As bloggers and content creators, we all have likely seen the massive growth in the world of online t-shirts, printing them, and also making some money in the process. It doesn’t matter if you are an affiliate marketer, a brand, or even someone who is considering the idea of printing and selling tshirts online, it’s a great business and market to be in.
However, just because you have an idea or concept of a few shirt designs, it most likely won’t be a straight line to success. Starting a business online is tough and more often than not, it’s harder than you thought it would be, right? There’s so much competition out there that you really have to stand out to get those sales.
You need to make sure that you have a top-notch product. Your t-shirt designs can’t be just okay, they have to be amazing. But how can you make people go “Wow!”?
#1 Know who your target audience is
You are an artist, but now you are running a business, and therefore you have to think as an entrepreneur.
Your first impulse probably is to create t-shirts that appeal to the broadest possible audience. That’s a big mistake. Things that are supposed to appeal to everyone usually appeal to no one.
That’s why it’s important to clearly define your target audience. What is their gender, age, and interests? What kind of a person would buy your T-shirt? How can you reach them? Knowing all these things is the key to selling a lot of t-shirts.
#2 Explore each t-shirt concept in-depth
Creating t-shirts that sell well is hard work. You might be tempted to just quickly sketch something, put it on your website, and call it a day. That is not the right way to approach it if you want to actually make money with this.
First, brainstorm potential t-shirt concepts, and write them all down. Then go through the list with your ideal customer in mind. Remember, you are not creating t-shirts for yourself, you are creating t-shirts for your customers, so you have to always ask: “Would my ideal customer like this?”
Then, once you narrow down to concepts that you think your ideal customer would like, start sketching them out. Don’t put too much thought into the first drafts, just get them out on paper or on the computer screen. Once that’s done, take a break, or even better, sleep on it.
Then, come back to your sketches with fresh eyes, and try to refine them. Are the colors right? What should you add and what should you remove? Is there a way to improve your concept? Don’t be half-hearted about this. Really push yourself to create the best t-shirt designs that you can. Treat it like art.
#3 Get feedback on your t-shirt concepts
You might guess what your customers want, but that is all that is, guesswork. In order to know for sure you must go to them and ask them what they think. You need to validate your concepts before you start selling the t-shirts.
So go where your customers hang out, show them your t-shirt concepts, and ask them what they think. Which one do they like the most? Which one do they like the least? Why? Really listen to their feedback. Only sell those t-shirts that got approval of your customers.
Keep in mind that it’s very important to collect the feedback from your customers, not just from friends and family. I know, you love your grandma, but her opinion on your black metal t-shirts is useless, unless she’s a metalhead herself. So don’t be shy, go out there, and ask questions. This will help you make t-shirts that people love!
#4 Follow the latest trends
T-shirts are often impulse buys. This means that they have to catch someone’s attention and be relevant to them somehow. The easiest way to do that is to ride a trend.
So observe your customers. What is popular among them right now? For example, if you are targeting atheists, then t-shirts with Christopher Hitchens’ quotes will never go out of fashion. However, at the moment Rick and Morty is a show that’s popular among them, so you can capitalize on that by creating some Rick and Morty t-shirts. Always keep your eyes open for the latest trends among your customers.
Keep in mind that trends fade away quickly, and if you are too late, it will be a waste of your resources. So once you have noticed a trend, act fast, and get few designs out there asap.
Photo by Felix Russell-Saw on Unsplash
#5 Use a reliable print-on-demand service
There are a lot of print-on-demand services out there. However, not all of them are made equal, and some of them are better than others.
I recommend you to go with reputable companies like Printify that provide best print on demand services at reasonable prices.
Do your research on this, and find an option that works for you, because going with the wrong service might lead to low quality t-shirts which will cripple your business.
How to Create and Sell Your Own TShirts Online
Selling print-on-demand t-shirts is not as easy as it looks. You can’t just quickly sketch something out, slap it on your website, and expect the sales to roll in. It takes a lot of effort to get a business off the ground.
So be willing to put in the work. Take time to understand your customers, develop winning concepts, and market your t-shirts. Only then you can expect to make decent money.
