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If you run a business, then you know that you can’t survive in the market without building a unique brand. The question is, how do you go about that?
With so many options on the table for content creating, branding, and reaching new audiences, one can quickly find themselves overwhelmed with tasks and opportunities at every turn.
No matter if you are looking at social media, paid marketing, content creation, SEO or blogging… branding is all a big part of the process.
Starting an online business is easy, but turning it into a trusted brand is not.
If you want the simplest and best approach to creating a brand that people will trust and buy from, consider the following steps and case study examples to help you get there.
Here is the thing- there is no dearth of branding tools and resources online that can help you create everything i.e. from attractive logos to marketing campaigns for your business. However, none of these will work if you don’t target the right people.
Before you start working on your brand, you need to identify your target audience. The following are some of the questions that you can ask yourself to get that information:
Once you have all of this information in place, it’s then time to build a site and platform around their needs.
CASE STUDY EXAMPLE:
When it comes to identifying your audience, few industries are more crucial than ecommerce for accomplishing this. Not only is the competition fierce, it’s also a ‘first impression’ type of business, and if those first few seconds on your site doesn’t seal the deal… you may likely lose that potential customer for life.
If you want to increase conversions and sales through your online store, you need to make sure it not only has a great site design and navigation, it also needs to have proper product search and category breakdowns as well.
A perfect example of this can be seen with WalkingOnACloud, an online retailer in Canada that focuses on a wide range of shoes and boots through their site. Take a look at the screenshot below to see the easy navigation and product listings on the site.
What you will notice is that each shoe image pops right off the page, and the title and brand is quite easy to read as well.
If the end user has any problems with searching the site and finding the right shoe or brand they are looking for, all they need to do is make a few adjustments on the left side menu to refine their search.
The site also features many other classic models and brands that allow it to rank in the search results for individual shoes and long tail keywords as well. If you visit any of the pages on the site, you will also notice it’s text and keyword heavy at the bottom of each page — thus providing more value to the end user, and improving their chances to rank in the search results by having real text on the site and not just individual products and image.
A brand has to have a mission and a vision. There is no way around it. So, you need to find some free time and think of the things that define the purpose of your existence.
A good question that you can ask yourself is – what problems does my business solve? The answer to this question can be anything.
Another good way to look at this, is to ask where you audience is. For example, some brands focus their efforts more on Instagram, versus that of Facebook or Twitter. The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be for you to see an ROI with your content creation and marketing efforts.
For instance, your business might be providing affordable furniture to bachelors, clothing for students taking the leap to college, or maybe you want to treat everyone with the most delicious homely meals. Whatever the answer is, shall become the foundation of your mission and vision.
At the same time, user engagement is now a much larger focus than ever before. It’s not just about having a presence on social media, it’s about how brands are actually connecting and providing value to their end users.
Once you have a general idea about your brand’s mission and vision, you can read a guide or two online on how to write proper statements. This way you won’t have to revise the same over and over again.
CASE STUDY EXAMPLE:
Social media is great for many different things, but when it comes to the actual ROI and business that is generated from it, only a few brands and ecommerce sites are doing it correctly.
You can create content, build a following, and have as many accounts and followers as you like, but if they aren’t resulting in real sales and conversions — what good is it?
This is something Zappos knew right from the start, and as a result, they have one of the largest followings on social media in terms on ecommerce and shoe retailers go.
For Zappos, social media marketing is nothing new — as it’s how they got their start and found major success online. Instead of focusing just on sales and marketing, they wanted to make their brand all about customer support and user engagement.
This ultimately lead to the success the company is having today — which results in them becoming one of the largest shoe retailers in the world today.
The quick takeaway here is to not just be active on social media, but to also give your audience a reason why they should follow you — and actually be interested in the content and services you are offering through social.
Branding is all about differentiating your business from others in the market. So, it’s important that you pay close attention to your rivals and their brands.
You should study their mission and vision and USPs and pay attention to their logos as well. This is because you want all of these to be different from them. Only then you can stand out and attract customers easily.
At the same time, you also need to understand how and where to focus your efforts. For some brands, this might be on their social media marketing and branding efforts… while for others it might be in the form on content marketing and SEO.
CASE STUDY EXAMPLE:
We all know that SEO and Google search is on the decline, but the quality is still there. If someone is going to Google and typing in what they are looking for… then they are also very likely to take action.
However, for this to work, your site will need to have a nice DA and PA associated with it, while also having some nice backlinks and high-quality content of course.
This is often a problem for ecommerce sites because they are focusing too much on their individual product pages and not enough ‘service and content’. Through the use of a blog, brands should be creating top lists, reviews, and stories about the products they create.
These content pages can then rank in Google at a much higher and faster pace than regular product pages. At the same time, it would be very hard to rank for individual product names and brands, when so many other big name sites and stores are already out there.
