So you’ve heard the success stories and you’re thinking about starting a dropshipping business. Or maybe you’ve just heard about dropshipping and you’re just trying to learn more about the industry. No matter where you are on the learning curve, we’ve put together a guide that will teach you how to start a dropshipping business in 30 days or less.
To start, let’s talk about what dropshipping is. Dropshipping is very similar to running a traditional e-commerce store, except you don’t keep any of the products that you sell in physical stock.
Instead of keeping physical inventory, when your store makes a sale, you pass the order directly to your supplier and they ship it right to the customer. So while you will typically have a smaller profit margin than a traditional e-commerce store, you also have much lower overhead.
So now that you have a better idea of what dropshipping is, let’s talk a little bit about what you’ll need to get started.
Article Table of Contents
So How Do I Start A Dropshipping Business?
The first thing that you need to understand if you plan to start a business that will be dropshipping products is that it’s not going to be a get rich quick scheme. Building a strong dropshipping takes lots of hard work, consistency, and a good amount of ingenuity.
What You Need To Know
While you don’t need to be an expert marketer to get started, it’s good to have a basic understanding of how marketing and digital marketing work. If you haven’t worked in some aspect of digital marketing previously, here are a few great books that can help get you started:
These books will cover a wide variety of topics, concepts, and strategies relating to digital marketing and content creation. It’s also always helpful to go to “Youtube University” and watch as much content as you can on marketing and dropshipping.
While having a background in web design or graphic design is in no way required, it’s definitely a plus if you do. As these two services will represent two of your largest overhead costs, if you’re able to get them at little to no cost, you will be ahead of the game.
Now if you don’t have some experience in design, it’s probably better to leave it to the pros. Your website and website assets will need to look professional if potential customers are going to trust your store.
However, before getting started with the design and development of your e-commerce store, first, you’ll need to figure out what you’re going to sell and find suppliers for those products.
Figuring Out Your Niche
If you’ve already started doing some research on dropshipping and Internet marketing, you may have seen the term “niche” used pretty frequently. In the marketing world, a niche is a specific market segment that you plan to offer products or services to.
Some of the more popular niches in online marketing are related to fitness, beauty, weight loss, and pets. Since you’ll be competing with a multitude of other marketers and e-commerce stores, it’s important that the niche you choose has as large of an audience as possible.
Typically, it’s good to choose a niche that’s related to something you are familiar with or are interested in. This will make it easier for you to create informative, unique content about your products or services. However, if you don’t have a particular niche in mind, here are a few ideas that can help you get started.
Tools To Find Niches
For one, you can use Amazon to get good ideas for products and niches. Amazon has a variety of categories that you can browse such as Best Sellers, Hot New Releases, and Most Gifted. These sections will give you great insight into what people are buying most for themselves and for others.
Another great way to find product niches is by doing keyword research. If you don’t already have access to a keyword research tool, the Keyword Tool is a great free choice. This tool will allow you to search for keyword opportunities on Google, Amazon, Instagram, eBay and so much more.
Think About Audiences & Personas
Once you have a niche in mind, your next step will be to find a dropshipping supplier or suppliers.
How To Find Dropshipping Suppliers
Finding reliable dropshipping suppliers is one of the most important parts of the equation. If your products are low quality and your orders don’t go out on time, you will have unhappy customers. And if you have unhappy customers who leave negative reviews, it won’t matter how good your website and marketing look.
There are a number of marketplace websites that can get you started such as Oberlo, Salehoo, Doba, and Ali Express. These platforms will typically require that you pay a monthly or yearly subscription price for access to their vendors and products.
In many cases, you can also work directly with larger websites to drop ship directly from their inventory. For example, you can sign up to drop ship or blind drop ship any of the more than 100,000 products on OfficeCrave.com.
White labeling is a popular dropshipping model that is like a hybrid between a traditional e-commerce website and a traditional dropshipping website. When you “white label” a product, it is still shipped directly from the supplier, however, it will have your own custom branding on it.
For example, let’s say you have an idea for a line of CBD products for pets. In a white label scenario, you would work directly with a licensed CBD manufacturer to produce your product instead of handling the R&D, production, product testing, etc on yourself.
Once you’ve picked the product or products that you plan to sell, the manufacturer would then apply your branding and labels to their products and handle all of the shipping.
Similar to traditional dropshipping, you will never have to hold inventory or worry about shipping products to your customers. However, unlike traditional dropshipping, you will typically have some overhead costs for the production of the products.
If you plan to “white label”, or place your custom branding on a product, it’s a good idea to find a dropshipping supplier that is easy to work with and communicates well. Making sure your brand looks great and the products are professional is just as important as getting the products shipped on time.
Blind dropshipping is similar to white labeling, however, you aren’t placing your branding on the products themselves, just on the shipping materials.
