How to Do Marketing for your Dropshipping Business

Dropshipping as a type of ecommerce has been around for a while now and, owing to a number of factors, it is actually becoming more and more popular, not just in the United States, but around the world as well.

Due to its many idiosyncrasies, dropshipping requires a unique approach to marketing and anyone who wishes to try their hand at this kind of ecommerce business should learn a thing or two before they take the plunge.

Dropshipping Basics

Dropshipping is a unique type of ecommerce business where the seller (i.e. the store owner) does not handle their inventory at any point. Instead, they set up everything with partner suppliers who handle packaging and shipping of products to end customers. A dropshipping business owner simply ensures that their customers’ orders are fulfilled properly, and they make money by charging a margin on products that the suppliers sell at, usually, very low prices.

For the most part, dropshipping businesses work with Chinese suppliers and this usually happens via AliExpress. In fact, many suppliers available on AliExpress do not even sell their products directly to customers and they work solely with dropshippers. Of course, some dropshipping businesses later develop and find manufacturers in China in order to have better control over their products, but at first, they act more or less as middlemen.

Since, as a dropshipping business, you let your suppliers handle manufacturing, packaging and shipping, your job revolves mostly around marketing and finding new customers who will buy in your store.

In short, when we are talking dropshipping ecommerce, it is all about marketing.

Start with Paid Ads

The vast majority of dropshipping businesses are launched on a shoestring budget, the low initial costs being the main advantage of this kind of ecommerce. Also, these companies start out as virtual nobodies. Apart from your family and friends, no one will know about your new dropshipping store.

The logical conclusion is that you need to get your store in front of as many people as possible and in as little time as possible. The only way to achieve this realistically is to start doing paid ads from the very first day.

Depending on what your store sells, you will choose between Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Instagram ads. Of course, besides choosing based on where your potential customers are most likely to see your ads, you will also have to factor in the cost of ads. For example, you will discover that Google ads are usually more expensive than Facebook ads which are usually the first choice of dropshippers.

Another reason why dropshipping businesses love Facebook are the superior targeting capabilities of Facebook where you can really pinpoint your customer segment and ensure you are not wasting your ad money on people who would never purchase at your store.

At first, you will be spending most of the money you make with your store on paid ads, building up a customer base. For instance, if you sell 5 products one day and make a hundred dollars, you will spend at least $80 of those $100 on ads the next day.

As you start making more money, the percentage of your income allocated for paid ads will decrease, but you should never stop investing in paid marketing.

Ease into Email Marketing

As your customer base begins to grow, you will also want to start building an email subscriber list that you will use for email marketing down the line. The main reason for this is that email marketing is still one of the best ways to do marketing for an ecommerce business.

Engagement rates and the return on investment on email marketing are by far the best and with a smart email marketing practice, you can also build a loyal customer base that will purchase at your store regularly. Moreover, during the busiest times of the year, the holidays, an email marketing campaign can do wonders for your sales.

It will take a while before you can build a decent email marketing list, but it is something you should think about from the very start. Email marketing will help you build brand awareness and, one day, it may just become the most important tactic in your dropshipping marketing repertoire.

Content and Social Media (Down the Line)

In the first few months, there will be very little point in doing content marketing and social media marketing for your dropshipping business. Simply put, the chances that you will hit a jackpot with these are so minuscule that it is best to divert the time and the money you will spend on these elsewhere.

However, once you get your dropshipping business on its feet and you start seeing a steady stream of revenue, you should definitely start considering a bit of content and social media marketing.

Social media can be used for many things – from posting deals to engaging with existing and potential customers and even offering customer support. You will also be using social media to share your content which can, in turn, be used to raise awareness of your brand and to do some link building. Let’s be honest, a bit of link building can go a long way for a store that wishes to become more visible.

While social media and content marketing can help your store, they should never be considered the main marketing tool for a dropshipping business. Despite what many “experts” want you to think, they can only go so far.

Closing Word

The most important thing to remember about dropshipping and marketing such a business is that you need quick results as you cannot survive without growing your customer base as fast as possible. Once your store reaches some stability, it is time to diversify your marketing and start thinking about building a brand.


AUTHOR: James D. Burbank has spent almost two decades in marketing. He is the editor-in-chief of BizzMarkBlog.