October '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 O C T O B E R P R I N T W E A R 4 9 word. Sources encourage shops to create an incentivized referral program, make it a topic of conversation with customers, and post about it online. Something as simple as sending a short email along with an invoice can do the trick. Ackerman says something like the below example is a great option: Hi John, Thanks for your recent order with us. You're awesome! If you enjoyed your experience, click here to review us. (insert page link) Didn't have the best time? Reply back so we can help out. Thank you again, Bruce Positive word of mouth is key to increas- ing sales and growing a customer base. These days, Ackerman says people are judging a business before any contact oc- curs, putting even more importance on referrals and reviews. The above example allows happy customers to share their ex- perience and those less than pleased the chance to state their case. TAKE ACTION TODAY For shops to stay on target, be where the business is, build a blog, and request re- ferrals and reviews, sources agree it ulti- mately takes some investigative work and networking. Harris says a good marketing person/ company can be a valuable asset to a shop. Having a point person to take on the duty of reaching new customers allows the shop to focus on operating the business. For people that don't have the money to hire outside help or prefer to take on the en- deavor themselves, Jay Busselle, Equipment Zone, suggests using search tools within LinkedIn to find more of the top prospects they're looking to work with and help. Bus- selle says he found more than 3,400 digital marketing directors within the Phoenix/ Scottsdale, Arizona area where he resides in, in less than 3 minutes. He also encour- ages shops to call their top 10 customers to thank them for their support and ask them if they're comfortable sharing any connec- tions they have. These approaches leave shops with a list of leads they can vet ASAP. To get outside the shop, Farag suggests making a list of potentials and popping in for visits. Shops can also get facetime at trade shows and conferences. Cox agrees, telling shops to "get outside of the busi- ness, mentally and physically." Is there a new business in town? Sporting or en- tertainment event? Reach out, visit with them, and let them know you're the con- tact for any custom apparel or branded product needs. With the digital age, the power of in-person is something shops often neglect. Business visits are easily workable into the weekly, monthly, or bi- monthly schedule. With these five big talking points in mind, shops can position themselves in front of the right audience and grow their business. PW How to Go Outside the Box F or shops who already have the basics implemented, sources offer some fun alter- natives to reach new customers: • Jay Busselle, Equipment Zone, suggests the 'Surprise and De- light' method. It involves using personalized items to surprise and delight potential customers with value first. Show off skills rather than telling about them. Hand- deliver two T-shirts, two tote bags and two koozies with the potential customer's logo or tagline, not yours. One goes to the person who greets you, and the other is for the decision-maker. • Bruce Ackerman, Printavo, encourages shops to host events, print postcards, join business meetups and city council, and distribute a monthly newsletter with tips, tricks, and shop high- lights. • Jennifer Cox, NNEP, says the machines used to decorate cus- tom apparel are "sexy." Taking videos of the equipment in action and posting them on social me- dia as well as on the shop website makes a shop more memorable. • Steven Farag, Campus Ink, tells shops, "If you want to print for the party, you have to throw the party." Free print days, open houses, or education days are attention-grabbers. …AND GRAB THE ATTENTION OF POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS

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