Film has its award season, politics has the election cycle, and for the blooming t-shirt industry, its own 100% cotton version of March Madness is right around the corner: It goes by the name of summertime. Yes, the season of weekly pilgrimages to waterparks, barbecue parties around the neighborhood, and sweaty lemonade stands thriving on child labor coincide with the prime time for selling shirts. They are lightweight, breezy, and comfortable. Everyone needs one or two good tees in the summer, so your potential target audience is anyone with a back and a need for clothes.
But how can you effectively market t-shirts to get the most out of the summer months? What is the best way to sell your t-shirts when everybody and their mother are doing the exact same thing? What will you do to set yourself apart? You bring up some good questions, so let’s take a look at a few helpful suggestions when selling the classic t-shirt.
Do: Expand Your Audience
Like we mentioned just a minute ago, your target demographic includes most everyone. So whether its blog posts or giveaways or even a featured shirt every now and then, cater to a little bit of everyone. Of course, if you have a comfortable niche, peddle the heck out of it. But that is not to say that niches don’t have other inner niches (niche-ception, if you will). Don’t be afraid to venture down those other rabbit holes from time to time. For example, maybe you are renowned for nerd shirts. Since its summertime and the age of tees is come, you could promote mom-specific nerd shirts and tees for nerds who love to work out. Everyone will be online searching for their style, and you can snag quite a few with these specific yet ambitious detours.
Don’t: Feel Frustrated
It may take some time to find the tee-shaped key to your audience’s heart. After all your hard work and long hours, it could still be weeks, months before your posts generate any buzz at all. But do not be discouraged! Everyone had to start somewhere and summer is the best chance to throw your (snapback) hat in the (sandy) ring. Before beachgoers surf the waves, they have to surf the web and hopefully they will find themselves at your fine site. To tell you the truth, a certain site named TeeHunter.com once struggled to be heard. Yes, as impossible as it sounds, it was true. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, the shirt-wielding behemoth it is today was once but a humble textile mill. And look where we are today. It is all thanks to the persistent, hard work of dedicated t-shirt connoisseurs just like you.
Do: Pump Out Content
As with light sabers (but not politicians), content follows the age-old rule of the more, the merrier! Did you already post today? Good, now post again. And again and again and again. You want as many posts available to your audience as possible. The more content you have published, the more opportunities people have to find you. Try out blog posts, lists, reviews, recommendations, trivia, insider tips, experiences, interviews… The sky is the limit. Plus, you can try out any and every idea you dream up (hotdog-related shirts? happy t-shirts? tees that make you metaphorically hotter than the summer sun?) using your dozens upon dozens of articles!
Don’t: Limit Your Options
Summer is definitely time for some well-earned beach days and family camping trips, but let’s not forget the other, slightly less stereotypical events of the summer. Maybe none of these are the first thing to pop into your mind, but that doesn’t mean people still won’t need t-shirts for them. For starters, summer sports! Although football does not start again until August and basketball will be wrapping up in early June, there are still plenty of acronyms to go around with the MLB, MLS, and NASCAR all competing through the summer. Moreover, there are literally dozens of music festivals taking place throughout June, July, and August all across the United States. Coincidentally, people seem to love wearing music-themed shirts to these music-themed events. As long as you are not dead set in your particular niche, take this chance to branch out.
Do: Get Creative
Now is your opportunity to be different! One of the best ways to help expand your audience, brainstorm new and original methods of showcasing your shirts. This can mean anything, ranging from one-of-a-kind giveaways to special flash sales. Have you hosted any contests? Why not?! Contests are the easiest route to a greater social media presence, a more involved consumer base (not to mention a much cheaper alternative to traditional advertising). The opportunities are endless! You could offer a free t-shirt in exchange for the funniest shirt pun shared on Twitter, or there’s always the classic wet t-shirt contest: The coolest surfing or water slide picture while wearing a brand’s shirt. It does not really matter what you do as long as you are doing something.
Don’t: Fall Behind
As much as it pains us to say this, you need to be on your phone more! Stay up-to-date on your Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter (but you can probably take a step back from Myspace if that’s any consolation). You should know what is going on when it is going on, and you can focus on gearing shirts toward the events of the day. Keep up with stylish celebrities, music groups, and fashion icons. Who’s dating who? What is trending? You never know when the next big Pokémon Go or Stranger Things will take the summer by storm, and you have to be ready to jump on it.
Do: Plan Ahead
Start now! Summer is coming quickly and you should prepare with weeks to spare, so both shoppers and search engines can find your marvelous content. Vacationers are already booking flights, packing bags, and looking online for clothes to wear. Don’t procrastinate, so begin pushing your summer content now. Try looking ahead at some of the big premieres in TV (Orange Is the New Black and Game of Thrones) and film (Spider-Man: Homecoming and Wonder Woman) and start churning out shirts as soon as possible. Once a summer blockbuster has hit it big, it is probably too late to market tees.
Don’t: Forget the Classics
While we want you to get creative and pump out as much content as possible, we do not want you losing the summer roots. People need movie shirts and sports shirts, but remember, people need regular ole beach shirts too. People at the pool still want normal pool tees. That includes tank tops, graphic designs, and v-necks. What beach t-shirt is more iconic than the classic “Endless Summer” print?
It is the David Hasselhoff of beach shirts. With waves, surfboards, and shirtless hunks, it’s got everything you could possibly need for the sun and the sand. So yes, we absolutely advocate branching out. But in no case should you lose track of the summer classics.
In the name of everything under the sun, we wish you the best of luck this summer. Now go sell some shirts!