3 Steps to Remember Before Launching a Digital Product
I used to work with a bootstrap startup that was launching a new dashboard that would be used for remote teams needing to coordinate across international lines. It was a solid final product, with great features and no noticeable bugs. It had been UX tested, AB tested and performance tested. Early release users had been thrilled with it and were already looking forward to the next version and what new features might be coming along in the future.
Everything sounds perfect, right? Sadly, no. It wasn’t the product itself that had a problem, it was the digital marketing strategy that was poorly planned and hence weakly executed. The result? Obviously, the launch went largely unnoticed and hence the tool enjoyed little to no attention and coverage.
It’s sad when a great product doesn’t get the exposure it truly deserves.
My client could have really benefited from double checking that particular step, but he was too focused on the primary product. Had he put more attention onto the digital marketing strategy he could have avoided a disaster.
Here are the steps to take prior to launching your digital product, be it an eBook, a course or an online tool:
1. Research Competitors and Their Weak Points
You may have already done this (prior to deciding to create the product), but don’t stop there. Monitor your competitors, identify their weak points and adjust your future marketing strategy based on that.
Use BrandMentions to get alerted whenever your competitor is mentioned on the web. It is an awesome tool that looks at every single corner of the web and pulls out even more obscure mentions that you might have missed the first time around with other tools. For small businesses that only need to mention a single brand they start at $49 per month. As you grow you can escalate to new plans with more features.
Another great tool to use here is GoFish which is a custom Google Search Engine allowing to search 40 (and counting) complaint websites at a time. Run your major competitor’s name through the search and see if there’s a marketing opportunity for you. What problems does your future product solve that are being most actively discussed by your competitors’ customer?
MeWe is a great example of the launch with solving major competitor’s problem at the base of their marketing. Being launched right on the wave of Facebook privacy scandal, the startup talks about privacy on all their social media channels:
2. Set up an Effective Landing Page
Set up your landing page in advance, prior to the actual launch. Think of how your best selling points will be clearly explained on it. Avoid the clutter but make sure you can answer the question: “Why would anyone want to download / give it a try?”
Let’s take a look at some statistics:
- A survey found that 92% of marketers asked found landing pages to be at least somewhat effective, and around half of those found them to be very effective.
- The Whole Brain Group has reported that they see sustained conversion rates of around 45% monthly from their landing pages.
Sadly, getting landing pages built is one of the top challenges faced by B2B marketers and most businesses are finding it hard to optimize their content on landing pages, which means most aren’t seeing the benefits they want to through these handy tools.
Get inspired by an example: Take a look at this landing page that is very minimal while bringing several important points across. It distinguishes between three actions very effectively:
This site is a great example of a content-based landing page that does a good job engaging customers:
Note: While CTAs are important, don’t forget to optimize your landing page for search engine traffic!
One of the most effective ways to generate more leads from your landing page is to generate more search engine traffic to it.
You need to do a basic SEO inspection to make sure you are getting the most out of your optimization. Has it been created to really attract search engine results?
Keyword usage is especially important on landing pages because there is less content for it to attract people with. Just look at a blog with its constant update of new posts, each of which can be optimized to draw in traffic. A landing page is a single page that has to utilize fewer words that are updated far less often.
Get your SEO planned, then make sure your landing page is following it.
3. Plan Your Marketing Strategy after the Launch
All of the above is about that time just before launch. What happens after that has been done? These are the beginning and middle periods of your launch and they are just as important as the preparation for it. You could do everything perfectly and still fall flat if you don’t keep up your momentum.
You need to plan your budget, time investment, delegation tactics and overall team schedule before the launch, because after that you are hopefully going to be too busy for that!
Some tips for getting through those beginning and middle bits include:
Think which additional platforms you’ll be using to sell your digital product
Your own site must be all set at this point but how about additional channels that may bring in extra sales? There are platforms like E-junkie and ClickBank that aim at helping you reach wider audience.
Follow up with new customers
Your product has been bought and too often the buck stops there. You shouldn’t leave them alone… follow up! After a few days send an email (or provide an in-product message if you have a system in place) asking them to fill out a small survey of their experience so far.
Not everything will have run smooth for everyone. If your follow-up brings on concerns from the customer make sure you address them personally. That personal touch can make all the difference in how your brand is perceived and your ability to build loyalty from the very beginning.
