$35k Dropshipping on FaceBook
Running Business out of Hong Kong!
FaceBook Ad Strategies
Harrison B | $35k+ Drop Shipping on FaceBook Interview Summary
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Today I’ve got Harrison on board. How are you Harrison?
Very well. How you doin man?
Good man, thanks for being on the show.
You’ve done facebook and dropshipping which is a really popular model, I think it got popular just a couple years.
Yeah, I’m using facebook to drive traffic to a website and I’m not holding any inventory; drop shipping from products from China.
So is it mainly aliexpress or just China in general?
Yes, I found suppliers on aliexpress and that’s primarily it.
I think that’s the dominant model right now, when you’re doing drop shipping. Pretty much facebook to shopify store and then aliexpress. I think alixpress has a really good way of just buying individual products straight to your customer.
It’s good to search because you have the different ways to check which products are selling more, and the rating system. So, you’re not going in totally blind if that product is that quality.
Before we dig to deep into the whole specifics, I’d like to start about your background. So, how did you get into the whole thing? Did you study marketing at school? Are you the business type?
Actually it’s kind of an interesting story. I studied finance in a university, I got a job in New York as a financial analyst and working 60-70 hours a week in a cubicle kind of drove me crazy.
I was always thinking of ways to make money online,like a freedom business. Even before this I had stumbled upon a blog and some youtube videos of these guys who are out here in China getting physical products and I thought that was something I wanted to do. So after I was done with working in New York I was over that whole type of industry, I quit my job, flew to China in December 2015. I didn’t really have any plan, I didn’t know how to do anything, I didn’t really have any online marketing skills at all actually. By March of last year I just started coming across blogs where people were making money with facebook and I didn’t really know what that meant. I was like how are people making money with facebook, that sounds interesting.
I read up on it and I was reading case studies of guys who were making $100,000 in a month selling t-shirts, you know with teespring. And that caught my attention so I started digging a bit more and watching tutorial and kind of got started going down the rabbit hole and found out that people were buying products up aliexpress and shipping directly to their customers. And I realized that I had all the tools I needed to make this work.
I made my first store and failed miserably, pretty quickly.
Did you make any specific store or did you start with a general store?
The first store was a yoga store. I just wanted to make something super fast so I made a site in like a day or two. I didn’t know what I was doing, I didn’t know how to do the research or anything. And I just thought I was just gonna wake up to a $1,000 in sales.
Have you done internet marketing before? Or was facebook your first foray into it?
That was my first foray, yeah.
So in between China and Facebook, what were you doing? Did you try any other businesses, maybe offline?
I was doing copywriting on Upwork. Like writing product descriptions and sales pages and stuff like that. But I wasn’t putting any of it together I was just doing work for clients who were putting their own marketing stuff together, if that makes sense.
The I got into that was through friends that have given me resources to learn how to do copywriting so there’s a lot of trial and error.
How much is the expenses in China anyway if you would’ve lived there by yourself? On a monthly basis what can you expect to pay?
It’s cheap man, you can live off less than 1,000 USD per month. I don’t know how much that is in Australia but anywhere in the US that’s cheap.
Yeah definitely, that’s including food, bills, rent and everything?
Yeah, if you live conservatively you can easily live off a $1,000 or less.
I never knew that. I live in Australia and there’s a lot of Chinese coming down here and completely boosting our real estate market. People in China, we’re just thinking they’re really rich because some of the properties in this city go up 50,000-100,000 dollars above reserve in auctions, because there’s a lot of Chinese people outbidding others. It’s crazy.
Yeah, even the real estate here, there’s a select group of super wealthy Chinese and they buy up all the real estate so all the prices are just shooting up but that’s a whole of different conversation.
Cool. You got into drop shipping, did you try any Teespring shirts?
Briefly, I tried something for 2 days, it was terrible. Mostly it was just me being excited that you could sell something on the internet and didn’t have to make a product with your hands. So I was testing stuff just very briefly with no success.
Yeah, I think you’re the kind of guy that when you get something into your head you’d rather do it instead of read too much about it.
Absolutely. I can’t stand those people who waste all their time reading resources and don’t actually do anything.
It’s actually better like that, the way you’re doing it because yeah it might be a bit risky and you might spend a bit more money but at least you’re actually doing what needs to be done. There’s no other way to do it other than failing, because even if you go into and you only know about 20%, it’s the data you’re gonna get back that’s gonna teach you and solidify your learning. That’s what I found out too.
