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5 Tips to optimize your t-shirt ads on Facebook

Facebook says it treats all product ads equally, but most with selling experience  would say not agree. There’s a difference in how t-shirt ads perform versus other product types, so for this post focus is on ads specifically designed for selling t-shirts (and other upper body apparel—hoodies, tanks, long-sleeve shirts, etc.).

1. Photo posts are still the best ROI type of ads for shirts

There are two main types of posts you can/should make as a SellMyTees.com seller; link posts and social media photo posts. When advertising individual shirts you should always use a social media photo post. Photo size of 1200 x 1650 pixels is recommended. You can also add a call-to-action (i.e. “order now”) at the bottom or top of the photo since the overall size of the image is larger.

Photo Posts: When you click on the picture it will lead directly to the SellMyTees.com Product Page in which the shirt is located. The viewer is more likely to focus on a photo post as compared to link posts. Photo posts seem to work the best when it comes to generating more impressions, clicks, shares and interaction from the target audience.

Link Posts: When you click on the link it will also lead directly to the SellMyTees.com Product Page in which the shirt is located, however link posts will most likely not get the interaction as that of photo posts.

After you create either of these post types on Facebook, you can then pick the ad objective like PPE, Website Conversion, Lead Ad, Click To Website, etc.

2. Keep your post text short and sweet

Posts should have 3 short lines of text; Put a blank line in-between each of them for readability. Organize text as follows:

Line 1: Question or statement to stop the user from scrolling in their Newsfeed

Line 2: Blank

Line 3: Click Here –> Link to SellMyTees listing

Line 4: Blank

Line 5: Ask them to do something social like: Tag another “X” you know now! (fill in with biker, pitt mom, soccer dad, etc.—whoever the audience is designed for.)

Keep in mind it’s good practice to add variables to your links because they can help you differentiate which ads are driving which conversions.

3. Use comments to draw attention to your product URL

It’s good practice to keep your listing URL front and center—after all, the whole point of the ad is to get your audience to convert.  Try the following on your photo post; first, comment on the post with your variable link, then reply twice to the comment and paste the same link. Then like all 3 comments. This will force the comment to stay at the top of your post—making it easily accessible to people viewing your photo ad.

4. Choose the right objective for t-shirt ads

When creating a photo post ad, I would always recommend choosing “Website Conversion” as the ad objective. Of course, there are a few layers…but “Add To Cart” and/or “Purchase” objectives seem to work the best.

5. Look at ads from Facebook’s point of view

At the end of the day, Facebook’s main concern is NOT if your ad is generating sales or not.  Their main concern is their user’s experience. They know if they repeatedly let bad content into the Newsfeed, the user will eventually leave Facebook.  If that happens, both Facebook and advertisers lose out.

There are specific guidelines you should be aware of (to avoid ad violations), but often internet marketers need to push the envelop to get noticed. The trick is to walk this line without crossing over it. Also, keep in mind that Facebook constantly changes where this “line” is…and you can fully expect them to keep changing it to preserve their user experience across all of Facebook. Remember to keep your ear to the ground and pay attention to how your ads perform to ensure they’re fully optimized for conversions.

The magnitude of these decisions only makes it harder. After all, your niche sets the potential for business growth, then designs directly impact selling power.

Neither niches or designs are born equal. Building a successful online t-shirt business will require both, a profitable niche and designs that sell like hot cakes.

Even if you truly excel in later aspects such as marketing and branding, without a quality niche and winning designs, it’s not going anywhere.

With a greater understanding of these fundamentals, both niche and design hunting will become a systematic process. Let’s start with profitable niches.

What Makes a Profitable Niche?

1. Plenty of Passion and Pride

No matter which industry you examine, those fuelled by passion are by far the most profitable. When it comes to the online t-shirt industry, tapping into your audience’s sense of pride is the fastest way to win their custom.

It’s worth remembering that all niches provide different levels of passion from their audiences. Ideally, you want to find an audience rich with individuals who would proudly boast your t-shirt to friends, family, and the rest of the world!

