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How can I make that first online sale?

91 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  nphektor
Good afternoon. I have an online store/blog called Deepteez.com. I only have about 10 shirts featured. They are all simple typographic tees with quotes on them. Most are inspirational, and some are targeted to different markets like coffee lovers, dog owners, cancer survivors, bloggers, etc. I am having a rough time trying to figure out how to crack that first sale. I know I need to create some social media accounts, so far all I have is google plus. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Well, I can offer a few thoughts, but this is just my opinion, and I clearly don't have it all figured out myself.

First, while having a blog and content may increase traffic to your site (assuming the content attracts any traffic of its own), why on Earth would you want to attract people who want to make and sell T-shirts? Those are probably not potential customers. Better to have a blog about cats and sell cat shirts, or a blog about cancer and sell rage against cancer shirts, etc.

My pet peeve with most templated sites: The images of the T-shirts are TOO small for people to easily see what they are about. People will NOT bother to click through to the larger image if they can't see the thing well enough to develop interest in it in the first place. Don't feel bad, almost all the templates suck like this. But do find a way to have larger images up front.

Hard to find the T-shirt selling part of the page, and even harder to get back to it ... as the Home link didn't seem to lead to anything useful. I would put the blog on its own sub page and the selling on root. If the blog works at all in attracting traffic, it will be via search hits on Google, and such, so those people will be coming in from an external link. They don't need your Home page to be blog centric since they will never see it unless they use your site navigation to poke around. Have clearly labeled links to the Shop on the blog pages as well teasers/samples of shirts.

Things are found on the interwebs via Search. Inherent in this is that fact in order to find something the user must first type keywords into a Search engine. This is why no one is going to find your unique and cool design--because no one can search for things they don't already know about. This is where niches come into play. If you have a unique and essentially unsearchable design, but it fits into a broader niche of things for which people search, such as Funny Cat Shirts, then you include keywords associated with that niche in the Title and description of your item. Even then it's like peeing in the ocean ...

One could also advertise on social media, and perhaps this can work well with the right niche and if one knows what they are doing. Personally, all I've done is enrich Mark Z at my own expense. I think advertising works better for large sellers, like Snorg, who have thousands of designs across tons of niches, and for selling platforms like eBay and Etsy. In those cases even if you don't end up buying the thing depicted in the ad, you may find something else on their site that you do end up buying. But you and me? We don't have as many other things for someone to fall in love with before they get bored and leave.

My best advice to anyone starting out who is trying to sell online, is to go where the customers are already, rather than trying to get them to come to you. So Etsy, eBay, Amazon, etc. FYI Etsy and eBay both buy Google ads for my designs at their own expense. But like I said above, it is a win for them just getting a potential customer to their site because once there, there is so much more that someone might see and buy even if they don't buy what was in the ad that got them there.

Social accounts may or may not be worthwhile at this point. What works there keeps changing as the companies try to monetize their platforms.

It's a learning process. Stay flexible and try stuff. Don't bet too much on any one thing.
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This is great feedback and very honest. You gave me a lot of things to think about that hadn't even occurred to me. I really appreciate your perspective and will be making some changes to my site. Thanks again :)
Start with Facebook. Most of my sales (I'm still at the hobbyist phase) are done on FB.

Find a FB group that relates to a hobby of yours ... Say for example in my case amateur radio. Then design a few shirts relating to the group. Then after getting permission from the op post your designs.
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