I\u2019m somebody who truly believes that everybody has the potential to become a successful entrepreneur, and I\u2019m on a mission to prove it. \r\n\r\nRecently I\u2019ve been launching and building successful ecommerce stores, and documenting every step of my journey so I can show entrepreneurs just like you how to find success with dropshipping. \r\n\r\nBack in March 2018, I shared how I built a dropshipping store that made $6,667 in under 8 weeks.\r\n\r\nThat store was a huge success, but I knew I could do better.\r\n\r\nAnd I\u2019m back today to show you exactly what I did. \r\n\r\nI set the bar higher. I wanted to go bigger. \r\n\r\nI was still working my 9 to 5 job and I still had to take care of personal matters while I was managing this business, but that\u2019s life. \r\n\r\nAnd in life, you don\u2019t need to be a genius to succeed. Heck, I\u2019m certainly not. \r\n\r\nYou just need to make sure that you put the work in. \r\n\r\nThis case study will detail all of the work that I did to take this business from nothing into a successful dropshipping store. Everything from building the store, to launch day, to my first marketing campaigns, to my first sale. It\u2019s all in here. \r\n\r\nOkay, ready to find out how I made $8,873 in 31 days by dropshipping? Let\u2019s go!\r\nA Proper Goal\r\nGoal setting is such an important part of entrepreneurship.\r\n\r\nAfter all, if you don\u2019t have a goal, how do you know if you\u2019re succeeding? \r\n\r\nWith that in mind, I decided that I wanted to use S.M.A.R.T. goals to keep track of my progress, and they really helped to keep me motivated throughout this project.\r\n\r\nOne of the goals for this new business was to prove that dropshipping is, and always will be, a real and sustainable business model for entrepreneurs who want to start an online business. \r\n\r\nBut, of course, the main goal that I needed to set myself was a revenue goal. \r\n\r\nI decided that I wanted to make more money than I did with the previous case study (when I made $6,667 in revenue) and achieve that in a shorter time frame. \r\n\r\nI also decided that I\u2019d aim for a returning customer rate of at least 5%, as this would be a great way to measure customer satisfaction. \r\n\r\nAnd finally, I wanted to achieve a conversion rate of 4%. This meant that four out of every 100 visitors to my store would need to become paying customers. This was probably the hardest goal I set for myself, especially considering that the average conversion rate of an ecommerce business is only 2%.\r\n\r\nAfter setting my goals I was so excited for this new adventure!\r\nWhat To Sell\r\nAnybody who is starting an ecommerce business has probably asked \u201cWhat should I sell?\u201d at least once. \r\n\r\nIt\u2019s one of the biggest concerns for new dropshippers, and some might jump to the assumption that you need to find trending products to succeed. \r\n\r\nThis isn\u2019t necessarily true. \r\n\r\nTrending products can definitely help you on your journey, but they won\u2019t decide the fate of your business alone. \r\n\r\nI actually have some personal requirements that I look for in a product that I\u2019m going to be dropshipping. \r\n\r\nThose requirements are:\r\n\r\n \tCheap to source (< $10 USD)\r\n \tEasy and cheap to ship (ePacket delivery)\r\n \tSteady niche, not trendy niche\r\n \tA high-quality product\r\n\r\nSo, I had the framework down for choosing my products, but I didn\u2019t really know what exactly I wanted to sell just yet. \r\n\r\nInstead of doing all the hard work myself, I simply took advantage of resources that everybody has access to: Oberlo\u2019s blog, specifically the \u201cWhat to Sell\u201d section, and the Oberlo YouTube channel.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nProduct research can take a long time, and that was time that I didn\u2019t have, so I decided to make a quick decision. \r\n\r\nAfter browsing through a few articles, it finally hit me. I knew what I wanted to sell.\r\n\r\nFashion sunglasses.\r\n\r\nPeople are always looking to buy new sunglasses \u2013 there\u2019s always somewhere on earth where the sun is shining. \r\n\r\nAnd that means that there\u2019s always going to be demand for sunglasses. \r\nOrdering Products for Quality Assurance\r\nI was running a dropshipping business, which meant that my suppliers would ship their products directly to my customers. I wouldn\u2019t ever see them.\r\n\r\nThis is great on the one hand, because I\u2019d never need to worry about handling inventory or shipping orders. But on the other hand, I was trying to build a brand, so quality assurance is a necessity.\r\n\r\nIn fact, I cannot stress how important test orders are. \r\n\r\nLow-quality products from unreliable suppliers is a big no-go for dropshippers. \r\n\r\nAnd you, the business owner, have a responsibility to know what it\u2019s like to receive the products that you\u2019re actually selling. \r\n\r\nSo I ordered product samples and verified the product quality myself. \r\n\r\nI wanted to get the full experience that my customers would have when they received my products.\r\n\r\nSimply looking at product images online isn\u2019t enough to ensure that the product quality is high. I needed to see the products, in person.\r\n\r\nAfter ordering products \u2013 the same ones that I\u2019d be selling at my store \u2013 I was really happy with their quality, so I decided to focus on another part of my new business: branding. \r\n\r\nIt can take years of hard work to establish an unforgettable brand.