So as you may or may not know I mailed my list yesterday just to say hi and find out what everyone was up to. I shared a bit about what I’d been doing personally involving t-shirt marketing (Teespring, Facebook Ads, etc.), not really knowing if any of you would also be on this path.
Well to my surprise, a number of you are also in “the t-shirt game”! That’s pretty dang cool.
I’m sure you’ve all got your own approaches and paths that brought you here, but personally I find it highly valuable to find out how other people got to where they are. Especially if it coincides with where *I* am! So with that in mind, here’s the path I took to get here and the information and tools I’ve consumed along the way.
Here’s the TL;DR version (Too Long, Didn’t Read):
Dark Post Profits
Tee Profits Recipe
Broad Targeting Formula
My very first introduction to this whole world was actually when someone referred another marketer to me, who needed help fixing/finishing a wordpress plugin for split testing Teespring campaigns. I’d never heard of Teespring – the whole thing sounded really goofy to me. This was back in I think February, and I agreed to help out and my team & I proceeded to finish their plugin for them. It’s called TeeSplit and I think they sell it… not really sure as it wasn’t my product.
But then over the next few months… I kept hearing more and more about this whole shirt thing. But it was all sortof under everyone’s breath… like it was some big secret and nobody was really talking about it openly. And then early this summer everything changed.
Suddenly everywhere I turned it was shirts. Spy tools, research tools, courses, Facebook groups… it was EVERYWHERE. Seemed like every few days there was something new coming out, often by people I’d never heard of.
Now, me being the jaded affiliate and marketer that I am… I took that as a sign that the whole shirts thing was a fad that had just apexed and was due for a spectacular crash. I wanted nothing to do with it.
Boy was that ever a mistake on my part.
Flash forward to August. I started working with a launch manager to discuss some projects, and he tells me about what some of his other clients are doing. Turns out they’re in the shirts game, but not just selling “shovels to gold miners”… no, they’re actually selling shirts and making pretty good money at it too! And it’s only increasing, showing no signs at all of slowing down.
This got me intrigued. He suggested I get into the shirts game primarily as a way to see what sorts of tools might be needed that I could potentially build and provide. Made sense to me, so I grabbed a copy of Dark Post Profits (since I hadn’t touched FB Ads in almost 5 years) and got to work.
I mean hell, it’s selling silly t-shirts to people who like them. How hard can that be right?
Wow. Was I ever in for a learning curve.
This whole t-shirt game is deceptively simple. In actuality it’s almost the ultimate study of human behavior. Your targeting is damn near everything. Seriously. The same shirt can fail miserably and with nothing more than a change in targeting, have wild success.
Anyway. DPP got me up to speed on the basics of FB Ads. But it was nowhere near the complete picture. In particular it doesn’t really focus on t-shirts specifically. It has many applications both in and outside the t-shirt marketing world though, so I’m glad I got it. Useful stuff for sure. But clearly I needed a bit more than that.
It was time for some specific research tools.
I turned to Targeting Inspector for that. It’s in a class of tools that is one of my personal favorites – tools that massively speed up processes that you already could do manually, but that are miserable and boring. TI helps make the process of identifying the interests that your potential audience shares, much easier and faster. Speed is definitely crucial in this game so it’s pretty useful. Though it’s not the simple “cut & paste riches” tool that it does sortof appear to be at first glance. But that’s just marketing for ya. See it for what it actually is, and it’s a very useful research tool to have in the toolbox.
Now I had some decent starter info on FBAds, and a tool to greatly speed up my audience research. But I was still missing some key information on shirts themselves. I was able to get a pre-release copy of a then-forthcoming course on shirt marketing called Tee Profits Recipe. If you seriously want to get into shirts, this course is about the best “bang for your buck” that I know of. I strongly suggest grabbing it and going through it several times. That’s what I did. It was a VERY big help, definitely filled in a lot of gaps I’d been having, and got me pointed in the right direction.
Still however, I was operating in a vacuum. In my experience, this is always a bad thing. I’ve run into this countless times in the past from stock/options trading to affiliate marketing. It’s vital to connect with others doing the same things you’re doing. So I got into several Facebook groups – the Targeting Inspectors group, Teespring Strategy, and Teespring University. I haven’t been overly active in all of them, but there’s a lot of good stuff to absorb. Seeing the things other people run into and how they overcome them is incredibly valuable.
But now here’s where the story takes an unexpected twist and gets considerably more interesting (for me anyway 😉 )
So I mentioned how important it is not to work in a vacuum? Well here’s a classic example of what happens when you “put yourself out there”. Synergies come in the most unlikely of forms.
One of my private coaching customers from years ago, was in one of these groups as well and saw my name pop up. So he messaged me to say hi and offered to help if I needed any advice or anything, since he’d been doing this stuff for quite some time now.
We got to chatting and… holy crap. I don’t want to go saying things I shouldn’t but suffice it to say that he had seriously undersold himself. The guy’s a freaking shirt selling machine, and has become the Yoda to my Luke-fresh-off-of-Tattooine! This is when things really began to click – having that other more experienced person to act as a sounding board for you, is more valuable than anything else you could ever hope to buy. Don’t get me wrong, tools & courses are hugely important too as they lay a solid foundation. But the life experience of an experienced mentor is unequaled.
One more tool that “Yoda” pointed me to, was Tee Inspector. Unfortunately for me it’s Windows only and I much prefer native Mac software. That being said I’m able to run it just fine under Parallels. It’s definitely useful, but I don’t find myself relying on it a whole lot, as I find my own personal tricks with Google are about the most effective “spy” techniques there are. But not everyone is as adept at “Google-Fu” as I am, and so for some Tee Inspector is a really big time saver.
And lastly one more course that he said I had to check out, was the Broad Targeting Formula
. Boy was he right. Especially
now that the whole “scraping UIDs to build custom audiences” game is pretty much dead (unless you just haven’t had your head handed to you by Facebook quite yet). Understanding how to target broad interests with precision, it absolutely vital. This course is surprisingly short, to the point, and immediately applicable. Great case studies too. Oh and it will be very obvious once you see it, that it’s where Targeting Inspector
got the idea for their tool (and they’ve even admitted as much).
So that takes us up to today. I’m continuing to design and sell shirts and am steadily getting better and better results. I’m not where I want to be with it yet, but I can see the trajectory and it’s pretty exciting. Of course along the way I’m also noticing all sorts of tools that I wish existed but don’t, so you can expect to see some things from me on that front in the near future. 😉
In conclusion, if you decide to get (or are already) into shirt marketing, I strongly urge you to not only buy courses and tools, but get interactive. Get into the various groups dedicated to this, and most important of all find one or more people you can privately connect with. There will always be things happening “offscreen” that you won’t see in those groups, and you want to get yourself involved in those conversations. It’s where the biggest ideas and best tactics are generally going to come out.
On that note, I’m thinking about starting a Facebook group just as a quiet place where some of us can brainstorm, mastermind, help each other out, etc. I like the existing groups but I find they’re a bit large and “noisy”, if you know what I mean. Would you be interested in a small focused group like this? (free to join of course)
Now go sell some shirts! LOL