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SamboNZ

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Aug 14, 2019
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Hey Guys,

I need some outside perspective from those who have had success and have 'been there and succeeded' before.

Background:
- I have been doing ECom for over 2 years (1.5 years full time)
- I am dedicated, typically putting in 60-70+hrs per week
- I have put serious effort into 3 different businesses
- I'm a tech guy so learning platforms / systems is not a problem for me
- I feel that I am lacking in knowledge about marketing, a problem which I am currently in the process of correcting
- I believe in learning from those with superior knowledge to me and have invested in training in the past

Current Issues:
- While I believe I now have a reasonable grasp of most ECom concepts, strategies and methods, other than one short burst of success for a couple of months (with DropShipping early in the COVID pandemic), I have not been able to consistently make profitable sales.
- I feel like there's something missing in my knowledge / approach which will tie everything together and allow me to be successful; the 'glue' which makes it al work, but I can't see what it is.
- I don't know what the optimal marketing approach is for a given product (eg; lead/traffic warming vs cold ads)
- I'm feeling quite lost and directionless right now; unsure how to proceed further

My Thoughts on Possible Causes / Solutions:
- It's possible that I'm not being persistent enough when it comes to marketing and that I am giving up too early (after a couple of months of solid marketing with no sales), but I find it difficult to judge when I'm just burning money vs persisting with testing & tuning as I have no frame of reference for this.
- Maybe I have to accept that I need to spend thousands of dollars testing advertising for a business which may not be successful / profitable?

I realize that this may not be enough info to work with; please ask me if you need more detail.

All constructive input greatly appreciated!
Thank you.

Sam.
 

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sparechange

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You don't need to spend thousands of dollars to sell a product.

There are ways to advertise for free :cool:
 
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SamboNZ

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I've heard mixed feedback on free advertising. Where could I find information on methods and results?

Two of my businesses were dropshipping, one was white labelled products with plans to manufacture my own products (supplements).
 

sparechange

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I've heard mixed feedback on free advertising. Where could I find information on methods and results?

Two of my businesses were dropshipping, one was white labelled products with plans to manufacture my own products (supplements).
Cold calling like a telephone terrorist, facebook is free, instagram is free, youtube is free, writing letters is free, door knocking is free, standing on the side of the road with a sign is free, getting others to market a product is kinda free except paying out commissions.

Be a problem solver, that's what being an entrepreneur is about. Selling supplements isn't really being an entrepenuer, you just join the ranks of money chasing donkeys spamming out crap online (my opinion)
 
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SamboNZ

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Aug 14, 2019
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Selling supplements isn't really being an entrepenuer, you just join the ranks of money chasing donkeys spamming out crap online (my opinion)
What kinds of things would you consider as being an entrepreneur?
 

sparechange

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What kinds of things would you consider as being an entrepreneur?
Providing value, re-read the two massive books by MJ
 

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Selling supplements isn't really being an entrepenuer, you just join the ranks of money chasing donkeys spamming out crap online (my opinion)
It's incomprehensible why people would give you death threats.
For the OP's reference
 

sparechange

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It's incomprehensible why people would give you death threats.
For the OP's reference
Great post, thank you
 

Bekit

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Hey Guys,

I need some outside perspective from those who have had success and have 'been there and succeeded' before.

Background:
- I have been doing ECom for over 2 years (1.5 years full time)
- I am dedicated, typically putting in 60-70+hrs per week
- I have put serious effort into 3 different businesses
- I'm a tech guy so learning platforms / systems is not a problem for me
- I feel that I am lacking in knowledge about marketing, a problem which I am currently in the process of correcting
- I believe in learning from those with superior knowledge to me and have invested in training in the past