A perfect example of this can be seen if you were to Google something like “best clothes to bring to college“. It’s a long tail keyword and maybe not something a ton of people search, but it’s still a nice thing to rank for — and people that are searching for it are likely already in buying mode.
Check out the results from the search, then see what type of content each of these sites are creating. If you are an apparel retailer, this is a no brainer — and you should be doing this for every type of event, season, or whatever… that people might be searching for clothes ideas on.
Consistency is the key to successful branding and it can be easily accomplished if you are willing to make the effort. What you fundamentally need is brand guidelines.
By defining the guidelines, you can ensure that your branding is consistent across all channels- social media, website, emails, and even offline channels viz. banners at public events, customized merchandise, etc. The following are some of the things that you need to define for your brand:
Once you have a clear message that defines your brand, it will be that much easier for you to create an action plan and set of business goals to help you get there.
EXAMPLE CASE STUDY:
In order to create an effective and powerful vision for your brand, you need to not only understand your business, but also what it means to those whom you are serving.
FitBusiness has an excellent write up on 10 excellent vision statements to spark your imagination.
At the very least, these will serve extremely useful in providing you with some real life examples on what it means to have a powerful brand, business, and a purpose (vision) behind it.
One of the most important things to remember when creative a vision and statement for your business and brand, is to make sure it relates with your audience, how they perceive your company, and that you can actually act and deliver on the promise that you are making.
Once your brand is ready, you can start to promote it wherever you can. You can find numerous examples of how to promote your brand with targeted blog content, emails, social media, etc. on the Internet. You just need to create a strategy and it’s also highly recommended you use at least a few tools to make your job easier which include a social media manager, analytics tool for SEO, advanced video editors, etc.
Marketing and brand consistency go hand in hand. What it means that when you talk to your customers on social media or your blog, you need to make sure that you maintain the same tone and voice.
EXAMPLE CASE STUDY:
Much like how we mentioned creating content for your site or brand to reach new audiences through search rankings with original blog content ideas, knowing how to market to your brand is key.
It’s not just about knowing who you are marketing to, but also how to create the best content that relates to them.
This is something social media, especially Facebook Ads and Instagram Marketing has become extremely effective in — as they both offer demographic, interest, and custom audience targeting.
With such options in place, it’s no longer a matter of creating content on your site and just hoping for it to be found… but instead a matter of how often and when.
Through the use of paid promotion, social media, and the power of remarketing — targeting your ideal customer and demographic audience is now easier than ever before.
The internet has made the process of starting a website and going live with a business or brand extremely cost effective and easy.
With more than a billion active websites and blogs on the internet today, we are all in an extremely competitive space. This means every small and large business needs top-notch branding in order to survive and also to increase revenue month over month.
If you want to prepare for that in the most straightforward manner, then the steps and case studies provided above can help you get there.
So, you want to get famous on social media, huh?
Even if you personally don’t want to get famous, I’m sure you’d love for your business to extend it’s reach and influence. You’ve likely heard of the value that a great social media following can bring to your business and you’d like to get there as quickly as possible.
What I’m going to provide you today are a few unique strategies that can help you gain a presence quickly, rather than just the tried and true slow and steady approach of “being active” on social media.
To be completely up front, a few of these strategies I’ve implemented and seen great success with. And a couple of these I have not tried yet, but will be over the coming weeks and months.
Stick around, because I’ll be sharing what I learn through this social media experiment in future blog posts.
To give you an idea of what I’ve done recently, I want to share a quick success story. On Oct. 14th, 2017 I started a brand new Facebook business page. I started with zero followers like everyone else. However, in just 17 days, I grew it to 10,800 fans! Plus, I have an additional private Facebook group in the same niche of nearly 500 highly engaged followers.
I’ll share exactly what I did below.
So, the way that I built a following quickly wasn’t free, but it’s a very valid strategy if you have a little bit of money to spend.
However, if you are more interested in building a following for free, there are plenty of options. I will try to share a few general strategies briefly because I know you are smart of can fill in the gaps, but also because each social media platform is different. (So, I’ll share more in-depth posts that are platform specific in the future).
If you are starting from scratch, here are a few ways that you can build your following (this can apply to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more).
Perhaps the easiest way to get started is to invite your friends and family to follow you on social media. If you have a personal Facebook account, you can ask your friends and family to like your business Facebook page or Instagram account.
This might not move the needle a ton, but it will get the ball rolling.
You need to post multiple times per day with content that your audience will enjoy. Not only post content, but also respond to comments and engage with your audience.
See what strategies are working well for successful influencers in your niche and see how you can implement something similar. Comments on influencer pages and share your links or content when it’s appropriate on those pages.
Following others can work quite well on Twitter in particular, since many people will follow you back once you follow them. However, I wouldn’t recommend going overboard here.
If you have any kind of presence on Twitter or Instagram (for example), try to drive some of that audience to your Facebook on Youtube pages.
