On Merch by Amazon, you have one goal: to sell more shirts.
That’s it. Nothing else matters. The thing that sets Merch apart from other POD’s is the fact that we don’t have to do any marketing to make sales.
I’ve mentioned in previous income reports that 100% of my sales were organic. That still holds true today. I have spent a grand total of $0 on marketing since I started, and have made around $2,000 in royalties in just 6 months.
I literally upload designs, add a title and bullet points, and make sales. If that’s not the definition of passive marketing, I don’t know what is.
Now, I could just upload designs and call it a day. If they sell within 60 days, great! I don’t have to worry about Amazon removing that one anymore
But if it doesn’t sell, it must be a crap design. Right?!
The #1 thing I see people complain about in the Merch groups is designs not selling.
Granted, shirts either sell or they don’t – and people complain about a lot of things in these groups – but still, the logic here is a little flawed.
You need to rethink what your goal on Merch really is.
Your goal isn’t just to upload your daily quota; it’s to sell a lot of shirts. To do that, more people need to see your designs.
So, in this post, I’ll going to show you a simple way to get even more eyeballs on your designs. You do need to be careful with this method, so be sure to read through to the end to find out why.
Let’s get started!
How Customers Find Your Shirts
Customers can find your shirts in a number of ways. I’ve gone over this pretty extensively in this post, but I’ll quickly go over these again. Shoppers can either:
- Type in the exact quote to find your shirt
- Use Amazon’s auto-suggest feature
- Amazon recommendation
- A simple Google Search
- Whenever someone shares it via social media
- Paid social shoutouts
- Bullet points
There are probably other ways people can find your shirts, but for this post, I’m focusing on the very last one (since I’m talking about growing the number of organic eyeballs on your listings.)
Adding a title is a required field, but the bullet points and description boxes are optional. I highly recommend you fill out the bullet points at the very least. Keywords are very important. Adding keywords to your Merch bullet points are one of the only ways to reach your potential audience.
The bullet points are where you sell to your customers. This is not where you describe your shirt.
Description doesn’t appear to be a ranking factor on Amazon.com, so I typically don’t add anything in the description.
I’ve written about optimizing Merch product descriptions and bullets in the past, but I’m sort of revamping that article in this one. That post was written when I just got getting started, and I’ve picked up some tips and tricks along the way. Still a good read with lots of good tips, but I’d read this post first if I were you.
I think it’ll be easier if I use a real quote to make things a little easier for you. For the next few examples, I’ll be using the quote “If It’s Not In The Scrapbook, It Didn’t Happen” . This is the quote displayed on my example t-shirt. My target audience would be moms or grandmas who loves to scrapbook.
Now, because my quote is pretty long, I have three options for writing my product title.
1) If It’s Not In The Scrapbook It Didn’t Happen T-Shirt
2) If It’s Not In The Scrapbook Funny Stepmom Craft T-Shirt
3) Funny Scrapbook Mom T-shirt
9 out of 10 times, I’d choose #3.
Because the majority of your customers don’t know what they are looking for. They just know they want a funny scrapbooking shirt for mom.
A good chunk of your customer base will go directly to Amazon.com to look for shirts. They won’t click the dropdown box that recommends they visit the “Novelty & More” section – which we know is where our Merch shirts go. Your goal is to create a t-shirt title that has very little competition on the homepage of Amazon.com, so you rank higher.
Putting the entire quote in your title is basically wasting space. Think like a customer and you should do just fine.
However, you still may want your shirt to show up when someone searches for the entire title. Maybe they saw someone at the mall wearing a shirt with your exact quote one it. You still want to target those customers, too.
So, to target both audiences, here’s what I do:
I start my first bullet point with the following sentence, “This shirt says _________________.” I then type in the full t-shirt quote. Your customers can now find your shirt using the exact quote or using one of the title variations I showed you.
I’ll be writing a more detailed guide on Merch SEO and optimizing your shirt titles soon, but for this guide I’m focusing on bullet points.
Bullet points are arguably one of the most important parts of your entire listing, so you should definitely spend some time writing them. The fate of your design is dependent on the quality of your keywords & bullet points. The order of your keywords matter as well, so pay attention to where you place them. If you’re targeted scrapbook grandmas, add those keywords to the beginning of the bullet point, not the end.
I like to formulate a short story using the who, what, when, where or why for each of my listings. I then try to incorporate 4-5 keywords into each bullet.
Why only 4 or 5?
Amazon hasn’t really stated what they define “keyword stuffing” to be, so it’s best to play it safe and not add too many. People have gotten banned over keyword stuffing. I’ve personally reported people who keyword stuff and watched the listing get removed.
I don’t report very often, either. But if someone is “gaming the system” so to speak, and is able to make more sales by keyword stuffing, then they absolutely deserve to have their taken down.
This is what I consider keyword stuffing:
This funny, cute, adorable, awesome, great, amazing, out of this world scrapbooking tee, tshirt, shirt, short sleeved shirt is perfect for any moms, young moms, single moms, stepmoms, stepmothers, grandmas, grandmothers, grandparents, aunts, sisters, stepsisters, relatives, second-cousin-3-times-removed-on-my-dads-side.
