Making your first sale online in your dropshipping business can be hard, but once you do it, there’s nothing that can stop you from scaling your business.
But before you start advertising your products online, there are some things you should consider:
1. Learn Why People Buy
Before doing any marketing at all, you need to first learn how to sell. These are some techniques you should master:
Urgency and scarcity: people are more likely to buy if they think they are going to miss out on a great deal. When you offer a discount, for example, make sure it’s only for a limited time and that you end it at the time you said it was going to finish.
Focus on what people want: don’t sell products that you like, but instead do your research to see what products people are looking for.
Connect with them emotionally: when people buy a product, they do it based on emotional needs or wants. Then, they try to justify it logically.
Make sure you have product reviews: people always want to know about other people’s experiences when buying and using your product, so make sure you have reviews in your shop.
Build your trust: there are a lot of scammers online, so make sure your shop can be seen as trustworthy. An “About Us” page, your company information in the footer, or reviews about your shop on sites like Trustpilot should help you with this.
Great quality: always try to differentiate yourself. Don’t just sell anything, but something that has great quality. You can order one product from the company you will use to make sure the quality is good.
2. Create great ads
When creating an ad, just adding a picture of the product won’t work. You might make some sales, but if you want to increase your sales, you should put in some effort when creating the ads.
That doesn’t mean you have to learn design or hire a designer. Canva can help you a lot with this task and it’s free!
Although Canva offers premium accounts, the free account gives you access to more than 8000 templates, more than 100 design types, and thousands of free photos and graphics that you can use to create astonishing ads for Instagram posts, Instagram stories, or Facebook in minutes.
Not only you can use it for ads, but you can use it as well to create YouTube thumbnails for your videos if you have created a channel (if not, you should!).
3. Know your audience
Spend some time thinking about who your potential customer is. This is sometimes easier said than done, but you should be committed to knowing in the long run who your customers are. Sometimes it’s obvious: you wouldn’t sell an anorak to someone who lives on a tropical island, but other times is a bit harder to figure out.
If you are struggling to identify your potential audience, start by making some assumptions. Think about the age range, gender, and interests your audience might have. Then create some test ads for this. Ideally, you should try creating an A/B testing so you run two ads or more at the same time and can compare the engagement with your ads.
An alternative could be creating a survey and promoting it on social media and ads. You can use Google Surveys or SurveyMonkey to do this.
4. Don’t do what everyone else is doing
Let’s say you are following Alex Becker and you have seen his video about the Wolf Mug. Don’t just go and sell exactly that, because chances are that thousands of people are doing the same thing.
Instead, try to always think outside of the box. Do what others are not doing, try new platforms to advertise, find creative ways of advertising.
Start advertising your products
It’s very important that before you use any of these techniques, you first add the Facebook pixel to your online shop. That way, you’ll start collecting data from visitors which you’ll be able to reuse afterwards for your ads.
These are some tips you can use to get your first sale:
Influencer marketing is probably the easiest and most effective way to get your first sale and start adding data to your Facebook pixel.
An influencer is a person who creates content on social media and has a large following. These followers tend to purchase clothes or products that the influencer shows in his/her pictures.
One of the best platforms for this type of marketing is Instagram. Normally, an influencer will either just post a picture of your product and a link to your product in their profile and then remove it after 24 hours, or create a story with a “swipe up” link directly to the page where they can buy your product.
Of course, Instagram is not the only place where you can do this. You can contact Youtubers as well to wear or show your product and add a link to the description. However, this might be a bit more expensive as the link to your product will stay in the content and won’t be removed.
If you decide to pay an influencer on Instagram, be very careful about something though. Many people use bots to increase their followers. These bots will automatically follow and then unfollow people, write comments in related publications, etc. They will gain followers in their accounts, but these followers won’t engage much with the content that the influencer publishes.
When deciding which influencer to pay, the most important parameter you should be looking at is engagement. Engagement is how much a follower interacts with an influencer publication.
But how do you know how much engagement an Instagram user has?
These are some ways to do it:
- First, go through their posts and check how many likes they get.
- Check who has liked the publication. If most of them don’t seem real, that’s a bad signal. Probably the account owner is buying likes.
If most of them look like real people, that’s a good signal.
- If they get a lot of likes in their publications but no comments at all, that’s not good.
