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, welcome everybody to another, yet another episode of the Custom Apparels Startups Podcasts. Hi my name is Mark Stephenson
Marc V. And I am Marc Vila and today, we’re here to talk about offline marketing essentials.
Mark S. Right, that’s as oppose to online marketing essentials, which we’re going to get to but offline are things that you do in the real world, it’s actually meeting people and handing them thing and getting them to call you in the physical worlds as opposed to what seems like everybody only talks about the online stuff.
Marc V. Yeah, that’s one thing that actually when I was looking into this podcast and I was trying to get my own creative juices flowing I went online and I was just searching for interesting marketing ideas and a 100% of what I was online stuff: people talk about blogs and social media and advertising online and there is so much offline that still needs to be done and I think its forgotten about maybe or it seems that it’s so obvious and I think that is not only so obvious.
Mark S. And let me set the stage and say that if you look through our success stories on coldesi.com there is a section for success stories 95 to 99% of those success stories is all local businesses that people found by meeting, by promotional materials or by having a retail location somewhere in a specific town.
Marc V. Yeah, Yeah and the same is with our Colman and Company customers, when we sit down and actually start to talk to folks about what they do, so many of them are actually local which means that you gotta have this offline stuff ready to go for your business whether you are just starting up or if you don’t have any of this in your business then it’s time to do it.
Mark S. Right and I want to, I want to set you guys up for success, so if you’re already in business, just forget everything you already know, everything that you’ve already printed and everything that you have already have done and commit this with a fresh eye so you can learn as much as possible.
Marc V. Yeah I agree, and think about it, I think we need to start at the beginning. Right, so the beginning is not what you need to create but the beginning is who is your customer and use a big word ‘customer profile’
Mark S. It’s not a big word.
Marc V. It’s not a big word but it’s a fancy marketing word.
Mark S. it’s just six letters.
Marc V. But It’s like a fancy marketing word, you know it’s something that somebody might put on a resume if they were a marketing person… creating a customer profile or who are you selling to.
Mark S. That’s the question that you really need to answer before you do any of this stuff, because you’ll probably have a natural market that you’re going after I mean that you got into the embroidery business because you wanted to make horse blankets, so the people in your customer profile is going be consist of people like you that might be into horses or if you started a direct garment printing business because you wanted to do band t-shirts for a particular type of music that you follow and that’s going to kind of lead you down that path but you really need to develop you know at least one or two personas or your profiles of people that you’re going to sell to.
Marc V. And these include the sex that you’re selling to, so is it unisex, male or female mostly because that can direct how you want things to look is it the age group and that can be another one of that particular ethnic backgrounds can be part of it, you know if you’re particularly going towards a… if you’re Mexican- American and what you’re doing is you’re selling a lot of apparel or that clothing to that market to those immigrants or to other Mexican Americans, then it’s probably a good idea to use those colors and you’d want it to be unisex coz there’s male and female and maybe a flag might be a part of your marketing materials and how you bring that in.
Mark S. I like that if it’s the resort tourism business then you know that if you’re doing bling in the resort tourism business you’re going to sell into hotels then you’re average customer is going to be a wealthy 35-55 year old female that’s there on vacation so you know you can kind of tailor your marketing to that persona.
Marc V. I think this is the time where it’s okay to stereotype, okay what we’re talking about here is for example if you’re selling to automobile or bike club, if its people who are into street racing scene, okay that’s when you think about that then it’s going to be edgy feeling male, however there are definitely females and women that are into that for sure! However still the things, their cars are still going to have that edgy look.
Mark S. Okay, so I think we’ve covered our politically correct bases here.
Marc V. Yeah. (Laughing)
Mark S. So, your customer profile is going to be – who you want to sell to, so let’s give a few specific examples of what you think of Marc that will apply to embroidery for example.
Marc V. Okay, so what do you have in mind, what do you have going through your head there.
Mark S. Well, our typical embroider might be looking for corporate work, so someone that buys a single head machine that is going to go after -Let’s say their customer profile is small to medium sized blue color or pink colored service businesses, so their customer might be the owner and you can use a particular person as a matter of fact what we’ve done at ColDesi in the past is kind of actually developed personas and names for our typical customer, so you can even say ‘okay, well bob owns a local plumbing franchise, it’s an on time plumbing franchisee, he’s got 25 full time employees and 10 part-time employees, they each one of them need name tags or custom embroidery uniforms, they need hats, they need the following kinds of things and you’re going to base your marketing from bob’s profile’
Marc V. Yeah.
Mark S. And that way you can go to other companies that are not just plumbing but anybody that’s in that kind of blue collar industry that you can apply, everything that you create for bob can be adapted to people just like it.