Be sure to add your social media links on your blog to make it easy to share content and for people to become your followers. In addition, you can start adding your social profiles links in your emails as a way to generate new fans.
You can use software like Contest Domination to do a giveaway. You give something away and people have a shot at winning by sharing the contest on social media. This can build engagement and a following.
I wish I could say I’ve had success with this, but I haven’t. However, there are plenty of examples out there of companies that were basically non-existent that built up significant followings on social media with one video or other piece of content.
Creative content can generate attention and interest. So, even though this isn’t easy to achieve, creating great content on a regular basis is still a smart business move.
Now that you can see how valuable building up a social media following can be, how do you do it?
Well, there are 3 primary ways to build your following. I’ll share all 3 with you.
First is good old fashion hustle. I’ll share more details on this traditional option of starting from scratch.
However, the way that I quickly built up a Facebook page to nearly 11,000 “likes” in about 17 days was less traditional, I suppose. I decided to run “like” campaigns to build up my social presence.
That’s right, this isn’t a free option. But it’s an option that works very well if you have a little money to spend. In total, I spent $997.31 running ads on Facebook from Oct. 14th to Oct. 31st (17 days).
On Oct. 13th, I had no “likes” on this brand new Facebook page (in a niche completely unrelated to Niche Pursuits). Then I started running “like” campaigns on Facebook for the sole purpose of getting people to like my new Facebook page.
As you can see from the image below, it worked very well:
That equates to a cost of roughly 10.8 cents per like on average. I should point out that our ad costs were closer to 15 to 17 cents per like, but we also got some organic likes along the way that brought the overall average down.
As soon as I created the page, I also made sure to post multiple times a day (anywhere from 2 to 7 times per day) to keep it active and the audience engaged. Most of the posts were just motivational thoughts and images that were relevant to my audience. However, I also mixed in links to my own website to start driving a little bit of traffic.
The social media traffic coming to my website increased about 20 fold from Oct. 14th to Oct. 31st!
You can see from the image below what my typical social media traffic is to my site and then what it grew to:
This screenshot from Google Analytics shows traffic coming from social sources only. The traffic grew from roughly 10 or 20 visitors per day from social media to 200 to 500 visitors per day.
So, social media can absolutely drive traffic to your website.
This is not meant to be a comprehensive tutorial on how to run like campaigns on Facebook; however, I’d like to at least give you enough details to be dangerous.
I would also like to clarify I am not talking about “buying likes”. There is a big difference between running like campaigns and buying likes. Running ad campaigns to generate likes is a totally legitimate way to build a following. Buying likes through services is not a legitimate way to build a following. engagement and won’t drive real revenue for your business.
On the other hand, Facebook (and other platforms have similar tools) has ad campaigns you can create called “like” campaigns. Essentially you can create a Facebook like campaign, which will put ads in the newsfeed of the audience you specify. When they click the “like” button, they become your fans or followers.
Adespresso has a great guide on how to create your first like campaign.
There are 3 critical components to running a successful like campaign to build a following quickly. First, make sure you target the right audience. You can select from millions of options on Facebook, so be sure to think through the demographic and interests that you want to target.
Second, is the headline of the ad. You can obviously test several variations of the headline, but again, think about the one phrase that your perfect audience would resonate with. Use that as your headline.
Finally, is your ad image. Try to find an image that both resonates with your audience, but also stands out a bit on Facebook. Depending on your audience a lower quality image might do better than a higher quality image. Or one with bright colors might do better than one with darker colors.
With these 3 variables, you can then test different ads to see what gets you the lowest cost per like.
Setting up a like campaign on Facebook is very simple and you could be up and running in just a few minutes.
In preparation for this blog post, I had the opportunity to connect via email with a social media influencer that had some interesting insights to share.
He really caught my attention when he said, “I currently manage over 10 million followers on social media and do over 10 billion impressions a month a times all organically through the various accounts I have.”
Wow, 10 million followers! This must be someone famous that we have all heard of right?
Turns out that Kyle Van Dyn Hoven, really is a behind the scenes guy. He doesn’t put his own name out there, but has several different accounts in various niches that all add up to millions of followers.
I had to get him on a phone call.
So, last week I picked his brain for an hour about what he does and how he does it.
My first question for him was, “Okay, so what’s the secret? How can I build a social media following quickly?”. His answer wasn’t what I was expecting. He said, “Don’t build it from scratch, go buy a popular account”.
This wasn’t at all what I thought his strategy would be. He then went into a long explanation of how he and many others buy and sell entire Facebook pages, Instagram, Twitter, and accounts on other platforms. Rather than working for years to build up something with 100,000 followers, he just goes and buys an account that already has this many followers.
This got my wheels turning, as perhaps it is for you as well.
Is this legal? Absolutely. The owner of the social media account is completely turning over his or her account to you to own and run as you please. In exchange, they get money.
