Amazon, an eCommerce giant, has been using the dropshipping business model since 2011. It has been reported that its dropshipped products accounted for 34% of its product sold in that year alone. Now if Amazon can do it, then that’s an opportunity for online stores to do the same.

With eCommerce tagged as the only trillion-dollar industry growing at a double-digit per year, you have plenty of potential sales to leverage on. And dropshipping makes it flexible because you won’t have to physically hold an inventory and you’ll just pay once you make a sale.

But, did you know that there are 12-24 million online stores in the world, but only 650,000 make more than $1,000 of annual sales? Now that’s a competitive market! So, how do you make sure that your dropshipping business will be successful, given a cutthroat eCommerce environment and notwithstanding the ever demanding online shoppers?

This article will help you jump the hurdles of competition by arming you with the best-in-class marketing tips supported by every step of a shopper’s journey. Whether you need to drive new customers to your store, push existing traffic to conversion, or maintain previous shoppers’ loyalty, we have a strategic blend of time-proven and fresh marketing strategies to rocket your sales and sustain successful dropshipping businesses.

Let’s jump into it.

ShopBase storefront

1 – Build trust by adding customer reviews, ratings, and testimonials to your site

If you run a dropshipping website, the tendency is for shoppers to be skeptical about the quality of the products you’re selling at first. This is why adding customer reviews, ratings, and testimonials to your online store is a good way to build your visitor’s trust. Product reviews will help new visitors to see what the previous buyers experienced about a product. By doing so, it can motivate a potential buyer to complete a purchase.

For example, dropshipping store owners from AliExpress usually take a snapshot of a customer’s  feedback from their supplier’s store and then post it to their website. Although, as you grow your online store, it is imperative that you build your own product reviews, ratings, and testimonials.

drop shipping business

Honda Shoes places a ‘Write a review’ feature on its product page to encourage shoppers to leave a product review. If you employ the same marketing strategy, you can boost your conversion rate by 14-76%.

2 – Run Facebook Ads/TikTok Ads to suit your marketing goal and budget

Facebook Ads

As of June 2017, there are over 2.01 billion monthly active Facebook worldwide users. But more than the immense number of people using Facebook, many dropshipping entrepreneurs love it because of the richness and diversity of data it collects. This means that you can be as specific as possible to target the right audience for you ads.

Using Facebook Ads is highly customizable depending on your audience, goal, and budget. You can choose the format of your ads and select where you want your ads to be seen which includes Instagram, Audience Network, Messenger, and the most recent platform, Porsche Sunglasses Workplace.

Plus, it allows you to manage your ads and measure the results, all in one advertising platform.

start a drop shipping business

To help you understand how flexible Facebook Ads is, here’s a quick snapshot of a campaign manager’s interface. The main idea is you control every major aspect of your campaign.

successful drop shipping

An online apparel brand, Good hYOUman, employed Facebook ads by showcasing photos of people wearing its feel-good apparels. The campaign generated a 20.5X return on ad spend.

a drop shipping business

If you haven’t installed the Facebook Pixel, you should definitely do so. Facebook’s advertising platform uses the Pixel to track and learn based on performance data to improve its targeting.

TikTok Ads

In addition to Facebook ads, today’s dropshipping sellers have another option to promote their products: TikTok ads.

With more than 500 million active users worldwide, TikTok is emerging as the next hot place for advertisers to put in some serious effort. According to an experiment by Juggletopp, even with a lower ad budget, TikTok resulted in many more clicks and impressions than Facebook did.

Princess Polly, an online clothing retailer that originates from Australia, was looking for a new marketing strategy to drive more traffic and increase sales. Taking notice of TikTok’s potential, they decided to run a discount code campaign using auction ads on TikTok. It ended up being one of the best discount code campaigns they’ve ever had: over 9 million impressions generated; a 1.05% click-through rate; and an impressive 15X return on ad spend.

Whichever platform you pick to run ads and promote your stuff, do focus on creating a campaign that works. How?

Here’re 3 valuable tips for you to run a successful campaign:

  1. Invest in video content for better targeting. One of the biggest strengths of video content is that it’s highly visual and auditory, which means it’s easier for many potential customers to remember than text-based content. When customers remember your content, they also remember your brand, which drives more sales and leads for your online store.
  1. Target ads to people on your contact list. There’s a reason why people spend so much money increasing email subscribers: email lists are great sources of customers. It’s easier to sell to your current customers/ subscribers than to look for new ones. With Facebook Custom Audiences, you can easily upload your email list and run ads for these targeted people.

Don’t have a list? Read this guide to build and grow your email list today.

  1. Be patient. With any kind of paid advertising, it can feel like you’re losing money if you’re not getting any results right away. But in the beginning, especially, gathering data and learning insight about your targeted customers is key. Try not to pause or tweak your ads until you’ve reached 3,000 people. At that point, you’ve got enough data to at least learn something from your ads’ performance, even if they don’t get any sales.

3 – Share social videos to drive traffic and engagement

By 2021, social videos will continuously grow as online videos are forecasted to make up more than 81% of all consumer web traffic making it one of the most forms of marketing today. This is a signal for dropshipping businesses to shift their marketing focus to using video content to promote their store or market their product that will amplify brand awareness and recall.

For example, Make Beauty shares sneak peek how-to videos on its social media accounts and then redirects their audience to visit their website to watch the full instructional videos

how to start a drop shipping business

Although, for a small scale dropshipping business, creating social videos can be challenging because of the painstaking thought process and creativity involved. As an alternative, look for existing viral videos on popular sites such as BuzzFeed, and then, share them on your social media site. Remember to share your post with an attention-grabbing call-to-action to drive traffic to your dropshipping site.

