How I Built an Online T-Shirt Business and Made $1, te Trio Weeks

Free Training: How to Quickly Begin a T-Shirt Store

Learn how to sell t-shirts without worrying about vormgeving, inventory or shipping.

A few months ago, the team and I built an ecommerce business ter three days . Staying true to one of our core values of “ Do Things, Tell People ”, wij documented the entire process.

Wij figured, why not do it again? Te fact, why not do it again with a totally different product, timeline, and budget?

So, that’s what I did.

For the past month or so, I have bot building a business and documenting the entire process along the way. Everything from coming up with what to sell, to paid advertising, and more.

Today, I’m glad to share the results of that with you. I hope you find some of the details I’ve included ter this case examine to be valuable to your business, or to inspire you to begin one.

Spil with the previous case examine, this business is also being given away! Be sure to read to the bottom of the postbode to see how you can come in to win this business.

Love, and good luck!

We’ll keep the store live during the contest. Any profits from T-shirt sales inbetween September 28th, 2015 and October 12th, 2015 will be donated to the United States Humane Society.

Be sure to also check out Animal Hearted for more apparel and gifts for animal paramours where 25% of proceeds go directly to help animals ter need. They have helped save thousands of shelter pets, and with your help, can save thousands more.

I believe one of the most significant parts of building any business is the ideation stage and being able to budge from an idea, to a product. It’s not an effortless task to bridge that gap.

I’ve found that the best way to commence generating ideas for a product is to sit down with someone and bounce ideas off one another. That’s exactly what Mark and I did.

Wij knew from the get go that wij dreamed to sell something that wasgoed relatively palms off, wasgoed effortless to get up and running, and could be an titillating business that would be joy to work on for the foreseeable future.

I also wished it to be something that required little to no upfront cost. I didn’t want to invest more than a few hundred dollars before being able to turn a profit. And, I desired to be able to spend more money on marketing and less on inventory.

That way, if this turned out to be a accomplish failure, I wasn’t more than a few hundred bucks ter the crevice.

That left us with a few different options:

Wij determined on selling shirts. It’s an effortless business prototype for anyone to wrap their head around, and with the help of services like Printful , getting commenced is exceptionally ordinary.

But what zuigeling of shirts did wij want to sell? What sort of business wasgoed it going to be? Did wij want to build a brand that would challenge with the likes of Ralph Lauren, Nike, and more? Or did wij want to build a t-shirt business that wasgoed more like Shelfies meets Threadless ?

It would be hard for us to build a brand that competes on a large scale with little investment and time. How could wij tell a story about a product that would be compelling enough for visitors to trust us, and to join us and our vision?

And, after gaining that trust – we’d still have to get them to take the leap and purchase a product.

It wasgoed clear that building a business around a brand story wasn’t the right route for us (at the time). But building a business quickly that has the potential to turn into a reputable brand wasgoed certainly something to work towards.

With this ter mind, I got embarked by looking at what wasgoed selling already, what people were truly sultry about, and something that I wasgoed personally interested ter.

It didn’t have to be anything too compelling – no, it just had to be a proven proefje that wasgoed approachable.

That’s when I commenced doing market research.

One thing that I’ve found is that if you want to sell something, it’s lighter to piggyback on a community or trend that already exists , rather than attempt and build your own.

Yes, cultivating a flourishing and sultry community can be enormously rewarding – but we’re here to make something, and sell it quickly.

I didn’t have time to spend months creating content, marketing the content, and then selling a product to the community. That would come after the business proefje wasgoed proven.

I plumbed down some criteria that I wasgoed looking for ter a community. The community didn’t have to match all specific points, but the more that the televisiekanaal covered the better.

  • Approachability —is it a “feel good” topic? Is it something someone would be proud to announce “I’m selling (market or product type) t-shirts”?
  • Is it an “up and coming” market that will be here to stay?
  • Is there high shareability? Is the topic “viral”? Is there the potential for a single vormgeving to go viral?
  • Will the audience want to buy a T-shirt? Is the audience loyal, big enough?
  • Are there influencers te the space? Instagram accounts? Can wij send someone a T-shirt for $20 + pay them for a featured postbode and get a significant comeback?’
  • Is there the potential for designs to be expanded to other mediums? Bags, Mugs, etc?

I determined to do a few Google searches for “ most sultry communities ” which, spil you’d most likely guess – didn’t turn out so well.

I switched gears and moved to one of the largest online communities – Reddit .

I knew there wasgoed a way to filterzakje reddits based on activity, which is when I came across an incredible contraption for doing this type of research.

Some of the different verticals I came across were the following:

Evergreen Verticals: Funny Shirts, Meme Shirts, Fitness, Movies, Gaming, Televisions

Others Based on Subscribers: Fishing, Food, GetMotivated, OldSchoolCool, Cats, MapPorn, Canada, MURICA, Mannetjesvarken, Baseball, AnimalsBeingBros, Mechanics (Justrollintotheshop), Gardening, PenmanshipPorn (lettering), BritishProblems, Zombies, Yoga, Baking, Sloths, UFOs, EDM, Gaymers, Dads

Others Based on Latest Activity: CrappyDesign, Minions, HipHopHeads, Bitcoin, MURICA, Canada, GetMotivated, Tattoos, Ecigs, Mechanics, Sneakers, Corgis, Nostalgia, Beards

After a search on Reddit for “what are you sultry about” there were a large number of threads made where hundreds, if not thousands of people collective what they were most sultry about.

Some of the things that were common across different threads were:

Even if you aren’t building an online business, I’d recommend this exercise. Take some time and look at what people are sultry about – maybe it will inspire you to commence something.

Thesis threads are utter of insightful details about what people are sultry about and why. There’s certainly some other sultry communities that are just waiting to be sold to. See if there’s one that you can find that could be tapped into.

For example, ter this thread the most upvoted comment is someone who is sultry about….llamas:

So, I had that to work from.

Running seemed like an interesting market to tackle, but I don’t know much about running culture. Sure, I could have piggybacked off some of Nike’s success, but it wouldn’t feel genuine. Plus, there’s slew of people doing it already.