Do Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram care? Not really. In fact, they all make it fairly easy to transfer ownership.
How much does something like this cost? Well, obviously the price varies based on size of following, niche, but even more importantly, the engagement of the audience. If you buy an account with 100,000 followers, but there is next to no engagement, then it’s like throwing your money in the garbage.
But if you buy an account with just 10,000 followers that is super engaged, then perhaps your investment will pay off quickly.
Kyle shared with me where he buys his accounts, but it’s an invitation only platform, so I won’t share it here. However, if you do a quick search, you will see that there are plenty of marketplaces where you can buy or sell social media accounts.
To be clear, I have not yet purchased any social media accounts before, so I can’t vouch for how valid any of these marketplaces are. However, a couple of websites that regularly sell social media accounts (just as examples) are ViralAccounts.com, FameSwap.com, and SocialTradia.com.
Like anything, I’m sure there are plenty of other places that you can buy accounts. Or you can always contact account owners directly to see if you can buy their account. While contacting people is more work, you are also likely to find better deals if you find the right seller.
For example, you could buy an Instagram account with 49,860 followers on FameSwap.com right now for $2,500.
According to the listing, the current owner makes $500 to $1000 a month from this account. (Who knows if that’s really true, but it very well could be). And if you had your own products in the body building niche, you could probably leverage this audience for much more than $1,000 a month.
Or you could buy this Pets Life Instagram account on SocialTradia.com with 104,000 followers for $2,000.
The more I spoke with Kyle, the more I began to understand how well a buying strategy could work. Obviously some accounts are much more valuable than others, and you have to do your due diligence; however, you definitely can drive traffic and sales with social media accounts.
Now it’s up to you to decide which route you want to take.
Now that I have a Facebook fan page of over 10,000, what should I do with it?
If you are in the same situation, you COULD do a number of things:
My personal plan is to create a membership site (digital product) that is a perfect fit for my audience. A key part of this membership site will be a private Facebook group.
In fact, I’ve been mentioning the private Facebook group on my Facebook page (that I just built) and now have nearly 500 really active members in this group! My plan is to then turn this group into a paid Facebook group for about $10 a month (it would remain free for any existing members).
I expect to launch this new membership site in the first week of December.
So, for now, I’m making very little money from my Facebook following; however, I have a new product I’m creating that will be launched in just a few weeks that I hope does very well.
I will share progress updates over the coming weeks and months, so be sure to follow along.
Is building a social media following just a vanity metric, or is there actually value in having lots of followers on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter?
Certainly in some regards, building large social metrics can be useless if the people behind those numbers aren’t actually interested in you or your brand.
However, if you have an engaged audience that is willing to click your links, share your products, and actually pull out their wallets and pay…then having a large social media following can be an immensely powerful asset.
Rather than just take my word for it, I wanted to share a few success stories of people building very real businesses off the back of social media.
Although it’s difficult to know exactly how much money BeardBrand is making each month, it’s safe to say that it’s alot. A few years ago they went from non-existant to $120,000 a month in sales in about a year.
According to the founder, Eric Bandholz, the company generates roughly 50% of all it’s sales from social media traffic!
Eric started out being very active on Youtube and Reddit to start his brand. However, you can see that the company does very well on a variety of social media channels.
They’ve clearly found a model that works by building a fanbase on social medial and driving that traffic to their online store.
Overall, BeardBrand has proven that social media can have a HUGE impact on a business. Building the right following of raving fans can lead to massive sales.
However, Shawn is a perfect example of someone that proves how valuable social media can be. As explained in a recent interview, she makes much more now (as does here former NFL husband) with their social media following than they ever did before.
To reiterate, this couple makes more being active on social media than they ever did being an Olympian or professional football player.
Shawn regularly helps brands launch their products to great success, as she often explains on the TV show, Adventure Capitalists. So, Shawn makes money with her social media following through advertising, direct sponsorships, and ownership in brands that she promotes.
Not a bad way to make money at all.
Bottom line, social media works.
What if you just have an affiliate website, and aren’t a celebrity (like Shawn Johnson)? Well SneakerNews.com is a good example of company driving a ton of traffic through social media.
The best part is that they are actually an affiliate website! They simply make a commission when they refer someone to Nike, eBay, or other shopping website that sells the shoes.
Now obviously this company is smart and does more than just social media. They are actively producing content that ranks in Google as well. However, the raving fan base they’ve built on social media is quite impressive.
Oh, and they don’t follow a single person on Instagram.
Social media was a strong driver of traffic and links during my niche site project 4. But I took a bit of a different turn with my social media channels.
In the past, I think that Facebook was the no brainer social media channel for niche site builders.
I don’t think that’s the case today.
Facebook has become very much play-to-win. Ad costs are skyrocketing right now and it’s becoming more and more difficult to succeed on Facebook. Even if you have people liking a page, Facebook restricts how many of them can see your posts.
