You do not need a massive marketing budget to spread the word about your garment printing business. Building industry relationships, a website, basic knowledge of online marketing, and creative prospecting can take your business to new heights.
The Benefits For Epson F2000 Owners
It's the world's most reliable printer
Owning the F2000 gives you an immediate and distinct advantage over your competition. Primarily because you own the worlds most reliable and user friendly DTG printer. Having the F2000 allows you to turn on, print (make money), and turn off your printer without fear of a catastrophic equipment failure or extended repair/down time (lose money).
Use it to develop promotional shirts
Spend an hour researching businesses in your area that might be good potential customers. Take some time to print a custom t-shirt for them with their company logo, some pictures from their website, their slogan, etc. Then mail it in a package along with a brochure to the business owner. Better yet, walk into the business to deliver it and introduce yourself.
You can confidently advertise low minimum, full color prints, and on light and dark garments. The best case is advertising no minimums. That’s right, NO MINIMUMS! Go ahead and take a look at your competitors online. How many of them are advertising no minimums? Very few, I can almost guarantee. The reason they don’t dare is because they do not have the ability to reliability produce one-off custom shirt, unless they have the F2000. Put NO MINIMUM, FULL COLOR PRINTS! big and bold on the homepage of your website.
You might say, “but John, there isn’t any money in one-off’s," and I agree, to an extent. Doing one custom shirt with custom art based on customers' wild requests can be a hard way to make a consistent profit. Our goal for offering no minimums is not to do one-offs regularly; it’s to capture the low volume customers and save them from the pain of searching and contacting other screen printers who cannot deliver on their low minimum custom request. You’re making the decision to contact you easy by eliminating doubt, complications, and fear. Most customers don’t want just one shirt, but there is peace in knowing they can order one shirt with a full color print especially for reorders or fill in needs.
Develop a relationship with printers in your area
Introduce your F2000’s capabilities, bring them samples, and negotiate contract pricing. Eliminate their pain by giving them an easy solution to pass off low minimum customers. Let Big X continue to market and throw money in advertising to hold that top search spot. You just sit back and collect all that extra business they cannot service.
Let’s look at your average inexperienced custom shirt customer:
Anna started by looking online for cheap custom t-shirts for her son's birthday party. She reviews the businesses on the first page and contacts one - Big X Screen Print and Embroidery Shop. Big X could have an F2000 and is happily facilitating low volume calls, but like most custom apparel shops, they are probably a screen print operation and are looking for customers that can work within their minimums of 36, 72, 144, 1,200, etc. The customer calls Big X and asks for 8 shirts for a birthday party. Big X is not obliged to help because it is nothing short of pure torture for them to set up and screen print 8 shirts. So what does Big X do? They might pass on the job, try and accommodate, try an alternate form of decoration, or give them a high priced quote to salvage some margin. Regardless, Big X is not happy and the customer is not happy because they did not get what they expected or may have even overpaid. No matter what, Big X Shop is not interested in this customer and needs to focus on mid to large accounts to keep the presses running. As an F2000 owner, you want to entice Big X to send this customer to your Epson F2000 that is designed to make money in this low to mid volume range. Big shops are turning away customers like this every day - have them turn these customers over to you.
Website and Online Marketing
Websites are no longer a choice for businesses. It's essential. Do not fear the creation of a website; today websites are incredibly easy to acquire. There are numerous template-based, drag and drop sites, that will can create stunning sites. I use Wix for my portfolio site and WordPress for my blog. Whatever you choose, the learning curve is relatively easy - you could have a site up within a few hours. If you want to focus on other areas of your business you can choose to hire a web development company or freelancer.
Search Engine Optimization
Just having a site does not mean instant recognition so you will have to take efforts to make it visible to searchers. You want your site on the first page and ideally the top of the first page of results. Learning how to score high on a Google search is a complicated business in itsself; below are a number of things you can do to help you increase your SEO results.
I argue you should sign up and engage in everything Google. By that I mean, open every possible Google account you can in your business name and add content or update these sites regularly. To name a few: Blogger, Gmail, Google Maps, AdWords, Google Analytics, Google+, YouTube, Google Domains, and Google My Business. Join every relevant Google platform. The more your business' name is seen by Google, and the more you update your content, the more Google will engage with your business. Be sure to pick a business name that is available for a .com address. It’s best to have your company name match your URL if possible.
Spend some time learning simple SEO and keywords strategy. Keep track of all your activity with Google Analytics. Analytics is imperative for understanding which keywords and search terms are most relevant to your customers’ searches, as well as how users engage with your site. Ensure what is working and what is not in terms of your website and content.
AdWords Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Do an inexpensive Google pay per click campaign with Google AdWords. Choose keywords (search terms) that are relevant to your offerings. Here is a little Keyword advice. When choosing search terms for your company’s offerings avoid the big high dollar costly common search terms like “custom t-shirts”, “embroidery”, or “screen printing.” Instead focus on keywords specific to your DTG service and include your city or area. Remember your competitors are not likely using keywords that highlight no minimums. Take this opportunity to capitalize on these less used terms in your area: “1 off shirts Seattle”, “Custom shirts no minimums Seattle”, or “low minimum custom apparel Seattle.” It’s impossible to guess which term will be most successful in driving traffic to your site, which is why you need to track activity with Google Analytics. You don’t want to waste time and money on keywords that are not driving traffic.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is arguably the best tool for businesses - ever. It allows you to communicate directly with your customers, create new leads, and showcase your brand. The social media networks you should focus on are the two largest visual platforms - Facebook and Instagram. After you set up your accounts you can begin to grow them by posting engaging, entertaining content and also asking your friends, family, customers and partners to follow you. You can post behind the scenes pictures at the shop, cool designs, finished products, and more. The possibilities are endless. You could even have a contest where people send you a photo for a chance to have it printed on a shirt for free. You could do some awesome community work and share that on social media. For example, you could work with a local animal shelter by taking photos of their dogs, putting them on t-shirts and selling them (in the shelter and/or on your website) with 100% of profits going back to the shelter.
Facebook is the most popular social network worldwide with over 1.49 billion active users each month. The challenge on such a popular site is to attract visitors while standing out from the competition. Post on a regular basis, meaning every day, and talk to your customers. This does not mean you should just post marketing-focused content that sells product. Showcase the people behind your company; this instills trust and connects the customer in a more meaningful way. Post a picture of an office lunch, or funny t-shirts you designed as a group joke. This personable tone helps increase engagement and interest.
Instagram is the visual goliath of mobile. A photo or video can captivate an audience in an intimate way that text can't fulfill. Post photos of intriguing t-shirt designs to spread the word about your product. Utilize hashtags to help categorize your posts to be found easily.
Everything thus far is designed to set up a system that is working and selling for you without physically going out and selling. The relationships you develop with your competitors are essential in for referrals and capturing your target low minimum market. Your website is capturing data and leads CONSTANTLY. Both of these are critical to the foundation of growth, but it may not be enough. You might have to get on the phone with businesses or go door-to-door and promote your services.
To get your name in front of businesses, you have a distinct advantage over your competitors. You can make custom samples quickly and for next-to nothing. Find companies in your area that need apparel, create a custom logo or borrow their existing logo from the web, and make them a sample. Take the sample to their location with special pricing and sell both it and your shop's capabilities. Be pro-active and use the F2000 to your advantage by offering personalized custom samples that will impress your prospects.