Today we are joined by Mark Peterson, founder of Ecom Blueprint and a thriving e-commerce expert with expertise in Shopify dropshipping and internet marketing.
His expertise has propelled him to be among the top 1% of Facebook Advertisers in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Asian region as one of their ‘High Value’ clients.
He has mentored hundreds of start-up dropshippers who are now thanking him in his private Facebook group; the students have managed to pull in impressive numbers in sales, I saw testimonials from 0-100k in just three months.
What makes Mark Peterson’s Mentorship and his training approach unique is that he never advertises on any social media platform, it’s a word-of-mouth referral that has made him earn a high reputation among newbies and advanced marketers.
So let’s get into it. You’re one person hard to get hold of, so I am going to try my best to exhaust all of my questions. So bear with me ..lol.
So for those who don’t know you, who is Mark Peterson?
Hey mate, so I’m just an average guy who’s passionate about Ecommerce. Long story short, I was a 16-year-old high school dropout, I joined the Army at 17 and spent 6 years in the military.
After a deployment overseas, I decided to start a Shopify dropshipping business, and the next thing I knew I was making more money on the side than I was in the Army.
I then decided to discharge and do it full time and have been working for myself since.
Did you want to do Ecom business from the word go? What inspired you to venture into an online business?
Just two years ago, I actually had no idea what E-commerce even was! I originally wanted to get into property investing, which you obviously need a lot of money to get started, so I was looking at ways where I could make money quickly.
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So, I tried FOREX trading and I wasn’t very good at it, nor did I like the risk. I ended up finding out what Shopify was and in particular, ‘drop shipping’ and have been hooked ever since.
How was your experience when you started Shopify Dropshipping?
Yeah, I had a lot of challenges starting out, my personal life and business. I was going through a marriage breakup at the time, which also involved my baby son being taken 10 hours away.
Then business-wise, I was finding it all a bit hard and overwhelming. I would go for a week without any sales sometimes.
Once I ended up getting a mentor, it helped out a lot and I was able to focus a lot more. I almost gave up about 3 times before that, which would have been the biggest regret of my life!
I think it’s like everything really, if you don’t invest in the knowledge you can find yourself running around in circles, not getting anywhere.
What do you think is the number one mistake newbies make when it comes to choosing a niche for their store?
When it comes to choosing a niche, a common mistake I see is people picking niches that are too ‘niched down, in other words, the target demographic is too small and there’s no room to ever scale to the big numbers. So instead of just selling dog collars, maybe build a pet superstore.
Do you have in your list the top 5 niches that you wouldn’t dare to touch or invest in and why?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. I don’t think there are any that I wouldn’t touch at all due to them being a competitive niche, but rather more due to the fact I might not be knowledgeable or passionate about them.
In your world, does a ‘’flooded niche’’ or competitive niche exists, and if so what’s the way forward to avoid trial and error?
There are certainly competitive niches out there, some more than others, but I never let competition put me off.
Competition not only keeps you on your toes but if a niche is competitive that often means there is a big market out there and lots of customers to sell to.
We’ve seen dropshippers making mistakes when it comes to product pricing, do you have formulae for product pricing to help balance ad spent and product cost?
I would generally aim for a 30% profit margin at a minimum, personally. You need to remember there will be CPP costs, payment gateway fees, product costs, and taxes (if applicable).
So, remember to take all that into consideration and price your products accordingly. That being said, you’ll still need to price your product realistically and somewhat competitively. Make sure you do some market research.
What is an ideal product page for you?
This is something I normally go into great detail with on calls with clients, but a few tips of mine would be:
- Make sure it is user friendly
- Put some work into your product descriptions and sell on benefits, not just features
- Use quality photos, showcasing the product from different angles, and use some lifestyle shots
- Use a clear call to action, make your Add To Cart button stand out
Some would launch PPE and then go for WC ads, while others would jump straight to WC, what’s your take on this?
There are many ways to skin a cat. At the end of the day, they’re both just strategies, and they both work. Doing creative fishing with PPE is often better suited if you wanted to test products on a lower budget, or if you weren’t as confident with the product being tested.
Whereas if you have a lot of experience and are confident in the product, you can often just go straight to WC. I like to mix it up a bit.
Video or image ads and why?
It’s now common knowledge that Facebook favors video, however, it doesn’t mean running image ads doesn’t work either, because they certainly still do. However, I’ve found video ads often don’t ‘burn out as quickly and are a bit easier to scale up.
Video ads are also great for really showcasing your product and how it works. I would recommend using both and testing different creatives and placements.
What’s the minimum amount one should invest in an advertisement?
I never really like these questions, as there’s no set minimum, or maximum. At the end of the day, it ultimately depends on your budget. I’d never ask a married man on a low income, who has a family to feed and a mortgage, to invest x amount, just because another client who might be single on a high income did. Everyone has different situations, different budgets, etc.
Some also might find a winner or be successful sooner than others. I would recommend working within your means, and making sacrifices if you need to, but never put yourself in a position of debt or poverty, just because Guru X said you need to invest Y amount to be successful.
To put it into perspective, I started my business running $5 a day ads. Less than a year later I’d turned over $1 Million. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve in such a short amount of time, by just starting small and playing it smart. Just always try to have a safety net, as there will be hard times – it’s business after all.
