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Welcome to custom apparels 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, and welcome back to the custom apparels startups podcast my name is Mark Stephenson
Marc V. and I am Mark Villa and today we’re here to talk about Social -Not social media, marketing.
Mark S. And Marc what the heck are you talking about?
Marc V. (Laughs) we are talking about active word of mouth, active social interaction with people in your community to develop your business.
Mark S. Okay and that is opposed to social media, tell me about that? The differences there.
Marc V. Well yeah, what we’ve talked about a couple of times before is how many of our customers don’t necessarily have websites or don’t develop their business through the web and going through a social marketing like this and actually interacting with people in your community is way to get the word of mouth out for your business and its quite an easy way for a lot of our customers because they already do that.
Mark S. Yeah and I’ve got a couple of things that I think are important to say right of the bat is that everyone talks about Facebook and Twitter and Instagram as marketing tools but when we do live presentations and we have people actually coming into the office for a tradeshow we will do a presentation on the t-shirts business or marketing in general; I will ask the same question every time and that’s “how many people in the room already have a website?” And I would say that the average number of 70% of the people that are in custom apparel do not have a web presence at all; and when I ask the crowd again that where they get most of their business 90% at least say word of mouth, so even the people that have websites or have Facebook pages and things like that – Still the vast majority of their business is from one person telling another person.
Marc V. yea which goes to show we’ve realized how important a website is for a business, but it’s not necessary to have one to be successful and then when you are doing everything that we talk about on all of these podcasts email and websites and social media and if you are doing it all of-course you can maximize your potential but social marketing is something that literally anybody can do and you don’t have to learn too much to be able to do it. Which is why we’re talking about it today.
Mark S. And so when you talk about social marketing you’re basically talking about meeting people and that active word of mouth concept which is a great way to put it because you are just encouraging that word of mouth by meeting people yourself, let’s do this at the beginning of the podcast today so that people know when we make this list for when they get back home after they are done listening to this fantastic podcast in their car and I know you want to make notes now; but so they’ll know where that list is of places that they can actually engage in kind of active word of mouth or social marketing.
Marc V. This would be the time if you are sitting somewhere and you have an access to a pen to take some notes but we are trying to compile a list and a little bit of just talking back and forth unaware of where would you do this social type of marketing, where are you going to get new referrals.
Mark S. And I think it’s fairly easy because what I want you to do is first just think about your existing customer base and where you know them from, if it’s from your kid’s school or if it’s from where your best friend works or something on those lines; now that you know that your existing customers are great place to start to do your social marketing because you are going to meet them again and ask them “who else they know” or “where can you go to find more customers.”
Marc V. And if you are new to the business and you don’t necessarily have a big customer base to analyze or maybe you know a lot of businesses get started off with only one or two customers.
Mark S. Right.
Marc V. They might be big enough to support your business.
Mark S. That’s true, that’s right.
Marc V. So, we had also discussed about just where do you go, where you interact with other people where have you met some of your friends like I have met a bunch of people at my son’s little league.
Mark S. Yea that’s a great one.
Make 2 yea when I go to those games so going to little league my daughter does dancing, so that’s another thing that we meet people there you meet the owner of the business, you meet the coaches, you meet the plumber.
Mark S. Also other parents.
Marc V. yeah other parents you know I had some plumbing work done and I met the guy there.
Mark S. Right.
Marc V. And so are plenty of places you go and meet people and then there is places where you aren’t going yet where you really need to be.
Mark S. Right, so let’s talk about some other places where you might go and that’s not only like sporting events or dance classes and wherever your kids go there are other parents there so it’s important to let them know what you do. Another place is Church, I know that we have a few customers that only do church business and a lot it is through family reunions that are attached to that.
Marc V. Yea there is that and then you figure with any group of people that you are getting together with whether it be church or a little league or dance school or cheer leading, any of these situations where we got a group of people together they all do something else.
Mark S. Right.
Marc V. that’s not what they do they own a business or they might be a marketing manager or they might be a sales representative for a tile company and if that’s the case you could just ask them like hey “is your company insurance”.
