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Dropshipping success stories are a dime a dozen. But actionable case studies that go along with them are few and far between. For that reason, I've decided to create this case study to help you become a success story yourself.
$732,701.35 in 3 short weeks with Print on Demand Jewelry. That's a hell of a number.
Suhail had been running a couple of campaigns in a niche we’ve been active in for years. For that reason, we'd quickly found a couple of small winners and started scaling up to 100+ units a day when we had to change pendants… SHIT!
To say 2020 was a wild ride would be a complete understatement, now our first campaign that was about to scale hard had to have the brakes slammed on so we didn’t oversell the SKU…
We have been in the POD industry since it really took off when Donald “Pop Pop” Wilson released his ads cracked course so we’d seen some shit.
We’ve experienced the highs and lows of ecom, 7 figures in several weeks, repeatedly only to have campaigns come to a grinding halt once the campaign had been exhausted…this was ok a few years ago when POD was still relatively new. We’d go from winning big to starting at the bottom again, unlocking new profitable niches, hit it big, scale hard, wind down and then rinse and repeat. Life was good.
We still haven't found the consistent approach that brings in the evergreen dollars. This is what our 2021 is about. Building our team and having them work so we don’t have to work so hard at the coalface, facing burnout and boredom.
But I digress. This article will take you into the rapid scaling strategy I used that took us from 3 units the first day to over 750 units in the first week, with one design…
And if you haven't heard of ShineOn you need to read ShineOn Jewelry: The POD Jeweller You NEED to know.
What you’re going to learn in this article;
- The Importance of Having a Business Partner
- The Results of Print of Demand Jewelry
- Pro's & Con's – ShineOn; Shopify or Platform
- It’s All About The Design, Ads Come Second
- What Makes a Good Design for Print on Demand Jewelry
- My Design Testing Strategy
- The Rules – They're a MUST HAVE
- My Ad Testing Strategy
- The Ad Strategy
- Crushing Your Retargeting
Dropshipping success stories: $732,701.35USD in 3 weeks with Print On Demand Jewelry!
When you have a campaign that is taking off and your profitability is through the roof, the last thing you want to have to do is slow down your spending.
And after having spent 2 months on the sidelines… Thanks Facebook for disabling us. Weird that it coincided with the election. Hadn’t realized Aussie Election tampering was a thing. Anyway, we didn’t have advertising access for 6 weeks of Q4!
But that’s exactly what happened, the love knot was close to selling out so we had to switch it out for another piece…in hindsight, we could have done it differently… i.e adding the ad to the current ad sets that are converting.
Have to switch pendants on a scaling phrase? Add the new piece to the performing ad sets.
In any case, as much as we tried to resurrect that piece and scale it back to over 100 pieces we did not achieve the outcome. Instead, whilst that ticked along at about 30-50 units a day, we decided we needed to try a new angle…
The original piece was black & white, and fairly generic in the way we targeted…i.e, Husband to wife.
To mix it up, we added a niche color and a little humor. The result was instant. And the best part was, I had designed the print card myself. See, that’s the beauty of print cards, they can be super simple, and as you start finding success with a phrase you can make tweaks and scale outs very quickly.
The Importance of Having a Business Partner
They say, and I know it's true coz it's on Facebook… “If you're the smartest guy in the room, you're in the wrong room.” Thankfully, with my business partner around I am always in the right room…unlucky for him really, coz he isn't haha.
I just wanted to say before getting into this article, whilst I endlessly use “I” & “my” in these articles it really is “we” & “us”. Without Suhail the systems that we follow wouldn't exist, the monsters we were lucky enough to find would not have come to fruition.
Suhail is a master crafter when it comes to phrase building. The number of times we've seen phrases he's come up with ripped and reproduced are too numerous to count. Lucky for me, his output is endless and those phrases keep on coming.
