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Drop shipping Success

Drop shipping Success

5 Steps to Dropshipping Success

What is Dropshipping?

Dropshipping has become both more popular and more challenging than ever.  At it’s simplest form, dropshipping is essentially creating yourself a sales position online.  You find a company that is willing to let you tie directly into their fulfilment system, and allow people to order their products directly from your website.  In exchange, you are given a fixed fee or percentage for each sale you produce for the company actually fulfilling the order.  The main challenges with dropshipping lie in the ever-increasing competition, and the low profit margins in creating sales.  You can’t beat Amazon on product offerings or fulfilment so putting up a massive online mall doesn’t cut it like it did ten years ago.  And even if you specialize it can be challenging.

Although there are some more involved strategies to finding success in dropshipping like finding your own fulfilment centers to increase profit margins, white-labelling products to increase perceived value, and creating authority for yourself and your brand in a given niche, here are some simple tactics that can make any dropshipping site more effective.

 

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Master advertising, particularly Facebook Ads

There are several advertising options available for drop-shippers but in most cases organic content and Facebook ads are going to be your most effective. The issue with both of these mediums is that event though they are a virtual requirement in the drop-shipping world today, they are also complex and constantly evolving marketing platforms that take a lot of expertise to be successful with.  Take the time to really master content creation and the FB ads platform, or hire a professional to guide you through the processes.  Then be prepared to spend some money on testing out your ideas.  Even the most effective FB ads strategies need to be tested with some actual ads to hone them into profit machines for your business.

Also, be prepared for the fact that modern online advertising platforms are more dependent on data than creativity.  The power and the profit are in the data you get in the form of behavior based analytics and contact information.  If you are not prepared to be analytical with your marketing and your marketing dollars, find someone who is.  Financial analysts, accountants, and really anyone in your life who is data-driven will be an asset to you if you are a DIY’er, but also consider investing in professional help.  The rules on these platforms change almost daily so having someone who is immersed in them AND data-driven will turn your advertising spend into advertising profits. (yes we know this sounds self-serving, and yes it’s still true)

With the right data and the right understanding of benchmarks and profitability, you can both outsmart and outwork your competition with online marketing.  You can also guarantee that you aren’t selling products at a loss. (you’d be surprised how many businesses do this without realizing it, don’t be one, know your numbers.)

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Learn from people smarter than you

Learning from others will shorten the learning curve for you and exponentially increase your chances of success in dropshipping. It will also expose you to many strategies that you can implement and improve upon for your business, that way when FB kills your current strategy, you don’t lose your whole business. Join 10 Facebook groups related to dropshipping, Facebook marketing, and content creation and get active in them.  Also, Youtube is your friend, and check out our learning center to steal a lot of the tools and strategies we use every day for our clients.

Digital Marketing Agency Charleston WV | Ideation Digital 222 Capitol St Suite 422, Charleston, WV 25301, USA +1 800-538-6950 https://ideation-digital.com/

Also, use these groups and experts to create a peer network for yourself.  Having a network of other people in your industry is as valuable as your customer list when you face challenges, need inspiration, or just need someone to vent to that understands what the heck you are talking about when your CPM goes to crap and your conversions go out the window.

Do the research and find reliable suppliers

Do yourself a favor early on and ensure that you’re working with reliable vendors that can scale to your needs and won’t create a customer service nightmare for you. This means that 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐬𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐫 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐬𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐪𝐮𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐝𝐮𝐜𝐭𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐚𝐝𝐝𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 𝐭𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐜𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝟗𝟗% 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞…I can’t tell you how important this is.  This also means that you should constantly be looking for more reliable suppliers with new and better products and systems.  If your business is 100% reliant on one supplier, guess what happens if that supplier goes to crap, goes out of business, or becomes unable to supply your customers anymore…

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If using Ali Express, ensure that your products have at least 4.8 star reviews. Anything less and you can bet that the quality isn’t high or consistent enough to keep your customers happy. I highly recommend working with Ali Express suppliers that have been around for a minimum of 2 years or longer. Anything less and you will have reliability issues when you scale(i.e. grow your business so big it takes over Amazon, or at least grow your business big enough that supplier needs to be able to keep up).

