7 Tests to Grow Your T-Shirt Business

7 tests to grow your t-shirt business

Growing your t-shirt business can be a mountain to climb. Whether your business is brand new and you’re starting from scratch, or you’ve been doing it for years, there are a lot of fears people have, and rightly so.

Growing any business takes both time and money. No one wants to waste either of these two resources.

The fear of failing, often times, is what holds people back. However, don’t let your fears paralyze you from taking the necessary steps forward to grow your t-shirt business.

If you want to take your t-shirt business to a new level that you have never been, you’ll have to try things that you’ve never done to accomplish your goals.

Many people who are successful have first failed… sometimes many times. It takes learning to find out what works and what doesn’t.

Take a look at the famous Thomas Edison, inventor of the electric lightbulb among many other inventions. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Thomas Edison experimented, tested, and kept working until he found something that did work.

Along with trial and error, that persistency is the way to success.

Using “experiments” and tests in your own t-shirt business is one way to find out what works (and what doesn’t).

Once you find something that does work, tweak it and make it even better.

What are some things you should test?

Test things like:

  • copy on your website and other marketing materials
  • images/photography
  • buttons/Call-to-Actions (CTA’s)
  • offers
  • specials/sales
  • t-shirt designs/artwork
  • pricing

Testing Copy on Your Website and Marketing Materials

Writing copy for marketing and sales can be a difficult task, especially for non-writers. When was the last time you looked at what you wrote for your marketing materials?

Chances are, you wrote it once (maybe even in a hurry to get it done) and never looked at it again. This is your chance to take a second look.

Make sure your marketing copy is geared towards your customers. Your website home page is a good place to start.

Start by thinking of your customer – the one you want to market to most – and then write your copy as if you were writing to this one customer.

Make sure you are telling them the benefits of your products and services. Don’t be confused with features. These get mixed up frequently.

Benefits are “what’s in it for me” for the customer. Features are what makes your product/service what it is.

When you are writing, let your customer know exactly why they should buy your product/service; what they will get from it. Focus on the customer.

Just like on a first date, no one wants to sit and listen to the other person talk about themself. This applies to your business, too. Be careful not to just talk about yourself.

When looking at your home page, you will want your customer to know exactly what they can get from you within seconds of visiting your page, because that’s all you have, is seconds, to make a good first impression. Otherwise, they will leave your site immediately.

If you have Google Analytics set up with your site, finding areas where you can adjust your copy will be much easier. You will be able to see which pages on your site people are leaving from, and which ones help to convert better.

You can also look at your bounce rate. The bounce rate is the rate at which visitors come to your site, and then “bounce” (or leave) your site immediately.

If you have a high bounce rate, making adjustments to your copy is a good place to start.

Also try using language that your target market uses. If your target market is more laid back, using an informal writing style may suffice.

On the other hand, if your market is more of a serious industry, such as in the medical field, using more professional sounding copy would benefit you more.


Test Your Images

Visuals of your products and services are important to have on your website and other promotions. These represent your products and services.

When selling online, photos are the substitute for people being able to “feel and touch” your product, since they are not physically able to hold your product, like they could in a store.

Many people are visual “learners”. Without having a picture, or even having a bad picture, is a big way sales are lost.

Make sure all your products are well-showcased in a photo, with good lighting, resolution, colors, etc.

[Related Content: Quality Photography on a Tight Budget]

Do you provide t-shirts to a specific niche? Try showcasing your shirts in action-shots using models that are similar to your target market. This will help your customers connect the product to themselves in their mind.

[Related Content: Taking Better Photos of Your T-Shirts]

Try using a picture gallery on your product pages. These are easy to use. Depending on the type of platform your site is using, there is usually some sort of functionality built in, such as a plugin, if you are using WordPress.

[Related Content: How to Create a Website for Your T-Shirt Business Using WordPress]

Your photos tell a visual story. Photos can help answer questions that customers may have. Make sure your photos portray an accurate account of the product you are selling.


Testing Your Call-to-Action Buttons

Sometimes we just need to be told what it is we are being asked to do. We need guidance. This is exactly what a “Call-to-Action” (CTA) is. It tells your customer what it is you would like them to do.

Whether that is to sign up for an email newsletter, download an infographic or ebook, sign up for a webinar, share a piece of content on social media, or to purchase an item, sometimes it’s as simple as just asking!

Asking isn’t enough. Everyone responds differently. This is where testing comes in.

The copy on your call-to-action buttons is what is important. Buttons using verbs, or action words, tell the customer exactly what it is you want them to do. It is prompting them to take an action.

Just like in your copy, if there is room, include the benefit to the customer in your CTA. This will help improve your conversion rate by letting the customer know what they are going to get when they click.

Depending on where a visitor to your website may be at in the buyer’s journey, you may want to consider the level of commitment you are asking of them. If you are on an educational page, maybe a “Learn More” button or “Browse Now” button may make more sense than “Buy Now”.

Someone who is ready to buy and is on the product page, might be a good place to ask for the sale – “Buy Now”.

Your CTA needs to align with where your visitors are at.

If you read about conversion rates online, there are many arguments about the best color button to use. This might be another area you want to test for yourself.

