to get in front of your entire target audience, not just those searching on Amazon.
Then there are the people who aren’t actively searching for something to buy. You can take a proactive approach and put your product in front of these people, and convince them to buy.
Taking this into account, you can realistically double your sales with external traffic by increasing the audience size exposed to your products.
An added payoff of this increase in sales is an increase in organic rankings. While there are many advanced Amazon SEO strategies we could get into, there’s one simple fact that stays true with each algorithm update. If you sell more products, you’re going to rank higher.
One more benefit is what we call a “moat”. A moat is something that protects your business against competition, or other outside threats.
Marketing with external traffic lets you build a moat in the form of a customer list. This protects you against competition on Amazon and against the threat of suspension or algorithm changes, as it gives you an audience to sell to, independent of Amazon.
Let’s say your product gets hit with a couple of bad reviews and drops in ranking, or Amazon thinks you violated TOS and suspends your product. Having a customer list helps you go and re-launch your product on your own site, or launch a new listing on Amazon.
When you sell exclusively on Amazon, it’s difficult to build an audience, because of how seriously Amazon guards customer information. But if you start advertising outside Amazon, you have the opportunity to collect a list of customer information (such as emails, Messenger, SMS, community signups), outside of where Amazon enforces their TOS.
Cost: Why External Traffic is an Investment
Then there’s the elephant in the room—most external traffic channels are paid ads, and these are not cheap to run, particularly when you first start out.
There’s also the cost of running promotions for your products. Ads on social media need something to “wow” potential customers, and make them stop scrolling (these ads come under the category of “interruption marketing”).
That something is usually a juicy discount—an incentive for someone to buy your product, when they were not in active shopper mode.
That cost takes away from your profit margins, as does the cost of running ads. So it’s often the case that you don’t make much, if any, profit from external traffic.
That’s why you need to think of it as an investment. You’re investing in more cash flow, higher rankings, and the safety and power of a customer list. These things are going to make you more money over time, eventually paying off the cost of running external traffic.
An investment mindset like this is what separates Amazon businesses that succeed long-term, and those that don’t.
The Best Sources of Traffic
Now let’s look at the best external traffic sources for Amazon sellers.
If you have a list, you can send regular email blasts to drive traffic to your products [source]
We talked briefly about how powerful a customer list—such as an email list—is. It’s not just a protective moat for your business, it’s also a great way to drive additional traffic and sales to your Amazon products by developing a customer base.
Compared to paid ads or organic social media, email marketing reigns supreme in cost, and effectiveness. Emails are basically free to send. That’s why email marketing delivers an average return of $42 for every $1 spent.
Email is also a really effective way to drive sales, because the people on your list are likely to be familiar with you already. You’re not shooting in the dark, trying to find the right people to market to.
The obvious issue with email marketing is that most people don’t have an email list to use to drive sales. It takes time and effort to build your list, and to keep your list engaged.
But the time and effort you put in will result in an incredibly powerful traffic channel.
Facebook & Instagram
Facebook Ads are the most common external traffic sellers used by Amazon sellers, and indeed all kinds of e-commerce stores. It’s not hard to see why. Facebook has 2.8 billion active users, and their ad platform gives you a really nice suite of tools to put your ads in front of just about any one of them.
Facebook’s Ads platform includes Instagram as well, and its 1 billion users.
The number of users, as well as the fact that you can target people who aren’t actively shopping, means Facebook Ads offer the potential to scale your traffic just about infinitely.
Through Facebook Pixel-based targeting, you will be able to hone in on the exact demographic for your products, ensuring you aren’t marketing your products to the wrong people. This makes Facebook Ads many e-commerce sellers’ go-to channel for product launches, where you need to generate a lot of sales quickly.
There is a learning curve with Facebook Ads, and with the number of businesses running ads today, they aren’t cheap. But consider what we talked about earlier—the cost of Facebook Ads, and the time spent learning and perfecting them, is an investment for your business’ long-term health.
Google Search Ads
Google Ads are probably the most underutilized ad platform by Amazon sellers.
Most stores that run external traffic think of Facebook Ads, and that’s it. But Google’s ad platform is just as big and powerful.
There are a few different types of Google Ads:
- Google search ads
- Display ads
- Google Shopping
- Video ads (YouTube ads)
Not all make sense for Amazon sellers.
Display ads (the kind you’ll often see on websites) have a big learning curve, and are unlikely to be profitable for your Amazon products (these are best for high-ticket businesses like software or services).
Video ads, too, are expensive and take a lot of work to produce.
Google Shopping sounds like it would make sense for Amazon products. However, Google requires you to send shoppers to your own site, which you will have to verify ownership of. That means creating Google Shopping listings for Amazon products is not an option.