Understand the importance of your hook and your offer

First, make sure your offer(product) is something good that people want.  You can’t successfully market a crap product that nobody wants no matter how much of a genius you are.  Then figure out who your ideal buyer is by creating your customer avatar(more on that here).  Knowing who you’re marketing to is essential. 𝐊𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐜𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐫 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐭𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐚d copy that kills, and ad copy that kills your business.

If your messaging sounds like a college kid wrote it for a college kid, it won’t resonate with the target audience for your Rolex Watches.  And once you figure out that nobody wants your “Rale-ex” watches, you’ll realize you have nobody to write ads for, so you might as well just not try.

Develop exceptional customer service

If you’re drop shipping from overseas like most people are, between 30-50% of customers will email you or message you regarding some detail of their order. Things like; order tracking, returns, exchanges, poor quality and long shipping time concerns will be coming regularly, be prepared for that.

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To many people, dropshipping is synonymous with poor quality items, long shipping times, and getting ripped off.  Because of this the post-order regret and stress will frequently be higher than other types of purchases, and you need to be well prepared to calm that concern and get that customer back to the excited state they were in when they hit the order button.

Digital Marketing Agency Charleston WV | Ideation Digital 222 Capitol St Suite 422, Charleston, WV 25301, USA +1 800-538-6950 https://ideation-digital.com/

Use customer service as a way to differentiate your site and your brand from all the other dropshippers out there, and remember that no response is a response, so don’t ignore your customers(more on that here)

You also need to have a plan in place to deal with customer service issues out of your control.  They are seeing your brand and your site, the fact that someone else is doing all of the legwork doesn’t matter to your customer when they gave YOU their money.

Dropshipping is not a get rich quick miracle business model that it once was and frequently is still marketed as so think carefully before getting into this business because it needs to be run like a business, not a hobby.  But like any other business, if you are going to start, there is no better day than today, find a product or two you can sell at will, and build the rest of your business off of those products.

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Digital Marketing Agency Charleston WV | Ideation Digital 222 Capitol St Suite 422, Charleston, WV 25301, USA +1 800-538-6950 https://ideation-digital.com/

Reputation Management in the Digital Age

Reputation Management in the Digital Age

How to handle reputation management for your business in a social media and search engine dominated world

Your online reputation clearly affects your bottom line, your ability to acquire new customers, and your advocacy from your existing customers.  The difficulty comes in a modern world where anyone with an internet connection can create content, positive or negative, about your brand.  So how do you control how the public sees your brand in a world with virtually unlimited outlets for positive and negative reviews?

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Reputation management online, does it really matter?

Why negative reviews are an amazing opportunity for your business growth AND reputation management strategy:

Negative reviews, especially the constructive ones,  can show you real issues with your product, marketing, customer service or perceived value.  According to the aforementioned sprout social survey, the top three reasons people call out brands online are dishonesty, poor customer service, and rudeness.  The top 3 have nothing to do with your product, and everything with how you interact directly with your consumer, remember that.

Negative reviews give you credibility, no brand or product makes everyone happy, and nobody trusts a brand that has all positive reviews

People want to see how you address customer service issues and criticism because they want to know if there is a problem it won’t become a nightmare experience for them

Steps to manage your online reputation management:

  1. Use tools to monitor your online reputation:

Google alerts, free review monitoring, and Rankur all have free tools to monitor your brand and related terms across the internet.  Other tools like the paid version of Rankur and Mention have small monthly fees for additional features, including being able to monitor your competitors brand which has great value on many levels and will more than pay for itself.

  1. Use genuine negative reviews to your advantage:

Legitimate negative reviews give you an opportunity to learn about issues you might not have been aware of, create discussions around those issue for how to turn them into opportunities, train your team to better prevent those issues, and address the complaint in a constructive manner that increases brand loyalty and advocacy with your existing clients.

Most social networks including Google expect you to address reviews and recommendations, so make sure you do, even if it’s just to tell the customer you are sorry and would love to address the issue to their satisfaction offline via email or a phone call.

