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Dropshipping Step 12: Marketing

August 16, 2020


STEP 12: Marketing your dropshipping store

Is it really necessary to market your online store?

Well. Duh...

How else are people supposed to know about your store or products?

Unlike a traditional retail store, you don't have people walking past your store. Traditional retailers have window displays where they can catch people's attention as they walk past. You even get people visiting a store on impulse.

There's no such thing in the digital world. With online shopping, you need to go out and find the customers.

Female shopper with shopping bags

How do you find online shoppers?

Well, you basically have two options as a dropshipper.

Search Ads or Social Media Ads. Both are PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising platforms, but they differ somewhat. And they both have their pros and cons.

When we talk about social media advertising, I mean advertising your product on a social media platform like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter and even LinkedIn.

Social Media Ads vs Search Ads

  • The ability to grow your sales and your fan base through more personalized ad campaigns. Search ads are generic.
  • You create content ads for customers. Your ads are thus more informative and add value to the customer's shopping experience. This leads to brand loyalty. 
  • Waste less money as you can target your audience much more precisely. Search Ads does not offer precise targeting. 
  • You can A/B test your ads to determine and scale winners and drop the losers. Search Ads offer fewer testing options.

The most well-known Search Ad example is Google Ads. Google Ads are ads that pop up when a person does a search. 

For both advertising mediums, you pay an amount every time someone clicks on your ad, hence Pay Per Click.

For most of these advertising mediums (including Google Ads and Facebook Ads) the most exposure goes to the advertiser willing to the pay the most.

It works on a bidding principal. The higher you bid, the better your chances of your ad featuring prominently. 

Each social media platform, including Google Ads, requires specialist knowledge applicable to that specific platform, in order to be successful.

What works on Facebook won't work on Instagram or Pinterest or Google Ads for example. 

So, there is a steep learning curve ahead for anyone looking to successfully market their business or products online.

You will either need to become an expert at online marketing, or hire someone to do it for you, which can be costly.

Either way, it's going to cost you some time and money before you are proficient at marketing your dropshipping business. 

Google Ads 

The bulk of internet marketing is done on Google.

Google holds 73% of the search ad market, followed by Amazon with 12.9% and Microsoft with 6.5%. (Source: eMarketer, October 2019).

Google's search ad revenue was expected to total $40.3 billion in 2019. Google also controls 37.2% of the total US digital advertising market, followed by Facebook with 19.6%. 

Thus, these are your two main contenders for your online marketing bucks.

If you want to know more about Google Ads, then refer to my How To Advertise on Google: The Free Step-by-Step Guide. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about Google Ads.

However, online marketers favor social media advertising as they consider it to offer higher ROI than Search Ads. 

Dropshippers specifically seem to favor Facebook over all other platforms.

Here are some reasons dropshippers prefer Facebook Advertising.

The Facebook Ads banner

Facebook Ads Advantages

  • Your target market is HUGE. 80% of all Internet users use Facebook.
  • Targeted advertising. It is possible to reach the EXACT audience you want to reach. 
  • When compared to other advertising mediums, Facebook is relatively cheap. FB Ads CPC on average cost $1.72, whereas Google Ads CPC is $2.69.
  • Facebook reaches a large target in a very short space of time.
  • You can measure the success of your advertising campaigns thanks to Facebook Pixel.
  • Thanks to the FB Pixel, you can also re-target customers.
  • FB Advertising offers real-time campaign data and adjustments.
A broken Apple iPhone

The disadvantages of Facebook Ads

FB Ads are based on bidding. 

If there is another dropshipper bidding on the same product and he spends only one cent more, then he will get the bulk of the exposure. There's no way to tell what the "right" ad spend amount is.

A/B Testing

To see if your ads work, you need to do A/B testing. This requires some practice and skill to master.

Spiraling Ad Spend!

You need to keep a close watch on your ad spending as many dropshippers have had to close their online stores because of ad spend running out of control. Setting a daily limit per ad is not enough, as this dropshipper found out, describing his ordeal on Reddit. This happens more often than you might think...

FB Business Manager and Ad Manager sucks. 