Share with us your top 5 must-have Shopify apps. And why they are essential to you?
I use Dsers myself for importing and processing products from Aliexpress. I think Dsers or Dropified (whichever you prefer) are great for Aliexpress dropshipping.
ShopMsg or Recart are must-haves. Messenger abandoned cart marketing has a lot higher open rates than email and you’ll be leaving a lot of money on the table without them.
SalesPop by Beeking is great for social proof and for making your store look busy.
Best Currency Converter. I’d highly recommend a currency converter if you’re planning on selling worldwide.
Any photo optimization app. There are a few good ones out there, but reducing the sizing of the images all over your website can really help boost page loading times.
Define a perfect theme.
Put simply, something that’s user-friendly. The prettiest and fanciest themes aren’t always the best converting themes. Quite often, it’s actually the opposite!
What’s the number one lie you heard about dropshipping?
That it’s dead..haha.
Now, let’s talk about your success, mentorship, and experience. Your name keeps popping up. What was it like to network with brands like HiSmile and be invited to Facebook’s Headquarters?
I think a lot of other people will say I’m successful, however, I’m not where I’d like to be quite yet. I’m always striving to be better and I think that had a lot of influence on my decision to start mentoring other people. It’s something I really enjoy and am really passionate about, and many of my students have had amazing results.
I now have several 7 figure clients and I’ve lost count of how many of them are now running 6 figure stores, a few of them I’ve taken from 0-100k in just 3 months!
Being invited to the HiSmile HQ on the Gold Coast was a really good experience. Nik and Alex (who are now on the 30 under 30 Forbes Rich list for the Asia Pacific ) are some of the humblest guys you will ever meet and it’s amazing what they’ve done with their brand in such a short amount of time.
With them using influencers such as Kylie Jenner and Connor McGregor, I think that somewhat speaks for itself.
Being part of the Facebook High-Value team is really good too and has its perks. To be part of that you need to be in the top 1% of Facebook Advertisers in Australia and New Zealand, so I often think how crazy that is now since I didn’t even know what Facebook ads were just a couple of years ago!
I’ve since had the pleasure of visiting their HQ in Sydney and Melbourne and am looking at flying to Singapore in the near future to check out that, being the largest Facebook HQ outside of the US. I just need to sort out my passport first haha.
Tell us about Gold Class and the inspiration behind it.
The Gold Class kind of came along due to demand. I originally started my free group and posted loads of free training content and value, which I then ended up getting a lot of people messaging me asking for consultations.
So I started doing one on one consultations on the side, however, I often found myself repeating the same things to people who often had the same problems and after people asked me to create a course, I kind of gave in to demand and created my Gold Class Advanced Mastermind.
There are a lot of genuine people out there, but unfortunately, there are also a lot of sharks and scammers, as well as a lot of bad information. The Gold Class Mastermind is an exclusive mastermind group for those who take Ecommerce seriously and it’s designed to take people from 0 to 6-7 figures.
Have heard your Training involves vetting and suitability calls how does this work?
Yeah, so I don’t just let anyone in the Gold Class Mastermind and it’s not really open to the public. The first 100 spots sold out in just 4 months without any advertising and I’ve recently made the application process more strict. I personally jump on a one-on-one call with every applicant in what I call the ‘suitability call’.
This is to not only make sure that I think they’d be a good fit, but so they can make sure that it’s actually suitable for them and what they might be looking for. It’s not for people who think small, that’s for sure.
Your student success rate is very high if the testimonials are something to go by what makes you different from the already thousands of self-claimed gurus of today?
I think the difference with the Gold Class Mastermind is, it’s not just a ‘course’. It’s a much more personal training/mentoring experience where I take every member under my wing. We’re honestly like a little family in there.
I am aware you’ve changed many lives through your training, what is the most memorable life-changing moment for either one of your students?
There are probably a few now and it honestly humbles me when someone messages me privately and tells me ‘’you’ve changed my life’’.
I’ve had one student sell his house to get into Ecommerce, he came to me after running at a loss for several months and I took him from what was a negative ROI at the time to $10,000 in his first 3 weeks.
3 months later that same student had done over $100,000 and now has his own agency with clients, his own office, and several people working under him.
As a mentor, you can only mentor and train, what is the hardest thing you can’t promise your student?
I think it’s like everything, in which you can’t always guarantee them that they will make it, just like how the best boxing coach in the world can’t guarantee his student that he will be the best boxer in the world.
I can also guarantee that the training that I give them is more than enough to ‘teach them how to get to 6-7 figures, however, it ultimately depends on their work ethic and whether they are action takers and actually implement the training, or not. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force it to drink.
What can you tell someone who has struggled with Shopify dropshipping, opened many stores, with no conversions, and is now giving up?
Speak to me first, haha.
What are the advantages of joining Gold Class Advanced Mastermind? What does it promise?
That’s all discussed on the suitability call, as there are a lot!
How can one reach you in case they need to join your Master’s class?
They can find me in my free group ‘Mark Peterson – Ecom Blueprint’ and just send me a PM, where we can book a time for them to jump on a call. I recommend only serious inquiries only those ready to learn Shopify Dropshipping.
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