Yeah, I totally agree with that 100%. You learn by doing.
So Teespring, you launched a few designs..did you get any sales?
No, no sales. It died, I didn’t even know what stats to be looking at at that point. I didn’t even give it a real effort, I spent like $10 and I was like, I don’t know what I’m doing. I should maybe try and figure a little bit more how this all works and go from there.
There’s a lot to get right at the start, you got your Facebook targeting, and you gotta learn Facebook platform and then good designs. It takes time to put it all together, I guess.
So you moved on to drop shipping.Obviously you spent a lot more time with drop shipping I assume. What was it with about drop shipping that caught your eye as opposed to what Teespring was?
What I like about drop shipping is that you have control over the buying experience. So you own the website, you can make the domain, the branding. So there’s a lot more creative control and I liked that aspect of it. You didn’t have to just choose t-shirts. I feel like t-shirts are over saturated and there’s a million different niches with different products that you can target so that was what was more appealing to me about drop shipping.
Yeah, I think that’s the same case for a lot of people, because drop shipping just opens up this whole new world of things you can attempt to market on facebook.
So how did you go with the start, did you do much research? Or is it kind of whatever you saw on aliexpress that you thought might work, you kind of put it to a test?
Like I told you I tried yoga store and this is before I knew how to do research. I was targeting really random stuff that I just thought that girls ages from 18-35 would like but it wasn’t related necessary to yoga at all.
It was just accessories and random stuff.
Yeah, just stuff that was not really good research.
After that failed, I watched some more videos and tutorials on youtube and found that there was a proper way to do research with audience insights.
After using that tool I picked a new niche that I knew some people are already targeting this niche but it wasn’t completely over saturated at that point, so I did proper research and launched some ad creatives the engagement was super good. So I figured, ok I think I got the audience down and then from there more testing. I didn’t actually get any success for about 3 months.
Wow, so for 3 months you were in the same niche or were you kind of switching around to different products?
Same niche, very specific niche. Just testing new products and figuring it out. It took so long because there’s so many variables with ecommerce. I think the hardest part about getting started is that you can’t tell if it’s your ad, or your brand or the color of your website, or the sales part, there’s just so many things that you don’t know if that’s what causing people not to buy. There’s always small tweaks you have to make and it takes time to do that. I think a lot of people give up before they even get past that point and that’s what separates the people who have made money and the people who haven’t.
Yeah definitely. So what do you think made the biggest difference in terms of the products that worked for you? Is there a specific type of ad form that you’re going for or was it the product?
I think it was definitely the product. I found a very compelling product and after enough testing it I kind of found out if my audience were engaging with my ads. I also started testing other countries and eventually I got some hits. And that was the beginning of where my site started to take off.
Like you mentioned before, there’s just so much to test and even if you bring other countries into the mix that’s another whole thing to test. The amount of things that are marketed through Facebook and America alone is a lot compared to even some of the Euro countries. These people that I know that’s getting started, they ask questions about what about this advertising method, what about this color of the button.. What do you think it comes down to? What do you think people that are starting should focus on?
It’s funny, we might be in the same forum on Facebook. People ask the most basic questions that they think is what makes the difference like; should I start with the PP ad or the WC ad or what’s your budget for the first three days. They think it’s so clear cut but it’s tough as a beginner ‘coz you really don’t know. But I think the best thing to get started is just not to think about too many details and to just test and look at your data, look at the people who are engaging with the ads. That’s what it really comes down to, I’m about to start a new store and I don’t expect to make any sales for about 1 or 2 weeks, if you’re lucky we will. But I kind of know that it takes time and there’s a site refinement that has to be expected.
I think there’s always that buffer period where if you’re starting a certain business you’re gonna expect losing money for a short period of time because there’s a huge learning curve. And even though you should go into it with a mentality of succeeding, the reality is these first few products you test they’re likely to fail, right?
Yeah absolutely. I think it’s a mental battle as much as it is a money situation.
I spent over a $1,000 easily before I got my first sale. But my mentality was I was digging myself in to a hole and I wasn’t going to give up and I always had some success so I’m just glad that I stuck with it.
It’s interesting you mentioned that you spent $1,000 before a single sale. Because I get a lot of people saying “I’ve launched about five campaigns, spent about $80 and I haven’t even made a single sale, I’m about to give up.” And in my head I’m thinking I was in a similar situation too. It took me 50 teespring campaigns to get my first sale and that was after $1,000-1,500 spend and a lot more than that to find a profitable campaign.