Fitness wasgoed another one that piqued my rente, but, I’m not exactly a health nuttigheid (I like lots of pizza) so that wasgoed a dead end.

Maps were an interesting idea spil well. What if I sold shirts of very detailed city maps? You could literally “ wear your city on your chest ”. I thought that wasgoed truly cool. The only problem with this wasgoed finding high quality, inexpensive maps that I could print on shirts. It just didn’t seem feasible.

That’s when pets and animals came into play. I know enough about pets. Our office at Shopify is huis to fairly a few dogs , and it wasgoed a market that could be dug into and branched off into different niches within the dog community.

What does that look like? Well, think about it for a 2nd.

Let’s begin with dogs. There’s an incredible amount of different breeds. What about owners? What dogs are most popular within certain states? Who is it that takes care of a dog te a household? Does the average pitbull possessor rescue their dog? Do more women own German Shepherds than boys? What’s the average age of a dog proprietor and what does their household structure look like?

The potential for te depth targeting wasgoed endless .

With that te mind, I began getting excited. Dogs just seemed like a volmaakt gezond. My mind began racing with potential designs, marketing avenues, and more.

It wasgoed time to dig deeper.

What’s Popular te the Dog Community?

Because there’s many different dog breeds, I knew it would be hard to attempt and find the most popular veelzijdig and just make shirts about that one breedgeschouderd – because chances are, someone’s already doing it. And, they’re most likely doing a good job of it already.

I imagine that finding an exceptionally loyal group of dog owners based on a specific breedgeschouderd could be very lucrative, but I wished slagroom to proefneming.

I know that ter our office there are two pugs , two french bulldogs , a labrador, and a few other breeds.

Next, I did a few Google searches for what dog breeds are most popular around the world, and ter the United States specifically.

I chose to do a worldwide search, and a U.S. based search because I know the majority of people I will be marketing to will be based ter the U.S.

Here are the results:

Okay, so that wasgoed a good embarking point. But how could I be sure that thesis breeds had loyal, loving owners who were wanting to vertoning their love and loyalty on their chest (literally)?

I determined to head to Reddit again. I reference Reddit fairly a bit, spil it’s an incredible resource for doing market research. Best of all, it’s free!

Top Dog Specific Subreddits

What does that mean to mij?

Very first of all, it means there’s an established community I can sell to . If I desired to, I had the option to market to thesis subreddits directly. It’s relatively inexpensive to advertise on a specific subreddit (about $Ten or less), and I’d have loyal puppy owners at my fingertips. Plus, I had a fine resource on Reddit advertising to work from.

Secondly, it means that if this community exists – others voorwaarde too. There vereiste be other places online, offline, and more, where puppy owners congregate to talk about all things dog related. It wasgoed just a matter of finding them.

That wasgoed more than enough validation for mij to begin going deeper. But what wasgoed next? I know thesis communities exist, but what are they buying? How can I waterput myself te their boots to see the types of shirts a dog proprietor would buy?

My next step wasgoed to see what’s already selling, and attempt and work from there.

Finding out What’s Already Selling

With this business, I wasn’t looking to reinvent the wheel. I wasgoed looking to take a proven concept and iterate on it, market it better, repeat. That’s why it wasgoed significant to find something that’s already selling and work from there.

It wasgoed hard to find stylish shirts that were already selling. Here’s some of the shirts I found when I did a quick Google search for “dog possessor shirts”:

While some of thesis are okay – they just didn’t gezond the aesthetic I wasgoed looking for. But, if thesis are showcasing up ter Google searches, it vereiste mean there’s at the very least a community around thesis breeds and businesses.

With resources at my fingertips like Creative Market , the Noun Project , and my own modest Photoshop abilities – I knew I wasgoed headed te the right direction.

I began to get even more excited about this chance.

A few things I noticed instantaneously about thesis shirts:

  • They’re veelzijdig specific
  • Some promote a certain lifestyle
  • Some are funny
  • Some are taking a certain stance on a specific subject

With that ter mind, the next step wasgoed figuring out how exactly to produce and print the shirts.

Determining How to Print Shirts

Ter determining how to print thesis shirts, I dreamed to work ter a way that permitted mij to spend upfront costs on marketing and not inventory .

The only option wasgoed to use a print on request service. There are slew of options available that integrate with Shopify stores. With services like Merchify , Printify , and Prinftul at your disposition – a print on request store is effortless to setup te minutes.

I determined to take a crack at Printful fulfillment services.

Printful makes running stores an absolute breeze . While it does take some time to get set up and to have all products synced, everything is entirely mitts off when things are up and running .

The order flow is exceptionally ordinary. Someone places an order on THINK PUP , Printful takes that order, prints the T-shirt, ships it out and I pocket the difference.

Best of all, it didn’t require any sort of upfront cost!

I’ve never bot too good at coming up with names. Te our case, a name wasn’t the most significant thing ter the world – but otherwise, it’s a fairly significant step ter building your business.

The products should sell themselves – especially ter this type of business. Nobody is going to say “Wow, I’m going to buy the latest THINK PUP T-shirt!”. No, they’ll buy one or two shirts that are specific to them. It would be hard for mij to create a lotsbestemming of excitement about a fresh lifestyle dog brand.

There are a few things that I do look at when coming up with a name, however:

  • It has to be nice and effortless to reminisce
  • Spil a private preference, it has to have a .com available
  • It has to read nicely and roll of my tongue lightly
  • All social accounts vereiste be readily available

With that te mind, I embarked plugging ter different synonyms for “dog” into the business name generator device .

Here are some early results:

I attempted things like pooch, pup, puppy, rear end, dog, dogs, pups, puppies ….you get the idea. I think you’ll know when you find a name you like. It’ll just sound right.

After a while, I waterput together a list of names I liked. To get a 2nd opinion, I collective my list with Mark . Here’s what I had:

  7. (join the #pupforce)
  11. (how is this not taken?)