\r\n\r\nI only had four weeks to run this store, but I still wanted to show you how you can build a brand for your dropshipping business. \r\n\r\nSo, I started off with an important part of every brand \u2013 the business name. \r\nChoosing A Business Name \r\nThe name of your business really is important \u2013 if you choose a catchy one, it\u2019ll leave a lasting impression on your audience. \r\n\r\nBut, it shouldn\u2019t just sound great. I also try to make sure that I choose a name which has the .com domain name available. \r\n\r\nMy goal was to find two (or more) words which I could blend together to make my business name. \r\n\r\nAfter a couple of minutes, I came up with the name \u201cSunyez\u201d.\r\n\r\nI decided on this because it was a different spelling for \u201csunnies,\u201d which is a slang term for \u201csunglasses.\u201d \r\n\r\nI looked up \u201cSunyez\u201d on the WIPO Global Brand Database to make sure I wouldn't run into any legal issues \u2013 there were no entries for this name, so I moved forward. \r\n\r\nLuckily, sunyez.com was still available. So, I bought the domain and jumped into the next part: creating a business logo.\r\nBusiness Logo\r\nI have basic Adobe Photoshop skills, but I didn\u2019t want to create a logo for my business \u2013 I\u2019m just not as good as a professional. \r\n\r\nSo, I hired a freelance web designer on Fiverr to help me create the logo for my store. \r\n\r\nAfter receiving a short description of what my business was, and the expectations that I had for the design, they got to work.\r\n\r\nI received my final design two days later.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nI wasn\u2019t thrilled with the result, but I didn\u2019t want to spend more money or time on a new logo. I decided to keep it with slight changes. \r\n\r\nI accepted that this is my first mistake while running this business. I should\u2019ve provided clearer instructions. Fortunately, this could be fixed easily.\r\n\r\nAlthough the logo had the color gradient I wanted, I changed it to an orange tone instead. \r\n\r\nIn the end, this became the final logo:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nNow that the business name and logo were done, it was time to move onto the next step:\r\n\r\nBuilding my Shopify store.\r\nBuilding My Shopify Store\r\nOne of the many great things about Shopify is that you don\u2019t need to be a web designer to create your own stunning online store. \r\n\r\nInstead, you can just use a theme (free or paid) to lay the foundation for your store. Themes are pre-designed templates which you can add to your store with just a few clicks \u2013 they\u2019re also customizable so you can add your own personal touch. \r\n\r\nAfter doing a little bit of browsing, I decided that I\u2019d purchase a Shopify theme called \u201cSymmetry\u201d for $180. I picked this specific theme because it allowed me to create visual sections which were aligned with my goal of building a brand. \r\n\r\nRemember: ecommerce is all about creating an amazing shopping experience. I want my future customers to have fun browsing and shopping on my store\r\nStore Design\r\nThe very first step I took after choosing my theme was designing the homepage.\r\n\r\nI focused on everything \u201cabove the fold,\u201d meaning everything you see before you scroll down the page. \r\n\r\nUsually, ecommerce stores have a hero image or slider above the fold, and then place their products below the fold \u2013 this means that customers will need to scroll down to see them. \r\n\r\nI was looking for the opposite.\r\n\r\nEverything above the fold is prime real estate, so I focused on optimizing for that.\r\n\r\nIf you visited my Shopify store in the first few days, you would\u2019ve seen this:\r\n\r\nThe problem was \u2013 I had zero data. I didn\u2019t know which products would make the most sense to put at the top of the page. \r\n\r\nSo, I took a guess and chose products that matched the color scheme of my hero image:\r\nDesigning Product Pages\r\nWhen designing my product page, I wanted it to have the same look and feel as I was creating for my brand. \r\n\r\nFrom the colors to the wording, there needed to be a sense of consistency. \r\n\r\nWithout knowing who my actual target audience was at that point, I could only make assumptions about what kind of style my potential customers might like. \r\n\r\nTo get more data about my product pages, I created two different styles. \r\n\r\nThe first was very simple and only included the necessary product information. Meanwhile, the second one had much snappier copy.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nCan you guess which version performed better?\r\n\r\nTrick question.\r\n\r\nAt the end of this four week case study, there was no clear winner. Both styles converted well, which proves that there are many different ways to make your product pages work. \r\nShopify Apps\r\nThere are a bunch of apps which helped me on my way. \r\n\r\nAt the end of this case study, I used a total of six Shopify apps on my store. \r\n\r\nOberlo:\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s the number one marketplace on Shopify for helping entrepreneurs find products to sell online. I sourced all my products from Oberlo, and I could fulfill every order with just a few clicks. \r\n\r\nEasy Contact Form:\r\n\r\nPerfect for creating great looking contact forms and the forms are 100% customizable.\r\n\r\nHurrify:\r\n\r\nThis app helped me to create scarcity, so my potential customers are more compelled to become a paying customer.\r\n\r\nSticky Add to Cart Button:\r\n\r\nWhen working with longer product pages, the \u201cadd to cart\u201d button disappears, and this may result in customers dropping off. Like the name says, an add to cart button will be always visible on the side of the page.\r\n\r\nSumo:\r\n\r\nI used Sumo to promote a giveaway and collect email addresses.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSome apps have monthly fees. I didn\u2019t want to spend unnecessary money, so I only added apps when I needed them.