Dropshipping and affiliate marketing have grown to rank among the most popular and profitable ways through which young and aspiring entrepreneurs start off their money-making journeys. Reading online, you come across numerous success stories about people who started from nothing and progressively made their way up the economic ladder. Some of these people made their kills from such platforms as Ebay, ShareASale, Amazon, Clickbank, Leadpages and more, selling physical products, digital products or both.
Besides such incredible successes are numerous accounts of failures. When those who tried and failed tell their story, you’d think twice before embarking on a dropshipping or affiliate marketing business. Most such people are passionately dismissive of the business model and are quick to dissuade others from ever trying it. In defiance, however, these two business approaches have been gaining ground online at astronomical rates.
Why is Dropshipping and Affiliate Marketing so Popular?
Well, before we get to talk about the reason behind the popularity of the online business models, let’s first understand the fundamental difference between them. In dropshipping, a seller, the dropshipper, creates their own store from where customers can order products. When a customer places an order, the dropshipper relays the same to the product manufacturer or a dropshipping eCommerce company who then directly ships the respective product to the customer. On the other hand, affiliate marketing involves referring customers to a given seller and earning a commission when the referred customer makes a purchase or performs a predefined action, say, a newsletter subscription.
Regarding the popularity of dropshipping and affiliate marketing, it’s indisputable that the two are continuously growing in popularity. The number one reason for this is the high return on investment, which is as a result of low capital required to venture into the business. This is because the dropshipper or the affiliate marketer doesn’t need to own his own physical store in order to sell. At the same time, there is no absolute need for the entrepreneur to physically handle the products.
With the many success stories, many people are left asking what it takes to succeed in dropshipping and affiliate marketing. If you’re one such person, check out the tips below as borrowed from successful dropshippers and affiliates.
1. Choose a Particular Dropshipping or Affiliate Marketing Niche
Whether you want to venture into dropshipping or affiliate marketing, it’s important to select a niche. We have health and wellness, relationships, finance, technology, travel and more, allowing you to pick things you’re passionate about. There are other things to consider when making a niche choice, including profitability, shipping costs and the nature of the products. Your niche should also have products that aren’t readily available in the local market if customers are to order from your online store. With a specific niche to focus on, you’re likely to make a greater impact than when selling products spread across different niches.
2. Competition and Search Analysis
Many new dropshippers and affiliate marketers often pick on products that have extremely low competition or none at all. This clique does it on the assumption that they’d be the only ones in the market and would, therefore, enjoy lighter digital marketing work but more sales. What most such entrepreneurs fail to consider is whether or not there is demand for the given products. Low competition or poor search engine impressions could be a result of high shipping costs, high product costs, and quality concerns among others. On the flip-side, high competition is often an indicator that the product is in high demand, which means it’s most likely a sustainable business choice.
3. Choose a Reputable Product Supplier(s)
This is a crucial step in dropshipping and affiliate marketing. A good supplier will most likely boost your reputation and make your marketing strategies more effective. Therefore, you must thoroughly research for the best suppliers in your niche. Check out their online reviews on blogs, social media among other platforms. This would give you a better idea of how customers hold their products and services. Don’t just look for one. If the products you intend to sell are standardized across the market, identify two or three suppliers as a way to hedge your bets in case one fails.
4. Present Yourself as an Expert in Your Product Niche
There is no way you’re going to sell if you appear to your potential customers as a newbie. Customers need value addition and this potential must be projected unequivocally in order to capture customer confidence. Come to think of it: Who’d embrace a health recommendation from a “quack”? Would someone even think of buying a baby product from a seller who clearly doesn’t have any background knowledge about babies? No way, isn’t it? This shouldn’t put you off though. You don’t need a bachelor’s degree to have an in-depth understanding of your niche. With thorough online research, you’ll be able to get to know the finer details of your industry and present convincing facts to your potential customers through your digital marketing platforms. If you have some authority references, make good use of them. Be it a mention of you in a newspaper, podcast, how-to, or journal, such are extremely powerful ways to earn the trust of customers.
5. Constantly Seek New Dropshipping and Affiliate Marketing Ideas
If you have even the slightest knowledge of the history of internet marketing, you definitely understand how dynamic the field is – what worked in 2017 is no longer the most effective approach. What does that mean? That you must constantly research for new ideas, check out the activities of other marketers, and be quick to implement tested and proven technological advancements to have an edge over your competition. Remember when banners were the in thing? That’s not so long ago, right? How about now? The contrary is true. This happened because digital marketers bombarded potential customers with too many banners to the extent that the customers started skipping such ads, including those that relate to them. Your marketing plan should, therefore, be up-to-date and in conformity with industry trends.
6. Employ Extensive Online Marketing Campaigns
Both dropshipping and affiliate marketing require extensive online marketing if you’re to succeed. Social media marketing campaigns are a great way to get started. Facebook ad campaigns, for example, allow you to target audiences that are relevant to your niche, making such internet marketing strategies more effective. In the campaigns, you can entice potential customers with coupons, discounts, and special offers. If your supplier already has these in place, it’s easier for you to extend them to your customers. This isn’t to forget such powerful marketing approaches as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and email marketing campaigns.
7. Work Hard and Maintain a Consistent Digital Marketing Strategy
To succeed in dropshipping and affiliate marketing, there are no shortcuts. It takes enormous effort to beat the competition or simply position yourself among the biggest sellers. Ask any reputable dropshipper or affiliate marketer out there and he’d tell you that hard work and persistence are indispensable. Therefore, if you’re making forays into this business model with the quick success mentality, rest assured that disappointment is beckoning. In online marketing, not all the growth in reach translates to immediate corresponding financial benefits. Still, it’s advisable to consistently analyze user impressions on your products to get a picture of whether or not you’re making progress.
After all is said and done, it’s good to underline the importance of having a professionally done eCommerce store, more specifically for dropshipping. This is where your customers would easily view and order for your products. Luckily, you no longer need to have a web development background or hire a web developer to create an eStore. Engines like Shopify and WooCommerce come in handy when you want to easily set up an online store that you can easily integrate with different payment gateways. You don’t need a coding background for this.