Welcome to the Custom Apparel Startups podcast, your best source for information, news, tips and tricks to get you off the ground running, and earn success with your custom apparel decorating business. So, get ready to soak up some knowledge!
Now, here are your hosts, Mark and Marc!
Mark S: Hey, everyone! Welcome to another episode of the Custom Apparel Startups podcast. My name is Mark Stephenson, from ColDesi.
Marc V: And this is Marc Vila, from Colman and Company. Before we talk about what we’re going to say today, it’s a really, really important day right now.
Mark S: Is it, really? Why is that? Why is that?
Marc V: It’s like a milestone. We are a half of a century.
Mark S: What?!
Marc V: Yeah.
Mark S: Episode 50! That’s right. Now I’m seeing it. I’m looking up, episode 49 is already online. This is episode 50 of the Custom Apparel Startups podcast! I feel like you should have bought me something silver, or whatever the anniversary is.
Marc V: I don’t know what 50 is.
Mark S: It’s a miracle. I think it’s maybe juice and Viagra. I’m not sure.
Marc V: I know we’ve spent a lot of hours together, but when we say that this is episode 50, it means we’ve spent at least 50 hours alone together.
Mark S: That’s true, with all of them. They’re participating with us. 50 hours. Not all of our podcasts are an hour long, but we actually do take a few minutes before each one, to kind of decide what we’re going to say. We talk about the topic, and we do a little bit of planning, depending on what the topic is. 50 hours – what’s a university degree? How many hours is that? You guys are getting close.
If this is going to be your 50th episode with us, and you’ve listened to them all, I feel like we should give you a prize. We’ll make up a certificate, and send you a “Graduate of the Custom Apparel Startups Podcast University.”
Marc V: I like that. Sure! If you want to email in or hit us on Facebook, then we will get one made.
Mark S: And because it’s marketing, it will be a B.S. It will be a B.S. in Custom Apparel Marketing.
Marc V: If this is the 50th one you’ve listened to, thanks!
Mark S: Yeah. We really appreciate that.
Marc V: Hopefully, you’ve learned a lot, and hopefully we’ve taught you a lot and you’ve been able to share a lot. We’ve learned a lot.
Mark S: Yeah. We learn from you guys all the time, especially on the Facebook group and the people that come in here to ColDesi and Colman and Company, doing our Success Stories. We interact with you guys as much as possible, because we learn a lot.
Marc V: Absolutely. I’ve learned a ton over these past 50. I’m crying.
Mark S: Is that what that is? I figured because it’s oak season and it’s allergies, but okay.
Marc V: Let’s go on to learning something else and talking about something else. Today, episode 50 of the Custom Apparel Startups podcast, we are going to talk about what to do with $1,000. It’s a marketing brainstorm.
Mark S: The $1,000 – we kind of picked that because it’s real money. If you’ve got $1,000 to spend set aside, because you’ve earned profit or you’ve decided to grow your business to the next level, you’ve got $1,000 that you can put toward it. But deciding what to do is a big deal, because you don’t want to waste it.
Honestly, we’ve got a podcast on Stop Wasting Money on Marketing, that I think you should listen to as well. You don’t want to waste that $1,000, because you’ve worked for it. You’ve earned it.
But in the marketing world, in some ways it’s enough money, and in some ways, it’s hardly any, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.
Marc V: There’s two reasons why $1,000 is important to me, for this number. One is, it’s an achievable number for anybody listening to this. You can get $1,000 together, if you’re listening to this. You own some equipment. You’ve already done it.
Mark S: You’ve bought.
Marc V: You own some equipment, more than likely, so you’ve already done it once before. You definitely can do it again. So, even if your business is on a shoestring budget, you can get to $1,000.
The second is, I listen to all types of business marketing podcasts all the time. And they’re always talking about these things that they do that cost $5,000, $10,000, $100,000. As a small business owner, it’s great to listen to that and be encouraged by that. However, you’re just like “I learned a lot. I feel like I got an education. I just can’t do that.”
Mark S: Yeah. That’s way too much.
Marc V: A lot of small business owners can’t just say “Yeah. I have $25,000 to spend in marketing.”
Mark S: And honestly, that happens at every scale. Even though ColDesi makes a significant investment in marketing, I will go to these conferences or talk to other marketing folks, and they say “Oh, yeah. We use Marketo” or “We use Hubspot” or one of these other CRM or marketing tools that would just be thousands and thousands of dollars every month for us.
We’re just not going to make that investment.
Marc V: I had a call the other day with an agency that we’ve been working with, and they were talking about their minimum is $25,000 a month, is their minimum, to get started. I’m just like “If that was one of our customers,” it’s just a challenge for a lot of – it’s a challenge for any business to invest that, unless you’re huge. $25,000 a month is a lot of money.
