Sunday, March 16, 2008

Make more money with your CafePress online T-shirt shop

By now you've probably heard of Cafe Press. They are one of the leaders in just-in-time T-shirt printing. You upload your own designs and can get T-shirts, coffee mugs, greeting cards and more printed individually. You can purchase the editors yourself, sell them to family and friends, or better yet use them as extra revenue for your website.

Here are 14 tips for making more money with your Cafe Press T-shirt store.
Get a Premium Store -- Premium stores cost about five bucks per month, but you only have to sell one or two extra items to pay this expense. They have several great features which makes it worth the extra.

Sections and subsections -- Divide your items into sections and subsections. This feature, only available with premium stores, allows your reader to shop from a huge variety of items without being overwhelmed.

Variety, but not too much -- Offer a variety of designs but only offer a few projects for each design. People have difficulty making decisions when offered three or more choices. Overwhelmed them, and their decision will be to leave without buying.

Categorize -- When you have a premium store, you can select a category for each section and each subsection. Choose a category that best fits each section. Have a section be as specific as possible when choosing a category.

Create black T-shirts -- Creating dark colored T-shirts is slightly more difficult because your design must have a transparent background. Because of this you will have less competition, plus colored T-shirts frequently sell better.

Promote your items -- You will be lucky to sell a handful of T-shirts each month unless you put some effort into promotion. Use the same techniques you use to promote your regular website to promote your Cafe Press store. Try to get people to link to you. Create links from your own websites. Even use other marketing techniques such as e-mail newsletters, Google AdWords or add the URL to your business card.

Announce new products -- Create new products at least once a month. Promote them on your websites and send e-mails. It's always easier to sell to a repeat customer than to a new customer.

Link directly to products -- Sometimes it's easier to encourage someone to buy by linking directly to a specific item or section rather than the general store. You can link directly to any item simply by cutting and pasting the URL from your address bar of your browser.

Create More Cafe Press Free Stores -- Create additional stores with different tracking IDs. When using free stores limit yourself to only one page of items. Use a specific niche. Create nine different items of the same design, or use nine different designs for similar items. Links to free stores to your general store. You can use the same media basket, so use free stores to give extra promotion to your best-sellers.

Use the custom HTML options -- Under the customize option you can create custom HTML. This is a very powerful feature because you can create simple HTML with links, bold print, and keywords that may help your Cafe Press page get a little bit of notice from search engines. You don't need advanced HTML, simply learn how to create a link, add an image, and add bold or italic print. There are tons of easy tutorials available online. You can use your notepad to edit the HTML, or software such as Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression Web.

Use the Referral Program -- Every shopkeeper is automatically an affiliate. Provide links that encourage people to start their own shops. Even if you're T-shirts never sell, you can or revenue on another shopkeeper's success. I've made more money from one or two other shopkeepers than I have from my own products.

DON'T use Cafe Press generic banners -- They don't work. Use text links, or if you want to get fancy, create your own buttons.

Fill out the Store Info section -- Enter a title, keywords, and meta tag description for each of your shops. These help search engines understand the content. Make sure to use about five or six keywords that you think people might use to find items in your shop.

Buy and Resell your own stuff -- If you hit it big with a particular item, by a bunch of them (15 or more will get you a discount) and resell them on eBay or on your website directly. This will take a little more energy, however your margins will be better. You can also sell them person-to-person if you have a venue.

Sell Books and CDs -- Cafe Press can be used as a just-in-time book printer or CD duplicator. If you have another product such as an e-book or software package, utilize Cafe Press as an automatic way to sell physical versions of your electronic products. The margins on these items can be extraordinarily high in the right circumstances. I have e-books that sell for $149.

Not creative? -- Use public domain graphics you find online. Use the Google search box on this page to find public domain images. Don't steal! Not only is it illegal and unethical, but Cafe Press polices is legal graphic use heavily. Don't steal ideas either. Other people's funny T-shirts are copyrighted. Bad: Getting a nasty e-mail from Cafe press. Worse: Getting a nasty certified letter from a copyright attorney.

If you already have a Cafe Press store, use these tips to start selling more products. If you don't, start a Cafe Press store today, and within an hour you'll be ready to start selling T-shirts and more.
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