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Realize that most customers just want to be acknowledged, and ignoring a bad review or reacting in an aggressive or negative manner will just make things worse.  See this as an opportunity to learn even if you don’t feel the customer is justified in their belief, that doesn’t make their opinion invalid to them, and to everyone else reading their comments.  Also realize that the kind of customer that wants to be acknowledged will get acknowledgement one way or the other.  Either from you or from their social circle as they commiserate about their terrible experience you couldn’t even be bothered to address.  Wouldn’t you rather be in control of that conversation?   Better yet, wouldn’t you like to control that conversation so that it turns into them telling people how amazingly you turned a bad situation into one that made them a customer for life?

Also, consider that feedback really is valuable when you can step away from your personal feelings and ego, and a customer that is providing legitimate constructive feedback is a valuable asset, that will continue to do so if you treat them correctly.

Make sure you thank this kind of customer for their feedback, address their comment quickly, and do it in a personal manner so that they know they have been acknowledged and that you truly value them as a customer.

When addressing a customer complaint, make sure you accept responsibility for the situation.  Even if you don’t feel it was your responsibility realize that your business created a negative emotion for this customer and you play some part in that, so it’s ok to sympathize with their emotions and still think you did the right thing.  Make sure to acknowledge their frustrations.  People that want to be acknowledged are most often looking for empathy, put yourself in their shoes, realize that if it happened to you that you could be frustrated as well, and relay that understanding to them.  Then apologize.  Make the apology personal and specific to show that you really did pay attention, hear them, and sympathize with their situation. 

Then it’s time to get creative about how to turn this situation from something bad into something amazing.  Sometimes that can be a free product or upgrade, sometimes it’s just a creative way of addressing their complaint.  Whatever it is, make it personal, and make sure it actually addresses their issue.  If someone hated the taste of your food product, sending them a case of it for free, probably isn’t the best answer unless it was just a bad sample that they got.

Research shows that if a company responds in a timely and useful manner to a complaint, 45 percent of people will reinforce that positive interaction by posting about it on social, informing their friends about the resolution, and rewarding the brand with future business.

Finally, don’t forget to realize that no response, is a response.  How do you feel when you bring an issue to anyone and get ignored?  Does it make you feel good, or like that’s a relationship you need to end?  The same goes for compliments and positive reviews.  If I tell you that your hair looks great today and you just completely ignore me, you certainly aren’t getting anymore compliments from me, and probably won’t be hearing from me at all anymore.  Customer relationships are RELATIONSHIPS, don’t forget that when addressing reviews and criticism.

How to handle unwarranted criticism:

Unfortunately we live in a day and age where sometimes a disgruntled employee, a competitor, or just an angry kid at a computer can get your company some serious negative feedback.  Most channels offer options to eliminate completely fake and derogatory reviews, but those options aren’t 100% effective and take time.

If you are facing a serious reputation attack online, your best option is to create as much positive content as you can to “bury” the negative feedback.

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Strategies to bury fake and unwarranted negative feedback:

  1. Rally the troops.  Many times letting your loyal customers know that you need their help is enough to get you a slew of positive reviews and comments to bury the fake negative ones.  The bonus here is that even if you are successful in getting the negative comments removed, you know also have a ton of fresh positive reviews and recommendations for your brand.
  2. Get a strong content strategy.  If the content you want your brand to be known for is structured correctly it will bury the negative content in search engines and social channels.  Learn how to become a content marketing specialist or hire a company that specializes in online PR or reputation management to help you take control of your online reputation.
  3. Be proactive:  If you start doing these things before any negative reviews happen, you will have very little to worry about when the time comes.  One or even several negative reviews won’t outrank your years long content strategy.  And if you already have hundreds of great reviews for your brand,  as string of 5 or 10 malicious ones won’t even be a blip on the radar.

To sum it all up, see legitimate negative reviews for the opportunity they are, address them and learn from them.  And start addressing a reputation content strategy today, that will make any attacks on your reputation in the future less damaging, less stressful, and easier to handle.

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