For example, let’s say you’ve started a website that plans to sell tools and industrial supplies. The products you sell would still carry the brand names, however, when the products are shipped it will be in a box with your business information and branding.
While you will typically be responsible for providing the supplier with the shipping materials, you can expect little to no overhead like you would with traditional dropshipping.
Picking Your Suppliers
Spend some time searching for different suppliers. While it will be easier and faster to source your products from some of the larger marketplaces, you may not be getting the best prices or the best quality product. At the end of the day, having some sort of competitive advantage is important, so make sure to really do your research before settling on a supplier.
It’s also good to have deals with multiple dropshipping suppliers or vendors if your plan is to have a large selection of products on your website. Since the profit margins will be smaller in these cases, high sales volume will be the name of the game. Sourcing products from several vendors will allow you to offer more products with a wider range of pricing options.
Choosing An Ecommerce Platform
Once you’ve picked your supplier or suppliers, the next thing you’ll need to figure out is which e-commerce platform you’re going to launch your website on. As migrating your website to a new e-commerce platform can be an expensive and complicated process, it’s important to do your homework upfront to avoid any unnecessary costs.
While there are quite a few e-commerce platforms on the market today, they can all be grouped into one of two categories – self-hosted or cloud-based.
Self-Hosted vs. Cloud-Based
A self-hosted e-commerce platform is one that is open-source and is hosted on a server that you own. Typically the only overhead you have when it comes to a self-hosted website is your monthly hosting fees. However, this also means that you will be responsible for website security, updates, uptime, and in some cases, server maintenance.
A cloud-based e-commerce platform is basically the opposite of a self-hosted platform. Cloud-based platforms are managed by a single corporation and users pay a monthly subscription to host their e-commerce store.
Users do not have to worry about things like website security, updates, and server maintenance. However, in most cases, the subscription will be based on the number of orders you do or your total revenue, so as your business grows, so will your subscription fees.
There really is no “right answer” when it comes to choosing a self-hosted or cloud-based e-commerce platform. However, if you’re not fairly comfortable with website design and development, it may be a better idea to go with a cloud-based option while you grow the business.
Here are a few of the more popular cloud-based and self-hosted e-commerce platforms.
Shopify is the most popular e-commerce platform in the world, so chances are you’ve heard of it. Shopify is classified as a “cloud-based” e-commerce platform. One reason that Shopify stores are so popular with drop shippers is that so many dropshipping suppliers can integrate directly with the platform.
So if you plan to use a marketplace, like Oberlo, you will be able to quickly sync any of the products in their catalog directly into your store. Then, when an order is made, all of the invoice and shipping information is sent directly to the suppliers.
Shopify also has an extensive theme store with thousands of pre-built website themes. These themes make setting up a professional-looking e-commerce store fast and easy. So if you’re able to use a computer, chances are you can set up a Shopify theme.
If you’re not familiar with Shopify theme development, there will be some limitations to what you can o with a pre-built theme. So make sure that you’re happy with the overall look and feel of the website demo when selecting your theme.
Shopify also has a very extensive app store. There are apps for just about anything you may need including SEO, Facebook advertising, email marketing, customer engagement and so much more.
Of course, like with all hosted platforms, Shopify will have a monthly cost. The platform starts at $29 per month and ranges up to $299 per month. Shopify also offers a Shopify Plus platform for Enterprise businesses that costs $2000 per month.
The one downside to Shopify’s pricing model is that they also keep a percentage of all of the sales that you make. If you’re on the basic $29/mo plan, they’ll keep a minimum of 2% and up to 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction. Depending on your profit margins, these additional fees may make a big difference.
BigCommerce is very similar to Shopify in a number of ways. It is a cloud-based e-commerce platform, it has an extensive theme library, and thousands of apps for just about anything you can think of. However, in many ways, BigCommerce is a slightly more advanced version of Shopify.
One of the big differences between the two is the number of features that come out of the box. One of the main complaints that Shopify users have is that they need to install a new app every time that they need a new feature. Many of the Shopify apps also have additional monthly costs associated with them, which eats into your profit margins.
BigCommerce has a huge number of powerful features that are included right out of the box. These include customer group pricing, a powerful abandoned cart saver feature, advanced promotion rules, and the ability to easily sync your inventory with a wide variety of channels. These include eBay, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
BigCommerce is also a better platform for more advanced technical SEO. BigCommerce gives you the ability to modify URL structures, create custom Robots.txt files, microdata and schema markup, and metadata customization options.
Another big difference between Shopify and BigCommerce is that BigCommerce does not include any transaction fees or payment fees. This can mean a difference of thousands of dollars each month for some drop shippers.
