16 Awesomely Creative T-Shirt Marketing Campaigns To Learn From

While most of the times shirts have little to no message at all, other shirts become iconic marketing campaigns. In the 1980s Frankie was telling everyone to “relax”, while it’s hard to go a day without someone displaying how much that they “Love NY”. It’s interesting to note that out of all the clothing and accessories out there, the simple t-shirt is the item that makes a lasting impression.

From the birth of new pop culture sayings and memes to making hard political stances, printed tee shirts can make your message a reality. Effective, inexpensive, and versatile, printed shirts have some of the most successful ad campaigns, and some even span decades.

Why do so many people use shirts for their promotional needs? Because with just a small budget, shirts offer so many benefits, including:

  • Economies of Scale in Bulk Orders
  • Versatility
  • Easy Customization Options
  • Relatively Fast Production Times
  • Simple to Implement
  • Well Established as a Marketing Tool
  • Usually Outlasts the Brand Campaign
  • Wide-Reaching Appeal
  • Simple ROI Analysis

Start with a Creative Idea

Because shirts are so easy and cost effective to produce, it’s easy to see the same message made by dozens of different designers. For every one unique campaign message there are numerous “Keep Calm and Carry On” variations, or rip offs of “I <3 NY” for whichever city they’re being sold in. Adding to these messages simply becomes white noise; if you want your message to have an impact, it has to be stand out. Creative ideas don’t have to be difficult, either; at minimum, the best shirt designs take a playful or unique look at the brand’s logo and use the shirt as their personal blank canvas.

That said, there’s a lot to be learned from the more successful marketing shirts.

Reversible Shirts

No, these aren’t the ones you buy to avoid washing them. This simple, yet effective, design features a drawn face of some kind so that when the wearer pulls the shirt up over their face, it’s almost like a mask. This was first introduced for the 201 World Cup, but has been used across the Internet for many different types of shirts.

Measuring Body Sweat

One of the more unique offerings in the world of athletic wear are shirts that are said to “measure” how much of a workout you’ve had based on the amount of sweat that forms on the shirt. Many attribute the first of these designs to GLP Advertising and Design for a marketing campaign to promote a personal trainer service in Toronto and has spurred many copycats.

Make a Motion Picture Shirt

No, not a shirt promoting a movie; a shirt that is the movie. Just a few years ago in 2013, soda giant Coca-Cola sent out hundreds of shirts all around the world to their most loyal fans, employees, and others. They didn’t just pass out free shirts – when you have Coca-Cola money, you include a piece of special software.

Each of the 600 recipients made a short video that lasted a little more than a minute, which was edited together to make one big marketing movie. And while not everyone has this kind of budget, you could make a similar attempt with Instagram or even Snapchat.

International Awareness

While the campaign wound up becoming a flop and the creator of the movement subsequently arrested, there’s no denying the fifteen minutes of fame/infamy that surrounded the viral Kony 2012 message. This documentary was produced by the nonprofit group Invisible Children, which hoped to raise awareness about child soldiers throughout the world. And although the video went viral at the time, most people only remember the message “Kony 2012”.

The group did succeed in having the dictator arrested, and the movement did build enough attention that the US did take some action in the region. However, the controversy surrounding merchandise sales and the film’s director wound up hurting more than helping. Still, from a marketing perspective alone, it’s hard to deny the level of attention such a simple integrated message formed.

I <3 New York

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Even if you’ve never been to NYC, chances are you’ve seen someone wearing the original shirt design or some variation thereof. And while this might be the most iconic shirt campaign in marketing history, very few know about its origins. The shirt is more than a catchy design to be sold in tourist gift shops; believe it or not, it was made spearheaded by the New York State Department of Commerce in an effort to rebuild the local tourism industry.

The design itself came from Wells Rich Green and Milton Glaser, who didn’t even charge for the design, thinking it would be a flash in the pan. Today, the message is still going strong, lasting well over 40 years.

Band Shirts

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While diehard music fanatics quickly become enraged by those wearing shirts representing bands they’ve never even heard of, there’s no denying how cool classic bands featured on shirts are. And among all of the more famous classic rockers, this trend is largely attributed to none other than the Ramones.

The iconic punk group used a reimagining of the classic United States Presidential Shield logo, unaware that it would become their defining logo. In fact, despite the band not having any more surviving members, the shirt design continues to sell, and helped kick off the trend of other bands trying to find similar merchandise success.

Cancer Awareness

Even important messages as raising cancer awareness can benefit from a strong t-shirt campaign. Marc Jacobs helped launch this celebrity-driven campaign to “Protect the Skin You’re In” and “Protect Your Largest Organ”. Despite much of the campaign featuring nude shoots, the accompanying shirts helped grab a large amount of media attention.

Cross Promotion and New Audiences

The UK doesn’t seem as fond as guzzling artificial energy drinks as their American counterparts are. However, in conjunction with the UK premier of the movie Entourage, Rockstar Energy Drink seized the moment with just a simple logo shirt. They didn’t have to take any especially creative steps; simply show up. By using the large crowd already gathered for the movie, they were able to directly market to a group that they otherwise wouldn’t have had an in with.

Surprising Success

When the Hard Rock Café chain of restaurants first entered the scene in the early ‘70s, no one knew that they would find such a huge following with their brand. In fact, their shirts, among other memorabilia, have become collector’s items. In fact, it may be these very printed shirts and other knickknacks that have helped spur the company to the success it has today. In addition to its iconic logo, the shirts receive a location-specific branding no matter where the local store and eatery is found.

Bottled Water and Babies

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For whatever reason, using babies in marketing seems like an odd choice, and yet, campaigns that use them see at the very least a moderate amount of success. Evian originally launched their “Live Young” campaign back in 1998, but it has seen different iterations. The most recent version, lead by supermodel Gigi Hadid, featured tee shirts with stylized babies performing activities such as dancing, skating, surfing, and others. This is meant to represent everyone’s “inner child”, and it obviously resonated with many.

Female Empowerment in Sports

As Under Armour continued to find increased popularity, it did the wise thing and launched a celebrity campaign. And while the obvious choice would have been to use famous NFL players, the company took a different approach that struck a chord. The “I Will What I Want” launched in New York City and featured the empowering stories of five female celebrities, one of which being the well-known supermodel Giselle Bündchen, and how they overcame adversity to find success.

Feminism and Advertising

Many products designed for female use only seem to have an all-male driven marketing team. As a result, the brand message is usually nothing short of missing the mark. To counteract this trend, feminine hygiene brand Always launched #LikeAGirl, a campaign that went after stereotypes surrounding women. This isn’t the first time a company has attempted a marketing campaign like this, but it did feel like one of the more honest and sincere ones in recent history.

Launching a Movie with a Meme

Memes are perfect for gaining a lot of viral attention fast, making it an ideal choice for advertising a movie. Universal Pictures and headphone partners Beats advertised the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton by releasing many materials with the “Straight outta” line and filling it in with a number of different locations. This helped inspire a brief online trend, both comedic in nature as well as allowing others to tell their own stories.

Unity Through Shirts

While the idea of earth being a single republic has been featured in a number of sci-fi books, movies, and shows, the idea has been seeing a revival now that the U.S. and other countries have a renewed interest in space exploration. Currently, an astronaut usually takes with them a flag of the nation that they are from, while this campaign wants the entire planet represented as one.

Using Established Hashtags

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The #NoFilter tag has been used for a long time on social media, especially Instagram, to celebrate natural beauty without using the plethora of picture filters available. However, this tag can do more than offer up a #HumbleBrag by bringing awareness to those without clean drinking water around the world. By having users submit a #NoFilter image for the campaign, the organization was able to bring much needed awareness with ease.

