“I can feel a headache coming on already!” EVERY business venture has to promote itself – continually, It’s a must. But how, where, how much will it cost, what’s the expected return? We can’t do anything successfully without first having created a business plan and carried out our market research, and in this instance will tell us what products/market we will concentrate on and who our customers are (male/female and age group, perhaps even industry they come from). With this information at hand we can now look at the best avenues to reach out to these groups of people, and the best suited media either internet (social groups – facebook, instagram, etsy, ebay, google etc),
email with artwork/mockups prices with breaks,
Posters down town
Radio advertisement slot, ($200-500 per week)
local clubs – little league, enthusiast groups,
and… FRIENDS, family ARE the easiest and more enthusiastic to get your word out.
All of people will suggest friends and family, and with good reason, but be warned, this avenue is NOT free! They always expect discounts or even freebies, which WILL KILL YOU. So here’s a trick… Tell them you’ll sell it for $XXX and they can buy for $XXx. NEVER tell anyone your cost is only $x. That said stick firm to your prices, otherwise everyone will haggle you down. DISCOUNTS ARE OPTIONAL, but ONLY given as reward for buying quantity – Two is Not a quantity order. Lol Also a discount does not have to be $10-20, and may only be $1-5. After all, you’ll not get a discount from suppliers unless to buy a box of 36 etc and could only be $1 per item. When you yourself buy apparel you may be offered a break at 24 pieces+, so why offer your customers a break at only 4???
ps. Before all this you must know your costs:- Retail pricing of Subli Printed Items.
Creating Posters/Flyers, your business cards, advertisements… Can be difficult, but your knowledge and know-how should be improved upon with time, especially since artwork is your business. Contrasting colours, fonts that are slightly artistic perhaps, but can be easily read at a distance. These are important factors to consider for each media you choose, but your branding/logo and tag line must remain the same. You already know that excessive colours will cost more, so bear in mind with your logo design etc, because this will in turn increase your cost to produce your own work clothing, and your vehicle graphics.
Don’t use words that your customer groups will not understand. You shouldn’t have to explain the process, only the benefits of your products (Don’t even mention screen printing if comparing to sublimation, we are not in the habit of pulling down anyone else since it still has it’s uses, but also because the screen printers may also become your customers).
Etsy/Instagram/Ebay etc… the use of these will as with everything else, depend on your market and customer groups. You will be paying a fee to sell items on these platforms, and so should be included in your cost to produce and determining your retail price.
Google, and your own website. This is ultimately the way to go, and will improve your branding and help with your marketing efforts. However, this professional image as a business will cost, and cost more the less you know. But don’t be turned off. Your website can sell and promote for you for as little as $35 per year all included and with no expertise in this area, so no more fees to anyone else (although you may choose to use those as well). Even as your website grows/progresses, it doesn’t have to cost a bank loan to achieve, and can be done in stages. Another advantage of having a website, is that it’ll also provide stats on which people are going to your site, and what products they are looking at.
ps. We got our website on page one of google search engine without paying for adword/keywords… didn’t cost me anything, other than my own time in learning how (I will share if you ask me). Also with regards to google, get yourself on google maps.
Facebook and social media groups. You may find that your base customers are female between 30-40 years old, and so facebook may help you A LOT. Create your own business page (and group) and also join ALL your local/state groups. Post your page link/advert/banner everywhere, but be warned alot of groups don’t like excessive promoting. People on facebook are always asking for recommendations/help/where is etc.
Your page will show photos of your work, creating a great portfolio (take photos of everything you make). A business group will generate a degree of loyalty and membership benefits for your customers.
Radio/TV advertising. Not recommended until you have a promotion that is working , and you know your customer base. Although you can used if hiring someone to create your advertisement for these – a professional. These can be expensive as an initial outlay upfront cost, so choosing your time slots is critical to reach the right customers/listeners.
Craft fairs/Card Boot Sales. People that generally go to these are generally after cheap items. “My items are professional top quality, not cheap” this is the reason I’m very selective which shows I attend as a vendor.
Local Paper and stores. These are great for spreading the word and don’t cost much at all, but also don’t have a high return… unless you go for bigger space in paper / poster.
• Giving freebies away DON’T WORK, and only encourage cheap work/items. Competitions etc can promote a loyalty, but be careful, loyalty is never guaranteed, hence marketing should never stop.
• Discounts only need to be a dollar or two, NOT ten, twenty dollars, unless customer is spending higher volume.
Paul Griffiths – The Laughing Professor.
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