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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone done any local media advertising? Mainly I'm talking about local print media. I was thinking about trying this after I'm done with my site, and wondered if anyone else has tried this and what kind of success you've had.

We have several publications where I live that are free to the public and they target different demographics. Their ad rates seem very reasonable. I'm not really concerned about selling a bunch of shirts right away from this advertising, but I thought this might be a good way to build some brand recognition and awareness.

I welcome all thoughts!:)
 

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Mainly a cost versus time issue. Do you want to only spend money in areas that will almost guarantee you sales, or do you want to look into multiple areas that may not help as much but will spread your name and awareness faster? Really depends on you and your plans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Twinge said:
Do you want to only spend money in areas that will almost guarantee you sales, or do you want to look into multiple areas that may not help as much but will spread your name and awareness faster?
I really want to build a brand, so I guess the latter would be true. I'm not so much concerned with sales right now, as I am with customer service, quality, and brand awareness. I think if I concentrate on those things first, the sales will come in time.
I'm in no hurry for that.
 

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Is your local area part of your target market? No need wasting good advertising dollars on an unrelated market.

Might be better spend advertising in a magazine or cpm banner ads online.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Rodney said:
Is your local area part of your target market? No need wasting good advertising dollars on an unrelated market.
Yeah, it is. I am marketing my shirts to the urban wear market and there are a couple of free publications here that are specifically geared to the urban market. They get read frequently(mainly because they are free!) and their ad rates are pretty good.

I have been doing some research and a lot of the major cities in the country also have similar publications. I figured maybe I would try it out at home, and if I can get some awareness, maybe add a few more cities.
 

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Comin'OutSwingin said:
Yeah, it is. I am marketing my shirts to the urban wear market and there are a couple of free publications here that are specifically geared to the urban market. They get read frequently(mainly because they are free!) and their ad rates are pretty good.

I have been doing some research and a lot of the major cities in the country also have similar publications. I figured maybe I would try it out at home, and if I can get some awareness, maybe add a few more cities.
Sounds like a good place to start some offline ads then! :)

I am planning on giving offline local ads a try for a line of t-shirts I'm working on geared around my local community.
 

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*mutters about how is Berthoud (the small town I live in) barely sold at all at 'Berthoud Day' (annual event, half the town is out)*

We've managed to sell or give away _most_ of those by now, at least ;)
 

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Twinge said:
*mutters about how is Berthoud (the small town I live in) barely sold at all at 'Berthoud Day' (annual event, half the town is out)*

We've managed to sell or give away _most_ of those by now, at least ;)
Any ideas on why the shirts didn't sell? Were other vendors doing well?

Pricing? Sizing availablilty? Design? Something else?
 

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Rodney said:
Any ideas on why the shirts didn't sell? Were other vendors doing well?

Pricing? Sizing availablilty? Design? Something else?
Well, as I said in another thread, events/fairs have been espeically bad this year for just about everyone. At each event we've tried I've talked to several other vendors and most of them did pretty poorly; people just weren't coming to the events and those that did weren't buying much :p

Of course, for this one specifically, it didn't help that Berthoud Day had to be rescheduled for the first time in 25 odd years (and they did a really bad job of rescheduling it too) ;)


The most frustrating thing, though (especially at one of the other events we tried, which we did at least break even on) was when we had so many people saying how much they liked our shirts, and then just leave. That is incredibly annoying; no one ever gives any feedback on what else would've made them buy the shirt they seemed to like so much, hehe.
 

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The most frustrating thing, though (especially at one of the other events we tried, which we did at least break even on) was when we had so many people saying how much they liked our shirts, and then just leave. That is incredibly annoying; no one ever gives any feedback on what else would've made them buy the shirt they seemed to like so much, hehe.
Twinge, Im hearing you loud and clearly. I had the same experience in my one time selling shirts at a flea market. Everybody kept on telling me how much they loved the shirts, yet I only sold a dozen the whole day. In those one on one situation, sales skills really come into play. You really have to strike up a conversation with the person, and convince them to buy the shirt.

I saw the guy next to me, who was selling some crappy costume Jewelry sweet talkin everyone into buying his junk. It was really frustrating.

I just dont have those sales skills, so I am sticking to the internet. One suggestion though is to bring a friend who is very aggressive with you, to sell the shirts. You cant just stand there with a sign. You really have to sell your product.
 

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I have had mixed results at the flea market. Everyone loves the jokes and notices the quality of the t-shirt but I haven't sold many. I usually wait for someone to ask a question before starting a conversation. I have 50 different joke t-shirts for people to read so I don't want to bother them while they are trying to read everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
How much are you guys selling your shirts for? I tried flea markets a little while back and found that I could not get the price points that I wanted for my shirts. I could easily sell my shirts for around $20 to people that had seem worn by friends and family. I sold many shirts this way, but trying to get $20 from flea market customers(who are there mainly looking for deals) was just not going to work. They didn't care about the quality of the shirt or how many colors there were. They just wanted a GREAT deal! I had people that wanted to haggle with me for a lower price, and would buy the shirt if it were cheaper. But, I couldn't charge people $20 for seeking me out to buy a shirt, and then a lower price at the flea market. Not good for business. So I just resigned to the fact that my product was not fit for flea markets.