Conclusion

Because shirts offer such versatility, as well as low production costs and ease of creation, they can be invaluable for a strong marketing campaign. This is especially true if the shirts themselves don’t compromise quality, balancing awareness and functionality. In fact, years after the campaign has ended these shirts can continue to find awareness for their cause as long as they remain wearable.

Even if a campaign has been done before, there’s no reason an organization can’t relaunch it. And when that happens, it helps bring awareness with both the new and old shirts. And as was the case with Coca-Cola, despite a huge price tag, it was little more than an expensive flipbook; ideas don’t have to be difficult, just engaging. And that’s why the simple t-shirt will always be the preferred method of marketing; it’s simple, yet creative, and fun for everyone involved.

 

 

Get Sensual- Using Sensory Marketing to Attract Customers

Let’s start by acknowledging some of the most successful brands using sensory marketing today.

Apple has become a master of this, with their walk-in Apple stores. Boasting their latest and greatest tech and welcoming you to come in, touch, play, and envy. It’s a fully interactive experience that awakens almost every sense.

When you walk into a fashion store such as ZARA, we are welcomed by their familiar “spicy” scent and charmed by their playlists as we browse the latest threads.

Or perhaps Magnum ice creams with their delicious taste, smell and signature “cracking” sound as the chocolate breaks before melting in our mouths (can you taste it yet?).

Visual is just one of our senses that can be tempted, brands who have mastered sensory marketing can exploit a combination of senses to beckon new customers with great success.

What is Sensory Marketing?

Like all other types of marketing, sensory marketing is a means to drive purchases. It is used to influence buying behavior favorably.

Sensual experiences = Creation of Desire = Product Purchases

The idea behind this clever marketing strategy is to entice your consumers by appealing to their most basic primal senses. Stimulating and stirring feelings to make consumers believe they need to purchase products is an incredibly powerful tactic.

 

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Image from Clipartfest

Creating a Burning Desire

First, consider how your brand can appeal to a customer’s five senses. Depending on the products your selling, these senses may take different priorities.

Flowers immediately appeal to sight, then to smell, food to taste and sight, music to hear. But how can this be used to sell clothing?

As online T-shirt sellers and apparel brand owners, you may struggle to see how you can appeal to a variety of senses through a computer screen. You’ll need to be creative and remember, the sensory marketing does not stop after they have purchased. It also includes receiving, unpacking and owning these products too.

Sight and feel are the key senses, but your marketing should aim to adopt others to really stand out of the crowd.

Don’t forget, effective copy and imagery can appeal to more than just the visual senses when coupled with imagination. For example, if the description on a bottle of wine simply read “house red” you would struggle to awaken a reader’s senses. Whereas “rich fine wine, aged in oak caskets with sweet undertones” would get their imagination and senses tingling before they’ve even tasted it!

How Brands Use Sensory Marketing

Let’s think about some more relatable examples of sensory marketing at work. Furniture brands (although seemingly dull) do an exceptional job at appealing to their customer’s sense of sight, touch and even smell.

The easy on the eye aesthetics, the inviting touch of the fabric and the rich smell of wood or polish. The stores themselves beckon customers to come in and experience their products fully. They set a relaxing home environment complete with music and scents.

Their tactics are to create a story, in which a person’s life can be improved by owning their products. This combination of positive feelings leads to seemingly effortless high-end sales every day.

 

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These ideas can be applied to almost any brand, no matter the product or audience. To do this, you’ll need to think carefully about the messages you are trying to convey, then how you can send them to your target audience through their sensory methods.

Videos are an excellent way to appeal to the senses and get imaginations running wild. Just look at property companies touring home interiors, product reviews, and tutorials or even holiday companies showing clips of experiences.

YouTube draws a massive audience from around the globe and it’s ripe for promoting almost any kind of brand. It’s free and easy to get going and if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video takes it to the next level.

What Are the Benefits of Sensory Marketing

 

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Creating the perfect sensory experience for your audience and potential customers can provide some awesome benefits:

  • Brand Loyalty – Customers will be hungry for more, repeat buying and telling their friends
  • Immediate Sales – Hesitation is overcome, impulse buying is triggered
  • Positive Experiences – Happy customers will market your products for you and leave great reviews

Sensory marketing can be used to subconsciously influence, engage and inspire your audience. If you can appeal to three senses when your competitor only appeals to one, you’re far more likely to sell more products. Taking advantage of the multi-sensory word will allow your brand to grow and spread awareness with ease.

5 Ways Brands Are Selling Through your Senses

There are some clever marketers who know the importance of the senses and how to trigger them. Here are five of the most common ways you’ll see daily:

1. Triggering Emotions

Smell is a powerful tool that can be used to trigger emotions at will. While there’s no smell that causes people to immediately buy what’s presented in front of them, it can drastically change the mood favorably.

As an example, Barnes & Noble boast a scent of crisp new books and coffee beans that many customers find very relaxing. After a stressful day, the atmosphere created provides a get away that their customers are drawn to.

2. Triggering Memories

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Does the scent of fresh cut grass take you back to summer holidays as a child? The sweet smell of fruity cocktail take you back to a relaxing beach trip you once took? These would be perfect triggers for travel agencies getting you to purchase package holidays!

Studies have even shown that we are more likely to buy products if they are associated with pleasant smells. And the opposite is true for bad smells!

3. Organising Customers

Big department stores who really have their sensory marketing on point use different aromas for specific sections. For example, feminine sections may have “flowery” scents to appeal more strongly to the indented audience. Then vice-versa, the gentleman’s areas feature more masculine “musky” fragrances.

Its effect is so pronounced, it’s been seen that both men and women don’t often linger in areas that smell too strongly of the opposite gender. That’s why certain stores will have very distinct “girly smells” or “manly smells” whereas others may opt to stay more neutral to appeal to both.

4. Attract Buyers

Some brands, such as Abercrombie & Fitch, take their fragrance very seriously. They even use scent-spreading devices to ensure their scent is distinctive and present throughout the shopping experience. Not only does this give their stores a certain atmosphere, but also it can attract nearby shoppers to their store much like “bees to honey”.

This tactic works almost like marmite, you either love it or you hate it! That’s why they’ve carefully identified a specific audience, demographic and age range they wish to attract.

5. Create Fidelity

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Some fashion brands have poured millions of dollars into developing the perfect scent for their target audience, then spent the same again to protect it!

A prime example is Chanel No. 5, one of the most well-known scents of today, which has barely changed at all since its inception in 1921. Not only is this part of its charm, but it encourages loyal consumers. Since most of us are naturally quite reluctant to changes, they could risk losing customers if they changed too suddenly.

Imagine going into McDonald’s to get a burger and realizing they smelt and tasted different? It would be a very risky move indeed!

By now, your creative juices should be flowing with ideas on how you might adopt sensory marketing. It’s definitely worth experimenting with and will give you a considerable advantage over your lesser sensory competitors!

Your T-Shirt Branding Weapon – 10 Creative Logo Ideas

You shouldn’t just think of yourself as flipping t-shirts, you should be building a solid brand. And there’s no better way to boost recognition and advertise yourself than using logos within your t-shirt designs.

But throwing a logo on as an afterthought isn’t going to get you very far. You need to make your branding bold, creative and exciting!

Think of your t-shirt as a canvas; even though you’re still locked in with a narrow image design, you can still get creative. Whether you give your logo a different texture, an unconventional font size, or simply move it about the shirt, any boring logo can become a unique shirt.

But creativity doesn’t always mean loud colors and obnoxious images. With something as simple as a logo, creativity can be fostered in all kinds of ways. And if you get it right, your logo can even become the key feature of an attractive t-shirt!

10 Creative T-Shirt Logo and Branding Ideas

It seems like everyone chooses the same exact spot on their shirt to place their logo. And while this is effective and getting the brand’s name in front of people, it can also blend into the crowd when it looks like everyone else’s.

