With many designers earning thousands of dollars each month, it is easy to understand why Zazzle is a popular choice for item design. But the vast majority of designers don’t make much money from Zazzle. In this article we are going to share the best secrets we know for becoming one of the success stories on Zazzle.
Zazzle was formed in 1999 by Robert, Bobby and Jeff Beaver. Zazzle allows designers to create a wealth of products, set up their own store free of charge, and begin selling their items to the public. Zazzle handles the digital printing and embroidery work. All the designer has to handle is their own creativity, and marketing.
The Zazzle model is so effective that it attracted a major investment from Google in 2005. Along the way, amateur and professional designers have been using the Zazzle model to sell their own t-shirts, greeting cards, iPhone cases, posters, calendars, and more.
Logic tells us that if it were easy to be successful on Zazzle, everyone would be doing it. And the rough statistics we can gather and guestimate on from industry forums suggest the majority of Zazzle designers make very little money for their efforts, while a minority makes a lot of money. Sorta sounds like society and business in general, doesn’t it?
So what are the successful minority doing that the majority isn’t?
Here are our most valuable tips for success on Zazzle. Add these to your game plan, and start down the road to success on Zazzle.
- Brand yourself. Design a cool, flashy logo which is memorable and reflects on your store. If you don’t have the skills to design a logo, hire someone who does. First impressions are critical. You want to exude professionalism, even if you are creating tongue-in-cheek t-shirt designs. Be confident about your brand, and your customers will have confidence that they can buy from you without worry.
- Customize your store with a proper breadcrumb trail and subsections. You will need an understanding of HTML and CSS. Like the logo design, this is a critical part of your store’s success so don’t be shy about hiring someone to spend a few hours customizing the layout.
- Think like a search engine. Zazzle’s internal search engine and Google don’t know anything about your products that you don’t specifically tell them. That means paying close attention to your item names, descriptions, and tags (keywords). If you have a great t-shirt design of a depressed office worker, come up with something a bit more descriptive than “Blue Monday.” What would a customer search for, if they were searching for your product? That is how you want to name and tag your items.
- Use templates which allow customers to customize text where appropriate. The front of a greeting card, for instance. There is no reason for a customer to buy a generic text greeting card from you, when they can get a trusted brand like Hallmark at the corner store. And be relevant. By paying attention to trends, you can capitalize on them with successful products. Think along the lines of the “I Shoot Zombies” shirt example, capitalizing on the Call of Duty video game craze.
- Carefully choose your Zazzle username. The username should be memorable and recognizable, and should reflect your product line if at all possible. Don’t call yourself “DanP75.” It’s not memorable, and it doesn’t reflect your product line. Be certain not to box yourself in too. Don’t call yourself “HilariousTees” if you think there is a good chance you will be marketing a lot of key chains in the coming months. Think along the lines of Search Engine Optimization. When Google finds you, the results should be relevant to your product line.
- Guess what? Nobody knows about you and your store. That isn’t going to change. Sure, you could get a favorable high search placement from Zazzle, leading to a bunch of sales, which then snowball into success through word of mouth. But that rarely happens. You need to promote your store on your own. Don’t wait for lightning to strike. Make it happen. This means using social media to get the word out about your store. Create fan pages for your store on Facebook, and set up a brand profile on Twitter. Customize your Twitter background to build your brand. If you aren’t comfortable with promoting yourself on Twitter, here are 50 ways to build your brand there.
- Blog, blog, blog. Set up your own blog which points potential customers back to your store and builds your brand. But don’t stop there. Think in terms of link building. Identify websites and blogs where you think their readers would make good customers for you. Inquire about guest blogging with them. This is not an overnight success plan. This is a long term plan. Do a little bit everyday. Over the long run, you will build many valuable links back to your store.
Just the same as building a popular website or blog, success at Zazzle rarely happens overnight. You need to focus on an effective long term marketing program, combined with a steady stream of new, quality products. Be patient. If you become a Zazzle success story, you will glad you put in the extra effort.
What are your favorite tips for building a successful store on Zazzle?