With print-on-demand products and services on the rise, the market is as saturated as ever. That’s why an impeccable print-on-demand marketing strategy is key to your online store’s success. In this post, we’ll share 10 effective social media strategies backed by real-life examples of successful artists and clothing brands to help boost your business.
Before we dive in, make sure you’re familiar with the basics of social media marketing and social media best practices. For any marketing strategy to be successful, you need a solid foundation. Start by identifying the best marketing channels for your ecommerce business, learning the importance of social proof and brand storytelling, and how to grow your online community with organic marketing.
But don’t get overwhelmed—whether you’re familiar with these concepts or not, these effective marketing strategies will surely help you grow your print-on-demand business.
Whether you’ve just launched your POD business or you’re struggling to expand it, the print-on-demand marketing strategies we’ll discuss in this blog post are that extra push your business needs. Here’s a list of benefits these strategies will bring:
Higher engagement. Instead of boring posts that most people just scroll by, you’ll learn how to create unique and fun content that encourages people to like, share, comment, and save your posts for later.
Increased traffic. With effective content that involves your target customers, they’ll be doing the talking for you. You’ll be surprised how much organic traffic you can get with the right strategies.
Enhanced brand image. Showcasing customer reviews and collaborating with micro-influencers, along with other strategies on this list, will enhance your brand image more than you could imagine.
Boost in sales. Seeing and interacting with your brand consistently on social media will help people remember and recognize your brand. When you create buzz around your products with new releases or limited-time offers, that recognition will translate to increased sales.
Increased customer loyalty. The more customers trust your brand, the more likely they are to purchase an item again or recommend your brand to their friends and followers.
Now, let’s discuss how you can make your custom products reach more people, boost your sales, and bask in the success of your print-on-demand store!
To stand out from the crowd, you want to create a loyal customer base in a niche market. But how do you reach customers and actually get them to buy your products? By having a strong social media presence. And how can you do this? With a flawless print-on-demand marketing strategy.
Let’s explore the best social media strategies you can implement in your marketing efforts today with little to no investment required.
One of the best ways to build trust in your brand is to showcase customers wearing or using your products. People trust people, not brands, which means you need real people recommending your brand. Plus, it’s an excellent free print-on-demand marketing strategy that doesn’t require much effort.
Ask your customers to post and tag your brand for a chance to be featured or to enter a contest or giveaway (stick around until the end for some tips and tricks on organizing contests and giveaways). When real people vouch for your products, they create authentic, organic content that serves as powerful social proof. And social proof is a great way to sell to people who have never heard of you.
Need some inspo on how to do it? Lookhuman has an effective Instagram story highlight where they post user-generated content—and showcase their products at the same time.
Other brands like Vegansavage prefer to post on their feed.
Another great way to leverage social proof is to showcase authentic business reviews. Ask customers to leave online reviews of your product and repost them on your website, your social media feed, or in story highlights. Encourage them to do so by offering a discount code and don’t forget to thank them for taking the time to write a review.
To enhance your reputation, share a variety of reviews, from those that highlight your product’s appeal to those that applaud quick delivery. 95% of customers read product reviews before deciding to buy, and 58% of these shoppers are willing to pay more for products that have good reviews. That means potential customers are more likely to buy from print-on-demand stores that are highly praised in all aspects—customer service, shipping, packaging, and product quality.
The cool thing about partnering with a renowned print-on-demand service like Printful is that you and your customers know you’re getting high-quality products and prints, plus excellent customer service. This can make it easier for those stellar reviews to roll in.
An effective way to increase your social media platforms’ engagement is to encourage your customers to ask questions. You can either host live Q&A sessions where you answer questions as they flow in, or simply post the answers in your stories like Miss Luna Vega has done.
Another cool idea is to film a YouTube video where you answer questions while showing your creative process like artist Yaroslava Apollonova does in this video.
Q&A sessions allow customers to get to know you better and build an emotional attachment to your brand. This print-on-demand marketing technique is great for increasing customer loyalty, building a strong brand identity, and also getting to know who your target audience is and what they want.
Pro tip: customers are more likely to buy your products when they feel like they know you as a friend. In fact, 70% of consumers feel more connected to brands whose CEO is active on social media.
What happens when you try to target everyone? You reach no one. That’s why it’s crucial to find your niche market and examine your social media audience to improve your content strategy. Once you have an established niche, collaborate with micro-influencers and niche communities to reach your target market.
When it comes to influencer marketing in print-on-demand, consider how relevant a particular influencer is rather than how many followers they have. Potential customers are more likely to buy your products if the influencer’s values, style, and message align with your brand. Look how authentic @emma.brwn looks in Allbird’s fresh kicks.
