Guest post by Ronnie McKenzie. Ronnie is a born-again Arsenal fan that should learn another language but hasn’t. When he’s not drinking coffee at the local coffee shop, he will be found awkwardly discussing his favorite wines in the local wine store. He does know a thing or two about selling online. He’s sold over 130,000 units on Teespring and built multiple 6 & 7 figure businesses online.
Everywhere you turn at this time of year, every conversation you’ll have with anybody in e-commerce will be focused on the same thing. Preparation for Q4 and the holiday period.
Q4 crosses over 3 months and is the season everyone is looking forward to. It’s during this time the slow sales period can be turned around. With a successful Q4 you most often go onto a year of success.
Many of us will sell more in one week in October, November, and December than we have all year. If you’re lucky enough you will be able to scale a winning to generate more profit in one day than most people earn in one year!
In this article, I am going to talk you through how you can prepare for the 2018 holiday season. You’ll learn how to make the most of it, and to absolutely crush it on Teespring.
So here is what we’re going to cover;
- Key dates of Q4
- How to prepare for each date
- How to leverage each holidays success
- Hacks to build your audiences now
How to crush Q4 with Teespring
Whether it’s the first time you have tried Teespring or you’re a seasoned pro, we’re going to cover some pretty good content so buckle up.
BigCommerce recently polled 1018 brands to find out which periods of the year were most lucrative for their businesses.
This is the response they received;
- Q1, January – March: 8.74%
- Q2, April – June: 10.41%
- Q3, July – September: 8.84%
- Q4, October – December: 56.88%
- No season change: 15.13%
Bookmark that or make a note of it somewhere as you’re going to experience the ups and downs of POD life (print on demand). I have noticed from years of being in the trenches and selling with Teespring that we all go through these same periods (the worst being Q3 for me).
You need to actively prepare for the quiet periods because they suck. They take the shine off the Teespring millionaire dream and what you build through these next few months. Building solid Q4 habits will have you singing through the rest of the year and tackling the next year from a stronger position. I made the mistake of missing one Q4 myself—and I am NEVER doing that again.
Now before we get started on our planning, we need to know what particular dates we are preparing for. Most of these dates will be pretty well known for anyone living in the United States, however, the international sellers (of which I am one) may need to do some research. Like, for instance…What specific day is Thanksgiving?
How to prepare for these dates differ, some you can create listings specifically for, like Halloween and Christmas, others will require you to have a strong sales game for the biggest selling days of the year.
1) Research key dates in Q4
- Halloween – Oct 31
- Veterans Day – Nov 11
- Thanksgiving – Nov 22
- Black Friday – Nov 23 – (The average shopper spends $400 on BF)
- Cyber Monday – Nov 26
- Green Monday – Dec 10 (Biggest sales day in December. Best for Teespring Christmas Sales)
- Free Shipping Day – Dec 14
- Christmas Day – Dec 25
- Boxing Day – Dec 26
- New Years Day – Jan 1 (as if you didn’t know)
As a master of your niche (or if you’re not, read this article I wrote recently on breaking down untapped niches + List of 1000+ Niches) you can very easily create designs for specific dates.
For example, Halloween or Christmas
There are endless adaptations you can create for your niche for Halloween-focused designs.
Now is the time to get those products designed and in front of your audience.
I cannot emphasize how important it is to have these designs created well in advance of actually launching and running ads to your listings. You need to have your catalog ready to advertise come the last week of September.
Veteran’s Day is another day that has an incredible amount of meaning for those who are veterans or those who are close to veterans. They are a hugely passionate bunch. A very proud and engaged demographic,—targeting their national pride with the fact they served their country is a sure-fire step in the right direction.
Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) is one of the biggest sales days of the year. EVERYONE with an internet connection finds themselves in front of a screen buying stuff they don’t need!
It is our job as marketers to give them something that is not only well designed but is meaningful to the person purchasing. BFCM is where you can pull together all your winning designs from the year and resell them with free shipping or some other discount.
This is obviously not a holiday like Halloween or Christmas where you design holiday specific pieces, but rather an occasion for you to sell as much as you can in the shortest amount of time as possible.
Green Monday is the BIGGEST sales day of the online calendar year. Everyone, even those without an internet connection will find one.
Can you guess why?
If you answered “Because it’s 3 weeks until Christmas and the last chance to get a massive discount on your gifts (as a consumer) and have them delivered in time”, then you’d be correct.
Much like BFCM, it is a day for you to offer heavy discounts or other products. Get your best-performing products together and offer some “too good to be true” discounts and clean up!
Christmas Day, Christmas sweaters are always a massive hit in the lead up to Christmas. Early October is the time to get your thinking cap on to come up with something original.
“Meowy Christmas” sold an absolute boatload. Merry Twistmas, on the other hand, did not. Meowy is not mine, Twistmas is. It didn’t sell too many if any. If you want to try, knock yourself out.
The key to having a great campaign is how unique your design message is. Think of words that rhyme with “Merry Christmas” and “Happy” and see how you can work them into your design.
The more clever you are, the better off you’ll be. (I’m hilarious, I know it, unfortunately, a lot of the time most people don’t get my jokes :’).
The rest of the holidays are pretty self-explanatory, just offer discounts or cross-sells. Just do something that the customer will deem special enough to part with their cash on that day.