The reason I wanted to share this is that Suhail is the vital piece to the POD puzzle and our business in general. Where I lack, he flourishes, and vice versa. It's this yin and yang that makes our business work and why we've been partners coming up 10 years.
I urge you, to make your life easier (and sometimes much more difficult), find a partner you can trust. You need someone to build you up when you're down, keep your feet on the ground or help motivate you to success. A good partner is hugely beneficial for your long term success.
The Results of Print of Demand Jewelry
I know a lot of you call bullshit as soon as you see screenshots about dropshipping success stories. Personally, I don’t care what someone’s profitability is as I am more about seeing what CAN be done, then it’s down to my belief to make it happen.
BUT to appease the naysayers amongst you, these are the numbers for our Q4 (+ a little outside as the ShineOn platform doesn’t allow for custom date restriction).
ShineOn Platform Results
ShineOn Platform Revenue $398,626.84 USD
- Ad Account 1 Spend $170,784.23 USD | ROAS 2.32
- Ad Account 2 Spend $678.99 USD | ROAS 0.89
- Ad Account 3 Spend $215.26 USD | ROAS 0.81
- Ad Account 4 Spend $30.15 USD | ROAS 0.00
- Ad Account 5 Spend $6281.46 USD | ROAS 1.77
- Ad Account 6 Spend $578.78 USD | ROAS 0.84
- Ad Account 7 Spend $3256.17 USD | ROAS 1.73
- Ad Account 8 Spend $640.31 USD | ROAS 0.76
ShineOn Platform Profit $268,552.17
Total Ad Spend $182,465.35
TOTAL PROFIT $86,086.82*
Store Revenue $334,101.35 USD
- Ad Account 1 Spend $126,977.36 USD | ROAS 2.23
- Ad Account 2 Spend $7,736.52 USD | ROAS 5.36
- Retarget App $3,964.37 USD | ROAS 4.33
- Google Adwords $6,603.27 USD | ROAS 4.16
Store Gross Profit before Ad Spend $200,460.81 USD
Total Ad Spend $145,281.52 USD
PROFIT TOTAL $55,179.29 USD
Q4 TOTAL Profit
ShineOn Platform $86,086.82
Shopify Store $55,179.29
Not bad for 4 weeks of work. Now to do it consistently!
*This does not take into account foreign currency fees, (ie, getting our money back to Australia), staff wages, etc etc
**Our store has a selection of different POD products. Print on Demand Jewelry is what made up most of our Q4 sales.
See screenshots for proof of spend. Screenshot currency varies, check caption on image for specifications. The conversion rate shown was 0.77 as of the 1.14.2021
Pro's & Con's – ShineOn, Shopify, or Platform
I was incredibly lucky that I had almost identical success on the platform as I did on our Shopify Store. What that means is I can share with you first hand which is better to help you make a more informed decision about the 2.
Whilst the fees are higher on the platform you do have the added benefits of ShineOn taking care of some of your retargeting (it was free through Q4) and taking responsibility for all customer service inquiries!
Being able to offload these elements when first starting can be super beneficial. Leaving you to only focus on your phrase building, design, and ad management. I had forgotten how good it was not having to constantly deal with customers.
In regards to conversion rate, there was nothing significantly different. To be fair, I didn't check it once as I was more concerned that I had the ads dialed. Playing around with landing pages, funnels, etc is much more important for dropshipping.
For POD it takes away from the speed at which you can test. Your conversion rate doesn't matter if you don't have a winning product.
Why did I use both?
We have been lucky to have numerous dropshipping success stories with both platforms and our own Shopify stores. This is why we continue to use both.
In this case, our Shopify store is a branded niche store so obviously, anything that's specific to that niche is placed there. For other niches, we used the platform. With the increase in sales comes an increase in customer service.
As we didn't want to hire any more staff (time constraints etc) it was great to use the platform to make the most of our time and offload that pesky customer service work.
It’s All About The Design, Ads Come Second.
There are very distinct differences between Dropshipping & POD. Print on Demand has the unique ability to design something with our audience in mind.