\r\n\r\nAfter getting my apps sorted out, it was time to start focusing on the most important part of running a business: the customers. \r\nMy Target Audience\r\nWhen a store finds success, it\u2019s because of one key reason: they\u2019ve found a way to bring value to the people who matter the most, their customers. \r\n\r\nThat\u2019s why I always like to start a new business by figuring out who my customers actually are. \r\n\r\nBecause I was starting from scratch, I needed to think critically about how I\u2019d gain that understanding. \r\n\r\nTo get a vague impression of my target audience, I decided that I\u2019d perform some simple interviews with them about some topics they might like. \r\n\r\nI did this for several reasons:\r\n\r\n \tI could get in touch with my customers and add a human element to the relationship\r\n \tI\u2019d gain insights about where my target audience lives\r\n \tI could spread the word about my online store\r\n \tI could use the interviews to create blog content (which had a chance to get shared)\r\n \tI could figure out what kind of wording they resonate with, which would help my brand\u2019s voice to match theirs\r\n\r\nLet\u2019s take a look at what I did to gather interviewees. \r\nMy Target Audience: Assumptions About My Target Audience\r\nI assumed that my audience was female, and was interested in social media, blogging, and fashion. \r\n\r\nPlease note that this isn\u2019t target audience segmentation at all. I just needed a starting point to proceed to step number two.\r\nMy Target Audience: Creating The Survey\r\nThis was the simplest part of the three-step process.\r\n\r\nI came up with a short Google Forms survey which would only take two minutes to complete, and included a 60% discount code for my store at the very end.\r\n\r\nHere\u2019s the link to the original survey I used in this case study. I chose to ask these questions because I thought they were relevant to my assumed target audience. \r\nMy Target Audience: Asking For The Interview\r\nTo find people for my interview, I simply posted this on social media from my personal Facebook account:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nI didn\u2019t do any further promotion for this interview.\r\n\r\nFacebook groups can be a great resource, but they need to be handled with extra care. Spam will be treated as such, and there\u2019s a high chance that you\u2019ll get banned from the group.\r\n\r\nWe are only guests in those Facebook groups. Remember that.\r\n\r\nIn the end, I collected results from 17 different interviews which helped me to move onto step number four.\r\nMy Target Audience: Analyze The Data\r\nI needed to figure out what type of language resonated most with my audience. \r\n\r\nChances were high that I, a 29-year-old male entrepreneur, spoke very differently than a 24-year-old female fashion blogger.\r\n\r\nSo, to analyze the data I simply copy/pasted the answers into a word counter to get an analysis of which words had been used the most.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThese were the results that I was looking for. \r\n\r\nNow it was up to me to make sure that I used the messaging which my target audience liked. \r\n\r\nAnd, as a thank you for the time that people spent on the interview, I offered to share their social media handles or website link on my store\u2019s blog.\r\n\r\nAfter a few edits, I published blog posts like this on my website:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe best part was that people actually engaged with these blog posts! \r\n\r\nLike-minded people from across the world felt comfortable enough to leave comments and share these blog posts. \r\n\r\nTraffic-wise, my blog performed okay. It didn\u2019t directly lead to any sales in this 30-day project, but this wasn\u2019t the goal, so I was satisfied with simply getting some traffic and exposure.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nIn order to spread the word about these posts even further, I let all interviewees know once their interview was published. This lead to conversations like this:\r\n\r\nI didn\u2019t get sales from this, but I did gain something way more valuable: insights about my customers. \r\n\r\nI was able to learn who they are, what matters most to them, and how I can better serve them. \r\n\r\nI couldn\u2019t be happier with the insights that I learned from these interviews. From there I could finally move ahead and start with my social media pages.\r\nSetting Up Social Media\r\nSocial media is such an invaluable tool for entrepreneurs. \u00a0\r\n\r\nThere are a few social media channels that you can use to market your business, but I chose the two biggest, Facebook and Instagram, as my focal points. \r\nSetting Up Facebook\r\nWhen it came to Facebook, I decided to keep the design of my page very simple. \r\n\r\nI used my custom logo which I got from my freelancer, and created a quick cover image on Canva. I also added a \u201cShop Now\u201d button to my page, so people could browse my products. \u00a0\r\n\r\nHere\u2019s what it looked like:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSetting up my Facebook page didn\u2019t take too long at all. Once I was finished, I moved onto my Instagram page.\r\n\r\nSetting Up Instagram\r\nInstagram is one of the most popular social media platforms, and they\u2019re constantly updating their platform to make it better for brands and entrepreneurs.\r\n\r\nI selected the username \u201csunyez.shades\u201d, added my logo, and came up with a quick description for my Instagram account. \r\n\r\nThen I found nine images from Burst and started to post them with relevant hashtags, and my follower count started to rise! \r\n\r\nHere\u2019s what my profile looked like after a few days:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nNot bad at all. \r\nOrganic Social Media Marketing\r\nI was missing something at this point \u2013 content to post on social media. \r\n\r\nIt doesn\u2019t matter if there are hundreds of millions of daily users on Instagram and Facebook if I wasn\u2019t \u00a0bringing any value to them. \r\n\r\nAnd in order to solidify my brand and attract new followers, I needed content. A lot of it.