There wasn’t indeed much of a back and forward process at this point. Wij both agreed on the same name pretty quickly.

I commenced by signing up for my 14 day free trial and got down to business. Shopify makes it effortless to buy and set up a custom-built domain. All the configuration is done for you, and your custom-made domain setup is ended automatically.

And just like that, THINK PUP wasgoed born.

This is my favourite part of building a business. It’s when things indeed embark coming together. There’s nothing more titillating than working on a store for a few hours and watching, lump by chunk, your store come to life.

That being said, I did klapper a few roadblocks along the way when it came to the vormgeving and branding of the business.

I am, unluckily, not a graphic designer. I may have a welgevoeglijk understanding of vormgeving compared to others, but I am by no means a Photoshop or Illustrator whiz.

I’d much rather use free or paid contraptions to help mij create something quickly. I knew that there were resources like Creative Market , Noun Project , Burst, GraphicRiver , and more that I could use to get the ball rolling.

The Logo

So, that’s what I did. I began my search for a logo for THINK PUP by heading to Noun Project and searching for “dog”. Lots of different logo and icon options came up.

I desired something that wasgoed approachable but seemed almost sensational or high quality. One logo that I truly like is Drake’s OCTOBER’S VERY OWN logo. It’s plain, approachable, but at the same time feels almost luxurious.

Here’s the icon that I chose – I purchased the extended license for $1.99:

From there, I dreamed to include the name of the business te the logo, so I got to work te Photoshop. I had a few different ideas, and the logo went through a few different iterations.

Here are some of them:

It didn’t take too much time to throw thesis together. The logo wasgoed ready.

With the logo finalized, it wasgoed now time to begin setting up the online store.

Setting Up the Store and Picking a Theme

Te our previous case examine and build challenge, wij determined to use a paid theme that wasgoed good for selling a single product.

This time, however, I desired to use a free theme to minimize costs, and I also desired to use a theme that wasgoed amazingly ordinary that would let mij showcase different shirts on the frontpage of the store.

There’s slew of options ter the Shopify Theme Store , but I ended up choosing the React theme.

NOTE: We’ve made some updates to our Theme Store, and the React theme is no longer available. Wij recommend attempting the fresh Brooklyn theme instead.

I wasgoed glad with the way the store wasgoed looking. I knew there would be more tweaks further down the line, but this wasgoed volmaakt spil a ondergrens viable product . I didn’t want to get too dispelled with minor details.

The slideshow photo is just a elementary picture that I purchased from Stocksy . It wasgoed $Ten. Not bad at all. And it’s a good, joy picture!

Some conscious decisions I made about the store’s vormgeving:

  • I liquidated the navigation so visitors were compelled to scroll down, or click a product
  • I made sure all the shirts were displayed on the frontpage
  • I made sure to modify the checkout so the colors were onbrand with the surplus of the store
  • I kept it spil elementary spil possible by only having a FAQ, Voeling, and About pagina

Yes, there wasgoed certainly slagroom for improvement (it’s not clear what exactly I am selling at very first glance) but by removing the top navigation, the only thing a visitor could do would be to scroll down – which wasgoed exactly my intention.

Now, it wasgoed time to begin packing up the store with products.

Spil I’ve previously stated, I’m not a designer. I have a basic understanding of Photoshop. Chances are, you’re te the same boat spil I am.

What’s significant however is your resourcefulness . If you’re able to be resourceful, you can truly do anything. And that, is how I wasgoed able to throw together some of thesis winning designs.

My search began by looking at my list of popular subreddits. What wasgoed the very first T-shirt I would make? Should I target a subreddit that’s popular, postbode to it, and see what happens?

I wished to make sure that thesis shirts would sell without stepping on other business owners toes. I know (from very first mitt practice) that competition will always exist – especially ter the clothing and apparel industry – but I did not want to take the zoeklicht away from someone who has bot doing this already.

That proved to be fairly difficult spil there are a loterijlot of dog holder shirts out there and it wasgoed fairly hard to not cultivate inspiration from them when doing my initial research. If you do some digging, chances are you’ll find some overlap inbetween my designs and others you might find online.

Here’s a list of the places I scoured for fonts, designs, and more that I’d use to vormgeving the shirts:

I wasn’t sure how many shirts I should commence with. Should I make Ten different breedgeschouderd specific shirts to launch with? 20? 30? What colours should I sell? I indeed didn’t know. I ended up embarking with about 20 different products.

I knew I’d be using a t-shirt mockup generator, but I wasn’t ready for that yet (more on this below).

I determined to make most of the shirts neutral colors after doing some research to see what colors sell best.

Jimi Benedict, Kunst Director at Teefury posted ter this Quora thread telling:

“From reading Impressions magazines, T-shirt forums, and individual practice working with various apparel companies, black and neutrals seem to be best .

Artistically, black usually makes everything speelgoedpop , and artists typically like designing on black because of it.”

I ended up attempting to get a fresh T-shirt designed every day. At least one T-shirt, maybe more. That talent mij the capability to test and see which shirts were resonating the most with potential buyers.

Behind the Scenes with Some T-shirt Designs

Te the past, I’ve taken a look into how much it costs to get custom-built artwork made for resale. It’s certainly not cheap – and for good reason. If you’re paying an artists for their work, they should absolutely be compensated accordingly.

Ter this case, very illustrative, multicolored designs were not what my target demographic were buying. There wasgoed no reason for mij to spend money hiring illustrators at the initial phase of building this business. It would have eaten up my entire budget with designers charging hundreds to thousands of dollars for work.

I determined to head to Photoshop and just begin throwing ideas together for shirts. Here are some of the designs I ended up throwing together that would then eventually be waterput onto shirts.

Going forward spil profits start to increase, I would certainly revisit this and hire someone to do the shirts for mij.

Note: Want to get ter touch with some incredible designers? Be sure to check out our Shopify Vormgeving Experts and other resources like Dribbble!

Now that I had a few T-shirt designs done, it wasgoed time to get working on the product pagina.

