Zoe Brennan: How to Design a Bestseller

Zoe brennan blog asset

At Zoe Brennan we know the benefit of having a best-selling design. Here’s how you can too.

Let’s start with an analogy. Picture a football team. You have your defenders, midfielders…okay, we’ve exhausted my football knowledge but you get the point: there’s loads of different players. Now let’s focus on who’s up front- the striker. Without them there’s no goals, no glory. They’re the one that gets lifted in the air, their name chanted as the final minutes tick down. They turn a team that can hold their own into a winning team.

Enough with the football analogy: what I’m saying is it’s okay to have a decent line up of designs that can go the distance but everyone really needs a few big hitters that will catapult them to the next level.

Every design can’t be an out right winner. (I wish they could be. Believe me) There will always be those who out perform the others, it’s just the law of averages. So, how do you go about creating a bestseller?

 

Think Seasonally– big card buying occasions like Christmas, Valentine’s Day etc. are going to be your rocket fuel. Our Financial Burden card out sold our other designs by over 6000%. (Yeah, I know, mental.)

 

Be On Trend– there’s always a focus for comedy. Sometimes it’s meme-led, other times it’s purely topical (be that political, celebrity focused or lifestyle-led for example). Try following a few humorous pages on Facebook and Twitter. You’ll soon spot what the big thing is right now. How can you put your own spin on it?

The same idea goes for what’s in aesthetically- follow blogs, grab some books, and get researching what’s coming into fashion.

 

Be Relatable– when designing for specific occasions think about what really gets you, what grinds your gears or floats your boat. You’ll soon find others feel exactly the same way and when a design speaks to someone directly they’ll snap it up in a heartbeat. Design the card you want to buy.

 

Plan in Advance– Christmas doesn’t start when the tinsel comes out; ideally, you should have seasonal designs done about six months in advance. I know it feels wrong to be finishing festive designs when you’re still wearing shorts but it’s the best way to get maximum exposure. You’re more likely to stand out if you’re ahead of the game.

 

Take Chances– be different. You might think your idea is too niche to work but that’s exactly what customers are looking for. Follow your heart and think outside the box. No one likes to see the same thing again and again.

 

If you’re thinking of starting to design cards but feel overwhelmed, don’t worry about having hundreds of awesome designs. It’s perfectly feasible to have just a handful of carefully crafted designs and still reap the benefits. Get it right and that might be all you need.  

Find Zoe Brennan cards here.

Keepsake Card Sharing Images

Share your designs and let your followers know that they can now send your cards as notebooks with thortful! Simply use the programme of your choice to slot your own designs into the blank space, and share away 🙂

. . .

Just right-click or cmd + click to save, and remember to link through to your profile or the card itself when you share!

 

Notebook card blueNotebook card greenNotebook card orangeNotebook card redNotebook card yellow

 

Happy sharing!

Katie signature small

 

 

Sock Card Sharing Images

Share your designs and let your followers know that they can now send a snazzy pair of socks along with your cards! Simply use the programme of your choice to slot your own designs into the blank space, and share away 🙂

. . .

Just right-click or cmd + click to save, and remember to link through to your profile or the card itself when you share!

Sock card blue landscapeSock card blueSock card green landscapeSock card greenSock card orange landscapeSock card orangeSock card red landscapeSock card redSock card yellowSock cards yellow landscape

 

Happy sharing!

Katie signature small

 

 

Card Sharing Images

Sharing your designs can really help to let your followers know that they can send your cards with thortful! We’ve created some handy, non-occasion based sharing images to help make it easy. Simply use the programme of your choice to slot your own designs into the blank space, and share away 🙂

. . .

Just right-click or cmd + click to save, and remember to link through to your profile or the card itself when you share!

Card blue landscapeCard blueCard green landscapeCard greenCard orange landscapeCard orangeCard red landscapeCard redCard yellow landscapeCard yellow

 

Happy sharing!

