After working on quite a lot of PPC accounts, both successful and unsuccessful, I’m starting to see a pattern emerge that separates the winning campaigns from the losers, so let’s dive in.
The obvious problems
The easy and obvious PPC train wrecks are the ones that are void of proper research and optimisation – they include listings with no back end keywords or poorly selected main keywords.
I talked about in this post and (PLUG ALERT!!) in my PPC Guide and it’s important because, if you haven’t built the right foundation, your impressions will be low off the bat and PPC results poor.
The next most obvious problems
Presuming the keyword research is on-point, along with title, seeding and back end keywords, the next problem is usually with the main image and/or price point.
Your main image has, in some way, to pop and stand out from the crowd. When you look at the Amazon results page, image you are a buyer and see which offer you are naturally drawn to and why.
Your image needs to be as good or better.
What about price?
Somehow, people get so caught up on tactics that they forget how important price point is in relation to the competition.
This is HUGE! When you do your product research you have to be 100% brutally honest with what price you can charge. If your product is premium, why is it premium? Are the materials better? The design different? If yes, that needs to show in the main image especially.
When all PL sellers have the same looking items and generally equal optimisation, price is going to win out. But then I often hear ‘this is as low as I can price it.’
If that’s the case, you have made a mistake in your selection because you need to understand your margins 100% before you commit to buying inventory.
Too often PL sellers think they can charge more because they have a nicer image – this used to be the case, but not anymore.
This is why a race to the bottom happens because most of us sell basically identical items.
The real problem 90% of the time
You picked the wrong product and no amount of help or hacks is going to change that one basic fact - but your ego could be blinding you.
People don’t like to admit a possible flop as it makes them feel stupid and, like any business failure, it’s embarrassing!
But in reality, if you launch 5 products, probably only one will be a success, and the rest may just barely make you any money.
Statistically speaking, that is actually the norm - a home run out of the gate is the exception, not the rule, although we lose sight of that when we see waves of success stories in seller groups.
Naturally competitive types struggle with this concept the most as it triggers what I call the ‘I’m not a quitter!’ response.
Here’s a real time example
You sell a PL pepper mill, similar to other popular models, your acos is 70%, you have 30 reviews - and this is some of the page one competition for ‘pepper mill’
Now, admittedly, it's hard to see from that image, so try searching yourself and see what you think.
What can you do in this situation?
I’ll tell you what I did – I changed the KW focus to 'sea salt grinder' (that has much less volume) and got the acos to 40%, then I sincerely advised the client to sell off their remaining stock and focus on a new product, created as a bundle.
Pick and choose your battles!
So to reiterate, too much competition and too many similar items are the cause of most PPC issues I see for PL items and there really are no fixes for it.
I see so many sellers following the ‘system’ exactly and failing, without understanding why.
Well, if you launch a basic garlic press in 2016 or a simple iPhone case, I can tell you why and it won’t cost you a penny!
So, if you are having issues with your PPC, make sure you are optimised, check your price and images and, don't feel attached to a failing product.
Think outside the box and expect a few bumps and failures along the way. Sell out, learn and move on.