Doing T-Shirt fundraising for Animal Rescue Groups and Shelters is both Very Exciting and Extremely Frustrating at the same time.
You see… we designed our program to be Easy, Hassle Free, with No Investment on the part of the Rescue Groups.
After all… you are busy saving animals… you shouldn’t have to spend your time processing orders, packaging shirts, and shipping them out.
Also… the whole reason groups come to us for fundraising is the fact that they have a need for money. Not having to tie up your group’s cash in an inventory of t-shirts and “hope” you picked the right sizes, colors, etc… is also a big benefit of our program.
When 100’s upon 100’s of groups started signing up with our program, it was very exciting.
Understand that the whole reason we have a Facebook Page, a Website, and a Blog… is not simply to advertise our fundraising program. It is to spread awareness. So not only is “Good Work” done by the $$$ Rescue Groups and Animal Shelters earn from the sale of t-shirts… but also the exposure that the animal rescue themed shirts generate when people wear them, is priceless.
The frustrating part, however, comes from sitting back, watching many, many groups involved in our fundraising… with some doing extremely well… and other’s doing quite poorly. 😦
If you move aside those groups that simply don’t have “enough fans”… and those who “begged for likes” so their numbers look high, but don’t have that many “supportive fans”… you are left with 2 main reasons that Animal Rescue Groups and Shelters don’t do well with our program.
The first is lack of understanding of how facebook “actually” works… and second, not understanding how advertising works (even though they see it around them every single day!).
First let’s start with facebook.
Pure and Simple… when you post a link on facebook… MOST people who see that post, see it in their Newsfeed… NOT by visiting your facebook page.
Think about how many pages YOU have liked… do you visit each one of those pages on a daily basis? Of course you don’t. Chances are, IF you see posts from pages you have liked, you see them in your Newsfeed. And… guess what, your fans are the same way.
When you post a t-shirt link on your wall… a small number of your fans see that post. Not “all” of them… not a large portion of them… a small number of them.
Well… are you on Facebook all the time? Nope… neither are your fans.
When you look at your newsfeed… how long does it take for a given post to scroll down your page, and then off to the next page? Well… a lot depends upon how many pages you have liked, how many friends you have, and how many posts those pages and friends are posting.
So… any ONE post on your newsfeed (or for that matter, your fan’s newsfeed) are only visible for a small amount of time.
So… if you have 2800 fans… and only 15% of them are online right now… and you post something on your wall… and it goes out to your newsfeed… only a portion of that 15% (those looking at their newsfeed) will see that post.
Yes… “some” will visit your page during the day… but not that many (compared to how many fans you have). That is why… the more time that passes after you post something on your wall… the fewer comments are added… “stale” i.e. old posts are simply not seen by that many people.
OK… so now we know that posts by you (admin of your page) on your page’s wall… go out to your fan’s newsfeed, and a small portion of those, who happen to be online AND looking at their newsfeed… see your posts.
Here is something else page owners are confused by.
For example… we have begun a program were WE post YOUR t-shirt link, on your page, every 9-11 days. This post on YOUR page… (since we are NOT the admin of your page)… is only seen by a very small, small, small portion of your fans.
It does not show up in your fan’s newsfeed… it simply sits on your wall and IF your fans visit your page, they may see our post.
Some admins see our post on their wall and simply “like” the post, or make a comment.
This does nothing to help improve exposure to that post or increase the chance of t-shirt sales. Basically… if your fans are visiting every one of their “liked” pages, and you are on that list, they “may” come to your page and see it.
However, if you, as admin, see that link as a reminder… then re-post that t-shirt link (as admin) on your wall… it instantly goes out to your fan’s newsfeed.
In all honestly, our posts on your wall do occasionally result in a few sales… but they are primarily done as a reminder to your group, that you still have a t-shirt link and it is time to promote it again. (We have actually increased our donations because of this practice, but we can do so much better.)
We have a whole page in our Facebook Promotion Tips that also discusses the issue of timing your posts: http://www.rescuedismyfavoritebreed.org/FB8.htm
Bottom line… varying “when” you post, is also a good idea, since some of your fans are online in the morning… some at lunch… some are night owls… etc…
The second problem we see is that people forget about the advertising they see all around them.
