Dropshipping and Facebook Ads: Does It Really Work?

February 8, 2019 By Ecommerce

It seems like every day there is a new kid on the ecommerce block, hoping to make money from their dropshipping prowess, but not everyone seems to be going the distance…

One of the fastest routes to market is to use Facebook ads as a way to quickly make sales and pull in customers. But it’s important to evaluate the viability and potential of the dropshipping/Facebook ads model for your business, taking into account the current market.

The key to dropshipping success it to approach it like any other standard business venture, and not get caught up in the hype—here’s how.

No Magic Formula

A lot of people expect to just watch a dropshipping webinar, download a guide, listen to a podcast, and magically become internet millionaires in a week.

The truth is, things rarely work out like that.

There is no magic formula for dropshipping and Facebook ad success, because it’s entirely dependent on a vast range of factors, including:

  1. Your target market
  2. Your price point
  3. The competition and the niche
  4. The time of year and the weather…

How you approach creating Facebook Ads for your store needs to part of a larger conversation about your branding, marketing channels, and value propositions.

Of course, you can make the most of your social ads and ensure that they are:

  1. Call-to-action led
  2. Well-targeted (correct audience segmentation)
  3. Visual (videos or carousels work well for ecommerce)
  4. Frequently revisited, reviewed and updated. The #1 mistake you can make with Facebook ads is to not review your campaigns, as your users will be giving you vital clues about what’s working and what’s not.

But even with all those four factors in alignment, you won’t make any sales unless you’ve got your other touch points figured out too…

The Price Must Be Right

Price is an important consideration for online customers, no matter how big or small the purchase. As a dropshipper, you need to get the balance right between pricing competitively, and making a sound profit after supplier and shipping deductions.

Here are some pro pricing tips to help you get it right:

  1. Free shipping is a nice perk, and can increase sales, but make sure you take it into account in your pricing structure. It may make sense to still charge for international shipping (depending on your carrier).
  2. Deep discounts are even better, but only if the brand is one people can trust. Giving away stuff too cheaply will get people questioning
  3. You definitely need to undertake some in-depth price analysis in order to ensure that you’re pricing well within the market. Some profitable niches include beauty products, phone accessories, fashion…
  4. Ads based on price discounts are good, but only if the customer clearly sees the value of the product as well. A cheap deal, or even a free product, won’t always entice people. Why? Because they’re busy and value their time more!

Customer Experience Reigns Supreme

An issue that some dropshippers have is that they invest everything into marketing and sales, and nothing into the actual customer experience. This is a rookie error, and will leave your ad campaigns running as expensive money-wasters and your store withering with 0 sales.

What happens next after the enticing ad is essential. Your website needs to inspire confidence in your brand, and your products and content need to have unity and clarity.

  1. Using a store solution like Shopify is a great way to automate a lot of your sales and customer service tasks. It allows for easy product import and dropshipping integration, making you operation that little bit more hands-free.
  2. Customer service is definitely important, and you need to invest in a wide range of channels like email, chat, and social media in order to meet modern consumer expectations. Thankfully a lot of that can be automated too!
  3. Think about your customer and user experience from a neutral standpoint, and get others to review and critique your store. Taking shortcuts when you’re tired might seem acceptable to you, but a busy customer won’t cut you any slack—and that’s who you’re building your business for.

Running Proper Ad Campaigns

Ad campaigns are mathematical, not creative. Creativity can help you understand your market target and write a good ad, but it won’t help you make more sales.

You need to be pragmatic and logical when it comes to planning and delivery your ad campaign—this means coming up with a strategy and detailing your objectives and goals.

Many dropshippers embark on campaigns without enough of a strategy, which can turn out to be an expensive mistake. Make sure that you are ready to A/B test ads, tweak your copy, and change audience targeting on a regular basis. Services like AdEspresso can help you automate the process.

Find the Differentiator

As a dropshipping business, you stand the risk of selling generic products available elsewhere online. That’s why it’s important to figure out what’s going to make you different from all the other merchants who stock your products, or the big players like Amazon or Ebay.

There are a few different ways to differentiate:

  1. Excellent product curation—become the go-to player in a specific niche
  2. Niche knowledge and personality—cultivate a super-likable brand persona
  3. Comprehensive content—give the good stuff away for free
  4. Great branding—use high-quality images and cool design tools like Canva to go DIY
  5. Best service, competitive prices—what can you do better than anyone else?
  6. Personalization and subscription—‘build it yourself’ model for demanding customers

In order to succeed as a seller, you need to hit at least a few of these criteria. Competitor research is a good place to start building a picture of where you might fit in.

It’s too Easy

The issue with dropshipping is that it’s almost too easy. People rush into it thinking they’ve ‘struck gold’, only to find that they still need to define and create content, deal with customers, and market their store.

This isn’t so much a criticism of dropshipping, as it is a critique of the people that think they can just fully auto-pilot a business. Nothing is that easy, at least not until you’ve mastered it. Our advice is to keep things small and work from home until you’ve got it all figured out, and if you need some help, hire some inexpensive virtual staff or freelancers. Automation can take its time and it’s not without speed bumps, so be patient with it.

In many ways dropshipping gives you the tools, but you have to still find your own way. Join all the free Facebook groups that you can and ask for knowledge from the community when you get stuck. There are plenty of helpful people out there!

Conclusion

The powerful combo of dropshipping + Facebook Ads does work, but it can’t make everyone rich. You have to keep a beady eye on your ad strategy, continuously innovate when it comes to product curation, and keep your customer experience at a consistently high level.

What do you think of dropshipping and Facebook Ads? Let us know in the comments below.

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Patrick Foster

Patrick hails from Ecommerce Tips—an industry-leading ecommerce hub sharing practical marketing advice and insight to digital entrepreneurs.

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