The BigCommerce pricing model is based on overall sales though, not the features that you plan to use. So even though their most affordable plan is $29 per month, once you hit $50k in sales per year, you will need to upgrade your account. Make sure to read the pricing details thoroughly before signing up.
Unlike BigCommerce & Shopify, Magento is an open-source e-commerce platform. Because it’s open-source, there aren’t any monthly subscription fees to use Magento. However, you will need to pay a small monthly fee to a hosting provider.
Depending on the host you use that fee can be anywhere from $10 to $50 per month to get you started. However those fees won’t scale based on sales, so it can be a more affordable option.
Magento does have a fairly extensive theme library, however, installing and configuring a Magento theme is quite a bit more complicated than setting up a Shopify theme. When working with Magento, it’s typically advised that you work with a professional Magento developer.
One major benefit of using Magento is how flexible it is when it comes to introducing custom features. As an open-source platform, you basically have free-reign to design and develop custom features and functionality for your website. All you need is a clear vision of what you need and a developer capable of building the software.
There is a downside to open-source software. Because the code is entirely open, this means that hackers can search through the platform looking for vulnerabilities. Magento does regularly release security patches, however, they are complex to install and require quite a bit of time and expertise.
If this is your first time owning or operating an e-commerce store, the learning curve for Magento will be steeper than with some of the cloud-based options. Make sure to take a full tour of the Magento platform and experiment with a demo theme before committing.
WooCommerce is another popular open-source e-commerce platform and is built on top of the popular CMS, WordPress. Similar to Magento, your main monthly fees will be related to hosting the website. It also is just as customizable as Magento due to the fact that it’s open-source.
WooCommerce will also have many of the same risks concerning vulnerabilities and hackers due to its open-source nature. However, upgrading WooCommerce is considerably easier than upgrading Magento.
WooCommerce is also much easier to use than Magento when it comes to installing and configuring new themes. The setup process is typically very straightforward, and most shared hosting providers have “one-click install” options.
WooCommerce is a bit less of an “enterprise” platform than Magento, so it will have fewer features right out of the box. However, if all you’re looking for is a basic open-source platform to start your dropshipping website, WooCommerce can be an excellent low-cost option.
Picking The Right E-Commerce Platform
Picking an e-commerce platform is an investment and a commitment. Make sure to factor your profit margins, vendor integrations, and marketing strategies in when making a decision. Think about ongoing costs for maintenance and support vs. monthly subscription costs.
Once you’ve picked the e-commerce platform you’ll be using, now it’s time to get to work on setting up your website.
Simply having a website may not be enough to make sales. If your website and products are hard to find, your website is slow, or you make it complicated to get through checkout, customers may find a different place to shop. As you are setting up your website, there are a number of things that you should review and/or implement prior to launch.
Tracking & Analytics
The first thing that you’ll want to do is install tools that will track your visitors and provide analytics on how they use your website. At the bare minimum you should install the following tools:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Facebook Audience Pixel
These tags will gather data on your users, the most popular pages on your website, where your users are coming from, which pages are driving the most conversions and so much more. You will also get insight into what keywords are driving traffic to your site through organic search and how often you show up in the Google search engine.
Having tracking and analytics installed will allow you to make strategic decisions about your marketing campaigns, give you insight into any potential problems your site may be having, and even show you opportunities on how you can grow your website traffic.
In addition to the three tracking tools above, there are a number of other tools with features like heat maps to visualize the most clicked on areas of your site, a/b testing and optimization tools and much more.
It’s also a good idea to have some sort of customer engagement tools in place on your website. These days, one of the more popular options is using a website chat tool. There are a number of great free options out there, for example, Tawk
Website chat is a great way to let your customers ask questions quickly and easily, provide basic customer service, and even drive more sales or higher dollar sales.
Chat widgets can be programmed to trigger based on the user’s actions or the user’s history. For example, let’s say a visitor has been to the site 4 times in the past 30 days. You can have the chat automatically trigger a message welcoming them back and offering them a coupon code to incentivize their purchase. You can also trigger an incentivized chat message if the user has visited more than 5 pages within a session.
Chat tools will also track user information like location, user behavior while on the website, and even when the user has visited the website.
Identify Conversion Threats
Another important pre-launch step is to identify any conversion threats that your website may have. While every online store is a little different, here are some of the more common conversion threats to look for:
- The website or specific pages load slowly
- The website is not responsive or has responsive issues
- The website is not optimized for mobile and tablet devices
- The website is not optimized for all modern browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera)
- Poor website organization and hierarchy/structure
- Confusing navigation
- Poor user experience optimization
- Poor grammar/spelling throughout the website
- Incomplete or uninformative product descriptions
- Lack of call to action
- Lack of website search features
- Lack of trust signals like testimonials, reviews, etc
- Lack of newsletter subscription opportunities
- Not using an abandoned cart tool or retargeting
It’s always a good idea to bring in friends, family members, and colleagues for the website testing process as well. Get their feedback on the look and feel of the website, if they have any complaints or suggestions, and if there’s anything that they feel is missing.