Katie signature small

 

 

Chocolate Card Sharing Images

Phone sharing final

 

Share your designs and let your followers know that they can now send a luxury bar of chocolate along with your cards! Simply use the programme of your choice to slot your own designs into the blank space, and share away 🙂

Here are some ideas on how to caption them:

My @thortful cards are now available to send with an amazing choccy gift! Get them here > [Link]

Need a pressie AND a card? The folks over @thortful have got you sorted with my designs available as Chocolate Cards.

A card and a gift in one: Chocolate Cards are new @thortful. 

Be top of the friend/son/daughter list and stand out from the crowd with my cheeky design, now available from @thortful as a Chocolate Card!

Just right-click or cmd + click to save, and remember to link through to your profile or the card itself when you share!

 

Choc cards blueChoc cards greenChoc cards orangeChoc cards redChoc cards yellowchoc cards blue landscapechoc cards green landscapeChoc cards orange landscapeChoc cards red landscapechoc cards yellow landscape

 

Happy sharing!

Katie signature small

 

Websites in Creator Bio Information

We’re making a small change to the rules on our bio lines for creator profiles: we’re no longer going to be allowing links to other websites which offer creators’ content for sale to be a part of these.

This is because there is a conflict of interest here, as we pay fees in order to bring customers to the site and convert them into buyers. This means that if a customer then goes to a creator’s own site and purchases here instead, we are effectively paying to bring customers to your site and making a loss ourselves!

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 14.03.00

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 14.03.38

If you’ve not got any web addresses in your bio then you don’t need to worry. However, if you do then you’ll need to change your bio line to remove it by July 1st. If you don’t remove it yourself by then, we’ll be doing it for you, so it’s advisable to make sure that your description makes sense without it!

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 14.14.26

What about social handles? We’re still happy for you to have these on your bio information, as these don’t lead to a direct link to any of your other card outlets, and they can be a great way for customers to get to know you as a brand.

If you have any questions then don’t hesitate to give us an email on team@thortful.com 🙂

How to Build a Following on Instagram

IMG_0523 crop

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms right now, and the good news is that visual content can really help you to build your brand! Not only this, but you’ll also be able to connect with your followers (and potential customers!). We’ve asked one of our talented creators Charly Clements for some tips on how to gain followers, after her latest Instagram account @reallifelines grew from zero to 25k followers in just a few months. Read her simple, practical steps to becoming a pro below:

Post Regularly

Posting frequently will help you become a notable voice amongst the white noise, as people are more likely to see your posts. Charly advises posting every day if you can: ‘consistency is key when trying to build a strong following on Instagram. People will become very familiar with your work and it will lower the risk of your followers forgetting why they followed you in the first place.’

 

IMG_0526 crop

Find your Niche

It’s best to establish a general theme which reflects your brand, and make sure that all of your posts reflect this. ‘Find a niche and stick with it,’ says Charly. ‘Experimenting with different content can confuse your audience, so once you’ve found your niche try hard to build on that.‘ This might be a running visual theme, or perhaps more of a personality which is put across through your posts, but either way it needs to be built around a general theme. If your brand is doing well without including lifestyle shots or quotes then don’t get distracted with them! 

Offer Insights

Your Instagram is the perfect place to give followers little insights into the day-to-day of your work. This can really help to pique their interest, and make your brand relatable. Why not get a shot of your (relatively tidy!) workspace, or a design in progress? Just make sure the posts are relevant, interesting and fit with your brand’s personality. If you’re keen to show a less-manicured side to your brand then Instagram Stories are made for you: aligning themselves with the likes of Snapchat, Instagram have created this tool for you to give real, relatable insights into your world, and Instagram often sends users notifications to encourage them to see the videos before they’re gone!

Engagement is key

Engage with your audience – whether that’s through the content of your posts or actively finding people in your niche and commenting on their photos,‘ Charly says. Think about who your posts appeal to, and once you’ve established your target audience then think about what more you can do to make your posts relevant to them. As Charly explains, this might mean creating a post to specifically pique their interest, replying to their comments and feedback, or even finding key followers and commenting on their posts where relevant. ‘Posting content that your audience can relate to will drastically improve the engagement on your posts as well as help build a community.

