PrintHustlers Guide To: Growing a Successful Screen Printing Business, Chapter 11: Marketing Like a Maniac

Business Lessons

You’ve set up your equipment, trained your employees and built a storefront. Now what? Are you as legit as a new Apple store in downtown New York City, with customers waiting to bust through the doors and order apparel? 

While we all dream about that kind of devoted customer, there’s no doubt that you will have to do work to develop a solid base of customers.

Before you put together a marketing plan, identify your ideal customer. It could be sports teams and local community organizations, or businesses like construction companies that need apparel for a specific niche. Define your best type of orders. Create an ideal customer profile that fits your shop’s capabilities. 

If you specialize in embroidery, look at professional organizations that need high-quality uniforms. It’s unlikely you can cater to more than a handful of different types of people, so start by writing out a profile and creating a marketing plan specifically for you. 

There are two types of marketing you should consider:

Static Marketing

Static marketing involves putting content about your business out into the world and waiting for customers to absorb it and respond. This takes the traditional form of billboards, flyers and printed advertisements with your colors, logo, and services. 

Static marketing can also be done digitally through Google Adwords, social media marketing and blogging. With static marketing, you are waiting for a customer to come to you. While static marketing is useful, it should not be the only type of marketing you do.

Consider the content you are using on all channels. Do your customers actually know what screen printing or direct-to-garment printing is? It may be best to use a phrase that’s simpler: try “custom t-shirts” instead. Ask someone younger to review your marketing to test if it’s as simple as possible. 

Here are a few static marketing examples:

  • Postcards: Print 1,000 postcards detailing your business and what you do. Make sure to include your website address, email, physical address, and phone number. Include a 10 percent off coupon on the back for new customers. Distribute these everywhere you go, leaving them at tables, in coffee shops, on car windshields, grocery store boards and more. 
  • Live chat: Install a tool like Olark on your website for live chats. 
  • Business cards: Carry them around with you everywhere. Most importantly, don’t be bashful about handing them out. You never know if that person knows someone that needs your business.  
  • Refer a friend: Tell existing customers if they refer someone else they will receive 10 percent of referred orders in cash. Email this message out to customers after they complete a job with you. Automate it using Printavo or MailChimp. 
  • Asking for reviews: Email customers asking for an online review, particularly if you know they had a positive experience. Positive reviews drive more business, as potential customers can compare you to your competitors quickly.
  • Shirt of the month club: Create a shirt of the month for your town, advertise it everywhere you go and wear it constantly. It will take time to build a following, so be patient. This strategy can drive business for custom orders.
  • Wear your company: Wear a shirt with your company’s logo, name, website address, and phone number daily. Or create bumper stickers and attach one to your car. Don’t forget to include exactly what you do. 
  • Official t-shirt sponsor: Be the official t-shirt sponsor at every event you print for. Ask for an announcement from the organizer and set up signs. 

Dynamic Marketing 

Dynamic marketing is the more aggressive form of marketing and involves going out and reaching customers. This can be done with printed material, but it is a much more personal experience in which cold calling may be involved. 

Dynamic marketing, when done digitally and correctly, can be extremely effective. This is when you take digital content and attach different marketing tools to retarget and position yourself in front of ideal customers. 

Here are a few examples of dynamic marketing:

  • Local event: Host an annual event in your city. Here are some ideas:
    • Races (Marathons, 5ks, 10ks, cycling, swimming)
    • Clothing showcases. Feature the latest styles and trends with refreshments
    • Appreciation luncheons for existing customers with the opportunity to place re-orders
    • Small business appreciation day events, with speakers and refreshments geared toward fellow small business owners
    • Concerts and festivals
    • Fundraisers
    • Kids outings
  • Facebook & Instagram ads
  • LinkedIn: Connect with local business owners. Offer value in your initial message.
  • Radio advertisements
  • Knock on doors: This is time-consuming, but the personal relationship that’s built lasts forever. Offer a compliment to everyone. 
  • Email: Collect every email address possible and communicate with a monthly newsletter. Offer value: coupons for other businesses, tips and tricks, or showcase a few recently printed items. 
  • Always be selling: Actively talk to people no matter where you are. Be friendly and ask if they have uniforms, team outings or other custom printing needs. Ask for their information, then email them that night and follow up in a month. Use Boomerang (a Gmail add-on) to remind you when to follow up. 
  • Follow up: Continue to follow up on leads. 
  • Retargeting: Anyone that comes to your website will need to see your brand multiple times before buying. Set up AdRoll on your website so customers who visit it will see your brand across the internet. 

    Screen printing is a multi-billion dollar industry with customers from every part of the world. Every year, thousands of entrepreneurs discover their passion for screen printing - and they want to claim their cut of the billions and billions of dollars spent on custom printed apparel.

    But the majority of new screen printing shops fail before they reach the 5-year mark. They fail because of poor business planning, dull branding, and a lack of ability to scale.

    Your shop can be different.

    This is an excerpt from our book, The PrintHustlers Guide To: Growing a Successful Screen Printing Business. Written by Printavo's dynamic founder Bruce Ackerman, Campus Ink's enterprising Steven Farag, and Adam Cook. The PrintHustlers Guide To: Growing a Successful Screen Printing Business is the next generation's guide for building your own lucrative print shop.

    You can purchase a physical copy of the book on Amazon.

    Previous chapter: Chapter 10: Payroll Should Be Automated

    Next chapter: Chapter 12: Setting Up Your Shop’s Workflow

    Coming soon!


Next Post: The Future of DTG and Screen Printing: Vision 2020 at The M&R Companies with T&J Print Supply

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