But even just changing the area where the logo appears can really make you stand out from the crowd. Here’s some creative inspiration to get you going!

1. Low Down-  Hem Logos

 

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Some companies choose to move the logo away from the usual spot, choosing instead to go low. When your logo is moved down to the hem, it avoids the expected in-your-face effect, which actually makes it more eye-popping despite being away from eye level. Another way to uniquely use the hem of your shirt is to allow the logo to cut off at the bottom.

2. Oversized Logos

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Typing your brand’s name or logo in a large size that covers as much of the shirt as possible, as well as in oversized characters, it can make even the simplest design pop. This is especially true if your brand uses a unique shape for their logo, such as Nike, Adidas, and other sports brands.

3. Small Logos

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On the opposite end of the spectrum, utilizing a smaller logo size than expected can be equally effective. It probably shouldn’t be combined with busy color schemes or patterns, as it would easily be lost, but with solid blocks of color, a contrasting yet small logo can still draw plenty of attention.

3. Sleeves Logos

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If you’re looking to keep the logo relatively high up on the shirt rather than the bottom of it, the sleeve is an effective compromise. This is especially true if the typeface if printed running downwards or in another unique way. Sleeves can also be utilized in more creative ways, with some brands going so far as to make their logo look like a tattoo. If you prefer longer sleeved shirts, this effect can be even more dramatic with the extra material.

4. Neck Line and Collar Logos

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Designs running along the neckline or collar, on the other hand, double down on exposure from foot traffic. As people speak to someone wearing the shirt, or even passing by, the neck area is close enough to the face that it’s easy for anyone to transition their glance towards the logo. Other designers choose to use a minimal stripe running across the upper shoulder, making it subtle enough to let the shirt speak while being unique to draw specialized attention to the brand name.

5. Back Logos

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Going across the back near the shoulder blades can have an appearance that’s like a sports jersey, or on top of the shoulders for a more simplified solution. If your particular design is intended for those with longer hair, it could run down the back vertically to ensure that it’s still visible.

6. Shiney Logos

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If you’re still struggling to do something different, but you don’t want to go crazy, try taking your traditional logo and giving it a metallic makeover. From using a shinier metal or even utilizing a foil print, it’s hard to ignore your logo when it shimmers in the sun.

Gold print lettering on a black shirt can capture a more urban feel on a shirt, which can be effective with even simple design choices.

7. Glow In the Dark Logos

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If foil printing makes you uncomfortable, try using glow in the dark ink, or even bright day-glow letters. Glow in the dark techniques can help promote shirts made for special occasions, either at a local glow party or even for a movie launch.

8. Directional Logos

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Just like how passing several billboards on the highway can make you blind to the different messages, the direction of logos on shirts suffer the same way. But when you choose to zag on them, you can catch more eyes when someone wears your design. By using a diagonally-flowing logo that takes up more of the shirt’s area, you can make a simple yet contrasting design. And this can go even further when different colors or patterns are used within the logo itself rather than the shirt.

9. Pocket Patch Logos

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What if you really like the traditional chest-area placement? That’s no problem at all. You may as well give your logo the appearance of functionality; include a chest pocket, and then place the logo there. Or if you want to skip the breast pocket, why not give your logo it’s very own patch or even in an embroidered effect?

Patchwork-like additions can give a shirt a more concrete, 3-D-like feel, even if in just a small amount of space.

10. Chest Split Logo

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If patchwork isn’t your thing, there are other options as well, such as creating two separate halves of the same logo and playing with the placement, creating a unique pattern that repeats across the shirt, or other unique design.

Kick Your T-Shirt Marketing into Overdrive With Video Marketing

What do you get when you combine social media with clever video marketing- a promotional firestorm! Not many t-shirt brands venture beyond photo shoots, competitions and testimonials when it comes to promotion. However, there’s no better way to showcase your brand and tell a unique story than with video. Not only that, but it’s easily shared through social media, and if your lucky, it could even go viral!

Being in front of the camera isn’t everyone’s first choice, and appearing on camera can be nerve wracking. However, it’s hard to deny that a story goes further when captured through the lens of a video camera.

Whether your videos contain raw day-in-the-life behind the scenes tours, instructional how-tos, unboxing of new designs, or pure entertainment, they should build excitement and generate a buzz around your brand. Now before we get into achieving the best results, here are the key advantages of promoting your t-shirts using videos.

Why is Video Marketing So Hot Right Now?

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1. Increased Conversion Rates

Many have the attitude that making videos are either expensive to produce or lackluster. But there’s no need to shell out for full-fledged film crew and editor. In fact, great videos can be made for little to no money or by using cost-effective freelancers, so long as the message is clear.

Videos capture our attention, and if executed correctly, lead to great conversion rates. This is especially true if your video includes discount codes or other promotions. Just be sure to keep the video short, sweet, and to the point; with longer videos, it will harder to keep your viewer’s attention.

2. Higher ROI

While traditional video ads may still be pricey, shooting a short YouTube video using a smartphone, webcam, or other smaller device will cost little more than your time. In fact, most of the time when those uploading videos online don’t even care if they make a mistake during shooting it, either messing up their words or actions but they continue shooting it in one take. These raw videos often provide a stronger connection to the audience.

Facebook Live, Instagram and Snapchat Stories, or other video upload service, are great for showcasing workspaces. People love to see the creative process, and who else knows your design prospects better than you? You could show off your studio, explain a typical work day, and then offer a promo code at the end.

3. Building Authority

With the influx of “fake news” and clickbait articles, people want to see something real online. And when you shoot a video on the spot with little to no editing, it doesn’t get much more real than that. Not only do these types of videos help give you an air of expertise, but they can foster trust and make for customer loyalty. Even if customers are on the fence about making a purchase, seeing you walk them through your process can help alleviate any buyer hesitations.

Greater authority is usually the underlying reason a video is shared by a customer in the first place. When people can tell that you mean what you say, they will feel a genuine connection and be more likely to pass the message along. A little sense of humor will also go a long way in catching people’s attention.

4. Mobile Optimized

Because videos hosted on Youtube or other media channels are optimized for mobile devices, it makes them the preferred method of sharing ideas. With just a quick twist of the screen, users get your video that completely fills out their screen. And once the video ends, a quick tap of their finger shares it with their friends.

Mobile is the premier choice on both sides of content creation. More users spend time online via phones and tablets, and Google and others are fostering this mobile dependence by ranking mobile sites first. This helps boost SEO, as well as assists others to share them.

5. Instruction/Educational

More people are receiving lessons, news, and other instructional media via video content. Whether it’s a journalist on the ground or your favorite brand releasing a new product or service, it’s easy to show how something is made when it’s in video form.

Not all videos are instructional video friendly. Be sure to review the materials and make an educated decision on whether or not this is the right type of video to shoot. If it isn’t, that’s fine – other video types will suffice.

6. More Engagement

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Even if the video isn’t instructing a certain topic, it doesn’t mean that it can’t teach others, or at the very least, make things more easily understandable. Rather than rely on blocks of descriptive text, videos take all the guesswork out of the equation. By allowing the customers in behind the veil, it can help them actively want to be a part of your brand.

The only problem with engagement is many videos lack that very item – they simply aren’t engaging. Videos need to push a customer towards a specific call to action, be it to follow the link to a new design, vote on different ones, or merely buy an item. If there is no physical push to match the emotional, the video could fall flat.

7. Social Media Friendly

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Social media makes for easy exposure to a wide base of people. And with sites such as Facebook pages, YouTube, and even Instagram can make for an easily shareable base for more videos. The only thing to note is that users on social networks want real but also real entertaining. Boring videos that lack an emotion punch will also lack shares and likes, whereas videos that can stick with them for longer are the ones that win.