Marc V. Yeah so, so the person who owns the house painting company and the air conditioning company and you mentioned the plumbing, electric company, all of those things for either house or home or small business even telecom can fit in there, you know telephone company so you know all of that fits into that type of profile and to me when I would look to create that we’re talking about using somewhat neutral colors, so comfortable colors, maybe not neon’s might not be the color that you’d what for your logo.
Mark S. Nothing, probably nothing pink or violet or anything along those lines.
Marc V. Yeah, unisex is a good way to fit it, that it feels good just for anybody who is going to pick it up coz you don’t know who is going to be the decision maker it could be male or female of wide range of age.
Mark S. At the same time you’re not going to develop you know collateral or literature brochures that look like you’re trying to sell to IBM or Apple either, you’re not going to have this high end high gloss polished kind of look to your materiels if your market is more of a… if the guy that you’re likely to hand the brochure to is immediately going to get it dirty then you don’t want to get it to look like he’s going to polish it off himself.
Marc V. Yes that’s very true, make it feel right for the person that’s going to be picking it up and then you can also go to the other end of that where you get much more specific like I mentioned with the Mexican-American one is going to be an example, if you’re going to sell to dance schools and cheer and now you’re talking about mainly female we’re talking about bling is cool we’re fine to have it diamond in your logo or use break pink or purple or things like that, the car one I think is good where you could talk about having a edgy type of a look using a really robust font, you know on your logo having a neon colored logo, those are going to be okay for that type of crowd, so you want it to feel as if it just fits right in with what they did.
Mark S. And you don’t have to have just one customer profile or set of marketing materiel or marketing approaches, like for example at ColDesi, typically the -our first time embroidery customers are a little bit different than our first time prosplangler bling customers that are a little bit different than our first time DTG customers, so in general there is a lot of overlap, don’t get me wrong but there are some specific personas that belong to those different markets, so if you are the embroider that is going after the plumber but you also want to do school sports jackets, do leather men jackets and things like that you can have a separate set of marketing materials that appeals to that group and we’re not talking about spending a million dollars on each different marketing approach, we’re just talking about having the right approach for each individual.
Marc V. Lets talk about something that we should spend money on.
Mark S. Okay.
Marc V. So, I think we’ll start with a logo and name, okay you should have a name and some sort of logo, a logo doesn’t means that you spend a lot of money and hours…
Mark S. Marcus, Marcus, Marcus try not to laugh right now (Marc laughs) because he knows my opinions on logos and I will tell you that many people start their businesses because they have a logo in mind and I will tell you that the most I have ever spend on getting a logo designed for my business is 5$.
Marc V. Yeah all you need, all you really need is a name on a piece of paper in a particular font, but if you want to go to a online place that creates logos for 25-50 or 100$ you can do whatever you want and just get something that you’re happy to share with people and it could literally be as simple as we go down the road and look at all the signs on the road and look at how many logos are quite simple
Mark S. Right.
Marc V. McDonald is a word in a one font.
Mark S. Yes it is and lets specify that -Start with your customer profile and who you’re going to sell to before you pick your company name and logo, if your company name is going to be princess designs and then you decide to go after that plumbing business, its going to be little bit more of an uphill battle.
Marc V. Yeah.
Mark S. Because princess designs and plumbing do not immediately, you know it’s not that kind of blue collar thing and on the other hand if you really love some kind of edgy, dark anime – I hate life kind of logo and look don’t expect to bring that approach to the cheerleader market, so it all has to match the customer profile that we market.
Marc V. Yeah so we start with the customer profile, who you want to sell to, come down with a name and I say with a logo but just some sort of a brand to look.
Mark S. Yes, great.
Marc V. How do you, what do you going to print on everything and from there it just comes down to what you call a marketing collateral, your business cards.
Mark S. Business cards, brochures.
Marc V. And all of these things, you don’t have to buy tens of thousands on them, there are plenty of places online where you can buy a reasonable amount like 250-500 and not have to spend a ton of cash on them but get something that you’re happy to share but you should have these things and I think the business card is particularly powerful for a first small business.
Mark S. Especially if it’s not a normal or let’s say if you do something that has a business card stand out it will definitely have a tip sheet or a sheet of length to marketing contacts to get things printed or to get things developed and maybe get some places where you can get some logo designs if you want to like fibre.com etc… but I like this website call moo.com because you can get a variety of different shapes of business cards and one of my favorites is especially if you’re in the graphics business is you can order a box of 250 cards with a different image printed on the back of every one.
Marc V. O-okay.
Mark S. So, now you know if you got a bank of your logo and maybe some images that you’ve developed for your customers or just some general design images then you can really have an impact by picking the right image to match the right customer you’re standing in front of and you get a lot of variety there, so that’s a little extra thought but just the basics of being able to hand somebody your business card that’s got your name, you phone number, if you got a website or Facebook profile it’s got that on it, it’s got what you do.
