Anyone can choose a hot product, find a reliable supplier and build a beautiful dropshipping store on Shopify.
But what good are those things without a steady stream of visitors to your online store?
The biggest challenge for online sellers is generating traffic.
Traffic is your lifeblood.
Without it, you don’t generate any leads and you won’t make any sales.
And making sales is the whole point of creating a dropshipping store, right?
The thing is, you’re probably attracted to dropshipping because it’s cheap to get started.
But generating traffic typically requires advertising, and advertising costs money.
I’ve seen so many dropshippers give up because they’re not prepared to invest in things like Facebook or Google ads.
Or they’re not willing to put in the hard work required for content marketing or building an email list.
In this article, I’m going to lift the lid on effective low-cost ecommerce marketing and advertising strategies.
By low-cost I’m talking $0 to $100.
Yes, I’m saying you can get started with dropshipping with NO money!
However, I highly recommend using a mixture of paid and free marketing strategies for your store so you reap both short-term and long-term benefits.
The strategies in this post have all been tried and tested and are proven to work when applied correctly.
However, success will vary depending on the product you’re selling and how well your store is set up.
So before you try implementing these marketing strategies, make sure you know:
And be sure to check out:
If you’re confident that you’ve got a great product and your dropshipping store is a well-oiled machine, then these low-budget strategies will help you to generate more traffic and sales.
The old saying “Build it and they will come” simply does not apply to your dropshipping store.
There are currently more than a million stores on Shopify with more being launched every day.
And then you’ve got online retail behemoths like Amazon, eBay, Etsy and more to compete with.
Why would anyone choose your store?
You’ve got to give them a reason to choose you.
That’s what a marketing strategy does. It gets your store in front of your target customers and gets them to buy what you’re selling.
I can guarantee you that if you simply launch a dropshipping store, put a few posts on Facebook and Instagram, and write a blog post or two, you’re not going to generate traffic or make sales and your store will splutter to a halt.
I’m sorry, but it’s true.
I know you chose dropshipping because the barrier to entry is low. It costs next to nothing to get started and it’s a great way to begin with ecommerce.
So all this talk of marketing strategies and advertising might set off alarm bells for you.
I get it.
But the thing is, marketing and advertising doesn’t have to be expensive.
Yes, big brands spend hundreds of thousands on advertising.
But plenty of successful online sellers get started with just $50-$100 worth of Facebook ads.
That’s all you need to validate your store and get the sales ball rolling.
Even more, there are plenty of free marketing strategies you can use to get traffic to your store.
It doesn’t matter which strategy you choose to implement (although some will be better suited to your store than others).
What matters is that you choose at least one low-budget strategy, and take action!
A quality ad creative is essential for grabbing people’s attention while they’re scrolling through social media, or searching online.
Short video ads are the most effective for dropshipping right now.
But images accompanied by quality copy can also produce good results.
You can often get basic photos and video footage of your product from your supplier (they might even have a decent promo video that you can edit to look even more professional).
But the optimal approach is to order your product from your supplier and shoot your own photos and videos to use in your ads.
A good dropshipping ad should be:
You also want to create hooky headlines and persuasive copy for your ads.
The main questions you should be asking of every dropshipping ad you create is: “Will this ad entertain, educate, or surprise my audience?” and “What will my audience feel compelled to do after seeing my ad?”
One of the best ways to learn how to create an effective dropshipping ad is by spying on other ads.
That way you can see what’s worked before and, effectively, “borrow” ideas and strategies from other online sellers.
It’s easy to spy on other sellers’ ads and get inspiration for your own.
Go to Facebook, and type “free worldwide shipping” in the search bar.
Then filter the results by “videos”.
Most of the videos that show up will be from other dropshippers who are selling on Facebook.
Look at the views and engagement on the videos to get an idea of which ones are converting well and take note of what makes the video effective.
You can use the Facebook Ads Library to look at active ads from any business.
Just go to the link and type in the business or page name and, if they have active ads, they’ll show up in the library.
This is a great way to look at both big brands and your competitors’ ads to get inspiration and ideas.
Pay attention to their headlines, copy, and visual content to see what works and what doesn’t.
OK, let’s get into the low-cost marketing strategies.
Facebook ads have become the number one way for dropshippers to drive traffic to their store and start making sales.
That’s because Facebook is huge, with 2.6 billion active users all over the world.
Facebook has also built a powerful, easy-to-use advertising machine that lets you target users based on location, gender, age, interests, and more!
You can also choose how much you want to spend per day on your ads so you don’t blow your budget.
The more you spend, the more people Facebook will show your ads to.
Facebook is the perfect testing ground for dropshipping products as you can see how people are responding to your ads in real-time.
