While it takes a little while to build a dropshipping store, this part of the process is just the beginning of your journey. Once your store is ready to open its doors and sell, the toughest challenge you will face is getting results—sales.
Over the years, I had to ask myself what marketing methods are effective to make sales, and how to advertise my dropshipping store. I am sure you do, too. Today, I will spare you the agony and show you all the things that worked for me. You won’t have to spend thousands of dollars to find out for yourself!!
General Tips for Advertising a Dropshipping Store
Before we get into the meat and two potatoes of it, I want to give you some general advice. These are things I see so many people doing wrong when it comes to advertising!
Understand that paid advertising is faster but will cost you a lot more money. Most people don’t really have the funds for their adverts and end up cutting them off way too early before they have a chance to succeed. You need to let the paid advert or promotion run untouched for at least three days and then look at the figures. Optimise and then continue. Most paid advertising campaigns need to go pretty deep into the red before they start making money and then profit overall! Have patience!
For any free advertising or promotion understand that the results are much slower. We are talking about building things that might take months to make you any real money. Free advertising also needs a lot more effort, as you will need a lot of content to get noticed online.
I’ll get off my soapbox now!! On with the article!!
My Top Ways to Advertise a Dropshipping Store
- Google Ads
- Social Media Ads
- Social Media Marketing
- Ad Networks
- Email Marketing
- Blog Posting
- Native Ads
- Work with Influencers
- Press Releases
- Affiliate Marketing
By the end of this tutorial, I want you to choose three methods that best fit your business niche. Start working on a plan, take action and then monitor your success. And of course, never give up 🙂
1. Google Ads
Google is one of the biggest online advertising networks in the world. With Google, you can place your ads on websites, on YouTube, and on the Google Play apps and games.
Before you can create an ad on Google, you need to have an AdWords account. It is highly likely that you already have a Google account, especially so if you are using Android. If you want to make your business a separate entity, just create a new account.
Here are some of the benefits of putting up ads in the Google universe:
- Multiple channels – you can choose to place ads on different Google platforms—make your ads appear on channels that your target market frequents.
- Email Ads – you no longer need to build your email list; Google allows you to create ads and place the ads in Gmail. In Gmail, there is a tab that says “promotion”. If a person clicks that, he will see all emails from advertisers that used this ad platform.
- Remarketing – you can install a Google Tag code snippet on your website and then create an event that will trigger a recording. If you do this, you can create a list on your Google AdWords of people who triggered an event on your site. After that, you can create an ad on Google and tell Google to only show this ad to these people.
There is no fixed cost in advertising on Google. The price depends on several factors, such as the payment structure you choose, and the keywords that you are targeting.
2. Social Media Ads
After Google, your next best option is to create ads on social media platforms. Advertising on social media is best for targeted marketing.
Now, you need to be careful, as not all social media platforms work best for all businesses. Some social media sites are only great for a few niches.
Here are some tips:
- Facebook – generally good for everything. Almost all sorts of demographics are found here, and you can advertise any kind of product in this channel. Quite expensive these days though.
- Instagram – great if your product is for the younger generation, and only if your product falls on the health and fitness niche. It always works for cooking and kitchen products, but the vast majority of people on the platform are those who are interested in health, fitness, and beauty.
- Pinterest – use this platform if your products are for women. A vast majority of Pinterest users are women who have disposable income. Some examples of products you can advertise on this platform are jewelry, kitchen items, hobby items like knitting, and all other things related to women. Pinterest ads can be relatively cheap, which is a bonus!
- Snapchat – Don’t miss out on Snapchat, they are a new big, very exciting platform in my opinion. They win my award for best up-and-coming ad platform 🙂 Yes, it can be a pain to make video ads and get them approved, but trust me it’s worth it if you get it right! The audience here is hip and young though, so you must have a niche that is attractive to that market.
If possible, do not advertise on Twitter, unless your product is leaning towards something political. You see, Twitter is a place where people voice their opinions, especially in politics, religion, gender, and other hot topics. It can get pretty heated over there!!
Like Google, there is no fixed advertising fee for social media ads. The beauty of this platform is that you can choose the country or city you want to show your ads to, plus you can also add inclusions and exclusions, such as interests.
3. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is different from social media advertising. All social media channels allow you to create a page, and you need to take advantage of this because it is free.
What you want to do here is to build an audience—a following. A mistake that a lot of dropshippers do in social media channels is that they bombard their pages with product photos with prices, or sale announcements or something similar.
This is not the way social media marketing works. Here are some tips to help you out:
- Keep it short – first off, you need to write for your audience, then you need to keep it short. People’s attention spans on social media are too short—do not expect them to read long posts.
- Be visual – use lifestyle photos, or your product photos, but you should rarely add a price. You need to draw them to your store and see your products there, not on your social media pages.
- Do not spam – avoid posting the same things over and over again; people will scroll through your timeline, and if they see that you are a rabid marketer, they are not going to trust you.
- Ad CTA – always add a call-to-action button in your posts. If this is not possible, you have to add a CTA text somewhere in your post—invite them to view your offer on your website.
- Offer an incentive – you can do this via contests. Give an incentive to your audience that they cannot resist, like 50% off, or a free guide relevant to your products, or free items if they join your promotion like a raffle.
Social media is a powerful tool. If you manage to build a huge audience, you will have little need for influencers or advertising.
4. Ad Networks
Google itself is an ad network, but if you do not like to use Google, there are hundreds of alternatives out there. These ad networks work like Google where you order an ad placement, and they take care of placing your ads on relevant websites and ads.
- Conversant Media – this is an advertising network that has a reach capacity of 200 million people. What’s great about this platform is that it has a technology that can provide a 96% accuracy in matching your ads to the right people.
- Yahoo! – while Yahoo! has lost its battle to Google, it is still the 6th most visited website in the world. There are millions of people who still go to Yahoo! for its content such as Yahoo! Finance. Millions of people also use this platform for their email, and you can directly advertise inside the email message that a customer receives.
- LinkedIn – this is by far the biggest platform for professionals. If your products fit the B2B market, then LinkedIn is a great place to generate leads.
- Bing Ads – Bing is a search engine like Google, but it is owned by Microsoft. If you didn’t know, Bing owns 33% of traffic search. You can use Bing to advertise your products on places that are not dominated by Google. The great news is that the average age of Bing users is 35 and up. What this means is that these people have a disposable income. Bing Ads are also cheaper than Google, so if you have a lower budget this might be your jam!
5. Email Marketing
When I asked myself how to advertise my dropshipping store, I also thought if it is possible to send emails directly to my target market. I found out that this is possible in two ways. The first method is to build my own email list, and the second one is to use solo ads.
- Email List – an email list is not exactly a free method to advertise. You need to pay for an autoresponder to be able to build an email list.
In this approach, what you need to do is to offer a lead magnet, like a free eBook, to people who visit your site. You can also offer discounts in exchange for a person’s email address.
Over time, you would have accumulated thousands of emails. Once you have a massive email list, you can start sending them marketing materials—those who like your offer will go to your store and buy. Just be sure to not bombard them with spammy sales emails all the time, include at least half that offer free value too.
- Solo Ads – solo ads work under the same principle. You send an email to a massive list of people. However, you do not own this email list, and you will never get to see these email addresses. What you have to do is to buy a solo ad from organizations like Udimi.
On a platform like Udimi, you choose your target market, and then also choose the number of recipients. You upload the details of your email message, and then Udimi will send it to its subscribers.
Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to advertise a business. It is cost-effective and much more targeted, especially so if you build your own email list.
6. Blog Posting
Now, how did a blog become free advertising?
A blog is a place where you can put relevant and helpful content for your target audience and market to consume. If you do this right, along with your search engine optimization, you will rank high on search engine results pages.
Here are the benefits of blogging:
- Free traffic – blogging is not free per se, as you need some time to write. You can also hire a freelance writer to write the blog posts for you. However, you get free traffic as a result of consistent publication of new (high quality) content.
- Build credibility – if you blog for your dropshipping store, people who read your blog will start looking at you as an authority. Over time, you will build credibility in the industry, and the people who read your blogs will have more reason to buy your products.
