From my perspective, finding success on Merch By Amazon and within the broader POD arena during Q4 can be aided greatly by keeping a few specific things in mind as you work on new designs in the coming days. After all, without the right mindset, money is much harder to make, even during Q4.
So here are a few tips I would like to share as we wind down the month of September.
• Strike an equitable balance of seasonal and evergreen designs over the next several weeks. Ordinarily, I advocate making 70% of new designs evergreen in nature, and 30% seasonal. But when it comes to Q4, striking a temporary 50/50 balance isn’t a bad idea (especially if you’re in a lower tier and need quick sales to tier up), as seasonal offerings that take off tend to perform very well in the homestretch of the holiday shopping season.
• Go subtle with holiday graphics, symbols, icons, and colors. Unless you’re making ugly sweater- style designs for your apparel (just be certain to never use the word “sweater” in your MBA listings to avoid a rejection), only use subtle holiday imagery, as in-your-face holiday clip art can look cartoonish to online shoppers who surprisingly find many Christmas designs too gaudy to embrace.
• Resist the temptation to make your product listings a cornucopia of holiday keywords. In my opinion, a tshirt or product listing of any type shouldn’t be presented as an item ideal for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Nobody is out there searching “Thanksgiving or Christmas tshirt.” Pick one holiday or the other and double down on your language emphasizing that particular holiday. To reference multiple holidays only weakens the listing (at least for the vast majority of listings). So either pick one primary holiday keyword for your listing, or do two separate listings and give each holiday its fair shake in the spotlight.
• If a holiday design is everywhere on MBA, it should be nowhere on your radar. Find the holiday sub-niches and keywords with the most opportunity and create messages and imagery that are instantly distinguishable from the competition. Innovate, never imitate.
• Diversify your holiday color pallet. From orange and black to red and green, these familiar color couplings will always be in fashion this time of year. But by no means are they the only drivers of successful holiday design templates. Blue and white for example — which signify snow, ice, and winter themes — have been just as effective in my Christmas portfolio as green and red.
• Don’t limit your product reach. Christmas and winter designs will sell very well on tank tops. Sweatshirts may not sell much in summer, but tank tops will definitely sell all winter, as people still wear them around the house, at the gym, when sleeping, etc. Use the full arsenal of products available to you and never assume what people may or may not want to buy.
• Simple text-based designs will produce amazing sales numbers in the next couple of months, much to the chagrin of the most exceptionally brilliant, hard-working graphic designers. The right messages with the right keywords presented in an uncomplicated fashion are the ultimate equalizer for those of you without exquisite artistic talents or the funds to hire someone with the skills you are yet to master.
• Consider the gift-giver more than the gift-wearer when you design and list products this quarter. I’ve been saying this for three years but it’s worth saying again. The vast majority of products you sell will be purchased by individuals who will gift those products to friends and loved ones. Use the listings as an opportunity to market to them, emphasizing why your design will make family members and pals happy, make them laugh, or allow them to feel special.
Time flies in Q4. And, all but surely, we won’t complete everything on our MBA “to do” lists, as there just won’t be enough hours in the day. But one thing I refuse to do is waste time rushing through the opportunities at hand. In order to fill my slots more meaningfully, I focus on quality of uploads over quantity of uploads. I won’t even reach a significant fraction of my daily upload limit (making and uploading thousands of shirts per day isn’t realistic) and so I would encourage you all to do that which seems contradictory in early Q4: slow down as time flies by. Make 10 awesome shirts a day, not 100 rushed ones. I believe you’ll make more money this way and not feel burned out and at the rock bottom of your creativity come December — which is when you need to be refreshed and ready for a new year of opportunity.
Enjoy these last few days of September and let’s get ready to crush Q4 together!
THIS HAS BEEN AN EXCERPT FROM THE MERCH MOMENTUM SEASONAL NICHE DRILL.