Setting Up a Marketing Plan
Before it’s time to actually take action and start any marketing activities, I like to map out a short plan in order to not forget anything. Launching a new business is always exciting and you never know if you’ll find success with it. You can’t control the customer’s behavior and/or force people to purchase something from your store. However, your job, as the store owner, is to make sure you have done everything you possibly could in order to let other people know about your launch. Hoping that people will find your store by coincidence will never work.
I created a simple Google spreadsheet with some marketing ideas that I could apply instantly without any big efforts. Some of them were pre-launch and others were post-launch.
Usually, this list would have been way longer but as I only had very limited time and money resources for this case study business, I was forced to keep it short. At least at this point.
Marketing Idea #1: Giveaway
Giveaways are a great way to collect tons of useful leads and I’m a big fan of it. Obviously, running a giveaway cost money. Even though my intention with this case study was to build a profitable business without spending any money, I didn’t had the feeling that running a giveaway would be considered as cheating. I would run the giveaway for 10 days and announce the winner 5 days later. My goal was to pay the prize of the giveaway from the profits so I never had to pay anything upfront.Note: Having little things like being forced to make money with your business so you can afford a business development tactic can be dangerous but can also bring out the best in yours. It comes down to what kind of person you are. If you’re performing best under pressure, this will help you big time.
Marketing Idea #2: Pre-Launch Sale
Offering pre-launch discounts never really worked for me. In the past, I made some sales by doing it, but never achieved something big. However, like Gary Vaynerchuk would say; 1 > 0, and so I decided to give it a try again. Doesn’t cost anything but time anyway.
The execution of this idea is pretty simple. I’d just reach out to everyone who could potentially be interested in what I offer and tell them that I’m about to start a new business. If they would sign up for my newsletter, they’d get a pre-sale discount. Usually, this discount would be in a range between 30 – 50%. Whatever I could afford.
Marketing Idea #3: “Own” Collection
Great marketing makes people feel great. That’s what I try to achieve by doing this tactic.
In today’s world, where the attention is on social media, a lot of people would love to be an influencer and be in some kind of way, popular. Alongside with this fame come certain things like interviews, brand deals and also having an own product line.
Especially the last one is something only very few people will ever achieve. So this is the most attractive one.
Obviously, we, as dropshippers, can’t offer a unique product line. However, we can build a workaround which feels similar. By letting people, who have a small audience, assembling products we wanted to sell anyway into one collection and name this collection after them, will make them feel very special.
As this person (or persons) already have an audience, they will share this collection with them in a super passionate way. In fact, they will share it way more passionately and authentically than a usual product placement.
Marketing Idea #4: Pre-Opening Email Series
As the name of this marketing tactic already reveals, pre-opening emails are some emails which will be sent days before the store actually goes live. I do this to remind people that I’m about to launch the new business in order to make sure they visit my website once it’s live.
The content of this email series can be simple. But the last thing I want to do is “selling”. People usually hate sales-pitch emails from a brand they never heard about before and haven’t even seen the online store. My emails would be around the current status of the website and the business. Just to give them an update like I would if a friend asks me how things are going.
Marketing Idea #5: Instagram Direct Messages (DM)
Instagram direct messages are still one of the easiest ways to run qualified traffic to your store and make sales out of it. The only “secret” of a successful DM campaign is work. The more messages I would send, the bigger the reward. Good thing I like to work!Note: Actually, to make Instagram DMs work for you, you have to know your audience (and where to find them on Instagram), your store has to be solid, your Instagram page has to be on point and, last but not least, the messages you send have to be good. If you’re missing out one ingredient, chances are low that you’ll make sales out of it.
Marketing Idea #6: Facebook Group Posts
Facebook groups are incredible, but also very dangerous communities to promote new businesses for free.
Randomly posting about my new business and trying to sell something very obvious would probably lead to instant bans. Too many people, especially dropshippers, trying to take advantage of those communities and do nothing but destroy their reputation. I won’t do this mistake.
Posts in Facebook groups have to be valuable. In order to figure out what “value” means to the members, it’s important to listen. Then it’s time to engage with the members and bring real value to them. This will help become an authority in this group which is the only way to post about a business without being considered as a spammer.
I had to be very careful.
Overall, these six marketing ideas seemed like a solid start. With time and profits to reinvest in the business, I would add more ideas.
Having the list ready, it was finally time to build the online store. Even though I’m definitely not the best when it comes down to designing an online store, I always love building new stores from scratch! So I was very excited and happy to leave the early upfront work behind me.