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How to Market Your T-Shirt Printing Business 

To market your garment decoration business you don’t need an intense marketing budget. I argue easily acquired industry relationships, a website, basic knowledge of SEO and analytics, and creative prospecting, can be just as effective as big time marketing budgets.

Owning the F2000 gives you an immediate and distinct advantage over your competition, primarily because you now 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 catastrophic equipment failure and extended repair/down time (loose money).

You can confidently advertise low minimum, full color prints, on light and dark garments. Better yet, you can advertise 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 1 off custom printed shirts, that is unless they have the F2000. Put NO MINIMUM, FULL COLOR PRINTS! big and bold on the home page of your website.

You might say “But John, there isn’t any money in 1 off’s” and I agree, to an extent. Doing 1 custom shirt, with custom art, and customers often wild requests, can be a hard way to make a consistent profit. Our goal for offering no minimums is not to do 1 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 customers decision to contact you easy by eliminating doubt, complications, and fear. Most customers don’t want just 1 shirt, but there is peace in knowing they can order 1 shirt with a full color print, especially for reorders or fill in needs.

Let’s look at your average inexperienced custom shirt customer. They start by looking online for cheap custom tee shirts for a birthday party. They most likely call the first business on the search page, Big X Scree 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 or they might try and accommodate and try an alternate form of decoration, or give them a high priced quote to salvage some martin. Regardless Big X is not happy and the customer is not happy because they most likely did not get what they expected or fell like they 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.

Develop a relationship with printers in your area. Introduce your F2000’s capabilities, bring them samples and inciting 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.

Just as important as developing a relationship with your competitors is developing a website. Do not fear the creation of a website, today websites are incredibly easy to acquire and are often free or extremely inexpensive to host.  There are numerous template based, drag and drop sites, that will work beautifully for your needs. 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 in a few hours.

Just having a site does not mean instant recognition, 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 fist page of what your customers search. Learning how to achieve a high Google ranking is a complicated business in its self; below are a number of things you can do to help you increase your placement.

I argue you should signup for 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,Google My Business, AdSense, do everything you can that is relevant. 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.

Spend some time learning simple SEO and Keywords theory. 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, and how users engage with your site.

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 companies offerings, avoid the big high dollar costly common search terms like “custom t-shirts”, “embroidery”, “screen printing”. Instead focus on keywords specific to your DTG service and include your city or area of operation. 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, that is why you need to track of activity with Google Analytics. You don’t want to waste time and money on keywords that are not driving traffic.

Everything thus far is designed to set up a system that is working and selling for you without you actually having to physically go out and sell. The relationships you develop with your competitors is essential in gaining referrals and capturing your target low minimum market. Your website is capturing data and leads 24-7. Both of these are critical to the foundation of growth but it may not be enough. You might have to physically 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 yourself, and your shops capabilities. Be proactive and use the F2000 to your advantage by offering personalized custom samples that will wow your prospects.

Recap:

1. Develop contract relationships with your competitors, have their marketing work for you.

2: Build a free website and host your business URL for cheap.

3: Sign up for all relevant Google services and update content often.

4: Learn basic SEO and Keyword theory.

5: Track website activity with Google Analytics.

6: Be proactive and create samples for prospects.

Happy Printing,

John LeDrew • DTG Director • Melco International

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