Current Issues:
- While I believe I now have a reasonable grasp of most ECom concepts, strategies and methods, other than one short burst of success for a couple of months (with DropShipping early in the COVID pandemic), I have not been able to consistently make profitable sales.
- I feel like there's something missing in my knowledge / approach which will tie everything together and allow me to be successful; the 'glue' which makes it al work, but I can't see what it is.
- I don't know what the optimal marketing approach is for a given product (eg; lead/traffic warming vs cold ads)
- I'm feeling quite lost and directionless right now; unsure how to proceed further

My Thoughts on Possible Causes / Solutions:
- It's possible that I'm not being persistent enough when it comes to marketing and that I am giving up too early (after a couple of months of solid marketing with no sales), but I find it difficult to judge when I'm just burning money vs persisting with testing & tuning as I have no frame of reference for this.
- Maybe I have to accept that I need to spend thousands of dollars testing advertising for a business which may not be successful / profitable?

I realize that this may not be enough info to work with; please ask me if you need more detail.

All constructive input greatly appreciated!
Thank you.

Sam.
Sounds like marketing is the most likely culprit.

If you're trying to market supplements, that's one of the most lucrative (and also one of the most difficult) niches to market effectively, as you're up against a ton of extra restrictions when it comes to facebook and other advertising platforms.

Maybe if you list some of the things you've tried that haven't worked, and some approaches you're considering, you could get some good feedback on what direction might be more profitable.
 

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SamboNZ

New Contributor
Aug 14, 2019
24
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14
Sounds like marketing is the most likely culprit.
...
Maybe if you list some of the things you've tried that haven't worked, and some approaches you're considering, you could get some good feedback on what direction might be more profitable.
In regards to supplements it is indeed somewhat of an uphill battle due to restrictions as you mentioned.

So far my main approach has been to use lead magnets (ebooks etc) to collect leads (traffic from FB), then push these through an email marketing sequence (10 emails over 30 days) containing further free informational products and various levels of soft & hard sells for the supplement.

I put over 1500 leads through this system but made no sales.

I have tried some straight cold click marketing via FB, but I was not able to generate sales profitably (although in hindsight I don't think I gave this enough time to optimize; I gave up after ~$250 in ad spend with no sales).

I have tried sending traffic to a Shopify store product page and a funnel, as well as providing product details in my emails.

FB ad and opt-in rate was pretty good ($1 leads & 45% opt-in rate) and email engagement was also very good (~45% initial, down to ~25% for emails in the first week or so).

So good stats, not good sales.

I spent a lot of time on landing page, copy and offer optimization and while I am no expert, I feel that it should have warranted better results than I got.

One thing I know I'm lacking is social proof, but I'm kinda stuck in a catch-22 where I have no sales, so I can't get any reviews so I can't get social proof so I can't get sales...

So one idea I had was to do a F+S campaign to get the product out there and get some feedback which I could use as social proof.
 

sparechange

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The marketplace is giving you feedback, maybe they don't want or need the product? After all there are hundreds of supplements out there, perhaps it could be better pricing, branding whatever the case may be, 0 sales means something.

I had the same problem with a dog grooming product and got run over by my competition (they did over 6 figures)

Create a product that is unique, wanted or needed... the supplement niche has been filled and you'd be competing with hundreds of other brands, why fight an uphill battle when you can coast downhill? People are going insane right now over toilet paper, cleaning supplies & masks, maybe there is something you can do there?
 
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SamboNZ

New Contributor
Aug 14, 2019
24
15
14
The marketplace is giving you feedback, maybe they don't want or need the product? After all there are hundreds of supplements out there, perhaps it could be better pricing, branding whatever the case may be, 0 sales means something.

Create a product that is unique, wanted or needed... the supplement niche has been filled and you'd be competing with hundreds of other brands, why fight an uphill battle when you can coast downhill?
For sure it's telling me something, but I need to find out what that is.
I've put a lot of thought, time, effort and money into this business and I'm not prepared to give up without confirming that there is no opportunity there for me.

If my research proves that the opportunity is not there, I'll walk away, but I need to prove it first.

According to my fairly extensive research, this particular supplement niche is in high demand, is under-served and existing suppliers are doing a pretty poor job of serving the market right now.

