5 Ways to Sell Greeting Cards Online

Updated on February 24, 2018
Blond Logic profile image

She is a designer on Zazzle where her products, because of their global appeal, have sold to people all over the world.

Where to sell cards online
Where to sell cards online | Source

Greeting Card Sales

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 which 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 which 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 fulfilment, 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.
  • 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.

  • Amazon
  • Ebay
  • Shopify
  • 3dcart
  • Bonanza
  • Artfire
  • iCraft
  • Shophandmade
  • 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 to climb in the search rankings than you spend designing beautiful handmade cards.

Source

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 very 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 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. Yup, this was the business which 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 old 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 or message. 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. For a one-time use, 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 definitely one company 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!” they say. Also, images that are glamor or retro. Take a look at their site to see if your photos, illustrations or your copy is their type of thing. They will have a look and compensate you if they decide to use it. There appears to be no set fee and they will discuss terms only after they have seen your work and decide to use it.

Source

5. Respond to 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 cards.

Freelance sites include:

  • Fiverr
  • Upwork
  • Gig Bucks
  • Zeerk
  • People Per Hour

Which of these ideas appeal to you?

See results

© 2017 Mary Wickison

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    • Blond Logic profile image
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      Mary Wickison 6 weeks ago from Brazil

      Hi Rebecca,

      The sizes Zazzle offer at the moment for greeting cards are as follows: These are all in inches:

      3.5 x5

      5x 7

      8.5 x 11

      18 x 24

      24 x 36

      36 x48

      However, they also offer postcards, rack cards, and other products that your image could be uploaded to.

      Don't get stuck thinking your images or designs are only suitable for cards. Don't get me wrong, I sell a lot of cards and am glad for each sale. You don't make much on each card so expand into invitations, and try it on several products. Imagine your art on a cell phone case, napkins, or even a shower curtain. You will make more money from each sale.

      When you realize the potential each design has, and that it can be sold many times over, you can see how your business can grow.

      Another suggestion I would make is allow your customers to customize. This can be anything from writing a personal message inside to adding the reciepent's name on the front. The ability to personalize products is why people choose to shop with Zazzle. The vast majority of my cards are customized by the purchaser. If I kept them from doing this, I would have lost those sales.

      I hope that helps, thanks for your question.

    • profile image

      Rebecca Varon aka Nushkie Design 6 weeks ago

      Thank you for this valuable information. I have been selling my cards on Etsy. I should continue there, but add Zazzle. I'm thinking they will tell me how size cards should be, but since I'm responded from your article, I thought I could pose this query. On Etsy, my cards are blank and measured 4.25" by 5.5". I've sold these around the world, but not a zillion. Once they're online with Zazzle, I'm thinking they could be the same size or larger. Is that true? And, what is your opinion? Thank you!

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 2 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Maryanne,

      I would suggest uploading your designs to Zazzle. There you can sell the same design over and over again.

    • profile image

      MARYANNE M BROWN 2 months ago

      I have a collection designs, some of which would be fun and appealing to a wide range of age and style

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 2 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Card Seller,

      I can see that would be very time-consuming. Plus getting your site found the search engines will cut into the time you could be making cards. For your own site, you are competing with some huge companies and if your website isn't within the first couple pages of Google, you won't make any sells.

      On sites such as Etsy they already have a strong market so the headache of getting found online is lessened but of course they take a cut. For handmade cards, craft fairs and door to door may work better for you.

      If you are an artist, and by that I mean, drawing, painting, photographer, I would suggest Zazzle. You can scan and then upload your design. Then you can sell it multiple times and your design could be on multiple products. You will, in essence, get paid for doing the work once.

      If you still wish to pursue your own website, promote frequently on Pinterest.

    • profile image

      Card seller 2 months ago

      I just started to sell cards like door to door, but I also started a website but don't know how to show all the cards without having everyday putting up new ones and taking down old ones that people buy. It's a lot of work just to put a few up there. I could use some help building my business. Thank you!