- Check how many comments each publication gets and especially if they are created by humans, not bots.
How do you distinguish them? Bots normally add comments with just emoticons or very short comments. And if you doubt whether or not it is a genuine comment, go to the user profile. If the user follows thousands of accounts, the comment was likely generated by a bot.
The best tool to use to see if an influencer is using a bot to gain followers is Social Blade. When you look for a specific Instagram account, you’ll be able to see how many followers they gain or lose per day.
If you see a spike in following gain followed by many days losing followers, that’s probably because they bought followers. Generally, you want to work with someone that not only creates good content but also grows his/her audience slowly but steadily.
2. Facebook & Instagram ads
Instagram was acquired by Facebook and the ads for both platforms are created from the Facebook Ads interface.
First of all, before starting to create ads, make sure you have added the Facebook pixel to your site. And that you also have collected some data by making sales using influencer marketing.
Facebook & Instagram ads are a bit complex and have a lot of moving parts. They can be costly as well as there is a lot of competition on this platform. So you should have these things in mind:
- A click in your ad can be as costly as 1$, so think about acquiring customers for the long term, not just one sale. Otherwise, you won’t make a profit.
- As you have to try to sell more than once to the same client, you have to make sure you have products that can be bought multiple times or if not, that you have other products that can be sold to the same client in the future.
- The best way to sell more products to an existing client is to use email marketing. Make sure you collect emails when selling for the first time to a client.
Generally, you want to start offering a low entry product and then upsell them your most expensive products.
If you try selling your most expensive products initially, you will have a hard time selling. You might make some sales, but most people that see your ad won’t buy because they don’t know you nor your brand yet.
These are two strategies you can use to get started:
- Free plus shipping: you won’t probably make a profit this way or even lose money, but this is an effective way to get new clients.
- Offer a good discount: people are more likely to buy if they get a good discount on their first purchase in your shop. Make sure you mention that it’s for a limited time, so people feel the urgency to use it.
After making this initial sale, where you won’t be making much profit if any, you will have captured their emails, and using newsletters you can email them sometimes offering more expensive products. Make sure you don’t email them a lot, otherwise they will unsubscribe to your newsletter.
3. Advertise in less crowded platforms
Facebook and Instagram are now a bit saturated with ads and you will likely pay a high price per click. Consider testing other platforms where you can reach more potential buyers with less budget:
Twitter Ads: a social network with more than 320 million users, sending 500 million tweets per day. Although it doesn’t offer as many options as Facebook for targeting users, it’s pretty decent. You can target by age, gender, location, and interests. You can also target what people search for, which is something great that you can use to your advantage. If you show your product to people that are looking for it, your chances of making a sale increase drastically.
YouTube Ads: YouTube is one of the most used social networks on the Internet with almost 5 billion videos watched per day and 300 hours of video uploaded every minute.
To create an ad on YouTube though, you will have to create a video ad. There are some tools online to create them easily or you can hire someone to do it for you in sites like Fiverr or Peopleperhour.
Video marketing is considered to be more effective than text ads or image ads and it will also probably cost you less as there is less competition in this type of ad.
Try other platforms: The social networks mentioned earlier are all great for advertising, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try other options. The main advantage is that you can probably have less competition and keep your costs low.
Each platform is unique, so you should research the best way to target users. Some platforms that might be interesting to advertise on can be Pinterest, Snapchat, or TikTok.
4. Create content
If you create content about your product, not only it will position your shop better in search engines in the long term, but it will also help you build an audience. It will reduce your advertising costs and increase word of mouth recommendations.
It takes time to make a website grow organically using content, but it’s a winning strategy in the long run. Also, make sure you share the content you create on your social networks, so you can grow an audience that will follow you and buy your products.
In the short term, one thing you can do is combine paid ads and organic content. You can write articles or make a video using your product, adding a link to buy the product, and then promote that using paid ads. This has the advantage that it makes the sale easier, as you are showing them the value of your product and what it does or how it works. The people who see this type of ad are also more likely to share your content with their network, as it offers value and knowledge.
Making the first sale on e-commerce is not an easy endeavour, but after that, it gets easier. Sometimes you have to try multiple products to find just one that sells, so make sure you give it some time and patience as businesses take time to make a profit.
Following the advice in this article will increase your chances of having a successful online shop.