TeeSpring is all the rage with online marketers right now who are designing and selling t-shirts via any means possible. The challenge, however, with most systems is they require an ad spend to make money. And even if that ad spend is small – just a penny or two a click, it still ads up.
You might be paying for ads right now, and they're making you money, but when are you getting paid back from TeeSpring so you can reinvest your profits? Not for awhile, which creates a lag time in which you only have money going out and none actually coming in (except on paper, and that's pretty hard to spend or reinvest.)
So we've found a way to make serious t-shirt sales without spending a dime on advertising. This method is for those who have more time than money to invest.
Yes, it does take some time, but the good news is you can do this anywhere – even standing in line at the store. And once you've made some serious cash using this method, you can always reinvest that money into ads to keep the ball rolling.
Here's how the system works, and it's surprisingly simple. So much so, you might think it's TOO easy. But remember, this does take an investment of your time.
Choose your Niche
Step 1: You're going to pick a t-shirt niche. Mind you, this isn't exactly like picking a marketing niche. You want a topic that is highly visual, like dogs or horses or cars. Sports is good. Fitness. Cooking. Golf. Soccer. Cats. Trucks. Motorcycles.
You know those calendars they sell in the stores at the end of the year – the ones with all the photos? The same themes you find on most calendars will work for t-shirts as well. The key is finding a niche people are passionate enough about to wear it on their chest.
If you have a particular interest, such as a specific dog breed, then that's an excellent one to go with since you are going to be spending a lot of time looking at photos of that topic. For now, pick something. Or better still, make a list of 4 or 5 possibilities, and then quickly move on to step 2.
Step 2: Are you familiar with Instagram? If not, it's a photo sharing social site and it's huge. In fact it's one of the biggest social media apps, which is good for us because we're going to tap into Instagram's massive traffic and popularity.
If you haven't already installed Instagram, go ahead and do it now. JUST install – don't create an actual account yet, we'll do that in a bit. For right now, take those 4 or 5 topic possibilities you wrote down in step 1 and search for each one.
Do this by clicking on the “Explore” tab inside your Instagram app and searching for #YOURKEYWORD. For example, search for #kittens, #horses, #soccer, #HarleyDavidson, etc.
On each search for your key terms, see how many results you get and how active people are. Does it look like a good term that people are passionate about?
Bottom line: Would people passionate about this niche purchase t-shirts about the niche? If so, it's a good one.
Alright, you've hopefully chosen a term – if you're not sure, just pick one so you can see how this will work.
Design Your T-Shirt
Step 3: Get a t-shirt designed and launched on TeeSpring. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail on this because there's plenty of info online about how to design shirts, but here's what you need to know:
Make your shirt look terrific, professional, fun, eye-captivating and so forth. If you need ideas, visit t-shirt websites and you'll find tons of them.
If you're not a designer, pay someone to do it for you. It's totally worth the money invested because you'll make more sales with a good looking shirt.
If you can make the t-shirt timely and relevant to something happening right now, it could take off like gangbusters. For example, something that ties your niche together with what's going on in the world. You can't use 'here today and gone tomorrow' news stories, but you can use trends such as popular phrases, shows, icons and so forth. Just don't infringe upon any copyrights or trademarks.
And obviously make your shirt HIGHLY relevant to your chosen niche.
Don't drag your feet on this – you can narrow down your shirt ideas and hire a designer in one day, then add a day for the designer to get the design back to you. Find designers on any outsourcing site, including Fiverr, but expect you might have to pay more than $5 to get a truly professional design. Then again, you could get lucky, especially if your concept is a simple one.
Here's a shortcut – get inspired by other t-shirts, both by what they say and how they are designed. Do NOT copy their shirts, but use them as inspiration for your own, original shirts. There is no need to reinvent the wheel here, just make sure you're not making a direct copy of another shirt, that's all.
Create Your Instagram Account
Step 4: You've got your shirt design, so go back to your Instagram app and and create a new account. Name your account something relevant to your niche. For example, if your niche is Siamese cats, your account name might be SiameseLovers44 or SiameseShirts21.
Upload a picture of your shirt as your profile picture. Then in your bio, let them know this is a limited edition shirt that will sell out, and add your TeeSpring URL in the website URL section. This will become a clickable link.
Upload another picture of your shirt and caption it with, “To get this highly limited edition t-shirt, go to: teespring.com/siameseshirt or click the link in my bio.”
Now It's Time For Traffic
Step 5: Now that you've got everything set up, it's time to start driving traffic and interacting. Remember, I told you there would be a time investment, and this is where it is – using Instagram to drive traffic person by person.
You're going to do this with two goals in mind: Making money NOW by selling your current shirt, and making money LATER by building a following now. This means you're going to be doing a balance of promotion with interaction.
On the promotion side, here's what you do: Type in your key term again. In our case, it's Siamese. You'll get tons of pictures of people's Siamese cats. Click on the pictures one by one and 'like' them.
That's it! Whenever you like someone's picture, they instantly get a notification on their mobile, and most of those people will visit your profile, and from there some will order your shirt.
That is the quick and dirty way to make some sales fast, assuming you have a cool shirt they want. And yes, you will definitely make sales this way if your shirt is one people want, because of the built-in scarcity that comes from using TeeSpring.