\r\nAutomating Social Media Content\r\nAs I was running this business alone, and as a side project, I needed some help from marketing automation. \r\n\r\nI don\u2019t really like to automate too much when I\u2019m running a new business, but a little help can go a long way. \r\nScheduling Facebook Posts \u00a0\r\nI decided to use a tool called missinglettr to schedule my Facebook posts.\r\n\r\nWhy?\r\n\r\nWell, the tool can analyze your website for any blog posts and create up to 12 months of social media campaigns out of each blog post.\r\n\r\nPerfect for my current situation. \r\n\r\nAlso, missinglettr has a feature that takes snippets from a blog posts and creates a graphic that you can share on social media. \r\n\r\nHere\u2019s what it looked like:\r\n\r\nNothing too fancy, but it\u2019s still better than just plain text. \r\n\r\nSo, I scheduled some content for Facebook, and then I needed to figure out how I was going to automate my Instagram content.\r\nScheduling Instagram Content\r\nUnfortunately, missinglettr didn\u2019t allow me to connect my Shopify store with Instagram, so I needed another tool. \r\n\r\nBuffer was a great solution to my problem. \r\n\r\nIt\u2019s super simple to use, so I sourced some free images from Burst and purchased some stock images from Adobe Stock. \r\n\r\nOnce I\u2019d gathered around 10 photos, I scheduled the posts on Buffer, and then let them roll out over the course of this project. \r\n\r\nNext, it was time to dive into marketing. \r\nFirst Marketing Efforts\r\nAt this point, I could have set up some Facebook ads to test if people were actually interested in my brand, but I opted for something different. Something that I\u2019ve found success with in the past. \r\n\r\nInstagram direct messages. \r\n\r\nThey\u2019re a great way to reach out directly to potential customers, and ask for honest feedback about a new business. \r\n\r\nNow, Instagram direct messages are also a great way to annoy people or, worse, get your account flagged. So you can\u2019t just blast out dozens and dozens of messages.\r\n\r\nI sent out nine Instagram direct messages using this messaging:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nI incentivized people\u2019s time with two discount codes \u2013 one in my bio, and another in my story highlights.\r\n\r\nAnd soon enough, I had a great surprise waiting for me. \r\nFirst Sale\r\nThe plan worked out!\r\n\r\nMy Instagram page got the attention of a young woman (who fit perfectly into my target audience) and she actually used the 15% discount code that I put into my Instagram bio.\r\n\r\nShe didn\u2019t purchase anything, but I had my first abandoned checkout. \r\n\r\nAlmost there. \r\n\r\nBut the most important thing that I gained from this was the confidence that there were people who had an honest interest in my business. \r\n\r\nAlso, I got an email address to add to my mailing list! \r\n\r\nSo, I took a gamble and sent an abandoned cart email to the only member on my mailing list with a 50% discount code, and ka-ching! \u2013 a few minutes later I got my first sale!\r\n\r\nThe feeling of making my first sale is something I will always cherish. \r\n\r\nIt\u2019s one of the most exciting and satisfying feelings that an ecommerce entrepreneur can experience. \r\n\r\nBut it\u2019s important to remember that there\u2019s still a long way to go. This is just the first step on the moon.\r\n\r\nAnd since abandoned cart emails just brought me my first sale, I headed over to my email provider\u00a0to optimize them. \r\nAbandoned Cart Emails\r\nLet\u2019s start this section off with a small quiz:\r\n\r\nWho\u2019s more likely to purchase a product from your store?\r\n\r\n \tA first-time visitor.\r\n \tA visitor who already put a product into the cart but dropped off before checkout. \r\n\r\nYou guessed it, it\u2019s B \u2013 the person who nearly became a customer. \r\n\r\nAnd it\u2019s important to remember that there are so many reasons why somebody could drop off at the checkout process, but you\u2019ll never know what the actual reason is.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s why it\u2019s important to follow up with everybody who didn\u2019t complete their checkout process. \r\n\r\nSo, as my Shopify store was already connected to my email provider so\u00a0I could easily set up a sequence of three emails with the aim of recovering those customers.\r\n\r\nMy setup looked like this:\r\n\r\nEmail #1\r\n\r\nTrigger: 1 day after somebody abandoned the cart \r\n\r\nSubject: What Would Your Mom Say?\r\n\r\nI tried to keep this email fun without trying to sell too hard. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEmail #2\r\n\r\nTrigger: 3 days after somebody abandoned their cart and previous email was sent\r\n\r\nSubject: Would Your Mom Still Love You?\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEmail number two included a slightly more aggressive approach. I also added a 50% discount to push for sale this time.\r\n\r\nEmail #3\r\n\r\nTrigger: 5 days after somebody abandoned their cart and previous email was sent\r\n\r\nSubject: We Are Not Angry\u2026\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nExcept from the mom clich\u00e9, email number three was just a simple sales email. I just pitched a 50% discount + free shipping offer.\r\n\r\nI pushed pretty hard with that email because it was my last chance to turn the website visitor into a paying customer.\r\n\r\nSubject lines are always great for A/B split-tests \u2013 use them to find out what works and what doesn\u2019t for your business.\r\n\r\nOverall, I was very happy with how these turned out.