1- Promote it everywhere:
Start by telling your friends and family on facebook and instagram, then move-on to less personal social media platforms like Twitter, Discord and Tumblr. This will go along way in securing your first sales, and creating traction for your online store.
2- Pick your images carefully:
In most cases I’d rather go with the lifestyle mock-up than the standard human mock-up that Printful’s amazing mockup generator tool offers. Whilst both are shot in very high resolution and their quality are outstanding. I find that unless you are photographing the product on one of your actual clients, the human mockup will cheapen your page if all the products show the same person, in the same pose, wearing a different shirt. The lifestyle mockup will be much better in this regard and can look great even if repeated throughout the whole site.
3- Take the time to blog about your design:
People buy into ideas, brands and concepts that represent them. This is why when you are trying to start a drop-shipping business you need to take the time to tell your audience the why behind your work. Tell them the tools you use to create your designs, why you create them and even how you create them. All of this information will go a step further towards bettering the connection between your potential buyers and their soon to be favorite design.
4- Put your logo on everything:
A wonderful side effect of working with dropshippers like Printful.com is the fact that you can buy individual items for very specific reasons. No need for minimum order requirements like you normally would get at a print-store. This is a perfect chance for you to swag yourself out by putting your logo on any product you like, wether it’s a mug, a t-shirt, a hat or anything else Printful offers, putting your logo out there will not only up the diversity in your online store’s product offerings but it will also work as free advertisement. I cannot count the times I’ve gotten a compliment on my heart logo cap whenever I go out into the world. This will help you become a more established business amongst your peers and can also trickle sales from people that like your logo, your business and the product your logo’s on.
5- Create products based on what your audience wants:
Any business can put their logo on a mug and leave it at that, but truly successful business will go much further. Create products that are directed directly to your current and potential customers. Take for example a gym. Yes you can start with the logo design, but eventually you will want to create designs with, motivational phrases around exercising, cartoons about weight lifters and characters you see at the gym. The benefits of this are two fold, firstly you will focus your product offerings to the people that are already going to the gym and looking for these types of products (aka your niche market) which will help your grow your customer base, and secondly you will be showing your current and potential customers that you have their interest in mind, that you understand what they need and like and that you are willing to create and sell them those things, even if not now they can trust that eventually you will offer a product that is right up they’re alley. You can do this for any type of business, not just exercise. The key is to put yourself in the shoes of your audience and create from that mindset.
6- Listen to your audience:
I know it can be easy to think, “I’ll just make it and if they like it cool, and if they don’t, whatever.” However, this type of thinking will only help you in the short-term, if you want to truly succeed as an e-commerce business, you need to listen to your audience. You can do this in several ways; social media listening, market research and talking directly to people. Which ever way you decide to go, the basic questions you should be answering are. What products are my potential clients buying already to signal their liking of my particular subject? (Are they buying shirts, shorts, mugs, or are they sportier people buying beach towels, leggings and drawstring backpacks.) What are their writing about? (Can you use some of their lingo for your next designs, perhaps you can answer a particular concern or need they seem to frequently write about on their blogs) What do they like and dislike about your specific topic? (Turn those likes and dislikes into product offerings and new design ideas.)
A perfect example of this is Koi’s dance character shirts. Not only is he expressing his uniqueness through them every time he dances with one of his shirts on, but he is also tapping into the core concepts of the people that follow him and are also dancers like him looking to express themselves through their clothes.
7- Experiment, experiment and Experiment some more:
With drop-shipping companies like Printful you have the opportunity of creating and uploading thousands if not millions of products at the click of a button with minimum investment. So do it! Experiment, throw all your ideas at the wall and see what sticks. The worse that can happen is that a product doesn’t sell and you take it off your site. Doing this type of experimentation will help get your creative juices flowing and will also help you narrow down exactly what your audience wants and needs from you. With printful’s mockup generator you don’t even need to buy your crazy experiments, or put them on a website, instead you can take the experimental mockups and run them through a poll on social media and see what your audience thinks before you finally offer it to them on your store.
8- Leverage your audiences opinion on social media:
As an artist on social media, we have the advantage of dealing with the visual aspect of creativity. Platforms like Instagram and Twitter can come in handy for us when it comes to creating new products and designs. Things like the numbers of likes, comments, and shares can become useful metrics for judging the potential success of a new product. My favorite thing to do is create products based on what has the most engagement on my Instagram, and it’s super easy too. All I have to do is post a new painting (which I’m already doing anyways) and see what people respond too. If I see an unusually liked, shares or commented post, then I can consider turning it into a product. This helps take a lot of guest work out of the process of determining if my audience will like or not a product. Essentially with their engagement on social media they are already telling me what they like.
9- Do not be afraid to ask your audience for what they want:
An A/B test is in it’s most simple forms a poll or a question on whether design A is better than design B. You can run super fast A/B tests on your new products right on instagram using their awesome poll feature in the stories section, or by creating an image with both potential products and asking them to comment directly on the post. Both are valid methods of asking for consumer feedback and can be used in tangent to drive interest, gain potential success and fuel your creativity. The extra caveat of creating the actual post image is that you can take the same image and text to another platform which will further expand your data set and can help you reach a bigger audience.
10- Be everywhere!
In this age of social media it is important to build a brand that is consistent across multiple social media channels. Sure you can just have an Instagram, or just have a Facebook, but with so many easy integration tools you are pretty much leaving potential clients on the table by not cross promoting. The 4 major platforms you should be posting on are:
- Facebook- reach your friends, and your friend’s friends
- Instagram- leverage your product imagery and create an external catalogue of products that links back to your online store
- Twitter- talk, listen and interact with potential and current customers. People buy from brands they trust, twitter can help them get to know the human being the brand.
- Pinterest- post all your products directly on pinterest by creating a board for each product you offer (t-shirts, books, mugs, etc.) Be sure you are showcasing your best lifestyle images on pinterest, your goal is to share aesthetically pleasing images that are likely to get picked up by other users and put on their boards, which will be showed to their followers thus exposing your brand to new potential customers that might buy, or at the very least further share your images in their boards. And since the link is directly to your website the transition is perfect.