Mark S: Even $1,000. There’s kind of two sets of folks that are listening. There are ones who $1,000 represents a lot of money, and that they need to save up or they need to set aside, or they’re considering it’s a major investment. There’s also people that are already spending money every month on marketing.
If you’re a mid-size company or you’ve been in business for a while, and you’re already doing regular investments, then maybe this is $1,000 that you set aside from your regular budget, and you devote it to some of the things that we’re going to talk about today, just as kind of a marketing test, which is something we do all the time.
Marc V: So, what can we do with $1,000? Let’s talk about some real world things. I think the goal of this podcast for you would be to listen to this. Think about “Do I have the $1,000 now? Do I have a credit card now I can do this on? Am I prepared to borrow some money, or can I budget out $200 a month, and be ready to do this plan in five months?”
Whatever your plan is, I want you to think about that. Then, write down some of the things that we wrote, or some of your own ideas, and actually make a plan to do them. That means like “I’ve got $1,000 right now. I just did a big job or I’ve got some money in my savings for my business. I have it now. I’m ready to do it. I’ve got a credit card. I’m ready to invest in my business by borrowing money,” or “It’s going to take me three months, but I’m going to do it in” whatever three months is.
Mark S: You have to play along at home here, folks. We’re not just giving you something to listen to, for entertainment value. You’ve got to get something out of it. For example, if you listened to episode 49, the 50 Cups of Coffee and Other Things You Should Do – if you listened to that a month ago, and you haven’t done anything yet, then you may as well not listen to this one, because you’re not going to do anything.
Marc V: Yeah. Do some things! We do this podcast because we do some or all of the things that we’ve said. So, let’s go ahead and talk about some things you could do with $1,000. Would you like to start?
Mark S: I would, because I want to preface everything by saying that when we survey our customers, and when we talk to them on the phone, and we see them on the CAS group and things like that, the vast majority of our customers do business in a local area. So, the majority of our customers’ customers comes within, I’d say within a 20-mile radius of where their shop or business is.
So, the first thing I would do with $1,000 is take a look at what’s happening in your area, and see if maybe there is a trade show that you could attend. That’s definitely one thing that you could do, is to see. You’re looking in the area.
If your niche market is dog shirts or horse shirts, or if your niche market is charities, or if your niche market is martial arts or cheer or dance, or something like that, maybe there is an event in your area that costs under $1,000, that you could participate in. Why I think that’s a good choice is because that’s an easy thing to find out whether it’s worth repeating. That’s something that’s easily measurable.
If there’s a small business expo in Tampa, and I go with my best samples – if I spend $1,000 on the table, on brochures, on gas to get there, on things to hand out and on things to display, that show my stuff off the best, then at the end of that show, I can kind of go through and say “Okay. How much did I make? How many good customers did I find? How much am I going to make from them?”
You can see. “Okay, that was $1,000. If I did this once a month or twice a year or four times a year, I can do the math and figure out how profitable it’s going to be.” $1,000 is a reasonable amount to invest on doing something like that.
Marc V: Yeah. You want to make sure whatever you go to ultimately is going to be filled with potential customers, meaning almost every person there is a potential customer. Don’t go to a trade show of a quilting show, if you don’t sell stuff to quilt.
Mark S: Good point.
Marc V: You might have an embroidery machine, but most of those people probably aren’t your customers, if you’re listening to this podcast. Go to a place where it’s going to be your customers. Hopefully, it’s really going to niche out.
This is also an opportunity, if you don’t have a niche, to pick something to try out.
Mark S: That’s a good idea.
Marc V: A ton of our customers don’t have a very specific niche. If you don’t, what I want you to do is pick like five things you kind of like. If you have an obsession, you’ve already found your niche.
Mark S: Yeah, and we’ve done some stuff on niche marketing.
Marc V: Find five things, and then look for some sort of local events, and find out how many people show up. Look for the biggest number. Find out how much to get a little table or a booth costs, your travel, hotel or whatever else it costs. Do some research. Find six different ones, seven different ones within the next year, locally.
There’s probably going to be a whole bunch. Whatever it is, find them, budget them out, and then do some math and say “This one’s going to cost me $1,000, but there’s going to be 10,000 people there. This one’s only going to cost me $400, but it’s local, and there’s going to be less people.”
Do some math. Pick one.
Mark S: Or maybe the niche makes a difference in the potential profit. Let’s say there’s a boat show that’s going to happen. Everybody that’s there looking at yachts is going to be able to afford your $35 resort wear t-shirt, or something specific. “I can do something custom with your boat’s name on a t-shirt. A picture of your boat on a shirt. I can embroider a sail for you.”
