10 Marketing Ideas on a Budget for Your T-Shirt Business
Being a T-shirt business entrepreneur can be more than a full time job. It’s long hours and a lot of hard work. You have to wear all the hats of the business – production, book keeping, buyer, customer service, and marketing just to name a few. To help you out a little, we put together this list of some marketing ideas on a tight budget. This list is not exhaustive by any means, nor in any particular order. Maybe it will help generate some ideas for you. So here it is – 10 Marketing Ideas for your T-Shirt Business!
10. Contest Prizes – Partner with the local radio station when they run a contest. You may be able to negotiate to offer your T-shirts as prizes for free air time mentioning your business as the prize sponsor. Put together a prize pack with a T-shirt, cap, and bag.
9. Car magnets – Use your car as a moving billboard. Get a good size car magnet for each side of your car. You can find companies online that will print them and are not very expensive. Another option are window decals. If you have a larger budget, consider a full car graphics wrap, especially if you drive a lot!
8. Guerilla marketing – This will take some real thinking and creativity, but if done right, can make a big impact. These are not your traditional marketing and advertising methods. Guerilla marketing is thinking outside-of-the-box marketing tactics, usually done in a localized area. Good guerilla marketing can generate press coverage and a lot of word of mouth advertising in your area. Search on Google images to get your creative juices flowing and get inspired for your own ideas.
7. Press releases – Do you have newsworthy material for your business? Write a press release and distribute to local newspapers, magazines, radio stations and tv stations. Media coverage is free exposure. Public relations is an art in itself and usually takes building relationships with the media. Seek out influential blogs online that are in your niche market. They may be interested in covering your business or writing a product review. A sample of your product could be your only cost.
6. Social media – Social media is free to use and gives you access to a mass audience. Share photos of your custom apparel and ideas and inspirations for your customers. If your customers enjoyed the products and services you delivered to them, ask them to share it on Facebook!
5. Email newsletters – Email is one way to build your own audience. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, social media is “rented land”, but your email list is yours. Social media may be popular, but studies have shown that email is still a powerful marketing channel. Collect email addresses on your website. Offer a discount code, ebook, or something else of value in exchange for their email. Having your own list of email addresses is one of the best ways to reach your customers or potential customers. Keep your audience coming back to your site with information that is relevant and of value to them.
4. Sponsor a local event – As a T-shirt business, you can provide free or discounted custom shirts for a run/walk event in your community. Most of these types of events give participants a T-shirt. In exchange for printing the shirts, ask if you can pass out brochures, business cards, or coupons to all participants. You can even put this information in a promotional bag with your logo on it. Don’t forget to add your logo to the event shirts, too!
3. Samples – Give away promotional products with your logo on them or a design that people will want to wear with your logo on the back. You can heat print the top promotional products used – T-shirts, caps, jackets and bags. Some companies use their whole advertising budget just on giving away product. Sometimes it’s just getting your product into the hands of the customer for them to like it and keep coming back for more.
2. Ask for a referral – There are many ways to go about asking for referrals. Sometimes it’s as simple as just asking! If your customers love you and your products, then this will be easy. You can also try offering a discount program through referrals. Business cards are pretty cheap now. Get some cards made up with an area for current customers to write their name on it for them to pass out to their friends. If a new customer brings in this card, offer a discount on a future order to the person who referred them. Include these cards as a hang tag on every T-shirt you print.
1. Utilize the internet/your website – This is a very broad category and there is so much information out there for using the internet to market your business. We will just cover briefly some ideas to get you started. If you don’t already have a website, you should create one. There are plenty of cost effective ways to launch and maintain a website for your T-shirt business, which we covered in a previous blog post. After you have your website, you should point all of your social media pages to your site. Optimize your site for search engines. Let Google know about your business so you come up in local search results. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly with a “responsive” site. There are plenty of sites that let you list your local business for free in business listings. Utilize all of these types of sites. People search online for most purchases. Make sure you show up in searches. If you don’t show up on the first page of Google, you may want to consider using Google Adwords to pay for ads. There are plenty of options for setting a daily budget for how much you want to spend. For more information on any of these topics, a quick Google search will give you LOTS of information!
Ok, one more… bonus idea!
Customer Service – Customer service can be a huge factor on why people continue to do business with you. Delivering on time, speedy information on questions or quotes, and friendly service with a smile make a customer’s experience positive. Build relationships with your customers. Give them something for them to talk about with their friends. As Walt Disney said,
“Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.”