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5 Ways to Sell Greeting Cards Online

Mary is a designer on Zazzle where her products have sold to people all over the world due to their global appeal.

Designing greeting cards and selling them online can be a great way to make extra income.

Designing greeting cards and selling them online can be a great way to make extra income.

It would be easy to think that physical greeting cards are a thing of the past, with so many people opting to send a quick electronic card or a brief message on a social media channel instead. It's true; card giving has changed, and as creatives, we need to adapt to this market. However, many events and milestones are still worthy of physical cards, and recipients feel far more special when they receive one. Birthdays, weddings, and thank-yous top the list of occasions that still call for physical greeting cards.

Some things haven't changed much. When it comes to shopping for greeting cards, there are two kinds of people: those who read cards before they buy them and those who look at the image on the front cover then, without opening the card, take it to the cash register. I fall into the first category; I spend a good deal of time scanning, reading, picking up, and putting back various cards before making my selection.

It isn't that I'm a card snob—I'm not—I want the cards I send to mean something to their recipients. I want them to either laugh out loud or tear up and want to hug me. It was this love of sentimental and funny cards that started my journey into the process of designing them myself. Here I would like to show you a few of the different routes you can take to sell cards online.

5 Methods for Creating and Selling Cards Online

  1. Upload designs to print-on-demand sites like Zazzle.
  2. Sell handcrafted cards on Etsy or another marketplace.
  3. Build a website to sell your cards.
  4. Sell messages and designs to existing greeting card companies.
  5. Fulfill custom greeting card requests on freelance sites.

1. Upload Designs to Print-on-Demand Sites like Zazzle

I sell cards through the website Zazzle, and I love it. Other print-on-demand sites are similar, including Cafe Press and Red Bubble. If you're unfamiliar with the term print-on-demand, it means that the company will print a previously uploaded image on a product if and when someone buys it. A customer on the site can find a product they like, customize it if they wish and then have it printed and shipped to them.

People like you and I can upload images for use on a wide variety of products, including greeting cards, and sell these products through print-on-demand companies like Zazzle. The site takes care of the printing and fulfillment, so I never have to buy any products unless I want to. I find the site easy to use, and I like that my product will continue to sell for years to come earning a passive income.

The designer decides the royalty. There is a base price, and then the designer adds the commission they want to make. By default, it's 10 percent, but you can make it higher or lower. The profit you make on each card might only be 20 cents, but you can understand the benefits when you know this card will sell for years.

Still not convinced? What if I told you that you could upload as many as you want? Don't just think of it as 20 cents for one card. Let's say you have a hundred card designs, all available for sale 24 hours a day, year-round to a worldwide audience. Now can you see the earning potential?

Advantages of Using Zazzle or Other Print-on-Demand Sites

  • No financial outlay: This was a big bonus for me, as I wanted to make money–not spend it.
  • No shipping: Zazzle ships the product after printing it.
  • No questions from customers: Zazzle handles all customer questions. However, if you want to allow it, it is possible 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.
  • Ongoing sales: If your design continues to sell, you get a source of passive income.
If you enjoy crafting and making things with your hands, Etsy is a great place to market and sell your cards.

If you enjoy crafting and making things with your hands, Etsy is a great place to market and sell your cards.

2. Sell Hand-Crafted Cards on Etsy or Another Marketplace

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 will be costs associated with making the cards. But although the cost of making each card is higher, the profit is higher as well.

You will need to buy the crafting materials necessary to make your cards. These may include blank cards, rubber stamps, stickers, pens, or any other supplies or adornments you wish to add to your cards.

  • If you are already producing cards but want to expand your market, Etsy is a great place to start. Many people have had great success using this site to promote and sell their greeting cards. Etsy isn't the only place to sell your cards, though. Below is a list of other websites you can use. Some you will know, and others may be new to you. Read the terms and conditions of these to see which is the best fit for your business.

