Building a 7-figure Business Selling Posters Online [in 6 Steps]
There is a reason why printed posters, wall hangings, and canvases are top of trending product and best-selling print-on-demand product lists. When professionally set up and marketed, poster stores can rake in millions of dollars in revenue. An excellent example of what it takes to build a 7-figure business selling posters online is the eCommerce superstar Desenio.
Desenio is a highly successful online poster store selling highly segmented niche products – Scandinavian design posters – and generates around $27 million in revenue a year doing it.
So, how can you ramp up your eCommerce poster business to this kind of pro level? How can you add posters to your interior, home, kids’, or stationery stores (to name a few) or build a 7-figure business selling posters online from scratch?
In this post, we take you through everything you need to do just that! But first, a quick tip for eCommerce newbies!
Service Providers Who Can Sell Posters Online
If you’re a graphic designer, photographer, artist, comic artist, or writer, and looking to take more of your earning capabilities online – especially if you already have a good personal brand and online presence – then an eCommerce poster business is an excellent place to start. From artistic wall prints to original quote wall-hangings, the earning potential of taking your local service global is truly endless. Here’s a look at the regions where poster searches are high:
[Source: Google Trends]
Ready to build your successful eCommerce poster brand?
Let’s jump right in!
Step 1: Start With a Strong Foundation Based on Market Research
Whether you’re a new eCommerce entrepreneur or an established store selling posters, constantly reviewing market research is the key to growing business success. What niches do you want to expand into? Should you be selling your own artwork or partnering up with designers? What types of products can you include to boost sales? Where does your target audience want to put these posters? Answering all these questions will help you lay a solid foundation and grow your online business selling posters into a converting machine. Here are a few things to jump-start this market research.
Find New Online Poster Store Niches
What niche do you want to sell in or expand to? Whether you’re starting an online poster store from scratch or want to take your eCommerce poster brand to the next revenue level, your market research should always go back to your niche. To do this, you will need to follow these steps:
- Look at your current audience and identify new segments you can target
- Think about how your poster products can add value and assess how much potential interest there is for what you want to sell
- Research industry trends and analyze your competitors
- Drill down your shortlist and work out your potential margins to assess financial potential
The niche you choose and the audience you target will point you in the direction of what types of poster themes you should include in your store.
Research Poster Themes
As you may have seen by researching your market and competitors, there are plenty of poster themes that you can explore for your online poster business. Here are some of the most popular themes trending right now.
1. Minimalist Posters: Minimalist design is all about keeping things simple and leaving the feature element at the forefront, so it gets the viewer’s full attention. In terms of posters, this means simple graphics, art, text, or colors. There are a lot of options here, depending on your market. Here are just a few of the minimalist collections successful online poster store Fine Art America offers buyers.
2. Typography Posters: As the name suggests, typography designs are all about texts and fonts. This has become a popular poster theme and can be adjusted for a variety of niches, audiences, and locations.
3. Vintage Posters: Vintage or retro posters are another online product that is hugely popular. Whether it’s old black and white photos or remastered movie posters, there is a lot you can do with this poster theme to suit your audience and niche.
4. Affirmation / Quote Posters: Affirmation signs can be mixed with a variety of other themes and are one of the best-selling online poster products. You could even take this trend and launch a store that allows buyers to create their own quote posters, like Zazzle has done.
5. Art Posters: As we have mentioned, selling original art can boost your revenue in a big way. In fact, more and more galleries and art curators are moving their businesses online to include eCommerce options for art, photography, drawings, and even sculptures.
6. Gallery Walls: Last but not least are featured gallery walls. These are groups of posters sold together to make a feature wall for living rooms, offices, bedrooms, and more. They have become a hugely popular online poster store theme, which has the added benefit of pushing up the average order value while also helping your shoppers with design inspiration.
Original vs. Reproduction
If you’re a creative such as an artist, designer, or photographer who is building an eCommerce store, then this is a no-brainer. You will want to start with your original works. If you’re not an artist or creator, that doesn’t mean that building a successful poster brand with original art, quotes, or prints isn’t possible.