Unless, of course, you decide to pay.
For my site, I used Pinterest.
For each new post I published, I pinned two images to Pinterest. This ended up being a significant source of traffic before Google kicked in and helped me draw in some natural links. This tactic may not work for all sites, but my site was in a backyard/outdoors niche.
Lots of my articles are about tools like lawnmowers or hedge trimmers. I wouldn’t have guessed that Pinterest would work as well for my niche as it did.
Overall, if you want to build a social media following, you have 3 options.
Over the next couple of months, I plan to implement all 3 strategies as I use social media to grow one of my businesses. I plan to blog about my progress here, so I hope you’ll stick around and follow along. I’ll be sharing specific strategies for growing audiences on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and possibly others.
In addition, I plan to share exactly what works and what doesn’t for me as I implement these strategies.
Finally, as you follow along and implement some of these ideas in your business, I hope you find success! I will be looking for success stories in the next 2 or 3 months of people that have implemented some of the things I talk about.
By Spencer Haws
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If you’ve ever heard anything about making money online, I’d bet you’ve heard about some version of dropshipping.
It goes like this: you set up a website for a niche audience, create an online store, sell your product, and it goes straight from the manufacturer to the customer. You don’t have to fill your garage with standing paddle boards or lawn furniture. You buy traffic, it converts, you win.
Step 1: dropship
Step 2: profit
If it were that easy, everyone would do it. Everyone would make a killing online, work from a Mexican beach, and never have another boss. Dropshipping requires time, effort, and skill. But when it pays off, it can pay off big.
In this Dropship Lifestyle (DSL) review, we’re going to be asking whether this course can give you the short cut. What if you could bypass years of failure and thousands of dollars in flopped business?
Let’s see if you can.
I’ve been through the whole Dropship Lifestyle course and it’s pretty awesome. Here are some of the things it does very well:
DSL was designed with the dropshipping beginner in mind. You will learn about the basics of online business and dropshipping, how to select a niche, finding different products, market research, and more.
I like how DSL is made of over-the-shoulder videos. Going through this course is like watching someone do this right in front of you. You won’t have to struggle through technical details or deal with a faulty landing page without someone to guide you.
And while the course is designed for beginners, it’s packed with some pretty sweet nuggets. Which means it’s not too bad for pros either…
DSL was made for beginners, but Anton (the owner and instructor) is an excellent dropshipper. He runs several of his own dropshipping businesses and gives some great tips throughout the course.S
Someone making $20,000 per month dropshipping won’t benefit as much from this course as someone who only read the 4 Hour Work Week. But Anton’s tips on conversion, followup, buying ads, and retargeting is super helpful.
He has sage advice on where to buy your ads to profit (hint: it’s not Facebook) and then includes great tips for automation.
If you aren’t running a 100% automated, very profitable store with email marketing and followups, then you can benefit from Dropship Lifestyle.
My favorite part of Dropship Lifestyle is that it is packed with content. It includes over 200 video lessons that go deep into dropshipping.
A bunch of this content comes from “bonuses” to the DSL course. The bonuses are free and included with every purchase. DSL itself has about 90 videos. These bonuses offer a more in-depth look at several aspects of the course and are great material for improving an already-successful store.
If we assume that each video is about 10 minutes long (that’s a low estimate – some are shorter, but tons are quite a bit longer), then that gives us about 2,000 minutes worth of content in Dropship Lifestyle. If you want to do the math, that’s over 33 hours of content.
When you count the time you spend implementing these things, you’re looking at a course that you could learn from for well over a year.
I’m blown away by the level of (good) content.
Dropship Lifestyle is a cool course, but it’s not perfect. Here is the one thing I don’t love about it:
One downside to DSL is that it seems to be laid out strange. For example, modules 1 and 2 are both about niche research (shouldn’t this be a single module?)
Module 3 is about designing your website, module 4 is about finding suppliers, and then module 5 is about designing your site again.
The bonuses are awesome, but are just extensions of what’s already presented in the course. I don’t think they should be “bonuses”, but included where they fit in the modules.
It’s not a bit gripe and the course layout won’t hurt you in the long run. It just seems like it could be designed a bit better.
Overall, I think that Dropship Lifestyle is a pretty amazing course. It’s jam packed with quality info taught by someone who has had monster success in dropshipping. It will help you to avoid rookie mistakes, skip years of failure, and teach you how to be a profitable dropshipper
Dropship Lifestyle (DSL) is a video course designed to help you figure out dropshipping. It has 90 video lessons that take you from zero to hero in dropshipping. It’s designed to help you save time, save money, build out a dropshipping site, create relationships with manufacturers, drive traffic to your site, and convert visitors to buyers.