For dropshipping, you have to find a customer for a product. With DS, you need to focus on great creatives & great copy. POD, on the other hand, you need to focus on design/phrase! ShineOn already provides amazing creatives so it's one less thing to think about.
When you’re seeing folks posting about dropshipping success stories with copy copy copy, creative, creative, creative more often than not they are referring to brands that are product-driven. Podcasts focus on brand-driven products as well as most agencies.
That’s not to say there isn’t gold in what they’re writing about, it’s just you need to be aware of where your energy needs to focus with POD.
What Makes a Good Design for Print on Demand Jewelry
Now, when it comes to design for Print on Demand Jewelry, there are several key parts to getting a message card correct. The intro, the recipient, the body (the moneymaker), the sign-off & the design.
To break down what we focused on following the list below. This allows our phrase builders (Suhail & I currently 😂…until we build a team…) to have a quick go-to resource for building winning phrases.
- Standard: To My
- Embellished: To My Stunning
- Cutesy: To My Cute
- Deep: To The Love of My Life
- One & Only
The Body (the moneymaker)
This is a whole article unto itself and one I’ll write in the future. Until then, check out Michael Crist’s Frankenphrases. What he explains here is exactly what any top ShineOn seller is an expert at.
Effectively, it’s finding historic winning phrases and mashing them with others. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
The Sign Off
- Love, Your Husband
- Love, Your One & Only
- I Love You
- Love, Your Wife
- Forever & Always
- Love, Your Grandma
- Love, Your Grandad
Keeping it simple is the key to scalable success. The way to think about it is that each new element introduces something else that MUST work. If the design is too pretty it takes the focus off the design.
Pink roses? My wife HATES pink roses! Gold stars? YOUR WIFE hates them…Actually, I have no idea, but what I’m saying is that when an element is introduced that’s unnecessary you are reducing the size of your addressable audience…
Keep the background simple. Solid colors work best and be creative with your font pairings. I use a maximum of 3 fonts in my designs, each highlighting a different aspect of the design. It is imperative that the fonts work together and google “font pairings” shows a lot of examples of fonts that work well together.
Most important is to make The Body the most legible, don’t use cursive, just keep it simple.
My Design Testing Strategy
I love the simplicity of what ShineOn Jewelry has created. Print cards are one of the easiest products for anyone to start marketing. Why? Well, for starters, you only need a super basic understanding of design.
As previously discussed it is easy for you to design your own cards very quickly. You don't NEED a designer to be successful. The 3 campaigns I scaled were all designed by myself…a carpenter with no design background other than what I've taught myself.
As with the example above, a simple understanding of design and you're good to go. If you're not testing because you can't “afford” a designer you are just wasting time and lying to yourself.
The System of not having a System
I have been asked quite a bit recently what our testing strategy is. Well, tbh I don't really have one, and it's something that we will be heavily focused on creating this year.
The way I managed to snag 3 winning campaigns was just by getting started. According to our spreadsheet, I'd launched close to 80 campaigns before I hit any kind of success. There were lots of 1's and 2's being sold but no monsters.
Each day in late November after having our ad accounts turned back on we went hard af on launching. We knew we had to get as many up as possible if we were going to find any success.
Having tight rules as Michael Crist explains in his course helps with being able to maintain focus on designing and launching new campaigns. Those tight rules mean only the most successful get through and your downside is limited.
Without tight rules launching this many campaigns at a time would be business suicide as money would quickly dry up in the search of the monster.
In saying all of this, the best thing for you to do is launch as much as you can afford. If you would prefer a system I have written about how to follow one in Untapped & Profitable T Shirt Niches [+ List of 1,000+ Niches].
Unless you can harness some of Krste's energy. I have not been lucky enough to snag a simple broad category campaign. Krste is a master of being able to find monsters with very few launches.
This is the holy grail as his focus is restricted to 1 or a couple of campaigns that are crushing.