People are going insane right now over toilet paper, cleaning supplies & masks, maybe there is something you can do there?
Heh, yup, been there, made $100k+ of sales from health related products which have been in high demand recently partially due to COVID.
The problem is that the demand has proven to be very short-term and the wave of buying seems to have all but ended now.

In any case, I'm more interested in building a business with long term potential, building loyalty and trust with a customer base who buy from me regularly and also buy other related products from me; not flitting between multiple 'hot' products which are just a flash in the pan with little to no opportunities for repeat purchases.

I want to create long term value :smile2:
 
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sparechange

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For sure it's telling me something, but I need to find out what that is.
I've put a lot of thought, time, effort and money into this business and I'm not prepared to give up without confirming that there is no opportunity there for me.

If my research proves that the opportunity is not there, I'll walk away, but I need to prove it first.

According to my fairly extensive research, this particular supplement niche is in high demand, is under-served and existing suppliers are doing a pretty poor job of serving the market right now.



Heh, yup, been there, made $100k+ of sales from health related products which have been in high demand recently partially due to COVID.
The problem is that the demand has proven to be very short-term and the wave of buying seems to have all but ended now.

In any case, I'm more interested in building a business with long term potential, building loyalty and trust with a customer base who buy from me regularly and also buy other related products from me; not flitting between multiple 'hot' products which are just a flash in the pan with little to no opportunities for repeat purchases.

I want to create long term value :smile2:
Well if you are capable of creating 6 figures in sales in X niche are you talking with those customers and listening to their wants and needs? Seems like the best bet to have a dialogue with current customers/place offers out there
 
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SamboNZ

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Aug 14, 2019
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Well if you are capable of creating 6 figures in sales in X niche are you talking with those customers and listening to their wants and needs? Seems like the best bet to have a dialogue with current customers/place offers out there
This was dropshipping 'hot' health products and the demand has basically disappeared now, but yes, you're right, there could be some opportunity for further sales of related products there.
 

Bekit

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One thing I know I'm lacking is social proof, but I'm kinda stuck in a catch-22 where I have no sales, so I can't get any reviews so I can't get social proof so I can't get sales...
I'm confused.

This isn't your proprietary product, right?

Is anyone getting sales for this product?

Somebody has bought it, surely.

And then there's this...
Heh, yup, been there, made $100k+ of sales from health related products which have been in high demand recently partially due to COVID.
I'm not understanding.

Was this for something different?

What about this $100k+ product is different from the no sales product?

Can you replicate what worked on the 100k one?

So one idea I had was to do a F+S campaign to get the product out there and get some feedback which I could use as social proof.
I'd say that's a solid thing to try.

According to my fairly extensive research, this particular supplement niche is in high demand, is under-served and existing suppliers are doing a pretty poor job of serving the market right now.
So I'm still not understanding why you're not selling. This seems like you should have a gold mine.

Are you targeting the wrong people?

Using the wrong messaging?

Not driving enough traffic?

Look at your numbers.

Where's the breakdown in your funnel? What stage are the most people getting stuck?

Check the following...
  • Ad to landing page CTR
  • Landing page contains the offer, right? What percent of people buy?
  • Or does the landing page ask them to do a different step, like entering their email? What percentage of people do this step?
  • What percentage of people do the next step?
  • How many steps (=clicks) are there between the ad and the purchase?
  • Where are people falling off?
  • Track down the culprit. Is it that the copy is weak? Is it that the page design doesn't look like a legit site?
Also, if you have 1500 email leads, how are you following up with them?
 
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SamboNZ

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Aug 14, 2019
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I'm confused.
This isn't your proprietary product, right?
Is anyone getting sales for this product?
Somebody has bought it, surely.
Yes, there are definitely good sales of this product elsewhere (under a different name of course).


I'm not understanding.
Was this for something different?
What about this $100k+ product is different from the no sales product?
Can you replicate what worked on the 100k one?
To clarify; I did the $100k of sales in my dropshipping business; totally different products & business model.