If you’re brand new to Facebook ads and you’ve never heard of the words “pixel” or “ad set” before, then I highly recommend taking our Dropshipping with Shopify course.
You’ll learn all about Facebook ads (and everything else you need to know about starting a dropshipping store on Shopify) from Sarah, a successful six-figure dropship store owner.
A few notes on this low-budget Facebook ads strategy:
Because Facebook owns Instagram, you can also choose to show your Facebook ads to Instagram users.
While I’d recommend creating specific creatives for Instagram, as the two platforms are very different, you may want to experiment running ads across both platforms.
Google ads can be a great way to drive traffic to your store. There are 3.5 billion Google searches every day, and your store can tap into that traffic.
The Google ads landscape is vast and, if I’m honest, quite confusing for beginners.
However, the low-budget strategy I share below is also the most simple way to get started with Google ads as most of the process is automated.
All you have to do is connect your store with Shopify’s Google Shopping app and follow the instructions below.
Google will choose the best places for your ads to appear and the best people to show them to.
A few notes on this low-cost Google ads strategy:
Create a Google Merchant Centre Account (you can do this within your Shopify account)
Influencer marketing can be a powerful, low-cost way to get immediate traffic and sales.
Research suggests that for every $1 marketers spend on influencer marketing, the returns are anywhere from $7 to $18.
That’s really high ROI, but it all depends on which influencers you choose to work with.
Let’s say you sell durags for dogs. There’s no point trying to find some fashion model to promote your product.
You’ll want to search for Instagram accounts that are relevant to your niche - ones that post cute dog photos.
The thing about influencer marketing is the traffic is instant. The influencer’s followers will see the post or story within 24 hours and will decide to take action, or not, in the moment.
If you pay, say, $50 to an influencer (or simply send them a free product) and make just 5 sales of a $30 product, you’ve already tripled your investment.
A few notes on this low-budget Instagram influencer strategy:
You can apply this same strategy with influencers on other social media platforms like TikTok and Snapchat, too.
Depending on your target customer, those platforms might even be better for your particular product.
You know how I said you can get started with dropshipping for ZERO dollars.
If I really had no money to spend on the advertising and marketing strategies above, this is what I’d do.
I’d build a popular Instagram account.
Now, this is a long-term strategy. But I’ve seen people build legitimate Instagram accounts with tens of thousands of followers in a month or two.
It takes time, but it’s 100% free.
Creating valuable content is the most effective way to get traffic to your online store for free.
It takes time to create, but you don’t have to spend a cent.
What’s the best type of content to create? Blogs.
That’s because blogs are hosted on your website, not on some other platform.
You want more people visiting your store, not clicking through to a Youtube video or a podcast episode on Spotify (although both of those forms of content have their merits, too).
Blogs are excellent for:
A high-quality blog will increase your ranking on Google and provide many more opportunities for people to click through to your store.
As I mentioned, other forms of content marketing include YouTube videos and podcasts.
A decade ago, so-called experts were predicting the end of email. Today, it’s more powerful than ever.
Email marketing is a long-term marketing strategy, but it’s worth getting started from day one.
You start with building an email list, which means collecting people’s emails at every opportunity.
You could run a competition on your social media pages that requires people to enter using their email.
You could set up a pop-up on your website that offers visitors a discount or coupon code in exchange for their email address.
Email marketing is not the best strategy for getting traffic to your store from day one.
But having an email list is a great long-term strategy for driving traffic to your store consistently.
If you put a reasonable amount of effort into making your newsletter fun, entertaining or informative (or all three), then your subscribers will be more inclined to open your emails.
Similar to the free Instagram strategy above, you can use Pinterest to drive organic traffic to your store.
Pinterest is an untapped opportunity for dropshippers. Research has found that more than 50% of Pinterest users are actively looking for products to buy on the platform.
Pinterest is especially powerful if you’re in niches such as homeware, kitchenware, fashion, jewellery, health and fitness, or DIY niches as it’s a popular place for people looking for inspiration in those areas.
It’s basically a search engine for cool products.
The great thing about Pinterest, unlike Instagram, is that your ‘pins’ can link directly back to your store, which helps to generate organic traffic.
It will also help with overall SEO.
A few notes on this free Pinterest strategy:
So there you have it, 7 proven ways to drive traffic to your dropshipping store on a tight budget.
Now it’s time to choose which strategies you’re going to use (remember I suggest using one free and one paid method) to start getting visitors and making sales.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or suggestions regarding these, or other, low-cost marketing strategies for dropshipping.
Also, drop a comment If you’d like me to cover any other low-cost marketing strategies and I’ll make sure to add it to the post.