It’s great to wear at the beach, vacation, scrapbook store, craft store, mall, school, college, gardening, mowing the grass, drinking tea, frat party, event, hotel, friends house, football game.
You get the point. If you do that, don’t.
Basically, just don’t go wild with the keywords and check common phrases for copyright before using them in your bullets, and you should be okay.
Better to be safe and only a few keywords than get a ding on your account for keyword stuffing.
How I Write My Bullet Points
Again, it depends on how long my title is, but this is usually how I write mine:
This is the perfect shirt for any grandmothers or stepmoms who love making memories, sharing family photos, and laughing about old vacations.
Wear it proudly to the scrapbook store, Senior night, class reunions, or holiday parties! It also makes a cute Mothers Day gift.
As you can see, I was able to target the who, the what, the where, and the when – all in two very short sentences. It doesn’t take very long to come up these sentences, and you can reuse these two bullets in almost any niche on any listing, just swap out the bolded text to fit your niche.
Some people like to play damage control and use Bullet #2 to say “Order a size larger” in order to prevent any negative reviews from shirts arriving too small.
Feel free to use my examples above as a template for your own listings if you want.
Originally, I said my target audience is moms and grandmas. While that’s true, I like to take things a step further and “niche down” even more.
Keyword modifying terms are simple words that can be added to your keywords. Words like “best”, “awesome”, “funny”, etc.
For my example, I want to modify the target audience of “grandmas” and “moms” to “stepmom” and “Great grandmother”.
Your listing will still going to show up for the keywords “mom” and “grandma”, but it’s also going to show up for two additional sets of audiences – just by adding those two simple keyword modifiers!
This is one way to make your listings reach more people organically.
Using Other Quotes In Your Bullets
Another way I’ve found to get more eyes on my shirts is to add low BSR quotes into the bullet of my listings. I’ve been experimenting with this over the last few months, and so far, it’s been working pretty well. It seems like the listings I have cross-promoted are selling better.
Whether this is a direct result of adding quotes I’m not sure, but the fact that my shirt shows up when someone types in both quotes does mean that more people are seeing it.
The premise behind this is pretty simple. Incorporate other best-selling quotes in the same niche, and use those quotes into your bullets.
Let’s say you’re doing research and come across two designs in the same niche, both with a low sales rank on Amazon. (by the way, the only way you can see a shirt’s true sales rank is to use Merch Informer. Chrome Extensions no longer work.)
Sticking with the scrapbooking niche, I’ve found two quotes:
1) If It’s Not In The Scrapbook, It Didn’t Happen
2) Scrapbooking is Cheaper Than Therapy (but barely)
It’s time to get a little creative. How can you incorporate quote #2 into your bullets?
Maybe you could say something like “Wear it proudly to the scrapbook store, Senior night, reunions, or holiday parties! It also makes a cute Mothers Day gift! But don’t forget, Scrapbooking is cheaper than therapy (but barely)!
Shorter quotes tend to work better because they don’t look so obvious. They just look like a natural addition to your “story”.
Advantages Of Using Other Quotes
The big advantage with this method is that more people will see your listing. If you have a quality design, this could mean more sales for you.
Like I said, there are a lot of people who check Amazon just to see the different t-shirt variations of a certain quote, or to find all the “funny scrapbook mom” shirts they can find.
Who knows, you might even convert someone to buy your design instead of the one they originally wanted! By simply adding 1 additional quote to your listing, you have basically doubled the amount of organic eyes on your t-shirt.
I have even tested this theory by typing in quote #2 into Merch Informer. By typing in both quotes, I see my t-shirt show up in both.
Disadvantages of Using Other Quotes
If you choose to add other quotes into your own listings, be sure to check quote #2 isn’t trademarked.
Copywritten phrases can slip through the filters. Do not assume that because someone else uploaded it successfully to Merch that it’s safe for you to use. It may not be.
I’ve came across some truly strange trademarked quotes, so you can never be too safe.
Also, you now have two different quotes to periodically check TESS for. It’s almost ridiculous the phrases people can trademark these days. Just because it wasn’t trademarked when you uploaded it, does not mean it will never be trademarked.
For any listings in which you choose to add another quote to, be sure to check the trademark status of quote #2 periodically as well.
Merch can be a very passive business, and for most of us, it is. It’s as simple as uploading t-shirt designs and making money. But to me, and many others who are killing it on Merch, it’s so much more.
If you could make more money at your workplace, wouldn’t you try everything you could?
Adding another quote may or may not help you sell a certain design more, but at the very least, you’re trying new things.
Don’t have one of those “upload and forget about it” kind of mentalities. You absolutely could be leaving money on the table.
And I get it, it’s hard to find time these days. But Merch is a business, albeit a passive one for most, but a business nonetheless. You should always be looking for ways to make more sales. Especially if you haven’t experimented with creating your own t-shirt store or sharing on social media, this may be your next logical thing to try.
If you can get your design in front of more people, you will make more sales. That’s how paid traffic, marketing, and social shoutouts work, too. This method may just help you get more organic eyes on your designs, which is better than any form of paid traffic.
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What are your thoughts on this method? Has it worked well for you? Let me know in the comments below!