Mark S.“Hey, guess what I do for a living”,
Mark S. Yeah so we are going to talk about that kind of a elevator pitch in a minute but so why don’t you do this, if you are at home hit ‘pause’ and make a list of everywhere you go; you take on Tuesdays and Thursdays you got a soccer practice on Wednesdays you play cards with somebody, on Sunday you go to church, on Saturday you do a youth group or you hunt or you go antiquing; just think about any of those social activities make a list of those places and then we will work out a little bit of advice on what to do when you get there.
Marc V. Yeah and then I mentioned a moment ago places where you need to be if you’ve got a local chamber of commerce a small business association or any type of business either lunches or breakfast or anything that maybe held in your community -search online for it and ask other people that you know that are business owners where they might go coz these are great events because everybody that’s there the reason that they are going there is because they want to grow their business they might have something to sell you but all of them wear apparel.
Mark S. Right and its funny because not many people get the newspaper anymore but in every town there is a local newspaper there is some kind of business journal and in the back if you look you know a lot of time there are announcements of chamber of commerce meetings or business meet-ups groups or you know things along those lines so you can start there you can actually go to the chamber of commerce website and they will not only list their meetings but they will list their members meetings as well depending on the chamber.
Marc V. Yea and then you can shrink those communities down further to home owners associations.
Mark S. Yeah, good one!
Marc V. So, any type of community, any type of event and then there is just interest groups.
Mark S. Let’s say you are a hermit and you never go anywhere(which I am by the way) so, you never go anywhere and you don’t do the group thing at all you can actually go and find interest groups through meet-ups you there is meetup.com that has a list that you can search by zip code, just run down a list of interest groups.
Marc V. Yeah, they have everything if there is something that you are interested in if you are obsessed; there is a local one here that I saw online that is just people who are obsessed with Charles Darwin and they find that guy terribly fascinating and they meet like once a month and they just talk about his life and his stories and his books.
Mark S. That is the worst vertical market that I can think of the worst tshirtness market.
Marc V. The thing is is that, the point is that you are going there just to meet people because no matter what group you are going to all those people do something else.
Mark S. Yea that’s true.
Marc V. Yea so it’s not necessarily you want to sell to that group which it could be.
Mark S. Right.
Marc V. It could be if there is a golfing group and you like to golf and you go to a golf meeting or people talk about golfs and clubs, maybe when they are not golfing but they meet for a lunch and talk about that. All those people do something else and you want to sell them or get connected to their bosses or their decision makers.
Mark S. So, I mean we are back to that fundamental point about social marketing and expanding your business through active word of mouth; is you got to meet more people, think about it- if your business survives through word of mouth that means you’ve met those people or those people’s friends, so if you meet and extra hundred people this month your business will increase there is no choice in the matter its fated the more people that you meet the more business that you get provided you tell them what you do.
Marc V. Yeah, so let’s talk about that a little bit then; that’s been always a challenge that is how do I tell somebody what I do in a way that it doesn’t just have that trailing their eyes in a different direction or make it confusing, so if you have a commercial embroidery machine and somebody says ‘what do you do?’ you can say “I do embroidery” are they thinking that sitting in your home like your grandmother and I apologize if you are a grandmother but you are sitting home and you got a needle and you are doing home embroidery you are just decorating your grand kids clothing.
Mark S. You’ve just offended all the grandmothers.
Marc V. I know I have and there are so many that are in great businesses – I love all of you.
Marc V. Well you are a grandfather aren’t you?
Mark S.I am almost I am almost, gimme a minute.
Marc V. I think one point and the point of that joke even is just the fact that there is just so many people in all different ages and they are going to meet all different people what do they say, how do they say what they do.
Mark S. So I am going to go back to an old idea because as mark mentioned I am a little longer in the tooth than he is and the we used to call it an elevator pitch and you call it an elevator pitch because it’s kind of like what you say to a prospector, somebody that you might do business with one day, if you are trapped in an elevator for like those 3 or 4 floors.. Now we are in Florida and there is about five elevators in the entire state.
Marc V. Yeah.
Mark S. You know we tend to build low to the ground but you know you get the idea it’s that you have a few seconds maybe as 20 or 30 seconds when you first get introduced to somebody or actually introduce yourself to someone on purpose, to say who you are and what you do in a clear and compelling manner.
Marc V. Okay, so if somebody has a commercial embroidery equipment what might be an elevator pitch that you would give.