Things like that will make a big difference in deciding if you want to spend that money, as well.
Marc V: Absolutely. If you go to places where the more expensive the hobby is, the better, the higher profit and nicer things you can sell.
Mark S: This is a good idea, and it’s not even our favorite! You know what I mean? The more we talk about this, the more I like it. It’s worth trying. Listen. You may suck at it, because there are people that just can’t stand up and work a crowd. If you’ve ever been to a show or a market, and you see somebody sitting in a chair behind the table, reading a book – if you’re going to do that, you should not do that show.
You have to be a little bit outgoing. You have to be willing to talk to people. You have to be willing to tell them who you are and about your business. And of course, like Marc said, if you’re already passionate about something, or kind of interested, it will make all that easier.
Marc V: There’s all types of little cool things. We could probably do a whole podcast on some tips and tricks, on how to do these shows.
Mark S: We should do that, because I’m a great barker at a trade show.
Marc V: I’ve heard that. Some people say bark, some people say annoying. I don’t know.
Mark S: It’s probably a little of both.
Marc V: I’m just saying what I’ve heard around the building. But I always go prepared, with a few things I know I’m going to say. You can repeat the same conversation 48 times, if you’re at a booth. Have one story. Have fun with it.
Mark S: That kind of leads into what I think is both of our favorite thing to do with $1,000.
Marc V: Okay.
Mark S: Again, this is based on the fact that most of our customers make most of their money locally. I was actually at One Stop, up in New Port Richey, updating a Success Story for Lori Consoli and their business up there. Significantly, it’s almost all local business.
She reiterated what they did when they first moved into their new location. That is they printed up a bunch of business cards and a bunch of samples, and they hopped in the car. They drove around every area of business. They headed out and said what they did. That’s all they had to do.
Marc V: You don’t have to be a great salesperson. You don’t have to have a ton of guts. You don’t have to have really anything but a flyer, a card, a sample and a smile. That’s literally all you need.
Mark S: That’s good. Write those things down.
Marc V: That’s all you need. So, take $1,000 and say “What are some samples I can make with my machine that I’ve got? What can I make?” Spend some time making a cool sample, whether it’s your logo or a cool piece of artwork, or whatever it is. Show the potential of what you can do.
Make sure it’s something that looks nice, feels nice, washes nice, whatever it is. Pick something that’s a good combination. If you’re in embroidery, I like a hat. It can be a fun idea.
Mark S: Or a set. It’s a cap and a polo. What you want is you want people, when you hand it to them, not that just you like it or that it was hard, or you thought it was cute. What you want is you want to be able to hand it to somebody and have them either say “Wow!” or you can tell they think it’s really nice. You want them to be able to feel it and appreciate the quality.
Then, you can do your little pitch. That’s always the same. It’s going to be “Hi. My name is Mark. I run an embroidery or custom apparel business down the street, and I wanted to come by and just introduce myself and show you what we do, and see if you might have anything coming up we can help you with. Here. Check this out.”
Marc V: I’ll tell you what. We are in the custom t-shirt and apparel business here, by the way, and you won’t believe how many people will just take a free garment, shirt, hat, whatever it is, no matter what you put on it. People are just like “Free clothes!” I don’t know. It must be some sort of primal thing.
Mark S: It’s a thing, trust me.
Marc V: People love free clothes! So anyway, give out some samples. While you’re doing that, find a place where you can get some reasonably priced business cards, flyers, brochures, whatever it might be. Shop around on that, too. Don’t just go to the person that does it a lot. Because I’ll tell you what. You can get ripped off on business cards. You can spend $250 on business cards, and you’ve used a quarter of your budget.
There is a ton of places online. There’s a ton of local places, I’m sure. Get enough cards to do this. Get some sort of a flyer. Do not do something in Microsoft Word. I’m sorry. I know some of you right now have Word open.
Mark S: No, no. Don’t do that, please.
Marc V: Don’t do that. There are a ton of places online that have all these cool little templates.
Mark S: Yeah. Here’s what you need, though. Here’s what you need. You need to show a sample of your work, and they need to know your name and phone number, and where you are.
Marc V: Most important.
Mark S: That’s really what it takes. If you can do more stuff, then that’s great, and they’ll pass it around. And I would never leave just one card.
Marc V: That’s good, too.
Mark S: I would leave like a handful, like three cards minimum. Say “Listen. You probably know two other people that might be looking for this. Would you mind passing out my card?”