Once you’ve done a thorough audit, implement all of the necessary fixes before moving on to the next step.
Checkout optimization is one of the most important things that you can do for an e-commerce website. If the checkout process is long or complicated, you may lose potential customers as a result.
One of the more popular checkout styles in modern e-commerce websites is called a “one-page checkout”. In a one-page checkout layout, the user does not have to advance through different checkout “steps”. All of the checkout fields are presented on a single page and can be filled out more quickly.
Another great way to optimize the checkout process is to offer PayPal Express Checkout as an option. Many online shoppers love using Paypal during checkout because they can save and use payment methods, shipping information, and billing information quickly and easily. Your goal should always be to make the checkout process as quick and easy as possible, and PayPal Express Checkout does just that.
You should also include any relevant badges or icons on your cart and checkout pages to let your customers know that your checkout is secure. This can include SSL certificate badges, badges for any firewalls or security tools you may be using, and any affiliations you may have like being a Google Trusted Store.
The last thing that you want is to have a customer add one of your products to their cart only to lose them to an under-optimized checkout process. Make sure to really spend some time testing and optimizing your checkout so that you can maximize your conversion rates.
Page Speed Optimization
Website page speed is important for a number of reasons. First, if your website is slow to load, it’s not likely that customers are going to want to wait around to finish their shopping. More often than not, they will simply find another website to buy what they’re looking for.
Website page speed is also a major factor when it comes to search engine optimization and where your website will rank in the Google search results. If you are not providing the best possible user experience for your customers, Google won’t want to send users to your website.
There are a number of great tools that you can use to audit website page speed, but one of the best ones is GTMetrix. It will not only give you metrics like total page load time, time-to-first byte, and total page size, it will also give you a breakdown of all of the individual problems your site may be facing and suggested solutions.
In addition to GTMetrix, Google also has a tool called Lighthouse that is available in every Chrome browser. To access Lighthouse and test your website, follow these steps:
- Click “View” in the Google Chrome Toolbar
- Move your mouse over the “Developer” option and then click “Developer Tools” from the available options
- A new window will open from the bottom of your screen
- Click the “Audits” tab which will be furthest on the right
- Select all of the “Audit” checkbox options except for “Progressive Web App”
- Select either “Mobile” or “Desktop” as the device option
- Select “No Throttling” as the “Throttling” option
- Click the “Run Audits” button
Once your audit is complete, it will give you scores for each of the tests you’ve performed as well as suggestions on how to improve any problems. After implementing the suggested changes run the audit again for the device option you have not tested yet.
Some of the more common page speed issues that website owners will face are:
- Images that are too large
- Images that have not been optimized
- Excessive use of video
- Using website plugins or apps that are poorly built
- Not using server compression utilities like Gzip
Once you’ve completed page speed optimization for your website, the next thing you’ll want to do is make sure the website is properly optimized for search engines to crawl. While it’s not impossible to rank a website that is improperly optimized, it’s highly unlikely that a poorly optimized website will rank well for competitive terms.
Implementing basic on-page optimization includes writing clear and informative page titles and page descriptions, including alt tags on all of your images, making sure that each of your pages has at least 400 – 500 words on them, and including the appropriate schema data for your website, your products, and your organization.
A deep-dive into on-page optimization would be a bit too long for this article, but if you’re interested in learning more, here’s an excellent article about on-page optimization that will guide you through the process.
Once you’ve finished optimizing your website and it’s content, you’re almost ready to launch your store. But before you do, it’s a good idea to spend a little time working on your “off-page optimization”.
Off-page optimization is the process of improving your brand’s visibility around the internet. To make things simple, the more places that you can mention your brand name, or link back to your website, the more trust that Google will have in your website. This trust will then directly convert to where your website will rank for it’s targeted terms.
Here are a few easy ways to improve your website’s off-page optimization.
Setup Social Media Channels
Setting up social media channels is an excellent way to increase your brand visibility online. The first thing you’ll want to do is establish a social media “handle”, or name. Ideally, your handle would just be your brand or business name. However, if it’s unavailable, your handle should be something that at least includes your brand name.
Once you’ve settled on a social media handle, you’ll want to sign up for the Big 7 social media platforms first. These platforms are:
- Google My Business
Make sure that you don’t only sign up for the platforms, but fill in all of the available fields with plenty of helpful, unique information. Make sure your business description, categories, tags, and all page information is as thorough as possible and that there is a link to your website placed somewhere in the description. You should also make sure to include as many relevant images and videos as possible.
Once you’ve created profiles on the “Big 7”, you can then use the tool KnowEm to find even more social media channels that you can take advantage of. Start by entering in your social media handle and performing a search.
The search will return information on any social media channels that exist, and any that do not exist. Now, you can simply work your way down the list, creating profiles on as many of the social media channels as you can.
Publish Articles On Related Websites
Another great way to build brand visibility and establish yourself as an authority is to publish informative, well-written articles around the internet. The articles should be somewhat related to the product or products you’re selling, but should not just be a “sales pitch”.
Think about the types of things that your potential customers are interested in, the questions that they may have when shopping, and what information you can provide to help them make an educated purchasing decision. Once you have a few topics in mind, you can then design your pieces of content to attract new customers.
Once you’ve finished writing the articles, there are a number of websites that allow you to create accounts and publish original content. Here are a few of the more popular self-publishing platforms:
- E-Zine Articles
Once you’ve published an article on a platform, do not repost the same article on another platform. You want to make sure all of the content that you’re posting is unique and informative, or it will likely be flagged as spam.
Also, make sure to include a link back to your website somewhere within the article. The best practice would be to just use your brand name or website name as the anchor text and to link it to the home page. Do not try and “stuff” keywords in the anchor text to artificially influence your website’s rankings for a specific term.
Now that you’ve started building some organic visibility for your new website, the next step is marketing your store.
Marketing Your Store
When it comes to running a digital marketing campaign for your new website, you will have a lot of options at your disposal. When picking the platform or platforms you plan to advertise on, It’s important to first think about how people search for your products.
Are you selling generic or well-known products that many people search for on Google? Are your products a bit more obscure? Do they require that new customers be educated on the product features? If that’s the case, social media advertising may be a better bet.
Here are some of the most popular forms of digital marketing available today.
No matter what kind of products or services you are dropshipping, email marketing is going to be one of the most effective and inexpensive options available to you. One of the easiest to use is email marketing platforms is MailChimp.
You can use your email list in a variety of ways. First, you can send a weekly product recommendation email to your customer base. This email can include popular products on your store or particular products you’re looking to promote.
You can also use your email list to announce product promotions, sales, and new products that have launched in the store.
If you really want to keep your audience engaged, you can even send a weekly “news” email. This email can feature news articles and interest pieces from around the internet that somehow relate to your product selection. For example, if you’re dropshipping car parts, you can share stories about new cars being released, car racing, and so much more.
It should be your goal to send at least one email blast every week. However, the more emails that you send, the more engaged you will keep your customer base. Make sure to keep the emails interesting and relevant though. If you simply send the same email blast over and over, your customers will likely unsubscribe from your list.
The larger that you can grow your list, the more opportunities you will have to make sales with each email. There are a number of ways to continue to acquire new email subscribers.
One of the more popular tactics is to use an incentivized email sign up pop over. Essentially, when a new user enters your website, you show them a pop up that offers them a coupon code or discount on their first order in exchange for their email address.
Now, even if they don’t make a purchase on their first visit, you have the ability to continuously send them information about products, sales, promotions and more.
One thing you will want to avoid is buying email lists. No matter how targeted the commercial email lists are, it’s always better to use your email marketing spend sending messages to people who have knowingly opted into your emails.
One of the most effective ways to promote your brand to a wide audience of engaged users is through the Facebook Audience Network. Facebook ads are also an excellent way to educate potential customers about your brand, your competitive advantage, or even sales and promotions.
Before getting started with Facebook advertising, it’s a good idea to do some reading on the topic first. Familiarize yourself with the platform, the features, and with a few case studies for companies that are similar to yours.
Once you have a better understanding of how the platform works, you’ll want to start planning for your campaign. While planning for an effective Facebook Advertising campaign can be quite complex, here is a general breakdown of the process you should follow.
Define Your Audience
First, define a customer persona or customer persona’s if you think there is more than one. For example, if you are selling car parts, a persona may break down like this: “Males, ages 25 – 35, Average yearly income of $60k – $100k, interested in motorsports”.
The more specific and well-defined that you can make your audience personas, the easier it will be to build out effective audiences.
Once you’ve finished with your persona definitions, head over to the Facebook Audience Insights Tool and start building out specific audiences for your campaign. Building an audience can be a complex topic to cover, so here’s a great article that will go into some more depth for you.
Establish Your Messaging
Running an effective advertising campaign on Facebook involves a lot more than just throwing up a few ads and linking to your website. It’s extremely important that the ads you run are conveying a specific message.
Typically, your message will be focused around your competitive advantage, a specific promotion you’re running, or some sort of value-added proposition. For example, if your website has prices that are lower than all of your competitors, it’s probably worth letting people know that through your messaging.
It’s also a good idea to come up with 2 or 3 different message options and to run ads for all of them. Let the ads run for a bit and then use the data and results to decide which message becomes your primary message.
Build Your Creative Assets
Once you’ve finalized your messaging, you can start building your creative assets. When designing your ads, it’s always a great idea to use photos or images that will stand out on the news feed. Bright colors, animated images, and things like that will cause users to stop scrolling and take a closer look at your ad.
Another great tactic is using video assets. If you’re able to secure video testimonials from customers, this is one way to build trust with potential customers. If you’re able to produce higher quality video assets for your brand these will also give potential customers more confidence when deciding where to purchase.
Try to keep the amount of text you use in your images to a minimum. Facebook typically doesn’t like when ads have text embedded in the images, and as a result, they will charge you more for each impression than they would if you did not embed text.
Just like with your messaging, it’s a good idea to come up with multiple creative assets and then test each of them. Look at metrics like click-through rate, cost per click, and the number of conversions when determining which ads are working the best.
Launching Your Campaign
Once you’ve built your audiences, messaging, and creative assets you’re just about ready to launch your campaign.
Start by creating a new campaign within the Facebook Ads Manager and adding a new Ad Set to the campaign. If you are testing multiple messages, it’s a good idea to create a separate ad set for each message.
Now, you will just need to set up individual ads within each ad set. Make sure to include all of the relevant creative assets as individual ads in each of the ad sets. One message may resonate very well with one specific audience and not at all with another.
Once you’ve finished creating your ad sets and your ads, Facebook will take a little time to review the ads before publishing them. If you’ve followed all of Facebook’s guidelines, your ads should be live within a couple of hours. However, if there are any problems, Facebook will let you know why the ads were not approved and what you’ll need to do to fix them.
Google AdWords is another great way to drive traffic to your website and start selling your products and services. While similar to Facebook Advertising, there are a few very fundamental differences.
Customer Mindset & Intent
The biggest difference between Facebook Advertising and Google Ads is the mindset and the intent of the potential customers you are advertising to.
When someone is using Google, they are actively searching for a product or service at that very moment. However, when delivering an ad to a social media user, the likelihood that they are actively thinking about buying a product or service is considerably lower.
So, if you do carry products or services that get a considerable amount of organic search volume, then Google Ads can be a very effective way to position your website in front of potential customers and quickly begin driving qualified traffic.
However, if the products that you carry are ones that are not well-known and do not garner enough search volume, then Google Ads may not be the best use of your ad budget. In these cases, using social media ads can oftentimes be more effective as it gives you the opportunity to educate prospective customers.
Another big difference between Google Ads and Facebook Ads is the amount of text and creative content that you’re able to use to convey your message.
Google text ads have some pretty strict limits as far as the amount of text that can be utilized in each field. You will only have 30 characters per line to work with for your ad headline and another 90 characters to work with for the ad description.
Due to the limited text space, Google Ads are great for conveying a specific sales pitch, however, they make it considerably more difficult to “educate” a customer.
The ads that are shown in Google search results also do not allow you to display images or videos. If your competitive advantage is on price, shipping and delivery times, or customer service, visual assets may not be needed to sell your product.
However, if potential customers need to be shown why your product is great, not just told, then Google search ads may not be the most effective option for you.
Unlike traditional advertising where you pay a flat amount for pre-determined ad space, most online ad platforms operate on a bidding model. This means that when an ad platform is deciding which ads to show to a user, it considers each of the advertiser’s bids and then delivers the ads based on those bids.
Google Ads operate on a cost-per-click basis, better known as a CPC. So as you begin to define different keywords to target in your campaign, you will also be required to set the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for each click.
The Google Ad Planner tool will give you insight into suggested bids and the average cost per click values for each keyword to assist with setting your bids on each keyword.
One of the benefits of this bidding strategy is that you only pay for the clicks you receive. So if your ads are properly targeted and your bids are competitive, you will only be paying to drive qualified leads to your website.
While the Facebook Ads platform does provide cost-per-click as a metric that should be tracked, this is not how you will be billed. Facebook Ads operate on a cost per thousand impressions basis, also known as CPM.
In a CPM bidding model, you are paying for impressions. Simply put, every time your ad is shown to a person, you pay a small amount, even if they don’t click on or interact with your ad. Each of these impressions will cost anywhere from a fraction of a cent to a couple of cents, so the pricing is based on 1000 impressions.
So while you are not guaranteed any amount of traffic to your website, if you’ve targeted your audience properly and built strong ads, you can see a much lower overall cost-per-click with CPM ads due to having a much larger audience population.
Another excellent way to promote your website and the products you’ll be dropshipping is by using video marketing and publishing on Youtube. Video content is one of the most easily digestible forms of content, so it should be no surprise that it can be a powerful marketing tool.