Do you think you need a certain mentality to succeed in this business, and do you think you can train yourself to think a certain or the correct way?
It’s absolutely mentality. All the other people who I’ve talked who have been successful, they all say the same thing and it’s really just like you have to be persistent and patient. It’s hard, it sounds like annoying when people keep telling you to stop being scared about spending money. But it’s honestly true, you just have to get to a point where it’s like put it in your head that you could spend up to $2,000 before anything happens and even then, still nothing might happen. But that’s really the mindset that you need to have. You can’t expect to spend $100 and make a sale because those people that do that, to me that’s purely luck.
There have been some people that have got into it and after their fifth or tenth product and after a $100 they get lucky and they hit something really big but that definitely isn’t the norm. The norm is spending a lot of time and a lot of money to get to something decent.
Say someone wants to start with a drop shipping store, obviously nothing is guaranteed in everything you get into, it’ll always have its risks and it’s nor guaranteed you’re gonna start making money with it. but what kind of research method/strategies do you employ to make sure there’s a chance in success? What makes a niche kind of appealing?
I kind of start I guess reverse-engineering which is just another method I learned on youtube and other forums online. But it’s like going to sites like watchcount.com and typing in a category that’s interesting to you or just a niche that you think might be not so saturated and looking at the keyword for that product or niche and seeing first of all if there’s any related products and if that product has a lot of sales.
From there going in to aliexpress looking at the order numbers and looking if there’s something that kind of pops out to you. There’s some products that you just see and you’re like that’s really cool.
Do you think it’s important to have a product that’s cool or do you think it can be average and work?
I think for facebook because you’re trying to convert cold traffic I think it has to look unique. At least the photo’s gotta be poppy. The product for me that started working, the photo just grabs your attention, it was very emotional. For this type of platform I think that’s really important.
But as far for the research goes, if you find a product or something on watchcount and it’s related to a niche then I would go into audience insights and start to see what type of pages are related to that niche and then if those buyers are passionate. Just going in to the pages looking at the comments just seeing the type of engagement; are these really crazy about this type of stuff or is it something that they like but they’re not really that crazy for. Something along those lines, that’s kind of how I do my research.
Yeah I think it makes a lot of sense especially with the product being really engaging. Because a lot of people I know that probably get started with facebook, like if they’re selling a pikachu plush toy and they’ll just pick a random plush toy and sell it to a pokemon niche. I mean, there’s nothing really catchy about just a plush toy right. It’s not just you’re finding a product, you gotta find something that stops someone’s facebook browsing experience to just look at your ad. And not just look at your ad but click and engage and kind of want to buy it.
Yeah, it should fill up their screen and it really be eye catching enough that they want to click and they want to see more and learn more about that.
The way I kind of do it these days when I’m browsing through aliexpress. If a product doesn’t get me really excited like if it doesn’t completely make me shut out all the other products I’m looking at and just look at this one and be like wow that’s cool and click in to it then I kind of don’t bother testing it.
Yeah I think that’s a good point. After being in this more, after you get to know your niche a little bit it’s easier to spot things that you think will work just based on past successes. All in all it takes time to kind of get an eye for it. It’s like if something pops out to you, it’s probably gonna pop out to somebody else so try to be a consumer as you’re doing your research.
Definitely. Let’s talk more specific about the actual facebook advertising. I know there’s a big debate about PPE vs clicks to website/optimize by purchases/optimized by view content. What works for you or it doesn’t really matter that much?
I pretty much only use website conversion ads when I’m actually trying to generate sales. A lot of times to get started it all, I will start with PPE just to get likes so that there’s some social proof. In some cases I’ll get sales just from my PPE ads but if I’m really looking to scale and try to make this thing a winner then I’ll duplicate that ad and change it in to a website conversion ad. And from there I don’t really ever use view content but generally use add to cart of purchase events.
Because you don’t have much data at the start for the purchase events especially, do you find it’s a good strategy to just go with view content because facebook can gather a lot more data and optimize it better or it doesn’t really matter that much?
Yeah, I would say if you’re starting out and your site’s fairly new, it’s like a ladder. You gotta start with the view content and once you’re using the view content you get it up to add to carts and once you have some purchases after using the add to cart then you switch to purchases. You just got to work your way down the ladder.
When you make sales and all that, do you handle everything yourself, do you have any virtual assistants working with you?
