Some sellers on Merch by Amazon are having lots of success. This ever-growing community of tee shirt designers, artists, and entrepreneurs has spawned numerous blogs, forums, and podcasts, offering a wealth of information for sellers just getting started or those looking for insightful and interesting ways to increase their print-on-demand design business. To help our readers build their own strong MBA business, we asked 15 successful sellers to share their tips for how to get sales on Merch by Amazon. Here’s what they had to say.
Experts’ Tips on How to Get Sales on Merch by Amazon
Neil Lassen, Merch Informer
Neil runs MerchInformer, one of the most popular tools for Merch by Amazon sellers, and is well known as an expert seller, with sales of over $150k. He is currently documenting his path to paying off $100k in school debt for his wife/gf on the MerchInformer blog.
“My number one tip for getting sales on Merch by Amazon listings is two fold.
The first thing you must do is make sure there is actual customer demand. Time and time again I see people make shirts that they would like or something they think is cute or funny but there is zero customer demand for such an item on Amazon. If no one is willing to pull out their wallet and pay for what you are creating, you are wasting your time. Find customer demand, and design around those niches.
Once you have a product created in a niche where you know people are spending, you need to stand out. You do this by marketing your shirts! There is no reason for you to sit back and wish for Amazon to deliver you free organic traffic! Go market your shirts and get those sales. Doing so will boost your product in organic search and lead to organic sales that you were hoping for in the beginning.”
Rob is an entrepreneur who runs multiple online businesses and teaches a number of online business courses. While travelling around the world, he sells on Merch by Amazon business and offers a course on the subject as well.
Rob emphasizes the importance of finding the right niches that continue to sell. He recommends looking at: “hobbies, professions, things people are passionate about. These evergreen topics I focus on. I look at what’s selling and try stuff.”
Yong Jae Chong, Merch Minds
Yong Jae Chong hosts the popular Merch Minds podcast. He and his partner, Glen, also offer private live coaching sessions, where MBA sellers can ask questions and get immediate answers to their concerns.
My number one tip for generating sales is to get in the right niche and have great designs. People underestimate how important design is. Even if it’s just text based there is so much more than just typing the word(s). You have to consider the font selection, spacing of letters, placement, colors, and the actual message.
Luke Kelly, MerchMates
Luke Kelly is a graphic designer, artist, entrepreneur, and the host of the MerchMates podcast, an invaluable source of information for Merch by Amazon sellers looking to increase their business and learn how to maximize sales.
When I first started with MBA in 2016, I tried lots of different methods to get my first few sales through the door. Unfortunately the first few sales feel like to be the hardest ones to get!
I tried lowering profits margins, using Pinterest, and inputting outdated keyword tactics to get sales wherever I could. However, I think the biggest turning point for me was when I swallowed my pride and decided to outsource to a professional Graphic Designer. Although I have a degree is fine arts, I only knew the basics of using Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. I was creating nice looking word based designs; but they we’re still lacking professional quality that only a trained designer can deliver. I think like most new MBA entrepreneurs I was worried about paying to hire a fiverr designer who was simply recycling designs over and over again.
But once I decided MBA was a long term business and I was going to work on my business, not in my business things started to move quickly. Starting out I had a few early designers who I knew weren’t a great fit for my business but eventually I found one who focused on long term relationships rather than short term money making. From there I knew I had to streamline the business as much as possible so I created the MBA outsourcing Google Sheet which I still everyday. It’s available over at merchmates.com for free.
At the moment I’m currently getting 50-80 designs created each week between 3 designers who are all excellent at what they do. I do my best to find niches that have side ways scaling ideas so that one idea can quickly become 10-15 (think wedding anniversaries, special occasions, gifts etc). And this has really seen my business continually grow month after month.