Marc V: That’s great. And there’s a couple other things you could do on your card. If you want to write something on the back of the card, “$10 coupon,” whatever you want to do. The point is, take $1,000 and get some business cards and some samples, and gas money.
Remember, this is business, so figure out how many miles are you going to drive.
Mark S: What’s your time worth?
Marc V: Take that $1,000 and do that. Then, if you can have some sort of a call-in or a coupon code, or something to show that they got that card, then you can really quantify that this is where the business came from.
Mark S: Let’s say that out loud again. Really, anything that you want to do, because you’re investing a specific amount of money in it, you want to be able to track the return, so you know whether or not it’s worth repeating.
If you’re going to do a trade show, you want to know specifically how much money over 90 days you made from people at that trade show. If you’re going to do this kind of local outreach, you want to be able to track who you talked to and how much you made from it.
Marc V: I think that’s great. Figure out a way to track it. But those are all little extra bonus things. Even if you didn’t do all that.
Mark S: You’re still going to make money.
Marc V: Just get some reasonable business cards.
Mark S: By the way, I want to compliment Colman and Company, because you know, they’re selling the SpanglElite now, which is a great bling machine that each one of you should own at least one. They’ve come up with a great way. They’ve gotten some material, and they’ve printed the SpanglElite logo out in spangles. It feels great and it looks great, and that’s kind of their leave-behind and mailer.
It’s one of those things where people pick it up, they look at it, and they say “Wow!” Then, they feel it, and “This is awesome!” That’s the ideal. Imagine if you’re in that business, and you handed those out.
I had one customer that put a rhinestone design on bandannas. That was his leave-behind, because a bandanna is cheap, but it’s still a very impressive piece. Maybe you do DTG or you do t-shirt transfers, and you want to just do a very cool design. Just do it on a hand towel, or do it on a piece of cloth.
Marc V: You could do hand towels, you could do handkerchiefs. Any of these things are cool. But you want to show what you do, and you want to leave your business name behind. To me, this is $1,000 that will make you significantly more than that, as a local business.
Mark S: I love that idea.
Marc V: It’s just going to. I think that you could almost just stop and do that right now. But there’s a handful of people out there that maybe that’s not their business. They are in the online business. That’s what they want to do. They want to sell online.
Mark S: Or they just won’t.
Marc V: Or they won’t.
Mark S: We have customers that they’ll buy machines and they’ll stare at the phone, and that’s their business. Unless somebody finds them, they won’t sell. So, if you won’t do that, I am going to do – and I know where you’re going with people that want to specialize in online. I want to kind of do a bridge here.
Marc V: Actually, I wanted to bridge, so go ahead.
Mark S: The bridge is doing online advertisements, although we didn’t talk about print ads for local.
Marc V: That was my bridge.
Mark S: Was it? Go! Because I had a different bridge.
Marc V: Maybe some of your business is you’re trying to drive people to either a website or something like that, or attend. So, there’s actually two of them. Anyway, you can local print ads, for reasonable. I would recommend trying to go as local as you possibly can. Where I live, there is a little like newspaper that goes out just to my community. It’s a few thousand homes.
Mark S: Actually, no one else is allowed to read it. I asked him to bring it, and he couldn’t do it.
Marc V: No, I couldn’t do it. Actually, if you open it up, it’s blank pages, like the Harry Potter map. But yeah, if there are these kind of communities in your area that, they’re all over the country now, where there are these local communities of a few thousand homes. They have their own HOA and CCDs and all this stuff, and they run their own paper.
Oftentimes, you can advertise in those. One of my friends who does insurance claim adjusting, he was doing that for a while. What he would do was he found a handful of these communities that he felt were really good for him. I want to say they cost him $250 apiece, for each ad. He puts like a little square in the corner of the page.
What’s great about those is it’s a very, very selective area. If your address is very close to that community, you’re maybe going to see like 15 advertisements in those, maybe. It’s not a mess. You try to advertise in the local newspaper, and there are just – nobody is looking at it, first of all.
Then somebody is like “I read the paper,” and I’m like “Well, you’re alone.”
Mark S: I’ll add to that. A community newsletter might be a good idea. Remember, you have to test all this stuff.
Marc V: Try one, if you think it’s a good idea.
Mark S: But you know, if you have a relationship, or don’t, with a local school, is there a PTA newsletter? Does the school put flyers in backpacks twice a year?
If you are a member of an Elks Lodge, or if you’re a Mason, and they allow that. If there’s any kind of organization that you’re a part of, that has a newsletter, you might have a little leverage there. Like “Buy from one of us. We do custom t-shirts.”