This is kind of my full time job and I haven’t found a reason and I’m kind of perfectionist and control freak so I haven’t given up power to anybody else yet. So right now I’m doing everything on my own. I use oberlo app that just fulfills everything automatically it doesn’t really take that long even if when I’ve had big days and I have to do a lot of orders.
The most time that I’ve spent comes from handling customer questions. It could be time consuming.
Yeah, you never know what it’s gonna be when I get an email notification in my store.
Yeah, I remember when I was targeting the first foreign country I targeted. And they don’t speak english so google translator’s open in the next tab and every single message I’m reading is in a different language and I’m responding in a different language and I’m sure the translation’s terrible, that’s when it gets annoying. But the way I like to think about it is if your customer service is really good and when people are asking you about how to buy something, these are all potential sales, so you just got to treat it like that.
I think I red somewhere, someone had an idea of actually messaging each person that comments or engages with your ad with a discount code/coupon?
Oh wow. I just send them a link, I don’t give them a discount.
So you just put in a link underneath their comment?
I feel bad for saying this but after marketing online I feel like people aren’t as intelligent as they should be. Because the questions that you get are just so ridiculous. People asking like what’s the price, how can I get this, where do I get this. And you just want to tell them click the little link like right above that says ‘buy here’. That stuff gets redundant.
I think you’re right, I’ve come to the same realization as well. I know it sounds really bad saying it but whenever you’re marketing always assume whoever you’re marketing it to are kind of dumb or just not very intelligent. Even when it comes to the landing page, make things really simple.
I remember when I was doing some teespring shirts. It was a nice big ad and it had a link right above the ad right, it was really obvious to click the link and people was still asking ‘where do I buy this?’ So I started to put in an image with an arrow pointing to the link saying buy from here.
Yeah, it’s got to be blatantly obvious, it’s like making that ad for your 75 year old grandma or something.
It’s a really good point we brought up. Do you think some people put too much effort in to the ad like they’ll put a big description, too much text, really complex image and just kind of over complicate it?
I think that’s definitely something that can dissuade. The fact that people are even reading your ad about how to buy, you know people are engaged by the photo, they’re not there to read something. If you’re gonna have a bunch of copy in your ad and descriptions and all these fancy stuff, it could just be a waste or a distraction. What I found that works for me is like very simple, like with less than 3-4 short sentences.
Even on the description page of the product, I just have a generic copy paste thing that I have on pretty much on all my products. Unless there’s any specific things or specifications. But everything else is just so simple that they just look at the picture they just want to know what the price is, they want to know if your shop is legit and they’ll pretty much be happy to make an order.
Exactly. However I am testing with more expensive products and longer copy, to see if that helps with converging. I have red that if you do have a higher price product then you have to justify it with more copy; see if that’s true.
It could be, I guess obviously if the product is really cool. I’ve sold $120 product, $20 for shipping. It was just that the product itself was really good. There was a medium size and large size..I think you’re right, it could be both, it depends on what you’re selling.
I have a couple of things that are around $80-100 and I will get one of sales out those like every couple days. It’s not impossible.
Do you work on any other traffic strategy or currently use just facebook to your store. Do you put any google SCO in to it, maybe make the youtube video of the product?
I hired a guy to do all my social media, to automate out everything and do contents. That’s good for engagement and making your site look legit but it actually didn’t generate any extra traffic or maybe it did generate traffic but I don’t think it generated any extra sales. I haven’t tried google ad words yet, I guess I spend so much time on facebook, I haven’t experimented on others just ‘coz facebook has been reliable so far I feel like afraid to waste money.
It’s always good to master one platform. It takes time to learn a platform completely. It is in a way good to just stick with facebook, google ad words is obviously big but it’s a totally different platform like you gotta have people searching for that product to test it.
Let’s talk about price points, margins and things like that. Is there a specific formula that you use or do you just kind of add a decent profit margin enough to give you a good testing budget?
Some of the stuff on aliexpress is super cheap, it’s like 99 cents. And a lot of times I would go with how does the product look like, does it look expensive. Some of the stuff I’ve ordered I have the physical product so I can see, is somebody gonna believe that this costs $25. Definitely you gotta add profit, like I don’t sell anything on my store less than $15. The lower price items, nobody in their right mind would buy them for $30, they should only be priced $10-15. But then there’s stuff that I buy on aliexpress for $12-15 and I can get away with selling it $100 just because it looks super nice and the quality actually is really good.
