Marketing – Don’t Do It The Wrong Way – Graphic Tee Coach

Marketing – Don’t Do It The Wrong Way

The first thing to understand about marketing your t-shirts online is that it should be done very differently from "traditional" marketing.  Traditionally, you would come up with an idea for a graphic tee, have it designed, order some samples, take photos, publish an ad, hang them up in your physical store, and hope people came in to buy them.  That's costly and risky. Fortunately there's a much better way.

What we are going to do is turn that form of marketing on its head.  Rather than guess what people want to to buy, we're going to discover what people want to buy and fulfill that demand! So, here are my 5 keys to successfully marketing (and hence selling) graphic apparel on your own web site.  Things are a little different on other selling platforms, but we'll get to those another time:

  • The first thing we need to be on top of is current events, or what's trending.  This information can be found on TV, Google News, Twitter Trends, etc.  You want to know what people are talking about right now.  This is going to do two things for us.  First, identify what people want to buy.  Second, help boost our site's popularity.  That second one is important not just for the obvious reason that popularity equals traffic... but also because it feeds into the fifth point in this list... Google Shopping.  Read on.
  • If something has a cult following you can bet there's a demand for graphic tees there.  You're looking for a passionate fan base.  TV shows, movies, sports teams, fad diets, hobbies... all examples of things with passionate fans.  If you can identify what's trending and the die-hard fans behind it, then you have an opportunity to come up with a hot seller.  That means you might be able to make a lot of money off a single shirt design.  But best of all, even if you don't, you've probably boosted your sites popularity and thus you have a chance to sell regular products... what I call long-term sellers.
  • You need a lot of long-term sellers on your site.  Do a google search for something like "funny t-shirts" and you'll see images of long-term sellers.  These are shirts that might be just as popular today as they were 5 years ago and will be 5 years in the future.  You need to have many of these on your store.  At least a couple of thousand to see a real solid income.  But fear not... it's not that hard to get to a couple of thousand products. 20 products a day for a few months and you're there.  And, there are even faster ways to do it than that.  You could do it inside a month without much investment. Anyway, the reason you're doing this is to fire a marketing shotgun.  The more products you have, the more likely that someone out there is looking for something that's on your store.
  • Now, you've got a reasonably popular site with a lot of products on it.  The question is, how do people find your products? They will search for them... and they cannot find them if they're titled incorrectly! This is the most important point of the five.  If you get this one right, you'll make some cash selling tees... even if you get the other's wrong.  The secret here is to get lots of keywords in your titles.  Read on for an example.
  • At this point you have a store with some potential hot-sellers and a bunch of long-term sellers with keyword rich titles. Over time people will find these "organically" by searching on Google, Bing, etc.  But we want to fast track sales.  Enter Google Shopping.  You need to have a merchant feed, and Google Merchant account, and a Google Ads account. This will push all your products in front of the eyes of interested buyers.  It's a pay-per-click system.  And, much like most of this business, there is essentially no up-front cost.  If you do this right, you'll get people clicking on ads for your products and it'll cost you somewhere around $2 to sell one.  When you do sell one, you'll get the money in your PayPal account and Google will charge you for the clicks later... so you're not out of pocket.  Advertising your products in Google's Shopping Network is a highly effective and efficient way to sell you products.

I'm going to briefly go through all these steps by way of example.  Let's say there's a really popular Netflix show.  Say a show about big cat handlers!  It's trending.  Now imagine the star of the show wears a t-shirt with a William Shakespeare quote on it.  The show is trending and the fans of the show follow it like a cult.  You've got a potential hot seller if you have a replica of that shirt on your site.  Now, while you're at it, make a few hundred Shakespeare quote shirts.  If people like the trending one, maybe they'll grab a couple others too!  So, let's say the quote on the show worn shirt is "to be or not to be".  You could title your product, "to be or not to be t shirt".  Wrong.  How about, "To Be Or Not To Be William Shakespeare Big Cat Tiger Fan Gift T Shirt".  Get it?  You need to have words in your title that will match what a prospective shopper would search for.  Now, that title is going to get pushed into Google's Shopping network and all kinds of people are going to see it.  The sales start to come in.

If you think someone else could benefit from this information, please share below!  And, feel free to comment or ask questions below.  I'll be monitoring and answering regularly.

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Steve got into the t-shirt business several years ago and has never looked back. He is now able to pass on his knowledge and experience through Graphic Tee Coach, including how to design winning tees, marketing your shop, and sustaining a strong profitable business in the long run.

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