STEP 08: BUILDING A LASTING BRAND
Most dropshippers (especially the ones in it to make a quick buck), don't think branding is important. But if you're in it to quit your 9-5 for good and do this for a living, as opposed to a side hustle, then you have to implement branding strategies.
It's important for dropshippers to build a brand for three reasons:
- Branding sets you apart from the competition, and
- It creates loyalty, which means your customers will keep coming back.
- Once you've established a brand, you can charge higher prices for your "premium branded" products.
In this step of my dropshipping guide, I will help you through the basics of branding.
What is branding?
Branding is a marketing practice in which a company's name, logo, symbol, design or slogan is distinct from those of other sellers.
This makes the brand easily identifiable and leaves an impression on customers.
Branding helps to identify a company or product and distinguishes it from competitor products and services.
Even online branding is a combination of memorable name, striking logo and store design, copywriting, the use of certain colors, and images.
These combine to create a lasting identity for your dropshipping business.
Why consider branding for dropshipping?
Do a bit of market research and you'll quickly see that most dropshipping stores look the same.
Shopify makes it so easy to set up a store within a few short hours, that most dropshippers choose a template and start populating their store without thinking of branding at all.
Many dropshippers also choose the business model because they think it's an easy way to make quick money. If that's your motivation then there's no point in building a brand. You'll probably burn through a lot of online stores in quick succession.
If, however, you want to start a dropshipping business to break the shackles of your current day job, then you would want to go into dropshipping with a long-term plan of action.
The purpose of any business is to be successful in the long-run, not over a short period.
Choosing a niche and building a brand around the products you offer is therefore important.
The reasons? Because you want:
- To stand out from the competition.
- People to notice and remember your store.
- Returning customers become customers loyal to your brand. They could very well end up being customers for life.
- If you want to sell your dropshipping business one day, then an established brand is worth much more than just another generic online store making some money... See? You must always think long-term. Business is not a short-term game.
Where do I start with online branding?
You need to remember that branding isn't just about a name and a logo.
Branding encompasses a whole range of different aspects.
Depending on your source, branding includes a combination of your business name, logo, slogan, specific font and colors, website design, content, marketing copy and more.
Your branding should represent your company values and ethos,
Just like traditional retail stores, you also need to put in time and effort into building a brand for your online store. This includes a lot of market research, which includes what is trending in your niche and who is trending in your niche.
We've covered the what of your niche in our previous two steps. Finding a niche and a handful of "Core Products" has already set you on your path to becoming a dropshipping brand.
Before we choose a name, let's take your market research just one step further and do a little more market research.
How to brand for dropshipping?
Find niche-related keywords from Instagram
Put those hashtags to good use!
Find well-known Instagrammers in your niche and pay attention to the words and phrases they use.
Copy what is often used, as these are the "buzz-words" in your niche. A store name with a "buzz-word" could very well become a "Buzz-store"...
Choose your business name
Tips for choosing your business name:
- choose a name that illustrates what your business represents or sells.
- try to connect your business name to some buzz-words in your niche.
tryto get a .com for your online store, but try not to use over three words. People forget or misspell long names such as thisismycutekittyshop.com. Short and sweet is more memorable.
- if you're really stuck, use a free domain name generator to spit out some ideas.
- Register your domain at a well-known hosting company, such as GoDaddy,
Hostgatoror even Shopify itself.
Create a logo
Not the creative type? Don't stress!
There are many free to use logo creator tools available on the internet. Do a simple Google search and you'll find many suggestions.
TOP TIP: Don't use Fiverr!
Contrary to what you might think (and what some might tell you), Fiverr will waste a lot of your time. First you need to find the right designer, then approve a design or suggest changes. Then you get the wrong format etc. etc.
The FREE logo creators I list below are more than adequate.
But first; Why are logos important?
- They grab attention.
- They create a sense of professionalism.
- Logos make a positive first (and lasting) impression.
- A logo forms the basis of your branding.
- It will separate you from the competition - few dropshippers have logos.
- Logos create familiarity which leads to brand loyalty.
Now that you know why you need a logo, here are some suggested logo creators that you can use.
Logo creators that I have used in the past and can recommend for their ease of use, are
Browse through the basic designs (without looking at the text) and pick one that catches your eye.
The tools let you tweak the logo according to the text you want added, colors, images, etc.
Before you know it, you'll have an eye-catching and memorable logo for your dropshipping business.
Create a slogan / catch phrase
This step isn't compulsory, but if you used a logo creator, some of them might have asked you for a slogan.
- The secret here is to keep it as short and to the point as possible. The best logos are only a few short words. "Just do it!"
- The slogan works with your logo, so keep that in mind when thinking of a catch-phrase.
Slogans help create brand identity and make your dropshipping store more memorable.
Dropshipping store design
Brick and mortar retail stores spend a lot of time on their store fronts and the general layout and design of the interior of the store.
The same principals apply to online stores. With a traditional retail store you need a visually striking window display to catch attention and lure shoppers in. With online stores, it's the first page visitors see.
Treat your landing/home page as your storefront or window display. Make it striking. Make the visitor stop and stare. Keep their attention!
The great thing about using a shopping platform, like Shopify or wooCommerce, is that you don't have to be a web designer to create an amazing-looking site.
These eCommerce platforms allow you to create a website within minutes by using their online store templates.
This is what you can expect with Shopify's free templates:
Do some research and visit the leading online stores in your niche. Or have a look at sites that have won awards and note what makes them unique and memorable.
Make notes of which sites stood out and why they stood out.
Later when you build your own store, incorporate this info into your site and design something memorable and user-friendly. here...
Google is focusing on the user-experience of late, so make sure your site is easy to navigate and doesn't have any broken links. You need to have the basics of on-page SEO covered.
I'll cover this topic more when we get to Step 10, Building your store.
Website and marketing content
Yes, you need to be a writer too!
Content is very important for your organic Google rankings. Not only for Google, but for your online customers.
When you find products through AliExpress, you'll see that suppliers write the product descriptions for search engines, and not for shoppers.
This means that you will need to rewrite most, if not all, of the product descriptions on your site. Here are some examples:
You will need to change all of your product descriptions into customer-friendly copy.
Writing your own content helps to tick the boxes of Google's "Original Content" mandate. It also makes it easier for your customers to read and understand your product descriptions.
Re-writing the product descriptions and populating your dropshipping store with your own content, also helps give your brand a "voice". It helps customers to recognize your brand and adds to creating a unique identity.
The same applies to your marketing efforts. No two writers in the world are the same, so use that to your advantage to create your brand voice.
Whether it's quirky, downright funny, no frills short and to the point, or serious and business-like. It doesn't matter, as long as you are adding original content.
To add value for your target audience, you could even start a blog. (It's not a must though.) Add your own product reviews, discuss your passion for the niche, come up with solutions to problems, discuss new trends within the niche, etc. This also helps to add original content and adds value to your customer's visiting experience.
Top Tip: Use the following free tools to help you hone your writing skills:
- Hemingway Editor
- A good dictionary / thesaurus, such as
It may seem a little daunting at first, especially if you've never started an online business before. But branding is an integral part of the dropshipping marketing matrix and not something to neglect.
The long-term benefits far outweigh the inconvenience of having to design, create and set everything up for branding.