Marc V: Yep. There’s even more creative ones that you can also advertise in, and kind of help out, which is always nice. Like high school yearbooks, church newsletters; they often do that. They kind of sell advertising in order just to keep the publication kind of alive for charity. That’s another, and those are often inexpensive. Put together a little group of these things, and see if you can get some business out of it.
Mark S: And that may have some ancillary benefits, because now you’re part of that community. But you do have to track, to make sure this stuff works.
Marc V: Yeah, definitely. These are things that I think are most important to track. The driving around is important to track, but I think it’s -.
Mark S: That’s going to work.
Marc V: It’s going to work, so it’s not as big of a deal if you don’t have a concrete plan.
Mark S: This is part of this being a brainstorming session, as opposed to a planned-out podcast. I also had another thought on samples. That is target samples. If you have companies, big companies or schools or organizations that you have always wanted to get into, but haven’t made the effort or haven’t been able to do so, spend a little money on doing specific samples for them.
Marc V: I always like that.
Mark S: In other words, if there’s a big high school or University, or a big company in the area, send the right person a hat, with 3D puff font on it. Send them a company logo, embroidered beautifully on a jacket. Send them a printed t-shirt or a jacket with the school logo. Something specifically for that organization.
Marc V: And they’ve probably never seen their logo in spangles or rhinestones.
Mark S: That’s a good one.
Marc V: If you do that, just start doing that, just any local organization that’s worth some time. Every small business is not going to be worth the time to custom make a logo. But if it’s a reasonable size, get that logo, remake it in your software. It’s good practice for you.
Mark S: Do this. If there’s a good dance studio or a big dance studio or cheer academy, or something like that, just do that. Make their logo something special, walk in there with it, and give it to the owner. If it’s a big martial arts club, do a patch or do a gi or do a belt with some embroidery on it, and just give it to them, and make sure that they have your business card.
Marc V: All prospects are worth a different amount of effort. If it’s a really, really small business, and they have three employees, and they’re probably not going to buy a lot, you send them the generic one. It’s worth the effort, because hey, they might order 50 shirts a year from you. Awesome!
However, if it’s a really big martial arts school, they’ve got hundreds and hundreds of students, if you can get this client, it could be worth thousands or tens of thousands of dollars a year for you. It would be worth it to maybe embroider a belt that is just this amazing piece. It’s like “Alright, this took me three, four hours’ worth of work. However, I really want to get this client. That’s how hard I’m going to work to get this client, because it can be worth fifty grand to me this year.”
Mark S: Yeah. So, who are the biggest employers in your area? Go with that. If there’s a hospital or if there’s a factory, if there’s a mine, whatever it is, pick that out. They order a bajillion shirts every year or every day, and you can get a piece of that business if you do a great sample for them, and send it out.
Marc V: Yeah. I think you should work always on what you can accomplish, too. Find the businesses that you think you’re actually going to be able to really sell to and work with. Then, just send them something that will wow them. It will work. It works all the time.
We hear customer stories like that just over the years, how many times they say “I made this shirt for them. I made this jacket. It cost me $50,” but when you’re in the business of marketing, the way that Mark and I look at things is we look at how much it costs to bring that customer in.
Mark S: Yeah. Cost per acquisition.
Marc V: Cost per acquisition, cost per lead, cost per all these things. So, you as a small business owner, all these things that we’re doing here, in the end you break down what that cost was. What did you get for this $1,000? “Each customer cost me $100.” Well, what did you make from them? It definitely can be worth it.
Mark S: And if you end up spending $50 on a sample for a customer, and I’m not recommending that, I’m just saying. Then, that’s still, with $1,000, that’s 20 top-end prospects that you’re going to make a connection with, or $20 each. One of those should make you more than $1,000.
Marc V: Also, don’t let people fool you into thinking, like “Oh, you make me this shirt.” There’s always the “free shirt” people.
Mark S: Yeah. No, don’t do that.
Marc V: I get people all the time, “Can you make me this sample and send it? I want it in a women’s large.” I’m like “Actually, what I’ll do is I’ll send you a medium, if you want to see a shirt.” Because it’s about the decoration, not the shirt.
But anyway, I’m just getting on my soapbox.
We have another idea.
Mark S: We do. Go ahead.
Marc V: You throw a little local party or open house.
Mark S: Yes! That can be a good idea! If you’re an established business, especially.
Marc V: If you have a location and it looks nice and it’s presentable, and you’d like to invite people in, you get some punch and some pie, because everyone will show up for that. You get some punch and pie, and you send out some flyers, and you say you’re having like a grand opening, a welcome thing.
You invite business owners to come by, visit you, network, take a look at your shop, whatever you want to do. Just invite people to come and just look.