There are a number of video strategies and tactics you can use to drive traffic to your products and build visibility for your brand.
Video Marketing Strategies
One approach is to create product review videos. Many consumers will visit Youtube to look for reviews about products before purchasing them. So by creating your own product reviews and linking back to your website from the video description, you’re opening up a whole new stream of potential website traffic.
Comparison videos are another tactic that video marketers use to promote their products. When creating comparison videos, you are piggybacking your website and products on the search volume associated with your competitor’s products. For example, if you’re selling vacuums, you may create a video comparing the pros and cons of your vacuum with a popular brand like Dyson.
Many video marketers will also see success by creating tutorial videos or “how-to” videos. Instead of directly promoting your products to potential customers, you create instructional videos on how to use your products or how the products can be used in practice.
For example, if you’re selling power tools, you can create videos on how to build various types of wooden furniture or how to repair household items. As people search for videos to help them perform a task, you’re then able to easily position your products as the “tools for the job”.
The best part about all of these video strategies is that, unlike paid advertising, once the videos are published, the qualified traffic will continue to come in month-over-month without having to spend any additional money. Make sure to do your research and create value when creating your videos. The more information and value that you include, the more free traffic you can expect to receive each month.
Content marketing, more commonly known as article writing, is another very popular way to drive traffic to your website. Similar to video marketing, it’s an excellent low-cost way to continue driving qualified traffic to your website every month.
However, since article content is more difficult to “consume” then video content for many people, it’s a bit more difficult to produce the type of content that drives traffic. Here are a few tips and tactics to get you started.
You should always start every content marketing campaign by performing thorough keyword research. Use a tool like the Google Keyword Planner or SEMRush to search for keywords that have a large number of organic searches each month.
Look for both short-tail and long-tail keyword opportunities. For example, the keyword “car parts” would be a short-tail keyword, while “car parts for F-150” would be a long-tail keyword.
Once you’ve generated a list of potential keywords, you’ll first want to identify your focus keyword, or the primary keyword you’re hoping to rank for. In addition to your focus keyword, you should also create a list of long-tail versions of your keyword to incorporate throughout your article.
Determine Search Intent
Once you’ve determined what the focus keyword for your article is, the next thing you’ll want to do is determine “search intent”. In simple terms, search intent is what a user is truly looking for when they submit a search query.
For example, someone who submits a search for “tennis tournaments”, maybe searching for information about popular tennis tournaments, upcoming tennis tournaments near them, or information along those lines.
However, if that person were to search for “tennis tournament tickets” or “US Open tickets”, the intent of their search is clearly different. As a result, Google is likely to return results that will allow them to buy tickets to the tennis tournament, not provide information about a tournament.
It’s very important to consider the search intent of a keyword when planning to use it in content marketing. Just because a keyword has a large search volume does not mean that an article will always be the best way to target the keyword.
Determining search intent is fairly straightforward, all you will need to do is:
- Open a new Google search in a Google Chrome incognito window
- Perform a new search using your focus keyword
- Analyze each of the top 10 results for the search term
When you’re analyzing the results, you should be looking at the type of content on each page, how it’s organized, and what they are offering to the users. For example, if each of the top 10 results is an e-commerce product page or category page, you should also plan to optimize a product or category page.
It would be counter-intuitive to attempt to rank article content, for example, when Google is clearly giving preference to e-commerce landing pages. So make sure when planning your focus keywords and your content that you are also taking search intent into consideration.
Once you’ve determined your focus keyword and the type of content you’ll be creating, do a little competitor research. Go back to the same 7-10 websites that you looked at when determining your search intent and take note of the following.
Length of the Content
Take a look at each of the results and check the word count on each page. If it’s an article, look at the article length. If it’s a category page, look at the length of the category description and number of products. If it’s a product page, look at the product description length and any other content that may be on the page.
Typically, one goal with your content should be to exceed the length of your competitor’s content. So if they’ve written an article or category description with 1000 words, write 1500 words. If they’ve included a lengthy description, specs, and additional product feature content, you should do the same.
Look at the topics that the top-ranking pages are covering, and try to include as many of them as possible in your content. The more relevant information that you can provide, the more likely Google is to return your website as a top search result for a term.
Don’t simply copy and paste content though – duplicate content will ultimately hurt you in the search results. Always make sure the content you publish is unique and engaging. Google tends to reward unique content that provides value and bury copied content that exists to manipulate search results.
On-Page User Experience
Another thing to consider in your competitor research is the on-page user experience. You should aim to meet and exceed what your competitors are offering visitors.