The beauty of this is it allows him to focus all his energy on one campaign that is crushing instead of trying to manage (sometimes poorly) multiple winning campaigns.
The Rules – They are a MUST HAVE
At the very least I have 3 main rules that I have in place.
- Spent > $2; VC < 1; Purchase < 1
- Spent > $10; ATC < 1; Purchase < 1
- CPP > $35
Setting rules confuse the crap out of me so I have annoyed Suhail multiple times on how to set these up correctly. So, I present to you, those of you like me, how to set rules up correctly for ShineOn Jewelry.
My Ad Testing Strategy
Step 1 – Testing
With POD the absolute, most important thing that you should be focused on is design! Your design without a doubt is what is going to make or break your business.
95% of your success will come down to how well you can craft new phrases and launch them consistently.
So with that in mind, my ad strategy is very simple. 1 Campaign, 8 duplicated ad sets @ $5/day budget with some simple rules (see above) making sure that they don't run away (oh and 1 ad per ad set). The most we'll run a new design is 2 days without a sale…CUT…NEXT. If it's a flop more often than not most of the ad sets will have turned off at $2 AUD or less.
- 1 x Campaign>8 x Ad Sets @ $5/day Budget>1 x Ad in each.
Occasionally I will mix it up and add in more specific interests to give me 2 base ad sets to duplicate…
I like to have audiences in the millions, and when testing I go for the most broadly specific interest I can find. i.e. if targeting Fishermen… I target just “Fishing”. With jewelry, I will add in the relationship factor as well.
The framework I followed for this ad strategy was in no small part thanks to Nick Peroni. His ad strategy works very well for POD.
In saying that, I did play with some key elements to make it Ronnie specific. Below I will take you through the structure of what a winning phrase can do, how quickly it scales, and the system I used to spend $16,281.30 on ads in one day.
This particular campaign started like this; Day 1 – 2 sales, Day 2 – 18 Sales, Day 3 – 126 Sales, Day 4 – 210 Sales, Day 5 – 165 Sales, Day 6 – 111, Day 7 – 122. Whilst it looks like it was slowing down it came back with a vengeance over the next couple of weeks.
Step 2 – First Scale
The first scale is simple. As soon as you get 2 conversions on 1 ad set you duplicate it into its own CBO 5 times, once you've got the base dupe done you then duplicate that 3 times so you have 4 CBO's in total.
4 CBO Campaigns>5 Ad Sets in each>1 ad per ad set. CBO budget, depending on how bullish you're feeling can be anything from $25/day to $500/day. I will do this step on the first day if I've had 2 conversions on one ad set.
Once the campaign has had a few sales I will play with the attribution window as well and shorten it to 1 day click or view. This is just to keep fresh ads going in when you have a lot of ad spend going.
Sometimes I don't touch any of the targeting when duplicating, it's a straight-up copy. To force it into other audiences I may restrict or open the age and gender, add in extra interests just to mix it up, and bring in more buyers.
Step 2.1 – Continue Duplicating
Got 2 conversions on 1 adset in your CBO campaigns? Duplicate it into more CBO's at a higher budget.
My budgets vary. The most typical are $25, $50, $100, $250, $500. If I am seeing a lot of success from my smaller budget CBO dupes I will very quickly ramp up the budgets on new CBO's.
When the big-budget CBO's are still well under our allowable CPA then I will start testing Cost cap ads…which brings us to…
Step 3 – Cost Cap | Manual Bidding
NOTE: Make sure your rules don't affect these CBO's. What will happen is the Cost Cap will spend a lot of money quickly which will trigger almost all the rules and shut the campaign down before it gets started.
You have to be incredibly sure that you're selecting cost cap to ensure your campaign does not run away on you.
Don't be concerned if you quickly see it spend $100 without any conversions attributed to the campaign. Monitor and reassess in about 60 minutes. It should not spend much more than $100 without a conversion. What typically happens is you get a flurry come in and will suddenly have 4 or 5 conversions on that ad set.
