Today is action day. One of the top challenges that shops face is the constant need to drive more business to their door. Yet, so few actually have a marketing plan and action sequence that they use to fill their sales pipeline.

In this article, I’m going to outline the Top 5 Marketing Tips that you can use today to get more sales traffic in your shop.


Marketing Tip #1

Consistency. That’s right. Just like going to the gym, you have to show up to get results.

We live in a state where people want to consume information.  They crave it.  Just go literally anywhere, and you can see people of all walks of life with their nose down in their cell phones.  Some of these people can be enjoying what you are pushing out…but only if you do it.

You don’t have to create everything you post.  It’s ok to share other relevant topics that your audience will find interesting.  Ask a question or comment on the post to drive engagement.  It’s that “behind the scenes” conversation in direct messaging that often leads to building a relationship and sales.  That can all start with a “Thanks for the RT!” or “I appreciate you sharing my post!”.

Your goal in marketing is to get potential customers to know who you are, like what you do, and trust that you are professional.  Know, Like, and Trust are the cornerstone tools that lead to sales.  These key elements happen when you are consistent with your marketing.

Think big picture.  What do you want your potential and current customers to think when they see a post on social media, banner in the outfield at the softball game, or ad in the program at the charity event.

Use a calendar and plan your marketing activities in advance.  A month from now, what do you want to do?  Is there some awesome idea that your customers need to know about?  Can you show off a decoration technique that will hit home with your customer base?

Waiting until the last minute and then claiming you are “too busy” to do anything will only hurt you in the end.

Show up.

Marketing Tip #2

Your audience matters.  Do you really know them?

One thing you might want to do is to build what’s called a “Brand Persona”.  This is basically a character sketch of one of your potential customers.  Let’s say you want to attract more high school athletic orders.  Who is ordering?  The football coach, the head of the booster club, or the purchasing department at the school district?

Those are all different types of people.  They will react differently to the messages that you send out.  The images and buzzwords you use in your marketing messages can be tailored to them specifically for a bigger impact.

What drives these people to make a decision?  Can you list the problems that you can solve for them?  For example, the football coach might want a fantastic design that will motivate his players to achieve more.  The booster club president may be overwhelmed and need an education or an online store built to make the ordering process simpler.  The school district purchasing agent needs professionalism.

Can you speak their language when you interact with them?

When you design your marketing pieces or email blasts with them in mind what might be different?  Can you get current customers in these roles to video a short 30-second testimonial about how you helped them overcome a major challenge?  Build that social proof that will reach out and grab these folks where they live.

Note: Nowhere in this should be anything about running a “sale”.  Don’t discount your work to get business.  Instead, illustrate your value better.  People will pay your rate to have their problem solved.

But you have to know what this is first.

Marketing Tip #3

Be Authentic.  Your brand needs to have a tailored voice.  When you post something online, film a video, answer a question, or do something for the community, it should reflect the personality of your company.

This is carefully crafted.

It needs to be bigger than the quirkiness of the owners.  What resonates with customers is when things match up from your marketing to real life.  You can say you care about something all day long in your ads, but if you don’t prove that in actions it may seem hollow.

Crafting an authentic platform takes some time and thought.  Start with your background.  How did your company start?  Were you a musician or motorcycle racer?  Athlete or data scientist?  Animal lover or weekend sailor?

Does your customer base reflect those origins in the work you do?  What images, colors, textures, or words ring true from that background?  How do the themes of craftsmanship, creativity, expertise, knowledge, or time weave into that narrative?

Can this story carry over into how your shop is decorated or the aesthetic of your website?  For the social media posts that you create, can you build these themes into a template to use in your marketing planning?

Your customers are people.  Robots are not buying anything.  People respond to stories.  They like the humanistic side of things.

Be yourself.

Marketing Tip #4

Not everyone will buy from you.  It’s ok.

Here’s why.

A vegan will never bite into a juicy steak, no matter what the cost.  That Coke drinker will refuse Pepsi all day long.  A person that lives in an apartment doesn’t need a lawnmower.

There is a certain segment of the population out there that will never be your customer.  Quit worrying about them.

But you do need to know who these people are to some degree.  That’s because you don’t want to waste your time, money, or effort trying to convince them.

Instead, take a deep dive into the market segment that will become your customer.  Who are these people?

An easy way to find out is to look at a few years worth of your sales.  The top 20% of your customers account for 80% of your revenue.  Go ahead, do the math.

That top 20% is your data gold mine.  Chart out these customers and see what you can discover.  What types of jobs do they have in companies?  When do they buy most often?  What types of orders do they place?  Think about quantity, shirt style, and the decorations used.  Does anything stick out?

You can use this information to help build that Brand Persona I mentioned previously.  This will help you target the potential customers most likely to buy in other areas.  Narrow down those opportunities with research, and then build a marketing outreach strategy to go after them.

By the way, marketing can be as simple as a phone call or email.

If you want better results though, you have to know who to contact.  Start there.

Marketing Tip #5

Listen.  What are your customers telling you?

Are you even asking questions?

I think one of the reasons why shops don’t have better sales is that they are not fully engaged with their customer base.  Instead of discovering what their customers need or problems they have, shops are too enamored with the thought that they can screen-print or embroider.

Stop selling your production method like a commodity.  Start selling the problems that you can solve, and the value you bring.  This only happens when you are listening to what the marketplace is talking about.

One of my favorite quotes is from Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Successful People” – “Seek first to understand, then be understood”.

Nobody cares that you can print on a hoodie or embroider that polo.  How many shops do you think can do that?

Does that retail shop need more designs that will sell?  Maybe the HR person needs a hands-free employee store?  What else are they having trouble with that you can solve?

Ask more questions.


“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.” – Colin Powell

“Work like you don’t need the money.  Love like you’ve never been hurt.  Dance like nobody’s watching.” – Satchel Paige

“I have not failed.  I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison