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A 5-Minute Sales and Marketing Plan

(April/May 2016) posted on Wed May 11, 2016

There’s a world of “expert” advice out there, and for beginners, it can be tough to know where to start.

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By Ross Yamashita

Instagram is a mobile photo and video sharing site, which is great because it’s a chance to showcase your work to your audience. Be sure the lighting is good and take clear, high-resolution photos.

Instagram has a younger demographic and is a great platform to market to audiences like cheerleaders, gymnasts, and dancers. If you print glitter or rhinestones products, posting clear, vibrant photos on Instagram is definitely worth a few minutes of your time.

If you’re in the B2B niche, then you should be focusing on LinkedIn. It’s a great place for connecting with decision makers and other business owners about their marketing and promotional product needs. As with any other platform, don’t just post news and updates about your organization. Write insightful articles about how custom apparel products will help their businesses grow. You should also join and participate in relevant LinkedIn groups.

Pinterest is the best platform for promoting future purchases. While all other social sites focus on the past and present, Pinterest has the market cornered when it comes to the future by letting users “pin” a hyperlinked graphic to a board they can view later (like pinning a Post-It note to a board in your office). While Pinterest is beginning to attract a number of male users, it is still predominantly a female network. The key to Pinterest is high-quality, portrait-oriented images.

For example, my Las Vegas-based shop, Naka Apparel, created a pin to advertise bachelorette party shirts. Pinterest users may not purchase now, but when it’s time to have their bachelorette party in Las Vegas, they’ll see our pin on their board and we’ll be ready to help.

Target the Influencers
This is the thing almost all companies miss in their sales and marketing plan, yet it can be the most effective (and lucrative) thing you can do. Influencer marketing is simply a strategy that targets true influencers within a certain industry or niche.

Look at any sales handbook and you’ll quickly learn the first thing a prospective client looks for in your company is trust. Can they trust you to do the job correctly, on time, and with great service? If you’re a big company with thousands of dollars to advertise everywhere, then you may have name recognition that helps build consumer trust. But, for smaller shops that don’t have massive budgets, why would a prospective client trust you and your business after speaking to you for only five minutes? Targeting and connecting with these key influencers will provide your company with the credibility buyers are looking for because they trust these influencers’ opinions.

So, how do you find these people?

First, find out who the decision makers of your target prospects interact with, follow, or listen to. A good place to start is looking at trade publications to see who your target market is identifying with. You can also search online on news websites, blogs, and forums to see who the authoritative figure is that people listen to.

If you print for small businesses or organizations, a good influencer to befriend is an accountant or bookkeeper. Accountants know all aspects of their clients’ businesses and may be able to direct you to someone in need of uniforms or custom-printed shirts for an upcoming event.

Capitalize on Existing Clients
Don’t let sales leads slip away. If you’ve done a good job and you have a happy client, they have the potential to be great spokespersons for your company – if you simply ask them.

Find out if they know of any other businesses or organizations that may need shirts printed. Or, ask them if they’ll leave a review of your company on the social platform of their choice.

To help motivate clients to leave reviews, we’ve found that gift certificates and coupons are great incentives. This especially works well with restaurants and retail shops, many of which include gift certificates and coupons as part of their marketing expense.

Don’t let the lack of time or marketing knowledge get in the way of increasing revenue. Streamline your marketing strategy and work on implementing these five steps to help increase your brand awareness and bottom line.

Read more from our April/May 2016 issue.


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