- Create shareable content – if you publish great content, it can get viral. But even if it doesn’t, you can post blog posts that you can share on your social media channels. In return, people who read your posts may also share your content.
The end result? You get more audience without spending a lot of money on ads.
Basically, blogging is a method where you get free traffic to your website. As time goes by, you can amass tens if not hundreds of thousands of free traffic to your dropshipping store.
7. Native Ads
Have you ever been on a news site and seen a row of articles that look like this…..?
These are native ads, made to ‘natively’ fit in with the content of a website. To the untrained eye they are supposed to look like news posts. These types of ads work great to give your product the feeling that it is hot and highly sort after.
Even though the cost per click on these ads can be very low, native ads are lower on the list for a reason. A lot of people don’t know how to optimize these well and end up getting a load of low quality clicks from suspect websites. If you want to make native ads work, you need to track them closely and exclude those bad click providers.
If you get them right, they can bring great traffic to a dropshipping store though. The main native ad networks are Taboola and Outbrain. There are many more though, so search around and find one with good click providers i.e. websites 🙂
8. Work with Influencers
Influencers are people who have built a massive following in their respective channels and niches. These people have the power to convince their followers to take action.
What you can do is to strike a deal with these influencers and ask them to advertise or promote your products. This is not free, but it certainly is going to pay off.
Here are some tips when working with this type of Shopify dropshipping marketing strategy:
- Choose micro-influencers – it is better to work with micro-influencers than those who have millions of followers. People who have millions of followers do not have a high engagement rate as micro-influencers do. With micro-influencers, their followers are guaranteed to have a genuine interest.
- Let them do the creative – the influencers built their audience base because they know what they are doing. Over the years, they know what kind of content resonates with their audience and which ones don’t.
- Define your objectives – make sure that your influencer understands what you are trying to achieve. If it is a sale, then the influencer must mention your website or direct traffic from his channel to yours.
Working with influencers is not as easy as it seems. These people are trusted by their followers, and the last thing they want is to promote a bad product. Prepare to give you influencer a free sample so they can check out what you are offering.
9. Press Releases
Back in the days when there was no internet, businesspeople talked to media publishers, and they made an arrangement about an announcement.
This announcement is a press release where the publication tells its audience about the opening of a business—it helps drive foot traffic to the business, and the press release is published as news.
You can do the same online, but you need to reach out to press release networks. This is not free, and the cost varies from one press release syndication to another.
Examples of places where you can buy this service are Fiverr, PR News Wire, Press Wire, and more. You can also directly communicate with news websites like the Huffington Post, the New York Times, etc.
10. Affiliate Marketing
The last method I want to show you is affiliate marketing. In this method, you need to create an affiliate program for your business.
Whether you are using WordPress/WooCommerce, or you operate Shopify stores, there are several affiliate marketing apps that you can install—apps that will allow people to register for your affiliate program.
Here is how it works:
- You create an affiliate program; you decide how much you want to pay your affiliates per sale
- You install the plug-in and toggle the settings to make the program work
- You invite affiliate marketers to promote your products
- You pay them if they make a sale
As you can see by now, this method is not exactly free because you are giving a commission to your affiliate marketer. The beauty of this approach is that you only pay if a product was sold. If you advertise, you pay for impressions and clicks, even if you sold nothing.
As a word of caution, you need to set rules to prevent abuse. For example, you should only pay the affiliate marketers if the sale they made did not end up in a refund or return.
Successful dropshipping stores advertise. There are many ways to advertise—some are free, and some cost a lot of money. Before you pick a paid advertising channel, you need to assess carefully if the profits you make can justify the cost of advertising.
You should also make it a point to do A/B testing—create two versions of the same ad and spend a little amount of money on both. Then it’s all about analysis and optimization!! Until the cows come home!!
Measure the results and only scale up on the ad that actually results in good conversions. If there is none, redo your ad and go back to testing until you are able to create an ad that sells.
Of course you should do more research on the best ways to optimize and scale up your ads, that’s not what this post is about. We just want to warn you! I’ve seen too many people getting burned and wasting a lot of money by not following this advice!