How to Increase Word of Mouth Advertising
Do you get most of your business from word of mouth advertising? Most apparel businesses do. The trick is to find easy and inexpensive ways to increase word of mouth.
Form Strategic Relationships
Find businesses in your city who cater to the same audience, but with a non-competing product – and make an arrangement to recommend each other.
Some examples might be: a trophy shop, athletic supply stores and teacher supply stores.
Get some Press
You’d be surprised how your local newspaper and tv stations struggle to find new content. You won’t be able to approach them with what amounts to a free advertisement, but what you can do is figure out what knowledge you have that their audience would appreciate.
Perhaps you discuss how charities or schools can use t-shirts to raise money for their cause.
First, you need to find the program director or editor for the media outlet you’re interested in. If you’re on LinkedIn, that’s a great way to find out this information. As a plus, you can also see if you know someone who is connected to your target person. They may be willing to make an introduction.
Next, you’ll want to make what’s called a “pitch.” Don’t get them the full story, just enough details to get them interested. This is generally done in an email. Be sure to tell them that your story will be exclusive to them.
Let your customers know that when they visit you, if they check-in to your business while they are there and set the status to “public,” that you will enter them into a content.
Make sure you offer a real prize and not just a gift certificate off of a future order. Gift cards are a popular item for contests like this. Again, this is a great chance to partner with a non-competing business – such as a local restaurant. Ask if they’ll give you a discount on the gifts in exchange for your offering a discount on their shirts.
The reason Facebook Check-Ins are one of our favorite promotions is that the friends of your customer will see the status – the majority of which will live in the same area. In addition, it signals to Facebook that your customers like you and it may help more of your customers see your status updates.
Customer Referral Program
Ask your current customers to refer you. For every customer who comes in and says they were referred, they will get an entry into a monthly prize drawing.
Just like with the Facebook check-in, make sure it’s something people really want and be sure it’s not too self-serving.
Apply for business awards
Most communities have awards for best places to work and favorite this-or-that. Oftentimes, it’s just a matter of submitting your application. This time of outside approval can be very powerful in driving new business to you.
Hold a class or event
You probably take for granted how much you know about the apparel decorating business. What can you teach your community? Maybe it’s how to design their own t-shirts (which you would, of course, then print). Or perhaps “how to save money on outfitting your little league team.”
Another angle is to hold an Open House or some type of event at your shop. If there’s a charity tie-in, these tend to be even more successful.
Who doesn’t like a free t-shirt?
Design something cool that locals would want to wear, like a reference to a local landmark or particular sense of pride for the city. Use Logo Printz to brand them with your company name.
(In fact, Logo Printz are a VERY inexpensive way to brand your business every day. Consider putting them on the inside of all of the shirts you produce)
Put a sign up in your store that says, “if you write a review and show it to us, we’ll give you a free t-shirt!”
It’s just that easy!
Set up your Google My Business and Yelp accounts and check back on them regularly. If you find any reviews, be sure to address them – good or bad.
Remember to measure your words carefully when responding online. These words will live forever. If you’re upset over a negative review, it’s best to walk away and wait until you’re calm. Show a trusted friend what you intend on replying with before actually sending it.
Keep in Touch
If you don’t already, make sure you’re collecting email addresses and keeping in touch regularly. The email doesn’t need to be fancy (in fact, less fancy emails do better!), but try to send one at least once a month.
This will keep you top-of-mind with your customers.
We hope this provides a few ideas for meeting your sales goals for the year. If you want some more marketing ideas for your business, check out our article: 10 Marketing Ideas on a Budget for Your T-Shirt Business.