Mark S: Yeah. Think of a good excuse, like “Man, I just got a great new t-shirt printing machine from ColDesi!” And you can mention us on the invitation. “And I want to show it off to all of my customers, so you can see what my new capabilities are.”
Marc V: “You’ve got to see this spangle machine running! Come check it out.”
Mark S: Yeah. “It will blow your mind!”
Marc V: “You’ve never seen it. While you’re here, free punch and pie.”
Mark S: There you go. I like that a lot. You’ll get business from that, and we know. We had somebody local here that did that a few months ago. They moved into a new location years ago, and they just had their open house. They did really well. Because especially if you’re multi-disciplinary, you have more than one kind of technology, then the people that buy embroidery from you see your vinyl cutter, and what you can do there.
And the people that buy bling from you see that you can print t-shirts.
Marc V: Really, you’re just asking people just to stop by and say hello. This is part networking, part relationship building, part selling, part rapport building.
Mark S: Yeah. Just make some friends.
Marc V: You’re making friends with people that are current customers or potentials. Then, while you’re there, it’s an excuse to either give out more samples of things or hand out some business cards. And then, the people who showed up are willing to be your friend, to some degree. Ask them to refer you, as well.
Mark S: And have some things that they can buy on the spot. I will tell you that what you do is cool. It really is cool. People will stop and watch a commercial embroidery machine do a design for an hour. They will definitely watch a rhinestone machine or a spangle machine work. They will pop the lid and stare at the inside of a DTG printer, while it makes a shirt.
All of it’s fascinating. Everybody that you sell to probably wants to know how you do it.
Marc V: People think it’s really cool, always.
Mark S: So, invite them in to do that.
Marc V: And invite people who would refer business over to you, to help network, like a sign shop, a print shop, an awards shop, all of these things. Because when we would go to these big trade shows, all of the time, I would have a guy come by and look at an embroidery machine or a rhinestone machine, and say “Oh!”
I would say “Do you have any questions or thoughts?” He’d say “I’m in the awards business, but every time I see these machines run -.” That would happen 25 times a day. They still liked it. They were not in the business at all, but it still looks cool. Just like I would walk by an engraving machine and just stare at this laser. It looks cool.
So, invite people over. Ask them to share referrals. Have some things to sell on the spot. Have some punch and some pie, maybe a sugar-free option.
Mark S: Okay, if you have to.
Marc V: A gluten-free option is very trendy now, as well.
Mark S: No nuts.
Marc V: No nuts. Put a peanut sign on the door. But anyway, have some fun with that. That’s another thing you could take $1,000. If you have a really nice shop, I think that’s a good one. And if you’re an established business, that’s even better.
Mark S: Okay. I think I’m ready, because it kind of ties in. This is the bridge that I was talking about, between local and digital. That is doing pay per click advertising on a local basis. By that, I mean you can purchase ads, you can create ads for Facebook. Everybody has been invited to a Facebook event.
So, if you wanted to do an open house, or if you’re attending a trade show, or if you are doing some kind of event-based thing, then you can create a Facebook event, and you can advertise that on Facebook, very locally. Like literally, you can put in your town. You can type in your neighbors’ names.
You can do all of that stuff, just to show ads to the people that are most interested in what you do.
Marc V: There’s a local business up by me that they sell all types of e-cigarette tobacco products and stuff like that. They throw these open house events like once a month. I’ve seen the little local ad on Facebook. What they’ve done is they’ve set up the event, and then they’ve set to advertise it locally, and the cost is like nothing. I mean, you could reach almost everybody in your area for like less than $50.
It pops up, and it just says “Come by this event. We’re going to show some new things. We’re going have new tastings, new products out there.” Do that.
You can also advertise locally for a ton of other things. You can advertise coupons locally, on Facebook or on Google.
Mark S: Very trackable.
Marc V: There’s a bunch of other little creative ways you can test out. I just saw one recently. Waze, a lot of people use Waze, the app that’s a map app. Waze has a whole local advertising platform, which can be really good for you as a t-shirt shop.
People are in their car or they’re about to get in their car and drive around locally, and then you’re showing them there’s a t-shirt shop right here in the area.
Mark S: Here’s something that’s really important, and why this $1,000 number is important to think about. We’re saying hyper-local, because $1,000 worth of national or regional ads are not going to do anything at all for you. It literally will not do anything at all. You could just send me the $1,000 instead, and save your money.
Unfortunately, that’s not a significant enough budget, and you’d have to do it for long term, to get any effect. So, doing Facebook or Yelp, or making sure you’re on Google Local, those things for $1,000 are very worthwhile.