Most sales in this industry are strongly driven by emotions, accept this and you will already be ahead of the game. It’s not always about the most creative design, it’s the strength of the positive EMOTION created. Specifically, how they are going to feel wearing your t-shirts. In later stages, creating designs that can trigger your audience will drive home your success.

So, if your niche is at all lacking in passion or pride, it’s almost certainly not going to be the most profitable venture!

But How Do I Know If My Niche Has Enough Passion?

Larger audiences are a strong indicator of a passionate crowd, it’s often a great motivator growing such large communities. However, size alone does not guarantee passion nor profitability.

The amount of money being generated in the niche is a more reliable indicator. Where vast sums of money are spent and generated, you can be certain it’s largely fueled by passion. Moreover, this definitely signifies profitability!

Begin your search by brainstorming niche ideas. Here are a number of broad categories to get you started and then you can narrow down into sub niches: 1) Hobbies 2) Sports 3) Cars 4) Occupation 5) Politics 6) Family 7) Religion 8) Cuulture 9) Ethnicity

You may also consider the strong sense of belonging to teams, events or festivals. Or those who simply want to stand out from the crowd, turn heads and create a buzz.

Look for niches with the most passionate audiences, you’ll also find the potential for great profits!

2. Larger Audience = Greater Scalability

While starting a t-shirt business targeting a small niche may come with less competition, it also lacks the ability to grow. Going too narrow with your niche selection may leave you feeling starved and unable to grow.

By choosing a niche with large audiences multiples your selling potential, generating steady streams of revenue. Also, this still leaves you room to break the niche down into smaller sectors, targeting them more effectively through specific designs.

For example, Pets has a Facebook audience of 500M but it’s far too broad. After narrowing it down to Dogs it’s still around 300M. You may choose target later designs by breed, or focus different emotions such humor and pride. Even Pugs has a potential an audience of 500K!

Larger niches are lucrative. But remember, it’s not all about size, if the passion or pride isn’t there it’s going to be a hard sell!

But How Do I Know if my Niche is Big Enough?

There’re many ways to estimate the audience size of a niche. But one of the easiest ways to gauge an audience size is using Facebook. If you’ve already worked with Facebook Adverts, you may be familiar with their Audience Insights Tool.

The easiest way is to use Facebook Advert’s Audience Insights Tool.

Create a new audience and target your niche or interest so the tool can estimate the size of the Facebook audience. If there are more than 100,000 users in your Facebook audience it’s fair to say it’s pretty big!

This tool also has further when it comes to marketing and advertising, such as demographic information on your audience. This enables you to tailor designs, maximize appeal and optimize advertising campaigns.

Don’t go too wild chasing the numbers. Audience size alone does not always equal profitability. There must be passion and other factors that still need to be considered.

Look for niches with big audiences, having more potential customers to market to will reinforce business scalability.

3. Access and Willingness to Spend Money

Even when all other factors point towards a surprisingly untapped niche, don’t forget about monetization. If the majority of your audience is not active online or not confident with technology, it’s dead in the water.

Similarly, if they don’t have access to PayPal accounts, credit cards or expendable income, it’s not a niche you should pursue.

As an example, marketing directly to children would be very difficult. The majority of your audience may be too young to even access the online payment systems, instead having to persuade their parents first.

Take a quick sanity test, will your audience be able to easily find and buy your t-shirts?

4. Audience is Easily Targetable

In order to be profitable, your niche must have an audience that’s easily identifiable for targeting. Not only is this essential for advertising campaigns, but your designs and even keywords on your website should be optimized to suit.

Facebook’s Audience Insights comes to the rescue again. Simply navigate through the targeting options and interests and look for your niche.

If you can’t find a close match, it signifies a difficult to target niche, especially through Facebook advertising.

Building a business upon difficult to target niches makes it difficult to optimize designs or adverting campaigns.

Where Can You Find These Super Profitable Niches?

