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Help Customers Sniff You Out
Did you get into this business because you love searching for customers, cold-calling, and facing rejection? I didn’t think so, yet so many garment decorating companies chase customers away from their business as if they were obnoxious squirrels, only to go searching for new clients – which is like digging up last year’s bones.
Rule number one: Never stop a sale from finding you.
So what have you done lately to make sure it’s easier for a customer to find you, rather than find your competitor? A smart businessperson keeps his ears perked up and makes sure it’s always easy for even the most casual customer to sniff around for information. To that end, I hope you have a web site. After all, if you want to find something, you don’t start trekking around town with your nose in the air, you check your computer or your phone. Customers do the same, and if you don’t have a web site – you’re not really ‘in business’ as far as most millennial’s are concerned. A website doesn’t have to cost more than a few biscuits a month. It’s time to be a ‘real’ business.
So you have a website? Many websites in this industry do a better job of turning customers away than bringing them in. Try this: Make up a name for a garment decorating shop, then Google it. Go ahead. I bet you will find a shop somewhere is using that name, so visit the site. Look around for a maximum of fifteen seconds, then answer this question: ‘Would you want to do business with this company?’ (Truthfully, most web visitors make that decision in less time.) If the answer was ‘no’ - why not?
The odds are, you didn’t decide against this company because they didn’t have expensive flash graphics, lacked professional videos or even because they didn’t have a shopping cart with ‘design your shirt’ capabilities. All those things are nice, but you likely rejected the site because there weren’t any pictures of really nice workmanship, the overall design was ugly, overly ‘wordy’ introductions, or a misspelled word here and there. Misspellings are a real killer in this industry. A customer sees a single misspelled word at your website and in their mind you just printed a thousand shirts saying ‘I are a studint.’ If your website can pass the ‘yeah, I’d order from this company’ – fifteen second test, you’ve passed the first hurdle, give yourself a biscuit.
Next question everybody wants to know – and this is where the best websites fail: ‘Where is this company?’ Face it, if you are looking for something and find a web site that you haven’t heard of before, your first question is: ‘Where are they? – Is my stuff shipping from China?’ I won’t contact or order from a company that doesn’t display an address, will you? If I can’t easily find a ‘contact us’ link that leads to a contact form, phone number and complete physical AND mailing address, I’ll move on to the next site on the list. Yet roughly one-third of websites I see for companies in this industry go out of their way to hide their location.
You might be amazed that thousands of ‘garage shops’ and ‘home embroiderers’ have websites, and I realize that most of these companies feel sheepish to let potential clients know that they operate out of their house. But are you better off sending customers away? Embroidery expert, Ruth Guenther, is always quick to point out that there is no shame in starting from your house and that there are numerous ways to ‘spin’ working from home into a positive. Start by just listing ‘Hours by appointment’ and / or ‘We’ll come to you!’ Don’t forget that your suppliers search websites to find new clients too. If they can’t find your mailing address, you’ll spend hours sourcing products that might have found you instead.
*All ideas expressed in this post are the exclusively those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the policies or opinions of Decorated Apparel Magazine. The author represents that he or she is exclusively responsible for the content contained, and that he or she is the owner of any intellectual property used or expressed, and has the right to publish any statements or images contained herein. All content is offered 'as-is' and Decorated Apparel Magazine does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any statements contained in this or any other post. Your use of any advice or statements of fact or opinion offered are completely at your own risk.