One of the best methods to market your t-shirt & apparel brands online is to capture & cultivate your target audience. This can be reached using social media profiles, blogs, websites & even events, so long are seamlessly matched to your target audience & brand image.
No matter how great your designs & branding is, without a decent audience to market them to your going to fight to gain traction. So, the faster you get your designs in front of a large group of people, the better.
Yet all of these ways, including social media, will take a significant investment of time and money before you see good results. While this is the wisest long-term plan for scaling your brand, how can you trigger a surge of traffic & sales to keep your pockets flush in the meantime?
You could consider the paid advertising route through social networks such as FB or Instagram. If you know what you are doing it is a great way to immediately turn on a stream of hungry buyers. But for those who are not, it is still going to take both time & money to get your bearings.
Now, since we’re hungry for more immediate returns, the next best to having your own customer is borrowing someone else’s! Once you start looking, you’ll notice there is plenty others building their customers who may have a similar demographic to you. The more closely they resemble your target customer and the stronger their buyer intent, the more profitable it’ll be for you to approach the owners.
While there is a whole variety of platforms and places this can be done, we’re going to focus on leveraging tee shirt & apparel blogs. These websites are often buzzing with potential customers, all looking to have a glimpse of emerging brands. But not only will you draw potential buyers in the short-term, you will reap long-term SEO benefits from mentions & links from a large reputable website.
Your initial reaction may be to bombard a bunch of different blogs with a soul-less email template asking to be featured. But if you do not want to be ignored, you need to understand there are a right way & a wrong way to solicit these invaluable blog owners. We have compiled a bunch of tips to provide you with the great chances of scoring a juicy t-shirt review blog post!
- Get Creative- Put Your Best Foot Forward
Actions speak louder than words. And nowhere is this truer than in the fashion & style industry we reside in. It goes without saying, you need to allow your t-shirt designs do most of the talking.
To stand a good chance of being picked by a popular t-shirt / apparel blogger, your going to need to break in with unique & one-of-a-kind designs. If you begin touting boring, dime-a-dozen designs that look like everyone else’s, why would they bid you a spot on their blog? After all, they want to offer their audiences fresh & interesting content to grow themselves!
So let your creativity do all the talking, if with fun, witty, intelligent designs / something a little more artistic. The more creative the better, but like anything, they should still be within the confines of sellable designs. Tee shirt designs are one part art & one part business and bloggers are sticklers for having both. While there may be a niche blog that elements the weirdest & most out there designs available, most are going to a little more mainstream. Your product has to be unique, yet accessible. Like with any piece of creative work, if it is too out there, no one will get it.
Not all of your designs need to be creative masterpieces to secure a spot on a blog. You may just need 2-5 signature pieces or a specific line to really captivate the blog owners & their readers.
2. Question Yourself- Would You Introduce You?
Now you need to take an objective look at what you are offering. If the blog is wildly popular, it is because they rely on the best designs they can seek to feature. These are not just good shirts; these are ones that they would purchase themselves. While that barrier to entry may seem intimidating, that is a sure-sign of a more rewarding experience.
After all, if they’re a bigger blog, they are probably bombarded with fellow tee shirt designers and their feed is filled to the brim with designs each day. Yours will have to sit proud in a sea of designs. You better believe that they’re going to pass. Try to see if you could match your designs with the particular themes they seem to concentrate.
It is far too easy to become enamored by our own designs. It is much harder to recognize when a design just is not quite what their blog would be looking for. It can be a hard pill to swallow, but if you can determine for yourself if or not your design is guest post worthy or not, you could keep from wasting your time & theirs. But do not get too bummed out, start looking at different blogs that are more suited.
3. Do not Be a Stranger- Build Familiarity
You should be (or at least appear to be) a subscriber of theirs by explaining a familiarity with their blog. Better yet, been seen as active by liking posts, offering relevant comments and most importantly, interacting in a positive, constructive way.
If it is clear you aren’t signed or even vaguely aware of what they are all about, do you expect them to go out of their way to scratch your back? Why not like their FB page, read some of their emails/posts & show them that you really support them & what they do.
The good thing about blogs is they’re great for creating partnerships & communities. So why not make a unique offer for them, either with a free shirt, a discount code or even offering to do a free interview. By building a relationship first, you are less likely to come off as trying to take advantage of their readership base & look like more of a professional. While spamming each website you can find online, may result in some low-quality leads, it is better to focus on quality. Building up a relationship with the greatest ones is going to be far more lucrative!
4. Provide Value- Mutually Beneficial Arrangements
Blogs come in all different shapes & sizes. Some bloggers are in it for the for the passion & treat it as a hobby, whereas others it is a form of income. Smaller blogs can be hungry for content for growth, bigger ones could afford to be more choosy.
You will feel out the blog for their purpose, audience, monetization & size. With a good understanding of their needs & focus, you will be able to work out feature terms to suit them. For example, a small blog may be happy to write & publish a dedicated review for a free t-shirt or two, whereas larger blogs may require monetary compensation.
A free shirt certainly is not going to be an automatic “yes” in most cases. With more popular blogs space is limited & in demand by those wanting exposure to their huge customers. You’ll need to carefully consider the value of your featured t-shirt article / review while negotiating deals to have a mutually beneficial partnership.
5. Showcase Your Brand- Do not Post Just Products
Influential bloggers see the value of linking their followers to your shop & they won’t plug you without good reason. Bloggers & readers are hungry for information & entertainment. The best way to achieve them is to enthrall them with a story; your brand story.
They are not an advertisement board on which to display products, they wish to engage with their readers. Facilitate this by providing a brand story. It should contain who you are, your influences & why you do what you do. Right now, your vision & story are your strongest assets. If you can make a strong connection with their audience, you more likely to score a spot plus you will draw plenty of traffic your way.
If you are lacking inspiration, research big name or interesting brands you have come across that stuck in your mind. It is likely they had a captivating story behind their brand / products that created a deep connection it’s readers.
6. Do not Let Rejections Get You Down
You are going to receive radio silence, and even “no” at times. But if they feel you are not the right designer for their blog, you have got to respect that decision and perhaps, they’re right. Rejection is especially hard when it comes from a place of creativity. It could be easy to equate a “no” with “it sucks” and your knee-jerk reaction is a bruised ego. But it is important to keep a level head. As badly as you can want to fire back at them, just thank them & move on. And remember, “no” right now isn’t a “never”. It may be worth staying in contact & active on their radar. If you can show them how you have grown & offer value at a later date, they will be more likely to take you up!
While these tips do not guarantee that you will get your t-shirts featured or reviewed on an awesome blog, they’ll increase your chances ten-fold. In the meantime, continue to hone your designs & your brand image and you will eventually land yourself a decent spot!