Effective videos will increases conversions on those sites, leading to more page likes and better engagements. When this happens, it will eventually lead back to better sales and a higher sense of authority. Because of this, even free videos quickly become invaluable.

Getting the Most Out of Video Marketing

1. Let Your Personality Shine Through

It’s hard to take a simple concept, like video creation, and make it unique considering so many businesses rely on them. However, all you need is for your own personality to come through. When that happens, you stop being a corporate brand and allow your humanity to come through. Not only does this help draw an emotional connection; it allows you to set yourself apart from your competitors.

Many companies still rely on product descriptions that read like an encyclopedia, quickly boring them and turning them away to someone that can keep their attention. But by keeping the message short, emotional, and memorable, it can assist others in viewing and sharing your video, as well as making a sale in the process.

A little brand loyalty goes a long way. How often has a friend shown off a new purchase, with their only reason being “I love this company!”? That sort of brand recognition could be yours, but only if you can create an emotional bond first. But many are left scratching their heads wondering how.

2. Honesty is the Best Policy

Not everyone is cut out for the limelight. If you find yourself floundering on camera, maybe have a business partner or associate appear alongside driving the charisma. Or, if you don’t have anyone like that involved, try sticking to doing a voiceover for your videos.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who takes center stage, as long as the video captures audience interest. If need be, simply take some time to hone your video skills with multiple takes and see what things cause you to trip up the most. This can only help improve your video creation skills, making for a better class of video uploads in the future.

3. Shoot What You Know

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There’s a reason some Hollywood directors film the same genres over and over again; in order to find success, you shoot what you know. And no one knows your business better than you. By explaining what it is that you do best, you could show off your expertise in an engaging way. Just make sure you don’t get too technical; remember, this has to stay entertaining and short.

To keep your video entertaining, don’t just jump to the product or service. Like any good video, you simply need to slowly build to it, even with a shorter format. Speak slowly, and use repetition to reinforce the important aspects. This can be pushed further with pop-ups and annotations to help highlight key selling points.

4. Keep Your Audience’s Attention

Attention spans are shorter than ever these days, and without a degree of value added to your video, your customers will be off watching something else. But if you can carefully craft a narrative that’s as informational as it is entertaining, it can help keep them from bouncing for longer. And when you hit the audience with a promotion at the end, it really helps keep them watching until the very end.

5. Share It Far and Wide

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You’ve covered all of your bases and perfected your video. That’s great! …but now what? Now you get it in front of as many sets of eyes as possible. Now you share it anywhere and everywhere you can, ensuring that it always ties back to allowing them to make a purchase.

It isn’t enough to set the video up for viewing, however. Just like with a movie, the title will help draw attention to it. Using hashtags and descriptive keywords will also help your video get picked up by search crawlers, boosting the visibility further.

Finally, creating a cover to be judged by will help. By choosing the right display thumbnail, it will help others determine whether or not they want to watch the video, even before they hit play. This thumbnail will also help determine whether or not the video’s quality is up to snuff.

Get Your Creative Juices Following – T-Shirt & Apparel Brand Names

Struggling to come up with a name for your new t-shirt or apparel brand? Well, this is actually the easiest part of starting your own brand!

Our creatively just seems to dry up when it comes to this seemingly momentous task. And unfortunately, without knowing what to call yourself, you really can’t move too far forward without a solid name in place.

It can become so frustrating that many wish to give up entirely. However, it’s often a lot easier to come up with a brand name than people make it out to be, especially if you follow a systematic approach.

And while everyone must choose their own route, there are a number of general principles that will help you craft your ideal brand name. So before you let writer’s block get the better of you, you need to check out this amazing infographic from the Printsome team:

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Further Considerations For Naming Your Brand

1. Borrow Inspiration From Others

While it wouldn’t be recommended to “steal” names from existing brands, you can certainly piggyback on the inspiration they provide. If you start poking around the “About Us” page they may even discuss where their name comes from. This simple process alone could flood your mind with plenty of interesting ideas.

Look for brands that catch your eye, and more importantly, will also catch your audience’s eyes. You can take a similar word or a name that they did, or zero in on the subject that they based their name off of. Play a little word association to find a combination of similar words that reflects your own brand.

If you’re still at a loss, take a moment to think about what celebrities or target groups you want to see wearing your brand. Draw up a list of keywords that best represent these people as a whole. Feel free to use a thesaurus or word bank, but just be careful that you don’t overdo it and choose words no one can even pronounce or understand!

2. Make Sure You Can Use It

After you’ve just spent several hours uncovering awesome names, you’ll need to check if other websites and brands are already them. This part is probably the most infuriating part of choosing a name, it often seems every single brand name has already been taken by someone else.

If it’s a unique name, chances are the domain or one close similar enough, will be available. Or if someone else is already using a brand name your dead set on using, you might still be able to, as long as you aren’t both selling in the same industry.

Another factor to consider is the region and countries you will be operating out of. For instance, in the United States, if a company is specific to a certain area, you may still be able to use the same name in another region.

While you probably wouldn’t be able to call yourself Wal-Mart Tees, as they are an international brand; if you wanted to launch Ted’s Shirts in Minneapolis and there’s a Ted’s Shirts that only sell within Alaska, you’re probably alright to do so.

Other things to consider after you’ve found a name is whether the internet domain is available. You want to keep it to be easy and memorable, that way it’ll be easier for others to access. If, however, the only domain available is a little long or cumbersome, you may want to simplify it, even if doesn’t completely reflect your name.

Before going any further, find out now if you can get the necessary trademarks in place. Depending on what country you are operating out of, you will have a different set of policies to follow. Be prepared to drop some money, as trademarking isn’t the cheapest thing to do. However, it’s truly an investment and the best way to protect others from using the name you spent so much time working to develop.

3. Bring in Your Squad

Like with any important undertaking, the friend test often proves to be invaluable. But rather than just asking whether or not they think it’s a good name and/or domain, see if it survives a night out.

Try bringing up your new business name and domain in a loud place. If you and your buds are going bowling or to catch a game at the local bar, see if they can understand what you’re saying despite the amount of noise. If they can’t make out the name in a couple of tries, it may not be the easiest name to understand.

Try scribbling the name out on a bar napkin while you’re out and about. While some people do have the penmanship of a chicken, the name should still be fairly easy to read in plain black and white. If your name can be mistaken for multiple other names or words, it will more than likely confuse others.

Finally, just how avant-garde did you go with it? Does it make sense at all? Is it too ironic? Too complex? Did you find the biggest word in the thesaurus even though we already said not to? If your closest friends can’t wrap their heads around your brand name, chances are, your future won’t be able to either.

4. Imagine Your Name as a Tattoo

While you certainly shouldn’t run out and get the name inked onto your arm, you should think of your brand name in these terms. The name of a brand will, for all intents and purposes, be a name that must withstand the tests of time. This isn’t something you can change weekly, monthly, or even yearly. A brand, even without a permanent building, is itself permanent. As a result, if you have any qualms about the name at all, go back to square one until you’re satisfied.

Do people enjoy the way your brand name sounds, or does it turn them off? If you can run a poll to your target audience, you’ll learn a lot about their perception of names.  This is a great way to find out if there’s some inappropriate slang term you hadn’t heard of or other disparaging remarks concerning the name, allowing you to change it before it gets set in stone.

Go Get Those Creative Juices Flowing!

Names start out simply enough; researching brands you like and brainstorming relevant keywords and similar terms you can use based off of your favorite brands. Then find out if it’s useable online by checking domains, looking up any and all definitions of the word, seeing how many other companies are using the name, and even checking to see if it sounds better in one language over another.

