5 Ways to Sell Greeting Cards Online
Greeting Card Sales
It's easy to think that physical greeting cards are a thing of the past, with many people opting to send a quick electronic card or a brief message on a social media channel. It's true, card giving has changed, and as creatives, we need to adapt to this market. Now if an event is worthy of a physical card, you feel even more special when you receive one. Birthdays, weddings, and thank you cards topped the list. Some things haven't changed though when it comes to people shopping for greeting cards, there are two kinds: those who read cards before they buy them, and those who look at the image on the front cover and then, without opening the card, take it to the cash register. I fall into the first category, I have been known to spend a good deal of time scanning, reading, picking up and putting back. It isn't that I'm a card snob, I'm not, I want the cards I send to mean something to the other person. I want them to either laugh out loud or begin to tear up and want to hug me.
It was this love of sentimental and funny cards that started my journey down the road of making cards and I would like to show you the different routes a person can take to sell cards online.
There are, as the title of this article states, five ways to sell cards.
- Sell the design or message for a one-off payment.
- Upload a design that will sell multiple times.
- Create a physical card and market it through various sites (listed below).
- Freelance and make cards based on customer requests.
- Create a website and sell both your own and other artist's uploaded work.
1. Print-On-Demand Sites
I choose to sell cards through Zazzle and I love the website. There are other print-on-demand sites which are similar for example, Cafe Press and Red Bubble. If you're unfamiliar with the term print on demand these are companies that print an image on a product when someone buys it. A customer to the site will see a product they like and can customize it if they wish, and then the product will be printed.
People like myself, and you, can upload images on a wide variety of products including greeting cards, and sell these products through these companies. The site takes care of the printing and fulfillment, I never have to buy any of the products unless I want to. I find the site easy to use and I like the fact that my product will continue to sell for years to come. The amount of money a designer makes is set by the designer. There is a base price and then the designer adds the commission they want to make, by default it's 10% but you can make it higher or lower. The price you make on each card might only be 20¢, but when you know this card will sell for years, you can see the benefits. Still not convinced? What if I told you that you can upload as many as you want. Don't think of it as 20¢ for one card, let's say you have a hundred designs on cards or one thousand cards all available for sale, 24 hours a day, year-round to a worldwide audience. Now can you see the potential to earn money?
The advantages of using Zazzle or other print-on-demand sites:
- No financial outlay. This was a big bonus for me, I wanted to make money not spend it.
- No shipping, Zazzle does this.
- No questions from customers. Zazzle handles all customer questions. However, it is possible, if you want to allow it, for a customer to contact you for a design request.
- No payment hassles: Zazzle handles all payments and pays the designers via PayPal or check depending on your location.
- The design continues to sell, thus earning a passive income.
2. Sell Hand-Crafted Cards Online
If you design handmade cards there are numerous sites you can use to sell them. Unlike the print-on-demand sites I mentioned above, there is a cost associated with making the card.
But although the cost of making the card is higher, the profit is as well.
You will need to buy the crafting materials to make them. This may include the card, rubber stamps, stickers, and any other adornments you wish to add to them.
If you already are producing cards but want to expand your market, then Etsy is a great place to start. Many people have had great success using this site to promote and sell their greeting cards. This isn't the only place to sell your cards through. Below is a list of sites, some you will know and others you may not have heard of.
- Listing Dock
- Dawanda (Europe based)
- Folksy (UK based)
Some of these sites will ask for a monthly payment and some ask for a commission when you sell. You will also need to ship the cards to the purchaser.
3. Build Your Own Website Selling Cards
Even for creating your own website, there are various options. There is nothing to stop you setting up your own website selling cards you have created. You will need to build a website which can take the order, and then you will mail the card to the customer.
The other way of still having your own website but not handling the product is to use a site like Zazzle. You will be building your website around products which you or other designers have created on their site. When a customer clicks on the ad on your website, they will be taken to Zazzle where they can customize the product. For sending the customer to Zazzle, you would make 15% of the sale for the referral. Plus if it was your own product, you would also be receiving your commission as well. When you send someone to Zazzle a 45-day cookie is placed on their computer, so even if they don't buy immediately you still have the opportunity of a sale.
Although it's exciting to have your own website, it will be competing in the search rankings with the likes of Etsy, Zazzle, and Hallmark. I don't think I need to tell you, they have deep pockets when it comes to advertising. I don't want to discourage you from making your own website to sell your greeting cards, but be aware you may spend more time tweaking your website. For people to buy your cards, they have to find your website. You will either have to learn about SEO or pay someone to do this to increase your visibility in the search rankings. It could be that you will spend more time doing that than designing beautiful cards.
My First Job, Selling Cards Door to Door
When I was young the first job I had was selling cards door to door. Looking back now, I don't know why I thought this was a good idea because I was shy. I suspect I saw an ad in a magazine telling me how easy it was and how much money could be made from this endeavor. I wrote to the company requesting a starter pack and when it arrived and I was officially in business. This didn't last long because I was clueless about what to do. What I should have done was read the instructions and suggestions which undoubtedly accompanied my pack of example cards.
Included in my introduction pack were sample cards, a brochure featuring the other line of cards available and an order sheet. Everything I needed to start my door to door business selling greeting cards. I was confident that this was the business I would later reflect on as my first start into the world of sales.
