We had an idea to start our own clothing line and we were fortunate to find some famous hockey players who really liked our gear. We asked these NHL 1st round draft picks and stars of the NHL, AHL, NCAA and the CHL to endorse our hats and t-shirts. We sent out press releases, set up Twitter, a Facebook page and set up our website. We created a you tube channel and a gallery where the players could give their Sick Hockey Gear testimonials. We thought the orders would start to pour in but...you guessed it...sales are very slow. We are getting very few hits on our website. We're not sure where to go next. We were thinking of trying to find a partner to help but maybe someone out there can give us some ideas to get things going. It would be great if you guys could take a look at what we've done and let us know what you think. I can see there are a lot of very knowledgeable people in the forum so any help would be appreciated.
What was the "hook" of your press release? Where did you send them to?
set up Twitter
You don't just "set up" a Twitter page and post. You need to follow people, reply to people that you're following, and be active. You should interact and contribute something. Right now you only have 4 followers on Twitter, so each of your posts is only going to 4 people...it's hard to get traffic that way
You're following 47 people, but you only seem to be broadcasting your own messages, with little replies or interaction with the people that you're following. People will be more likely to follow you and be interested in you if you're not just posting ads for your company. That seems like what most of your Twitter posts are (join us on Facebook, check out our gear, etc). Only one reply seems to be to a hockey news site.
You may want to read a few articles about how businesses can and have used Twitter. It has a lot of potential to connect with customers (which can translate to increased traffic and sales) when done right.
The website looks pretty good! The only suggestion I have would be to make the header much smaller so the actual content of the page (the t-shirts for sale) show up higher on the page. The header also took a while to load on my fast connection.
Are hockey players big people? I ask because it seems like sizes above XL might be good to have for big athletic types.
You'll also want to add a sizing chart to all of your "add to cart" pages so that potential customers have a way of figuring out whether or not the t-shirts will fit them before they order.
We thought the orders would start to pour in but...you guessed it...sales are very slow. We are getting very few hits on our website. We're not sure where to go next.
I think you've setup all the right things, so the foundation is there, but so far you've actually been pretty passive about your marketing.
You need to find where your target market is and start actively advertising and marketing there. Hockey forums, Google Adwords targeting hockey players and fans, Facebook ads hyper targeting them to hockey fans in Canada, hockey fans in the US, etc. Research how to do Facebook paid ads and Google ads before you do them so you can bid on the right keywords and do it right. Sponsor a hockey forum, sponsor or advertise on a hockey newsletter or blog.
Start interacting on Twitter and Facebook. Not just posting your ads, but actually following hockey fans, sports fans, answering their questions without a sales pitch, replying to their posts, etc. Run some contests. Consider alternative forms of advertising like iwearyourshirt.com to get the word out about your stuff.
Lots of other tips have been posted here in the Marketing section of the forums, but this should give you a good start
I loved Tulsa it looked like a great city although I wasn't there long. I played two exhibition games for the Oilers last year but unfortunately I was their last cut. I then went on to the Pensacola Ice Flyers. I'm not playing this year and I'm trying my luck in the t-shirt business. Tough going so far but we're working on it.
Jeff Sick Hockey Gear - Hockey T-shirts & Hats Store (Canada)
Tulsa is good, I'm not a huge fan of the Oilers management but the players are all pretty cool. I'm the captian of the Police hockey team and am tired of paying too much for charity t-shirts and jerseys, that's why I've developed an interest in printing!
They are very pretty have you tried selling them at any of the local Mall's in one Vender station's close to any of the places where teen's would see them that way you would have foot traffic til you got your foot into the door I know some of the local dealers have done so at our Mall to start with & ended up in stores
We asked these NHL 1st round draft picks and stars of the NHL, AHL, NCAA and the CHL to endorse our hats and t-shirts.
What exactly are the players doing to endorse your products? Are they wearing them before and after games where fans can see them? Are they posting info about your brand on their own Facebook and Twitter pages? The testimonials are great, but unless people see them it won't help much.
I agree with Rodney, you have built a solid foundation for your brand. You also have one big thing going for you... you know who your target market is. Now you just have to keep getting your brand in front of them.
There are TONS of hockey tournaments out there for adults and kids. Maybe you can sponsor an event or at least be a vendor where you can sell your product there.
Another idea is to start contacting sporting goods stores and see if they would carry your products.
I would also look at sponsoring or giving swag to a local junior team. Thats probably your main demographic 16 to 20 years old. I think that may spark a wild-fire, they travel well and will eventually end up back home, wearing your gear and providing a larger advertising base!
Checked out the site and what I concluded was this:
-Gotta give people more than just your brand name on merchandise. The Rocket tee is the only one with an additional graphic.
-Better SEO is needed; search engine traffic makes up a huge portion of site traffic.
-The site could benefit from a redesign, as it currently doesn't look "safe", even though it has the PayPal seal.
-Better product shots with the t-shirts straight on rather than at the slight angle they are now, which makes it look like the bottom opening expands. And some zooms on the print quality would be nice.
where is your rink board with sick hockey in front of the players bench... that is sick! nice job!
i feel your pain. your brand kinda reminds me of gongshow hockey brand. do you know those guys?
you have the big names wearing your stuff i would think word would catch on for you guys like you said.
i am trying to start a brand myself and i have no names backing me. i send letters and t-shirts to players all for not. learning from your experience it looks like even if the big names wear my gear it is a very hard gig. i guess we all wish it would be that easy!
i see andre deveaux wears sick hockey, back in the day i tried to give him some of my t-shirts because he
is an enforcer! no go! dedicated to you i guess.
Wow great feedback from everyone! We really appreciate all of the expert advise and will begin to execute as many of the ideas as possible. I'm so glad I came across this forum for support. If anyone else has any suggestions keep them coming.
-Better SEO is needed; search engine traffic makes up a huge portion of site traffic.
I had a look at your magazine on line and I think that is an excellent resource and I would recommend it for everyone. I agree that better SEO is needed to build our traffic. Without hiring a SEO firm, what is the easiest way to improve our Google rankings. I've read a few articles about the process but it all seemed kind of complicated. Can you recommend any websites or links?
I think you've gotten a lot of good advice. It's good to see you've already taken Rodney's advice and started personalizing your Twitter feed more. I think that's great. You need to do the same thing with your Facebook page as well. I stopped by the page and it looks like you post pretty sporadically. You need to implement a posting schedule and start interacting with those who follow you and those you follow.
Definitely also start looking for places where you can advertise or talk about your gear. Hockey forums, and sports fan sites would be good places to consider running banner ads. Forums can also be a great place to make connections and, if it's allowed, talk a bit about your brand.
I also agree with Rodney that you should leverage the well known players that wear your gear. Some of them must Tweet or have Facebook pages. See if they'll mention you with a link to your site.
As for the website, I think the design could use a little tweaking. I do like the writing on your "Our Culture" page, however, I think you really know who your audience is and what they love. That's a big part of creating a brand.