Here is what you’ll learn inside of DSL:
There’s a lot of information here and literal hours of video available. I’ve reviewed some awesome products with amazing amounts of content (The Authority Site System, Authority Hacker Pro), but I think that Dropship Lifestyle gives them a run for their money as far as sheer volume of content.
This course was made for the beginner dropshipper, but there’s a lot here for someone who just wants to improve an already-successful store as well.
DSL is divided into 7 modules and then includes some bonuses. Let’s take a look at what this course has to offer.
When you first get access to your login for DSL, you’ll see a screen that looks like this:
You can get into the course by clicking Start Lesson near the bottom left of the screen. It looks like this is also an area where they give general announcements. Right now they’re broadcasting a retreat to Portugal.
When you start the course, you’ll get a list of modules with some announcements off to the right of the screen:
Each module is composed of video lessons. You can see each video lesson highlighted in blue. And see the scroll bar to the right side of my screen?
There are a lot of these video lessons. The course says that there are 90 videos in the modules. There are more in the bonus content. In total, there are well over 100 video lessons included with DSL.
Towards the right sidebar, we get more announcements. 2 in particular are pretty interesting:
Every DSL course includes a niche verification process. This is where you can send the DSL creators your niche idea and niche research sheets that we’ll be creating in modules 1 and 2. The DSL creators then get back to you and say that you’ve got a winner or that you should keep looking.
It’s pretty awesome for a tool that’s included in the course. My first website projects failed because I was horrible at niche selection. And in spite of what you might hear from affiliate marketing hype trains, not every niche can be profitable for you.
I wish I could have had someone to guide me in the niche selection process.
The second thing here is a 14 day free trial to Shopify. The DSL crew recommends that you use Shopify for your dropshipping course and I agree that it’s easy to use for beginners.
Each module is composed of video lessons. Each video lesson has show notes below and an option to mark the lesson as complete:
I suggest watching each lesson when possible, but the show notes are nice when you need a refresher or can’t watch the video right now.
If a video ever mentions a resource, there is always a link to the list of resources at the bottom of the page.
This module covers the basics of dropshipping. Anton (the founder of DSL) helps you lay the groundwork for everything to come: mindset and expectations, what you need to run your online business, accounting for your future dropshipping business, etc.
There won’t be much here for experienced dropshippers, but it’s a great launch pad for anyone new to online income.
Here is a list of the lessons in this “Module 0”:
Of all the modules, this one might be the most important. Your niche holds the foundation to your business and if you get it wrong, you’re in for a world of hurt.
As I said above, my poor niche selection was main the reason that I spent several years failing online. If your niche is too competitive, it will be very hard to do anything online.
So DSL runs us through the process of choosing a niche and there’s a lot of value packed in here. You’ll learn why a passion based business might not be a great idea, how to find your target market, building brand loyalty, and so on.
Once you’ve got the basics, you’ll learn about picking a product for your niche. Everything matters here: you have to differentiate from your competition while still pulling a profit. That means looking at product price, size, weight, and potential profit for each sale.
After all this, Anton will give you examples of good and bad niches, some brainstorming tips, and answers some common questions.
I don’t think I could ask or expect any more out of a niche selection module. Very strong content here.
Here is a list of all of the lessons you’ll get in Module 1:
In module 1, we create a list of niches that we might could go in to. Now it’s time to narrow our list down and make our final choice.
This is the point in the course where we get into deep market research. We’ll look at price points for products. We’ll track demand for the product over time and make sure we aren’t getting a hot dud. We make sure that the product sells year round (this is called an evergreen product). And then we make sure that our niche is “dropship friendly”.
This sounds like a lot and it is, but this is a very important step.
Once you’ve got your niche selected, you’ll make a list of the competition. You can refer to this in the future to give you product ideas, conversion tips, and to see how much work you’re going to have to do to be successful in dropshipping.
This is a lot more in depth than module 1, but I still feel that the modules could be ordered a bit better. It seems to me like module 1 is about picking a niche and module 2 is about… picking a niche.
It’s not a serious problem. I don’t mind it. But I think the user experience could be a bit better here.
Even so, there’s a lot of very cool content in this module. I’ll be referring back to it when starting my own dropshipping business 😉
Here’s a list of the lessons in module 2:
We’ve got our niche selected. Now it’s time to start building out our website.
Niche research is mind-numbing work and gets old pretty quick. Building is where you can “see” progress being made.
Anton and DSL use Shopify to craft all of their dropshipping stores. If you’re new to dropshipping, I think that Shopify is a great solution. You might could use WooCommerce with Cartflows if you want something more hands on, but more powerful.
This module builds an online store using Shopify. If you want to use something like WooCommerce, the principles still apply. You’ll just have to figure out the designs and technical doodads on your own.
You’ll start by learning about domain names and how to choose a good one. From there, you’ll move on to the technical side of creating your site. Anton uses over-the-shoulder videos, so all you need to do is follow along. Color inside the lines and you’ll turn out just fine.