Effective Product Pagina Essentials

Because most of the advertising I’d be doing would be sending visitors directly to a specific product pagina, having enticing copy on the product pagina wasn’t a yam-sized priority for mij.

Having a little story about the veelzijdig, and perhaps a story about a specific puppy screenplay may have enhanced the product pagina – but I didn’t include anything like that, simply because I wished to validate designs quickly.

Chances are if someone is clicking through to the product pagina – they are already interested te buying. Shirts are, after all, one of the most visually telling products.

A few things that I dreamed to include on the product pagina were however:

  1. Product title
  2. Price
  3. Size options
  4. Description
  5. Garment description
  6. Shipping times
  7. Related products
  8. Product slok

Getting High Quality T-shirt Mockups Made

After coming up with a few different designs, I needed to get them onto shirts to look spil if they’re real. I didn’t want to order any sample shirts (yet) because I needed the capital I had for marketing.

Fortunately, I wasgoed able to find an incredible resource that Printful offers. Their T-shirt generator is not only effortless to use, but it also imports the designs directly into your Printful instrumentenbord.

And that saves a ton of time.

After completing with the mockup and print verkeersopstopping generator, I also had the option to download the mockup. This wasgoed flawless spil it let mij upload the mockup directly to my Shopify product pagina so there wasgoed consistency across all T-shirt designs.

I won’t go into much detail about how to get Shopify and Printful to sync orders – simply because there isn’t much detail to go into. Like the other print on request services available with Shopify, it’s an amazingly painless integration.

Now, any order that gets placed through my Shopify store gets automatically sent to Printful, they’ll bill my credit card on opstopping, print, pack, and ship the order.

A totally arms off, fully automated practice. That left mij with the capability to waterput my time towards the most significant facet of any online store–marketing.

Determining an Adequate Pricing Strategy

Ter the past, I’ve written about psychological pricing tactics and how you can use them to sell more. I applied some of those tactics to this store.

Very first, I knew that I dreamed to have a pretty consistent profit margin of about $Ten vanaf T-shirt sold. Printful charges $13.50 vanaf T-shirt (depending on what you print on), which meant I needed to charge $23.50 plus shipping.

I took a look at a few different resources online to see how to price the shirts accordingly. I came across this superb breakdown of T-shirt pricing from T-Shirt Tijdschrift that made things effortless.

“$16-$24 – The unofficial average price range for the majority of t-shirt brands. Most brands you come across will have their tees at this price range whether they’re fresh or have bot around for a while. Good profit margin if you can afford yam-sized orders, good enough margin if you place petite wholesale orders.”

Originally, I wished to work with something that wasgoed low cost so that any savings I wasgoed making, I could pass along to the customers. However, nobody wants a poor quality T-shirt! Plus, thesis shirts needed to hold up to all the potential puppy loving they’d get.

The type of shirts I determined to print on wasgoed the Anvil 980 Lightweight T-shirt . According to The Printful:

“The Anvil 980 is our most popular T-shirt with clients who opt for rebranding. This T-shirt comes with rip away tags that make it possible for inwards label printing. Many clients who began with American Apparel 2001 shirts have switched to the Anvil 980 shirts to take advantage of our branding option.”

Note: Shipping costs varied. Most shipping rates were $Five or less within the United States.

So, with that te mind, I set the price at $22.99 to embark. This takes advantage of the left digit effect – the same sort of pricing strategy Apple uses on all of their products.

I ended up playing around with pricing strategies further down the road, but for now, $22.99 seemed like a good price point.

With a few shirts loaded up into the store, it wasgoed time to spin the switch and thrust this out into the public.

It wasgoed time to launch. Sort of.

I dreamed to grab the low stringing up fruit very first. By that, I wasgoed looking for quick wins – things that could validate the work I had done so far.

There wasgoed no point ter spending money on marketing if there wasgoed no rente te the product at all. I’d be throwing my money away.

That’s why it wasgoed sort of launch day. I made a checklist of the things I could do quickly that were free.

Here’s the precies list I made. See if there’s anything you would add or take away.

  1. Setup social media accounts
  2. Invite friends to social media accounts
  3. Setup uitgang intent email popup
  4. Postbode to /r/shutupandtakemymoney on Reddit

Usually I’ll embark with one of thesis and hack away at it until I’m glad with the results, or, if it doesn’t prove to be profitable or improve brand awareness, I’ll stir onto the next thing.

Getting all of the social accounts setup wasgoed quick and relatively effortless. You can check them out here:

I embarked by inviting all of my friends to the Facebook pagina. Maybe 20 or so joined instantaneously and some others trickled te since opening the pagina.

I didn’t want to connect my private Facebook account to the Instagram account, so I didn’t add any friends or family to that.

Pinterest wasgoed setup zometeen than I had hoped, but I desired to secure the username so I set that up spil well. Same thing with Twitter.

Lowest Stringing up Fruit spil a Validation Method

Te our previous case examine, wij discussed how amazingly effective posting to specific subreddits is. But, it’s significant to be careful with your treatment.

Simply waterput, Redditors (reddit users) don’t like to be directly sold to. That’s why I made sure to only share to specific communities.

I began by sharing the Corgi Low Rider Tee on the popular subreddit /r/shutupandtakemymoney on launch day of the store. This wasgoed a finish hail mary and the chance of getting a sale through this channel wasgoed fairly snugger. Albeit, I figured because it wasgoed a nice, plain T-shirt – maybe it had a chance of making a splash.

It’s not a targeted audience by any means – the only advantage is that everyone who is te this community wants to spend money . I swear, people who browse this subreddit have their credit cards ter forearm.

And that, proved to be the golden toegangsbewijs to an unexpected blast off.

The postbode reached the number one spot on the subreddit that day with 506 total upvotes and 14 comments . It stayed on the homepage of the subreddit for a few days following that too.

Spil a result, the store took off. I witnessed an instantaneous win with real-time traffic hovering anywhere from 40 to 70 live visitors. This lasted for a few hours.

My very first sale! The best feeling ter the world. Even to this day, this elementary notification is such an arousing ogenblik.

