In today’s post, I will be sharing with you everything you need to know about paid advertising for print-on-demand. So if you’re interested in print-on-demand or if you’re thinking about doing paid ads, please watch this post first.
Hi everyone, and welcome back to the website. If you’re new here, I like to talk about t-shirt designs ideas and sharing the resources that I wish I had along my journey. So if you’re interested in making money with t-shirt designs ideas, feel free to look around the website, and you might find some stuff you like.
In today’s post, I’m going to share everything I think you should know about paid advertising for print-on-demand. This should save you a ton of time of trial and error, and hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes over the years and take some valuable pointers out of this post.
Now without further ado, let’s get right into this post, starting with two essential things. Number one is for most people (and I’m talking 99.9% of people), paid advertising for print-on-demand is not your solution. Now I will explain that further and break that down as we go through this post to what I mean by that.
But the second thing that I want to say before we get into this post is that there is one use case where I can see and support you using paid advertising for print-on-demand, and I’ll explain that in this post as well. So first things first, in this post, I want to go over what the common popular print-on-demand paid advertising methods are.
So when you get through all of the one-off small different ways of doing paid advertising, it boils down to two primary forms of paid advertising for print-on-demand. The first way, which is the most common, is paid Facebook or paid Instagram advertisements, and the second way, which is also pretty standard, is paid Instagram shoutouts.
First, let’s dive into the paid Facebook and paid Instagram side of this to explain what most people are doing, what I’ve done, and what the results have been. So if you start doing this yourself and see these results, you know what’s going on.
So traditionally, how this works is as the print-on-demand seller, you create a niche-specific design, you upload that as a listing, and then you go over to Facebook, which is the Facebook Ads manager. Here, you can create ads for Facebook and Instagram. Since they’re owned together by the same company,
you make the ads on Facebook, and you can choose to put them on Facebook and Instagram. Now, what you do from here is you take that niche-specific design you link to it in a post, and then you choose a target audience. You can select for that post to be shown only to people interested in that niche in this target audience.
Now alternatively and a little bit more advanced is creating a custom lookalike audience to target people who might be a little bit more specifically interested in this niche, but that is so overkilled for print-on-demand. It’s not going to bring you a return. So I’m not even going to talk about that further in this post.
Once you’ve set your audience for this ad where it should show people interested in your shirt design because they’re interested in that niche, you set your budget, which is typically about $5-$10 per days. That’s all you have to do. And then you launch it, whether that’s on Facebook or Instagram or both. Now I’ve easily spent over $1,000 testing on this to see if it returns a positive return, and the short answer is No.
You’ll be lucky if you’re going to break even. But the most common thing that you’re going to see once you launch your ad is it might get a lot of Likes. It might get a lot of comments; you may be able to track that it brings many clicks. But you’re going to get no sales. Now for some people, you may get a deal, you might get two sales, but I’m telling you that many people will get no sales as a vast majority.
I see this through the comments. People are saying I tried Facebook ads, but I got many clicks, a lot of likes but no sales. I want to let you guys know that this is the most common experience from my experience and from what I’ve seen from all the people commenting. Now a lot of people want to know why.
So briefly, without getting too far into this, it’s because so many people are trying these Facebook Ads, as I just explained to you as well. As Instagram ads are easy to set up now and target people, people are getting oversaturated with these ads. This is why this method doesn’t work.
1 So without going any further into paid Facebook and paid Instagram advertising
So without going any further into paid Facebook and paid Instagram advertising, that is generally how it goes and the overall experience that most people will see. Now let’s move into paid Instagram shoutouts. So essentially, how this one works is you go onto Instagram as the print-on-demand seller, and you may have a niche in mind, where you have a niche-specific storefront and you find pages within that niche that are already built up.
Just generally a significant page and then sometimes these pages will have right in their bio ‘shoot us a message if you’re interested in doing a shout out or advertising’ and all you have to do is send them a direct message or email and say ‘hey, what are your rates? I’m interested in doing a shoutout on your page’ So traditionally, what this will look like is they’ll message you back. You can have a conversation about what is a good deal for you.