Have a look at Poster Store, an online poster store generating over $1.8 million in revenue a year. This million-dollar brand partner with creatives from around the world and offers a host of in-house framing options for shoppers to choose from.
You also don’t need to be a creative to get original designs onto your poster store. By offering limited prints, custom posters, or collaborating with artists, you can ensure you are offering a unique product that sets you apart from the competition.
Sites like Creative Market and Fiverr will help you find designs and designers to get your creative ideas on paper – no pun intended! Visit our eCommerce Entrepreneur’s Guide to Finding Freelancers post for more ways to find design partners.
Research Why Your Shoppers Would Buy Posters and Prints
Another important bit of investigating you will need to do to ensure you have laid a strong foundation for success is to ascertain where your audience wants posters for. Let’s say you have a vintage poster themed store and your market is middle-class people aged 30-45. You (hopefully) wouldn’t be investing in categories and marketing messaging about the perfect gallery wall art for student dorms. Therefore, knowing where your audience is hanging these posters will also help you define your niche and marketing strategy. And to know where they will be hanging your posters, you need to consider why they will be hanging them.
Here are some reasons shoppers are buying posters, to get your research started:
- Adding a design feature to a room
- Making a living room, bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen space feel the way they want
- Searching for affordable art
- Looking for office design features
- Buying posters as gifts
- Decorating rental apartments, studios, fitness centers, shops, or other business location
- Moving into a new apartment, house, dorm room, etc.
- Looking for a representation of a passion such as music, art, or beliefs
Pro Tip: Already have an online store and want to add poster categories to your product lists? Think about living room designs for your home stores, minimalist designs for bedroom decor brands, quotes for home offices, and more. Your target audience will also determine the types of posters you sell. With students, for example, you may opt for cheaper poster prints instead of fancy metal-framed wall hangings. But more on poster types a little later.
Research Who is Buying Posters
Posters are a large, popular market – just about anyone is buying them. However, as we know, you need to drill down your niche (as discussed above) and target market to ensure a stronger brand and more personalized marketing opportunities, which will help boost sales.
Therefore, before upgrading your poster eCommerce brand to a million-dollar store or building your business selling posters online from scratch, you need to determine who your core target audience is. This will help you drill down the types of posters you will sell and lay a good foundation for a winning marketing plan to sell them.
You will want to research who is buying posters in your niche and how they find them, what posters they are buying and why, how they are choosing and comparing products, and what passion or pain point your posters will address. The top people buying posters include:
- Apartment- and home-owners and renters
- First-time art enthusiasts
- Interior designers
- Studio or boutique shop owners,
- Hotel and/or rental property owners
Here are some steps you can take to correctly research and define your target market when building your 7-figure business selling posters:
- Drill down your poster brand value. This means laying out exactly what problems your posters solve or how they will make your shoppers’ lives better, more interesting, or easier – and help you better determine your target audience segments. Are your posters affordable, original, top quality?
- Study your competitors. Knowing what your closest competitors are selling and who they are selling it to will help you drill down market segments you may have not thought of.
- Analyze your customers. If you want to scale and grow your eCommerce poster brand, your current customer data is a gold mine of stats including age, location, language, interests, and life stages, pointing to missed chances or opportunities to expand.
- Test your target market with social ads. Once you have defined your new target audience, run small-budget social campaigns to test them. This will not only help you determine whether you’re onto a winning niche and product, but give you access to valuable ad analytics you can use to drill down your audience.
Research Types of Posters to Sell
Lastly, now that you have a clear idea of the audience you want to target – and their budget – and the types of themes they are looking for, it’s time to research the types of posters and wall art available to narrow down your poster types. Here are some of the most popular types of wall art you can sell online:
- Enhanced matte or premium luster photo printed posters
- Framed posters
- Canvas prints
- Metal prints
Pro Tip: Metal prints are the newest wall art material option and have become hugely popular. These are generally more expensive and will require some investigation in terms of manufacturing; but for the right market, this could be a winner. A prime example of a poster and wall art brand that is built around their one-of-a-kind metal poster design is Displate.