I don’t really have a formula for it it’s just kinda like how I feel about how it looks and people base the quality on the price a lot of the time. So, you price something too low and it looks nice they’re just gonna think it’s bad quality.
I think, like you said there’s definitely there’s a price point that’s too low where it kind of turns them off and obviously there’s a price that’s way too high it turns them off.
Yeah there is a sweet spot. It also comes back to what we were saying like testing is key. There’s one of my top sellers that, I sell the most one just one item and I’ve tested like about ten different prices. And I found the highest price that I can get away with with consistency so that’s where I’m at now.
Did you ever try the free shipping model?
I was doing that for a little bit. I don’t really like that model unless you have a good back in sales funnel is set up which I’m trying to get better at but I’m not an email sequence guru. I haven’t been successful about it and a lot of times people don’t want to pay $10 for shipping. Unless your back in sales funnel is set up really nice and you can just break even on the front end then I think it works really well. I think a lot of people are killing it that way.
I think that’s the way to do it right. A lot of people do the free shipping thing but they just over price the shipping part and they just turn customers off. But I think that the guys that are doing it right are pretty much giving their product off for free or breaking even on that front but the back end and the up sale is where they make a ton of money.
Exactly. I know some sites that are doing it for subscriptions, they’re giving something away and then the email sequence, by the end of it people are signing up for their subscription like $20 a month and that’s reoccurring revenue. I would love to get in to something like that but I’m still learning a ton, in time.
It’s good you also brought the quality aspect of it. I know a lot of people kind of shy away from aliexpress because they feel it’s low quality and I guess in many industries or categories of product it is low quality but you can definitely find things that are good right?
Yeah absolutely. The way that I think about it, it’s funny ‘coz after living in China, everything is copied. A lot of the stuff that’s sold anywhere in the world is made in China. The only difference is if it’s a known brand they just have a quality control team so you know the quality is good. But not everything made here is shitty. It just takes the right supplier and making sure that you have good communication with them and you’re vetting your products before shipping them off to random parts of the world.
Did you ever meet up with any of your suppliers or just talk to them through aliexpress.
I’ve actually been to a couple of factories now and I actually had one of my products remade in a higher quality material, because people already like this product like the design but they wanted a higher quality material. I’ve been working with a supplier and had 50 samples remade in a higher quality and I’m testing those now.
Is it kind of hard to do that, is it hard to go to a factory and build a relationship and do that kind of stuff or can pretty much anyone do it?
It’s very easy. That’s what’s been cool about being here on the ground. It sounds complex, kind of scary and intimidating but when you get here you realize China’s growing so fast and there’s just so much opportunity. There’s so many factories that are very welcoming with people who are attempting to do business with them. There’s still obviously a lot of opportunity to get screwed over but it’s difficult to a factory for a day. They’ll pick you up in their nice car and they’ll bring you out to lunch and all these stuff. And they’re gonna do business with you so they make it easy.
I think I’ve experienced that kind of culture as well. One of the suppliers that I’m dealing with is just like a dream to work with. Sometimes if my products have customer complaints he would just out a new one for free, or he’ll refund my money or if I’m over paying him and I don’t that he’ll just let me know and he’ll refund me.
I think that the people that know how to do business, they know that it’s important to build a relationship with you, being honest and open. And it’s good for both parties.
Definitely the relationship thing is big. If you’re starting out and you can establish a relationship with a supplier it definitely helps. That’s a big thing in their culture as well. When you’re starting, that’s important.
What kind of products do you think are to avoid? I know it’s not the case for everyone; I know for me I’ve tried jewelry and I know a lot of people that did try jewelry but it just never work. Maybe 1/300 product are catchy enough to sell but I don’t know there’s just about that that doesn’t sell, for me.
It’s funny ‘coz I sell jewelry.
There you go, you figured it out.
There things that don’t work. As far as drop shipping I wouldn’t sell big bulky products, that’s why the yoga stuff didn’t work. Maybe there are people that are having success with that. But the things that I always heard from people like the gurus, sell items that are small and that can ship easy. I wouldn’t say that there’s a niche to avoid but I wouldn’t be selling really heavy, bulky things that can get messed up or broken.
I think also clothes.
Yeah, I was gonna say that. Avoid clothing from China.