The key, as always, is to create a product your audience absolutely NEEDS.
2) Keep fulfillment timelines in mind
The one thing you need to keep in mind with POD products and selling with Teespring is the fulfillment and delivery timelines for each holiday.
How to make money on Teespring during Q4 comes down to your preparation for each of the holidays listed above. Sure you can scoot through without paying attention to any particular day, but having a solid plan will almost ensure your success.
The difference between powersellers and those who sell a handful each week is not that much. All it comes down to is the amount of time, launches and money an individual is willing to spend to chase down their Q4 goals.
Print on Demand selling is different to marketplace selling like on Amazon. Due to the nature of Teespring, an order only gets printed after someone has paid for it. This in itself is what makes Teespring so attractive to new marketers. We literally only have to think about coming up with unique designs (let the designer take care of that one) and targeting.
This laser focus allows you to be much more efficient with your time. There is no customer service, or backend business you need to take care of (in the traditional sense).
So, with product only being created after an order has been placed, we have a little lag in the time it takes for the product to get to your customers. Allowing for this extra time with your listings is absolutely imperative to make the most of this period.
It is no good selling Halloween designs all the way up to October 31st if they won’t arrive in time for the big day. You’ll end up with upset customers if they don’t receive their product in time to wear it on Halloween. Be sure to check Teesprings fulfillment timelines especially in this time of year to make sure you don’t run into any problems.
For each date, you should allow yourself a 6-week window. This is broken down below;
- 1 week for design ideation
- 4 weeks for selling
- 1 last week for delivery to be certain it gets delivered on time.
This timeline will be your best friend for each date.
3) Leverage each holiday’s success
With each holiday you should be building on your success. Bringing in new customers, building audiences, and growing your own bank account. In order to make the most of the period, you must be doing all you can to leverage every asset at your fingertips.
Now is a great time to be increasing your weekly listing launches…if you do 5 now, grow it to 15, if you do 15, grow it to 30. Building now will be cheaper than increasing launches in Q4 and help you build bigger audiences for retargeting that will be ripe for purchasing.
It is only by adding volume to our launches that we start to see real growth. It is, however, only something you should be doing once you know what you are doing. Otherwise, it can all very quickly come undone.
With Facebook getting very particular about what it wants, you must be certain it is sending conversions your way in order to warrant rapidly increasing your spending.
To get the correct data on the Facebook pixel, there are some things that you should be doing to heighten your chances of getting those conversions.
There are often some fundamental steps that you should be taking with each and every launch to ensure maximum profitability.
- Emailing your lists as much as is allowed with new or product variations. If you have external email lists, start warming them up for daily email blasts through Q4.
- Creating retargeting audiences on Facebook with your buyer list
- Creating lookalikes off your buyers, viewers, purchasers lists (Facebook purchase data will differ from your emails, another way to add more solid audiences).
4) Build your audiences now
The main reason for ramping up our marketing now is to make sure we have built as much data as possible for when we break into Q4.
Having a targeted, relevant audience that you have gathered will prove much more profitable than running cold, top of funnel traffic.
Part of the reason for this is the immense amount of money being smashed into Facebook to achieve massive sales through Q4. Big businesses want to spend big, to make big profits. And they will. The problem is, it’s a supply and demand economy, the more competition on the platform, the higher the costs will be.
So how can we build retargeting audiences quickly and effectively?
- Create slideshows/videos for campaigns and create custom audiences for;
- 50% viewed
- 75% viewed
- 95% viewed
- Facebook Page audiences – Everyone who engaged with your business 365 Days
- Instagram business profile – Everyone who engaged with your business 365 Days
Doing these few things will create some quite large audiences and give you a great start for advertising your products.
But why would we limit ourselves to these audiences?
What we are doing is using these guys as a testing ground for each new campaign we run. If we start making sales from the base audiences then expanding into lookalikes should prove profitable.
Until I find an ad campaign is profitable I won’t typically run existing lookalikes to a new design. I want that ad to be gathering as much data for that particular campaign as possible via retargeting and targeting methods.
Once it’s started to make some sales, I then venture into lookalike territory building out my lookalikes like this:
- Base Audience: View Content
- 1% Lookalikes
- 3-4% & so on.
I have never had luck going with the straight 1%, 2%, 3% etc, however, plenty of marketers have. As with everything with Facebook advertising once you have sales on the board it is literally testing any mashups you can do, taking note of what works and what doesn’t and using that data for future campaigns.
Never be afraid to test when you are in profit. It is the most desirable time to be doing so and usually, putting more fuel on a hot fire will see it absolutely explode, all whilst building bigger and bigger retargeting audiences.
Now is the time to get started.
As I have said several times throughout this article my aim is to impress upon you the importance of planning your Q4. Failing to prepare and not making the most of this period will have dire consequences for your business and give you a rough ride through 2019.
Take it from someone who has lived through missing a Q4. It’s not fun and it’s only by taking it from someone that has ridden the massive highs and surfed the lows that you’ll get real-world feedback. Trust in yourself, trust the process and you will absolutely knock this out of the park.
I have tried to cover off on the key points for preparing however if I have left anything else you are more than welcome to ask any questions below. I will be sure to help and answer where I can.
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