It didn't go quite as well as I had hoped, as I came home without my sample cards. I had nothing left to show the quality of the cards to encourage people to sign up and buy boxes of greeting cards from me.
It was my kindly elderly neighbor next door who was now in possession of these cards. I tried to explain that those cards were samples and she would have to order and wait a couple of weeks for her cards. Between my timidness, her deafness, and my respect for the elderly, she now had cards for her upcoming occasion and I had no business.
4. Sell Card Design Ideas
The other option is not to sell the card, but to sell the design, idea, or saying to a card company. Although Hallmark is the best-known greetings card company, they have in-house designers and writers. Don't be put off by this, as there are smaller niche companies, who buy many of their designs from freelancers. They pay for the rights to the card, message or verse. Before submitting your ideas to any of the companies below, visit their sites and get a feel for the style of cards they already sell. Design cards to fit in with their style and if they like your card design, poetry, or message for the card, you can earn anywhere from $25-$300. You normally will be required to sign a statement saying your idea is original, and that you will not be using it again, anywhere else: they are buying the rights to use your design.
**I am limited to the number of external links I can have in this article, therefore, to access the information about each of the companies below, simply type in the company's name followed by the word submission.
Blue Mountain Cards: These sell under the American Greeting Cards company and require poetry or prose for their cards. They will pay $300 for original work with exclusive rights to use it. They will pay $50. Their cards reflect a sentiment which the purchasers might not be able to put in their own words. They want something with feeling, not a generic message.
Oatmeal Cards buy from freelancers and pay on a case by case basis, depending on the work but is around $75. Their cards are funny and are often, but not always, illustrated. They don't like ideas that are mean or gross. They also don't like poetry, which is better suited to the company above. If you can raise a giggle from kids and grannies alike, this is one company for you to approach.
Warner Press: They sell boxed cards, and prefer writing on average of 4 lines. Their payment is $35.00, and the writing must be a religious theme.
SNAFU Designs: This company wants ideas which will make people laugh out loud. They will pay $100 for an original and funny idea.
Comstock Market Place: Will pay $50.00 for a gag line and negotiate with artists separately. If you create copy or imagery for adult humor, this is the site where you should submit your ideas.
Smart Alex: This site likes, “funny, edgy, and risque!”. The images they use have glamour or retro themes. Take a look at their site to see if your photos, illustrations, or your copy are in line with what they already offer for sale. They will look at your work and compensate you if they decide to use it. There appears to be no set fee and will discuss terms only after they have seen your work, and decide to use it.
5. Custom Greeting Card Requests on Freelance Sites
The other option is freelance sites. These you will be working with a customer's specific request. This is unlike the other options where you create first and sell; here, your customer comes to you and gives you an idea of what they would like. Although these sites do offer other services, freelancers can do well there creating custom birthday, anniversary, or Christmas cards.
Freelance sites include:
- Gig Bucks
- People Per Hour
Which of these ideas appeal to you?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Which is better: to have a greeting inside the cards or leave them blank?
That is a great question and there is no right answer. If possible do both to give people a choice. Some people love to write their own personal message. Other people dread the thought of doing that so always opt for one with a printed message.
Another thing to think about is that your design could be applicable to other occasions. So if your birthday card has a tranquil scene by a lake, it might make a perfect Father's Day card, retirement card, or sympathy card.Helpful 40
I would like to try to make and sell my first greeting card. How do I get started?
It depends if you are actually making a card or creating a design and then uploading it. If you are going to make a physical card, I would suggest watching tutorials on YouTube or going to the library for books on how to make them. If you are going to make a digital one, sign up with the company of your choice, I use Zazzle but there are others and upload a design. There is no cost. You can use Gimp as a designing program, it is free to download and use. From there keep developing your style.
In the article, I give you suggestions for places to sell your cards.Helpful 33
Could I sell my greeting cards without making a website?
Yes. You can use sites such as Etsy, eBay, or upload a digital image to sites such as Zazzle to sell your greeting cards.Helpful 29
How do I get my ideas made to sell on Zazzle?
You can upload your designs to the Zazzle platform. Click create your own and choose a product you want to put an image on. Then you can upload your design or photograph to that product. You can also create designs just by adding text and shapes which are on the Zazzle site. Once you are done, you will see a button that says, 'sell it'.
The best way to learn is to jump in and try because it costs nothing. The more times you create a design you will get a feel for the design tools and how they work. If you don't like a design, you can always delete it.Helpful 3
Should I copyright the greeting card before uploading to Zazzle? Also do retailers look at cards on Zazzle to buy in bulk to sell?
When you publish the card, if it is your own image or design then you own the rights. You could go down the route of getting a copyright however it probably won't be cost-effective. Even if you own the copyright are you willing to pay a lawyer to pursue a claim against someone? It is likely if you have a popular design, it will be copied. This could be on any number of sites and by people around the world. It's illegal but unfortunately, it happens a great deal. I have heard that an ongoing joke in China says, "a copyright means the right to copy".
The answer to your second question is yes sometimes this does happen. However, if you are trying to market to retailers, contact Zazzle and see if their terms and conditions allow you to do this.Helpful 1
© 2017 Mary Wickison