Step 2: Review Your Online Poster Store Business Model Options
The next step of building a 7-figure business selling posters online is to review the profitable models available to you. There are three main business models you can choose from: third-party markets, print-on-demand and self-printing and manufacturing. Each of these models has its own pros and cons, and even if you already have an established poster store, switching models could have a considerable effect on your profit growth moving forward. Here is a breakdown of each.
Third-Party Marketplace Selling
Best-suited for smaller or beginner creators, third-party sites like Etsy, Redbubble, or Society6 are a good place to get your poster-selling feet wet. The advantage, here, is that these marketplaces do their own marketing to bring shoppers to their stores, leaving sellers with the job of ensuring their product listings pop. The disadvantage of these sites is that if you’re not creating your own online brand alongside your listings, the customers will not be yours and this will ultimately make growing your poster business into and above 7-figures an uphill battle. Additionally, you will have a lot of competition here, so you will need to work hard on standing out.
Print-on-Demand Poster Store Business Models
As you are already aware, print-on-demand (POD) business models are hugely popular right now. This is because it saves store owners a bundle on inventory, since you are only using third-party services, such as Printful, to print a poster when a customer orders and pays for it.
There are three distinct pros of choosing this poster and wall art business model:
- Minimal upfront costs and investments
- Ability to test designs without huge financial outlays
- Saves you time, enabling you to run a very lean business
However, if you’re planning on turning your poster store into a multimillion-dollar brand, print-on-demand does have its downsides:
- Reduced profit margins, which means you need to sell more posters to keep your prices competitive
- Less product variety, which means you will be limited in the types of unique poster, frame, and wall art product types you can offer
Both points above will make it harder to identify growth opportunities.
DIY Self-Manufacturing Poster Store Business Models
To grow a million-dollar online poster store, there’s a big chance you will need to pull up your sleeves and take full control of your production process. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to invest a huge budget into setting up your own printing press. Instead, you could start by partnering with a quality printing and framing company to create original poster and wall art products that you would then order in bulk to sell.
Self-manufacturing has many advantages including quality control, product variety, more customization options, and higher margins – which means more profits. However, this is not something we recommend for new poster stores until you have the capital to invest in equipment and physical space, as well as the time, money, and expertise to handle your own eCommerce logistics and fulfillment.
Step 3: Establish a Strong Poster Store Brand
The next step of building a successful 7-figure poster store is establishing your brand. If you are a brand new online seller, this means choosing your niche and target shopper – based on the research above – and then deciding on your name, positioning statement, branding (such as a logo), and establishing your brand voice – all of which you will need to create your online poster store.
For those poster sellers who want to turn their business selling posters online into a mega eCommerce brand, this means doing a full brand audit and making the necessary changes to establish a strong brand. A brand that not only stands out from the competition but establishes trust with potential shoppers – which is vital to boosting sales.
Pro Tip: Here are four steps and tips to help you perform a brand audit:
Use the free Benchmark Hero tool, which will automatically compare your store to thousands of 7- and 8-figure stores and provide a full site audit on shopping experience, trustworthiness, technical performance, and marketing. (If you have a Shopify store, you can click here to go directly to the free app.)
Go straight to the source by surveying your current customers. Whether it’s by email survey, or reaching out to specific high-value repeat customers or fans on social media, your customers can offer key insights into your current branding and where you’re lacking.
Don’t forget your analytics. Your store, social, and marketing analytics will provide you with a host of performance metrics to see where your messaging is winning, and where it lacks performance.
Look at your closest competitors who you share a target audience with. How is their brand voice represented through their online store copy, products, and marketing messaging, and does it stand out from the crowd? How does their engagement compare to yours? What do their brand reviews look like?
The bottom line – no matter where you are on your eCommerce business journey – is ensuring you have laid a solid brand foundation; otherwise, you will find it very hard to grow your business.