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 5 months ago from Brazil

      Well, there is nothing like being prepared.

      It does sound like it may be time for a clear out.

      Perhaps you could sell them as a job lot to a small card shop. With the money you invested in them it may be difficult to let them go.

      If you want to get rid of them, then you could always donate them to a local school or a charity shop. They would be able to sell them at a fundraising event.

      If you have used parts of these cards to make other cards, you could be infringing on the copyright of the artwork you're using.

      Your situation opens up some interesting questions.

    • profile image

      Alicia 5 months ago

      My sister, my best friend and I got very fanatical about find greeting cards and putting them away for the right occasion. I became such an addiction that I wanted every single occasion or anything that could come up go to bed or in need of a congratulations and so on ready just in case. Then we started implementing them into arts and crafts. I volunteer with kids for arts and crafts so the ideas were endless but now I have more than a couple hundred of Hallmark, Carlton Cards, papyrus and cards of that nature. Since meshing are cards together I could even have up to 600 and I think it's time to try to sell them. But the cards go for $4 to $10 each one. But they're not my original work even though sometime down the line I would love to do that, right now I would rather focus on getting rid of these and if it's legal to do so excelling at them so I can confined The Collection to ones that I probably will use within the next two years at least LOL

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 5 months ago from Brazil

      My pleasure. I believe the form for not collecting of taxes is for Canada but if you find out anything different, let me know.

      I was giving you a lot of information and didn't want to bombard you, but when you begin to get referrals, there is also an extra payment called volume bonus. This is based on monthly earnings from referrals and can increase the amount you make even more. Zazzle want people to create and promote.

      Good luck and keep me posted about how you're doing.

    • Lindesign profile image

      Lindsey 5 months ago from Cape Town

      Thanks for that Mary. I shall persevere! Another source reckoned that if you fill out the form that the US govt. does not deduct. Shall check that out a bit further. Seems customising is the way to go and the referral feature is a bomb. Thanks again!

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 5 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Lindsey,

      You're right, it's 30% that is withheld here in Brazil, as well.

      I would encourage you not to get too discouraged and to expand your line of products beyond greeting cards.

      There is a feature called 'quick create' which allows you to use the same image and the software puts it on multiple products all at once.

      Although greeting cards do very well on Zazzle year round, you only get a few cents each time. If that same design is put on a phone case, for example, you'll get $3 or $4 dollars, each time.

      I would also suggest doing products which are bought in multiples such as invitations. Don't stop there though, give your customer the matching paper cups, plates, napkins, and banners! Think of what goes into a successful party and then think of all the different types of parties. It's enough to make your head spin!

      The most important thing I believe is to make your product customizable. That is what sets Zazzle (and other similar companies) apart from a person walking into a local shopping mall and purchasing a card, phone case, or party supplies.

      I know the payout of $50 seems a long way off, but when you make a few sales, it adds up. I have had some multiple sales and then it really begins to add up.

      Plus, I don't know if you have your own website or blog but if you refer someone via a link, you get a referral fee that is 15% of the price whether it is your product or from another designer. If it is your own product, you get your commission and a referral fee.

      Hang in there and start designing, the numbers will work out.

    • Lindesign profile image

      Lindsey 5 months ago from Cape Town

      Hi Mary - thank you for the information. I have signed up with Zazzle to start selling greetings cards. I ran in to a couple of snags. The main being that I am South African and it seems there is a bit of a problem as we as fforeigners have to fill out a fairly complex form to declare our earning to the US govt - who deduct 30%. This after waiting for months to earn the minimum $50 before Paypal pays out - royalties will take forever to earn that. Hardly seems worth it :( I am trying to find out more about this. Pity if I can't make it work. Not sure whether Redbubble had the same thing - but I think that they are Australian based. Do you have any suggestions? I see that you are based in Brazil.