Marc V. That just reminded me of something, when you’re picking a business card I think there is a couple of things to consider for one – you have to have a list of everything that you want to have on it just like you mentioned, so you should have your name and your logo, YOUR actual name can be a good idea too, and it makes it personal not just a card that this is -‘Printing Company’ but Printing company Tom, so they know who they are going to ask for, Phone number if you want to have your direct line or your cell phone that’s up to you, just know that if this is your personal cell phone and you’re going to put it on business cards just realize the line that you’re going to cross and just make the decision if that’s okay.
Mark S. Yes because, and we’ll talk about this in a little bit more detail but if you are going to use your personal phone number you cannot answer the phone: “Hey! What’s up?” From then on even if its mom calling you can’t say “Hey! What’s up?”
Marc V. Yeah, so we’ll definitely we’ll jump into that and then if you have a website, you should have that on there and E-mail address you should have that on there, but another thing to consider is the materials that you’re going to make the business card out of if you go and find the cheapest business card you can possibly find, it’s going to feel like that and I don’t like that when they are easily crushed if you throw a couple in your shirt pocket on the top before you go out coz you know you’re going to an event where you’re going to meet some people, by the time you’re going to hand them out they’ll be bent and crushed that just doesn’t feels nice, so a little bit of a better materiel is worth dollars difference in costs.
Mark S. I absolutely agree and by the way, so is something keep the cards in, because even me I’m always down to the last three cards that have been in my wallet for a week or two or a month, so it’s always bent and its always crappy even with good cards, so I would get even a plastic case or a leather case or something that you can just keep your business cards in even when they’re in your pocket to keep them nice.
Marc V. Especially if you’re going to an event where you know you’re going to get some out.
Mark S. Absolutely, but the most important thing other than your phone number and your name on your business card is it says what you do.
Marc V. Yeah.
Mark S. Even if the name of your business is Bob’s T-shirt printing, you still need to have something like ‘Bob’s T-shirt Printing best custom T-shirts in the universe’ you know we print custom t-shirts because you’ll be surprised how people can screw that how they don’t get it…
Marc V. Yeah Custom T-shirts, sportswear, corporate wear no- minimum orders, whatever certain things that you do have those on a list, use the back of the card it’s not that much more often to print on the back of the card and then having the really nice cards when you consider that we look at them they’re typically glossy, you can’t write on them though, so it’s not a bad idea if you’re going to have glossy on one side and matt on the other, being able to write on the card is great if you talk to somebody and you want to give them a note -specifically like Hey! ask me about this or here is a coupon code for my website or here is a promotional, here is a… you can write that on the card for them and hand it to them, so you want to be able to write on your card and I think that’s an important thing.
Mark S. And I know that this is supposed to be just about printing materials and things like that but I also like to change the way people hand out their cards and make it a bigger deal than the average person.
Marc V. Okay, you got my attention, you got my attention.
Mark S. Okay, one of my favorite things, one of my favorite things is my wife and I actually, I went on a business trip to Hong Kong and one of the things that was great (I got to bring my wife with me) but what they do is they will actually hand you their business card with both hands and then its rude for you to just take it and put it away, so during an entire meeting, because i read about this before i went, I would put the guy’s business cards on the table in front of me so that I could refer to it, so I am not suggesting that you should do that because that would be creepy but what you can do is you can ask and say “can I give you my business card” or “may I hand you my business card” “If I gave you my business card, would you keep it ?”
Marc V. Yeah.
Mark S. And just hand it to them, and see its got my name on it and its got the phone number and look this is what we do and you can use it as a mini presentation if you do the printing on the back. So just say this is what we do, see? We do all of these things and then hand it to them.
Marc V. I like that a lot and specifically pointing to having them remember, if you want them to E-mail you, you say “here is my business card, my E-mail is right here, that goes directly to me by the way” you know something that they can remember, but I do like the idea that if somebody handed me a business card with both hands and bow…
Mark S. (Laughing)
Marc V. I would talk about them.
Mark S. I bet you would but would it be in a good way? Would it be in a good way? I don’t know you’d certainly be remembered but I do like the idea of using a good quality business card of having your name and phone number and things like that on it, having what you do on the business card – absolutely and then making it more of an event then usual when you hand it to someone.
Marc V. I like that. And then I think we need to have a little bit of checklist of other things coz I think that covers the card pretty well; what’s the checklist of the other things that you need to have prepared and made, so the next thing that I thought of and we hadn’t mentioned was of letter head if you’re going to write a letter to somebody it’s nice to have it, even if it’s just electronic.
Mark S. And that’s what I use is, I will use I’ll get my logo and I’ll get a template inside Microsoft word, so whenever I type a letter I just type in the letter, the logo and everything is already there and I’ll print it on a color printer.