That notification validated all the work I had done. It meant that someone wasgoed interested te the product, and if one person is willing to give mij their hard earned money for this product – others vereiste be willing too right?

Pretty good begin. Best of all, it didn’t cost anything !

Someone also posted it to the corgi subreddit , where it wasgoed also well received.

It wasgoed also picked up and cross posted to another subreddit called Life With Igor , which seems to be related to a famous corgi puppy.

Then, orders began coming te. Many more than I had anticipated. The results?

One plain postbode to this specific subreddit generated a total of $522.39 ter revenue , 1 0,150 unique visitors and a total of Legitimate orders . And that’s just overnight.

With my idea and this one T-shirt validated, it wasgoed time to get down to business. What wasgoed next? More shirts? Should I stick just to corgi related shirts?

I acknowledge that this wasgoed fairly fortunate. I believe the timing wasgoed just right with when I posted it to Reddit. I’m not sure it would be effortless to replicate for every product and business – but it’s certainly worth attempting if you think your product would gezond te with those that are most popular on that subreddit.

If your product is quirky, funny, or offbeat it might just be a good spot to attempt and validate your product. Even if you don’t get any sales, but you do get traffic – it means there’s something there, and you can embark bringing thesis visitors into your sales funnel.

Here are all the different Reddit threads that featured THINK PUP after being cross posted:

The Reddit Effect, and a Fresh Referral Source Emerges

One of the good things about the /r/shutupandtakemymoney subreddit is that product blogs often stash it. I’ve seen products get featured on that subreddit which were then picked up by larger blogs like BuzzFeed.

To my verrassing, a product blog did ter fact pick up the Low Rider Corgi T-shirt. I (at this point) had not reached out to any product blogs on my own, so it vereiste have bot picked up by someone scraping that subreddit.

Funnily enough, the webstek that featured the T-shirt is called I Waste So Much Money …

This wasgoed a superb win too, spil it didn’t cost anything to get featured. It did bring ter fairly a bit of traffic spil well.

To date, this has brought te 74 unique visitors , which resulted te Two orders for a total of $53.53 te revenue .

Facebook and Dog Breedgeschouderd Specific Groups

Next, I headed to Facebook. I didn’t want to spend any money on Facebook yet – that wasgoed something for further down the marketing line. I embarked by looking up the most popular dog breeds that I had shirts ready for, and joined specific Facebook groups.

This is basically the same premise spil posting to veelzijdig specific subreddits, but, to a more engaged audience on Facebook.

Unluckily, none of the posts I made converted into sales. Perhaps it would have bot more effective if I had’ve actively participated ter the discussions prior to sharing a listig to THINK PUP.

Te retrospect, I should have messaged the group administrators to ask their permission to postbode my products to their groups. Perhaps I could have even suggested to pay for them to speld the verbinding to the top of the group pagina.

After posting to a few Facebook groups, I realized I wasgoed missing something vital to getting sales further down the sales funnel.

Email Capture and Uitgang Intent Popups to Remarket to Visitors

I desired to capture email addresses from potential customers to use spil a remarketing method. Unluckily, I didn’t expect the reddit postbode to build up spil much traction spil it did – so I missed out on a massive, massive chance to collect emails from all those visitors.

While it wasgoed a big “ oops ” on my part, I determined to setup an uitgang intent popup anyways. Chances are some visitors would still trickle te from Reddit and I Waste So Much Money across the next few weeks, and there wasgoed potential to capture those email addresses too.

The easiest way for mij to get this setup wasgoed using an app called Picreel . It let mij create a custom-made popup that only demonstrated when someone moved their mouse cursor outside of the store pagina spil if they were about to tabulator away.

I signed up for their free trial and wasgoed fairly blessed with its ease of use.

I used a picture of one of our office dogs, Olive , and the surplus wasgoed a breeze.

This acts spil one last outreach to the visitor. Perhaps I could get their attention, give them 5% off to make an order, or at the very least get their email address.

Ter the past, we’ve discussed why you should consider using popups on your online store . Test after test has proven that popups work enormously well. Ter one test , popups drove 1,375% more email captures vs. a sidebar opt-in form.

Spil of today, this talent mij a conversion rate from visitor to email address of 1.34% which captured a total of 30 emails . While that isn’t ideal by any means, it’s at least a kicking off point, and a sign that the uitgang intent popup is working.

There’s certainly work that can be done here to optimize it for more conversions, but I am glad with how it is working for now.

Content Curation and Building Out the Blog

If there’s one thing that many store owners overlook, it’s the importance of building out your blog. It seems like such an afterthought to so many businesses, but it lets you embark building a relationship with visitors, who, after some time will (hopefully) purchase your product.

I determined that, because I am only one man, writing out long form content wouldn’t be a good use of my time. Plus, wasgoed there indeed much benefit if I spent hours researching things like dog tips, grooming expertise, and more? Not ter the brief term, at least. But, there would be massive benefit te the long term.

I determined to just make the blog a place to curate funny pictures and movies. Who doesn’t like funny pictures of dogs, and adorable movies of dogs? I simply found movies that were funny on YouTube and embed them into a blog postbode.

My hope wasgoed that if I could get someone to visit the blog, they might click through to the homepage and see the products I am selling.

Or, maybe because of the uitgang intent popup I had installed previously, they would at the very least give mij their email address.

Unluckily nobody that read an article on the blog ended up purchasing a product. I did, however, get a few email addresses from the uitgang intent popup.

With my free advertising methods weakened, and some sales te my back pocket, it wasgoed time to make the hop into paid advertising.

Te our last case probe wij didn’t go much into paid advertising, simply because wij had a very rigorous time restraint. That meant it would have bot hard for us to optimize any ad show.

Gratefully, this time – I wasgoed able to dig into paid advertising because of the exceptionally low upfront costs associated with commencing a T-shirt business.

My very first project of attack wasgoed to head to Instagram, find some larger accounts, and see if they’d be willing to work with mij.