Search social media for mentions of your product
Reputation management is crucial at this stage. You have been hyping up your product for weeks, you don’t want word of problems to get out. But beyond that, it is a chance to thank people for saying good things, as well as offer the curious a chance to try your product themselves (this is a great time to offer influencers free access).
Give them something unexpected
I knew a founder who had created fifty small gift baskets. After the launch he took the first fifty sign-ups and sent them a basket as a thank you. It didn’t cost that much, was full of promotional material and it got a fair bit of buzz on social media because the first twenty of those adopters had been individually invited influencers. No one expected the baskets so they had a real impact.
Have you ever launched a digital product? Share your experience in the comments!
Featured image source: Pixabay
3 Efficient Steps to Multiply Affiliate Marketing Income
Affiliate Marketing is the Internet’s gift to most of us in the blogging industry. Without investing in product creation and after-sales services, anyone blogging is able to generate quite exciting sums from a simple blog.
All you have to do is read around for a few tips and tricks to get started. For better results, you may want to invest in some courses (Like this affiliate marketing video course by Zac Johnson — link includes 7 coupons to save 90% off) to get yourself educated and join some niche communities to boost your income.
I have read quite much and written heavily on the subject. Along the line, I found out that connecting some dots could build up foolproof money making methods. In affiliate marketing, there is hardly anything very new. For the most part, you just have to tweak what already has been working for the past years.
If you read my 3-p method, you will find out that there is nothing very new in it. It’s simply about adding some freshness into what you may already know and this without doubt will push your earnings through the roof
Below, these are simple steps that will inject some magic into your money making affiliate marketing activities. Each step set apart is surely something you have been doing before. But putting them together as a method spins things all around.
3 steps to earn more money with affiliate marketing
Step 1: Find a problem-solving product
As a matter of fact, there are different products/services in different niches out there. I have promoted entertainment and information based products. Consumers of such products may not really get a critical problem resolved with using them. There is a huge market in these industries though and many marketers are killing in it. But if you can help your readers solve a problem, they will pay you for it.
The kind of product you promote on your blog matters a lot. Being targeted is not the only measuring factor. In every industry, there is always need to solve problems. Identifying these pain points and bringing solutions will add a lot more value to your blog.
Here are two ways to see this point!
- Problems only faced by your readers: Sometimes you may want to promote a product that solves only your readers’ problems. That’s the way most of us do it but we end up with little results because we are not helping our readers enough make a buy buying decision.
- Problems you and your readers face: This is where I have made most of my affiliate sales. If I face the same problem my readers are facing, I know it’s a money making opportunity. I will explain more of this in step #3 below.
Step 2: Own a copy of the product:
If you’ve found a product that can solve a common problem between you and your readers, I recommend you get your own copy of the product.
If you cannot get a free review copy from product authors, go ahead and buy. This helps the psychological value of your marketing.
I know some affiliate marketing teachers tell you there is no need to own the product but for the sake of this lesson, you will have to if you want to be real and more convincing.
Don’t just go to product sales page or review posts written by others. Don’t just rely on affiliate marketing materials made by product authors. Get direct contact with the product as that will help in step #3 below.
Step 3: Use the product and share your results
This is very crucial!
Now, you found a product that provides solutions to a common problem. You’ve gotten your own piece and you are using it (on yourself or your blog). If you are seeing positive results, that’s the thrilling spot.
When I moved my blog from http to https (adding security to the http protocol), I lost all social share counts on my blog.
Social share counts on social media buttons are a huge social proof factor so I became so worried that my blog has suddenly looked like a brand new website (from the Facebook or Twitter point of view).
All my readers who did the same move were in the same pot of soup. So I set looking for the solution. I soon found a WordPress plugin to resolve the problem. Good enough, there was an affiliate program tied to the plugin. So quickly, I bought a copy for my blog.
- Now I have a problem faced by my readers and I
- I have found a product (With an affiliate option) to solve the problem
- I actually have bought a copy and it really works. My share counts are all back
What a money making opportunity!
I wrote this blog post with all necessary details linking to the product on my affiliate link. Of course, this resulted to affiliate sales and commissions on daily basis.