This is where it starts to get very interesting, and super fun when the campaigns start spending and bringing in sales.
With my rapid scaling, I was able to get to cost cap ads on day 3. I will take my best-performing ad set and duplicate it into its own new CBO campaign. What I love about cost cap is that it will not run away with your budget if no one is buying.
You will need to start with a $1,000 budget minimum. The ad set that you duplicate into the campaign will need a bid…as will all the duplicates that you make. I have changed copy whilst doing this and not had an effect on results.
Each ad set must have its own bid, in the case of jewelry I started the bids at $27 AUD which is effectively $21usd. As our break-even is 1.6 (based on COGS, conversion fees, Shopify fees, etc etc. Your break-even ROAS may be different). You will need to duplicate the ad set and increase the bid by $1 increments up to $35usd.
As you can see from the screenshot only certain bid amounts will become active and get the majority of the sales.
When I start seeing the CPA is at an expected level or below I will bump the budget. Through Q4 I would bump it as much as $15,000 at one time. It doesn't mean you will spend that much but it puts pressure on the campaign to start spending.
Often times it would only spend $3000-$4000 a day and as much as I wanted it to go to the 15 it wouldn't.
If the CPA is too expensive I will drop the budget right back down as punishment. Playing with the budget does not seem to affect the performance of that particular campaign.
At one point I have 10-15 of these Cost Caps running, some don't spend any money whilst the others do, it's all testing.
The beauty of having a piece that is scaling is that you can start testing all of your own setups to see where you will find that extra bit of success. Whilst I reference only one campaign that I rapidly scaled through Q4, I had 3 that I was working on that all got this same treatment.
It works, but until you have a piece that is ready for scaling you need to spend your time testing new phrases.
Once your winning ad set within the Cost Cap CBO starts slowing down you will need to refresh the copy, add new creatives, add new interests into the specific ad set that has brought in the sales.
The aim is for it to go out to more and more of the audience to get you buyers.
Crushing Your Retargeting
At the absolute very least you should have a retargeting app running in conjunction to any retargeting you're doing yourself. I have found time and again that it is always profitable doing so, particularly when you're driving crazy amounts of traffic. The more sales you can mop up the better your dropshipping success stories are going to be!
One of our go-to's is RetargetApp as it does a great job of mopping up the stragglers. So once you have that set up you should start your own. The audiences you should be hitting are;
- 1 Day Audience Excluding Purchasers
- Include: Top 50% of Time Spent on Site, Add to Cart, Add Payment Info, Initiate Checkout (If the audience is smaller include Content Views as well).
- OFFER: None – Just refresh their memories.
- 3 Day Audience Excluding Purchasers & 1 Day Audience
- OFFER: None – 10% Off
- 7 Day Audience Excluding Purchasers & 3 Day Audience
- OFFER: None – 20% Off
- 28 Day Audience Excluding Purchasers & 7 Day Audience (Winback)
- OFFER: None – 30% Off
Often people get too concerned about the nitty-gritty elements of POD that don't really matter. From conversion rates, funnels to copy in their ads. The most important thing in POD is having a winning design/phrase, everything else is secondary. When you have a winning phrase people won't even notice your copy…make sure you've used correct grammar and good spelling and you'll be fine.
When that sinks in, when you truly understand that everything is about the design, you will find yourself as the newest entrant to dropshipping success stories.
With Shopify, and certainly with the platform we have ready-built sales pages that convert exceptionally well. Knowing where to spend your time, which piece of the puzzle to focus on first is 99% of the battle.
POD is as hard or as easy as you make it. Don't let procrastination and confusion stop you from getting those designs up and those ads running, you will never learn more than when you are in the game playing. Stop observing and start winning.
If you haven't signed up to ShineOn Jewelry yet I suggest you get on ASAP. It's by far the easiest and most profitable of all the platforms available.