So my number one tip for anyone starting out is to take the plunge and find a quality designer on upwork.com (I have a Podcast about this and free guide on my site) and think of every design you pay for as an investment in your business and not expense. You need to remember that the best thing about the PoD industry is that after you pay for a design once you can put on mugs, sweat shirts, travel mugs, hoodies and heaps of other items through Etsy, Ebay and Amazon Seller central. It’s an amazing opportunity that anyone can get started in! As a small plug I’ve almost finished my first eBook ‘Escaping The Lower Tiers’ which will be available in the next month or so that covers the process I recommend to get out of the first few tiers on MBA 😉 It’s everything I know about building a MBA business, mistakes I’ve made and how I now make thousands of dollars passively each month.
Chris Wilkey, FBAMaster
Chris Wilkey of the popular FBA Master blog is an industry expert who provides the MBA community with info on everything from selling to sourcing to learning the ins and outs of a Merch by Amazon business.
Chris Wilkey reinforces the importance of having optimized pages with great content and relevant keywords: His “#1 tip would have to be the optimizing of each listing. People search Amazon with words not graphics. The best looking designs can be buried and never get a sale because they aren’t optimized correctly.”
Nathaniel McCallister, EntreResource
As the founder of EntreResource, Nathaniel McCallister provides detailed insight and information to help entrepreneurs, MBA sellers, and digital marketing experts fuel their online businesses.
As a blogger one unique way I have seen sales made is through round up style blog posts. Any post that includes something like, “gift ideas for (niche)” could be a great place to plug a shirt. You don’t need your own blog to do this. Reach out to popular bloggers who have these sorts of articles and encourage them to share your shirt design(s) and use their Amazon associate links. Offer them something in return to sweeten the deal if you can. Bloggers love social shares and backlinks so if you have a blog yourself or a large following, leverage that. Make sure the shirts are targeted perfectly for their audience.
Margaret, Texas Gal Treasures
Margaret of Texas Gal Treasures is a stay at home mom-turned-internet entrepreneur. In addition to creating informational YouTube videos, she successfully sells her products through Etsy, eBay, Merch by Amazon, and other POD sites.
Margaret knows that it’s crucial to maximize your listings to appeal to as many buyers as you can. “Find as many ways to describe and write about your shirt as possible. Think about who the buyer is for your shirt and what they might be thinking and searching for.”
Katharyne Shelton is an entrepreneur with a successful track record of helping other entrepreneurs create an e-commerce business of their own. Her Blue Sky Create course is based on years of Amazon success with numerous #1 best sellers and #1 new releases.
There’s a clever way to sell through LinkedIn. They have a feature called SlideShare where you can upload Keynote or Power Point presentations. So what you do is target an occupation, like real estate agents. And you create a powerpoint about the Top 5 Things that Bug Real Estate Agents. Then somewhere in your slides you can slip in a picture and link to your real estate agent themed shirt. Maybe it’s the punchline to one of your slides. You can also embed YouTube videos so you could even go one step further and include a video of people wearing your shirt.
Anthony Busciglio, MerchEmpire
BIO Anthony Busciglio runs the popular Merch Empire podcast and Facebook group, letting fellow MBA sellers in on the secrets of his own success on Amazon and other platforms.
Anthony knows how to maximize a good seller and generate sales creating various iterations of a single design. He says his “number one tip is if the quality of the design is really really good and unique, it will sell in any niche”
Reezy Resells is a prime example of how a side hustle can turn into a major business. With over $3.5 million in Amazon sales, he shares his wisdom through his podcast, blog, Facebook group, and popular YouTube videos.
Reezy Resells knows what it takes to make your MBA designs found. His advice is “Always group your similarly themed design by brand name.”
Diana Poisson, Second Half Dreams
Diana Poisson’s Second Half Dreams blog is an inspiring source of information for anyone looking to create full-time income through Merch by Amazon and other online platforms.
Start a Facebook page in your design niche. Then post daily and add the shirts to the “Shop Widget” on the Facebook page. I just checked and 56% of my Merch Sales are from designs that belong to my Facebook Page niche. Since you do have to post daily and reply to comments, I do recommend doing a niche that you’re passionate about to make running the page more fun.
Kara Carrero, Consultant
Consultant Kara Carrero is digital publishing and marketing expert who works with entrepreneurs and business owners to restructure websites, improve content strategy and SEO, and create digital products.