And the shoutout is typically going to be temporary, either two hours up to 24 hours. That’s the most common, and then you’ll pay something like fifteen dollars up to maybe a thousand dollars for that post, depending on how big their page is. Now it’s up to you to determine a good deal and a good fit for you.
And then know that the payment is going to be sent through a third party. You can’t pay through Instagram. Ideally, you want to be paying through PayPal. The reason for that is if they do scam you, they don’t post anything, and if something goes south, you can go to PayPal and get your money back no matter what.
And then once you guys have set up a deal and everything, you’ll send them a photo that you want them to post. This can be a few photos in a carousel post with multiple images or something you agree on. Typically, this will be photos of your shirts or some advertisement you makeup and then the caption that will blow on that post.
Now either that will link to your Instagram page, or it’ll link to your Teespring storefront or your print-on-demand listing where you want that traffic to go to to make the purchase. Now I tried this in the past, and the things I can share with you are it’s going to be hit or miss.
Anyone you talk to who has done this before, you don’t know if the audience will be engaged with it and make purchases. Sometimes it is a huge hit. Sometimes it is a massive miss, and you don’t get a single sale from it.
So from experience, my recommendation for you guys is don’t look at this strategy of using paid Instagram shoutouts as a long-term profiting strategy. This is definitely going to be temporary, and although you might make big profits on one of these shoutouts, you may lose everything on the next and barely break even at the end of the day. Now there’s a YouTuber who did a great case study of this. I don’t have a case study of my own,
So this brings us to the huge question, and the main point of this post that I want to get at is, what is the best strategy if both of these are not going to work long-term? The best strategy from my experience and all the other students I’ve taught is that you need to do the opposite.
You don’t want to be focusing on making a few designs and then using paid advertising to get short-term wins. Rather you want to be creating and uploading a lot of great designs. Now, I know that sounds simple, but you have to behind-the-scenes. Teespring, Merch by Amazon, and Redbubble are the biggest print-on-demand players, and they’re all non-exclusive.
This means that if you create one design, you can upload it to all three of these sites. Now it doesn’t end there; the beauty of it is all three of these sites; they do marketing for you. And not only is this just marketing. This is actually very advanced marketing. They’re doing retargeting. They’re doing email marketing. I’ll put up a screenshot just from Teespring showing the different types of marketing that they do on your account.
Now there are a few stipulations to this, and I will talk about them over the course of the next couple of minutes. But just know that creating and uploading a lot of great designs is going to solve 99% of your problems. And that is the best strategy for print-on-demand.
2 So the first question that you may be having is if it’s so simple as just creating and uploading a lot of great designs
So the first question that you may be having is if it’s so simple as just creating and uploading a lot of great designs, why isn’t everyone having success on print-on-demand? The short answer to this is that most people on print-on-demand are thinking so small. They see the traditional strategy of making 5 to 10 great designs and then doing paid advertising and getting huge profits on it.
And as soon as they go through the first scenario that I explained to you and they spend their money, they get likes clicks but no sales; they just write off print-on-demand because it doesn’t work for them. Since there are so many scammy ways to make money online nowadays, people easily write off away if it doesn’t work right off the bat.
For most of these people, as I said, they’re only creating maybe 5 to 10 designs and probably only uploading it to one of the three sites, not knowing that you can upload it to all three of the sites, and they just don’t have enough lines in the water to see the benefits of these sites free marketing. So that brings us to the next point of, why is this so good for us? And that’s because we understand that if we create a lot of great designs, we can actually upload it to all three of these sites, not just one. And they’re going to be doing the marketing for us.
This gives us the advantage of scale. Most people are only doing those 5 to 10 designs. If we’re doing maybe 500 to 1000 designs and uploading it to all three of these sites, we may have 3000 designs out there just being marketed for us. The sheer level of scale combined with all of the advanced marketing that they do for us for free leads to a lot of sales.
