This is a cool little project I decided to test out a couple of years ago to see if I could drive any additional sales to my Amazon Merch t-shirts. I had a lot going on when I first started it, but was able to throw a few posts up that generated some income pretty quickly.
I’ve had a long history of building niche blogs that make money from affiliate links and Adsense ads. I thought I’d try mixing that quasi-skill with my merch business to see if I could make some more money.
Writing about this now, it’s one of those reminders of an easy way to make more money online that I’m just not taking advantage of. Something I’ve proven works with minimal effort, but have been too lazy to really go all in with. So, instead of going all in right now, I’m stalling some more and sharing this little tip with you.
I’ll give the basic idea of how the process works here. If I get enough requests in the comments section asking for more details, I’ll write up a full guide.
Affiliate Focused Websites
What is an affiliate website? In a general sense, it is a website or blog with a sole focus on driving affiliate sales to make money for the website owner.
What is an affiliate sale? See that PlaceIt (maybe something else in the future) banner on my sidebar? If you were to click on that link and sign up, I’d get a commission. That is an affiliate sale. It is a commission or royalty for sending traffic to another website where a purchase is made.
How Do I Use Affiliate Sites for T-Shirt Sales?
Well, at first I just made one really bad website. I still have it. It still makes me money. It’s still a really bad website.
The strategy that works for me is to create posts for a specific niche and post my designs on that post. But when I say specific niche, I don’t mean something like “nurses”. I mean very specific niches like “Halloween Shirts for Pregnant Nurses”.
Without going into the intricacies of how search engine optimization (SEO) works, I’ll just let you know that the more targeted you get with your post titles, the better the chance you have of getting your site ranked without doing much other work.
So, now when a nurse searches in early October for their pregnant Halloween t-shirt, my web page might just show up for them on Google or…Bing if anyone uses that still.
The pregnant nurse might also click on one of my designs and go to Amazon where they would buy my design. I’d collect my regular royalty from Amazon Merch for selling the shirt PLUS an additional affiliate commission.
Basic Guidelines for Each Post
If you don’t have a lot of experience with SEO or website building, then it’s kind of just throwing s*** at the wall and seeing what sticks.
- Each post should have at least 13 designs/shirts (even more is better)
- If you don’t have enough shirts yourself, find others on Amazon…I’ll explain below in the Bonus Money section why
- The article format is:
- Headline/Title with the long tail keyword you want people to find you by (click-baity if possible)
- 2-3 paragraphs introduction
- Shirt 1 (unique) title followed by a photo of it with an affiliate link, followed by a 2 paragraph description of the shirt with some bad jokes riddled in, then a “Buy on Amazon” text with an affiliate link attached
The more content that you have, and the more original it all is, the better your odds of ranking on Google for these terms. Again, I can go more into the whole process of how this works with keyword research and all, but I’d rather do that after I see you guys are interested 🙂
OK, so after you make your fist post, rinse and repeat. The more you add to your site, the more keywords you’ll rank for, and the more Googlers will end up on your pages.
One other great thing about this technique is that you don’t actually have to link to your own designs to make money. In the above example, let’s just say I don’t have a single design for pregnant nurses to wear on Halloween. I can still make a post dedicated to just those designs and make money.
I won’t make as much money, but I’ll still collect my affiliate fees when someone buys a shirt I linked to.
One of the reasons I will make pages listing a majority of or all shirts that aren’t mine is that I’ll get a glimpse of what people are actually buying. The clicks give me data and insight into what people are buying, so I can think about future designs I want to make. I can then just plug them into the post and send traffic to my own products.
Speaking of Data
Again, I’m not sure how much each of you knows about SEO or running a website, but you gain access to a whole lot of information when you set up something like (free) Google Webmaster Tools.
You can look at the data for your website to see what searches bring people to your site. You can also see what people are searching for that you rank for in Google, but haven’t targetted at all.
I went through my Webmaster Tools data one day and saw a search term that must have just been 3 words that showed up in different places on one page, so Google let me rank for it. I looked up that term on Google, and there was barely any competition so I made my own post just about that keyword phrase.
It only took a few days before that page started getting traffic. I made 3 of my own designs to go with it. 1 is garbage and sold zero so far. The other two shirts have combined for $450 over the last 6 months. That’s not a ton of money, but I never would have thought to make those designs without looking at the data. And that’s just one example of a few times I tried that successfully.
Even More Bonus Money!
Oh how I love the fourth quarter!
Amazon has a 24 hour duration on their affiliate cookies. Is that a weird sentence to you? What it means is that if someone clicks on your Amazon Associates (affiliate) link and purchases ANYTHING in the next 24 hours, you get a commission on EVERYTHING in their cart.
This is why I loaded up my affiliate blogs with a ton of “Ugly Christmas Sweaters for XYZ”
Visitors came to my site looking for an ugly Christmas sweater, or any other shirt on the blog, clicked on one of the affiliate links, then decided that day to order the gifts they had in their cart.
They don’t even need to buy the shirt I sent them to. The customer can literally click the affiliate link, close their browser, then order something the next morning, and I collect money. You can imagine how much this adds up around Christmas time.
You can also see bonus buys throughout the year. In addition to t-shirt commissions, I see the most random items purchased that I’m collecting commissions on.
Last summer I sold whatever this is and collected $16.40 in advertising fees! And yes, that was an affiliate link, so if you clicked it and buy anything in the next 24 hours I’ll make a cut. Thanks!
More than Just Amazon Merch
If you don’t have a Merch by Amazon account or want to push your traffic elsewhere, you can use this same strategy for that.
Each post I put up has a mix of shirts from Amazon, Redbubble, my Etsy stores, and my Shopify store. Some of the Amazon Merch alternatives will also give you extra money if you send your own traffic to make the sales.
I do this because I like the aesthetic of the different mockup images, rather than just listing 15 of those horrible Amazon shirt mockups. I also would rather make a sale on my on Shopify store so that I can collect an email address and higher ROI on each sale. After my store I’d like to send them to my Etsy stores to make more money than I would on Merch, plus each sale helps your shop with ranking in Etsy.
The only setback is you don’t get those sweet sweet bonus sales from that Amazon 24 hour cookie.
Was This Helpful?
I just accidentally skipped dinner writing this article hoping to help some people in the print on demand/online side business game try to figure out how to make more money.
I’ll never ask my readers for money, but if you haven’t yet signed up for any of the Merch resources below and plan to, please do so through my links where I’ll get either an affiliate commission or some other form of payment (ie free Etsy listings) from you signing up.
- Sign up for Printify
- Sign up for Printful
- Sign up for Etsy Sellers – Get your first 20 listings up for free
- Sign up for Orbitkit – Upload all of your merch designs to multiple POD sites all at once. Or just sign up for free to manage and track all of your designs in one place.
- Sign up for Merch Informer – probably the best print on demand/Amazon Merch research tool available (Use coupon code 2NDSCREENS to save 20%)
- Get free stocks from Robinhood and/or WeBull!
Please feel free to start a discussion or ask some questions in the comments below. I’d be happy to write an in depth post about how I do this whole process, but I think it would take me a few days to write and honestly would rather only write it if I know people are finding these tips useful.