Mark S. What I might give especially if they are wearing a company polo or something like that or a uniform for where they work then that’s the easiest. Coz you can say that my name is Mark Stephenson, i mean don’t say that because that’s not going to be your name.
Marc V. yeah.
Mark S. But you know, hey my name is Mark Stephenson and I am in the commercial embroidery business, I make garments just like you are wearing right now.
Marc V. Yeah.
Mark S.I do corporate polos for companies just like yours, you know what do you do for them?
Marc V. And they look down and they look at the embroidery they immediately understand.
Mark S. Right, absolutely or you could start again with something like ‘wow I really like your company logo on that shirt, that’s what I do for a living I do corporate embroidery work, who in your company does this kind of thing?’
Marc V. Yeah and yeah exactly, what you are going to find is the more times you say that the amount of times you’re going to run into people who are going to say “ME”.
Mark S. Yeah.
Marc V. You know which is great, you know that’s what you are looking for, and then this thing goes with rhinestone apparels or T-shirt printings.
Mark S. Yeah.
Marc V. I think the t-shirt printing one is, everyone understands that one and it’s easier to explain I my head at least what do you do -I am a t-shirt printer, I print t-shirts.
Mark S. Right that is true that is pretty clear.
Marc V. And the embroidery one and then the rhinestone one any of that type of apparel bling apparel is I think has its own little challenge too.
Mark S. Yeah.
Marc V. And I thought about that one a couple of times that how I am going to say that.
Mark S. Well honestly you’ve got to be- and this is one of the rules that we will talk about in the end for social marketing is you really got to be wearing your stuff, you have to be wearing what you do and if you are in the rhinestone t-shirt business and you are wearing bling on you, you can say “Hi, my name is Mark I create custom apparels with rhinestone” or “I create custom bling apparels like what I am wearing right now”, “do you have any kids in cheer-leading ?” or “do you know anybody that wears a booster clothing like this”.
Marc V. Yeah, and so it’s important that no matter what type that you do and if you do more than one you can’t go into -oh I make signs and I make t-shirts and I do embroidery and I do rhinestones.
Mark S. Right!
Marc V. If you’d get into that the eyes start wandering, so just think about how you want to capture what you retail what your whole business is and in a few sentences.
Mark S. And its good to also do examples like I gave you the very short version, but ‘like’ is a great word to use provided you can keep it to a minimum, so, you might say something like “hey my name is Mark and I do custom apparels like rhinestone t-shirts or printed tees or corporate embroidery, you know embroidered polos and things like that, what do you do?”.
Marc V. Yeah, yeah and that’s ideal and that starts the conversation about in and you’ll find that whenever I mention this industry people find it interesting.
Mark S. Yeah they really do.
Marc V. People find it interesting it’s if you say “I’m a CPA, I am an accountant”.
Marc V. Yeah (Laughs) nobody wants to ask anything about what you do, you know, they see the calculator and the computer and a bunch of things they don’t understand.
Mark S. Yeah, everybody knows and thank you by the way for offending (Marc V. laughs) all those people who are actually accountants and do custom apparels on the weekends, but one of the things I want to point out here is you know that Marc has been in the custom apparel business for longer than I have and he has actually sold machines and sold equipment and things like that, your business is not the equipment that you own, so if someone asks you what you do, you don’t say I have a DTG printer or I have a screen printing equipment or I have an commercial embroidery machine (http://www.avance-emb.com) you know you have described the end result, you know I do custom corporate apparel like you are wearing right now.
Marc V. Yeah now that’s actually a really good point to make is helping them visualize what it is that you do and if you specialize in something then talk about that like -I do custom sports apparels, if that’s really your niche then just go right into that.
Mark S. Yeah I-I-I agree with we got some great success stories with people up on the ColDesi website and one of my favorites is Kim Lenchmen she’s got a couple of Rhinestone machines and what she does is custom dog shirts, and she does dog shirts, guess how narrow this is; she specializes in doing rhinestone dogs and most of her business is for dog sporting event like dog jumping and things along those lines, when she goes to an event or when she meets somebody “what do you do” “I do custom rhinestone t-shirts(little pause)that have dogs on them.”
Marc V. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.