You could even collaborate with micro-influencers in exchange for some free merch if they love your brand.
Collaborating with niche communities is another effective way to boost visibility and learn more about your target audience’s values, beliefs, and desires. Maybe you’re selling t-shirts to dog lovers and you collaborate with a local shelter to promote adopting a pet instead of buying one.
Visual artist and ocean activist Janina Rossiter (who happens to use our print-on-demand services) collaborates with other activist accounts like Plastic Free July to increase environmental awareness and strengthen her brand identity.
Suitcase manufacturer Away collaborated with Brooklyn-based fashion designer and queer activist @willienorrisreworkshop to create a capsule collection of luggage that they gifted to Willie’s LGBTQ+ community. How awesome is that!
A successful print-on-demand store has a loyal following, and a surefire way to keep loyal followers engaged is to make your social media posts interactive. Just like interactive museums are more fun, interactive online experiences trump boring posts any day.
Encourage customers to interact with your brand by posting quizzes, polls, and other interactive stories. For example, ask them to pick a favorite from your new designs or to vote on what new product you should add to your online store. You can also run contests and giveaways to celebrate milestones like reaching 10K followers or selling a thousand t-shirts.
Latvian ceramics artist @laurinsceramics asked her audience to pick the best name for her new colorway vases. This fun survey allowed followers to participate in her business’s story while giving them something to look forward to—the big name reveal.
You can also simply use the emoji slider on Instagram so that viewers spend a few extra seconds engaging with your story. Or post a photo from your daily life like "my work playlist today" and use the Add yours sticker—you may even start a new trend!
An awesome way to make your print-on-demand products more tangible is to collaborate with local artists or designers in your community. Most consumers prefer buying from local businesses because it gives them a sense of connection and trust, plus it’s a chance to support their local economy.
Even if you have an online store and not a brick-and-mortar storefront, collaborations with local artists and designers can help build brand awareness and trust both in your local community and worldwide. Plus, if designing isn’t your strong suit, why not look for established artists to help you out?
Levi Strauss collaborated with independent local brand HA.MÜ for 501’s 150th anniversary. Below is a screenshot of the upcoming designer and co-founder Abraham Guardian getting ready for the big event.
As another example, H&M released a collection for kids with artwork made by kids—such a creative and fun idea.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to artists and designers you follow and admire. Send them a DM or message them, most of them are kind enough to reply. As Nadia the Artist has found, “When you connect, other artists are more likely to support you because they’ll think, ‘oh I know this person, she asked me for advice’ and they’ll be more willing to repost your work, share it in a story, or follow you.”
If you want to take it a step further, let your customers be the designers! Give them the option to add a personal touch to your customized products so that they can make it truly theirs. Below are several ways you can add product customization experiences.
Color customization: Allow customers to change the colors or tones of your pre-made designs to fit their preferences. This is an excellent feature if you’re selling t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, phone cases, tote bags, and more. Give them several color options not only for the design but also for the product itself.
Personalized names or initials: Remember that Coca-Cola campaign where they added people’s names on Coca-Cola bottles? Even I, someone who never drinks Coca-Cola, couldn’t help but buy a bottle with my name on it. You can apply the same idea to your print-on-demand products, but instead, allow customers to personally add their name or initials.
Design placement: Another cool customization experience is to let customers choose where your design goes. This can work for garments like t-shirts or hoodies that offer multiple design placement areas. Make sure you check out our print file guide to ensure your prints turn out beautifully.
Size and fit selection: If you’re selling t-shirts or any other clothing item, don’t forget to offer size and fit selection. You can copy the exact measurements from our size guide and make this info available on your ecommerce store.
Customized packaging: Whether your customer is ordering for themselves or wants to offer your product as a gift, allowing them to customize the packaging is like the cherry on top of an already amazing customer experience. Let them choose the wrapping paper, labeling, or even a birthday card with a personalized message.
Multi-product bundles: An awesome way to encourage customers to buy more custom products is to offer multi-product bundles. They can select several items either for personal use or as a gift and get a special discount or earn points for being a loyal customer.
Virtual try-on: Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are ideal for creating immersive product experiences for shoppers. Make fashion and accessories purchasing decisions easier by enabling your customers to try them on beforehand. This is a more costly service, ranging from $129-$549/month, but if it fits your budget, it could be a game changer. Find out more about virtual fitting rooms here.
Valentino partnered with the Farfetch-owned augmented reality company Wanna to create the Wanna Wear mobile app.
