Much of dropshipping depends on marketing. You are competing against numerous other online retailers-some of whom may be other dropshippers selling the same products as you from the same suppliers-which means that success requires a distinguished brand. While your visuals, tone of voice, and other “concrete” aspects are crucial, one of the best things dropshippers can to do reach customers is to be social. Consumers seek personal connection, so it’s okay to break the fourth wall and interact with them directly. Here are a few ways being social can enhance your business:
Meet your suppliers
It might not have occurred to you to do this, but it helps to meet your suppliers in person. While this is not feasible for everyone (plane tickets can be expensive), try to get to know the company representatives you interact with the most frequently via video chat. Looking at someone face-to-face helps build your rapport.
Dropshipper Victor Levitin says that he and his partners met up with their suppliers at an exhibition, and the difference in their relationship is so dramatic that he identifies a clear line in his business’s development that separates “before meeting” and “after meeting” dropship suppliers. After meeting him in person, Levitin’s company’s suppliers trusted them enough to let them pay for orders 30 days after they were placed.
You are going to interact with your suppliers more frequently than you imagine. Whenever someone goes wrong and you need to resolve it for a customer, or when they send you invoices and inventory reports, it’s vital that you have a strong enough relationship with them that issues do not significantly impact your business. Your customers will thank you for it, whether they know the effort you’ve put in or not.
Execute a practical social media strategy
Social media is integral to marketing. Billions of people use it, so there’s an audience out there for you somewhere. Identifying them, though-and locating and connecting with them-is another matter. You find the spaces where your audience hangs out online, like other user’s posts, respond to comments, follow people, and carry out other tasks that help capture your audience’s attention. There are a variety of automated tools that can help you get real followers on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other channels, but you still need to produce enticing content that gives people a reason to follow you.
Interact with social media followers
Internet users also crave validation. Everywhere they look, they see large corporations and potential scams out for their money. If you want their business, you need to establish trust-so be social. Establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and offer helpful advice. Respond to comments, answer questions, trade witty quips, and let people know that there is a person behind your brand-and you are not ashamed of it. It’s also nice to send thank-you notes to customers so that they feel appreciated. When customers feel good about themselves leaving a transaction, they are more likely to return (and tell their peers about you-and people trust their friends above all, which is why word-of-mouth marketing is essential).
Offer the best customer service
People remember positive customer service experiences. Consumers also like to transact with businesses that take care of them, so solve issues as quickly as you can when they arise. It’s also important to be accessible-if you are traveling in a place that does not have internet and you don’t have an international phone plan, how are customers supposed to contact you? If they have to deal with delayed shipping times or problems with their order for too long, your reputation will take a hit. Make a point to be available during certain hours of the day via phone, email, texting, and social media direct messaging.
Do some good in the world
One of the best things brand owners can do is be social entrepreneurs. What is social entrepreneurship, you ask? It’s using startup companies and other partnerships to do some good in the world. While social entrepreneurs traditionally do not measure success in profit (nonprofit organizations are examples, so it’s arguable that you technically do not fall under its definition), you can still combine your for-profit goals with making the world a better place, such as through giving back to your community or funding a worthy cause. People feel better about transacting with businesses that put their money toward positive uses.
The ecommerce space is full of other dropshippers, but being social is one of the best ways to set yourself apart from the crowd. How will you distinguish your brand?