\r\nGiveaway Marketing\r\nI decided to run a giveaway to try and bring in more people to my store, and ultimately generate more sales. \r\n\r\nThis would a) provide my audience with a ton of value, and b) help me to acquire emails that I could target later on with marketing campaigns. \r\n\r\nHowever, I only really had limited knowledge about how giveaways work, so I wanted to perform some research into the tactics other entrepreneurs used to find success. \r\n\r\nI found that AppSumo had some incredible success with viral giveaways, so they seemed to be the right people to learn from. \r\n\r\nI read an ebook by Chris Von Wilpert about AppSumo\u2019s success, and my three main takeaways were: \r\n\r\n \tFind a great product I could give away\r\n \tSet the giveaway up\r\n \tPromote my giveaway to interested people\r\n\r\nStep One: Find a Great Product to Give Away\r\nThis step was crucial \u2013 maybe even the most important part of the whole giveaway.\r\n\r\nAs my goal for this giveaway was to collect leads for potential customers, I didn\u2019t want to give away something that didn\u2019t reflect my brand. \r\n\r\nAlso, I didn\u2019t want to go too broad with the product that I chose, in case I attracted the wrong type of people. If I gave away a $100 Amazon gift card or something similar, literally anybody could enter without the slightest interest in my business or my niche. \r\n\r\nObviously, I couldn\u2019t give away a product from a competitor, either. \r\n\r\nThe requirements were tough, but I took advantage of my secret weapon \u2013 my girlfriend. \r\n\r\nTogether we went through all of her recent purchases that cost less than $200 and found something which would be perfect. \r\n\r\nRose Gold Makeup Brushes\r\n\r\nMy girlfriend had recently bought a makeup brush set for around $145 at a local mall. She instantly fell in love with it. \r\n\r\nEven better: her friends were actually jealous when she showed the product to them. \r\n\r\nI also knew that her friends could fit my target audience criteria, so it looked like we\u2019d just found an amazing product to give away. \u00a0\r\n\r\nMy hopes were high on this one so it was time for step two: the set up!\r\nStep Two: Setting Up My Giveaway\r\nLet me be clear: I can\u2019t write a single line of code.\r\n\r\nBut I can use tools. \r\n\r\nSo I needed to find a tool which would allow me to easily set up this giveaway. \r\n\r\nAlso, I needed to make sure that the tool made it super easy to enter and to share my giveaway. \r\n\r\nWhy? More on this in step three.\r\n\r\nIn the end I settled on a tool called KingSumo.\r\n\r\nHere\u2019s how I setup my giveaway:\r\n\r\nDuration\r\n\r\n14 days\r\n\r\nWays to Enter\r\n\r\nShare on Facebook: +5 entries\r\n\r\nShare on Twitter: +2 entries\r\n\r\nDaily visit: +2 entries per day\r\n\r\nRefer a friend: +3 entries\r\n\r\nBecome a brand promoter: +15 entries\r\n\r\nThe brand promoter entry played a huge role in this giveaways success, so we\u2019ll be talking about it later in-depth.\r\nThe Giveaway\r\n\r\n\r\nWithin only a few minutes I had set up the giveaway and was ready to start promoting it.\r\nStep Three: Promoting My Giveaway\r\n\u201cThe better the product is that you\u2019re giving away, the less marketing you need to do.\u201d \r\n\r\nThat\u2019s one of the key points of Chris\u2019 ebook. \r\n\r\nHowever, it\u2019s important to remember that you still need to do some marketing. \r\n\r\nTo get things off the ground, I had to get this giveaway in front of the right people.\r\n\r\nI wanted to keep things simple, so I just posted this giveaway (with the permission of the admins) in three fashion Facebook groups:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAnd I created a simple pop-up on my Shopify store which appeared whenever someone was about to leave the website.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nI did nothing more to market this giveaway. The rest was up to the people who were about to enter. \r\n\r\nI had a feeling that this product would help me to attract a large audience. \r\n\r\nWomen from all over the world could be interested in this, so I saw no reason why they wouldn\u2019t also share this giveaway to earn more entries. \r\n\r\nBut I had no idea how right I actually was...\r\nThe Giveaway Result \r\nSo, how did the giveaway go?\r\n\r\nIncredible.\r\n\r\nOver the duration of this 14-day giveaway, I collected 556 email addresses from interested people. \r\n\r\nThe best part was that 270 out of the 556 entries were referred by somebody else.\r\n\r\nSomebody even referred 51 people!\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nI had to pay $145 for the giveaways prize, which meant that I gained the email address of potential customers for just $0.26 a piece. \r\n\r\nI also mentioned earlier that if people choose to become a brand promoter, they\u2019d receive 15 bonus entries. This was the real catalyst for the giveaway\u2019s success. \r\n\r\nAt the end of the giveaway I had also generated 29 sales, which made me $918.76 in revenue.\r\n\r\nOf course, these sales came from people gaining interest in my brand after they entered the giveaway. \u00a0\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nIn the end, this giveaway yielded a huge return on investment, and I hadn\u2019t even started to use the emails yet! \r\n\r\nSo, overall this marketing campaign was a huge success. Next it was time to try my hand at Facebook Advertising. \r\nFacebook Ads\r\nFacebook ads can have a huge impact on your business. \r\n\r\nIn fact, it\u2019s one of the few marketing channels that is sustainable and scalable for businesses over a long period of time. \r\n\r\nBut it\u2019s not easy.