“…95% of all Americans wear T-shirts.”
No matter what service a business provides, it needs to get the word out and show the public that it exists. Whether it be a franchise, community group, charitable foundation, small business, or even a single or recurring event, there is good reason why every sort of organization uses T-shirts to promote themselves. According to a survey conducted by CustomInk, a company producing custom designs for T-shirts, 95% of all Americans wear T-shirts. The survey also revealed that 76% of Americans derive “a stronger emotional connection with a shirt that they or someone they knew custom-designed.” This is a simple way to advertise your company, inspire conversations about what you are offering, and visually connect with customers.
Advertise with Little Effort
Whoever first decided to print a few words or graphics on a T-shirt and pass it around to promote their business was on to something. That is cheap advertising that keeps on giving. All you have to do is print a logo on a shirt, and presto! —your name is out on the street and circulating through the public. It may not reach as many potential customers as a billboard would, but it is quite possibly more efficient. Think about it: When someone puts on the shirt, they are wearing your company information at all kinds of public gatherings and places around their community. They are doing the legwork for you.
Inspire Constructive Curiosity
It’s a conversation-starter. One owner of a digital marketing agency claims to have generated $500K in revenue from giving away T-shirts (read his story on the web page cited below). As he went about his day, people would inquire about the company printed on his shirt, which he took as an opportunity to give them his “30-second elevator pitch and hand out business cards to people who were interested in our services”. You have probably done it yourself: Maybe you meet a friend of yours, and you notice their brand new T-shirt as they come into view. You will probably ask them about it. No press is bad press, right? Even if someone to whom you gave a T-shirt cannot say much about the company, when asked, its function still stands—they saw your name and are more likely to remember it because there was a conversation about it, albeit short.
Short-term, Intense Production for an Amplified Effect
So here is a strategy that may or may not be feasible for you, depending on how much money your company has to devote to promotion and advertising. A short burn of mass production could spur a local or regional burst of interest for your company. The effect results from spreading a high volume of physical media advertisement (a T-shirt, in this case) in a small area, and more importantly, a short amount of time. The ideal outcome is that people will begin to wonder what this company is, when they see the same shirt all over town. The idea is to create a buzz. A crowd draws a crowd, and there is a trigger in all of us that responds to a repetition of imagery.
Give it Away to Impress Your Customers
One thing you can be sure of is that people still love free stuff. When someone walks up to a table at a business conference or expo and sees a stack of free T-shirts next to your company brochure, it will leave a good taste in their mouth, as it were. Not only did they just take away a packet of information about your company, but you gave them, for free, something that everybody loves—a T-shirt. If you also throw in a tote bag and a ballcap, then more power to you. If you have a mailing list, you can even send it straight to them. Establishing goodwill with customers is vital to any business, and this is a step in that direction.
Supplement Promotional Efforts with Visual Reinforcement
You can tell people about your product or service until you are blue in the face; but, until you attach something in your correspondence that is visually stimulating, your audience will be far less likely to remember the name of your company, or even what it does. With the exception of those who have a photographic memory, we retain information associated with pictures far more than we remember words, alone. This is probably one of the best reasons that T-shirts work. A graphic or logo, and even stylized text of your company name on a shirt, could easily be the deciding factor of whether your customer remembers your name.
Using this strategy, with hardly any effort, all at once legitimizes your business and attracts new customers. Not to mention that you will have fun making your company T-shirts! You have complete freedom to come up with a beautiful design for your graphics and decide how many you want to produce. In the life of a business owner, there are few aspects of his or her work that do not add some level of stress. Designing and giving away your own customized company T-shirts is one of these, and you are expanding your business at the same time.
Check out this post for more ways to advertise on a budget:
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.