You’ll create menus for your site, set up action sequences for your users, customize themes, learn about discount codes, and more. One thing that is interesting about DSL’s version of dropshipping is that Anton and DSL don’t recommend Facebook ads to get traffic.
We’ll learn more about this later, but DSL spends quite a bit of time running you through Google – Adwords, Analytics, Search Console, etc. They recommend that you use Google Adwords to bring traffic to your dropshipping business. Retargeting is an afterthought here. Adwords is king.
Now all that’s left are to find your suppliers and find your audience. Here’s a list of all the lessons in module 3:
This module is all about finding your dropshipping suppliers. These aren’t the same as regular manufacturers; you don’t want to buy a thousand widgets and store them in your warehouse. You want the supplier to make the product and send it to your customer without you having to deal with any of it.
All you do is send the traffic and convert.
This module is technical in part, but you can expect to hold some phone conversations as well. No need to fear, all you phone haters: Anton and DSL have extensive scripts and templates for calls and emails. They recommend starting with a call and emailing after, but the system works even if you just stick to email.
I know that Anton has done this hundreds of times and his scripts look great. It’s pretty easy to tell that he has experience here.
You’ll also get a list of the questions that most suppliers will ask you. It’s nice to have so you can be ready beforehand.
And then it’s just a matter of picking your supplier(s). Anton and DSL have a way to rank their suppliers in order from awesome to not-so-awesome. One important note here is that you do want multiple suppliers in case one of them ends of not working out.
Multiple suppliers is just a good way to manage your risk in the dropshipping world.
Once you’ve selected your suppliers, reached out, and been approved, it’s time to flesh out the relationship. DSL has a great video lesson on building the relationship with your suppliers. This won’t be a step that you can apply from day 1, but they will help your site 3 months, 6 months, a year, and further down the road.
You can negotiate things like exclusivity, various terms, and the all-important pricing.
Relationships are the name of the game and Anton has some great tips for improving them.
Here are a list of the lessons in this module:
This module is important, but I feel again that it’s out of order. I think this module should be combined with the “Creating Your Website” module because it’s all about dealing with your website.
The goal here is to prep your website for visitors. You’re going to be creating urgency, getting real reviews for your products, and setting up social media accounts. You want everything to look authentic for your visitors and help you convert them better.
After making urgency and social proof, we dive into more advanced conversion tactics. These include bonus offers, taking advantage of abandoned carts, and making sure that visitors can get around without any trouble.
I appreciate that Anton shoots it straight here: you shouldn’t spend years working on your site design. As long as your site doesn’t many anyone’s eyes bleed, the design doesn’t move the needle that much. Usability is much more important.
And Anton helps you see how your visitors are interacting with your site through heatmaps. He shows you how to set up tracking software that helps you learn when visitors are leaving and where they’re clicking.
It’s a very helpful module, but I feel that it should have been bundled into the “Creating Your Website” module. It seems like we’re paying for the same ground twice here.
Here is a list of all of the lessons in module 5:
I love Anton’s idea here. The theory behind this module is that you don’t need tons of traffic. You just need the best traffic. You want buyers who have credit card in hand, ready and waiting to buy.
In this module, you learn how to get that kind of traffic. It saves you time, money, and you will earn more.
Anton believes that Facebook users often don’t have credit card in hand. Google traffic does. Anton teaches you how to spy on Google’s traffic, pick the best keywords, and guarantee profit from day 1. You learn how to make sure that every visitor goes through your funnel.
Once you’re done with that, then you can go into paid social traffic. This is where you get into what Anton calls “omnipresence”. Facebook retargeting allows you to reach out to the same visitors who left your site to offer them another chance. This represents a well-rounded strategy on Anton’s part: get the bulk of income from Google, cover your bases with Facebook.
Overall, I’m most impressed with this module out of everything I’ve seen inside of DSL.
Here is a list of the lessons you’ll get:
At this point you have your store, your traffic, and you’re profitable. If you’d like, it’s time to start reducing your work load. You’ll sacrifice a little bit of profit in the short run, but outsourcing and automation will allow you to focus on new businesses and enjoy life more in the long run.
I appreciate that Anton makes a little disclosure at the beginning of this section:
A lot of internet marketing courses out right now will spout buzzwords like “passive income” or “lifestyle design”. Those might not be bad things, but everyone should understand that recurring revenue and designing your life is preceded by hard work.
I think that Anton and Dropship Lifestyle distinguish themselves here. They say “Hey, don’t try the automation thing until you know that you’re making money.” And I respect that.
When you are making income, Anton will run you through the ringer on automation. You’ll automate abandoned cart orders, Google sheets, tracking and analytics, sales, and content distribution. Anton gives you his own templates for outsourcing when you need to hire someone.
He tells you the best places to hire (Upwork or FreeeUp.com) and shows you how to hire talented, inexpensive individuals. This module closes with some standard operating procedures (SOPs) for yourself and for your automation.