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s actually rare that a new business will turn a profit with Facebook ads straightaway. \r\n\r\nMost of the time, you need to spend some cash to get data, so you can better optimize your ads. \r\n\r\nAnd, of course, this can eat up a lot of your budget. So, it\u2019s always a good idea to try out multiple channels at once.\r\n\r\nBut once you create that winning Facebook ad\u2026 it\u2019s a game changer. \r\nFacebook Ads: The Starting Point\r\nOne of the main benefits that Facebook advertising brings is interest-based targeting. \r\n\r\nEssentially, if you know what your target audience is interested in, you\u2019re likely to be able to reach them with your campaigns. \r\n\r\nI knew I had to take advantage of this.\r\n\r\nIn the past I\u2019d developed a tactic which helps me when I\u2019m getting started with a business. \r\n\r\nAll I needed was at least one customer. Luckily, I already had some from the Instagram direct messages and the giveaway. \r\n\r\nSo, all I had to do was look up a customer through Instagram (or any other social network) and check who they were following. \r\n\r\nI was specifically looking for verified pages \u2013 the ones with a blue tick next to their name. These tend to be brand, influencers, or public figures.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSo, I simply wrote down all the verified pages that my customers were following.\r\n\r\nBut, why?\r\n\r\nWell, Facebook lets you target people who \u201clike\u201d certain pages on Facebook. \r\n\r\nThat means I could use the verified pages that I found my customers were following as the foundation for my ads targeting. \r\n\r\nThe only additional information I had about my customers were their gender and the countries they lived in. \r\n\r\nIt didn\u2019t really make sense to optimize my ads on this information yet, so I left it pretty broad. \r\n\r\nHere\u2019s what my first ad audience looked like:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nFrom now on, we\u2019ll refer to this audience as the \u201cbase audience\u201d.\r\nFacebook Ads: The Ad Funnel\r\nOkay, so I had my audience sorted for now.\r\n\r\nNext, I decided to build a very simple ad funnel. \r\n\r\nIt went like this:\r\n\r\n \tTarget the whole audience and aim for \u201ccontent views\u201d\r\n \tRe-target content viewers and aim for \u201cadd to cart\u201d and/or \u201cpurchase\u201d\r\n\r\nAdditionally, I tested several other metrics within the ads like\r\n\r\n \tAudiences (countries, age, custom audiences, and lookalike audiences)\r\n \tOffers (discounts, free shipping, and missed deals)\r\n \tDesigns (fonts, colors, style, and stock images)\r\n \tCopywriting (wording, friendly, or provocative)\r\n \tStyles (images and videos)\r\n\r\nAll of my ads had one common goal: to gather data. \r\n\r\nI wanted to get as much information as possible in the shortest period of time so I could start optimizing my ads. \r\n\r\nAll of my early efforts with Facebook advertising were mainly focused on part one of the ad funnel: content views.\r\n\r\nNot just because it would\u2019ve helped me with my branding efforts, but also because I\u2019d gain a pool of people who already heard about my business.\r\n\r\nThis would help me to get more sales in the long run.\r\nFacebook Ads: The First Ads\r\nMy very first Facebook ads looked like this:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nIt was an A/B split test with two different call-to-action buttons. The rest was the same. I wanted to figure out what kind of ad would bring more customers to my landing page. All the ad links directed customers to the same product page. \r\n\r\nI simply took this free image from Burst, edited it a little bit in Adobe Photoshop, and set up the ad.\r\n\r\nBudget-wise, I started with a $20 daily budget ($10 for each ad) for a duration of five days. In the end, I stopped the ad earlier and only spent $39.52 in total.\r\n\r\nCan you guess which ad won this first split test?\r\n\r\nNeither. They both performed pretty badly. \r\n\r\nI just couldn\u2019t attract anyone to click on it. They ran for two days and gave me no information at all. \r\nFacebook Ads: Collecting Data\r\nOnce I realized that those two ads weren\u2019t working, I came up with six different ad campaigns. \r\n\r\nThis was to help me collect data, fast.\r\n\r\nThe main goal remained the same: view content.\r\n\r\nI actually just took my \u201cbase audience\u201d, set a metric that I wanted to test for each campaign, created the ad, and launched. \r\n\r\nThis was was set up to test my audience. I took my base audience and created two more variants out of it so. I had a total of three audiences now:\r\n\r\n \tBase audience including locations: USA, Canada, UK, Australia\r\n \tBase audience including locations: USA, Canada \r\n \tBase audience excluding: USA, Canada, UK, Australia\r\n\r\nI tried to keep the budget low at $15 per day. This was split with $5 per ad per day. \r\n\r\nThe aim was to run these ads over a period of seven days, knowing that I\u2019d need to spend $105 in total.\r\n\r\nHowever, I began to get data and it was clear who would win in the end, so I stopped this ad earlier. \r\n\r\nIn total I only spent $27.10.\r\n\r\nMy winner was the \u201cBase audience including: USA, Canada\u201d ad. This meant that I\u2019d gotten the first real piece of data in the bank. \r\n\r\nI wasn\u2019t aiming for sales right now \u2013 I was aiming for data. And that\u2019s what I got. \r\n\r\nI launched a few more campaign to test different messages, different designs, and so on. \r\n\r\nI hadn\u2019t found a sweet spot yet, but I was much better equipped to tackle Facebook advertising from here on out. \r\n\r\nLet me show you how the next Facebook ad took me to the next level. \r\nThe Big Success\r\nLet me start with the results first: \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nContent views: 1,240\r\n\r\nCost per content view: $0.13\r\n\r\nDuration: eight days\r\n\r\nLink clicks: 2,196 link clicks\r\n\r\nTotal ad cost: $159.98\r\n\r\nThis data alone wasn\u2019t that impressive, but it gave me an idea in which kind of direction I should take with my ads.