Next, you have to make sure your immediate circle can understand and pronounce your name, even in a busy and loud environment. If your name is easily readable, it’s probably a solid choice. Finally, remember to keep it short, sweet and maybe a little quirky. People always remember “Ebay”, but they didn’t remember “AuctionWeb” (it’s original name).

Finally, it’s best to protect your name now with relevant trademarks and drawing up your first logo, so long as you know this is the name you are going to stick with.

Massively Underrated Social Platforms – Pinterest, Vine and Snapchat

By now, you’re probably sick of hearing how great social media is to advertise. But, you can’t argue with the facts. It’s expected that by 2017, social media marketing will be generating about $11 billion in revenue. And that’s $6 billion higher than it was just four years prior!

The  social media advertising pioneers probably had little idea of the gold mine that they were sitting on. And how could they; when sites like MySpace and Facebook first launched, who knew that they were going to take off the way that they did?

In the early 2000s, if you told someone that you were paying someone to be on your Facebook account all day, they would think that you were nuts. Heck, if you hired a digital media expert just five years ago, many would say that it was a waste of money. Maybe it was then, but the online space is radically different now.

Everyone knows how competitive and lucrative social media marketing is, and larger companies have entire dedicated teams and departments handling their social media sites. More and more companies are shifting resources to favor social media marketing over more traditional advertising lines.

Thinking Outside the Box With Social Media

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Social media seems to be a natural fit for clothing lines, apperal brands and t-shirt sellers. Products can be easily integrated into social media advertising requirements using simple, relevant images, videos, and other media attached to postings that users and search engines love to see.

And these media sources are easily shareable across multiple platforms, making using them even better. Furthermore, it’s easy to categorize your postings so that users specifically interested in fashion will be favored, helping secure your influence even more rather than coming off as white noise.

As you’ve no doubt noticed, when selling clothing, it only works when people are able to see your inventory. And with social media advertising, you can get your designs in front of a lot of different potential customers quickly and easily. In fact, sometimes, like through Twitter, your posts could reach into the billions, spreading all over the world.

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are without a doubt the biggest social media players in the game. They draw in the largest and most diverse audiences and are equip with powerful marketing tools to reach them.

But with this gold-rush in full swing, these platforms are now suffering from oversaturation. If you want to compete here you’ve really got to know what your doing, or hire someone that does. Or alternatively, it may be wiser to branch out to the smaller networks to crave out your brand’s mark. Pinterest, Vine, and Snapchat and highly-underrated networks that can be very lucrative if your willing to give them shot!

1. Pinterest for Business

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Pinterest has already been around for about six years and has ballooned to more than 100 million active monthly users. In addition to these users, 500,000 accounts are dedicated business users. It’s no wonder it’s so popular – the platform is all about creating catalogs of ideas and themes using images that are easily shareable to other Pinterest users.

It seems as if it’s a perfect fit for clothing companies. From roughly sketched designs to finished products, there’s a lot Pinterest can do with fashion items.

The reason it works for many industries is that users create their page based on specific categories, be it food, fashion, décor, and much more. When users find an image that’s been shared that they like, they “Pin” it onto their board. Once an image is Pinned, the original user is automatically added to their feed, growing their sphere of influence.

Best of all, setting up a business account is simple. Just choose “Pinterest for Business” and they will guide you with lessons on how to properly set it up. Free guides are easy to find online about how to use Pinterest to market your brand.

2. Vine for Business

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Vine has become a huge social media tool because users create short six-second looping videos that are easy to watch and easy to share. The reason it hasn’t reached the level of popularity that Facebook has is the app has been given a 17+ rating, making it a little more difficult to use on as wide of a user base. Despite this hurdle, Vine has more than 200 million active users.

Like with other creative brands, like musicians, comedians, and actors, fashion lines can use Vine to market their talents. Vine works best if videos are humorous, especially when the videos have more than one person involved. Try making a funny viral video while wearing your shirts for lots of views.

Another option is a short behind-the-scenes take where you create your clothes, as well as other members of your team. Vine is a great way to garner attention for not much money and aggressively taps into guerilla marketing.

Some people know the ins and outs of Vine better than others, and you could always contact an underground marketing rep. Just be sure that they have the sort of experience and creative process that you’re looking for first.

3. Snapchat for Buisness

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The app that was first only popular among teens sending weird, funny, and/or inappropriate images and videos to each other has finally garnered the attention of corporate heavy hitters. Since its inception, there’s been a clear shift in focus from teens to adults, and brands are jumping on the bandwagon in droves. It’s an obvious choice – Snapchat has 100 million daily viewers.

The reason it hasn’t been as popular for marketing purposes is that pictures and videos disappear after ten seconds or less. What company would market that way? They’re missing the point, however. Using Snapchat like this presents a way to make short, memorable posts. Look at it this way; when a commercial comes on the radio or on TV, does it permanently stay there? Or does it go away after a few seconds?

Snapchat does have a “Story” feature that allows for images and videos to stick around for an entire 24 hour period before disappearing. What’s great is that these posts can be random, or they can work together to create a narrative. In this way, you can take the same steps a traditional ad would take to craft a story that sells a product. It just so happens that the ad exists in the here and now and disappears forever tomorrow. It’s perfect for the seemingly ever shorter attention spans of today’s users.

Unlike other traditional media outlets, creating a “day in the life” story is actually more authentic. Media is captured directly from your phone, making it impossible to tamper with the captured movies or images except with the included filters. This makes it seem more real and raw, and gives a more personal view into your brand.

The downside is, Snapchat is still a little too new for brands to discover the “right” way to advertise on it. However, that does give the advantage of if you find a way that works for you, you’re already ahead of the competition.

Expand Your Horizon, And Your Pockets

No doubt Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are still the core social media giants, and having business profiles with them is still a good idea. Utilizing Pinterest, Vine, and Snapchat are just other options to include in your marketing arsenal.

These three social media platforms are home to a younger user base who spend more time online but still have disposable income. They are the ones with the best grasp of modern technology, and the ones that will be causing demographic shifts in purchasing behaviors.

Another reason to take these platforms seriously is that they push you to think beyond traditional online marketing methods. This will only add to your brand’s identity and personality, and once you find a method that works it’ll help you even more.

Finally, established social media sites feel very one-sided; there’s little room for a brand to communicate effectively with the customers. With these sites, however, communication is easier, more open, and often instantaneous, giving real-time feedback and even correspondence. This only makes monitoring your metrics that much easier.

Everyone is still learning how to effectively market through social media. Even though many sites have been established for over a decade, it’s still an ever-changing field. In fact, Facebook and Twitter are beginning to show signs of their popularity waning, and the three newer entrants just may take their place one day.

Going the Extra Mile – Design an Awesome Online T-Shirt Catalog

If you’ve finally decided that it’s time to launch your very own online shirt shop, then chances are you’ve prepared everything except your catalog. After all, your shirts are just so awesome that they’ll sell themselves, right? Actually, it’s not quite that simple. Your going to need every advantage you can over other sellers and brands if you want the lion’s share.

As a savvy t-shirt seller with the bigger picture in mind, you’ll be carefully building your brand on your own website from the get-go. This is where having an awesome cataglog to showcase your merchanise will be worth it’s digital weight in dollars!

Like with many things in your online arsenal, you have a few different options when it comes to creating a t-shirt or clothing catalog. While you may want to simply jump right in and get your catalog in place, there are a few things worth considering.

Why Should You Invest Time Into Creating a Catalog?

While the ulimate reason is to generate more sales, building a professional company and crafting an attractive brand should be the main motivating factor. Whether you’re trying to make a killer first impression or liven up an existing catalog, a fresh t-shirt can work wonders for your brand image.

But these explanations aren’t arbitrary, either; making design decisions for a catalog relaunch are vastly different than the choices made in creating a brand new launch catalog.

