The bottom line in marketing any product online, whether it is a T-shirt, mousepad or a bumper sticker, is the final sale and purchase. Unless you setup your well designed product with proper keywords, metatags, and page information, the chances of a conversion to sale are slim. In this section we will discuss techniques to improve your chance of getting your product found.
Choose the Right Domain / Website for you
The key to selling something (this century) is obviously having a website or a webpage where your product is hosted for an online sale. Whether you choose to use a third party website like Zazzle, CafePress or customInk, or you have the necessary e-Commerce skills to setup your own site, the design you create has to have a place for it to sell. Ideally, as you move forward, the best thing is to diversify and have your design on all sites. Learning each platform will allow you to reach all markets and potential clients that are comfortable with different sites/merchants. You can upload your designs to Zazzle, CafePress, customInk, SonicShack, Uberprints or Busted Tees, or just create your own site! Here is our article on creating an online store website the easy way!
A word about domains… Domains mean a lot about your brand. Quality time figuring out a good domain can have long term positive effects on your brand. More on this later.
Don’t forget the tags!
Once you have an awesome design uploaded and set on your site it’s easy to want to sit back and relax. Many people make the mistake of not adding enough or relevant metatags to their page for people to find the design. CafePress limits the number of tags added to your image to 20, making the ones you choose very important. Zazzle allows much more but many people just put in a few that are on their mind at the moment. Consider the difference. Say you are a potential client and you are looking for a bachelorette shirt for a girls night out. Designer A adds the following tags to their design “bachelorette shirt, T-shirt, weddings, party”. Designer B adds the following tags to their design “bachelorette, bachelorette shirts, shirts, T-Shirts, party, girls night out, girls, women, bachelorette party, gifts, night wear, wedding, wedding gifts, apparel”. Who do you think will have a better chance of being found?
Marketing your Brand with Print
The best way get people onboard with your designs is to create a multi-tiered approach in the world of advertising. Once your website is done and all of your family and friends are aware of what’s going on, why not let the rest of the world know. Make sure to have business cards and brochures if you’re going anywhere where people may take interest. A brand is similar to similar to marketing a music act, once you “play” a certain area, you can branch out from there. If you are opening a storefront, get your best designs in the window and make sure you have a clean, well lit area that people can comfortably browse your products. Word of mouth is your best ally but you need good marketing materials to get in the hands of those very influential people that get other people behind your brand. Consider local night life magazines, local papers (for a storefront), or get further out there with regional publications. It’s not a bad idea either to have cheap flyers to post up at clubs, coffee shops, record stores, or other place people congregate when you’re out and about too.
Any accountant will tell you that it’s important to keep good records. For simplicity, it’s nice, but not necessary to have a separate account for all of your sales. Whether you print and save the online transactions into PayPal or scan and save the printed checks you receive, good records come in handy in tracking online sales and during tax time.