Is it the same case everywhere ‘coz some of those chinese that I see on aliexpress like the jackets and stuff for guys, I love that stuff I mean it looks really cool but is there a way to get that with good quality? Coz whenever I buy it last like a day and I can’t wear it anymore.
I think the only way you’re gonna get good quality is you were like starting a brand and you’re working with a supplier one on one and had a quality control team. But the quality’s so variable, even the consistency is so variable that I would stay away from all type of fabric business.
And all their sizing is small. It’s tough to find clothes here man.
What were your moments where they were very pivotal and they’re kind of like your aha moments, where you’re like oh that’s how it works or that’s what I should be doing. Do you remember those moments during facebook advertising or ecommerce that kind of flip things around for you?
When the product I found started working it was because I noticed a demographic within my audience that was engaging with my ads the most, the people who were commenting like crazy and liking. I was paying attention to their names and I was going in to their profiles and looking at their likes and stuff like that.
So it was more about their interest or was it about their age or gender or anything?
Gender is just like a commonality between their interest like the type of people they are I guess. Once I switched up my targeting a bit and then it started to work. I wouldn’t know if there was like a ‘aha’ but just like being really inquisitive and just paying attention. ‘Coz it’s really frustrating when your ads are working, you’re CPC’s really low and you’re still not making sales. You’re just like what the hell is going on, why is this not working.
So I made this tweak, and I remember within 24 hours I had 3 sales and a ton of cards on a five dollar ad. I was like oh shit I think I got something here. That was just a really good feeling and then from there it was just like a gradual projection. Every time you run a new ad set, or you’re looking at your data or improving something on your store it’s all just moving forward like how can I make this better. I wouldn’t say there was any big aha moment.
It is kinda gradual, but there are big things like knowing your demographic or the interest targeting. For me the interest targeting, getting that right was the difference between me making sales and me not making sales even if you had a good product.
My aha moments mostly came when I was watching tutorials to be honest. I would see something that I haven’t even considered like doing audience insights and looking at affinities for example. That was an aha moment ‘coz I didn’t even know that that was a thing so after learning that you’re like oh shit I wasn’t even trying that like let’s see how this goes.
I think audience insights is pretty under rated tool, not many people know about it. For the people that don’t know about it, how would you kind of describe it? Or what do you think is the important aspect of the whole tool?
Audience insights is crazy! It’s like when I first found that you could have a tool to look at all these information on people kind of blew my mind. It’s basically a tool in facebook’s business manager that you can use to look up different interest on facebook and it gives you the information about people’s income, what type of buying behavior they have, the majority of the people, women or men or age.
They’re really into the data don’t they like you can look into some really specific stuff?
Yeah, It’s pretty intense man, it’s kind of freaky ‘coz you just sit while all these companies are gathering massive amounts of data on people but at the same time it’s really valuable.
It’s definitely a good tool if you’re not using it I don’t think you’re gonna have any success.
Affinity, you mentioned that word a few times. What is affinity and how does it relate?
I’ll give you an example, if you enter in an interest group, if you enter peoples on this tool it will show up a number of pages that are related to other pages like people and affinity is how likely somebody is to like that page. So people like peoples and there’s another page that comes up that says people puppies and it shows 107x, it just means that people who like peoples are 107 times likely to like people puppies.
It’s just showing that the relationship between these pages is very high so it’ll show that the people are very passionate, they’re most likely to like a lot of these pages that are related to this subject.
Budgets. When you’re scaling, did you find it a problem when you were to increase like you’re running an ad for $5 a day and you boost it to $20 a day, did that work okay with the ROI or did you find that drop of it? Coz I think a lot of people experienced the drop.
I didn’t really get any good scaling until November. End of July to September was like good, I was just kind of like just getting started. Still learning a ton but I was making money. And then a lot of my ads as I tried to scale I would just lose all my ROI and then I kept breaking even, that was really frustrating and demoralizing.
So the end of October and in to November, thankfully the holiday season was picking up. I was learning more about manual bidding and as far as scaling goes I think that’s the only way to scale. I don’t trust putting $100 on auto bid because you’re just spend the $100 and you may have more sales but you’re not gonna make that much money.
When really I started making money was when I started manual bidding which was in beginning and end of November.
Were you manual bidding on the products or campaigns from scratch? Or did you have a profitable campaign a one that was breaking even and then you kind of started to manual bid?
I had a product that was a known winner, one that was already selling. And then flipped it over to a manual bid and just through the different videos and forums, I just started testing that. And that worked really well.