Google Search ads, however, work great. They’re keyword-based, which means minimal learning curve if you’ve already been running Amazon PPC. That means not a lot of setup required for you to get in front of people who are searching for your keywords outside of Amazon.
Google Search Ads
Since you need to rely on people searching for your keywords, Google Search ads aren’t as easy to scale as Facebook Ads. That makes them less suitable for product launches. But they’re easier to be profitable with, so they make a great long-term traffic channel, to give you a steady and sustained boost in sales.
One more social media platform that can be effective for driving traffic is Pinterest. Compared to Facebook and Google, Pinterest can be significantly cheaper. Not only are ads and sponsored “pins” lower competition and thus cheaper, you may even be able to drive traffic from organic pins.
Pinterest does take a bit more effort than other channels, and it’s not suitable for every product or business. You should know a few things if you’re considering using Pinterest to drive traffic:
- Pinterest users are 70% female (though the male segment is growing)
- Most are between the ages of 30-39
- Pinterest is visually driven, so works best for products with a visual appeal
The best part about Pinterest is its users are engaged, and often actively looking for new products or things to buy. That’s why a regular posting schedule, combined with eye-catching designs made for Pinterest, can lead to a lot of low-cost traffic to your products.
More Ideas to Drive Traffic
Email, Facebook Ads, Google Ads and Pinterest are the most effective and most widely used ways to drive external traffic to your Amazon products. But that doesn’t mean they’re the only channels out there.
You may find another channel works well for you, and fits with your brand and the style of products you sell.
A lot of these options are cheaper than Facebook Ads and Google Ads, so they may fit if you’re on a budget.
Here are a few more options:
Influencer marketing: find influencers—people with large followings on platforms like YouTube, Instagram or TikTok—and partner with them to promote your products or give you a shout out.
Instagram influencer profile [source]
Organic social media groups: building a community somewhere like Facebook is a powerful way to grow a following without spending on ads. This takes a lot of work, as you need to constantly provide content to your group when it’s still young.
One of the many popular hobby groups on Facebook [source]
Reddit: similar to the above, provide content for Reddit communities related to your niche. Straight-up promotion doesn’t go over well on Reddit, so it’s important to find a mix between providing value to the community and promoting your brand.
Hiking gear subreddit [source]
Affiliates & blogs: look for blogs that write content about your niche, and pitch your products. Many of these blogs are already making money by Amazon affiliate commissions, so they’re more than willing to send people to Amazon to buy. You may want to offer a free product to them for a product review post, or you could negotiate a payment to them in exchange for more visibility for your products.
Product review site monetized with Amazon products [source]
Using Landing Pages
Driving external traffic to your Amazon listings is great, but there’s one small problem. The traffic you’ll gain off of Amazon is typically much, much colder than on Amazon.
Think about it: someone who uses the Amazon search engine to find your product is going to be much more likely to buy your product than someone who is casually scrolling through Facebook.
Without the right strategy, you will end up driving more traffic to your listing, but your conversion rate will be impacted.
How do we get around this? By creating a landing page that customers will be funneled to first.
This landing page will include all of the info on your Amazon listing, such as product images, bullet points, description, etc., so that customers can make a decision right then and there if they want to buy.
If they want to buy, they’ll go ahead and click onto your product listings. If not, they’ll click off, but Amazon won’t count it towards your conversion rate because they never actually went onto your listing!
This simple strategy will not only boost your Amazon sales and conversion rate, it will also boost the organic search ranking of your product listings, which will help boost your organic sales.
As alluded to above, this works best for filtering out cold leads generated from sources whose traffic is less likely in “buying mode”, like Google and Facebook. But really it can serve as a highly effective sales funnel for just about any digital marketing campaign to ensure any leads that reach your product page are high-quality.
External traffic isn’t cheap. It takes money, and it also takes time and effort. But it’s worth it, as external traffic is a powerful way to grow your sales, and valuable assets for your business.
Email marketing is a great way to get traffic to your products and run promotions and product launches, for brands with an established email list already. Otherwise, Facebook Ads and Google Ads are usually going to be your go-to channels. Facebook Ads for when you need a lot of traffic in a short time, and Google Ads for a more sustained, evergreen traffic channel.
Then there’s Pinterest, which isn’t suited for all brands, but is really powerful if you fit their target market.
Lastly, make sure you have someone check the search engine optimization (SEO) of your Amazon product listings. It would be a shame to do all this work driving traffic to your listings and not have them perform well due to bad images, copywriting, etc.
If you’re looking for something to take your Amazon store to the next level, try adding external traffic to your marketing strategy.