Mark S. So, and the question at the end of the elevator pitch which is one of the rules that we are going to talk about is going to be, do you have any pets?
Marc V. Yeah, Yeah.
Mark S. Yea, I’ve got a Yorkie, oh WOW! I just did a great yorkie t-shirt here is my card, it’s got my website on it you should go look yeah and this is sometimes if you play it right on your phone or whatever it is if you got somebody engaged in the conversation and you can have pictures of what you do but you want to have that prep and ready to go for your pitch if you are planning on doing that.
Mark S. That’s a great idea never thought of that but for Kim especially you know if its, lets say if you specialize in uniforms or corporate polos you could just say “Oh! I did this great corporate logo for Bob’s electrical shop” or “did you know I did all the sports jerseys for the booster club at Plank High School” here is my latest one I really like it let me show you.
Marc V. And this is how you do that.
Mark S. By the way I am waving my finger over an imaginary phone right now like I am scrolling through pictures,
Marc V. (Laughs)
Marc V. When we will have video they’ll understand it more.
Mark S. They’ll see me waving my finger.
Marc V. Yeah, they’ll see you waving your finger and I’m actually going to take out my phone and do this in real life here so, for those…
Mark S. Wait let me hold up the microphone up to your telephone.
Marc V. So, now that for anyone who could see would see me doing this but I have an I-phone and if you have an android phone, all the phones will do this if you have a smart phone; so if I go into my photos in my albums I got a little plus button at the top and I can hit that and I can add a new album and this album is going to be samples and in that album when I take a picture of something I am going to add it to the sample album,so now what happens is in my sample album I would maybe have(don’t overload it) a dozen-20 images in there whatever the number might be a scrollable number and then in this way if you want to show somebody an example of what you do; you open it up and you hit samples and now you’ve got the 20 pictures right there rather than scrolling through 900…
Mark S. Pictures of your grandkids or from birthday party and things like that.
Marc V. Okay so what I just picture is all of these, you know most of our customers don’t have websites and the ones that do mostly the word of mouth so what I don’t want is for people who are not very smartphone friendly to think that you can’t accomplish these things.
Mark S. Okay that’s just gravy what we just said, that’s the master class. What I really want is for everybody to spend a few minutes that’s not comfortable saying who they are and what they do and to take em out of their pause point right now in the podcast and write that down just like write four or five sentences like “Hi my name is Becky and I do custom apparel” mostly blank.
Marc V. And there is a few little fun ways you can actually practice that, so write it down a few times, write down a few versions and call yourself and leave yourself with voice-mail.
Mark S. Yeah that’s a good idea.
Marc V. With your pitch, or if you have a voice recorder use that whatever is easier for you, so record it and then listen to it and then if you are happy leave it there and come back to it tomorrow and listen to it with a fresh mind and then come back to it again a few times on different days, different times of the day before or after coffee see if you still like it and tweak it to the point then memorize it in a way that (you don’t have to memorize it word to word) but say it enough times to yourself out loud that you….
Mark S. The idea is that these are social situations and there is never any pressure here so you know you are not doing a big presentation for 50 people or anything like that it’s just again you are comfortable meeting people and introducing yourself to people and saying what you do because that’s really the core, if you don’t do anything else, I’m sure you didn’t do this to get your current word of mouth customers, so this is just if you put yourself in an environment that we are suggesting places that we can meet 3 or 5 or 10 people at a time then we want you to be comfortable doing so, what you are going to do is learn how to say who you are, say what you do in a clear way doesn’t take too long 2-3 sentences to get comfortable with that by writing it down in advance and that’s going to be your elevator pitch and what you do when you meet people.
Marc V. Okay, so, so we got ideas about where to go and what to say, what are some of the rules that you think that one should follow to make sure that your successful.
Mark S. There are a 100% rules there are hard and fast rules these are the things that I really want you to do and the number one thing that number one thing I am most disappointed about when I do those live training classes or webinars and things like that is that how few people are wearing their work, I mean a great substitute for having pictures or samples is to be wearing your samples and I am not suggesting you to look like a cartoon character and be covered in you know like we had a great kind of Halloween celebration here at ColDesi, Colman and company and Lynda our general manager just she just blinged out every square inch of her she just wore rhinestone, entire rhinestone suit, you don’t have to be that person,
Marc V. Yeah (laughs)
Mark S. You know what i mean, like if you do commercial embroidery wear something excellent that has your commercial logo on it.