I would say know your audience. This is actually multi-faceted. It can mean that if you’re uploading a design for a very specific niche that you have zero affiliation with, you better know how to actually market to them. Researching keywords and knowing exactly what is a turn on or a turn off is important. But this could also just mean that for people like myself that are not solely working on designing to just design but as a way to monetize a digital brand they already have, it’s a natural fit and I already have a following that I can not just sell to, but specifically design for and develop a marketing plan for. (Which also means that if I know it’s a perfect fit for the audience I have on my parenting website, then I will go ahead and buy the shirt. It is a small investment into a longterm marketing approach).
James Scales, CreativeScaleDesign
James Scales of CreativeScale is a freelance graphic designer and blogger who sells his own unique designs on platforms such as Merch by Amazon, Teespring, and SunFrog.
James Scales knows that your designs and content need to go hand in hand. Understanding that copy is essential to a strong listing, he stresses the importance of “Having descriptions with smart keyword choices”
Peter Koch, SellerAtHeart
Entrepreneur Peter Koch, founder of the SellerAtHeart blog, has been enjoying success as an Amazon seller since 2014. His blog details his own experiences and offers tips for how to earn big on MBA and Amazon seller central.
When we asked Peter how to get sales on Merch by Amazon, his answer was straight and to the point:
the first one is common sense – listing optimization in order to leverage massive traffic Amazon gets. Learn how to promote your shirts on Reddit and Imgur. It is free of charge.
Peter also shared this example of a successful post: https://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/6gvzq6/a_great_shirt_that_i_saw_today/
Johnny, Rules for Rebels
With his popular YouTube channel Rules for Rebels, Johnny is a self-employed entrepreneur and self-proclaimed side hustler who shares his experiences to help others make money online. He shared detailed advice for how to get Sales on Merch by Amazon.
Hey guys, I’m honored to have been asked by Andrew over at MerchReadyDesigns to share some tips for new Amazon Merch sellers as well as to share an interesting method or tactic for getting sales. My name is Johnny, some of you may know me from my Youtube Channel Rules for Rebels where I talk Entrepreneurship and do some Merch Content from time to time.
In regards to advice for new Amazon Merch sellers, my advice for new sellers differs a bit from what I would advise more established sellers to do. As a new seller, my main focus is not making money, but getting tiered up. Amazon Merch is a numbers game. By that I mean for every 50 shirts you list, maybe one will sell really well. Because of that I want to be able to list as many shirts as possible.
You’re not going to make any serious sales or money with 10 shirts live so until you hit the 100 tier your main focus should be tiering up and getting more listings to work with. My advice for doing this is pricing your shirts low. In my earlier days I would price shirts to the point where I was making 0.20 cents per shirt.
Another strategy I would suggest for new sellers is chase trends. If it’s Halloween time make Halloween shirts. If Trump makes a stupid comment make a t-shirt playing off that trending piece of news. I’ve had many low priced trend shirts that were mediocre designs, but which would quickly sell say 6 shirts in a single day simply because they were on a hot trend and they were cheap shirts that were an easy impulse buy for people.
I would utilize this strategy of pricing shirts low and chasing trends for new sellers to tier up. Once they hit tier 100 and have some listings to work with then they can start delving into niches and raising the prices of their shirts and doing more experimenting.
This is a bit off topic but Amazon just announced the other day they are raising the base price of Merch shirts so for any sellers who want to take my advice, you have a few more weeks of Q4 to really be able to offer cheap shirts and try to rack up sales before base prices rise.
Now this advice I just gave is not the same advice I would give to more established sellers. Once a seller is more established and has more listings to work with I would recommend going for more evergreen niches so your shirts have a longer life and continue to sell beyond the few weeks that trend shirts sell. I would also advise more established sellers to raise prices so that they are actually making something worthwhile for their efforts.
Have a tip of your own for how to get sales on Merch by Amazon? Leave a comment below or contact us. And if you’d like more info on any of the strategies mentioned, ask a question and we’ll be sure to follow up with more info.