A Product Launch Checklist for the Amazon Entrepreneur

In a previous blog we discussed some benefits of employing the use of checklists for your more structured tasks. Turns out, though we like to think we know what we’re doing, science tells us that we humans are quite fallible. So checklists offer a way of holding yourself accountable, remembering all the steps, and keeping your work (and the work of others) consistent.

They say that a wise person knows when to ask for help. So think of it this way: checklists make you wiser!

Putting pen to paper (or plastic, as it were)

One thing to keep in mind when employing the use of checklists in your office, is that they need to be used in such a way that fits the user’s preferred learning method. We don’t all learn the same way. For example, an electronic checklist isn’t for everyone. Many people are very tactile in their learning process, and need a physical checklist.

The best way to do this:

  • create and print out an actual list with checkboxes on it, and put it into a plastic sheet inside of a binder (I recommend the heavyweight type for this type of repeated use).
  • then, use a liquid chalk marker to mark off each step (I recommend liquid chalk because it doesn’t leave residue over time on plastic sheets, while Expo dry erase markers do).
  • If you are interrupted in the middle of the task, then you don’t ever have to worry about losing your spot!
  • When you have completed your task and physically marked everything off, wipe off your plastic sheet protector and repeat (unless your team also needs electronic records, then mark off your task electronically as well).

Materials needed:

Avery Heavyweight Binder Sheets

Avery 1.5 Inch Binder

Crafty Croc Chalk Markers

Or if paper-free is the way to be...

Electronic task trackers are very common, although in our experience, repeated tasks are most easily managed in software with templates checklists that can be quickly added to your task lists on a project. Cascadia uses Teamwork for this, because of how robust the platform is. However, there are many cheaper or simpler interfaces to use for this kind of work.  

No matter which way you go, the most important thing about your checklists is that they create consistency and they remove some of that human fallibility. Your checklist needs to hit all the important steps and provide clarity around the areas where mistakes commonly happen.

And they need to speak to the people who are doing the task. The way of keeping them accountable needs to make sense to them. If you put a non-computer person in front of an electronic checklist and tell them to use that to keep on track, you’ve just added to their pain, not helped it. Make sure your checklists are relevant to all types of learners.

A checklist for the perfect product launch

If you’ve ever launched a product for sale on the web, I’d bet that even if you are not the “list type”, lists were made. And if you haven’t ever launched a product, get ready for some lists!

There is so much to do, and it’s all important. There are so many ways that things can go wrong, so many missteps to be made. Not having a list, and even a list of lists, is going to end up a deal killer. Something bad will happen at some point.

So now that we’re crystal clear on why we need a checklist – and that there are a hundred ways to screw up a product launch – what’s included in a product launch checklist?

There are several important steps to making sure your product is launched correctly, both on Amazon and off. First things first: the off-Amazon stuff.

Off-Amazon To-Dos

  • Upload your new product to your website
  • Do a photoshoot or have a photoshoot done to cover both white background and lifestyle images. Check out how Bombas markets their socks against different backgrounds.
    • On your website, it can look very spare and not eye catching to have white background photos. However, they are required on Amazon, so you’re going to need photos to cover both and that’s why they are in the to-do first list.
    • But working with a photographer who deeply understands how products should look both on and off Amazon is critical to your brand’s image and to achieving high conversion. I cannot overstate the importance of really awesome imagery to support your brand’s message, personality, and your awesome products.
  • Create a product video and upload to YouTube and your Facebook business page
  • Make sure your Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics accounts are connected to your website
  • Get ad creatives done for Facebook and Google Retargeting Ads. Don’t hesitate to be creative and crazy with this! This of the most memorable ads or videos you’ve seen recently and enjoy yourself.
  • Contact influencers to do product review videos or other promotional content
  • Get Google retargeting ads set up for anyone visiting your product page on your website
  • Research top converting keywords for your product and write a blog post (or two) featuring these keywords
  • Set up a Facebook product ad using your ad creatives and use the Custom Engagement audience targeting method

Taking on Amazon

  • Research competitor keywords using a tool like Seller Tools or Sonar, or one of the many other tools out there for this to do reverse ASIN lookup
  • MerchantWords is great for finding frequency of search, but most important, it’s very helpful as kind of a “thesaurus” of search, finding similar searches to the one you give it to start with
  • Research competitor listings on Amazon
  • Fill out your “Write My Listing” form – this is a form we use to track the exact keyword phrases customers use to describe the product on and off of Amazon, and what the specific feature/benefits are for the product.
  • Use the content from the form to write listing copy for Amazon and upload (make sure this is custom to Amazon)
  • Add a custom email follow-up for your new product with value add information for your customer (we recommend FeedbackFive and FeedbackGenius)
  • Create product FAQs for responding to customer issues and reviews using research from #2
  • Check the listing for quality alerts and completion
  • Add your video and any influencer videos to the Amazon listing, Storefront, and/or EBC (we use gen.video for this)
  • Make sure you have inventory into FBA by your launch date
  • Check for grammar and spelling errors on the Amazon page
  • Create a landing page on your Amazon Storefront for the new product – we love Storefronts! The new seller Storefront is beautiful and just shows Amazon’s commitment to keeping customers happy on Amazon.

**Note: Cascadia Seller Solutions does not receive affilitate revenue for mentioning potential solutions.

OK, many steps right? And within each of these steps, are more steps! This Product Launch checklist is such a perfect illustration of why we need checklists. And also a perfect illustration of the path forward, growth-wise.

Maybe you really do love launching products… it’s in your zone of genius, and it’s exactly what you want to do with your days. But how much more efficient could you be if you were project managing the launch process and outsourcing a bit of the above work? I’d guess you could be a lot more efficient. Where you could perhaps launch 1 product on your own in 2 months, with some well-placed help, you could launch 5 or 10.

It all starts with getting clear on what the process is, and then getting it out of your head and onto a piece of paper, or into a file. It’s about honing the process, cutting the fat, blazing the trail for others to do it with the same level of skill, and then repeating that until you have everything you need to do the job at hand with expertise and precision. Checklists are where it’s at!

Struggling with your EBC? Want to build out a Storefront for your brand? Learn more about our services!
About the Author
Rachel Johnson Greer is a global business strategist who specializes in helping entrepreneurs increase their internet product sales, curate their brand image online and avoid catastrophic legal threats. After getting her MBA in international business at Seattle University, she spent nearly a decade at Amazon working in product development. Since then, Rachel has founded companies that reached both multi-six figure and multi-seven figure growth in under three years.

As a business coach, she supports clients in everything from international product expansion to 4x-ing their sales through online retailers. Rachel is frequently sought out by the media and has appeared on the Today Show, CNBC, Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. When she’s not working with clients, she’s scaring friends at parties with stories about the most problematic online products she’s found in their homes. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

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