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To effectively market your products for dropshipping, know what sales channels are and which are best for you. Get down the article below to look at what you need to take into account when choosing a sales channel and the potential pros and cons of some of the major sales channels out there for dropshippers.
So, you’ve got your online stores set up, secured several reputable dropshipping suppliers, and read a bazillion guides on how to start a dropshipping business or perhaps even an article on what is dropshipping. You’re a fully-fledged dropshipper – congrats!
But, ah… where are the orders?
Well, that’s the difficult part... because the positive visualization benefits of updating your LinkedIn profile to ‘Entrepreneur’ will only get you so far. Pretty soon, you’re going to have to nail down a marketing strategy that not only drives relevant, high-quality traffic to your online dropshipping business, but builds your business’s burgeoning online brand, too.
So how does dropshipping work, exactly?
Well, the first step to devising an effective marketing strategy is to figure out the right approach for your dropship program– namely, which channels you’re going to use to market your product or service, and to engage your core target audience. Choosing which of these channels youwant to invest your time, effort, and hard-earned cash in, however, isn’t all that easy.
Read on, then to know what is dropshipping and to get to grips with five of the most tried, tested, and terrific marketing channels for your dropshipping business – as recommended by the experts themselves!
1. Email Marketing
A form of marketing as old as time (or at least the internet) itself, emails are still one of the most direct, dynamic, and downright effective ways of marketing your dropshipping business.
There are a few ways you can utilize emails as a successful dropshipping marketing channel:
Start a newsletter!
Emails aren’t just about aggressively pushing your product into your recipients’ email inboxes, and expecting them to buy. Nope – you need to deliver value to your readership’s lives, by filling their day with interesting, thought-provoking content that will align them with your brand, ideas, and ethos.
In other words, you need a newsletter!
By sending out regular roundups with relevant, curated content that your customer base will resonate with, you’re cultivating a loyal following – and keeping the name of your dropship program at the forefront of their minds.
You may not be selling to them now, but it’s a long-term strategy that’ll pay off in spades eventually.
Target, target, target!
Email marketing is not about just casting the net as wide as possible, and hoping for a few bites. Yet most of us keep trawling!
Research has shown that, even in 2021, almost nine in ten (89%) email marketers are still attempting this outdated style of ‘mass mailing’ – also known as one of the nine biggest email marketing mistakes you can make.
To avoid committing this cardinal sin, segment your dropshipping business’ mailing list by factors such as demographic or personal preferences. Then, target specific sections of those lists based on who’s the most likely to be interested in what you’re selling.
For best results here, try utilizing an email marketing tool, or centralizing your client base’s info in a CRM (customer relationship management) system. The more details you can store about your customers, the better you’ll be able to target them with tailored deals and discounts, and keep them coming back for more!
2. Social Media Marketing
Social media. With around half the world’s population on some kind of social network, it’s not a platform that your dropshipping business can afford to neglect.
Whether it’s posting regularly on Facebook or Instagram, or using Twitter to entertain and engage your brand’s followers, the opportunities social media presents for ambitious dropshippers are endless.
They’re also a chance to have a little fun, while still getting eyes on your product. Take a look at how Florida-based dropshipping supppliers ‘Meowingtons’ engages with its customers on Facebook, for example:
Comedy and cuteness: How beloved dropshipping brand ‘Meowingtons’ uses a social media comic strip to invite a cat loving readership into its marketing ecosystem
Meowingtons isn’t simply an online cat store – it lives and breathes the moggy mentality! So much so, in fact, that it’s started up a series of comics centered around ‘Milton the Cat’, which even has its own website.
Not only are these hugely snappy, highly shareable comic strips well-suited to grabbing engagement on Facebook – accompanied, of course, by a banner advertising feline-themed face masks, and a CTA to purchase – they also feed into the brand’s email marketing strategy.
By giving Meowington your email address, you can subscribe to its newsletter, and receive daily updates concerning Milton’s latest adventures. Of course, it won’t just be a comic strip you’re getting – but special deals, discounts, and invitations to buy Meowingtons’s wares, too!
Genius when you think about it, isn’t it?
That said, the road to social media marketing is one riddled with pitfalls and potential problems, as Lewis Smith – dropshipping expert and founder of Dropshipping Unlocked – explains.
“A common mistake I see new dropshippers making is trying to drive cold traffic to their stores using Facebook and Instagram ads. When selling higher-value products, it’s much easier to serve the existing demand than it is to create new demand – that’s why the niche research and validation stage is so critical.
“However, at Dropship Unlocked we teach a more targeted approach to finding customers, known as ‘Search-Intent Marketing’. These are ads shown only to customers actively expressing an interest in buying your product (i.e: Google Shopping and Search Text Ads).
“This focuses your advertising spend on only the most ‘ready-to-buy’ customers. We then run retargeting campaigns across social media channels to bring customers back to your site if they left without buying.”
3. Content Marketing & SEO
You’ve heard the old, somewhat hackneyed adage ‘content is king’ a million times before, but guess what? It’s still relevant.
Whether it’s blogs, videos, social media posts, podcasts, or comic strips, creating valuable, unique content should be a priority for your dropshipping brand or dropship program . Here are a few of our quick top tips to get you started.
Don’t go in blind
Once your dropshipping store’s up and running, it’s tempting to pick up a pen, and start pumping out content straight away. Hold up, though – because first, you’ll need a content strategy.
A content strategy is an actionable plan that maps out your content marketing activities and initiatives, and how you’re going to achieve them.