Marc V. yeah so there is a gentleman that comes in to Colman and Company he is local, he just happens to be local here even though we work nationally, and he comes in and he does patches, so we saw a patch kind of kit thing and that’s what he does he always has either a patch in his pocket or something stuck to him all the time and its something that he is working on or something that he thinks is cool or a little logo that he is made and he’s got it on his jacket sleeve and things like that and he does it and he makes up, sometime he always got it on his pocket but he’s always got one either on his jacket or shirt, it looks good it’s never weird or tacky and its sometimes it’s a matter of as he’s added his name to a shirt.
Mark S. And by the way the patch kit is awesome if you don’t do any embroidery you don’t already have it you should get it its cheap, its awesome you should definitely get it. But that’s a good point, so let’s say you are wearing your work and you are wearing or you have on you a great sample of what you do and you completely blow the elevator pitch, all you can do is grunt and point. So, somebody asks you “hey my name is john nice to meet you what do you do?” and you just point, you know that is the best commercial that you can do, okay so wear your work 100% of the time and I want you to embroider your logo on your pajamas, I want you to have rhinestones on the shorts that you wear to your local lawn, okay? So if you have the opportunity to meet anybody and tell them what you do you can just… (Point)
Marc V. Yeah and it doesn’t have to be tacky or a tacky big logo on everything that you do but if you could do little decorations on things even just some on your polo garments (both say: it should be something) you do it and wear it and be proud of it.
Mark S. And rule number two I would say is always have a business card, because even though if you have the greatest sample with you or if you are wearing it, people are never going to remember you they are not going to remember your name or your company name and if they write it down on a notepad or the back of their card they are not going to be able to read it in half an hour.
Marc V. Yeah and and then in addition to that rule I am going to encourage the flip side of that and ‘get their’s’ as in marketing you are in control of marketing to them and it gives you an opportunity to a few things.
one: The next day or later that day you can send them and email stating “hey it was nice to meet you, here is my contact info” or you could mail them a ‘thank you’ if you met them and they did something for you, you can mail them the brochure whatever it might be, now you control the marketing, so take some active role on that by taking their card.
Mark S. So, let’s make the number one rule to wear your work and the number two rule to exchange business cards and then if they don’t have a card get their email get their business name and then you’ve got to be able to write it down, so I think that actually flows into the next rule.
Mark S.Absolutely, and that is to take notes or have something to take notes on, because what’s going to happen is especially if you are in a meet up group or in a large church group or even if there are more than 5 people in the room you can have great conversations with somebody when you tell them what you do and you’re not going to remember what was about because its a two hour event and you met that person as soon as you walked in, so you’re going to have a business card in your hand and you are going to say “I know I am supposed to call this person about something”. So, you definitely want to have some way to take notes, if you are comfortable doing that on your phone that’s great if not get one of those little pads that you can get for a dollar that’ll fit in your pocket, that will work.
Marc V. Yeah and absolutely always have a pen on you so you can use a business card to take a note too, the back of a business card or the side of the business card and write “needs hats”.
Mark S. So, where would the elevator pitch fit into that?
Marc V. In the rules, well the elevator pitch is probably before or after the business card. The elevator pitch for me if we are talking about importance it should be number one because if you are at the pool you might not be in a position to wear your work, if you are at an event.
Mark S. Although I do keep a embroidered ColDesi logo on my belly too, so that’s fine (both laughing).
Marc V. Or if you are at an black tie event, it might be tacky to wear a custom t-shirt underneath.
Mark S. It would be perfect for Rhinestone and embellishments on the tie just want to point that out.
Marc V. I think the elevator pitch you could always have with you no matter what and then for me its elevator pitch wearing your work exchanging contact information then taking notes and that’s kind of my order.
