You’ve pretty much given it all you’ve got but your t-shirt business is not taking off? What’s wrong? You thought setting up a t-shirt business is easy. And you know what? It is. What’s hard is running a t-shirt business. The tools are relatively affordable, conceptualizing designs is a breeze…but no one’s paying attention, no one’s buying. Business is not just about coming up with a good product, it’s learning how to sell.
Here are some marketing hacks on how to increase the sales of your custom t-shirts business:
1. Print whatever is trending (Pokemon, for example)
What are the viral stuff people are talking about? It could be the #olympics or #pokemon or #Lego (Lego is forever). The trick here is not to print it as is. You have to have a certain angle to it. If you think your target market is the nerdy type, then come up with something nerdy. If your target market is the type who hates trends, then come up with something that makes fun at Pokemon or whatever is famous at that moment. Just make sure, though, that you won’t get sued by reviewing the copyright basics.
2. Give freebies
You could add free stuff to your shirts to convince people to buy your stuff. It could be a free Dropcard/download card if you’re printing merch for musicians or free burger if you’re feeling generous. All you have to do is ask your clients if they want to give freebies (I’m sure musicians won’t mind giving away download codes). As for shirts that you designed for your store, you can contact businesses that might want to do cross-promotion (a Diner for free burgers, a concert for discounted tickets, etc).
3. Bundle with other products
The best way to sell band merch is to bundle them with a CD or vinyl, at a lower price. Bundling items together does not only make them seem more affordable, it also makes the buyer feel like a hardcore fan. That way, every item on the bundle adds value to the other items of the bundle making the bundle greater than the sum of its parts.
These are just three gimmicks you can apply to increase your sales. But if you want long-term improvement, you have to pay attention to the basics: good social media presence, solid branding, excellent service, and most of all…good-quality t-shirts packaging!
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.