IMG_0525 crop

Hashtags Increase Views

Hashtags are often used as a fun way to express your personality within a post, but they can actually be used to expose your post to more users. Adding popular hashtags means that people who are looking for this content can easily find your posts, so they’re more likely to discover you this way. Ones such as #makersgonnamake, #independentdesigner and #illustratorsoninstagram are regularly searched by users, so by tagging your posts with these you’ll be putting them in front of a captive audience.

Link to your profile

Charly advises using your bio to link out to your website or a different platform, so that it’s easy for followers to find out more about you and your brand: ‘Instagram is a great way to showcase your work/brand, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket!‘ If you’re looking to use your account to drive sales then regularly linking out to your thortful profile or featuring it in your bio is a great way to make sure potential customers can find you!

Find Charly’s own range of cards here, her Real Life Lines range here, and find her on Instagram here and here.

How to: Make Sales Outside of the Big Occasions!

Blog hero

We all know that having designs for the big occasions is the most hard-and-fast way to ensure that you maximise your sales figures overall, but what about those times when there isn’t a big occasion on the horizon?

First of all it’s best to ensure that you’ve got at least one design for all of the non-seasonal occasion categories – people have babies and get sick all year round!

Next, make sure your Birthday cards are up to scratch. Birthdays are the one occasion which nearly everyone buys for at some point each year, even if it’s only for their nearest and dearest! Making sure your cards are on point for this occasion is key, as this will help to maintain your sales across the quieter periods.

Get sorted for the next big occasion, even if it’s still a way off. You should aim to have your cards uploaded around 2 months prior to an occasion date (earlier for Christmas!). Getting them up early means you’ll make more sales in that initial period before the collection grows, and have a better chance of allowing your designs to gain popularity.

Think about buying seasons for occasions such as Wedding and Anniversary. Whilst cards for these occasions are bought all year round, there is a marked increase in demand from May – October every year, as the summer months bring more weddings (and by default, more anniversaries!). Make sure you’re prepared well in advance by getting your designs uploaded by April at the latest, adding to your collection or refreshing some old designs by using the ‘Update’ button to change a small element on the artwork.

Another thing to try, particularly with Birthday designs, is tapping into trends in order to increase sales by targeting specific customers. By using your designs to play upon a popular theme (think Game Of Thrones, Star Wars or Gin), you’re more likely to catch a customer’s eye, and this will give your perennial designs more chance of being chosen and help to boost those sales. In addition, if you’ve had a good seller for a seasonal occasion, is there a way you could adapt this design or concept for a Birthday or Love card? This can be a great way to create cards around themes which you know customers are already interested in.

Finally, you can also use a slight lull in sales to spring clean your profile, to push out the older designs which don’t sell, and ensure you’re ready for the next occasion. This is the perfect time to make any changes, as you’ll be able to assess your profile with the experience of the previous occasion, and get it all prepped and primed in time for the next! Use this handy guide to find out our top tips for doing this.

 

 

Blog for us!

blog outreach asset

Are you a budding blogger? Have you got some useful tips for your fellow creators?

We want to feature more great content on our blog, for you and now BY you too! We’re putting a call out for guest blog articles to feature, so if you’ve got an idea which you think is relevant for your fellow creators then get in touch now!

So what’s in it for you? Well, the chance to have your voice heard amongst the community for starters, and help your peers learn from your own experience. There’s also the opportunity to have your writing published on an independent website, which is great for your portfolio! In addition, we’ll link through to your cards, so it will likely generate extra hits for your profile too 🙂

Just email us at blogs@thortful.com, and when contacting us just let us know what you want to write about, or send through a sample of your piece. All entries will be considered, but those which are most relevant and engaging are more likely to be chosen for a feature!

We can’t wait to hear all of your great ideas!