Sites You Can Use to Sell Handmade Cards

  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Shopify
  • 3dcart
  • Bonanza
  • ArtFire
  • iCraft
  • ShopHandmade
  • ListingDock
  • Dawanda (Europe-based)
  • Folksy (UK-based)
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Read More From Toughnickel

Costs Associated With Selling Cards in an Online Marketplace

  • Cards and craft supplies
  • Packaging
  • Shipping
  • Monthly payments, listing fees, or sales commissions to your host site

3. Build Your Own Website to Sell Your Cards

Although it's exciting to have your website, it will have to compete in search rankings with Etsy, Zazzle, and Hallmark. I don't think I need to tell you that they have deep pockets for advertising and search engine optimization (SEO). I don't want to discourage you from making your website selling your greeting cards, but be aware that you'll likely need to spend a reasonable amount of time building it and updating it.

  • For people to buy your cards, they'll first have to find your website. You will either have to learn about SEO or pay someone to increase your visibility in the search rankings. You may end up spending more time doing this than designing your beautiful greeting cards.
If you're good at coming up with poems, jokes and creative phrases, selling your messages to existing card companies may be a good route.

If you're good at coming up with poems, jokes and creative phrases, selling your messages to existing card companies may be a good route.

4. Sell Messages and Designs to Existing Card Companies

Another option is to sell designs, ideas, poems, and sayings to an existing greeting card company instead of selling your own cards. Hallmark is the best-known, but they have in-house designers and writers. Don't be put off by this, plenty of smaller niche companies buy from freelancers. They pay these freelancers for the legal rights to the card design, message, or verse.

Visit the sites listed below 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 design, poetry, or message, you can earn anywhere from $25 to $300. You'll typically be required to sign a statement saying your idea is original and that you will not use it again anywhere else. The company will own the rights to use your design or idea from then on.

To access information about the companies below, type the company's name followed by the word "submission" into Google or your preferred search engine.

Greeting Card Companies That Accept Submissions

  • Blue Mountain Arts: Blue Mountain Arts sells its products under the American Greeting Cards brand, and they accept submissions of poetry and prose from freelancers. They will pay $300 for exclusive rights to a piece of your original work, and as more of your submissions are accepted, the amount paid goes up. Their cards usually reflect sentiments that purchasers might not be able to express in their own words. They want words with feeling—not generic messages.
  • Oatmeal Cards: Oatmeal Cards also buy from freelancers. They pay on a case-by-case basis depending on the work, but payments typically average 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 a good company for you to approach.
  • Warner Press: This company sells boxed cards and prefers short messages of about four lines. Their payment is $35 per accepted submission, and the writing must be religious in theme.
  • SNAFU Designs: This company wants ideas that will make people laugh out loud. They will pay $100 for an original and funny idea.
  • Comstock Marketplace: This company will pay $50.00 for a gag line, and they negotiate with artists separately for graphics. If you create copy or imagery for adult humor, this is the site to which you should submit your ideas.
  • Smart Alex: This site likes content that is "funny, edgy, and risqué!" The images they use are glamorous and often feature retro themes. Take a look at their site to see if your photos, illustrations, and copy align 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, so they will discuss terms only after they have seen your work and decided to use it.

5. Fulfill Custom Greeting Card Requests on Freelance Sites

The final option is to respond to requests on freelance sites. You'll work based on a customer's specific request if you go this route. Unlike the other options where you create first and sell later, here, your customer comes to you and gives you an idea of what they would like. Although these sites offer many unrelated services, freelancers can do well creating custom birthday, anniversary, or Christmas cards for clients.

Freelance Sites That May Have Requests for Greeting Cards

  • Fiverr
  • Upwork
  • GigBucks
  • Zeerk
  • PeoplePerHour

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 quite shy at the time. I suspect I saw an ad in a magazine detailing how easy it was and how much money could be made doing it.

I wrote to the company requesting a starter pack, and when it arrived, 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 that undoubtedly accompanied my pack of example cards.

Included in my introduction pack were sample cards, a brochure featuring the other lines of cards available and an order sheet. It was everything I needed to start my door-to-door business. I was confident that this was the business I would later look back on as my first experience in the