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Skreened Shopkeeper 101

Increasing Your Shop's Presence

By Mark Lucas, Social Marketing Manager

Designing Shirts

We could write a whole book about what makes a good t-shirt design. Everybody's got their own groove, style-wise, and there are Photoshop ninjas all over the internet that have your back if you've got a question about Adobe. But we do have a few shirt hacks that will help you out and give your designs the gleaming edge you'll need to cut through the jungles of social marketplaces.

Bold Text. Most of the time, if a shirt isn't selling, it's because the text is hard to read. Make sure the text is very readable, no matter what it says. Thumbnails of your work on sites like Wanelo and Pinterest are much smaller than the full-sized pictures on our site, so if people are browsing though these sites, bold text will draw the eye more than thin text. Nobody gets the point if they can't read it.

Neutral Colors. Neutral colors tend to outperform bolder colored shirts. You have to remember that apparel works differently than other artwork, because the customer actually has to wear it. Even if, by itself, an orange t-shirt might have a design that looks great with orange, an orange shirt is pretty hard to match with an outfit. A black shirt, on the other hand, can go with a lot of different outfits. Try to be wardrobe-friendly.

Public Friendly. Products with swearing or provocative themes can be entertaining, but it will limit how many people will see them. Pinterest and Wanelo, for example, aren't going to let a highly sexually suggestive shirt make it to their trending feeds very often. Facebook will actually deactivate accounts for this. Politicized apparel is the same way. These sites usually don't want to risk alienating part of their user base by appearing to favor a particular ideology. The wider appeal a shirt has, the more potential it has to sell. So yeah, school dress codes have bled into adult life.

The Right Design For The Right Product. Think about who is going to wear a particular design and what product they would want to wear it on when you're designing. Sometimes if a design isn't selling, it's not the design's fault. It can be that people who like that design simply don't like it on that product. Make several products with the same design and see which one performs the best. This apparel deathmatch is good practice for honing in on a winning product. Which brings us to...

Test and Correct. If you make ten designs and one of them sells much more than the others, try to figure out what made that one so popular and create more like it. If designs don't sell, ask yourself why not. Is it the concept? Is it the coloring? Is it the font used? Testing and correcting are useful tools with a site like ours, because we don't charge you anything to design products, so go nuts!

Group Similar Shirts Together. You can make multiple shops as the same user on our site. Break them up by subject matter and fill them with similar products. If someone's really interested in buying shirts about fishing, they'll want to see more shirts with fishing, for example. You should group shirts together on social media boards, too. This can sometimes lead to multiple sales, which can often lead to high fives and more money.

There are many talented artists that put their designs on our site every day. One of the most common questions we encounter is "How can I sell more shirts?" And our answer is always, "There are people out there who are into what you're doing. But you have to find them and they have to be able to find your shop."

Here's the thing; it doesn't matter how good your designs are if nobody can find them. The first step to getting people to see your work on Skreened is proper titling, tags and descriptions. Search engines like Google search titles, tags, and descriptions to find products, so making sure yours are on point is really important. Here are some tips:

Titles and Tags and Descriptions Oh Myyyyy

Titles

These are the titles of your designs and your shops. When making a title YOU SHOULD NOT BE CREATIVE! For creative people, this can be a little bit of a bummer, but there are no points for creativity in the search engine game. The title of your shirt should be very straight forward—like the way auto parts are named, not the way paintings are named. If your product has a skull made out of flowers on it, you should probably name it something like "Flower Skull." That makes it easy to find. If it's named "The Futility of Spring", that might be more interesting, but ultimately, much much more difficult to find.

  • Keep it short but sweet. It should contain keywords that describe your product, but it shouldn't be longer than it absolutely has to be.
  • Try and think what you would type into a search bar if you were looking for the product and you didn't know what you named it.
  • Only use real words—not made-up words, unless they're in the design.
  • Don't include the name of the product on which the design is shown—like "Shirt" or "Hoodie". We've already made sure Google knows which product they're on, so you're welcome.

Tags

Tags are keywords and phrases associated with your design. On our site, you are allowed to put in 5 tags, each of which should be separated by a comma. They could relate to the subject matter, the artistic direction or the content of the shirt. Examples might be "Cats" "Laser Cats" "Song Lyrics" or "Around the Clock".