A good content strategy incorporates an understanding of who your user and typical target audience is, how you’re going to use content to engage them, and why you’re doing it – in other words, how the strategy aligns with your dropshipping business’ overall commercial and brand-building goals.
Do your research
Knowing what is dropshipping is not enough. Just because you’re interested in what you’re writing about, doesn’t mean your customers are, too.
So instead of putting together content first, and then finding out later that people aren’t engaging with it, do it the other way around. Explore exactly what terms your audience are searching for, and then write your content around those key terms or phrases.
This is called keyword research. To do it, you can use a free tool such as WordStream, or a more comprehensive paid platform like SEMrush (pictured).
These interfaces offer not only a better idea of the exact terms your users are searching for online (let’s say, ‘cheap game consoles’, or ‘best digital cameras’), but also an indication of their search volume – that is, how many people are Googling these phrases every month.
Once you have a concrete – and data-driven – understanding of the most relevant keywords for your dropshipping business, it’s time to get organized.
Plan and execute your content pipeline
Your users don’t just want to see a half-baked, one-off blog post every few weeks or so. Nope – they’ll require a steady stream of insightful, impactful content to get on board with your dropshipping business’ brand, values, and personality.
Since you don’t want to put too much pressure on yourself to do this on an ongoing basis, you’ll want to write up – or at least plan – how this pipeline is going to look by creating a content calendar. Use a tool like CoSchedule or Hootsuite to decide when and where your dropshipping brand’s content is going, and even schedule it to go out automatically. Simple!
These days, content marketing is rarely just about copywriting, or coming up with brilliant ideas. If you want people to actually read your top shelf content, you’ll need it to rank highly in Google. After all, people can’t convert what they can’t see!
Here’s why SEO (search engine optimization) is so important. It’s essentially the range of tricks and techniques your dropshipping business can use to ensure your content is best-equipped to place highly in online search engine results pages (SERPs).
In terms of publishing content, you’ll want to make sure it’s snappy, keyword-focussed, and with a simple, logical page structure that both Google – and your users – will understand. One other basic (but super impactful) thing you can do is run your content’s images through a free compressor (tiny.png is great!) to reduce their size – without compromising on quality – in just moments.
There’s plenty more where that came from, though. For more info, check out our guide to taking your SEO to new heights in 2021.
Done well, a solid content marketing strategy can fulfil a range of goals for your dropshipping business. Whether that’s building your magazine subscribers, generating some hype around your brand, or simply maximizing traffic to (and conversions on!) your dropshipping stores, content is, indeed, king!
4. Display Advertising (particularly on mobile!)
On a typical day, the average person is estimated to be exposed to between 6,000 and 10,000 advertisements in total. It’s a staggering amount, and we reckon there’s one ad type in particular that contributes to the figure being so high…
...display ads! We’ve all seen them, lurking in our sidebars, enticing us to click through to the offer of a special discount or irresistible deal. But how can your dropshipping business utilize this (admittedly saturated) marketing channel to win clicks, and gain customers? Let’s take a look.
Don’t underestimate your audience
The first step to creating effective display ads? Treat your audience with respect.
This, for instance, won’t work:
Nor will similarly spammy attempts at marketing such as this (which was actually the first display ad ever) one, which appeared in HotWired in October 1994:
Instead, attempt to be as transparent as possible about where the ad will take the user. If possible, try to provide some kind of reciprocity, too – offering them exclusive insights, special rates, or value they couldn’t get elsewhere by clicking your ad. Free trials tend to work a treat, too!
Stream the best stories in the world. Who could resist such an offer?
Target, target, and target again!
Getting deja vu? Yes, we went over the importance of targeting in the ‘Email Marketing’ section above, but the fact is that it’s just as important with ads of the display variety – particularly if you want your dropshipping business to be appealing to the right customers… at the right time.
Plus, targeting doesn’t just refer to a specific demographic. You can target people with a product they just viewed online, reminding them of a recent search and – if you do it right, at least – re-igniting that desire to buy. By further refining your display ad targeting settings, you can also choose to market your products specifically to users accessing a particular website.
Here’s where an understanding of said users comes back in. You need to get inside their heads: to get a powerful sense of which other sites they access, when they’re most active online, and what kind of visual benefit or incentive they’ll be most receptive to.
It’s rarely easy, but it’s always worth putting in the time to do right!
5. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Though it shares two-thirds of the letters in its acronym, SEM is a marketing channel that sits firmly at the opposite end of the scale to SEO.
Rather than working to have your dropshipping business’ site rank organically in Google’s SERPs, SEM is the process of paying to get your content right at the top of them. The principle of search engine marketing is simple – the more eyes on your ads, the more clicks to your business (and the more money you can make!).
Selling shirts online? You’ve got competition...
However, just as SEM is both a proven and effective marketing channel for dropshippers, it’s also an expensive one. Typically, you’ll pay Google for each click funneled to your dropshipping store through one of these ads, so costs can quickly rack up!
So there you have it – five proven marketing channels for your dropshipping business to explore in 2021.
But is there a ‘best’ marketing channel for dropshipper suppliers? Are any of these advertising strategies ‘fool-proof’? Do they guarantee you success?
Of course not.
Which of these channels is best for your dropshipping setup will depend on your company’s size, strategic goals, and niche – not to mention the time, budget, and expertise you have at your disposal! And, as far as success goes, the limit of your dropshipping business’s sky won’t be hampered by how good you are at marketing – it’ll depend on the amount of blood, sweat, and tears you’re willing to put into it.
So good luck, and have fun!
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