Recommended reading: Drop shipping sales tax.

When running a drop shipping business like any other enterprise, you need to do taxes. A drop shipping tax is determined by sales tax, nexus (you have a presence in a state, e.g., an office), and sometimes – resale certificate. To find out all the important tax terms and dates, we recommend taking a look at this beginner’s guide to drop shipping tax.

4 – Don’t lose potential customers, use retargeting techniques

98% of visitors won’t buy on their first visit. This poses a challenge to dropshipping merchants since traffic is incredibly hard to get. In this situation, retargeting can help you recapture a seemingly lost opportunity.

Retargeting is a marketing strategy which targets visitors who have previously visited your eCommerce site but made no action. With the use of retargeting, you can display relevant ads to those visitors who have left your site. Once retargeted with display ads, these visitors are 70% more likely to convert on your site.The picture below visually illustrates how retargeting works.

how to start a drop shipping business

To make your retargeting program more effective, you need to define your guidelines using these retargeting checklists:

drop shipping

The jewelry maker, Blue Steel, implemented a retargeting strategy with its Facebook ads resulting into a 325% increase in sales. Blue Steel’s ad below used a very powerful retargeting hook “I saw you checking me out” with a display of the products viewed by the shopper who left the site.

a drop shipping store

5 – Start a blog that drives organic traffic to your dropshipping business

Blogs are the 5th most trustworthy source of information on the Internet behind news sites, Facebook, retail sites and YouTube.

how to start a drop shipping store

Blog marketing is an low-cost strategy to reach your target market via a blog as a medium. The core benefit of blog marketing is to build your audience and generate more traffic and sales for your dropshipping business. You can also use blog contents to push previous visitors a reason to return.

But more importantly, one of the most vital purposes of blog marketing is its ability to boost your SEO results. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of processes that optimize your content to enhance your organic or “free” traffic. The better you streamline your blog entries for SEO, the higher your website will be listed on a search engine’s results page. The better your ranking, the more probability that people can discover and become aware of your dropshipping business.


You’re not a great writer and you can’t spend hours to write blog posts regularly?

By this point, you should realize that blogging is valuable. If you can invest your time on maintaining multiple social media channels, then you have the time to write a piece of content every week.

And if you’re not good at writing, don’t worry. Because you don’t have to write a 2000+ word count post, just keep it short and sweet. Think of blogging as the expansion of a Facebook post or a product description, you write it everyday, why can’t do the same with blogs?

6 – Identify where your niche hangs around online and then join their group

A niche denotes to an interest commonly shared by a certain group. Almost all dropshipping businesses have their own niche. Take advantage of this by identifying if where your niche gets together such as Facebook groups or blog communities. Once identified, join these groups so you can see what your target customers are discussing.

You can be an ambassador to subtly promote your dropshipping business or introduce your products. More effectively, you can act like a real user and place yourself as an expert in that niche.

You can also use the group’s social media page to feature your store. For instance, if you are a shoe dropshipping business, send fashion inspiration lookbooks. Ask the group to post them on its page with a credit to your store.

7 – Capture visitors into subscribers with compelling email pop-ups

Within the first 15 seconds of their visit, 55% of website visitors leave a website. This is why capturing your visitors’ email addresses is a crucial step towards lead conversion. However, to effectively turn your visitors into subscribers, you need to employ a marketing strategy that attracts them to do so.

Why not incentivize an email pop-up form to motivate them into joining your email list? Once you have their email addresses, you can nurture those leads with a series of email marketing contents to engage them with your dropshipping business and eventually drive them to purchase.

set up a drop shipping store

BKBT Concept Store has gamified its email pop-up by offering its visitors a chance to win a special prize in exchange for their email addresses.

With more than 150,000 online store clients, you can run the same marketing strategy with Better Coupon Box to create unique and beautifully designed email pop-ups geared in growing your email subscribers by up to 68%.

apps for drop shipping business

However, sometimes customers just get bored with pop-ups. It is kinda annoying to keep seeing those lead capture forms every single time. So less is more. You should be careful to set up your pop-ups without disrupting the visitors’ shopping flows. One quick tip is to use both pop-ups and targeted header bars like SiteKit’s Smart Bar.

Email opt in on SiteKit

This bar is highly visible so it can convert visitors to subscribers or customers with ease. The exit-intent feature is also provided to help you win back leaving customers. But the best thing is it won’t distract your shoppers from your site content like normal pop-ups.

8 – Encourage shoppers to buy more with upsell and cross-sell marketing

As a dropshipping business, you want to maximize every transaction in any way possible. This is why implementing product upselling and cross-selling techniques can help you maximize your transactional value. There’s a subtle difference between the two, which is why they are always combined as a single marketing strategy. But, both help in increasing impulsive buys and growing your store’s revenue as high as 70%.

set up a drop shipping business

Amazon is popularly known to use upselling and cross-selling techniques with its “Frequently Bought Together” marketing.

Suggested tool: Boost Sales

Ready for a successful dropshipping business?

Marketing is indispensable for any business to succeed, dropshipping, or not. With that in mind, the explosion of different marketing channels and strategies over the past years has made it challenging for a dropshipping business to keep up and soar fully.

To gear you up, our popular marketing tips above will make sure that you are armed in every step of the shoppers’ buying stage. Whether they are browsing, completing a transaction, or have already made a purchase, our marketing tips will come in handy.

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