When the excitement of opening your ecommerce store and selecting your first products begins to wear off, the real excitement begins. You are ready to scale your dropshipping business up with more sales and profits. You are ready for what we call ecommerce empire building.
Unfortunately, scale-up also is where a lot of us get stuck. The effective scale-up of sales and profits demands not only marketing strategies and sales techniques, but also adapting them to new technology and new online buyer habits. Let’s start by getting the big picture clear and our basic strategy solidly on track. Tactics do matter, of course, but tactics can’t save a flawed strategy.
The classic sales funnel (or buyer journey) is still the best framework for thinking through how to convert buyers at each step. That requires attracting initial contacts, informing them and gaining credibility with them, presenting your products, employing a pricing strategy, getting the shopping cart to the check-out, and working payments. Then, at the end, there’s another whole vista called “follow up.”
The “Moving Pieces” of a Sales Funnel
We want to focus here on a few of the moving pieces of the sales funnel that you may not be using optimally. At each step along the sales funnel, you might offer a one-time offer, or OTO. For each OTO, you will have a certain success rate, of course, and that is what we want to increase.
At the same time, however, our priority is not the number of sales. Our priorities are your average profit per sale and your customers’ lifetime value to your business.
Both priorities are addressed most profitably near the end of the sales funnel. Once the customer is in your online store and has been converted to making a purchase — or declining to make a purchase — some valuable strategies can come into play.
There is a cardinal rule here: If possible, you do not want to lose either a buyer or a non-buyer.
You probably paid for that first customer contact. In many cases, in making that first contact, you will have obtained an email address and possibly other information. (We will talk in a moment about response automation by email.) But after your customers at OTO2 have either made a purchase or declined to purchase, they are still in the store and you have new and crucial information about them. Right here is a significant, immediate opportunity with non-buyers. OTO3 should be a follow-up offer that is less expensive, less of a commitment, easier for the customer to accept. We call this “down selling.”
How to Convert a Non-Buyer
For example, if you are selling an annual membership but a customer rejects this option, you can offer a one-month trial membership. If you make a sale, you have made a customer at OTO3. The trial memberships will have a cancellation rate after the month, of course, and the profit is far less than on the annual membership. Therefore, your crucial step is to follow and convert this new customer to higher-priced purchases.
At OTO3, which is a price offer, you once again see customers divide themselves into buyers and non-buyers. If their answer is “yes” (a purchase), the customer goes to your thank you page.
Email Automation Is Indispensable
Engage with your non-buyers, not just your buyers, to scale your dropshipping business from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands. For almost all stores that I see, this is a great missed opportunity. Again, you probably paid to get that customer to your store. So don’t just throw that money away — use the connection.
For easy and highly effective email automation, check out the Ecommerce Empire Builders website for a program called Active Campaign. It largely automates your email follow up to both buyers and non-buyers.
You want to reach out to non-buyers again and again.
After all, you know that they are aware of your store, have some knowledge of your product, and considered a purchase. Timing, new products, new offers, and increasing knowledge and familiarity with you and your store all can factor into a purchase by that customer in the future. You will use automated email to approach these customers at intervals say of one hour after leaving your site, one day later, two days later, and beyond.
Customize Your Emails Based on Their Purchase Behaviors
Your priorities, as mentioned above, are profit per sale and the lifetime value the customer brings to your business. Automated email works in part by segmenting your customers into categories to guide customized messages to them.
You will sell far more to your list of existing customers than to any list you probably can purchase. You usually can count on a buyer’s excitement with your product to be highest immediately after the purchase and in the days following. So that is the time to introduce related products, “step-up” offers, and bargains.
It should go without saying that when you are drafting the email messages to flesh out your active campaigns to buyers and non-buyers, differentiate the messages. Speak to segments of each group, and feature different intervals and offers.
Remember: you are writing directly to the customer, as an individual, in a friendly tone. Any other approach wastes the most important advantage of automated email responses: the connection.
The Sales Relationship Gets Longer
The real money in ecommerce is achieved by buyer evolution through successive points in the sales funnel. When you make that first sale, your customer has only completed the first leg of the buyer’s journey. Scale your dropshipping business by continuing the interaction. Your more expensive products are where the big profits are made, and these purchases rarely come from first-time, one-time buyers. The most profitable sales funnel represents your entire — sometimes your permanent — relationship with a customer.
Succeed With Ecommerce Empire Builders
As you strive to scale your dropshipping business from one level to the next, consult with the experts. We offer presentations, classes, and the spectrum of related materials available at Ecommerce Empire Builders, and we’re ready to help you at every step. Be sure to check back here for information, insights, and updates. Right now, sign up for our exclusive free webinar. We’ll introduce you to the simple five-page ecommerce funnel that works.