The reason behind hitting Instagram very first is simply because it is the toneel I’m most familiar with. I know that there’s an audience that exists there already, and I know that there are massive pet related Instagram accounts that may be willing to work with mij.

That talent mij an almost onmiddellijk sales channel that wouldn’t require much keyword research, demographic research, or anything else. It wasgoed quickest way for mij to get began with paid advertising, and the prizes could be thick.

Instagram Marketing Basics and Building an Audience

Te the past, we’ve taken a look at how to grow your Instagram account quickly through effective use of paid sponsored posts.

That’s exactly what I wasgoed looking to do here. And, it wasgoed amazingly effective. At the time of writing, the Instagram account has 314 followers with 55 posts .

Here are some things that I make sure I voorkant every time I setup an Instagram account. Consider applying thesis methods to your business account spil well:

  1. Get a username that is your precies business name or something close
  2. Get a strong visual profile picture that will capture someone’s attention when they’re scrolling through their feed
  3. Be sure to make your biography adorable and joy with emojis
  4. Use Google’s UTM parameter generator to track clickthroughs, and sales, to your store
  5. Use a Google URL shortener to send visitors to a specific product or pagina on your store

After that, you’re ready to roll.

Growing an Instagram Account from Zero

The simplest way to grow any Instagram account is to be active, and postbode content on a regular voet. I attempted to postbode a picture every morning, and then another ter the evening just after dinner.

I commenced by scouring Instagram for different adorable dog accounts. My strategy wasgoed to find bunch of different accounts, and repost the pics to my account providing credit where I could.

I could have done more research into posting schedules, but I knew that this wasn’t significant when getting embarked.

The best way to find relevant Instagram followers is to simply search for hashtags related to your demographic, and like, go after, or comment on their accounts. Here’s what hashtags I searched:

I used the instrument Top Hashtags to find thesis. Obviously some of thesis don’t apply to the users I’m attempting to reach, but that’s okay. You can search for any hashtag that might be relevant to your demographic too.

Finding Popular Dog Accounts te Horizontal Markets

I’ve seen them, you’ve seen them. Ter fact, you very likely go after them already anyways. Those massive Instagram accounts that postbode pictures of adorable animals–that’s what I wasgoed aiming for.

Or, a “famous” Instagram pet. Something like the dog version of Lil Bub would be ideal.

I desired to find someone with an Instagram account that had a few hundred thousand followers that would be willing to promote our products. The only problem wasgoed finding accounts that were willing to do that.

The easiest way to find popular accounts that could potentially be willing to promote the product is through piggybacking off people who are already doing it.

I found that using a service called Webstagram wasgoed the easiest way for mij to do that. Simply searching for dogs, corgis, pitbulls, and more talent mij a list of accounts that were related to those specific keywords.

Afterwards, I looked for the following criteria based on my prior practice:

  • The account should have 100k+ followers (anything less just didn’t seem worthwhile)
  • The account should have an email address te their biography
  • The account should charge less than $100 for a postbode
  • Each picture should have a few thousand likes, no matter what they postbode

The less expensive the postbode, the better. Because I wasgoed making anywhere from $6-$Ten vanaf sale te profit, I would need to (or wished to) pauze even on any marketing I did.

After I had a few emails ready, I got to work.

Overheen the course of two weeks, I had sent a total of 51 emails . Not all of the accounts I emailed were willing to work with mij – and that wasgoed okay. Some of them just weren’t willing to promote products on their dog’s account.

Generally, the process wasgoed fairly plain. I’d email the account proprietor, ask how much they charge, how to pay them, and when the picture could be posted. I don’t like waiting, so if they were willing to postbode instantly after paying them – I’d be te.

Once I got a few bites, it wasgoed spel on. Here’s one of the very first ads that I ran on a sponsored account.

Ordinary, straightforward but effective. I included a specific coupon code for this paid shoutout (and all subsequent ones) to add an extra layer of tracking to see who ordered from this postbode. I made an account for the foot purpose of promoting this T-shirt.

To this date, a total of Two coupon codes were used. That means at least Two people clicked through to the low rider tee Instagram account and clicked the bio listig, or, they directly entered into their browser and then purchased.

Because I used Google’s URL Shortener for the profile verbinding that went straight to the product pagina, I wasgoed able to track how many people clicked through. It tracked 46 clicks .

46 clicks and Two sales means a conversion rate of Four.36%

Not a bad begin on Instagram – but I knew I could do better. And I knew there were fatter fish out there, it wasgoed just a matter of finding them.

I repeated the above process to attempt and find more relevant, veelzijdig specific or dog Instagram accounts.

Afterthoughts on Instagram Marketing

Instagram marketing proved to be a very successful sales channel for the store. Every time a promotion wasgoed done, at least one sale came from it. I believe this is because Instagram is a very visual toneelpodium. You know exactly what it is you’re getting.

While it may not have always resulted te a profitable campaign, it certainly extended our reach and wasgoed a catalyst for growing the Instagram account further.

Te some instances the account grew from 20-30 followers after being featured. The largest growth I spotted wasgoed after being featured on Pitbulls of Instagram .

With Instagram marketing proving to be a successful sales channel, there’s slew of slagroom to scale. The account is still leisurely growing, and the sky is the limit ter terms of the audience size.

The next step would be to take Gary Vaynerchuk’s treatment to promoting on social media , and eventually sell directly to the audience.

I can’t wait to see how Instagram for Business performs for a t-shirt store like mine. With those paid shoutouts being a success, I determined to tackle Facebook marketing next.

To some, Facebook marketing might be a total breeze. To mij however, it wasgoed the very first time I had committed time and effort to actually making it work. And, I had a modest budget set aside to make it work. I had to make it work.

Most, if not all of the popular campaigns on Teespring are either promoted to an audience (a dog related Facebook pagina) or are either promoted using paid advertising. Because the THINK PUP Facebook pagina audience wasgoed so puny (at the time, very likely only about 20 people) I had to use the paid advertising method.

I determined to make a project and get straight to work.