I’m a big fan of Facebook, even if you took video or pictures of the last job that you did. Or if you’re making samples to send out, take some photos or take a short little video clip with your phone, and turn that into an advertisement that says “Hey, I’m doing this today for a business nearby. I can do it for you, too. Call us at -this- for custom t-shirts or for embroider or for bling.”
Then, pick your audience. Facebook can do it by interest groups, so it’s people in the Tampa Bay area that are interested in martial arts. People that are in north Tampa that are interested in screen printing, or that are interested in dog shows, or whatever it is. You can combine everything that we’ve talked about, and just use that $1,000 to bring in local people.
Marc V: You’re talking about if you’re advertising really, really locally, as small a community as you can get, you’d be surprised at the amount of reach you can get for $100. So within your budget, you can say “I want to try $200 on advertising,” which seems so little in digital advertising. But when you hyper-localize it, it’s actually a pretty good number.
Then, you can also include other things in that budget, like the cost to produce samples. So, maybe it is “Do you own a small business? Call us up to get your logo on a hat.”
Mark S: How about this? How about if you take the first $100, and you go to Lynda.com or Udemy.com, and you take a course on Facebook advertising? Then, you spend the next $300 on testing out some Facebook ads. Then, you spend the last $600 on making those Facebook ads last.
Marc V: Also, you could do the same thing with Google on search, because what is cool about the search, and especially when it’s really local, is people are on their device, trying to go buy your product right now. That’s why they’re typing it in “buy local embroidered shirt.”
So, if you go onto one of these online courses and you take a little Google search course, and then advertise just in your zip code or just in your city, and just try to be the top result for if somebody is searching “t-shirt shop Tampa” or “embroidery shop Orlando,” and try to just get on the top of there. You’ll be surprised at how little you can spend, and how great it can be, how much it can make your phone ring.
Mark S: While we’re doing it, I’m on my phone. I typed in “custom t-shirts” and it gives me some ads, and they’re pretty local. My favorite is the map. Google Maps comes up, and it tells me that My Shirt Fund, Florida Shirt Company, Arts and Graphics Beyond – some of these are new since the last time I looked. But these are all companies.
It tells us what time it opens. It’s worthwhile stuff. So, definitely look at Facebook advertising, look at very localized Google advertising, but invest in a little education or some help, before you do that.
Marc V: It will really help you out. You could spend $100 on that. You could spend, like you said, spend $100 on just learning how to do it. Then, you have $900 to make it happen.
Mark S: I would say that’s my number two. I really like the “just get in your car, and go find some local business.” Number two, I like the idea for your long-term business, to learn a little bit about localized advertising, and do that.
Marc V: If you’re doing the online one, you can track what’s happening with that. Because everywhere you can advertise online will give you stats on how many people click your ad, and fill out your form, and all of these things, even call you. You can track how many people called you.
But when you’re doing the print ones, they can be very, very good for your business. But they also are a no-man’s-land, if you don’t have a way to track them. We have a whole thing – I don’t know if we have a whole podcast on it, but I know that we’ve discussed it a bunch, on tracking and testing different things. It is important to do that.
Mark S: We do. I think that’s what it’s called, Tracking and Testing Ads.
Marc V: Is it? Okay.
Mark S: It really is.
Marc V: That’s what you need to do with these. I think that all of them are worthwhile. Then, the last part, in my opinion on this, is you take your $1,000 plan, and then plan to do it four times this year, or three times this year, or within 12 months. Once a quarter, whatever you can afford. Try to put it together.
Because some of these things, you need to do more than once, to make work. If you’re talking about the driving around, maybe you can accomplish all of your driving around tasks with $500. So now, if you do it every other month, you’re hitting up all of those businesses or many of the businesses, three, four, five times.
And sometimes, it’s not going to be until the sixth time, until they finally call you.
Mark S: That’s true. That’s part of our Make More Money Next Month podcast. That’s definitely one of the things to do. I like all of that.
We had some things to talk about. I made a note about investing in your website or an online store. Compared to everything else that we’ve talked about, unless your business is only national, then ignore that.
Marc V: If you have a lot of people showing up to your website, like you can look at your stats, and nothing ever happens ever, when they come, meaning nobody ever calls from it, nobody ever fills out the online forms, nobody ever clicks anything, but you’ve got 1,000 people locally that come a month, and nobody ever does anything, maybe at that point in time you need to say “My website’s garbage.” More than likely, if nothing is happening at all, it is.
Mark S: I will tell you, you probably have an ugly website. I’m going to be honest with you. If you did your own brochure, it’s probably not great. And if you have a website already, that you did yourself, it probably [inaudible 41:45].