I have a common problem with my readers. I got a solution to the problem with all face. Now, I’m showing my readers the exact steps I took to resolve the problem from my end. Because they badly need the solution and I’m able to convince them by showcasing my results, more than half of them will want to try out my solution. Now the sales are being triggered.
Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think in the comment box
Write to Sell: 4 Ideas About Placing Affiliate Links
Some people blog as a means of de-stressing, writing out all their frustrations of themselves or as an anonymous confession of all their sins in front of the whole world. Some people blog for making the world a better place, for educating people and sharing their worldviews and ideas with others. But the vast majority of people writing a blog of any type write to make money – and one of the best ways to do so is through affiliate programs.
The truth is, affiliate marketing is quickly approaching a $7 billion dollar industry, with more money flowing in daily. Ever since Amazon launched their affiliate program back in the late-90s, everyone has been jumping in on the craze and grow their business in the process.
At the same time, affiliate marketing has become an amazing opportunity for anyone working from home, or even just having a blog of their own. These affiliate programs come in all shapes and sizes, some generic, others very specific, aimed at specific types of readers and specific niches. Once such market that has been growing rapidly around the world is the online gaming niche. As an affiliate, you can urge your readers to join 7Sultans and receive $500 free in tailor-made match bonuses, while earning a hefty commission in the process (usually over $100 CPA). Other affiliate programs might be housed in larger d affiliate networks like Shareasale or Commission Junction, and can pay anywhere from .50 to $300+ per lead.
Yes, affiliate marketing is this versatile and diverse. But some affiliates convert and make a lot of money, while others can’t make even a single sale. And sometimes the main difference between them is in the way they present their offer to the reader.
Is there a better way to place affiliate links? Let’s try to find out.
Don’t insult your readers’ intelligence
I am a frequent reader of an old and reputable blog that, among personal notes, also covers important news from online marketing, social media, and the internet in general. The guy writing it is not a CEO, he doesn’t have a degree, he isn’t working at a major publishing company or advertising agency – he is, in turn, a guy with experience in this area, with many connections, and valuable insights on the industry. And he routinely posts affiliate links on his weblog.
He was among the first to make it clear to his readers that he makes money off his blog (which has a pretty decent traffic) by placing affiliate links in his posts. He didn’t insult his readers’ intelligence by trying to masquerade affiliate links as innocent recommendations. Instead, he said it to their face: if you click on this link and buy the product it points to, I will receive a commission.
Your readers are not stupid: they will recognize an affiliate link. Don’t try to play innocent in front of them – after all, you work to make your blog better for them, and you expect to be rewarded for your effort. Hiding affiliate links might work until a point but in time, it will cause your blog to lose some of its credibility.
Be honest with your opinions
Whenever you try to sell a product, try to cut back on the empty marketing phrases and try to be honest. Focusing too much on the benefits of a product, no matter if it’s a juicer, a car or a web hosting service will make your article less credible. Be sure to point out what you didn’t like about it – it will not only potentially start a debate but will also show your readers that you have actually tried the product yourself and your opinions about it are not just something you read in a press release or a flyer but actual experiences that you have.
Ask your readers
You don’t always have to have experience with a certain product to place an affiliate link to it. If there is a product that you consider using, you can ask your readers whether they have any experience with the product and place an affiliate link inside this article. If you have the right community on your blog, your readers that have tried the product will share their opinions about it, and there will be others asking questions about it – and perhaps there will be some that will be convinced by this debate to buy it and earn you a commission.
Have a “resources” page
If you use a certain product, no matter if it’s a toaster or a photo manipulation software suite, and it happens to have an affiliate program (you would be surprised how many of them have) make sure to list them all on a separate page that you can call, for example, “My Resources” or “Software I Use”. There, you can list all the products you have used and would recommend to your readers with a brief description of the product itself and a few aspects that you love (or even hate) about it. Some top affiliates have revealed that such pages are perfect for generating passive income on their blogs.
When it comes to putting your best content forward and trying to make money at the same time, it’s all about customer engagement and providing value. Follow each of the tips above and find the best affiliate offer that relates with not just your content, but also the goals of your audience.
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