  • They should all be relevant to the actual design. Duh.
  • Don't insert tags that are unrelated to the design in the hopes that someone will "stumble on" your design. That never works.
  • Only include verbs, nouns and adjectives. Words like "it" and "and" shouldn't be included unless it's part of a key phrase in the design. Search engines can read between the lines.

Descriptions

Descriptions are a more detailed look at a design. This should be written in a natural voice, with full sentences and punctuation.

Check it out: your descriptions should:

  1. Be at least three sentences.
  2. Contain keywords related to the design (just like in the title and the tags).
  3. Have proper grammar and casing. Of course.
  4. Answer at least 4 of the following questions (but not always the same 4):
    • What design is on the product? (always the first sentence)
    • Who is this product for?
    • How hard does the wearer of the shirt intend to rock?
    • When would a customer wear this product?
    • What emotional reaction should the product produce in the customer?
    • What is the customer doing when they wear the product?
    • Does this shirt make a good/great/bodacious gift?
    • For whom does this shirt make a bodacious gift?
    • What was the design inspired by?
    • Is the shirt appropriate for a mother of dragons?
    • What reaction will it produce in others?
    • What artistic style is the design?
    • Where should you wear this shirt?
    • Why should you buy this shirt?
    • How is this shirt going to make you feel?

Social Media

Last-but-certainly-not-even-close-to-least, social media is one of the best ways to spread awareness about your radically sweet products. Many of our best sellers use several different social media platforms to get the word out about their products. Some of the more popular ones are:

Pinterest: Pinterest is a social network that allows users to visually share, and discover new interests by posting (known as 'pinning' on Pinterest) images or videos to their own or others' boards (i.e. a collection of 'pins,' usually with a common theme) and browsing what other users have pinned. On Pinterest, you can create interest boards and fill them with content related to your products. And there are boards about almost anything. There is a button installed on all our product pages that lets people post our products to Pinterest.

Wanelo: Wanelo is a social shopping platform that allows users to save products that they like and share them with their friends. You can create collections and stories with related products to get people interested. There is a special button installed on all our product pages that lets people post our products to Wanelo, too. Twitter: Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called "tweets". You can find groups, users and hashtags on Twitter that are related to interests in your shops. We have a Twitter button too.

Facebook: You're probably familiar with Facebook. Facebook allows you to create pages that cater to particular interests. You can also find groups and other people's pages that center around a particular interest. All of our product pages have Facebook buttons.

Polyvore: Polyvore is a site that allows you to create outfits using products you find around the internet. If you're trying to show how a particular gem on our site would look as part of an ensemble, this is a great place to do that. You can take the outfits you've created on Polyvore and post them to Pinterest, Twitter and other social media sites. This is especially effective on Pinterest.

Your strategy with social media should be to find pockets of interested people who are excited about a certain subject and engage with them. You know- the people who would like your stuff. If you've created a series of shirts about skydiving, find skydivers on social media and ask them if they'd be interested in featuring what you've created. Create a page on Facebook about an interest you've created designs for or a Pinterest board that does the same. Invite other interested people to post to them. The more enthusiastic a group is, the more likely they'll want to engage with people who are interested in the same things they're interested in.

Here are some basic tips about social media:

  • Don't spam. Spamming is both lame and bogus and will draw negative attention to your products. This is the worst. EVER.
  • Be intentional. If you've got a shirt about ballet, get in contact with ballet dancers or groups they're involved with. Trying to get a broad audience to engage with a specific interest isn't nearly as effective. When you're in a comic book store, you're there to look at comics, and not much else.
  • Be excited about your designs. If you're not excited, there's no reason other people should be excited. Design things that you would want to wear is a good starting place.
  • Insert links to your shops and products. That's the easiest way to get people into your shop to see what you've got to offer them. And when you post to social media, use the buttons on the products whenever possible, because they feed special information to social media sites, such as the title and the price of our products.
  • Listen. You can use social media not just as a way to present your work, but as a place to be inspired. The more familiar you are with the interest or culture you're selling to, the better your designs will be as a result.

Congratulations, noble t-shirt designer!

Now you are ready to embark upon your own journey through the ether of the internet. Obviously, you can never grow enough as a seller or a marketer, but this is a pretty solid start. There's always room to expand and engage. There are people out there who are passionate about what you're passionate about. Finding them and speaking to them through well-designed products is the name of the game. Keep improving what you do, if you have any trouble just reach out to us. We are here for you.

Keep an eye out for more tips coming via our Shopkeeper emails. And most importantly—HAVE FUN AND ENJOY YOURSELF!