Campaigns only run for a specified length of time. Once the campaign closes, the buyer's cards are charged and the shirts are printed and shipped and you're paid. There is no more chance to get the shirt (unless, of course, you create another campaign for that shirt, which of course you will if your first one is successful.)
On the interaction side, here's what you do: Again, search for your term. Again, go through the pictures one by one and like them, but this time you're going to also “follow” the person who posted it. While you're there, post a funny, insightful or meaningful comment on each picture, too. This is going to greatly increase the chance this person will follow you back.
Now go through the pictures again and follow every person who “liked” it. This is a surprisingly powerful technique that most people never think to do. Think about this: That person was interested enough in your topic to interact with a photo of it, which means they're likely to interact with photos that YOU post as well.
After you've followed several hundred users, cut back on the following and focus more on the commenting. You want to keep your follower/following ratio balanced to give your profile authority.
Remember, these are simple things you can do anytime – while watching TV, waiting in line, walking, sitting on the beach, etc. Note, too, that you can enlist your children to help you, or even have your children follow this system themselves to sell their own t-shirts!
Now then, spend about 5-10 minutes a day choosing and uploading pictures. They don't even have to be yours – you can simply do a search for pictures on Instagram like you did before, choose ones you think are especially good, and leave this comment: “Great picture – mind if I repost it?” Most people will say yes. Then you take a screenshot of the image, upload it to your account with a link back to the original user, add your hashtags and post it.
Don't just blast pictures of your shirts, be sure to add real content, too. Post content associated with what you are selling more often than you post pictures of your shirts. Of course, if you have photos of people wearing your shirts, that's terrific. People will ask where they can get the shirt, and you just post the link. And you'll be surprised how many times people will post pictures of themselves wearing the shirt that just arrived in their mailbox – the shirt they bought from you. Be sure to ask if you can repost their picture – almost guaranteed they will say yes.
Remember, short term you're looking for some quick sales, but long term you're building relationships so you can sell MORE shirts with LESS effort, so think and act strategically.
What you need to know about Instagram: The typical user is young; in their late teens, 20's or early 30's. They are highly engaged, perhaps more so than any other platform. And photos? Are perhaps the HOTTEST marketing tool out there.
Our brains actually process images 60,000 times faster than they process text. In fact, the brain can recognize images seen for just 13 milliseconds. What a great way to get your brand in front of all kinds of people.
Yes, you can make a very nice income selling t-shirts, but be sure to use Instagram for your regular marketing business as well. Of course, do it on a separate account from your t-shirt accounts. Which brings up another point...
If you decide to venture into more than one niche with your t-shirts, be sure to do each one on a separate account. For example, you don't want to focus on both Siamese Cats and Professional Wrestling on the same Instagram account – it will confuse your followers and dilute your sales.
Use a tool such as http://www.latergram.me/ to schedule and manage your Instagram posts, as well as to check your analytics.
Another popular Instagram tool is http://iconosquare.com/ which will give you more detailed information such as your total number of likes, your most liked photos, you average number of likes, your follower growth and so forth.
But frankly you don't need to get overly technical to make this business work. You just need to have some fun, get creative with your shirts and enjoy looking at and commenting on photos. Really, that's not too hard, is it? As I alluded earlier, this is a terrific business to hand off to a teenager or a retired person, or even someone just looking for a profitable hobby or someone who already has a hobby they love and wants to share it with the world.
The biggest obstacle you will find is in the designing of the t-shirts – deciding exactly what your shirts should say and how they should look. This is the part you will want to spend some real time on and invest in someone who can help you. The difference in sales between a shirt that looks amateurish and the one that makes people say, “WOW!” can be astronomical, so don't skimp on this.
A couple of last notes: A common question is, “Can I do this if I live in ___ country?” And the simple answer is, if you have or can get a Paypal account, then you can do this, because TeeSpring pays via check or via Paypal.
Another question is, “How much can I make?” Which is akin to asking how long a piece of string is. But here's a simple answer: Figure that your shirt will cost about $9 to produce (give or take), assuming you choose a good quality and use more than one color in printing. You can get shirts done for about $6, but you want yours to really stand out. So let's use the $9 number.
Then let's say you sell the shirts for $19. That's a profit on each shirt of $10. If you sell, say, just 20 shirts in a campaign, the math is easy. If you do 5 or 10 campaigns a month, the math is again easy. You can play with the numbers yourself and see. And you can also go to TeeSpring right now and create a mock-up shirt just to get a feel for what you get at what price, and what you want to offer to your customers.
Will you get rich selling t-shirts on Instagram? Maybe if you were to scale it, using workers to manage multiple accounts for you. Then yes, you could possibly make a very large amount of money. But working on your own you will only make a good income, you won't get rich. Unless, that is, you have a special knack for designing shirts that sell like hotcakes. In that case, you will do very, very well.
Perhaps what I like most about this business is you can work on it when you want, where you want, as much or as little as you like. It's perhaps one of the most flexible business models I've seen. In fact, if you have any kind of daily bus or train commute, you can probably earn a full time income just working this business as you commute each day. That is powerful. You can also make money in bed, on the beach, sitting by the pool or watching TV. Seriously, how cool is that?