Sometimes, FB disables accounts for no clear reason. And it happens to everyone, from beginners to seasoned FB pros. Just head over to Reddit and do some research. You'll quickly find some horror stories... Remember: your dropshipping store will be dead in the water without marketing!

FB App and Ad Network crashes

In 2019, the Facebook Ad Network started to crash more and more often. With no reason offered why.

Here's an excerpt from a recent Bloomberg post: 

"...Krass, who spends $3 million per month on Facebook and Instagram ads, estimates there have been at least a dozen system failures this year. Andrew Foxwell, Co-founder of the marketing firm Foxwell Digital and Herrmann’s co-founder of the Facebook group, said the outages have ranged from hours at a time to full days."  

You can read the full post here.

Hopefully Facebook Ads will get their act together in 2020.

Do this first! Before you market your online store...

You must install your Facebook Pixel first, before you start with any marketing. 

The Facebook Pixel is an analytics tool that gathers info on everyone that has an interaction with your content on Facebook.

If someone looks at your FB Ads, clicks on a link, reads a post, visits your dropshipping store - all these interactions get tracked and become available to you.

This information helps you to better identify and understand your target audience. It is invaluable when analyzing your ad campaigns and making adjustments. 

There are two ways you can install the FB Pixel. Either use the steps below, or work through my 

How To Advertise on Facebook: The Free Step-by-Step Guide. (I'm busy working on it and will be available before the end of this week!)

How to install the Facebook Pixel for your Shopify store.

To install the FB Pixel, you can refer to the following 13 easy to implement steps.

If you want my printable PDF Guide, you can download it here

1. A Facebook account
2. A Facebook Ads Manager account
3. Go to FB Ads Manager and log in with your personal Facebook account details.
4. Find Events Manager, and directly underneath it will be Pixels. Click on it.
5. Next you'll see the Data Sources screen. Click on "Create a pixel". 

6. A window will pop up requesting your Pixel Name and website URL. Choose a name for your pixel and enter your online store URL. Click on "Continue". 

7. The next step is connecting your website activity. Choose the "Partner Integration" option illustrated below, if you have a Shopify Store. If you have a WooCommerce Store, Choose the second option: "Manually add pixel code to website".

8. Find Shopify in the list and click on it.

9. Now it's time to connect your Shopify account. Make sure to "Turn on automatic advanced matching" before you click on Continue. 

10. In your Shopify account, select Online Store.

11. At the bottom left, find "Preferences" and open the tab. Scroll to Facebook Pixel ID and paste your Pixel ID that Facebook gave you. Click on "Save" and then "Continue". 

12. Enter your online store's URL and click on "Send Test Traffic". 

13. You will receive a confirmation that your pixel is working. Once you've received the confirmation, your pixel is ready. 

The Pixel will now automatically fire when there are interactions with your online store or with any of your FB content.

It might take a little longer, but I strongly suggest you work through my Facebook Advertising Guide. You can access it here. It's a step-by-step process, showing you everything you need to know about FB Advertising. I even offer tips on how to write FB Ads.

How to create a Facebook Ad

(The correct way according to Facebook.)

Facebook Ads are an important component of any successful dropshipper's marketing strategy. FB Ads are the go-to advertising medium for dropshippers because of its ROI. 

FB Ads allow you to specifically target certain audiences, which gives you a lot of power when choosing who sees your ads. 

In this section, I will give a quick overview of the different FB Ads you can use and what their specifications are.  

But first, you need the following to create FB Ads:

1. A Facebook account

2. A Facebook Ads Manager account

If you installed your Pixel (as described earlier), then you already have the necessary accounts set up. 

The seven steps to create FB Ads 

(the correct way according to FB guidelines.)

1. Choose your objective.

When creating an advertisement, you should know what the intended objective of the ad is.

Do you want the ad to drive sales, or do you want to create more brand awareness?

You have three main options (Awareness, Consideration, Conversions), and each one has more specific objectives.

If you need more info about ad objectives, then visit the Facebook Advertising Objectives page here.

2. Select your audience.

After you've named you Ad Campaign and Ad Set, scroll down under Ad Set to where you see Audiences.

Create a New Audience, set you Location(s), Age, Gender, and then go into more Detailed Targeting. This opens additional targeting options, such as demographics, interests and behaviors that best represent your audience.