A good online poster brand should:
- Create or upgrade their brand style so that it is in line with their business’s values while also speaking directly to their customers.
- Ensure that every aspect of their business is talking or appealing directly to their key target audience.
- Always strive for authenticity in their products, copy, and marketing when engaging with their customers.
- Focus on creating quality products and backing them up with stand-out customer service.
- Align their brand with a social responsibility cause, belief, or emotional trend.
Step 4: Upgrade Your Poster Designs to Sell
Now it’s time to get to the nitty-gritty of building your successful eCommerce poster business: your designs. Even if you’re an established store, if you’re looking to kick it up a notch, then going back to design basics to launch a new, converting category is vital. Posters and art designs should always be legible, have a strong color focus, be sized to match what your customers need, and of course, stand out from the crowd. AKA – be original.
To do this, you should always be designing posters with your key audience in mind. Look at your (or your competitors’, if you’re brand new) best- and worst-selling posters to see what works with your customers. This isn’t just what the poster or artwork designs look like, but the paper types, sizes, and framing materials that are most popular.
You should also be drawing inspiration from design sites themselves. Sites like Fiverr, Behance, 99designs, and Designspiration are a great source of design trend inspiration. You can also look at creative marketplaces such as Etsy to see what is currently on their best-selling lists.
Step 5: Create a Winning Poster Marketing Strategy
Now that you have established or reviewed your poster brand, niche, market, and product, it’s time to get to the most important part of building a successful online store brand: marketing. Unlike Field of Dreams logic (“If you build it, they will come”), you can have the best-built poster store and the perfect products for your audience, but if you do not successfully drive them to your site, they will not come.
Unlike apparel niches, posters don’t rely on sizing and fit. However, lifestyle visuals still play a key role in converting customers. Not only should you be showing your poster design, but you want to give that poster context by displaying it in real-life settings throughout your marketing platforms.
A winning marketing strategy for your online poster businesses should include the following.
One of the key marketing strategy components for building a 7-figure online poster store is a long-term SEO strategy. To do this, you will need to stay on top of your analytics, know your target shopper inside and out, keep a very close eye on your competitors, become a keyword expert, ensure your poster store is optimized, and have a good content marketing strategy. Everything you need to build a successful SEO strategy for your eCommerce poster brand can be found in our Grow Organic Traffic in 8 Steps [DIY SEO Tips and Hacks] post.
While you are growing your SEO, you will also need to boost traffic to your online poster store with PPC campaigns. A robust PPC marketing strategy should include Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest advertising, all working together to target potential customers and shoppers at different stages of the buying funnel. This could also include platform ads like Amazon or Etsy ads, if you’re selling on marketplaces as well. Head over to our Full PPC Management Guide for eCommerce [+Optimization Tips & Strategies] post for a full breakdown on creating a winning PPC strategy for a 7-figure online store.
As we mentioned, content marketing can play a big role in your SEO strategy. It can also be used to boost your PPC presence and results. This includes eCommerce blog content and buying guides, social media video guides, social media posts, and more. We have two guides that will help you upgrade your eCommerce content marketing strategy to pro level:
- Guide to Getting Awesome Results From Your Content Marketing Strategy
- 6 Tips to Create a Scalable Content Marketing Campaign
Going hand-in-hand with content marketing is customer engagement. This means joining in the conversations online around topics and products in your niche. This is about adding value and establishing yourself as an authority in your niche – not using these discussions to push sales. In terms of selling posters or art, this could mean offering interior design or art-buying advice to people in forums like Reddit or Quora. You also want to ensure you are engaging with people who engage with you. This means replying to comments on social media and your blogs, addressing product reviews, and upping your UGC and word-of-mouth marketing game. You can read more about how to use word-of-mouth marketing to boost eCommerce sales here.