Mark S. Okay so when you leave the house in the morning let’s just say, let’s just make these rules that you always have to be wearing your work, if you are working or if you are not working I’d prefer that you always wear your work because you never know someone may ask you about that, you are going to always have business cards and be ready to exchange business cards with the people that you need, you’re going to be prepared to take notes in some way and you’re going to have your elevator pitch ready to go and remember that’s just who you are and what you do, the rule that I’ll add to that elevator pitch is that you always want to follow up with a question. So you know what I just said, say “Hi my name is Mark I do custom t-shirts for businesses like yours” CRICKETS! now what is he supposed to say ‘oh?’ So you got to follow that up with a question and it can be -what do you do or it could be kind of a more direct question like, do you ever get t-shirts printed? Do you ever wear corporate polos with the logos on em; does your business use uniforms? Anything on those like would an appropriate question after the elevator pitch, you just gotta add something.
Marc V. Yea, yea I agree and no matter what it is it’s got to be some sort of open ended engaging question, something quite simple like what do you do opens the conversation further, I like the idea of even if you get into what type of; if you do embroidery you know getting into like all like the. Those machines that run all that is pretty cool -have you ever seen one?
Mark S. Right!
Marc V. And then you could open up the conversation about what you do even more and it gives you an excuse to continue to pitch yourself.
Mark S. Yeah.
Marc V. So, all those things and definitely an open ended question at the end, that’s just conversation 101 for small talk.
Mark S. So, so let’s bring it back around and kind of summarize what we just talked about okay? So social marketing NOT social media marketing is kind of like… what do we say it’s? It’s active.
Marc V. That’s active word of mouth.
Mark S. Right, Right.
Marc V. You know and social interaction.
Mark S. Right and you’re going to do this because probably most of the business right now that you have is by word of mouth but most people don’t do anything to increase that so you’re just increasing the opportunities for word of mouth business, you’re going to do that by (small pause) taking, making a list of all of the groups that you come into contact with on a regular basis there is like baseball teams or dance classes or church groups and things like that.. Umm what else?
Marc V. And so you’ve got the places where you are going to go and who you are going to talk to and I think what’s important to bring up is that this is free, you can spend a lot of money on ads and advertisement online and pumping up your social media posts and things like that you can spend a lot of money and chasing where that money is being spent and how it works, this is a full time job.
Mark S. Right! That’s our full time job.
Marc V. You know that is a and that’s a lot of work into that, this is something that you just do and this is completely free and you’re going or if you’re at a little league or dance there is always lot of small talk going on in the crowd because the teacher or the coaches all talking to the students and you’re just standing there with another dad or mom.
Mark S. Yeah, so you’re going to talk about it and bring it up, at some point somebody is going to say so, what do you do? And this is a standard greeting ‘So, what do you do?’
Marc V. Yeah, its easy small talk, so be ready for it and 100% you will get business out of it,
Mark S. Yeah absolutely; you know what I actually did part of an online webinar that I did had some of it in it and I actually got an email from a women that had attended and she told me says “you know what I did what you said and I just introduced myself and did the word of mouth thing and I got a business from that immediately’.
Marc V. Yeah, immediately I mean I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a Friday and you said you’re going to do some of this over the weekend that you were going to consider this and make a conscious effort that you are going to follow this plan, then by Monday you’ve gotten a piece of referral business headed your way.
Mark S. Yeah that’s true!
Marc V. I have no doubt I’ve no doubt about that.
Mark S. So here’s what I think we would like you to do as soon as you are done with the podcast here today is make sure that you’ve made that list of the places that you go, make a conscious effort don’t just go through your day normally, make a list of the places that you go and the things that you do when you come into contact with groups of people, okay that is number one.
Number two is to kind of work on that elevator pitch little bit.
Number three is if you’re not doing something every night and every day all day- to look for those additional opportunity like the chamber of commerce or like the meet up groups and then after you’ve done all this for about a week.. Leave us a comment.
Marc V. Yea, Yeah you can go to http://www.caspodcast.com , you can reach out to us there, you can contact us there and I’d love to hear thoughts or suggestions, success stories anything that you’ve done and you are fine with it for us to share your success stories on any of these things on future podcasts as well because we got to encourage each other in this business in any business, when you are with your peers you encourage each other and be successful.
Mark S.I think we are done here, I think that’s all we got on Social NOT social media marketing, thanks for paying attention this time.
Marc V. Yea! Absolutely, thanks a lot and we look forward to hearing how it works out for you!