As we have shown above, it is wrong to think “I posted the link… ALL my fans saw it… and I guess that is all the sales I am going to get.”… because, you could post the link every few days, for MONTHS, and it is doubtful that ALL your fans would see it. Sorry… it’s just the nature of facebook.
What is an equally wrong assumption is that those fans that DO see it, will decide to purchase the first time they see the link… and if they don’t… they are simply not interested.
This is so far from the truth, it’s not even funny.
Your fans may see the link… and be busy… be between paychecks… think that this would be a good thing for “later”… etc… However, they will probably forget and move on to other things in their busy lives. When they see the link a second time… that reinforces what they thought about the first time… but still may not trigger a purchase.
You see the same ads in magazines, newspapers, on TV, and radio, and even online… virtually every day.
It is not done to drive you crazy… it is done this way because repetition creates familiarity… and most advertising pros will tell you that it is they key to being successful.
It doesn’t matter what you are trying to sell or message you are trying to get out… (t-shirts, fund a chip-in, recruit a foster, find volunteers, find someone to adopt, etc…) if you are counting on the few that will respond on impulse, the “first” time they see the message… you are missing out on the majority of the people who simply do not work that way.
Although the title of this is post is “How to Sell More T-Shirts via Facebook…” it really applies to anything you are doing that involves getting a message out to your fans on facebook.
Slow and Steady… and repeat… and repeat… is the key.
Some groups get all excited and post their link over and over again the same day… annoying and or burning out their fans.
Other groups post once… hoping to win the “t-shirt lottery”… and when sales don’t come rolling in… they give up.
Both approaches are wrong.
The most SUCCESSFUL groups that we work with… post their links, on a regular basis… every 5 or 8 days… varying the time of day they post… and also putting their links in their e-newsletters and on their websites.
They also understand that a fan that saw the “Go Green!” shirt last time and wasn’t interested… may like the “Peace Love Rescue” design… so they also change the thumbnail image each and every time they post. (Many fans will ONLY click on the link if the thumbnail image appeals to them… even if you say “click on link to see many more designs”)
For instance… you can post:
Do you believe in recycling? We do… (Then post the t-shirt link showing the Go-Green! Shirt Thumbnail)
Are you proud to be a Mom to your Fur Kids? (Then post the t-shirt link with the RESCUED Dog Mom or Cat Mom shirt thumbnail.)
Are most of your kids furry? (Then post the t-shirt link with the All My Children Are Furry! shirt thumbnail.)
Get the picture?
We are AMAZED when YOUR fans come to OUR FB page, and tell us they haven’t seen the t-shirts. Sad, but true… most of you could feature a different design each and every week and not repeat one for a few months.
Groups that do this, have more sales and receive more donations. Those that simply “put a link somewhere on their website and forget about it, have few sales… if any at all.
So you want to sell more t-shirts?
Make sure you post on your wall as Admin… so it goes out to your fan’s newsfeed pages.
Understand that even if you repeat the post every week… you are still only reaching a very small portion of your fans.
Not all your fans are online at the same time, so vary the time of day you post.
Many fans will not click on the link, unless they like the thumbnail, so vary it every time you post. And ask a question or make a comment about that shirt design or slogan, to attract attention and invite fan interaction.
Think of t-shirt promotion on facebook as being just like an exercise plan. You cannot simply show up in the Gym on one day (post once)… and expect to get fit (sell a bunch of t-shirts). You need to pace yourself and make it a regular part of your life (or in this case, your online facebook promotion strategy).
Slow and steady.
And FYI… you don’t have to work harder… just smarter. Do what we do… setup a calendar program on your phone or email or ?? to send you a reminder every 5 or 6 or 8 days to post your t-shirt link. If you make sure that the reminder is NOT send every 7 days, it will always be on a different day of the week. And there is nothing to “remember”. Easy Peasy!
The groups that are putting this into practice, are doing well. And we LOVE making donations to groups… so making many more donations would be even better! 🙂
So good luck… and try it out… it Works!
Want more info regarding our t-shirt fundraising program?
Info can be found here: http://www.rescuedismyfavoritebreed.org/cash.htm