What does the manual bidding that you control, is it just to set CPM that you can control or does it pretty much everything, like you can tell them to just give you clicks under 50 cents and they’ll aim for that?
It depends on what you bid on. You can bid on clicks, on impressions, purchase events, ATC, view content, really anything. If I’m bidding on anything, I bid on ATC and purchase events.
I don’t know if you red a lot about this but basically it just helps you get your ad shown. Manual bidding basically allows you to control how often your ad is shown and for what price. For me it’s a lot more effective at saving you money because if you’re not getting results then you’re not getting charged for them.
What happens let’s say when you’re promoting a product and you aim for clicks under 50 cents. But it’s not realistic for facebook to give you that, compared to your competitors do they just not show your ad? do they tell you to increase your bid?
So what happens is, you just won’t get any traffic. You’ll see that your reach will be super low and it won’t be shown to anybody. Basically it’s telling you that your bid is too low and then you would just have to increase it little by little until you start to see like a steady flow of traffic. And there’s an opposite way to do that, and that’s to start with a super high bid and you’ll see flood of traffic and then you slowly taper your bid down until you kind of reach a sweet spot where you’re getting conversions at a decent price.
That makes a lot of sense. I’ve actually never tried manual bidding, I’ve always done automatic. But I’ve always found whenever I’ve tampered with an ad that is doing really well for me it just kind of ruins it for some reason. So I think what happens, is it just completely throws off the algorithm and because you don’t have any control metrics in place it kinda resets that whole thing for facebook. So the whole manual bidding thing I think really puts in those control factors. So even if you do bump the budget it still has a framework to work of.
If you noticed obviously this things get more saturated. One thing moves to the next. People went from teespring to drop shipping, people went from drop shipping making a ton of money just auto bidding with basic campaigns, now that’s saturated so people are getting into manual bidding.
I’m curious as to what is the next thing because even drop shipping to me is getting over saturated. I want to create a brand because people are catching on and there’s just so many stores that you see some of the same stuff, it’s not unique anymore and it’s gonna die out soon.
I think you’re right, anyone that I’ve talked to that’s been in the industry for more than 3-5 years, they’ll tell you that things keep moving on to the next big thing that’s just how it works. And then everyone kind of rush to that and then saturate and market the crap out of that. And they move on to something else.
It’s interesting ‘coz you do want to stay one step ahead ‘coz I remember 10-15 years ago when facebook was almost brand new there were people doing drop shipping ads. I remember seeing shirts in my column ads, I never knew it was drop shipping until I started doing it.
And I remember when I started teespring you could just stick a silhouette of a firetruck on a shirt with any quote you want and they were selling for thousands, but now it’s excruciatingly painfully hard to get a really good design that sells on teespring.
Yeah it’s definitely becoming much more difficult.
What are your future plans? Are you gonna stay in the whole drop shipping thing? Are you gonna move on to other projects?
There’s still money to be made in drop shipping obviously, my stores are still generating money. I’m not rich by any means but I have some good months and I have some bad months. Most of all I like the learning aspect of it like I’m learning a ton. Being in China it just allowed me to understand like how product development works. That to me is more exciting and moving forward I want to create custom product and actually create a brand. And if you know how to do the marketing and you have the access to create a custom product then I think you have the best of both worlds, so moving forward that’s something I’m looking to do.
That’s pretty cool man. I know a lot of people do that with the amazon FBA thing, I’ve interviewed a couple of people in that space and the whole private labelling thing works like that so you find something on amazon that works well then you make a modification to it or find a small change that can get you in to a whole new market and then you get it manufactured in China and they try to sell it on amazon.
Yeah, I see guys out here that are doing that right now.
So they’re living in China doing it are they?
Yeah, I’ve got a couple of friends who are doing FBA. They’re on the ground here because they can actually show the quality a lot better and they’re bouncing around SouthEast Asia.
We’ve covered pretty much everything about drop shipping. That was pretty good. Any last words for people who want to get started with facebook and drop shipping.
I’d say stick it out. I mean, if you’re lucky you’ll hit something maybe on your first day or your first week. But I think it’s something that it takes time, it takes testing and it takes some discipline and determination. If you’re serious about it and you want to build business online and enjoy that type of freedom then you gotta be able to withstand a lot of hard days. Just work hard, that’s it.
Alright man, I think we’ll end it there. Thanks for coming on the show Harrison!
Yeah, it’s great to talk with you, thanks for having me on!