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nI came up with the copy for this ad using the language research that I did to get to know my customers better. \r\n\r\nI testedtwo different kind of ads with this one:\r\n\r\n \tThe offer broke down into percentage\r\n \tThe offer broke down into the actual saving in dollars\r\n\r\nThe winner of this split test was the ad on the left side, the percentage offer. \r\n\r\nSavings in percentage seems more attractive to my target audience than the raw savings in dollars.\r\n\r\nAlso, this was the product page people landed on when they clicked on the link in the ad:\r\n\r\nThis ad was definitely a turning point for my whole business.\r\n\r\nI was all-in. I had already experimented a lot. I had lost more money than I had made, and I didn\u2019t have much time to achieve the goal I set for myself. \r\n\r\nBut it definitely wasn\u2019t over yet!\r\nFacebook Ads: Optimizing Everything!\r\nEverything about my business was far from perfection.\r\n\r\nRealizing this was vital.\r\n\r\nUltimately, it\u2019s this realization which helped me to build a profitable online store.\r\n\r\nWhether it was through a recovery email or a giveaway discount code, my Shopify store had already made some sales. \r\n\r\nAnd if there are people who give you their money even though your business is not perfect (or even great), you\u2019re doing something right. \r\n\r\nIf you continue to do a few more things right, you can continue to grow your sales.\r\n\r\nTo make this happen I needed to optimize.\r\n\r\nOptimization Part 1: The Website\r\n\r\nThe pages that people land on when they\u2019re clicking on Facebook ads are equally, if not more, important than the ad itself.\r\n\r\nIf somebody loves your visual ads, but they click to find a poorly-made website, they\u2019re likely to leave your store without making a purchase. \r\n\r\nThat means wasted ad spend. \r\n\r\nSo, everything from the product images to the product description had to be great. \r\n\r\nAnd my store was anything but perfect. \r\n\r\nI had so much room to improve, and this really boosted my confidence. \r\n\r\nThe first thing I tried to optimize was the landing page. \r\n\r\nI wanted the product descriptions to tell a story, so I started to write down multiple versions and came up with one I felt good about.\r\n\r\nThe only problem was\u2026 it was a bit too long. Now people had to scroll down to read everything. \r\n\r\nTo counteract this, I installed the Shopify app Sticky Add to Cart Button ($3.95 per month) and my new product page looked like this:\r\n\r\nWhen creating this new product page, I always tried to consider my customers\u2019 expectations: \u201cIf I clicked on this ad, what would I expect?\u201d\r\n\r\nThis was tough for me to answer, especially since I\u2019m not the target audience, but I felt confident that this new page could work.\r\n\r\nBut before I moved forward with the actual ads, I wanted to change one last part of my product page \u2013 I wanted to incorporate upsells. \r\n\r\nWhy?\r\n\r\nWell, it\u2019s always a good idea to try and increase your customer\u2019s average order value. \r\n\r\nPlus, my Shopify theme supported this feature by default, so there was no need for an additional app.\r\n\r\nThen, I used the sales data that I had collected so far, picked the best performing sunglasses, and created a collection. \r\n\r\nThis meant that somebody would see a \u201cYou might also like\u201d section at the bottom of my product pages.\r\n\r\nNow that I had set everything up the way I wanted it, it was time to optimize the actual ads.\r\nOptimization Part 2: Facebook Ads\r\nMy next Facebook campaign was optimized for \u201cadd to carts\u201d and/or \u201cpurchases.\u201d \r\n\r\nAgain, the success you\u2019re about to see is all based on the work I put in before, when I focused on collecting data. \r\n\r\nThere would\u2019ve been no chance to achieve these numbers in such a short period of time without that work.\r\n\r\nI was about to find my business\u2019 sweet spot, but had to test a few more things. \r\n\r\nSo I took the plunge and decided to stop all my campaigns, and create a new one based on the data I had.\r\nFacebook Ads: Bringing It All Together\r\nIf I wasn\u2019t learning something new with each Facebook ad, all of this would\u2019ve been a waste of time.\r\n\r\nI knew I was close to creating the one ad that finds my sweet spot. \r\n\r\nI had to bring it all together. \r\n\r\nI needed to apply everything that I had learned about my target audience from day one to now.\r\nFacebook Ads: Getting Closer\r\nAt this point, I\u2019d created and launched 10 different ads. Four of them brought in sales. \r\n\r\nBut I hadn\u2019t found that clear-cut winner yet.\r\n\r\nEnter the 11th Facebook ad campaign. \r\n\r\nHere\u2019s what I did:\r\n\r\nStep 1: Campaign Objective \r\n\r\nThe intention of this campaign was to get sales. I also created a \u201csplit test\u201d so I could test two different audiences.\r\n\r\nStep 2: Ad Set - Audience\r\n\r\nThis new ad campaign tested two different audiences. The actual difference was just the location.\r\n\r\n \tUSA, Canada, UK, Australia\r\n \tAll, excluding USA, Canada, UK, , Australia\r\n\r\nI took a custom audience I created that only included people who fit to this criteria:\r\n\r\n \tAge: 18 - 35\r\n \tGender: Female\r\n \tViewed content in the last 90 days\r\n \tExclude people who already made a purchase in the last 90 days\r\n\r\nStep 4: Ad Set - Budget & Schedule\r\n\r\nI picked a daily budget of $100 (even split, $50 per ad) and set the ad to run for 10 days. \r\n\r\nI would\u2019ve spent a maximum of $1,000 if I let it run until the very end.