Marketing Your Dropshipping Store: How to Reach Your Target Audience
With your online store ready, your suppliers carefully selected and your return policy thoroughly set up, you are ready to take on the world. But, how is the world going to find you and your store? You need to find ways to bring customers to your store. Luckily, there are plenty of options to do this. With a budget, you can do this rather quickly, but even if your marketing budget is non-existent, there are options to reach out to your target audience – it just takes more time to do the groundwork.
Paid marketing options
Where do you advertise your store if you have a marketing budget? Right where you can reach the largest audience! For example on the U.S.’s (and the world’s) biggest social media platform, which still is, and likely will be for some time to come, Facebook. Obviously, we cannot disregard Google, which doesn’t just offer us the world’s biggest search engine, but also a range of options to analyze the results of our marketing efforts.
Facebook offers great options for reaching your audience, providing you with the necessary tools to zoom in on the market segment you are catering to. Facebook Ads are a proven formula for two simple reasons: you can manage your budget by setting a daily limit, and you can reach exactly the group of people you’re after with detailed targeting options based on demographic variables and user interests (age, gender, location; online shopping, toys etc.).
Facebook Ads are very effective and if targeted correctly, can bring fast results. Besides yielding conversions, they also raise your target audience’s awareness of your brand. A good Facebook ad, launched at the right time, can even go viral and generate massive interest. But even without going viral, a Facebook ad will be very effective in putting your store on the virtual map.
Note: Leading eCommerce platforms, such as BigCommerce, enable you to connect your online store’s catalog with Facebook to advertise your products and sell directly on the platform.
One of the obvious goals of your marketing efforts is to make sure your store is easy to find in Google. You have to be a real SEO wizard to get your store to reach the first place in the organic search results, but a high ranking on your core keywords should be possible with the right SEO approach. And, there are more options to stand out in Google’s search results. You can run paid advertising campaigns through Google Ads to promote your dropshipping store and have your ads appear right at the top of the page for the keywords you choose to rank for (for the right bid). If you have a budget, Google ads are a must, because it offers:
- Excellent exposure in search results
- The largest available potential audience (Google search, Youtube, Gmail)
- Great options to target specific demographics (language, device, location, etc.)
- Possibility to maximize exposure to your ads (using high volume keywords for your niche)
Not the cheapest option, but very effective nonetheless is the option to use a public figure to promote your brand on social media. This type of promotion, aptly labeled influencer marketing, can be very effective and a lot of brands, especially those in the more high profile or trendy niches, nowadays use this type of customer acquisition strategy. Using a celebrity to promote your brand will obviously sort the most dramatic effect, but you can go for someone less famous as long as the person can help you reach your target audience.
Free marketing options
It is not uncommon for dropshipping stores to work with very limited budgets, which means marketing efforts need to focus on the range of available free options. These options are less immediate, but can still be very effective in the long run.
Blogs & forums
Look for forums and blogs in your niche market, engage in discussions and conversations and slowly manifest yourself as an authority in the niche, offering an easy-to-find link to your website, for example in your signature. With the right approach, this method can increase traffic to your store and generate new clientele.
Content marketing comes in different shapes and forms. A blog on your store’s website is a useful tool, because you can use it for more than just the obvious purpose of adding fresh content to your website. Blog posts can be easily shared on social media, and you can use a range of platforms to stretch the reach of such efforts to as many people as possible. Make a simple video for your blog and post it on your YouTube channel, share the blog on Facebook, tweet about it on Twitter using relevant hashtags and use exciting visual content to reach out to the Instagram crowd, inviting them to follow you and the link in your bio – again using appropriate hashtags. Valuable content is a strong tool to help build an audience. Once people are listening, it will be easier to convert them into customers.
Social media marketing
Opening social media channels doesn’t cost you anything. Your store should be present on the main platforms, even if you don’t plan an active social media strategy at first. Open these accounts so you have them ready when you do want to start using them. Keep in mind, though, that social media networks are by now “a lot less social” than they used to be. By now, big brands are ruling a big part of your Facebook feed. You can manage the settings of what you’re seeing on Facebook, but sponsored posts by businesses offering their products and services to you will be present, and likely dominate your feed. This makes it obviously very hard to manage a decent level of organic reach, but it can still be done. Consistent posting and sharing of unique, quality content on your social channels can still build a following. And a following can be turned into buying customers, especially if you sell what they (think they) want to buy.
All of the top eCommerce platforms also offer social media integrations, allowing you to link to your social media pages from your online store to increase exposure and social followers.
In 2019, email marketing is still a very important part of any marketing mix. From the moment your store goes live, you should offer people to sign up for regular newsletters, for specials offers, discounts, seasonal campaigns and anything else that you can think of that might be interesting for your customers. With their email addresses, you can reach out to them whenever you want, but preferably with interesting offers and news. You want to make sure you don’t misuse email lists for spammy emails, because that will lead to people opting out of receiving any communication from you.
There are plenty of options to reach out to your potential audience, even without a budget. When you do have a budget, you should use a healthy mix of paid and free marketing options, for maximum impact.
Now that you have completed our guide and are ready to establish your dropshipping business, it’s time to start building your online store!