Using Niche Marketing to Increase T-Shirt Sales
Giant Tortoises & Niche Markets
Do you know how many different types of giant tortoise there are in the Galapagos Islands? Twelve! That's a lot of variation in a small space. The reason there is so much diversity is because they have each adapted to fill a different niche in the environment.
If the tortoises weren't different from one another, they would all be competing for the same limited resources, and eventually they would just die off because the environment couldn't support them. Ouch.
Today, the print on demand (POD) t-shirt market is becoming more saturated than ever. Time Magazine wrote an article about the huge numbers of people flocking to the t-shirt business to try and make a fortune. In all reality, most of them will try to do it alone and will run out of steam long before reaching success.
You won't be that way! Graphic Tee Coach has your back! Today we are going to talk about finding your niche and getting noticed there.
What Is A Niche?
So, what in the world is a "niche"? A niche is a fancy way of saying "your spot". A good example of a niche business is a store that sells only BBQ grills. They are the expert on BBQ grills, bar none. Sure, Walmart sells cheap grills, but if you want a good grill and a source for reviews on the best grills out there, you google those guys.
Niches are SUPER valuable in the t-shirt business as well! If all of your t-shirts say "I Want A Dog for Christmas" or "This Guy Loves Dogs", then you're shirts will look boring, exactly like everyone else's. But if you have shirts for teacup poodles and labradoodles, then you're starting to get into the dog niche!
How Do I Find A Niche?
Finding a niche can be as simple as designing shirts about things you really like. If you're passionate about fishing, then you know lots of terms that might resonate with anglers. If you have a lot of pride in the big city you live in, you can make shirts that will connect with people!
Personally, I'm a nerd. I like making nerdy shirts for millennial guys and teachers. You do you!
Another way to find a niche is to just get started designing! We've got tons of ideas for you! If you already have an account with Graphic Tee Coach, sign into your dropshipper account and use the pre-made templates to spark your imagination. (If you aren't subscribed yet, subscribe here to fix that!)
I just start designing even though I don't have any ideas. Sometimes my first 5-7 shirts are LAME, but the work sparks some creativity, and then I churn out 15 good shirts! Totally worth it. Just do it. I won't look at your lame shirts if you won't look at mine!
Getting Into A Niche
Alright, you've decided on a niche, designed a few super lame and super great shirts (own it!), and you're ready to start engaging with that niche. As an example, I'll show you today how to get into a niche on Instagram. Twitter will be very similar. The key is knowing what #hashtags and @handles are most powerful.
Using Niche-Relevant Hashtags
Two Kinds of Hashtags
Hashtags are one of my favorite ways to communicate. There are two kinds of hashtags: topic hashtags and funny hashtags.
Topic hashtags help you connect your message to others who might be interested. For example: "Big sale this #BlackFriday! See you there!"
Funny hashtags convey a message. For example: "Look at this delicious pie! #iamsohungryrightnow" (nobody is EVER going to search that hashtag)
Topic hashtags are very useful for niche marketing! Funny hashtags are one and done, so just use them if you feel like it.
Next, find good hashtags in your niche. I do this by searching for a few hashtags I can think of off the top of my head, like #dogs. Then I go to Instagram and look at the top 9 posts in that hashtag. As a small t-shirt store, you probably don't have an enormous following or an army of adorable dogs at your disposal, so you are probably not going to rank right away in that hashtag. Remember, though, we said that "dog" is too general. So here's what you do...
Look at the hashtags being used in the top 9, and you'll start to get ideas of other popular hashtags, and you'll probably notice some niche-specific hashtags right away. Here's a giveaway: #germanshepherdsofinstagram. Yep, dog breeds of instagram because #dogsofinstagram is too crowded.
Once you find those hashtags, start experimenting with them! You can use up to 30 hashtags in a post, so take advantage of it and use a bunch. You don't need to use 30 every time. Use a bunch, then use a different group of hashtags. You'll start to get a feel for which ones you get interaction from and which ones you can't break into yet. To break into larger hashtags, you can get other people to help you out!
Using @Mentions to Get Attention
As you probably know by now, you can tag people in posts in Instagram. You can tag them in images as well as in the post itself. Using relevant @mentions in your posts can help you get attention from members of the community. If those other people see your post and like, comment, and/or share it, then it will get more Insta juice behind it and push it in front of more people. That's how you go viral, but that's a subject for a totally different blog post!
Now, you can tag anybody that you want, but try and be strategic about it. Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) is probably not going to comment on your "I Want A Poodle for Christmas" t-shirt. But you never know, so experiment with it!
Dive Into A Niche
We live in a niche-specific world. If you are specific in your designs and marketing tactics, you'll connect with the right people and grow your business. If you've still got questions, make sure to read more articles (see below) and use the "Ask Steve" area here on Graphic Tee Coach!