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 7 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Norina,

      I adore humorous cards. I remember Mother's Day always be a difficult time to buy cards. No one had funny ones. Our family wasn't overly affectionate but boy did we love to laugh. I wanted a card that reflected that.

      I am sure you'll do well.

    • profile image

      Norina 7 months ago

      Thank you for this information. I love making people laugh and expressing that in cards . People always say they love my cards and keep them . :)

      I am making cards and looking for direction . Thank you .

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 9 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Joyce,

      It would depend on the site. If you are selling to a card company, you can't use that image again. If it is Zazzle, Cafe Press etc. then it should be no problem. I have the same design on Cafe Press and Zazzle but now, almost exclusively, I use Zazzle. I feel their design platform is easier to use.

      If you have concerns about this though, I would suggest contacting the company you already use and asking for clarification of the terms of use. Remember, as a designer, you hold the copyright to your image.

    • profile image

      Joyce F R 9 months ago

      Hi Mary,

      I already use one of these sites to sell my cards, but was thinking of either switching to or adding another site. Do most of the sites allow you to sell on their competitors as well, or does their user agreement forbid that?

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 9 months ago from Brazil

      Hi,

      It depends on whether you want to sell a physical card or just an image. I love using Zazzle because I just have to upload a design and then they print it and ship it.

      Places such as Etsy you are selling a physical card which you will make, market, and ship to the customer.

      Thanks for your question.

    • profile image

      ola 9 months ago

      E

      Excellent I'm interested to sell cards online. Where do I start from?

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 9 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Shannon,

      I don't know the answer and I would suggest you contact the copyrights office for clarification. However, whether you are selling through a brick and mortar store or online, the copyright laws are still the same. Although different countries have different laws.

      Even this week, I was looking at items which were clearly out of copyright such as works by Italian Masters and I came across an article saying museums are charging a license fee for the use. I would question how legal that is, but who is going to challenge them? To do so, would entail paying for legal counsel.

      Thanks for your question.

    • profile image

      Shannon 9 months ago

      I have made cards to sell for years, through my own brick and mortar store. Now my store is closed, but I still want to sell my cards. I have been using stamps and die cuts mostly and creating my own design around that. Are there copyright laws I should be aware of, before I sell online? Some of the companies that had products that I use are out of business now. Am I supposed to give die-cut and stamp companies credit? What should I be aware of, before starting?

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 15 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Dora,

      The internet has created many opportunities for a global market, including the greeting card business. Now the choice for the consumer is greater for personalized and unusual cards.

      It's an exciting time filled with possibilities.

      Thanks for reading.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 15 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for bringing these great creative, money-making ideas to our awareness. Never dreamed of such a business. Very thoughtful of you to share.

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 15 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Martie,

      Dare I say it? I think women are better at card buying and thus better at creating cards which attract other women. However, I do think men, come up with some sarcastic and cutting remarks for cards, which I love.

      When you have someone buy a card you have created, it's a wonderful feeling.

      Thank you for your kind words.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 15 months ago from South Africa

      Very informative and inspiring hub! Designing and selling cards is something I will love to do. Thanks for all the tips!

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 15 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Cyndi,

      I'm glad you found the hub useful.

      I recently read an interesting interview with Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comics. He said, he wasn't the best illustrator, or the best humorist, but he combined the two and has created something unique. I found that inspiring to know that even though he wasn't the best in either area, it didn't stop him doing it and bring laughter to so many people.

      Regarding greeting cards, we should never underestimate the joy a well-chosen card can bring.

      I hope you decide to go for it and create some cards through whichever route works best for you.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 15 months ago from Georgia

      This is very useful information about another way of creating revenue as a writer or artist. Thank you for putting together so much of the information needed to start. Greeting cards are something I have considered doing. Your article gives me the concrete comparisons for me to look into. Nothing beats good information. Thanks for sharing! Take care.

