Dropshipping businesses often get a bad rap for being shady side hustles to get rich quick. But a dropshipping business model is really a legitimate way to become an entrepreneur with less upfront investment. All it means is you're not carrying inventory yourself, so you save on warehousing costs. And there's no investment in product design, either. You simply choose from thousands of products that have already been designed. So you have the flexibility to experiment with the kinds of products you're selling at a much faster rate than if you stocked them yourself.

To actually run a successful dropshipping business, you've got to put in the leg work. The schemers will try to make a profit by selling cheap products and lying to customers, but they won't last. So don't worry about the folks bragging about their 4-hour work weeks trying to sell you on their "formula for success." When you have your business machine running smoothly, sure, go ahead and reduce your work hours. But first, set up your foundation. The best way to grow your dropshipping store to great heights is with a thoughtful business plan, high-quality products, and the right marketing strategy from the beginning.

Start by defining your audience

As a business owner, it's essential to have a clear understanding of who your target audience is. Without this knowledge, your products could be all over the place, from sleek phone battery packs to whimsical parasols to block the sun. Your website visitors won't know what to think of your brand and will probably bail.

Plus, it will be challenging to create effective marketing campaigns to reach and convert potential customers.

So define your target audience. Then you'll know what products they're likely to resonate with, and you'll be able to speak to them effectively in your marketing campaigns.

There are a few key questions you should ask yourself when trying to define your target audience:

  • What demographics does my ideal customer fit into?: In other words, might your products appeal to a particular gender, income bracket, or geographical location?

  • What needs or wants does my ideal customer have that I can help them with?: This will help you better understand how your products fit into your customers' lives. Then you can speak to that in your marketing campaigns.

  • What are their potential objections to purchasing from you?: For example, might they be weary of a new technology? Is it more expensive than other options on the market? Knowing your customers' objections means you can offer the right information to ease their concerns. If it's a new technology, you might run marketing campaigns that explain it. If it's more expensive than other options, you might describe the advanced features that make your product better.

Once you have answered these questions, you will have a better idea of your target audience and the marketing messages that will resonate with them.

Design an online store built for conversions

As a dropshipping business owner, you know that generating traffic to your site is essential. But what good is all that traffic if it doesn't convert? That's why it's important to design a website that's built for conversions.

There are a few best practices you can take advantage of to make sure your website is designed for conversions:

  • Make your site fast and mobile-responsive. Visitors will leave if you've got a slow site or it isn't mobile-friendly. With more than 50% of all web traffic taking place on mobile devices in the US, mobile functionality should be a top priority.

  • Write product page copy that resonates with your target audience. There's a ton of competition in ecommerce. Even if you designed your own products, there are already a ton of options in any given category that essentially have similar features. So don't just list out features on your product pages. You'll be more likely to reach shoppers on an emotional level and persuade them to buy from your ecommerce store by tailoring copy to your audience's interests and needs.

  • Create clear and concise calls-to-action (CTAs). Your CTA should stand out and tell visitors what you want them to do, whether that's to add an item to their cart or sign up for your newsletter.

  • Use high-quality images and videos to show off your product. Without seeing a product in person, shoppers depend on visuals to understand a product. Show your products from multiple angles, with close-ups of important features, and in use.

  • Include customer reviews. Nothing is shadier than an ecommerce website without customer testimonials. Shoppers have grown to expect them, and they can help build trust and credibility. If you're just getting started, it's enough just to have a way for customers to submit reviews. They'll come in as your business gets off the ground.

  • Use A/B testing to constantly improve your website's conversion rate. Run regular conversion rate optimization (CRO) audits to uncover opportunities for improvement. Then test different images, copy, website layouts, and CTAs to boost sales.

By following these tips, you can design a dropshipping site built for conversions and make the most of the traffic you're already getting.

Use effective marketing channels to drive traffic and sales

Using diverse marketing channels is essential for driving traffic and sales to your ecommerce website. Start with a few of the following channels. Once you've established a good rhythm on one marketing channel, test out another from this list. Soon you'll have a winning dropshipping marketing strategy to serve as the foundation of your brand.

  • Search engine optimization (SEO): SEO is a long-term organic traffic strategy that helps you get your website to show up in searches on Google and other search engines. It involves optimizing your site's content, structure, and on-page elements like titles, metatags, and anchor text. SEO also includes link building, which is the process of getting links from other websites back to your own to boost your domain rating.

  • Paid advertising: There are a ton of options for paid ads worth considering to get your brand in front of new audiences. Search ads can target specific keywords or phrases and appear on relevant search engine results pages (SERPs). Social media ads can help you find your target customers on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok. And display ads can show up on other websites as users browse topics relevant to your brand.

  • Email: Email marketing helps you stay in touch with potential and existing customers. You can use email marketing to introduce your brand to shoppers who browsed but aren't ready to buy yet. And you can use it to build relationships with existing customers and encourage future purchases.

  • SMS: SMS, or text message marketing, is often used alongside email and can help with the same goals. Though there are several benefits of SMS over email. You can reach customers almost instantly. You can build better relationships through conversational SMS. And it's largely underutilized by brands, so you'll have less competition.

  • Social media: Social media is ideal for building relationships with your audience and spreading brand awareness. Use social platforms where your target audience hangs out to create and share content they'd enjoy and run promotions and contests.

  • Partnerships: Partnerships help you grow your audience using the built audience of others. Develop relationships with influencers, affiliates, and even complementary brands to share your brand and products with their audience.

  • Loyalty & referral: Loyalty programs can encourage customers to return to your store more often and spend more money when they do. Referral programs can incentivize your customers to help grow your business by encouraging their friends to buy.

Optimize your marketing efforts as you go

As you market your ecommerce website, keep an eye on your results and optimize your efforts accordingly.

Connect your ecommerce website to Google Analytics and set up conversion tracking. Then you can keep an eye on which marketing channels are bringing in the most traffic and driving sales. Double down on what's working and consider scrapping anything that's not getting you closer to your business goals.

A/B test different elements of your marketing campaigns, such as your copy, images, and CTAs, to see what works best.

Start marketing your dropshipping business with SMS

No matter your dropshipping marketing strategy, you'll want to establish your owned channels like your website, email, and SMS. That's where you have complete control over the customer experience and access to first-party data that can help you personalize all of your marketing efforts.

So consider getting started with a high-ROI SMS strategy. Text subscribers read 95% of texts within three minutes. And Emotive customers see a 27x ROI on average.

Emotive can be your partner in reaching and converting your customers through SMS. Emotive's SMS marketing platform is specially built for ecommerce with features like dynamic audience segments, automated flows, and detailed analytics.

You can even automate two-way conversations so customers can get support and place orders through text.

A white glove service team with deep experience in SMS can help you strategize, write text copy, and optimize campaigns to help you get the most out of this powerful channel.

Want to learn more? Sign up for a demo.