This guest blog post has been written by Matt Brussels, Founder of the T-Shirt Bakery. Matt completed his training on the New Enterprise Allowance with PeoplePlus Enterprise. His business is now running smoothly and he has some wisdom to share…
Have you ever noticed that big brands have their logos everywhere? Sure, they have much bigger budgets than small independent companies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t copy their strategies to promote your business.
The T-Shirt Bakery has worked with some of the UK’s biggest brands in various business sectors. Over the years we have learnt how big brands use t-shirts in creative ways to drive customer confidence and promote their brands to wider audiences. Below are 7 big brand strategies you can use to promote your business or brand with t-shirts.
1. Dress to impress
Dressing your staff in brand uniforms is a must for any business. They act like walking billboards advertising your brand or business both at your premises and when they go for lunch or travel home in the evening. Your staff are ambassadors for your business, having them look the part with smartly dressed uniforms reflects well on your business as a whole. Branded uniforms can inspire a team mentality making them feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. Also, studies have shown that a staff uniform can increase productivity and a sense of belonging.
Make sure your logo is prominently displayed on both the front and rear of your uniform. You should also include your website address as this is a vital role in your marketing efforts. 80% of all business searches start online, so don’t ignore this, make it work for you.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of a staff uniform, we have written an article on this subject – Top 8 Reasons for wearing a printed work uniform.
2. Handing out samples
Your team members should always be dressed in promotional shirts when your business is carrying out a street campaign, or marketing at an event. Doing marketing in person outside your business premises or in other public places is a clever way to meet customers face to face and promote your brand or service directly to them. If you own a food business, why not give out samples or any product that’s easy to demo and distribute on the go?
When your staff are wearing branded t-shirts, this task improves your brand recognition and projects a more professional image. Make sure that your t-shirt design has your company name and logo prominently displayed on both the front and rear, also include your website address to increase your marketing efforts.
Recruit your most influential staff members to interact with the public and ask survey questions or fun trivia. You can reward people who sign up for a newsletter or loyalty card with a free t-shirt to help spread your brand or company message.
3. Follow-up after a customer service issue
Although you work to provide a great customer experience, with all businesses things can go wrong; which can result in a bad customer experience. A good way of tempering an unhappy customer is to offer them freebies to say sorry. You can offer a free T-shirt to thank the customer for being patient and bringing the problem to your attention, along with a reassurance that you will resolve their issue.
4. Reward your best customers
Business is all about relationships. It’s important to strengthen your relationship with your best customers or clients. A great way to do this is to reward your best customers with a free t-shirt. This doesn’t only earn favour in the eyes of your customer (making them feel comfortable to give you more repeat business) but it also reinforces your brand.
Customers who spend with you on a regular basis are much more likely to recommend your product or service to others. By rewarding them with a well-designed product it is easier for them to spread the word.
5. Think outside out of the box and be creative
Although this creative example would probably be out of reach of most start-ups or small businesses, it is the best and most creative example I have come across of using t-shirts to promote a brand. So I wanted to include it as a prime example of ‘thinking outside the box’, when planning a t-shirt marketing campaign.
In 2013 Coca-Cola launched its ‘put on a smile’ wearable movie t-shirt campaign. Coca-Cola wanted to reward their community and sent out hundreds of t-shirts to social media fans, staff and creative partners. Each frame from the animated movie was printed on to a t-shirt, and Coca-Cola asked the recipient to upload a photo of themselves wearing the shirt to create the first ever “wearable movie”. The photos were then stitched together to make the final film.
6. Host a social media competition
Social media sites are the perfect places to host t-shirt giveaways. It’s important to stay connected with your community and a successful active contest is a way of doing this. People like free stuff and with social media, you can spread your brand awareness way beyond your core audience. You could give participants a theme relevant to your business, logo, or tagline for inspiration.
Rewarding the winner with a branded t-shirt specially design for the competition. This is also a great way of encouraging people to sign up for your newsletter or loyalty card. Once you have their email address you could retarget them with a sale of the winning t-shirt, to make some extra cash off the back of the competition.
7. Bring shirts when pitching new clients
Branded mugs have always been a popular marketing tool when meeting or pitching to new clients. If you are looking to do something different, why not give prospective customers a t-shirt instead? This brings a personal touch to the proceedings which your competitors might not be offering. A meaningful promotion can sway their opinions and lay the foundations for a long-term relationship with the company.
Before you rush out to buy your promo t-shirts, it’s worth considering what your t-shirts say about your brand. At the T-Shirt Bakery, we receive many calls from business owners looking for the cheapest t-shirt offer they can find. They believe that they are getting a great deal by having a poor print or a vinyl transfer on a value budget t-shirt.
But in reality they are just damaging their brand. First impressions are extremely important and a poor-quality t-shirt will give the wrong impression. It denotes that your brand is cheap and of poor quality. This, of course, might not be the case, but this is how potential clients or customers view your brand. This is the biggest mistake I see small business owners make when purchasing printed t-shirts to promote their business. Everything you offer your customers or clients reflects on your brand. Our top customers always purchase quality garments and insist on the highest quality of print work (that’s why they use the T-Shirt Bakery).
For a relatively small investment custom t-shirts can yield years of returns as people display your branding around town. Finding ways to incorporate t-shirt promotion ideas into your biggest campaigns can make a massive impact, just make sure you have a clear goal for your promotion before you commission a printer.