How to deal with the online promotion of your t-shirt line
Online promotion of your t-shirt line
After dealing with the hardest part of the business, you now have to step outside and offer your everything to the public. In the internet era you know that things can be extremely easy or quite intricate. Do not take online exposure for granted, it’s not a given, even if you ooze talent and are praised by all your friends, family or offline customers. If you don’t tackle the online promotion of your t-shirt brand professionally, you may find yourself in a sea of frustration that could minimize all the previous effort and even end your business venture.
So let’s try to clarify some basics of online t-shirt promotion, taking into account the possibility of cashing out as little as possible.
Generally, online promotion for a small business means considering the following:
- creating an identity for your brand, bringing your products under a common principle; catering to a certain niche; becoming a representative for a particular trend/culture/movement/phenomenon
- being consistent about your message, maintaining your stance on all channels: website, social media, blog, partner sites, promo campaigns, ads and so on
- knowing your audience. Your discourse, products and promo style should resonate with your target public (ideally, as genuinely as possible). Speak their language, be aware of their needs and grievances, listen to their feedback. People are highly sensitive to your conversation as they become more and more educated about brands and products.
- focusing on social media. A great opportunity for one on one interaction with your audience, excellent tool of real time marketing (when done right), the fastest promotional channels – social media is obligatory, for both big and small businesses, because of their reach and engagement.
That’s just putting it (very) simply. But let’s be more specific.
For t-shirt brands or t-shirt lines, consider checking the boxes for the following steps:
- ideally, designing t-shirts could come from a natural desire to express a feeling or opinion, to show preference or to protest. But I think in most cases, it will be about looking to become popular, financially successful, or even famous. In which case, a little if not plenty of research is crucial. Focus on a niche, choose your segment carefully and familiarize yourself with its past and what its present needs are. In order to catch people’s attention your products should be the answer to these needs, and at just the right time.
- set up a site/shop with a professional. First impressions are crucial and you have very few chances to get people hooked in the first moments they click on your page. This could be expensive for a small business or an independent artist, so consider alternatives such as sites that host pre-designed shops with template themes that you can eventually personalize. Spreadshirt or Shopify, as well as Big Cartel are among the most popular options. Go for the simpler layouts and discreet colors to begin with, in order to keep the focus on your awesome products.
- which takes us to the products presentation. Don’t just slap the design on the site! Use mock-up templates, with 3D effects, like creases, shadows, rolled sleeves and so on to simulate printed t-shirts. Go a little further and get some (handsome) people to wear and model the t-shirts. Maybe your friends, if you’re lucky enough. Most brands now have a photoshoot for lookbooks, in specific environments, that create a mood in sync with the designs. Don’t worry or overthink it, do what comes naturally. A promotional video will get you even more engagement, one that either creates a story or a behind the scenes video, with fun moments from the photoshoot.
- use influencers to spread the word and gain more followers, more attention, more interest. Contact people from the industry and ask them for a review of a product, collaborate on a guest post, invite them to manage your social media account for a day or ask for a simple shout out on their channels. There are many creative things that the two parties can agree on. Make it fun! Your audience will feel that.
- be consistent about your content. The news, the photos, the blog posts, the contests should all be in the same sentiment throughout all media: social media, site, blog, ads. Thus, people will easily identify you, become acquainted with your style and remember your brand.
- t-shirts are usually favorites among the younger generation, who live and breathe social media, which is what you should also do. It is fast, cheap, direct and flexible. Remember that it can go both ways – social media can lift you with positive, viral content but it can also break you just as fast, if you are not careful with the messages you send. Make sure not to leave too much room for negative interpretations.
- paid advertising is also an option if the financial resources allow. Sponsor or promote your content on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, buy ad spaces on other sites/blogs that can relate to your products, or pay for an article on design of t-shirt blogs/sites specializing in t-shirt news that will recommend brand.