The Project of Attack for Facebook Campaigns

Being fresh to Facebook advertising, I knew there wasgoed a loterijlot of slagroom for mij to proef. Because I determined to limit myself to a $50 budget total for Facebook advertising, I had to get creative.

Here’s what I planned on doing:

  1. Setup a Facebook retargeting pixel to stay te gevelbreedte of prospects by showcasing advertising targeted directly to people who had visited the store before
  2. Setup a Facebook retargeting pixel for visitors who added a product to their cart but didn’t checkout
  3. Proef with different campaigns and targeting for different shirts
  4. If I didn’t get a conversion after $Ten ad spend, I’d kill the campaign
  5. Rinse and repeat if an ad resulted ter a conversion

The Very first Ad Campaign

Because I knew from my Reddit postbode that people liked the corgi T-shirt, I embarked with that T-shirt for my very first campaign.

My ad wasgoed plain. Just a picture of the T-shirt with a clear call to act. With a modest budget te mind of $Ten, I let the ad run.

Here are the precies targeting methods I used. Please note, that this wasgoed pretty much just like throwing spaghetti at the wall spil a very first test, and I know that a loterijlot of tweaks could have bot done here to reach a more targeted audience.

  • Location: United States
  • Age: 24 – 65+
  • Interests: corgis, daily corgi, corgi dog or corgi maniac
  • Mobile placement: News Feed
  • Desktop placement: News Feed
  • Estimated daily reach: 1,300 – Three,000 people of an audience of 130,000

Spil you can see, the ad wasgoed getting good engagement. A few comments and overheen 30 likes meant I had to be doing something right. But why wasgoed nobody buying? Wasgoed the call to act not clear? Wasgoed the T-shirt not enticing enough? Wasgoed my copy that terrible?

Here’s the results of this ad:

I very likely could have let the ad run longer to shove it to a larger audience, but I wasn’t ready to spend too much money on this campaign considering it wasgoed only my very first ad. The amount that I wasgoed willing to spend at this point simply wasn’t enough to do a zindelijk test.

I knew that there wasgoed a lotsbestemming more I could do. I knew that there were slew of different campaign styles, targeting, budgets and more that I could play around with.

Advanced Targeting with Facebook

I spent a loterijlot of time researching different successful campaigns that people had ran te the past. If you do a quick Google search for case studies on t-shirt campaigns on Facebook, you’ll find a lotsbestemming of different people with massive success through Facebook advertising.

What were they doing that I clearly wasn’t?

The reaction wasgoed ter the targeting technologies I wasgoed using. I wasgoed only halfway there .

The audience I wasgoed targeting wasgoed:

  • Not sultry enough
  • Not real ventilatoren of the product or voorwerp I wasgoed selling
  • Too large of an audience
  • Already being sold to, better

Here’s a key takeaway to implement into your Facebook campaign strategy. What you’ll want to do is target things like:

  • Websites (for dogs)
  • Forums (for dogs)
  • Magazines (for dogs)
  • Associations (for dogs)
  • Clubs (for dogs)
  • Rescue groups (for dogs)
  • Newsletters (for dogs)
  • Events (for dogs)
  • Equipment manufacturers (for dogs)
  • Much, much more.

By targeting thesis more specific groups of ventilatoren – you know that they’re already sultry about the subject matter.

With that ter mind, I got to work. Here’s one of the next ads that I ran. This time, with a fresh T-shirt vormgeving, more targeted audience, and a higher ad spend.

Spil you can see, this one got much more engagement than the previous ad. I wasgoed able to clean up the copy, and most importantly – I made the suggest seem time sensitive.

Here’s the targeting that I used:

  • Location: United States
  • Interests: tails hope dog rescue, sanctuary for senior dogs or petconnectus
  • Age: 45 – 65+
  • Gender: Female
  • Mobile Placement: News Feed
  • Desktop Placement: News Feed

One veelzijdig of dog I kept observing that had a sultry proprietor community wasgoed pitbulls. I figured, why not attempt and tapkast into that market too?

I made a few different pitbull shirts, but determined to make one specifically for women.

Spil you can see, this T-shirt wasgoed exceptionally well received. With overheen 300 likes , Five comments and 63 shares – it wasgoed resonating well with the specific audience I chose.

Here’s the targeting that I used:

  • Location: United States
  • Interests : i love my pit bull or i love my pitbull
  • Age: 35 – 64
  • Gender: Female
  • Mobile Placement: News Feed
  • Desktop Placement: News Feed

Facebook Advertising Afterthoughts

Facebook proved to be a good channel for a few sales. I believe if I had more time and a larger budget, I would have bot able to proceed to tweak thesis ads and find a T-shirt vormgeving that resonated with an audience that wasgoed ter a buyer’s mindset.

That being said, the most significant part of this wasgoed the reach of THINK PUP . Because the ads had such good engagement, the organic reach of every campaign proved to be fairly useful.

The Facebook pagina audience grew to overheen 100 ventilatoren ter a brief time period, and the organic reach of the advertisements began to expand near the end spil I wasgoed able to get more accurate with my targeting.

One of my beloved marketing tactics is reaching out to relevant blogs and asking them if they’d be willing to feature my product.

Ter the past, I wrote about different ways to get press coverage with zero budget – however, ter this case, because the product is so unique, the average product blog would most likely not feature a T-shirt. It would be hard for mij to use different tactics to get featured on a blog like Uncrate , Supercompressor , or others.

For mij, I needed to get more specific. What were the types of blogs that would feature a funny dog T-shirt?

Here are some ideas that I thought of when I began my search:

  • Breedgeschouderd specific dog blogs
  • Dog fan blogs
  • Rescue associations that would want to do cross promotion
  • Tumblr accounts with big followings
  • BuzzFeed Animals

It proved to be fairly difficult to get te touch with the owners of thesis more niche blogs. I believe this is because the owners of thesis blogs are genuinely writing spil a passion or hobby of theirs.

Chances are, they aren’t looking to make money or sell ad space.