10 Steps to Map Out Your New T-Shirt Catalog

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Just as you’ve carefully planned, plotted, and sketched your tee shirt designs, it’s time to do the same with your catalog. Once your catalog has a reason for existing in the first place, it needs to be brought to life.

Unfortunately, it will more than likely take more time, especially depending on the amount of inventory being represented. Be sure to work around anything with a pressing deadline as this will take a lot of free time.

1. Who Are Your Customers?

Chances are, unless your catalog is being directed towards your specific target audience, it’s going to fall on its face. These target customers should dictate all aspects of the catalog’s design, from the colors, fonts, images, language used, and even the specific gender your brand caters to.

For instance, a shirt line for women should not accidently feel like a brand for dads instead.

2. Make Your Brand the Star of the Show

Many buisness owners think that as long as they have their name and logo at the top of the page, they’ve branded their shop. However, every pixel of the screen needs to incorporate the brand, at least in some small way.

If your brand has a specific color scheme or motif, use it for each page and every subsection. There has to be some underlying brand message or story that links back to the products. The personality of the company has to shine through in the text used. And most importantly, it all has to make sense.

3. Carefully Draft Out Your Pages

What makes page designing take forever is struggling to figure out how and where to add images that you just thought of a moment ago. Rather than wind up pulling your hair out over where to stick that picture you just noticed, make a detailed list of everything that will be going onto the page. This includes the featured products, their descriptions, any images or other media files that will accompany them, and any other section or page.

If you intend to include it, write it down now. It’s easier to erase something off of a notebook than struggle with it in the design space.

4. Get Sketching

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Even if you don’t have a web designing background and intend to hire one, it’s still a good idea to draw your dream catalog out. Many creative types, including web designers, are visual people, so having a rough sketch of what you’re looking for will help get your message across. This way, both sides wind up on the same page.

Even if you don’t know how to draw it out, you can, at a minimum, find other shop’s catalogs as a reference point. Chances are, either with a drawing or an existing catalog, the designer will make edits and let you know what will and won’t work for your brand. It will, however, make the process much easier on everyone.

5. Make Wise Design Choices

Many think that experimenting with colors and layouts is best done with their catalogs. And those people are wrong. Shoppers are accustomed to how a catalog “should” feel, and when your deviates from that preferred design, it frustrates them and forces them to go elsewhere.

Catalogs are a little boring because that’s what people want – an easy-to-use cluster of products for sale. And if the buying process is going to be difficult, they’ll find a store where it isn’t.

6. Get Professional Product Pictures

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While you’ve no doubt taken pictures of your shirts already, your catalog shouldn’t look like an eBay listing. You should have professionally photographed images showing your products as best that you can. When you begin with a super high-quality image, they’ll stay looking great, even after taking a dip in quality after being put online. It will cost more to have a professional, but it’s often worth it.

If you are going to take the shots yourself to save some money, make sure it’s with a good quality camera. There is a chance that, depending on your inventory, that your supplier has product images. Go ahead and use them, as the supplier has already spent the money on making them look good.

7. Use Attractive, Attention-Grabbing Fonts

Again, your catalog is not the place to try out crazy looking fonts. Stick to a basic, easy-to-read sans-serif that everyone already knows. Some of the more common ones are Helvetica, Arial, and Verdana, although there are certainly others.

Rather than using fonts that are harder to read, create heading levels and hierarchies. You can also rely on font options like bolding or underlining text, using caps, or using different sans-serif fonts for different levels.

8. Quality is King When it Comes to Content

Yes, search engines and users alike are looking for great quality images that are relevant and eye-catching. However, if you paid someone a dollar online to write the text for your pages, it probably isn’t going to hold many people’s attention. Even if the text is legible, if it’s boring or just a list made of other lists, chances are no-one is going to stick around long enough to read it.

Online, suddenly everyone is an English major, and they won’t hold back about even the simplest typos. Make sure that you proofread your copy first, or if you wrote it yourself, have someone else read it.
Don’t edit all in one sitting, either; make sure you take a couple of passes at it, and then come back to it later. Otherwise, your brain may become blind to certain mistakes.

It’s also a good idea that you and any other proofreaders do it when you’re the most alert; when you’re tired, you’ll only put in so much effort into proofreading. Also keep in mind that this should be short, concise product descriptions and not a novel; a long description means bored readers.

9. Leverage Design Tools

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Whether you’re on a shoestring budget or need to be a control freak with your catalog, there are plenty of inexpensive and possibly even free tools to help you design your catalog. Using them are usually simple, require no prior knowledge or experience, and still come out with a professional-looking catalog space.

While you’ll always get a better result by hiring a professional designer, templates and tools are a great alternative that won’t necessarily scream “amateur”. And while no two design tools are created equally, there are plenty of reliable ones out there. Some of my favorites are Canva, Shopify, Catalog Machine, FlippingBook, and Supadupa. With a little research, you can find the best fit for your needs.

10. Perform a Cold Analysis

For better or worse, a catalog launch will show changes in buyer behavior. When a new design, or an initial one, is launched, it’s best to run some analyses to see the changes. The most pertinent things to watch for would include bounce rates, sales changes, and click through rates. If they’ve stagnated or decreased, then additional changes are certainly needed.

You can always run a questionnaire or survey to customers. Who better to ask than the ones using it? And when asked online, customers are usually brutally honest.

If you’ve recently made a catalog or have any tips that work for you, we’d love to hear them. Sound off in the comments below or hit us up on our social media pages.

Whip Up a Marketing Storm With T-Shirt Contests

I haven’t quite figured out why, but people still go insane over free t-shirts. Whether it easily changes their mind about attending some event or forum, to driving the crowd wild during a boring sports game, free shirts seem to just make everyone lose their minds. It doesn’t matter how thin or tight or generic the shirts are, either – trying to get a hold of a free shirt is just as, if not more so, exciting as trying to catch a bouquet of flowers at a wedding.

As t-shirt sellers there’s a number of ways we can take advantage of this crazy phenomenon, either to spread the word or help improve our brands.

Free Tee Shirts Make Awesome Advertments

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Because free t-shirts are essentially some weird form of post-apocalyptic currency, they’re an easy and effective way to market a company’s brand. If you put a company’s name and logo on a free shirt, it’ll get distributed faster than any flier could. And then once they wear your shirts in public, boom – free walking billboard. And because they’re free, they’re likely to be their favorite shirt, even if they’re horrible oversized. That means they’re likely to wear it as often as they can, even if just around the house. Free shirts may not make any sales, but they’re certainly the advertising gift that keeps on giving.

There’s a reason free shirts are seemingly everywhere now; clothing brands know that people love them, and it’s a fun way to boost their traffic, and hopefully, sales. However, before you just start throwing free shirts at people, there are a few things to consider first.

Make the challenge worth the prize. You’re handing out a free shirt, not a golden ticket. Your entry process should be a simple one, preferably no more than a few lines to fill out. If it has as many steps as buying a car does, no one is going to want to enter.

A contest should be social. Whether you keep the contest “in house” among your own company’s forum or website, or you decide to include more people on social media, a fun and creative contest needs the community at large to make it exciting. Getting the news out and building up some hype never hurts, either, and at worst, you may hit some new sales in the process.

It can’t just be a participation trophy. If someone puts in a ton of effort into their entry, and someone else spends five minutes on theirs and they both get a free shirt, it’s likely that your next contest won’t be as engaging. Make sure those who went the extra mile to get recognition for their efforts.
Shirt contests are nothing new; that said, some companies just seem to do it better than others. Their contests are fun, engaging, and really blow up easily over social media.

