10 Tips For Increasing Online Sales for Apparel Decorators

Posted on 25. May, 2010 by in Marketing Tips

If your business offers custom t-shirt printing services, one of the best things you can do to increase your sales is to use the web to its fullest potential.  You can keep your presses running, grow your loyal customer base, and impress your existing customers with these 10 tips.  Whether you’re a veteran screen printer, new to heat transfers, an experienced embroiderer, or a digital DTG guru, if you take advantage of these practical guidelines, you should see the benefits in no time.

  1. Get a website:
    All of the these tips are useless if your company isn’t taking advantage of the amazing potential of the web. An investment in a quality website can pay for itself tenfold (and more) by always being available to your customers (and potential customers) who want to learn how they can do business with you. You can educate customers about artwork preferences via your website, show videos of your production capabilities and even collect payments securely online.
  2. Make a good first impression:
    Often times, your website is the first interaction your potential client has with your company. What does it say about you? Don’t do it yourself unless you can spend the time to do it right. Your customers come to you as the printing expert instead of doing it themselves…practice what you preach and let the experts make your site shine!
  3. Make it easy:
    Make your website super easy to navigate. The navigation should be consistent and in the same place and in the same style on every page of your website. The general layout of your site should lead the visitor to the action you want them to take (filling out your online quote form, getting an instant quote from your online t-shirt designer, or picking up the phone and giving you a call). Try to get someone who is unfamiliar with your site to test it out and see how easy it is for them to get around. UserTesting.com is a great, low cost way to see how strangers see your site.
  4. Help local customers to find you online:
    Did you know that 80% of people search for local information online? Add your local city, region, state to your website’s TITLE tags and add a page of your site offering a special to local customers that find you online. You might be surprised by the number of free leads you get from this small change that can boost your SEO (search engine optimization). Google Places is another great (free) place to list your business.
  5. Answer customer questions BEFORE they ask:
    Remember your website often reaches your customer before you have a chance to. It can “answer phones” and “make sales”, even when you’re sleeping. So when you’re not there to answer your customers questions, make sure your website covers it all with informative tips, articles and service descriptions that really explain what you can do for them. If you find yourself answering the same questions numerous times during your phone calls, you’ve just found some perfect answers that you can add to your website on a Frequently Asked Questons (FAQ) page.
  6. Closeup of a discharge screen print

    Closeup of a discharge screen print

  7. Show Off:
    Post detailed photographs of some of your best work so that potential customers can see your capabilities. This means actual pictures, not artists mockups that you’ve done in photoshop or electronic proofs. Customers want to see the real deal when trying to figure out what their actual finished t-shirt might look like. Use YouTube to upload videos of your production process to reach an even wider audience!
  8. Be responsive:
    This is important! Answer the quotes and phone inquiries you do receive in a timely manner. Timely means within minutes or hours, not days 🙂 Trust me, it makes a difference to a ready-to-buy customer when they get answers they need quickly. You could even add live chat to your website if you have someone on staff that can manage it. Even if you’re busy doing production, having top notch customer service can be the difference between stopped presses and continuing work during those slower periods of the year.
  9. Be social:
    Using tools like Twitter and Facebook (fan pages) can help drive traffic and referrals for your business. If nothing else, it can keep your business name in the customers’ minds when they are ready to order or when a friend needs a service you can provide.
  10. Share the news:
    Use an opt in newsletter service like campaignmonitor or MailChimp.com to allow customers to stay up to date with promotions and new happenings within your company. Don’t spam. Only contact customers who have given you their explicit permission to send them marketing emails. Many services will give you an easy to use newsletter signup form that you can add to your website and Facebook pages.
  11. Get listed:
    Use smart marketing by putting your business in front of where your potential customers are. Direct marketing tools like Google Adwords and PrinterListings.com can help you increase the number of targeted visitors to your site by connecting you with t-shirt buyers at the exact point that they are looking for printing services. More targeted visitors means more leads and sales for your business. Remember user submitted reviews can mean free word of mouth referrals for your business!

What tips have you used to help grow your custom printing business online? Feel free to share your experience in the comments below!

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