Now you understand the factors that drive the sales and revenue to profitable niches, let’s hunt them down. There’s a bunch of methods for tackling this, but these will be the main sources you need to search for:

Social Networks

FB ads and FB audiences offer a swift way to research interests and uncover niches. Search for large audiences or followings.

Use the Facebook Graph Search to locate fan pages related to your niche. If there’s a mountain of likes, followers and engagement, you’re on the right track. It also signifies fertile grounds for setting up your own group for marketing purposes.

The Image based networks, Instagram and Pinterest, are hives of passionate social activity. Try searching using hashtags, search for popular ones relating to your niche. If you discover furious pinning and liking, it’s likely there are grounds for a profitable niche.

Amazon and eBay can also be a great way to find potential markets. If your niche is catered to here, it’s big enough to consider. Look at the Amazon’s best-sellers, if others are making a lot of money in your niche, it’s likely you could too!

Search Engines

Try simply Google searching your ideas and seeing which ones gain the most traction. Look for highly active online forums relating to your niche, it’s a strong indicator of passion and future marketing opportunities.

Google Trends is very useful for discovering trending subjects and growing popularity. You might just spot the next big craze emerging!

Finding the Best Selling T-Shirt Designs

So you’ve got yourself a profitable niche, now you need attractive designs that drive sales. But even with your golden niche in the bag, making designs solely on your own creative energy does not guarantee success.

In fact, the amount of time spent creating, testing and redesigning is likely to exhaust you before you get a chance to build any momentum! Instead, here’s a streamlined approach for building an online t-shirt business:

  1. Find what’s already selling like crazy
  2. Design yours with an original or fresh approach
  3. Excelling with branding, marketing, and targeting

Tracking down the best selling designs is very research intensive, but when you find ones you can add value to, it will be well worth it! Here’s how to get going:

Check Out Pinterest

Pinterest can be a goldmine for creative design. In between the furious pinning, repinning and liking you can discover popular designs from a variety of sellers and platforms. It’s also great for exploring through to related photos and discovering more designs.

Start to gauge selling potential by looking for engagement and social popularity.

While it’s great for getting a wide angle on the market, the main drawback of this method is the lack of sales or campaign data.

Measure Social Engagement

The buzz of likes, shares, comments and social engagement is a good indication of design popularity.

Grab direct campaign links and input them into free tools such as How Many Shares, to see the popularity of each design on Facebook.

While time-consuming, these methods are mighty effective for uncovering best selling designs. Then all you’ve got to do is come up with your own twist!

Remember, time is money. The sooner you pinpoint a profitable niche and develop popular designs, the faster you can grow your online t-shirt business. Best of luck!

KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

If you don't know who your selling to you might be wasting a ton of money printing shirts that will sit collecting dust in your garage. It's important to do your research before you start the printing process. Doing the boring research before can not only save you money, but it might also make you more money in the long run.

(Example: If your target audience is skateboarders ages 10-25 than figure out what their buying patterns are and the types of designs they like.)

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

Although this is not true in many cases...focus should be about making better designs versus printing more designs. This is a common mistake and can hurt your product and even worse destroy your brand quick. If you lack the skills necessary to make high quality designs it's better to hire a designer to create unique designs for your brand. Artists can be found via several sites for very competitive prices. Search out some of the sites and study the artists. Find the artists that have the style you need then negotiate with them how you can best work together.

Just keep in mind 1 great design sells more than 10 ugly ones. 

Social Media images are powerful when promoting your designs. It is proven people will take more time to look at a social media image than they will a link to your shirts.

Upload the images in the 'Design Management' page. The page in which the design is titled and mark up applied. This page can be found under the 'Products' tab in the store admin.

To share social medial images click on your design in the store.  This will take you to the 'Product' page.

Click on the social media platform you wish to share your social media image. Follow the pop up instuctions.