That being said, I did find yet another win with a webstek called Corgi Maniac . I simply submitted an anonymous peak through their voeling form, and a few days zometeen, the Corgi Low Rider Tee wasgoed featured!

Unluckily however, this didn’t bring ter any sales. I wouldn’t consider it a waste of time however, spil it expanded THINK PUP’s reach and still resumes to drive traffic to the store.

Thesis types of linksom are also very valuable for a brand fresh business, spil it helps with things like search ranking and authority.

It brought te a total of 51 visitors .

Email Marketing spil a Hook, Line, and Sinker

I determined it wasgoed time to setup an email marketing campaign. I figured it would be a good way to sell products to people who were on the fence about purchasing.

I could send an email blast to either:

  • People who abandoned their checkout (which Shopify does already, but this would act spil a 2nd reminder)
  • People who submitted their email address ter the uitgang intent popup form

For abandoned checkouts, I simply had to uitvoer the list of emails and upload it to my Mailchimp account.

I dreamed to send a plain reminder email to prospects and let them know that we’re holding their products for them. Perhaps someone would take the bait, and make a purchase.

I had an email list of Nineteen subscribers. Here’s the precies email that I sent:

I determined to suggest free shipping here too – but not indeed. I bumped the price of the shirts up by $Five which wasgoed the standard rate for shipping orders within the United States. Visitors think they’re getting a overeenkomst, but truly it’s toughly the same price spil before.

It’s nothing fancy, and it only took a few minutes to get setup ter Mailchimp. The results were fine!

I got a sale! It wasgoed someone who had visited the webpagina weeks before I sent this email out.

This proves how significant email marketing can be. This didn’t cost mij anything, and it won a sale.

Casting a Broader Netwerk with Paying Customers

Te the past we’ve discussed the importance of creating an outstanding unboxing practice . Unluckily, because the shirts I wasgoed selling are print-on-demand and wij aren’t shipping them ourselves, there isn’t much slagroom for playing around with an unboxing practice.

However, Printful does have a little workaround for that. A way to make a customer’s practice just a little bit more individual.

You have the option to edit and write a private note on the packing slip that gets sent out with every order.

I determined to use this spil a way to (potentially) have customers share their orders and shirts with their friends and family on Instagram.

I’m not sure how well this will work, but considering it’s a totally free marketing channel it will hopefully result ter more free exposure.

Here’s a breakdown of where all sales came from.

I think it’s pretty interesting that the most sales came from free promotional methods. It makes mij wonder how much further I could have taken this, and makes the thought of a successful paid marketing campaign exceptionally appealing.

Some key takeaways from thesis results are that mobile traffic proved to be much more popular than desktop traffic. So, it’s a good thing the theme I am using (and every theme te Shopify theme store) is mobile responsive.

I also thought it wasgoed interesting to see how much traffic Instagram drove. Because I wasgoed able to setup UTM parameters, I wasgoed able to track Instagram traffic. A total of 366 visitors came from Instagram linksaf.

Marketing and Setup Costs: $260.56

  • Hero picture – $Ten
  • Domain – $13
  • Rights to icons – $17.91
  • Instagram paid posts – $132.28
  • Facebook ads – $58.37
  • Shopify Basic project – $29

Profit (after Printful fees): $148.50

While I only made $148.50 te profit, many of the costs were experimental. Overheen time, I would optimize my marketing efforts to concentrate on the channels that provided the best comeback on investment.

Plus, with integrations like Pinterest Buyable Pins, and Facebook Commerce on the horizon for stores like mine, the chance for growth is endless.

There’s so much slagroom to explore going forward. If I had given myself a few more months to work on this, I would have explored Google Adwords, more PR, Twitter and more – this wasgoed just the peak of the iceberg.

I hope that you found something ter this case examine to be of value. If you liked this postbode, please let us know ter the comments below!

If you have an idea of the type of business wij should tackle next, let us know and wij might just do it.

We’re providing this business away to one fortunate entrepreneur, along with a entire slew of extras ter partnership with Creative Market and Printful to help propel your success.

Here’s What You Can Win:

  • The entire store and all of its creative assets
  • 6 months free on Shopify Unlimited project
  • $1,000 te Creative Market credits to buy assets like fonts, graphics, photos, and more.
  • $500 te Printful credit
  • $100 te Google Adwords credit
  • $50 te Facebook Ads credit
  • A consultation from a Shopify Marketing Experienced of your choice
  • The chance to work with an in-house designer from Creative Market to vormgeving a fresh T-shirt
  • Three of Gary Vaynerchuk’s best-selling books

Oh, and just one more thing.

We’ve teamed up with Marie Forleo to give you the chance of a lifetime.

Marie Forleo is a world-class motivational speaker, life coach, entrepreneur, Shopify Build-a-Business mentor, friend of Oprah and Tony Robbins, and host of an online web vertoning. Spil a part of the giveaway, Marie is including a seat ter hier B-School course this coming February!

What is B-School?

B-School (B spil ter business) is an 8 week online video-based training program that shows you, step-by-step, how to build a unique and profitable brand, market more effectively, and turn your online presence into a money-making, world-changing machine.

Spil a runner-up prize, wij’ll be providing away a 2nd seat te Marie Forleo’s B-School!

How to Come in

Injecting the giveaway is effortless. Use the widget below to earn entries by completing one of the deeds. If you’re leaving a comment, t ell us why you want to be an entrepreneur, or, why you became an entrepreneur, and what entrepreneurship means to you.

Don’t leave behind that you can retweet and share the contest every day during the giveaway period to earn extra entries! All entries are weighted identically.

The Giveaway Has Ended.

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You’ll begin receiving free tips and resources soon. Ter the meantime, commence building your store with a free 14-day trial of Shopify.

Be sure to check back on October 12th, 2015 at 12:00PM EST to see who the winner is!

Commence sharing now – this is not an chance you want to miss out on.

Ready to begin your own t-shirt business? Open your Shopify store now!

About the Author

Tucker Schreiber is an entrepreneur and content crafter at Shopify. He writes to inspire and educate readers on all things commerce.

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