So I'm still not understanding why you're not selling. This seems like you should have a gold mine.
...
Where's the breakdown in your funnel? What stage are the most people getting stuck?
Check the following...
Well that's the catch right; I have pretty good results in terms of CTR and engagement, but no-one's buying. Could well be my copy, but I'm unsure how to confirm that other that A/B testing with other alternative copy. Hotjar hasn't really helped give me any clues so far.


Also, if you have 1500 email leads, how are you following up with them?
These leads (supplement business) all went through my 30 day long email sequence.
 
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SamboNZ

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Aug 14, 2019
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What do you do for the 60-70 hours a week if you aren’t getting sales?
Working on improvements & testing, working on other business ideas, learning, trying to earn a living by any means possible :)
 

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WJK

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Hey Guys,

I need some outside perspective from those who have had success and have 'been there and succeeded' before.

Background:
- I have been doing ECom for over 2 years (1.5 years full time)
- I am dedicated, typically putting in 60-70+hrs per week
- I have put serious effort into 3 different businesses
- I'm a tech guy so learning platforms / systems is not a problem for me
- I feel that I am lacking in knowledge about marketing, a problem which I am currently in the process of correcting
- I believe in learning from those with superior knowledge to me and have invested in training in the past

Current Issues:
- While I believe I now have a reasonable grasp of most ECom concepts, strategies and methods, other than one short burst of success for a couple of months (with DropShipping early in the COVID pandemic), I have not been able to consistently make profitable sales.
- I feel like there's something missing in my knowledge / approach which will tie everything together and allow me to be successful; the 'glue' which makes it al work, but I can't see what it is.
- I don't know what the optimal marketing approach is for a given product (eg; lead/traffic warming vs cold ads)
- I'm feeling quite lost and directionless right now; unsure how to proceed further

My Thoughts on Possible Causes / Solutions:
- It's possible that I'm not being persistent enough when it comes to marketing and that I am giving up too early (after a couple of months of solid marketing with no sales), but I find it difficult to judge when I'm just burning money vs persisting with testing & tuning as I have no frame of reference for this.
- Maybe I have to accept that I need to spend thousands of dollars testing advertising for a business which may not be successful / profitable?

I realize that this may not be enough info to work with; please ask me if you need more detail.

All constructive input greatly appreciated!
Thank you.

Sam.
This is a very difficult business climate since the virus has raised it's nasty head. My personal business plan during this type of moment is to line up business for when things turn around. It gives me time to make contacts and make nice with people when they least expect a contact. Most people will spend their time in a crisis sitting on their pity-pots contemplating their navels. This is a golden opportunity for you to create your future success while your competitors are sitting it out on the sidelines.
 

Phikey

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From what you've written it seems to me that you've created a product first and now you're trying to figure out how to sell it to people. You have no idea why people aren't buying it, even though you think your product is the bees knees. You've put the cart before the horse. Find the customers first, figure out exactly what they want and then deliver value with a product that's tailored to their needs.

The good news is that you have 1500 emails (as long as they are quality emails). I would blast them with a survey.. or, even better, offer them an Amazon gift card to jump on a quick 15-20 minute phone call with you. After just 5 calls you'll learn more about your target customers than you did through hundreds of dollars in facebook spend.

All these dropshipping courses have convinced a generation of entrepreneurs that a 'winning product' is the secret to success in Ecommerce. The product is just the value that you're providing to solve the customer's needs. What really matters is what the customer wants and thinks. If they don't see the value in your product then they won't buy. The easiest (and cheapest) way to fix this is to talk to your potential customers and figure out what the heck they want in a supplement. Maybe they don't even have the problem you think they have.
 
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SamboNZ

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From what you've written it seems to me that you've created a product first and now you're trying to figure out how to sell it to people.
Based on my prior market research I know that there is demand for the product. I also have a more refined demographic to work with now that I've got some engagement results from my advertising to date.