Source: App Store
Don’t forget to talk about your available product customization experiences on your socials, show how to use them, and spread the word. Getting people to share and talk about your cool features is sure to boost sales.
For example, Nike offers a neat customization experience by allowing you to create your own Nike sneakers design. You can then tag them on Instagram using the hashtag #nikebyyou.
Consistency is key when it comes to posting content online and creating a marketing calendar is one of the best ways to ensure you stay consistent. And in the digital age, you don’t have to create a print-on-demand marketing calendar yourself—just use AI tools to do it. Below are several free social media automation tools powered by AI to consider.
Taskade: This app elegantly unifies your team’s tasks, notes, and ideas, removing noise to reveal the essence of productivity and assisting you in taking any project from concept to completion.
Planly: Planly is a social media scheduler and analytics tool that helps you save time, boost your productivity, and improve your results by streamlining your marketing process.
Predis: This app uses AI to generate fresh ideas for engaging content and it schedules posts for you in a jiffy.
Easy-peasy: This is yet another excellent tool for planning your content to reach more people and grow your audience across multiple social media platforms.
ChatGPT: Although technically not an AI-powered social media automation tool, when given the right prompt, ChatGPT can create a free content marketing calendar personalized for your print-on-demand store.
Why is staying consistent paramount? Think of your online relationship with your followers as a real-life friendship between two people. Don’t be that flaky friend that promises to show up but then cancels last minute—be a reliable friend that’s always there on time and never misses a date.
In other words, post regularly and at the same time each day to build trust in your brand. At first, you’ll want to experiment with what days and times get the most engagement. Find out how to track engagement metrics here.
Want to mix seasonal events into your social media posts? Check out our free ecommerce holiday calendar for 2023.
Everybody loves to feel special and most of us also have FOMO (fear of missing out). Consider this when developing a print-on-demand marketing strategy. One way to take advantage of these human desires is to create a feeling of exclusivity around your product. You can do this by offering specific designs or deals, early access to product drops, or limited-time offers to your online communities.
When it comes to building online communities, there are several ways to do it. You can create Facebook groups, use Instagram’s new group profile feature, start a subreddit, open a Whatsapp group, or create a WeChat group (for your Chinese market). Remember to consider which platform your target audience hangs out on the most. TikTok’s largest audience is in the US and is mostly used by Gen Z, while Facebook’s largest audience consists of 25 to 34-year-olds.
But don’t take global or general statistics as a given, study the activity on your accounts and build your print-on-demand marketing strategy accordingly.
Also, don’t forget to consider what type of content your target audience prefers. Start by assessing your competitors and what type of content they’re getting engagement on. Chances are if their marketing tactics are working for them, they’ll work for you as well.
As an example, Charlie Hustle offers a referral program called Bleacher Club where members can gift $10 to any friend they refer and get $10 when that friend makes a purchase online. If it helps incentivize their customers to buy, it may work similarly for your brand.
Who doesn’t love free gifts and products? Well, not everyone may want a t-shirt with fire-breathing dragons on it or socks with sushi rolls. To run a successful giveaway or contest campaign, you need to know your audience and set clear objectives. Below are some pointers to get you started.
Niche target market: What do they anticipate from your brand/products and who are they?
Enticing gifts or prizes: What incentives do your ideal customers prefer the most? Conduct quizzes and polls beforehand to get a better idea of what your customers like.
The right promotion channels: Choose the appropriate social media sites, email newsletters, blogs, or even paid advertisements.
Clear objectives and a plan: Is the goal to boost sales or raise brand awareness? What are your expected results?
Fair and easy-to-understand rules: Tell them how to enter, when to enter, and who is eligible.
With these factors in mind, you can create a goal-oriented contest or giveaway campaign that will get likes, and shares, and actually reach your objectives.
With these effective social media strategies, I’m sure you’ll find something that works for your print-on-demand business.
Use this newly acquired knowledge to get ahead of the game and sell products to customers who actually want and need them. The best part of these strategies is that most are free—you just have to invest a bit of time and stay consistent.
If you decide to invest in paid marketing, consider our advice and spend your money wisely. Remember that marketing to or collaborating with niche communities and micro-influencers will get you much further than generalized marketing efforts.
Most importantly, make your online interactions fun for you and your customers. When you truly enjoy your work, it doesn’t feel like work.
The best time to start growing your print-on-demand business is now, so what are you waiting for?
Zoe Amora Iranzo-Lauriņa
Zoe is a creative writer, multilingual translator, and certified yoga instructor with a passion for learning, traveling, and global cuisine. When she's not typing away at her PC, you can find her teaching yoga in the park, reading on the couch with her cat, or plunging in the Mediterranean.