I know it's hard when people take the time to look at your product, talk about how much they like, then walk away empty handed. It's very frustrating.

Do you think it could have been the price of your shirts?
 

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The problem with agressively selling the product is that unless you do it just right it can hurt more than it helps, as some people will definately be put off by that. As SpaceMan said, I didn't really want to interupt people while they were looking at the shirts...

As far as price goes... it's possible. Now, I wasn't selling them at flea markets, so there shouldn't have been much of a preconcieved notion of 'getting a bargain'... I'm sure some of the people that liked the shirts didn't even KNOW the price since I never saw them look at the price list; which, I've gathered from talking to other vendors, could have been a problem too - some people won't ask for a price, they just want it very clearly posted.

At any rate, we'll try some more next year, and see what may bring us success in those areas -- or stop doing events and focus on other outlets only =)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Twinge said:
The problem with agressively selling the product is that unless you do it just right it can hurt more than it helps, as some people will definately be put off by that.
I agree. The last thing somebody wants to have happen at an event is to get hassled by the t-shirt-selling-guy!

Twinge said:
I'm sure some of the people that liked the shirts didn't even KNOW the price since I never saw them look at the price list; which, I've gathered from talking to other vendors, could have been a problem too - some people won't ask for a price, they just want it very clearly posted.
You're probably right. If you are going to have different prices for different shirts, it might be good to group the shirts by price and have them clearly marked. For example, if you have one or two color shirts with just text, they could be one price and grouped together. Then if you have some shirts with just designs, you can group those together with the same price. And if you have some with text and graphics, they would probably cost more and put them in a group.

I've done a little selling at events. I'm curious as to what kind of events were you selling at? Were your shirts geared specifically for the event or were you just selling the kind of shirts that you specialize in at the event?
 

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When selling face to face, I believe sales skills are key. Sometimes people think they have such a good product that the product will sell itself. This may happen, rarely, however from my experience aggressive selling at events is the way to go. After all, vendors are there to sell, so people expect to be sold to.

I always sell aggressively, asking people to feel the shirt, making sure to tell them they can buy it for a gift, telling them I have kids sizes, calling people to come up to my booth, etc., etc. Fortunately, I have been successful so far selling at events this way.
 

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When selling face to face, I believe sales skills are key
Great point! Actually, when selling online, over the phone, via mail or in person, sales skills are key.

Online, many people think a t-shirt design can just sell itself. I can't tell you have many shirt sites I've seen that have JUST a picture of the t-shirt next to an add-to-cart button. I don't care *how* good your design is, that's just very motivating to me as a shopper (and not good business).

Online, you don't have the luxury of being face to face with your customer to tell them how cool the design is. The customer doesn't have the luxury of being face to face with your product so they can touch it, see it up close, be told it makes a great gift and comes in a variety of sizes. These are things t-shirt sellers need to be putting into their sales copy for every design; right on that all important add-to-cart page. Tell them why the design is cool, what you were thinking when you made it up, make up a funny story about the design. Tell them how soft it is, how it's made, that it makes a great gift, etc etc.

You want to see beauty in sales copywriting, check out woot.com. They've made a successful business of selling one cool product a day. In my opinion, they owe a lot of their success to their clever copy writers. Now that style doesn't work for all sites, but you've got to say *something* :)

I think having clearly posted pricing and available sizing would help answer questions for those folks that don't want to get in lengthy conversations with you just to find out how much a tee costs. But I do think it would help to engage the people when they come by your booth. It would almost seem rude not to chat them up a bit ;)
 

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Rodney said:
But I do think it would help to engage the people when they come by your booth. It would almost seem rude not to chat them up a bit ;)
For big sales to stores, when the deal is on the cusp, I flirt outrageously.
 

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I have done a few events and found that customer interaction is key. And I found a way to not have to be agressive at all. Some suggestions could be:

Have a contest for a free shirt and they just need to leave their email address on a list. You can chat them up while they fill it out. Talk about a new design you have, where else you have them available (stores...dropping a popular local retail outlet is good too, it gives you credibility), if they liked a particular design, etc.

I know some people have said that a lot of people will say they like it and move on. That is normal and will always happen. But those are the people who like to investigate your product further or just are not ready to buy now. But give them a card or something with your website and locations where they buy your products. They may come back.

I usually put a sign up at events and have customers try to pronounce a word that is on one of my shirts. This goes with the entire theme of my designs, so it works. They giggle then I get involved by helping them pronounce it. I also have written that if they can pronounce the word in two trys they get a certain percentage off a shirt. This has worked tremendously with my product. Try to find something interactive that relates to your products to create the interest. And while they are there, you can chat them up. You don't have to be salesy, just idle chit chat about your stuff can do it.

You can simply talk about the quality of your shirts or printing type. I always talk about the fact that my women's shirts are all American Apparel and cut just for women.

I think the key is to have fun in the most comfortable way for you and for your customer.
 
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