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Threadless, for instance, regularly holds contests for user-generated designs. They’re built up their own community, which helps foster customer feedback, and the contests boost overall creativity. By allowing the community to judge designs, it keeps contests fair, and the winner gets the best prize, cash, as well as a ton of free advertising. It’s a real win-win!

Design By Humans also hosts regular design contests. Although their approach is a simpler than Threadless, by not having a forum approach and not having their community judge, it still remains easy and effective. In fact, by using Design By Humans’ hashtags, the prize isn’t just a free shirt, but also having their designs featured on their page. And with tens of thousands of followers on social media, this is a huge prize to win by a budding designer.

While design contests are all well and good, not everyone who loves shirts is able to design them. For regular contests, it may be a good idea to switch between those that favor your more creative fans, and those that struggle to draw a stick figure correctly. When you’re able to include everyone, more people become excited and then participate.

Leverage Social Media Shares

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Possibly one of the easiest ways to host a shirt contest that requires no skill at all from participants is to ask users to follow a certain page and share the contest message. For instance, on Twitter, a simple promo message with a link to the contest, as well as an easy and short hashtag, can gain a lot of traction very quickly. Whether it’s giving away a coupon or voucher or a free product, it can really drive traffic to your store and all but guarantee some sales.

This is a favorite among companies and customers alike. It’s easy to enter, and it’s easy for the company to gain new followers. It doesn’t require a whole lot of work and it can easily be shared across multiple social media platforms. This way, it boosts your brand’s presence among several sites and eventually generates more leads for your shop. Best of all, it only takes a few seconds to enter.

Give a Vote, Get a Shirt

Community feedback is a great way to develop new products, but you don’t necessarily want to spend a bunch of time and money gathering data. But what if, instead, you simply asked people what they liked?
If you have a few new shirt ideas kicking around in your notebook, simply ask the people what they want.

By voting on which one(s) they like the best, you can have a better idea of what new designs are going to sell. And to scratch their back for their vote, you can give them either a free shirt, a voucher code to shop with you, or even a crack at designing their own shirt, which you would then feature on your site.

What’s great about voting contests is the simple way you can mix it up with the prizes and promotions side. Best of all, it’s easily shareable – they can send it to others through email, put it up on their blog, or simply like and retweet it. And if you’re extra savvy, you could make an automatically generated Facebook post when they enter, allowing even wider sharing options.

Calling All Shutter Bugs

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Everyone these days think they’re a photographer, and admittedly, each new smartphone has a better camera than the last. An easy way to get customers involved in a contest is to ask them to take their skills beyond Instagram and find a certain picture to share. By creating a theme, whether it be cool urban pics, serene natural shots, or even a fun party, customers can easily snap a picture and be entered. And for an extra advertisement edge, you could ask that the pictures feature one of your shirts.

Another spin on this idea is how the winner is chosen. It can be a voting process, it can be an internal panel among your team, or for maximum exposure, choose the picture entry that users have shared the most. This could especially be useful on Twitter and can gain a ton of new followers.

Answer Some Questions, Win a Prize

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While no one enjoys taking a long quiz, this promotion can be simple for both sides. Either you come up with a short questionnaire that you can use to improve your designs, site, brand, etc., or you use a quiz field to beat the promotion into their brains. For instance, with a current contest running, the user could gain a bonus entry every day with a simple question that ties back into it.

By entering into a field answers such as the final day for submissions, the contest theme, a promo code or hashtag, or other relevant question, it helps cement the contest into their mind on a wide scale. By forcing them to repeat the details, it helps create more excitement, as well as encouraging more people to act quickly.

How do these contest ideas sound to you? Have you had success with anything similar? Let us know in the comments what you think, especially if you’ve hosted one of these contests before. And if you have any other suggestions for promoting your shirt designs, we’d love to hear them!

Get Your T-Shirts Stocked in Retail Stores – Offline Gold Mine

While it may sound like a crazy idea in 2016, you should really consider getting your shirt designs into traditional brick-and-mortar stores. I know; this defeats the whole purpose of creating your very own online empire.

However, getting your designs into physical stores does not mean opening your own. In fact, selling shirts in stores should not be your main stream of revenue at all, but an additional stream. Better still, it’s a great way to obtain a new field of exposure and could help you become a bonafide brand.

Probably the easiest transition to make after coming up with a killer design or two, or even a specialized line of shirts, is to target specialty shops. Some clothing store brands target urban clothing designs specifically, giving buyers a chance to find cool, hip, and unique designs that they just can’t find anywhere else, even online. Their stores are usually the dead center of a major city or hub, giving your brand a huge audience to sell to.

However, before you start knocking on storefront’s doors, here’s a number of key ideas in mind:

Tips For Turning Up Prepared

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1. Know Who You’re Pitching To

If you have a wild, crazy, “out there” style or set of designs, it’s probably not the best idea to start out at the stores your mom shops at. If a store’s line of clothing is centered around minimal designs or crisp, clean shirts, they probably don’t want anything too bold or artsy on their shelves.

On the other hand, if you’re trying to get in with an edgier store or brand, make sure your design has enough going for it that it would be a good fit. If your shirt stands out (and not in a good way) compared to what they’re already selling, you should probably talk to someone else. Even if they’re nice and allow you to put your designs up, there’s a fairly good chance that it won’t sell well with their buyers.

2. Don’t Get Lost in the Sauce

While it’s understandable that you want your shirts to be competing around what’s currently “in” fashion-wise, it isn’t a great idea to just simply add to the white noise. If you’re pitching your line to a store, they don’t want to just see what’s current and trendy. They want to know that you’re typical design process and style melds with theirs. Show them bold and original; they may not love it, but they will at least respect it.

If 100 designers are all making the same thing, it doesn’t matter if you do it better. Stores want to know that you’re going to come up with shirts that they can always sell. If your designs run on the more risqué side, is this particular store going to carry it? Are your designs really original, or are they just different takes on current designs? For instance, are you just featuring a different dramatic picture of a city skyline rather than just your typical San Francisco or New York picture? You need to show range while also showing you meld with their brand image.

3. Always Show Up Prepared

Just as you should show up to a job interview with a résumé or a portfolio, you should probably bring in some sort of a tangible sample with you when you’re pitching your designs. You don’t have to carry around an arm full of printed shirts, but you should have a few of your best designs to hand. While a book full of designs works well, having the designs you’re especially proud of printed out on a shirt could really increase your chances of sealing the deal.

If you want to go full Shark Tank, you could even bring someone along to model your shirts. The downside is you would need enough designs to showcase your range, and they may not want to spend the time waiting for them to change shirts.

Questions to Ask Yourself

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1. Is Your Brand Name Mature Enough?

It’s one thing when you’re selling your own shirts. Your brand can have any name you want, and it doesn’t matter because it’s the only brand in stock. But when someone else is going to be physically hanging your shirt next to big name designers, is your brand’s name going to actually work?

If your brand name is trying too hard to be edgy or urban, it’s not going to work well with “real” brands that have names that sound like actual fashion designers. If your brand name uses lingo that is currently en vogue, then you better believe they’re going to pass on you. No one wants to see “Swag Shirts” in ten years.

Honestly, your exact brand name (or something uncomfortably close) is probably already being used somewhere. While you aren’t necessarily in trademark violation, you may wind up having to pay them licensing fees for your name once it goes into a physical store. This may actually be a good time for you to rebrand yourself.

2. Is It Even Worth Selling With Them?

In order to be a viable option for partnering with the store, you’re going to be expected to sell to them at a low price so they can tack on their percentage. In the end, if they’re only going to make a couple of bucks off of each shirt sale, are they going to want to pursue the partnership long term?

Another question to answer before spending too much energy getting your shirts in their store is just how many units would they need? If it’s a small trendy boutique, they may not be willing to buy the number of shirts you need them to. Other larger stores may want way more units than what you’re able to give them.