Another very essential component of any winning marketing strategy is email marketing. This should include product recommendations, abandoned cart recovery, targeted newsletters, personalized coupon codes, and transactional emails. In other words, every email you send throughout the customer’s buying journey should play a small role in your marketing strategy – even your transactional emails. You can visit these top two eCommerce email marketing guides to discover secrets to what a well-performing strategy should include:
- Top 4 Things That are Killing Your Email Marketing and How to Fix It
- Monitor These 5 Email Marketing Metrics for Sales Success
Just because you’re running an online business doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of opportunities for you to do offline promotions. This means connecting with new audiences in person by running pop-up shops, getting involved with local community events and projects such as donating your posters to a community center or charity, or partnering with galleries if you’re an artist or creative. It all goes back to your key target shopper and seeing how you can connect with them offline.
When it comes to starting or growing a business selling posters online, there is no set blueprint. Every business will have a unique set of points such as niche, audience, brand, and categories. Therefore, you will need to adapt your marketing strategy to suit your specific business and goals.
Step 6: Invest in the Right Tools to Grow Your Online Poster Store Business
Having the right tools and apps can make or break the success of your eCommerce business. They can help you streamline every aspect of your online poster store to ensure you maintain things like shipping and fulfillment, quality, or marketing campaigns as you grow. To jump-start your journey to becoming a million-dollar brand, here are five tools worth testing.
1. Pro PPC Management Tool: Traffic Booster
Cost: From $120 per month, including your advertising budget, to run the ads
Traffic Booster is a must-have tool for automating and optimizing your PPC campaigns. Using unique AI technology, Traffic Booster will help drive highly targeted traffic to your most relevant poster product pages on your behalf, saving you time and money while boosting sales.
2. Customer Service Tool: Zendesk
Cost: From $5 per month
As we have outlined, a key component of building a 7-figure business selling posters online is top-notch customer service. Zendesk is a leading customer service tool that will help you do just that. Some of its key features include advanced customer service analytics, help center features, live chat, a comprehensive support dashboard, and more.
3. Email Marketing Tool: Klaviyo
Cost: Free to try and then from $20 per month
When it comes to winning email marketing platforms, Klaviyo has made a huge dent in a very short space of time. And it is no surprise why! Built by an eCommerce entrepreneur, it offers advanced ROI-based reporting, segmentation, one-click integration, loads of personalization, and much, much more.
4. Shopify Review Tool: Product Reviews
Well-recommended by poster sellers, the Shopify Product Reviews app is not only free but a must if you want to build your on-site product reviews to push sales and boost SEO. It will automatically match your store’s theme while offering customization, bulk actions CSV important and export and SEO optimization.
5. Fulfillment Tool: Easyship Shopify App
Cost: Free to use; only pay for label purchases
For those of you handling your own manufacturing and logistics, with Easyship you will be able to automatically sync up all your poster shipping orders. With this tool, you will have access to pre-negotiated shipping solutions from couriers around the world. You will also manage your shipments from one place, automate international shipping documents, offer customers flexible poster shipping options, and more!
Pro Tip: For more apps and tools to help you build a million-dollar poster and wall art brand, visit these posts:
There you have it, everything you need to build a 7-figure business selling posters online. Like with any successful eCommerce business, starting with a strong foundation that can then be boosted with a robust marketing strategy and a long-term SEO strategy, is vital. You will also need to constantly monitor your metrics and eCommerce KPIs to stay on top of your growth and pivot if needed. Yes, as we know, this can sometimes feel like climbing a mountain – but when you get the top, the view is amazing!
If you’re brand new to eCommerce and starting your store from scratch, we suggest following Justin Cener on YouTube for awesome, high-value eCommerce business building content. Here’s his How To Sell $100K Canvas Wall Art On Shopify Without Spending $1 On Inventory video to get you started.
Nicole is a content writer at StoreYa with over sixteen years experience and flair for storytelling. She runs on a healthy dose of caffeine and enthusiasm. When she’s not researching the next content trend or creating informative small business content, she’s an avid beachgoer, coffee shop junkie and hangs out on LinkedIn.
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