Many of you have been asking me to share my most successful e-commerce sites with you. Sorry, but I don’t want to share my niches and invite unwanted competition!
So instead, let’s break down someone else’s: BeerCapMaps.com
They sell some of these maps for $80, but they can ship nearly the same products from AliExpress at a cost of $20. If they spend $20 on ads to make each sale, their net profits are $40 on each map. They need to make just 8 sales a day and bam, there’s $10k/month in profit! Even at 3 sales a day, they’re making an Average American’s annual income on autopilot.
Plus, they don’t have to hold any inventory whatsoever! They can just ship straight to their customer from AliExpress.
This post was the 33rd most upvoted on the year on r/ShutUpAndTakeMyMoney. Look at the comments…
Here’s what their sales page looks like…
A quick search on AliExpress for “beer cap maps” returns the following…
Now, I suspect what beercapmaps.com sells is not what’s on AliExpress. That being said, they are nearly indistinguishable from pictures.
There are lots of cool products on AliExpress that offer similar opportunity. Go ahead and browse around AliExpress, sorting by # of orders, and paying close attention to reviews. Ask yourself, what can sell for $20+ more than cost with a dedicated sales page, brand, nice photos, etc?
Alternatively, you can do what I do to find product ideas: browse subreddits like r/Shut Up And Take My Money or r/INEEEEDIT. When you find something you think you could promote successfully, find it on AliExpress and start building your sales page.
Building sales pages can be tough, especially because you’re starting with a blank canvas with so many different decisions to make. I made a 30-minute, video walkthrough for building a well-designed, fully functioning e-commerce sales page. Anyone can repeat it; you don’t need code. Everything is powered by free plug-ins built by great engineers, and designed by the pros. But I didn’t pay a dime for any of that. Just $1/day for some fast & secure hosting (WPEngine is a necessity, you don’t want to go with super-cheapo shared hosting).
It’s a sales page for a back scratcher that I priced at $59 (for a $49 profit). I made up all the sales copy and design choices on the fly in that 30 minutes, so it’s definitely rough around the edges but it proves my point: building a nice sales page is easy. Check it out below…
After you’ve got an initial sales page up and a product on it, it’s time to drive some traffic to that site and see if you can get any bites. You’ve just got to get creative here to identify cheap, effective means of getting visitors. Of course, social media pages are a good and necessary start, but ‘likes’ don’t just come to those either. Try about 10 different methods to drive traffic to that site for free, and see if any of those marketing methods work particularly well. If they do, double down on those channels, focusing all your time on them, and possibly some money if it makes sense.
One great example of “free” traffic was BeerCapMaps.com hitting it big on the r/Shut Up And Take My Money subreddit. You better believe that was no accident. Chances are, the owners posted that from a separate account and paid someone to upvote it. More on that here. Manipulating social media for exposure is significantly cheaper than buying actual ads, but it’s not really easy for beginners.
Facebook ads are the easiest way to start. Sure, they cost money, but there’s a good chance you will make money on the campaign on your first go. At the very least, you will find out quickly what sales copy and imagery works, and what doesn’t. Then you can put all your money into the working campaign, and use that copy on your “free” marketing channels.
Facebook charges for ads on a ‘cost-per-click’ basis. You could pay anywhere from $.05/click to $10/click. Costs vary depending on who you are targeting. Everyone has a price on their head based on the information facebook has about them.
So, at any given time, I could be targeted by 10, 50, 300, or more facebook ad marketing campaigns. The more target audiences I’m in, the more facebook charges to reach me (supply/demand).
So, when you sign up to run facebook ads, you will give facebook a picture and some ad copy, and you will tell them from all of their different targeting options who you want to target.
They will tell you how many people fit your parameters (audience size) and what the suggested max bid per click for those people are, in order to maximize your daily ad budget.
Let’s say you’re selling the Beer Cap Maps discussed above for $80 like they do. They cost you $20. So, if you spend less than $60 on ads per sale, you make money!
If the ads cost you $.50 per click, and you make a sale every 40 visits, that’s $20 in ad spend per sale. So you make $40 after product costs and ad spend on every sale!
From there, I would use facebook and Google re-targeting ads to get my site’s visitors to reconsider purchasing the product later (customers rarely buy on the first visit). You will want to install a Perfect Audience retargeting pixel on your site when you build it. Reason being– they will give you $120 in free ad credit to start, but you have to use it all in 2 weeks. So don’t run a campaign with them until you’ve had some significant traffic!
It’s important to start with just one product in a niche. Assuming all went well selling just that one product, start adding more related products and build the brand/store out. You can see how BeerCapMaps.com did just that. They probably just started with the USA cap map, then expanded their product line later. Why waste so much time and money promoting multiple products if you arent sure you can advertise them successfully?
Once your sales page is up and you have facebook ads running, it’s all a numbers game—
What percentage of people who see my ad click it? This is your ‘click-through-rate’, or CTR. Aim for 1% or more. The higher the CTR, the less facebook will charge you per click. Higher CTR’s also tell you your ads are compelling.
What percentage of people who visit your sales page actually buy? This is called your conversion rate. Get 500+ visitors and measure it. Then make changes to your site to try and boost it. If you’re getting 100’s of visitors and no purchases, something’s turning people off on your sales page.
What percentage of visitors add to cart? Let’s say 15% of visitors add to cart. Your sales page is doing it’s job. But if they don’t actually check out, what’s stopping them? Did you hit them with shipping charges? Taxes? Is your checkout process too long and demanding? Is it sketchy looking?
Facebook doesn’t give out any free ad credits unfortunately, but I’ve compiled links to get over $770 in ad credits free, here.
If I feel like I can’t make the numbers work for a particular project, I just re-purpose the website to try promoting my next product idea. After all, I never bought any inventory so I suffered almost no financial loss. I will often repeat this process several times before I get a big ‘catch’. Then I work to get it running on auto-pilot.
Scale city, baby.
PS. Right now I’m building a dropshipping project from scratch and recording the whole process. Subscribe to my e-mail list at at the top of this page to be notified when that’s available (totally free!).