Finally, are you going to be able to make your costs work with an agreed number of units? For instance, if they’re going to mark up your shirt at $30 and you’re still using as cheap of fabric possible, buyers are probably going to skip your design for something of a better value. And if you wind up spending too much on materials, you’re looking at potentially losing money rather than supplementing your revenue stream.

3. Do People Know What To Expect From You?

Chances are if someone buys your shirt in a store, they’ve either purchased from you online, or they’ve compared your design online before buying in the store. Unfortunately, if they’re snooping for info, they may see that you’re not performing real strong at the moment. They may have a hard time paying full retail price if you aren’t even moving as many units online as you have in the past.

Or, as another way to confuse them, if your prices are wildly different online, why would they pay the higher amount in store? As long as you can consistently show that you’re a strong contender with relatively the same pricing, they will have an easier time taking a chance on a purchase.

Final Considerations & Closing Deals

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1. Keep an Eye Out for the Bigger Store Names

It may seem that when selling in physical stores you should always go big or go home. However, getting on the shelves with bigger brands may actually wind up shooting you in the foot later. If a small specialty store sees you on the shelf of a larger retailer, are they going to want to sell the same thing their competitor is? Are they going to give you the “selling out” lecture?

And are they going to have the confidence that they need to stock your shirts? After all, a large retailer can probably move far more units at a fraction of the cost. A smaller store, at the other hand, may struggle quite a bit to do anywhere near the same amount of volume or sales figures.

2. Small Details Still Matter

While selling online may give you the freedom to just simply stuff a shirt into an envelope and call it “packaging”, your shirt is going to need a little extra flair when it’s sitting on the shelf along with everyone else.

Everything about the shirt, from the design to the wash instruction tag, to even the price tag, has to have some sort of personality and style to it. If any part of the shirt looks boring, it’s going to make the entire shirt seem boring in the shopper’s mind. When your shirt looks like a professionally designed brand, you’ll have an easier time making it a self-fulfilling prophecy and become a big name.

3. Sweeten the Deal

When pitching to a store owner to carry your brand, the customers aren’t the only ones taking a chance on you. You’re probably going to have to give them some sort of incentive, such as offering a full refund on a certain amount of unsold shirts.

Chances are, they aren’t too inclined to take all the risk on a designer they’ve never sold before. By showing you’re willing to work with them, they will be a little more willing to agree to carry your designs.

4. Focus on Marketing to the Owner

Just as you spend time marketing to customers, you need to market to your potential new partner. If you do decide to put together some form of portfolio, it would be a good idea to have the models look like real models with fresh, professional-looking hair and makeup in tasteful photo shots.

If you have live models, make sure they look the part and not just like they’re your sister or friend who happens to be wearing your shirt. If using a visual media form, make sure the production values are up to snuff, yet appropriate. And finally, if you’re going to depend on your website, make sure it looks like an actual website from a real designer.

Compete in T-Shirt Design Competitions For Brand Growth & Exposure

What if there was a way that you could not only test out funky new designs, but gain exposure, feedback, and even prize money in return? A way to boost sales, brand awareness, and hone your skills with live, real-time opinions? If this all sounds too good to be true, don’t worry – I’m talking about tee-shirt competitions. If you’ve never considered joining a tee competition, or you don’t even know where to start, Compete-Tee-Tion is a great resource for beginners.

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Competing against other shirt designers may seem intimidating. After all, there is a lot of designers online and it can be highly competitive quickly. However, if you’re looking for a fast way to gain a lot of exposure, you should definitely consider entering your designs into as many competitions as possible. You’ll be surprised how getting more competitive will sharpen up your designs and brand as a whole!

Competitions, however, go above and beyond advertising. Even if you enter contests and don’t win anything, it provides a great opportunity to network, talk shop, and even be inspired by other artists. Many groups host design contests, such as the DEAFestival held in Los Angeles, recently awarding $300 and the shirt printed and sold at the festival. If you’re looking for a new way to boost your business, then you should take these pointers to heart.

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Key Benefits of Enterting T-Shirt Competitions

1. Addition Revenue By Winning Competitions

While it’s highly unlikely that you can quit focusing on “regular” sales and become a full-time t-shirt competitor, entering competitions is a great way to earn some extra money. Prizes usually include cold hard cash, free advertising on big name blogs and email lists.

Either way, you’re getting your name and designs in front of far more people than simply by selling them. Best of all, there are a plethora of design competitions out there.

2. Great Exposure to Celebrities, Big Companies and the Public

If you’ve ever walked by a band’s merch stand at a concert and thought it would be cool to design for a famous artist or musical group, it actually might be easier than you’d think. Some companies, such as Design by Human, regularly hosts competitions for well-known video game franchises, movies, and even musicians.

Past contests have had winners chosen by the studios behind Assassin’s Creed, Diablo, The Dark Knight Rises, and huge names in music like Stone Temple Pilots, Kiss, Kings of Leon, and even Lil Wayne. Winning these contests can lead to some potentially huge exposure, and possibly even for an audience you hadn’t considered designing for.

5 Tips For Finding Lucatratic Tee Shirt Competitions

1. Join Conferences

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Every profession imaginable has annual or regular conferences for those in the industry to join, learn about new techniques and technologies, and rub elbows with one another. Many, including FESPA, hold contests for their attendees to join while in between sitting in on panels about textiles and printing.

The rules are usually fairly lax, giving them a real no holds barred feeling. Not only is it fun and pits your designs against any and every style out there, but it’s a great way to get your designs displayed to a lot of your peers easily.

2. Think and Look Outside the Box

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Not all shirt design competitions are held by those inside the design industry. In fact, many non-garment companies host shirt competitions as a way to widen their sphere of influence and gain additional exposure that they normally wouldn’t have.

OpenStack is a great example of this. OpenStack, a cloud-based technology company, hosts an annual shirt design competition. The best part is you don’t even have to have a printed prototype – all they ask is that you email a design in, and they handle the rest.

3. Work with Online Communities

Some companies operate through having an entire community of fans built up that they ask about new designs, getting them to vote, comment, and otherwise participate to help give them the best, newest, and most unique designs possible.

Threadless, for instance, allows users to view new designs, their most popular, designers that are gaining attention, and other ways to modify a user’s filtered search options. Best of all, Threadless only feature top quality designs, so if you score a competition win by them, you know you’re joining a great class of designers, as well as savvy customers.

4. Don’t Stop at Competitions

Because of the printing, manufacturing, and sales process, most competitions aren’t very long, and there could be as long as an entire year in between contests. A great way to get your foot in the door is to swing for the fences and start contacting shirt manufacturing groups directly to brag about your big deal design.

Or, if you don’t think you’re ready for cold calls and rejection letters, you could also keep your eyes peeled for contests that aren’t for tee shirt per se, but fashion or clothing competitions. These are usually from big name designers or retailers, and again, could be potentially great exposure for your brand.

5. Get Google to Keep an Eye Out For You

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A quick, easy, and free tool to use at your disposal is to use Google Alerts. Simply add a specific competition, and each time information is released about it, you’ll get an email alert. Or set up an alert for a specific brand or company you plan on contacting later, especially if they post that they are looking for a specific design.

5. Don’t Get Too Caught Up in Specifics

If you keep striking out, chances are you’re getting too invested in the contests’ themes or requirements. Once you find yourself between contests, use their themes or ideas as a launching off point. Go nuts; at this point, no one is judging them. Try to tell an entire story within the confines of what will fit on a shirt design.

Whether you’re competing against others or just yourself, remember that most importantly to enjoy what you’re doing. Let the creativity flow and don’t get too wrapped up in winning. At the end of the day, you’re not looking for a trophy, but to help your brand get the attention it deserves.