So just to give you a little bit more value in this post, Merch by Amazon, Redbubble, and Teespring, as I said, are the three biggest players, all not exclusive, so you can upload the same designs to all three of them. Now Merch by Amazon and Redbubble, they start doing marketing for you from day one, a couple of little things that you may only learn from experience so hopefully this can save you some time is that Redbubble has no limits, so when you start on the red bubble, you can start uploading all of your designs.
Merch by Amazon has a tier system, so when you start and you open your account, you can have a total of ten uploads on your account at any given time until you get ten sales. The second part of that is when you’re still in this first tier of only having ten slots available. You can only do one upload per day.
So it’ll take you ten days. You can only upload one per day until you hit those ten slots, and then they market all ten of those designs, But you kind of just have to wait once you get ten sales on your account. You’ll be upgraded into tier 2, where you’ll have 25 slots. Now my account is way past tier 2, but if I remember correctly, this upgrades you to two uploads per day, so you’re no longer limited to just uploading one per day and then the same thing goes on through the tiers.
Once you’ve reached 25 sales, you’re upgraded into the third tier, which I believe is 50 shirts. Maybe a hundred shirts, and then it keeps going from there up and up and up, So essentially on Merch by Amazon, the more sales you get on your account, the more listings you can have uploaded to your account.
So for a Merch by Amazon and Redbubble, your only goal here, and the only thing that you were responsible for doing, is to create and upload great designs. They will do all the marketing for you. You don’t have to lift a finger. Now the other one of the top three is Teespring, and Teesprings is the only one that’s slightly different. Teespring has something that they call a TrustScore and essentially, what this is is you need to prove that your account is worthy of getting all of their free marketing.
Now all you really have to do in order to get the marketing started on your Teespring account is get a few of your own sales on your account. This shows them that what you’re uploading is being purchased, so they should be marketing it.
Teespring is getting so big that they can’t do all of their advanced marketing on all new seller accounts. They have to choose wisely, and the way they do this is by if you can get a few of your own sales, they see okay, what you’re uploading is, so it’s worthy of us doing the marketing on it. The number of how many sales you need to get on your Teespring account before they start doing the marketing has varied in the past.
Right now, they’re saying it’s just one sale, but from experience, I think it’s more between two and ten sales before all their marketing kicks in. So that kind of leads us into the question of, what is the best way to get those first few sales on your account? For Teespring, until all their free marketing is going to kick in, the first thing that may come to mind, especially on this post, is that you may want to use paid advertising just to get a few of these sales, and my short answer is No! I’ll explain a better strategy, and this is the one that I preach on this website because it works so well.
It involves a little bit of hard work, and that’s why a lot of people don’t want to do it. But I’ll explain it to you briefly and then link out to a full vpost on this website that shows you how to do it, start to finish. Essentially what you want to do is go to your Teespring account and create a storefront.
You can just create one. You can create two if you like; you only really need one. Make sure that that storefront is niche-specific, and then you want to create a few designs that are specified in this niche and then put them into that storefront. This is all free to do. And on a side note, you want to have at least eight designs in that storefront. You can have more than that. But you don’t want it to be a bare, empty storefront that you’re sending traffic to.
Then once you have this niche-specific storefront on your Teespring account, then you want to go over to Instagram and create a new Instagram page, specifically about this niche, a little indie link that you can put in your bio, you want to link that to the Teespring storefront that we just created.
Then all you have to do is make posts on this Instagram about the products that you have in your store, about models wearing your products, and I’ll show you how to put your designs on models. I’ll link that in the other post that you’ll see, but you just want to create good posts about the niche on the Instagram page.
3 And the biggest key here is that you want to be using niche-specific hashtags
And the biggest key here is that you want to be using niche-specific hashtags. This is all completely free to do and essentially, how this works is you create posts on that brand new Instagram page, but you have hashtags that are within that niche. So people interested in that niche are looking through these hashtags, and it’s being suggested to them, and they’re recommended on Instagram.
So when you have those niche-specific hashtags on your posts, your posts will be shown to people on Instagram, even if they’re not following your page and if they like it, they see the shirt. They think it’s awesome; they click on it, go to your profile. Now they can click the storefront link, go over to your Teespring storefront and see if they want to make a purchase.