\r\n\r\nSpoiler Alert: I stopped it earlier.\r\n\r\nStep 6: Ad - Format\r\n\r\nI only had data for the \u201cSingle Image\u201d format, so I chose to create a single image ad this time.\r\n\r\nStep 7: Ad - Media, Links\r\n\r\nIt was time to design the ad my audience will see.\r\n\r\nIf you imagine Facebook advertising as one big puzzle, this was me putting all the pieces that I\u2019d found together to finish the puzzle. \r\n\r\nHere\u2019s what the ad looked like:\r\n\r\nI hit \u201cPublish.\u201d \r\n\r\nNow, here comes the exciting part!\r\nFacebook Ads: Creating the Winning Ad\r\nWithin the first 24 hours of publishing this new campaign, I made $342.93 from 12 orders!\r\n\r\nI finally found a bit of success with Facebook ads, but I knew that I could still optimize. \r\n\r\nI looked into my analytics and found that 30% of my sales came from the USA within the first 24 hours of my ad. \r\n\r\nThis was an interesting finding indeed, and I knew which audience I needed to use now. \r\n\r\nIt was time to stop this ad, and optimize for the final push.\r\nFacebook Ads: Finding the Sweet Spot\r\nMy next ad campaign had to be strong. The strongest ad I\u2019ve created so far. \r\n\r\nI used the same setup as I did with the previous ad, but I changed the audience and the budget. \r\n\r\nThis time I only targeted the USA, Canada, UK, and Australia. \r\n\r\nI only needed to spend $50 per day because I wasn\u2019t running split tests anymore. \r\n\r\nIt may not look like it, but a ton of work went into this ad. \r\n\r\nFrom setting up my first goal to unboxing my test orders to learning more about my customers \u2013 everything in this journey brought me here. \r\n\r\nAnd it all boiled down to this one ad.\r\n\r\nThe result of my hard work?\r\n\r\nI made $5,716.09 in total after spending $758.40 on this ad.\r\n\r\nMind blowing! I finally did it! \r\n\r\nI\u2019d found the one ad that truly hit the sweet spot. \r\n\r\nFacebook was officially my number one acquisition channel.\r\n\r\nAll told, I spent a total of $1,225.14 for all the Facebook ads. \r\n\r\nI made a grand total of $5,904.59 in revenue, and that meant that my profits \u2013 after subtracting my other costs, like the Shopify theme, makeup kit giveaway, etc. \u2013 sat around $3,037.05.\r\n\r\nAlthough I was very happy with my Shopify app ka-ching\u2019ing all day long, this still wasn\u2019t the end of my business\u2019 journey. \r\nChanging the Price\r\nIn the world of ecommerce, average order value is so important. \r\n\r\nIf you can increase how much your customers spend per order, it\u2019ll really help you to boost your sales overall. \r\n\r\nSo, trying to improve in this area was my next task. \r\n\r\nI needed to be careful though \u2013 I didn\u2019t want to overdo it and change the prices in a way that would lead to fewer orders. \r\n\r\nIt\u2019s a fine line and I didn\u2019t want to be on the wrong side of it.\r\n\r\nBefore testing, my average order value was $27.68.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSo I decided to increase the prices on all of my products by $5 on April 21, 2018. \r\n\r\nBy the end of this case study, April 30, 2018, the average order value increased!\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nIt went up by $5.73 per order.\r\n\r\nSuch a small change like this made my online store even stronger. \r\n\r\nThis meant that I could reinvest this extra money back into my business with a higher ads budget, or I could keep it as profit. \r\nThe End\r\nAn online business is an exciting journey. \r\n\r\nIt\u2019s filled with new things to learn, opportunities to grow, and challenges that genuinely engage you. \r\n\r\nRunning this business was tough. I set higher goals, and they forced me to work harder and smarter. \r\n\r\nBut did I actually achieve my goals? \r\n\r\nHere\u2019s a quick reminder of what they were:\r\n\r\nMore Revenue, Less Time\r\n\r\nThe last time I built a business for a case study, I made $6,667 in 8 weeks. \r\n\r\nThis time, I had to make at least $6,667.01 in 4 weeks.\r\n\r\nI was able to make $8,872.50 in 4 weeks with this new business, so YES, I achieved that goal.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nReturning Customer Rate\r\n\r\nI set out to have a returning customer rate of 5%. \r\n\r\nThis meant that at least 5 out of every 100 customers I had would need to come back to my store and place an order again. \r\n\r\nSo, I achieved a total of 296 orders, which meant there would need to be at least 14 returning customers. \r\n\r\nUnfortunately, I didn\u2019t achieve this goal.\r\n\r\nBut I still achieved a returning visitor rate of 2.71%. It was a positive sign that I was doing something right!\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nConversion Rate of 4%\r\n\r\nThe average conversion rate of an ecommerce business is around 2%. I tried to achieve a conversion rate that was double that.\r\n\r\nI had a conversion rate of 3.79%. \r\n\r\nI didn\u2019t achieve this goal, but it was still a lot better than the average ecommerce business.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAlthough I didn\u2019t even achieve all of the goals, I was still super happy with the results.\u00a0\r\n\r\nWhen my 31 days were up, I had made a profit of $4,365.78.\r\n\r\nLooking back, there\u2019s a ton of room for improvement, and there\u2019s a lot that I\u2019ve learned from running this store. \r\n\r\nAnd I really hope that you\u2019ve learned some new tricks from this case study that you can apply to your future business ventures. \r\n\r\nHonestly, there is no reason why you can\u2019t achieve the same results as I did, if not better. \r\n\r\nWe\u2019re all great entrepreneurs in our own rights \u2013 just make sure that you put in the work continuously. \r\n\r\nFor now, it\u2019s over to you \u2013 go get it!