5 Ways to Sell Greeting Cards Online
Greeting Card Sales
People shopping for greeting cards come in 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 which 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 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 them. 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 be 20¢, but when you know this card will sell for years, you can see the benefits. Plus 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 you can 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 can 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 also higher.
You will need to buy the crafting materials to make them. which 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 to climb in the search rankings than you spend designing beautiful handmade 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 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.
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:
- Gig Bucks
- People Per Hour