Customers are the lifeblood of any dropshipping business. They keep your online store humming and are a great source for referrals to lower your customer acquisition costs.
But you also know that customers don’t simply “appear when your store goes live. You need to let people know how to find you, and more importantly, you need to give them a reason to do business with you and not a competitor.
There are lots of ways to get customers for your online store. But beware: some of them can be costly, and there’s no guarantee you’ll make your money back. It’s easy to sink hundreds or even thousands of dollars into customer acquisition and not have enough sales to show for it.
Here are six of our favorite tried-and-true customer acquisition strategies for dropshipping businesses that not only help you earn customers, but also gain sustainable success.
Content is king when it comes to marketing. It transforms your products from items on a sales page to real, tangible products that have a purpose. Content can help to put a product’s function and quality into perspective for your shoppers, which may encourage them to buy from you.
For dropshipping businesses, content can take many forms: product videos, demonstrations, product reviews, and blog articles, for example. At the minimum, consider adding a blog to your online store. Use your blog to talk about your products, write list-style articles that feature multiple products, and announce new products in your store.
Then, share your blog posts on your social media channels or with your email subscribers to drive traffic to your site.
The best part is that once you create content, it’s yours forever. It’s not something you have to keep paying for, unlike ads. As your content is shared and viewed by others, it will continue growing in value. There’s no limit on how many times it can be read, shared, or viewed, so the ROI potential is infinite.
Email continues to be one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising for drop shippers. Even when using a paid email platform, each email you send typically costs pennies. The biggest investment here is your time.
According to Mailchimp data, the average business email open rate for all industries is about 21.8%, or around one in five emails. Conversion rates hover around 2% to 5%, so in an audience of 100 people, your emails may help you earn about 2-5 extra sales.
If you’re not already, you should add an opt-in form on your website to collect emails from website visitors. This lets you keep the conversation going with visitors that aren’t ready to buy or otherwise don’t convert on the spot. Keeping in touch helps them get to know your brand, gives you a chance to highlight your products, and encourages return visits.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of making your website attractive to search engines. Studies show that 87% of shoppers begin a product search online, and that number continues to grow each year. It’s quick and easy for buyers since they can compare a large number of products and providers from a single location.
Not to mention, showing up in search results puts you in front of a highly engaged audience who is likely ready to buy. They’re actively looking for products you offer, so if you can connect with them at the right time, you boost your chances of making a sale.
That said, ranking high in search takes some finessing. Every retailer wants to rank high, but only a few will because there are limited spots on Google’s Page 1 of results. You can increase your chances by applying SEO best practices to your website. Some areas to pay attention to include:
● Specify a meta title and description for each web page
● Use keywords in your product titles and descriptions
● Use descriptive product titles that match user search queries
● Add product images and videos to each product page
● Ensure your pages load quickly (ideally less than 3 seconds)
● Make your website mobile responsive
● Add a .xml sitemap to your website
These quick tips can help you jumpstart your SEO strategy. Continue researching keywords you’re ranking for and keywords for relevant searches so you can use them in your content.
Online reviews are the new word of mouth marketing. They’re the ultimate trust factor, with the majority of online shoppers relying on them to make buying decisions. In fact, 91% of shoppers ages 18-34 trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family members or friends.
Online reviews give users direct insight into other people’s experiences. These reviews could be about your store as a whole or on individual products.
Getting reviews for your store (such as those on Google My Business or your Facebook business page) can show people you’re a trustworthy company that follows through on customer orders, offers customer support, and provides a good experience. This is important because drop shipping businesses like yours don’t have the popularity or backing of big companies like Amazon or Target. Your reputation is a powerful marketing tool that can encourage more people to buy from you.
Likewise, you should aim to collect reviews on the products you sell. Product reviews can instill confidence in your buyers because they highlight other peoples’ experiences with those products. Buyers have a better sense of what they’re getting and can make an informed decision. Plus, the more reviews a product has, the more popular it looks. One study found that reviews increase sales by 18%. Having 50 or more product reviews can increase conversion rates by as much as 4.6%.
To earn more product reviews, make it a habit to ask your customers for them. This is something you can automate with the right tools. Be consistent in asking for reviews. Studies show the majority of people will be happy to leave a review if asked but don’t always think to do so themselves.
Similar to asking for customer reviews, you should also make it a habit to ask for customer referrals.
Referrals are a free or inexpensive customer acquisition channel. It doesn’t take much effort for the referring customer, plus you can choose whether or not to reward referrals that result in a purchase.
Referrals are a great source for new customer acquisition because they carry a lot of trust and authenticity. More than 9 in 10 customers trust referrals from people they know. What’s more, customers who are referred to a business from a friend are 4x more likely to buy. They’re what you could consider a “hot lead” because they usually have a need they know you can fill.
You can automate the customer referral process just like you do with product or business reviews. Consistently ask your customers to share your content and tell others about your brand. You can sweeten the deal by providing the customer and their referrals with a discount or other incentive to encourage them to act quickly.
This process can be as formal or informal as you like. You can build a full-fledged customer referral program, or simply ask your customers to send some business your way. If you offer incentives, pay attention to the ones that get redeemed most often. Identify your top referrers so you can properly reward them and encourage them to continue sending you customers.
Influencer marketing can be a highly effective channel to win more customers. Brands can tap into the networks that influencers in their industries have built to get in front of more people. But not just any people — when targeted correctly, you can connect with people who are most likely to buy from you.
Influencers give you a credibility boost. With any product or company they recommend, their own reputation is on the line. They want to be able to provide their audience with value because that’s what their followers trust them to do.
You can find influencers in your market or niche and choose the right ones to represent your brand. Keep in mind that influencers don’t usually work for free, so you will need to build this cost into your marketing budget.
As you’re exploring more ways to acquire customers, continue to broaden your store with new products that appeal to your customers. Explore the Doba platform today and get access to some of the hottest e-commerce products on the market!