Selling t-shirts and merch online is all about learning; how did your first campaign perform? Did you learn anything that can help you get higher order numbers next time around? As you launch your second campaign, these learnings put you in a much stronger position to improve. As with many things in life, it’s hard to substitute advice for practical experience, and it’s worth noting that some of our most successful creators took two or three campaigns to really hit their stride.
Of course, there are essentials that will stand you in good stead for any campaign. If you’re in need of a refresher on running a pre-order campaign, have another (or a first) look at our guides to building your campaign, prepping it for success and really nailing your campaign page.
There’s a particular nuance, though, to carrying the lessons from your first campaign into a successful second one. We cover all the things you should hone in on below, but the key to this is two-fold:
- Really probe the successes and failures of your first. It’s not just about whether something worked or not, think about why this was the case
- Adapt and test changes with the elements that are holding you back, so that you’re expanding and developing upon your first campaign
Building your brand and identity is a process
In the long run, it’s the consistency and creativity with which you push your brand (and designs) that counts – and that’s the same whether you’re a designer, artist, illustrator or fashion label. Having a stable and pre-planned campaign calendar backed by great designs and a long-term view of success is one of the single most common themes we see behind the top selling creators on Everpress. Only with a long-term view can you have the freedom to enjoy expanding your audience reach, coming up with new and innovative designs, and testing new things.
We take care of all the logistics, like delivery and production, so that you can focus your energies on designing and getting the word out about your campaign. This means the promotion is in your hands (though we will feature our favourite designs in our Editor’s Picks shop), and if you feel like this is what let you down on your last campaign then your second go is a great chance to revisit and update your current strategy/methods.
We know this part can feel tricky, especially if you’ve built up a following naturally, so we’re constantly honing our own tips and collecting advice from the people in our community who’ve really killed it with content. Head to our campaign marketing section for everything from photoshoot tips, to content creation tips. But in short:
- Take stock of what’s worked in the past. Did a pic of you wearing your designs go down particularly well with your audience? Perhaps there are new and interesting ways you can expand on this with future campaigns
- Think quality over quantity. A well-timed, super engaging visual is always going to be more effective than 5 or 6 rushed posts about your new tee
- Keep up your existing content too. This means your followers won’t feel like they’re being bombarded with updates on your garments, and it’ll ensure new visitors to your profile get a good sense of what you’re about
- Promo where you’re comfortable. Although the majority of our sales come via Instagram (40%), if you’ve got a huge following on Twitter then use it to shout about your designs. There’s nothing saying you have to limit yourself to just one platform either
- Find new ways to talk about the same thing. Whether that’s a photo shoot, photos of your friends, close-ups, BTS content, your design process, illustrations or graphics that include your mockups; whatever works for you
- Instagram and Facebook stories are your friend; they’ll let you publish updates on your designs without feeling like you’re clogging up your feed
- Take advantage of the limited time period. The pre-order campaign really hinges on urgency, so it’s crucial to make the most of this. Didn’t see a rush of sales in the final stages of your last campaign? Use countdown posts to make the most of hype, and make sure your message is really clear so your audience knows exactly when they need to get their orders in by
Tip: any content you make for promotion doesn’t just help sell your t-shirts, it also acts as folio pieces that will help demonstrate the full range of your abilities to your audience. Think about this as a chance to develop your brand and visual identity, and really have fun with it.
Capitalise on the success of your first campaign
It’s likely that fans of your first campaign will be interested in a second run, so be sure to keep them in the loop about your latest offerings. If you’ve run a successful campaign with us before, get in touch and we’ll send over your customer data so you can drop existing fans an email to let them know you’ve launched a new design.
We keep the URLs from your finished campaigns live, and our ‘relaunch request’ feature also collects the emails of anyone who missed out on the chance to order – as soon as you get 10 requests we will get in touch – this is a great sign that demand is high for your design. Whether you’re relaunching an old campaign or starting a fresh one, it’s likely anyone who didn’t get a chance to buy the first time around will want to know you’ve got new/existing designs available, so it’s worth reaching out to them too.
Tailor the Duration of Your Campaign
There’s no ideal length for a campaign; both long and short can prove effective depending on a few different factors. We’ve found that shorter campaigns tend to be best for really maximising urgency and keeping the momentum going for the duration, while longer campaigns give you the time to create more elaborate promo content, especially useful if you’re running a photoshoot say, and need a sample. Longer campaigns also tend to work better for bigger organisations working with several artists, as they give added time for contingency.
Think about how time played out in your previous run; if you felt like it lagged a bit in the middle, and you struggled to keep up with promo, then shortening your campaign might be the way to go. But if you felt up against it, then extending will give you more space, similarly, if you’re adding different elements in this time, a longer campaign could be the way forward.
Keep An Eye On Your Margins
If you’re happy with how your campaign ran and how many orders were placed, but you don’t feel like you got the returns you expected, then this is definitely the time to think carefully about your margins.
Your sale price and the number of orders placed aren’t the only factors that determine how much you’ll make. Your production costs, and therefore your profit margins, will depend on your design, choice of garment and print method, so these are all worth thinking about when you’re putting together a campaign. Our price calculator is a really handy tool that lets you calculate your profit if you want bigger margins, experiment with less colourful designs or adapting your selling price.
Use stats to figure out what worked
We know it’s not the most exciting, but one of the most valuable things a first campaign will give you is data. You’ll know when orders were placed so you’ll be able to get a good sense of what worked and led to orders, and what didn’t, and this is especially useful from a promo perspective. If you saw a surge of sales after a certain post, then you know you can rely on that kind of content for your next campaign.
This will also give you an idea of whether you’re using the pre-campaign model as effectively as possible. We typically see a spike in orders at the beginning of a campaign and then just as it closes, so if your sales didn’t quite follow suit then it’s worth looking at your launch and countdown – both key points in the timeline of a pre-launch campaign – to make sure you’re capitalising. For a full rundown on using each to the best of your advantage, head here, but the key to this is really building a sense of urgency, and using clear messaging so your followers know the exact window in which they can order your designs.
Looking for detailed help with marketing your campaigns? Head to our campaign marketing section here.