Marc V: Definitely just focus on taking some money finally, and spending it on making some money. I think that’s really the whole point of all of this.
Mark S: Yeah. That’s really good.
Marc V: Just finally take some money and spend it on making it. We’re in a business, and you are a small business owner, you know you are bound by your bills and your credit cards and your budget, and all of these things.
Mark S: Been there.
Marc V: Everyone is always looking for ways to save money, and not looking for ways to make more money. I’ll tell you, 100% of our customers that are making a lot of money are looking for ways to make more money. They’re not trying to save a nickel. They’re not trying to save a dime. They’re not fighting for that.
They’re spending the effort fighting for more money.
Mark S: If it costs you 15 cents in DTG ink to print on a white shirt, that you make $15 on, who cares how much a liter of ink is? You know what I mean?
Marc V: It’s very true. This is a little bit off topic, but it’s very true. It’s relevant, because we had a representative from an ink manufacturer that I talked to. We were talking about pricing and things like that. He says “I don’t understand, though, why this dollar amount would make a difference, when I’m talking about a cost per shirt.”
I said “You’re thinking of it from a big business standpoint.” As a small business owner, you guys listening to this, you’re dealing with your bills and your credit cards, and this order you have to put on a credit card. Your limit is $900, and this order you’re going to place is $1,000. You have to figure out “How am I going to get this extra $100?”
So, what I’m telling you is what you’ve got to do is get into this mindset of investing in making more money, so that happens less, or it doesn’t happen at all.
Our biggest customers that spend time making money, when we talk to them, we say “How’s business?” “It’s slow, but I’m doing stuff,” or “It’s great! I can’t keep up.” Those are the folks that are like “I need this, this, this and this. Use my credit card on file.” They don’t want to or need to know what the exact total is. They know it’s going to be around $300, or whatever. They know. They’re in the business.
They want to get off the phone, or place their order online and be done, so they can go make some money. I have a few customers in mind that “Can you just place the order for me? I’ve got to go talk to this customer right now.”
They’ll call back, and I’m like “What was that? Did you get a big deal, a big sale?” “No, but I was walking in the supermarket, and I saw this guy who owns a business that I want to get business from, so I just went up and talked to him.”
Mark S: I love that.
Marc V: He’s like “I just said hi to him, and we talked about our kids for a few minutes. I’m going to get some business from him one day.” Those are the people that are out there that they’re looking forward. [inaudible 45:00] with our previous two podcasts. They’re looking forward at that money.
So, look forward at it. That’s what this podcast is about. Spend a little bit of money, and make a bunch of money.
Mark S: So, get excited about investing this $1,000, or $500 or $5,000. Get excited about it, because you’ll multiply your business. You’ll make more! That’s the whole idea.
I think that’s a pretty good brainstorm.
Marc V: Yeah. I feel good about it. I think that at the end of the podcast, my goal – I’ve said it a bunch of times – I want people to go out and do this stuff. I want people to have success from it, make some money from it. Not every idea works every single time, but you’ve got to look through and analyze yourself and your business, and do something. Just do it.
Mark S: If you’re not doing something new or different, and you’re not already rich and successful, then you’re never going to get there. The people that aren’t going to do anything, already turned off the podcast when I said that in the beginning. So, everybody here is going to go out and do one of these things.
Marc V: You’re going to do one of these things.
Mark S: And if you need help figuring out what to do, or if you need some advice on anything that we talked about, then just shoot us a note. Go on the CAS group and private message us.
Marc V: Custom Apparel Startups on Facebook, if you’re not there already. You can definitely private message us.
Mark S: Send us an email.
Marc V: If you call up Colman and Company, there’s a reasonable chance I’ll answer the phone.
Mark S: You’ll have to send me an email. There’s no chance I’ll answer the phone.
Marc V: If you call around lunch time, I’m usually sitting at my desk when everyone’s at lunch, and I’m picking up the phone.
Mark S: Eating noodles. It’s weird. It’s always noodles.
Marc V: I’m low carb now. But anyway, I have customers that call up often, and I pick up and they’re like “Oh, my god! I’m glad I got you!” I’m like “What’s up?” Then, they ask a question, and sometimes I don’t have an answer. Sometimes I have a really profound answer, and I hang up, and I’m just like “I feel like I’ve elevated myself.”
Then, other times, I’m like “You know what? I want to talk to Mark on this one.” But either way, we want to try to provide something for you, because the people who go out and do it are the ones that make the money. I think that is just it. That’s just it.
Mark S: And you’ll buy more stuff from us! Okay, this has been Mark Stephenson, from ColDesi.
Marc V: And this is Marc Vila, from Colman and Company.
Mark S: I hope you guys have a great business!