If you’re competing with other articles, look at whether they include things like external reference links, related articles, embedded products, or ads. If it’s an e-commerce page you’re analyzing, look at the filtering options, how they handle pagination, and category depth.
Search tools and resources will also typically rank well in search results. For example, a page like our ink & toner finder will typically rank better for a term like “find ink & toner” than a category page would. This is because, from a user experience standpoint, this page will likely help a customer find the answer to their question more quickly than a typical category listing page.
Now that you have a good idea of the type of content that ranks well for your keyword and the type of content you’ll be creating, it’s time to get to work. Here are a few guidelines you can follow when producing original content.
Don’t Be Repetitive
While you should make sure to cover the same topics that your competitors do, you should also try and expand on those topics. Don’t simply regurgitate the same information that is already available, offer something new and original.
Grammar & Spelling
Make sure to check grammar and spelling throughout your content. Online tools like Grammarly are an excellent resource. Publishing content with poor grammar and spelling can hurt your search rankings as well as customer confidence.
Use Relevant Media
Relevant pictures and videos are a great way to draw users into your content and keep them engaged. The bounce rate of a page is an important signal when it comes to search engine rankings – a high bounce rate indicates bad content or user experience. Giving your users videos to watch or pictures to scroll through will not only keep them on the page longer but will also give them more confidence in the products you’re selling.
Prepare For Launch
You’ve strategically picked your products, you’ve built a nice looking e-commerce store, and you’ve established your brand around the internet. Now it’s time to launch the site, turn on the ads, and start making sales.
As your site grows, make sure to continue creating new content and engaging with your customers via social media and your chat channel. Social proof, customer testimonials, and referrals will help always you ramp up your sales volume.
If you still have questions about starting a dropshipping business or sourcing dropshipping suppliers, here are some commonly asked questions and answers that may help.
How do you make money from dropshipping?
In a technical sense, you make money from drop shipping by selling a product on a website at a higher price that is higher than the one you purchase it for from a vendor or supplier.
The real secret to making money from dropshipping is to identify an unsaturated niche, high-quality products from a reliable vendor at a reasonable price, and then properly market your website online.
Typically, the name of the game in dropshipping is volume. Making a lot of sales at a small profit margin will eventually add up to big profits, each and every month.
Can I really make money with dropshipping?
Yes, you can absolutely make money dropshipping. Of course, dropshipping is not for everyone, but more and more people are making money with dropshipping every day. Retail e-commerce is roughly a $500 billion industry. With more people turning the internet to make their purchases every day, dropshipping is sure to continue to be a viable industry.
How Much Can You Make Dropshipping?
Well, that’s really dependent on your profit margins and your ability to make sales. The real goal should be to build an advertising campaign that scales with your spend with a rock-solid ‘return on ad spend’.
Let’s say you’re spending $1000 per month on Facebook Ads, or about $33 per day, which returns $20,000 in sales every month. If you have a 10% profit margin on all products sold, you will have made $1000.
A campaign that scales well would at the very least continue to return at that rate, if not a higher one as the spend increases. So, if you were to increase your spend from $1000 to $10,000, you should make at least $200,000 in sales.
So… Is Dropshipping Legal?
Of course dropshipping is legal. Just make sure to pay all the appropriate taxes, file all the necessary paperwork, and don’t sell anything that is itself illegal. We’re not lawyers or accountants, so if you’re even remotely concerned about compliance, it’s always a good idea to consult with an expert.
Is Dropshipping Dead
Of course not. Anyone who thinks dropshipping is dead probably thought the internet would just be a “fad”. As the e-commerce industry continues to grow, dropshipping is sure to continue to grow along with it. Manufacturers and distributors are starting to realize the huge upside to having an army of online retailers, and entrepreneurs are continuing to find and expand new niches every day.
Can You Dropship On Amazon?
The simple answer is… kind of. You can be an Amazon affiliate which does entitle you to about 10% of all sales that you refer to Amazon. However, typically this requires that the customer check out on the Amazon platform.
There are certain account types that would allow you to do more traditional dropshipping through Amazon, however, you would need to make sales as an affiliate first.
Is Dropshipping Legit
Too legit to quit! But seriously, of course, dropshipping is legitimate. The dropshipping industry continues to expand every year as more manufacturers, distributors, and brands extend their catalogs to drop shippers. Just make sure to vet your vendors or suppliers as you would in any other business to ensure legitimate partners and you should have no problem.
Using OfficeCrave As A Dropshipping Supplier
If you’re interested in dropshipping any of the office supplies, office furniture, or any of the other more than 100,000 products found on OfficeCrave.com, then you’re in luck. We offer both traditional dropshipping and blind drop shipping options. If you’re interested in getting started, you can apply to join our dropshipping program here. There is no cost to dropship OfficeCrave.com and we offer some of the most competitive prices online.