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 15 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Karen,

      I agree with you, once you understand how to use Zazzle, it's easy to create items.

      Let me know how you get on with sending to the card companies, I always love a success story.

      I'm pleased you found the article useful, thanks for reading.

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 15 months ago from Georgia

      I have a Zazzle website and I already use it to make cards and other items. I love it because it is super easy to use. I also do like the idea of sending ideas to card companies and may do that at some point. Thanks for the great info. on that in this article.

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 15 months ago from Brazil

      Hello SimpleHappyLife,

      I know many people want to diversify their activities on the internet and selling cards can be as time-consuming as a person makes it. Some devote just a few minutes and others make it their main occupation. I personally prefer the 'fingers in many pies' business model.

      Thank you for your kind words, I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday.

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 15 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      You're correct, there are many avenues open for the person who wants to either write or design online. This ease of doing so has created not just a lot of opportunities, but a lot of competition as well.

      However, the flip side of this is we are all consumers and competition in any marketplace creates better products. This choice can be overwhelming at times for the consumer so it is necessary to ensure a user-friendly website to help them. As you know, patience is in short supply these days and a potential customer wants to quickly locate and buy without hassle.

      Great to hear from you.

    • simplehappylife profile image

      sannwi 15 months ago

      Great article :) always giving such great ideas!

      Thank You :)

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 15 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Heidi,

      I personally believe the internet will be only big companies in the not too distant future who will be collating and filtering out smaller sites. I guess it will be the cream that floats to the top either through natural selection or viewability.

      This is one of the reasons I prefer to be onboard a site like Zazzle or Hubpages, coddled under a wing.

      I wasn't aware of 'Send Out Cards". It has a different concept, although I wonder how many people will sign up for it knowing about a monthly fee. If someone has a wide circle of followers this could be a successful venture for them.

      Thanks for reading, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 15 months ago from Olympia, WA

      There are so many ways to make money these days, online, as a writer...a little imagination, the right kind of software, and you have an instant business...then all you need is the willingness to work hard to make it succeed. :)

      Happy Sunday, Mary!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 15 months ago from Chicago Area

      Like you, if I'm buying a card, I pour over the cards until I find just the message I want. I did purchase some cards from an artist friend through Red Bubble and they were beautiful.

      The other system that independent card artists and writers are up against is Send Out Cards (a networking marketing/multi-level marketing group). It works similarly to Zazzle. But buyers can pick and choose art, add photos, custom messages, etc. for a monthly subscription fee, by the card, or even pay to send to an entire mailing list.

      I've also toyed with the idea of selling cards and such through sites like Zazzle. In fact, that's the only way I'd do it because of all the hassle of handling low cost items on my own site. Sales taxes, shipping... ugh!

      Thanks for reigniting some ideas! Have a great day!

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 15 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Glenn,

      Zazzle has increased their selection of products considerably and has also altered their designing platform to allow curved and vertical text. I like the fact that the company is making it easier for the customer to personalize their items. If a potential customer finds the site difficult to use, they may leave without purchasing.

      Like yourself, I want royalties as opposed to a single payment but as you say, people have their own agendas.

      The greeting card market is vast and the options for freelancers has increased considerably.

      I believe receiving a card, either through the mail or in person from a friend, means even more now, as we are constantly bombarded by the virtual world which leaves us feeling empty.

      Thanks for reading.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 15 months ago from Long Island, NY

      I have a Zazzle account but I never did much with it. I didn't know that they also have greeting cards. Like you, I also have a creative side and this idea interests me. Of all the options that you talk about, I think letting another company fulfill the orders is the way to go, such as with Zazzle or Cafe Press. That way you continue to receive residual royalties.

      I don't like the idea of selling a design outright because even though you get a lump sum payment, that's the last payment you'll see, and you don't on the design anymore.

      Nevertheless, everyone has their own agenda and their own ways of doing business — depending on how much work they want to put into it. You definitely gave a lot of options to consider.

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