I’ve been selling my art in POD (print-on-demand) shops since 2014, so needless to say I’ve been doing this long enough to make ALL the mistakes you can imagine.
I started out knowing nothing about tags, trending topics, or how to market my shop, but over the years I’ve tested all the advice I could find and figured out what is worth it — and what’s not! As I got better at making great POD listings over time, my sales on those listings out-performed my older designs, and I began to see the whole point of understanding SEO, trends, and marketing.
In this post I want to share with you 3 of the biggest game-changing tweaks I’ve made to my shops that helped me get found by more buyers. Note that when you do this extra bit of work, you’re not just setting yourself up to get a few sales this month. You’re building a long term, income-producing machine that will keep paying you for years to come.
To put it in perspective, I spent about a year building a POD shop part-time, and have made a full time income from it for the past five years.
Does every design knock it out of the park? No! But the ones that do make all the work worth it. Let’s dive right into the tips so you can start planning your own shop makeover!
Tip#1: SEO is Not Just for Bloggers
SEO (search engine optimization) is all about how we get found on the internet. I’ve noticed that most SEO articles and videos out there focus on blogging and how to get articles found in Google, but SEO is just as important for POD sellers as it is for anyone trying to make money online.
Here is the great news for us though — POD companies build powerful SEO systems into their sites so that all we have to do is follow their guidelines to get found. So that being said, if a company says “fill out all your tags” they aren’t just giving you busywork. They have built their site around those tags, titles, and descriptions and using them correctly will help you get found in search on their site and the web in general.
Makeover action: Go read the SEO help articles from the POD sites you use, then look at your designs and decide if you are following the best practices set by that site. If not, chances are your designs just aren’t being seen!
Tip #2: Start with Ideas, Not Shapes
I love floral and geometric designs just as much as everyone else, but I also recognize that POD is governed by search.
Search is the only way that people find your designs, so we have to create designs that are built for searchability.
So how do we do that? First of all, when you create a design, you should be asking yourself, “how will a real person find this?”. What will they actually type in to search for my design to come up and be the perfect representation of what they are looking for? Maybe a mother is wallpapering her nursery and is looking for playful African animals in the design. With that in mind, you know you need to draw a lot of different African animals, and probably some African plants to fill in the spaces between them.
Makeover action: Make a list of ideas that you could create designs around. Here are some examples: misty greenhouse, colorful circus, amphibians
Tip #3: Get Wordy
A lot of artists were trained to come up with short, poetic titles, that entice and confuse the viewer (think Untitled Blue Abyss #4). This is not what we want to do in our POD shops! When you write your title, imagine you are talking to a search engine not a person. It is important to get really wordy and make sure that all of the most important keywords are in your title, tags, and descriptions.
Makeover action: Take a look at some of your existing designs (or someone else’s if you don’t have any posted yet) and decide whether or not all the important keywords were used.
Remember there is no point in listing a design on POD sites if you don’t use the SEO “slots” the company gives you. So if you’ve only used 5 out of 14 tags and your description says “animal design” when it could be a whole paragraph, you’ve got some work to do!
Want to do a whole shop makeover with me?
In the new print on demand makeover series inside The Studio, we do a deep dive into how to improve all aspects of your shop so you can stop wondering why your designs aren’t getting found and start making more sales.
POD Makeover Series
- SEO Basics
- How to Find and Utilize POD Trends
- Marketing Your POD Shop
- Reporting and Analytics
- File Organization
- Real Shop Reviews