Here is a picture of a social media image being shared to Facebook:

STAY ACTIVE

In order to sell more t-shirts you have to Stay Active. By promoting at local events and through social media you can generate more sells, it's really that simple. It's like owning a small coffee shop in a hip town, the more active you are in your community the more the people of that community want to support your coffee shop.

People love to feel like they have a sense of belonging, so why not make them feel that way by purchasing your t-shirts? You can accomplish this building a community and managing it daily. 

Top Selling Facebook Ads


There are tons of tutorials and guides available online and everyone has their own opinion on
the effectiveness of each ad. Generally, sellers start with a $5 – $10 budget and then make a
data based decision after 24 – 48 hours of running their ads. Opinions vary based on ideal
target audience sizes and the ad type you select, but narrowing your target audience
to 50,000 – 400,000 people is a good range to start with.

Keep in mind Facebook structures its ads as such:

Campaign: This is the parent group. Recommend one Facebook ad campaign per listing. For
example you will create a PPE campaign and all ads/ad sets under this campaign will have
“engagement” as their main goal.
Ad Set: You can have many ad sets within a campaign, each with its own budget.
Recommend using multiple ad sets to separate your various targeting strategies. For
example, one ad set might use interest targeting, while another might target based on field of
study.
Ads: You can have multiple ads within a single ad set. We recommend keeping your targeting
the same for all of the ads within a set, but varying the creatives to test effectiveness.
Facebook will automatically try to determine which ad image or copy is the most effective.

There are three types of Facebook ads sellers commonly use to sell.

Page Post Engagement (PPE)

PPE ads could be considered the easiest ads to set up. You can either promote a photo or a
link within the post – keep in mind visual posts (with photos) are more eye-catching and will
be more effective for generating engagement. The aim of this ad is to encourage engagement
(i.e. shares, likes, clicks, comments), page likes to generate organic traffic to your listing page
through this engagement.

Pro’s:
• PPE ads are relatively easy to set up
• Facebook tends to serve this ad type to people who regularly engage with posts (i.e.
who like, share and comment frequently)
• These ads are a good way to gain followers for your Facebook page (who can
advertise to later for a lower cost)
• High engagement can generate free/organic traffic (when someone shares your ad or
tags a friend) to your ad and fan page


Con's:
• PPE ads involve an extra step for potential buyers because clicking a PPE ad does not
send a person directly to your listing. If someone clicks on this ad they will be taken to
an enlarged image of the ad within Facebook. This means there is an extra step for
potential buyers because they need to specifically click on the campaign URL (which
you can include in the ad text or in the comment section of the post).

Click to Website Ad (CTW)

The aim of CTW ad is to generate URL clicks and send as many people as possible to your
listing page.


Pro’s:

• Requires smaller budget for testing; usually you can tell if the ad will be successful in a
shorter amount of time (either it works or it doesn’t; engagement isn’t a big factor like
with PPE ads)
• Less steps for buyers; if a potential buyer clicks on the ad, she/he will be taken directly
to your Product Page.
• This ad type works better for people who don’t engage as much with Facebook content


Con's:
• CTW ads rarely go viral or are shared as much as PPE ads so you won’t generate as
much organic traffic or page likes

Website Conversion Ad (CW)

This is the most “advanced” of the three ad types. CW ads require the use of a tracking pixel
and aim to create and target your ideal buyer audience based on the people who convert on
your ad, i.e. purchase from your campaign. Facebook uses the insight it gains from your
buyers and adapts your target audience as the ad runs.


Pro’s:
• This ad can become more effective over time as you have more conversions (Facebook
learns from your buyers and optimizes targeting)
• Less steps for buyers; if a potential buyer clicks on the ad, she/he will be taken directly
to your Product Page
• This ad type works better for people who don’t engage as much with Facebook content


Con’s:
• Testing can be a bit more costly because you need conversions (sales) to determine if
the ad will become more effective over time; $30 – $50 testing budget
• You will also need to use a tracking pixel in order to verify if the ad is working or not
• CW ads rarely go viral or are shared as much as PPE ads so you won’t generate as
much organic traffic or page likes