For more detailed info on Ad Targeting and Creating Audiences, follow this link

3. Decide where to run your ad.

Via Facebook Ads Manager, you have the option of advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Audience Network, or across them all. You can even go so far as choosing on which specific mobile devices to advertise. 

4. Set your budget.

You have a choice between setting a daily or lifetime budget of the ad(s).

You can also choose over which period you want your ads to run. In theory, these limits keep you from spending more than you're comfortable with. 

Neil Patel has a great post about overbudgeting on Facebook Ads called Why You’re Spending Too Much on Facebook Ads (And How to Change It)

If you want info on FB budgets straight from the horse's mouth, then visit the FB Help Page here

5. Pick a format.

There's a wide range of ad types or formats to choose from, and where to place your ads. Each is designed to work on just about every device and connection speed. 

You need to decide which of the following type of advertisements you're going to create:

- Photo:

Photo ads offer a clean, simple format to feature engaging imagery and copy.

- Video:

Tell your story with video using sight, sound and motion.

- Stories:

Stories are a customizable, edge-to-edge experience that lets you immerse people in your content.

- Messenger:

Messenger ads help people start conversations with your business.

- Carousel:

Carousel ads let you showcase up to ten images or videos in a single ad, each with its own link. 

An example of a Facebook Carousel Ad

- Slideshow:

Slideshow ads are video-like ads made of motion, sound and text.

- Collection:

People can tap an ad to learn more about a specific product, all within a fast-loading experience.

- Playables:

Playable ads offer people an interactive preview before they download an app.

For more info on each type of ad format, click here

6. Let the bidding start!

Facebook uses an ad auction to determine which is the best ad to show to a person at a point in time. 

When advertisers create ads, they tell us who they want to show their ads to by defining a target audience.

To ensure that the winning ad maximizes value for both people and businesses, the winner of the auction is the ad with the highest total value.

The total value is a combination of three major factors:

1. Bid: The bid placed by an advertizer for that ad.

2. Estimated action rates: An estimate of whether a particular person engages with or converts from a particular ad.

3. Ad quality: A measure of the quality of an ad, as determined from many sources, including things like feedback. 

When you submit your ad, it goes to Facebook's Ad Auction which helps get it to the right people. For more detailed info, click here

7. Measure and manage your ad.

When your ad is running, you can track performance and edit your campaign in Ads Manager.

Keep track of whether one version of your ad is working better than another, or if your ad is being delivered efficiently. Make tweaks and adjustments as needed.

For more info on measuring your FB Ads, click here

More marketing! Free Shopify Marketing Apps

Head over to the Shopify app store and use the search bar. Type in "Marketing", and you'll find hundreds of options! You can narrow your search down by choosing more specific features, most installed, free apps, etc. 

Log in first, and then click on See Only Compatible Apps (underneath the Shopify app store banner at the top left), before you filter through the search results.

The user ratings show how good an app is. The more ratings the better. An app with a 4.7 star rating with 5,000 user reviews is better than an app with a 5 star rating with only 500 reviews. 

A good place for app suggestions is Shopify's blog. Shopify suggests certain free apps that you can use, such as "25 Free Shopify Apps to Check Out In the Shopify App Store".

Dropshipping marketing conclusion:

So, what can you learn from all this? Online marketing is not as easy as some make it out to be. 

Do NOT believe "gurus" that tell you, you can run "Facebook Ads with $5 per day, using my secret trick..."

I call BS. 

My tips for marketing:

  • Do your homework.
  • Get your preferred Ad Platform tips from legitimate sources. Prerequisite - they MUST have actual and active dropshipping stores...
  • Take it slow.
  • Master A/B Testing. You can find a good explanation of FB Ad split testing in Facebook's Business Lesson Pages, here.
  • Learn the trade through EXPERIENCE.
  • There is no magic formula to FB Ads. It comes down to good ads and testing to have a successful ad campaign.

Bookmark and return to this page soon, as I'll have the How To Advertise on Facebook: The Free Step-by-Step Guide ready for you to download. Thanks for visiting!

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Ippei Kanehara
Founder/CEO Ippei Leads

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2020, is to build your own 6-figure lead gen biz. You can learn more here.

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