But yes, I get your point and your ideas are good and will certainly help me to narrow down exactly what people's issues and desires are. Thank you.
 

WJK

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Based on my prior market research I know that there is demand for the product. I also have a more refined demographic to work with now that I've got some engagement results from my advertising to date.

But yes, I get your point and your ideas are good and will certainly help me to narrow down exactly what people's issues and desires are. Thank you.
If you can get them talking, they'll tell you exactly how to tailor your message to them. What's important to them? It's way past their "issues and desires". That phrase is way too wide to be useful. (That's like saying that all women are interested in "girlie" things.) What are your prospects' tipping points -- when they will be happily moved to act by buying your product? How can you make their idea rather than "selling" them?
 

biophase

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Working on improvements & testing, working on other business ideas, learning, trying to earn a living by any means possible :)
Ok, so you aren't really working on this one business for 60-70 hours. You are working on other stuff and your ecommerce store.

The reason I asked is because people always say they are working alot on their business, but they really aren't. What are you doing specifically for this one ecommerce business weekly?
 

Andy Black

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The-J

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I feel that I am lacking in knowledge about marketing, a problem which I am currently in the process of correcting
Probably.

You spent $250 on FB ads to generate leads, which means you were promoting one "offer" (join my email list and get something cool) while measuring sales on the other offer (buy my supplement). Nothing wrong with this strategy, it's just that you did nothing to convince those people to actually buy your supplements.

If you generate a lead, you need to give the lead a reason to convert down the funnel. That's why they're leads and not customers.

But that's just tactical stuff. Many marketers get too deep into tactics when their real issue is their offer.

If nobody is buying what you sell, then you clearly have a product-market fit problem. The people you think want your product actually don't. Several reasons for this: maybe the competition is more attractive, or maybe your offer doesn't suit their needs, or maybe your offer doesn't seem to be worth the cost, or maybe you're targeting the wrong people. There are a million and one reasons why people say no, but only one reason why they say yes. People say yes because they believe they need what you have to offer.

And no, $250 is nowhere near enough to test a product. If you're gonna test a product on Facebook, test it with a bigger budget on several audiences with several different appeals and see which ones work best. And test it direct. Don't spend your first tests on complicated funnel tactics: just see if people actually want what you have to offer!

Heh, yup, been there, made $100k+ of sales from health related products which have been in high demand recently partially due to COVID.
The problem is that the demand has proven to be very short-term and the wave of buying seems to have all but ended now.
And that's how I can tell that your marketing chops need work. Selling health products to a panicked public is like selling drugs to a junkie: it sells itself. Most things don't. Give people a good enough reason to shell out, and they WILL.
 

Andy Black

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You're infatuated with her aren't you?
Hands off she's mine!
Lol. I do indeed immerse myself when I get into something. I’m trying to get my head round Facebook (as well as YouTube). Two massive platforms I don’t use very well.

Also, she’s an excellent example of creating valuable content without it being too polished or too scripted. She’s a natural presenter who is also well practiced and who leans into what she’s good at rather than trying to be like everyone else.

Her 100 Perfect People challenge is closed currently so I was trying to piece it together by watching all the videos on it. I think I understand what she’s doing and why but not how she’s doing it on the Facebook platform. She’s basically looking for the hyper-responsives who will rave and share the right content and products to lots of other people.
 
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SamboNZ

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Ok, so you aren't really working on this one business for 60-70 hours. You are working on other stuff and your ecommerce store.
I never stated that I was working exclusively on my supplements business; I work 60-70hrs per week on my various ECommerce ventures.

I worked on the supplements business full time (60-70hrs per week) for 12 months, but ran out of funds to continue advertising at the end of 2019. Since then I have been trying to get some kind of semi-reliable income going so that I can put the funds back into my supplement business.

I started this thread because my previous attempts to generate income with supplements were ineffective and I see no point in throwing more money at it until I can work out why and how to fix it.
 

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