Today marks my fourth day of being live with my store! My store went live on the 5th of April, which is one day later than I was expecting to go live. The reason for this is because I was stuck on details for way too long and I underestimated how long other aspects would take me. In hindsight, his was not surprising. This is my first time setting up a store on Shopify.
One of the reasons I took longer than necessary is I ended up adding a lot more products to my webshop than anticipated. In the previous video and blogpost I shared that I would not start with more than 10 products. Right now I have a total number of 23 items in my store. I am not sure if this is way too much, but I am just going with it. I think the niche I am trying to cater to is more complete if I add more items from multiple categories.
One of the reasons I took longer than expected is the process of importing products from Oberlo, editing them and pushing them to my shop. Most of the time I had to find decent product pictures or edit them in Photoshop before they could go on my store.
I published my first ad with my first influencer on the 6th of April. This influencer had 127.000 followers with an engagement rate of 5.14%. This engagement rate means that a calculator online checks the Instagram page and rates the ratio of followers to activity (meaning likes and comments). For instance, someone can have 127.000 followers with around a 100 likes per photo and 30 comments. This results in a low engagement score, because the people who are following the Instagram page do not engage with the content. This probably means the owner of the store has bought followers. Using this page for marketing purposes would be a huge mistake! You would be marketing towards fake people. Determining engagement is therefore very important before you pay pages to run an advertisement. I try to shoot for an engagement rate higher than 3%.
Next to calculating engagement, I look at the comments placed on the pictures. Are the comments mostly real? Or are they just saying ”nice picture!”, or ”your page is great!”. These comments are placed by bots. Again, a sign that a page is generating fake engagement.
My first ad
After compiling a huge list of influencers with around 30.000-200.000 followers, I e-mailed them for their advertisement rates. I made a deal with one of them and transferred them money through Paypal for a scheduled post. I had created 4 advertisement pictures for a few of my products, and sent over the ad I thought would convert the best with their Instagram page.
On the 6th of April it was D-Day, my first ad would go live. And after frantically refreshing my Shopify app for half a day I did not make any sales. I did however have 52 store visits, 15 adds to cart and 11 checkout reaches. It was only ’till a few days later that I figured out why no one had bought anything yet.
In the following days I kept contacting a bulk of influencers, and I kept looking for pages to publish ads on. This is where the hard work comes in. Sending e-mails, finding relevant Instagram pages with good engagement rates and real comments. This. takes. a. lot. of. time! I was definitely not prepared for it. Contacting 40 influencers and only getting 4 replies was a bit disheartening, but I kept at it.
Making my first sale!
My plan was to publish an ad every other day with different influencers to figure out which influencers made me the most money. To later use those who convert best on a regular basis. Dropshipping is all about testing products, testing influencers and testing niches. I was not able to publish an ad on the 8th of April, but I did agree on one on the 9th.
My next advertisement went live on a page with 193.000 followers and an engagement rate of 7%, which was good! We agreed on a 12 hour post with a link in her bio.
I however made two mistakes: I sent her the link to my store, instead of the link to the product page which showed the advertisement offer. This meant that the visitors clicking on the offer had to find the product on my store, which results in visitors clicking off the website. I sent her the correct link a few hours after the ad went live, and she changed the link. The second mistake was deadly: I messed up my shipping rates. The advertisement promised a $9.99 shipping rate, while the store would charge a $14 shipping rate. Rookie mistake!
Luckily one of the followers left a comment on the ad saying that shipping was $14 instead of $9.99, after which I quickly changed the settings back to the promised $9.99. I had definitely lost potential sales, but on that day I also made my first 3 sales! In total I ended the day with 133 visits, 42 adds to cart, and 3 purchases.
Making these sales felt so good! It made my day. Three sales is not much, because technically I am still losing money, but it feels so good.
After having spent multiple 16-hour workdays working on my store, I am looking forward to a week of having to spend less time on Shopify. Finding influencers and creating ads + ad texts takes me only a few hours each day. Also, I have been neglecting my Youtube channels and blog a lot the past week. So I am looking forward to catching up with the work I have left behind.
Now for the goals of this month:
- Publish the store by April 4th;
I published my store on the 5th of April.
- Make $4000 revenue (not the same as profit!) with my Shopify store in April 2018;
$64.67 made so far.
- Do this on a budget of $250;
I have spent $170 so far, which is a lot! It includes my Shopify subscription and several apps that I have installed on my website. Each month I will be adding $200 to the budget.
What to do next week:
- Contact 30 influencers per day, schedule an ad every other day.
- Make a bigger dent in my $4000 revenue goal.
See you next week!