This is how you get free targeted traffic to your Instagram account, putting them right into a storefront. So all of the options are all your shirts, and anyone that they buy is going to credit your account and work towards getting your Trust Score so that all the Teespring marketing kicks in afterwards.
Now the big part of this that a lot of people tend to misunderstand or just overlook is that once you get those first few sales from Instagram and you get them over to Teespring, and you get those sales on your Teespring account, and you’ve gotten your Trust Score and the teespring marketing kicks in on your account, the big thing is you no longer need to use Instagram. The goal of that Instagram and the niche-specific storefront is just to get the first few sales. So you get your Trust Score on Teespring, and the marketing kicks in.
Once the marketing kicks in, you no longer have to focus on a specific niche. You no longer need to use Instagram at all. And you no longer need to use in each storefront at all Teespring will be marketing all the listings on your account. This includes past ones and future ones, and they market them all individually.
So if someone’s interested in this type of niche, they’re going to market your design individually to them via email, via retargeting, via all different types of marketing methods. So this is where it brings us right back into the overall strategy of creating and uploading a lot of great designs.
Now, as promised at the beginning of the post, there is one use case where I recommend using paid advertising for print-on-demand, and I’ll explain that to you. Now the only time that I recommend using paid advertising for print-on-demand is when you’re trying to build up your Trust Score on Teespring or if you want to tier up on Merch by Amazon by hitting those sales photos, so you rank into the next tier if you want to do either of those faster.
Now, as I said before, paid to advertise is definitely not a long-term strategy. However, for your Teespring Trust Score or Merch by Amazon tiering up, you just need to hit the sales numbers if you’re spending a lot of dollars on marketing, but you’re getting those sales numbers. You’re going to get your Trust Score, or you’re going to tear up.
Now the reason that I say this is only for this use case is that you may be paying $100 for that paid social media shout-out, and you may only get two sales from it; profiting you may be $15. Now, although you’re going to lose money on the front end, that will qualify you for a Trust Score on Teespring, And then all of their marketing is going to kick in, and you can jump right over the Instagram strategy, or doing it all organically and just jump into creating and uploading a ton of great designs.
Now, if you’re willing to take this financial risk in the beginning in exchange for potentially speeding up the process of getting those first few sales, then I would recommend to you to go with the Instagram paid to shout out over the paid Facebook and paid Instagram advertising. The paid Instagram shout-out is not as straightforward, but it typically has better results.
As I said, it’s going to be completely hit or miss, but if you do get a good hit, you will get maybe two to ten sales right on your account pretty instantly. Now a big pointer that I can give you if you are going to go the paid Instagram shout out where out is to look for quite a few different pages and reach out to all of them be very friendly with them over direct messaging; however, make sure that negotiating and getting a good rate for yourself.
Now by you reaching out to multiple pages, and not just one, it will give you a point of reference of how much you should be paying for how many followers and how many likes on their photos they’re getting. Now again, just be professional in your negotiations, but try to get the best rate for yourself.
The second pointer, as I said before, is to make sure that you’re going to be paying through PayPal, so if anything goes wrong, you can request your money back directly from PayPal, and you don’t have to do it through Instagram page.
Now the last thing I want to add to this post because you’re likely going to have this question very soon is once you get those first few sales on your Teespring account, how do you know that your Trust Score has kicked in by Teespring and they’re doing all the free marketing on all of your listings? The short answer is it can take somewhere up to a month.
It is really all over the place when your Trust Score kicks in, and all that marketing starts. But a great way to find out if that Trust Score has kicked in on your account and the marketing has started is if you search on the Teespring marketplace for your designs. You can actually find them in their search results, that means that it is a great indicator that you likely have your Trust Score and the marketing has started.
As with all things in print-on-demand, the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to be consistent and to be patient. If you’re not seeing the results that you’re expecting, give it another month and check back, and chances are you’re going to be seeing those results then. All good things, especially making money online, take time and a lot of patience. But just like that, that’s the end of this post.
I hope you guys got a ton from it. If you have any questions at all, let me know down in the comments.
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