The changing climate of small business promotion

T-shirts promote business and are cool to wear

In many ways, advertising a small business has greatly changed over the years. New methods have replaced tried and true techniques of yesteryear. While many small businesses still advertise in newspapers and possibly on radio or TV, there is more emphasis now on Internet marketing and garment branding.

Garment branding? Yes, we know that using embroidered or printed garments works great as a company uniform. It also makes a superb walking advertisement.

Shirts and hats make great promotional garments. They promote your company or organization just by drawing attention to it. It’s a quiet yet effective “soft sell” technique.

Many businesses lend themselves to creating visually appealing shirts that people will like to wear. (That’s a key ingredient of promotional value. If no one wants to wear it, your message sits in a drawer.) Restaurants, clubs, travel destinations, gyms, spas, specialty shops, and schools are often so popular that people will buy shirts to show off their allegiance. People like to be associated with cool places and things. You could literally make a profit selling items that in turn will promote your business. Cool.

Promotional shirts also make great giveaways or prizes in contests. You might offer a shirt as an incentive to make a sale, such as “Buy a Lovers Weekend Package at the Happy Hearts Inn and receive two beautiful shirts.” Or give a shirt as a prize in a weekly business card raffle at your establishment. Winning something creates a feel-good moment and it will feel good for you when people wear your shirts in public.

Think of promotional shirts as either part of your income stream, if you plan to sell them, or as part of your advertising budget.

Another great strategy for getting your business name out there is to become a sponsor for a fund-raising effort in your community. Here’s how that works. You offer to pay for part or all of a print run of a shirt that a school or nonprofit organization will sell to raise funds. Your business logo or other graphic can go on the shirt, such as on the back or on the sleeve, while the other organization’s art and messages goes on the front. Sponsorship gives you exposure in the community as a good guy helper. It has promotional value for you and it’s also a tax write-off for your business.

Unlike many other printed items like ballpoint pens or even newspaper advertisements, garments get more attention, make a more lasting impression, and get more use. A favorite shirt or hat will be worn over and again, and that’s great exposure for you.

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