The color of your CTA buttons should contrast with the rest of your site so that they stand out. Use a complimentary color.

complementary colors

blue and orange is an example of complementary colors

Pick a color for your CTA’s, and only use that color for your CTA’s. That way, when someone sees that color, they know that they are being prompted to take an action.

Experiment with the size and spacing of your buttons, as well. They need to stand out.

You don’t want your customers to have to search for the CTA. Make sure your pages are not cluttered.

That goes for the number of CTA’s, too. In any given area, you only want one CTA visible at a time. If you have too many, there is a such thing called “analysis paralysis”. Too many options can actually cause your viewer to choose to take no action at all, instead.


Test Your Offers

Going along the lines with your CTA, you are usually asking a visitor to your site to do something, especially if you are asking them to sign up for an offer in exchange for their email address.

[Related Content: How to Engage Users on Your T-Shirt Website]

Experiment with different offers to see which offer gets the most email sign-ups, downloads, shares, etc., depending on what your goal is to get.

Sometimes this offer is called a carrot or click bait. It entices a visitor to click and engage with you.

Click bait often gets a bad reputation. It should never be a false advertisement or fail to give the person what they clicked for. It is a bad practice to do a “bait and switch” technique, meaning, to attract them with one promise, and then switch to something else after they click.

For example, you may see this at times even with headlines on some sites. You click to read an article expecting certain information, and then realize that the article is not what you expected. This is a poor user experience and should be avoided.

If you promise an offer, follow through with what it is you promised the person in the first place.

Test to see what your visitors like the most. They may respond better to one offer over another.


Test Your Sales/Specials

Along the same lines as your offer, testing your sales or specials is another area to experiment with. This is an area that can help boost conversions.

People may respond better to one sale/special over another.

For example, I once read that someone found that after testing, more people bought an item for $5 with free shipping rather than paying $2.50 for an item with $2.50 shipping.

They only found this out through tests. If they didn’t test this, they would have never known, and possibly could have continued with less sales if they didn’t adjust.

Even though there is no such thing as free shipping, people are still drawn to the notion of free shipping. However, use this to your advantage to try to increase your selling amount. Offer free shipping to someone who purchases more shirts.

shipping box

On the other hand, someone may rather appreciate a free upgrade to their t-shirt style, or even a coupon for 10% off their order, for example. These things may cost you the same on your side, but it is completely different to the customer, who may be interested in one of these specials more.

You may see a trend on which special resonates more with your customers. Then you can offer a better experience for your customers, along with increased sales for you.


Test Your T-Shirt Designs/Artwork Style

If you are trying to sell to a particular niche, the style of artwork on your t-shirts can definitely be a factor.

Testing different styles will let you know which ones sell better. You can even use Easy View®, our online designer, for this test.

Create a few t-shirt designs using a different style of artwork in each. Print out the designs and show them to various customers to see if they prefer one more than the others. Before you even printed a shirt, you will have an idea on the type of designs your customers prefer.

This goes back to your photos. People may now resonate better with your product photography if the t-shirt designs fit with their needs and wants. It all ties together.


Test Your T-Shirt Pricing

Pricing is definitely a great area for testing that you can use to grow your t-shirt business.

Pricing your shirts can be very difficult and experimenting with prices can be beneficial to see where the sweet spot is where you customers buy the most.

As we mentioned above with the free shipping test, people responded better to one price over another, even though at the end of the day, they were paying the same amount!

Test pricing using various pricing models. Experiment with placing different prices next to each other for different items. This tactic is known as comparative pricing.

Pricing is probably one of the areas that business owners test with the most. Over the years, there have been several studies done on pricing.

Some of these studies have shown better results by ending your prices with a 9, while others show ending in 0 to be more beneficial. That would depend on your niche and the product you are selling.

We covered this more in our post, Psychological Pricing for Your T-Shirt Business.

Testing your pricing will allow you to determine where you sell the most items. If you price lower, your margins will be lower, but then you can make up for it in volume. On the other hand, if you price higher, your margins will be higher but you may sell less.

This will also be determined by how you position yourself in the Marketing Mix. You want to make sure that all your marketing efforts align in the 4 P’s of the marketing mix: product, placement, promotion, and price.

[Related Content: T-Shirt Marketing 101: Price]


Getting Better Test Results

In order to get the most of your testing, you need to make sure you measure and track your results or else your testing is literally worthless. If you don’t track your tests, you won’t know which one is better.

You need to know which variants of your tests work best, so that you can implement the better portion going forward. That is the whole purpose of testing.

Test for a good length of time to get better results. Over time, you will have more people participate in your testing. The more the better.

This goes back to basic statistics. The bigger the pool of test subjects who respond, the more accurate your results will be.

Once you get good at testing, you will get the hang of it more. Soon you’ll think of even more things to test.

Some platforms also have plugins for testing. Split A/B testing will allow you to run multiple tests at the same time! After you decide which test performs better, you can make sure that the majority of your traffic gets the better result.

The important thing to take away is that testing various aspects of your t-shirt business will actually help you grow your t-shirt business when you find out what resonates best with your customers.

When in doubt – test, test, test!

P.S. – Have you ever used the cleaning product, 409? Ever wonder how it got its’ name? Rumor has it that it was named from the 409th try to get the product right!