Here are a list of the lessons in this module:
The modules listed above are pretty extensive. Newbie or pro, I’d bet you can find something to help you.
But that’s not all that DSL offers.
Dropship Lifestyle also includes several bonus lessons. These won’t be necessary for everyone, but these bonuses each function more as a standalone module. For example, in the Goal Setting & Mindset bonus, you’ll get these lessons:
Here are the bonus lessons available to you:
Each of these functions as its own module so there’s a ton of content here.
You also get access to the niche verification tool that I mentioned earlier (a huge deal!) and access to a private Facebook community. DSL also gives you the opportunity to get one-on-one coaching with the instructors.
I didn’t look into the coaching, but I’d bet it’s kinda pricey.
Now that we’ve been through the whole course, my verdict:
I think that DSL could be laid out a bit better. Some modules should be combined and some of the bonuses could be put into the modules instead of offered as “bonuses”.
But the level of content here is top notch. If you’re wanting to get into dropshipping, I think that Dropship Lifestyle sets the bar high and helps you exceed your own expectations of yourself. I doubt that there are better dropshipping courses out there (but if I find one, I’ll update this post) 🙂
For now, I’m not afraid of recommending Dropship Lifestyle.
Dropship Lifestyle (DSL) is a course that was designed for someone who doesn’t have a successful dropshipping business.
That being said, it includes all of Anton’s previous dropshipping courses in the bonus section. So if you are an experienced dropshipper, there’s still a lot of value you can get from the 30+ lessons on mastering Google Adsense or maximizing conversions.
I think the person who will get the most mileage out of DSL is the person who hasn’t had a successful dropshipping business. You could be a newbie inspired by internet marketing blogs or Tim Ferris. You could be someone who has tried and just never succeeded.
Dropship Lifestyle was made for you.
I think this is also a good course for someone who wants to scale. Let’s say you’re making $1,000 per month – a hefty chunk, but nothing to retire on. DSL will help you to take that 4 figures per month to a sweet 5 figures or more per month. This could be through starting new stores in better niches, improving your followup sequence, converting better, or mastering email marketing.
I think DSL would be helpful, but not life-changing to someone who already has a very successful dropshipping store. A significant chunk of the course is showing beginners how to get started, find suppliers, and get traffic.
There are helpful bonuses: modules on buying ads through Adwords and social media, doing business in other countries, and selling your online store. You could learn some, but I doubt that you’ll find the course as powerful as someone who’s just starting out.
Now let’s get into some things that you might be asking yourself about Dropship Lifestyle
Yes! DSL was created with the beginner in mind. You start with the basics of online business and the dropshipping module. There are bonus sections on setting expectations and getting your mindset right.
Once you’ve finished there, you get over-the-shoulder videos showing you how to set up your store, convert better, get approved by suppliers, and drive traffic to your site. Anton and the DSL team include their own templates to help you out here.
And then there are plenty of resources to help you improve: the bonus modules in particular are packed with very in-depth knowledge to up your game.
If you’re a beginner, you’ll be right at home with the Dropship Lifestyle course. Due to the advanced tactics and modules, you can continue to use DSL as your dropship site grows.
I would say that it depends on how successful you are with dropshipping. Have you had some meager success in the past? A few sales here, a small profitable store there, or even a few thousand dollars per month?
DSL will help you to scale your moderate success. You already have the basics, now it’s time to grow. This could be through new stores with better niches, improving conversions, finding less expensive suppliers, or buying better ads and selling more.
If you aren’t at a level where dropshipping can replace your job income, I think that Dropship Lifestyle has a lot to offer you.
If you have monster success dropshipping (several thousand dollars per month and you can dropship full time), then you’ll get less out of DSL. But the advanced bonus modules may help you decrease ad spend, outsource the work load, or convert more visitors into buyers.
Worst case scenario you can try it and refund.
Anton does a great job of helping you figure out great niches, products, and suppliers without paying for extra tools. You will need to pay for a Shopify subscription and there are several optional items to improve conversions.
Dropship Lifestyle gets updates that are pretty regular. Whenever the game changes, Anton is good about updating the course so you aren’t left with outdated information. He’s also been good about including videos from different Dropship Lifestyle retreats.
All updates are free to members, but can increase the price for anyone who hasn’t bought.
I recommend that you spend at least an hour each weekday in order to see results. Dropshipping isn’t like building authority sites: you don’t have to wait a year just to see your first dollar. If you get your site set up and find a supplier, you can go ahead and start buying ads.
I don’t think it would take more than a month for you to get rolling.
I think that Dropship Lifestyle has a lot to offer the dropshipping beginner. It may not be life-changing for someone who has already gone full time dropshipping. But it’s a great resource to get a dropshipping site going or scale your existing operation.
By Brady Cargle
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