Marc V. Go on YouTube and search “how to add a header and a footer on Microsoft word” and it takes about 10 seconds to learn – the header, your logo and anything else that you might want to put up there maybe your phone number and on the footer your address phone number, E-mail or whatever other things that you want spaced apart evenly to bottom and save that, every time you go to write a letter that’s what you open up instead of a new document.
Mark S. And you can do the same thing by the way when you create emails, we should talk about that when we talk about online marketing but when you create emails you can also create a template that has the same information on it and I think it’s important that what’s on your business card matches what’s in your letter head which matches on your invoice and quote.
Marc V. Which means the same font, the same colors and if you use a dash in your phone number use dash everywhere, if you use a period use period everywhere. It makes it feel that much nicer.
Mark S. And believe it or not it’ll make you more recognizable, so when I get… and I get a lot of spam E-mail, I get a lot from realtors and the realtors that I remember have the cheesiest signatures. It’s about two inches long on the E-mail, it’s got a picture of them, it’s got their company name and it’s got their slogan in it which might be, ‘if we can’t sell it we’ll buy it’ or ’90 days till sold’ or something along those lines, it’s got all the information there, it’s got a picture and you can do the same thing and you can make the same kind of thing.
Marc V. Well that actually leads to another thing to mention which is you the email to have a signature on your email and if whatever service you use for email the same thing go to YouTube or Google and search for ‘How to add a signature to Gmail or to Outlook’ figure out how to do it and have it this way that every time you send an E-mail to replies and in initial sense, it’s got your name and your phone number and your company name because if someone opens up their email, imagine how you read email; you read email “Oh the shirts are going to cost 50$ and I can have them ready be Tuesday, call me when you’re ready” imagine if the customer just pushed their finger up a quarter of an inch and then there is your phone number and then they can touch it and call you, how much more likely are they going to call you V.S. the person that scroll all the way down and “I think I have a card somewhere”
Mark S. A lot more likely that’s true.
Marc V. so there’s letter head, your sales orders and quotes that could be another thing to have in electronic and or printed it’s a same thing a template for that, how you’re going to quote people.
Mark S. And I would say, especially if you’re going to quote using E-mail; I think it looks a little unprofessional if you do a quote for let’s say if it’s a 500$ sale or a 1000$ sale and you basically write the information in the body of an E-mail, just say hey I can do 50 shirts 10$ a piece. 500 bucks call me if you want it. As opposed to having a nice form letter with your logo on it with your signature on it and with some kind of defined 50 shirts of this size delivered in this time period with this print for this cost and have it be an official document that’s branded to your company and it makes you feel like a big organization and it makes you seem more trustworthy.
Marc V. if you have a template, if you… let me take it back the other way, if you don’t have a template, a 100% chance that you’re going to forget to include some important piece of information and they also will misunderstand what you wrote on a E-mail, I can do 10 shirts for 10 bucks a piece and then they’ll be like “oh you told me you could do 10 shirts for 10 bucks”.
Mark S. Right.
Marc V. and how does that sounds…
Mark S. or is it 10 different shirts for 10 bucks a piece… do they have to be the same, is also a great opportunity when you do an official quote and when you do an official sales order to put all the ‘yabuts’ you know to put all your disclaimers in it, delivery date is not a guarantee, it’s a suggested delivery day, we warrant the quality of the print, you can’t bring us your own shirts, sales tax is not included in the price quoted; you know whatever you want to say with every single order to avoid those misunderstandings.
Marc V. Yeah if something needs to be shipped, additional fees may apply.
Mark S. The CYA clause basically.
Marc V. And something that makes me crinch on the CYA clause is they don’t have to be the biggest thing on the invoice or the email, they don’t have to be in bold red or 5 times font and they never should have exclamation points at the end and I understand how frustrating it is when somebody doesn’t follow those rules, however…
Mark S. Don’t be angry about it in advance.
Marc V. Yeah to me it makes a person feel angry and you’re assuming that they’re going to make that mistake right away, so you should have it in there and you should note it somehow and it doesn’t have to be brash, so we’ve got business cards, wave got letter heads, wave got sales orders/quotes, invoices – if you need to specifically have a separate invoice from the sales order which you’re going to find out you’re going to be asked for that from some corporates or…
Mark S. Absolutely and I think we did this in part of our IT section and part of our IT podcast is using things like QuickBooks, using things like fresh books or whatever accounting software you’re going to use often will always actually have sales orders, quotes and invoices that you can produce through then and all you have to do is you can add your logo and the filler in there, you don’t have to create everything from scratch.
Marc V. Yeah, there is templates everywhere, there is templates in excel you know excel will have, everything’s going to have em , we are always going to recommend the accounting softwares for small businesses it’s a right place to start and I also understand that often small businesses work in a limited budget and sometimes when you are first getting going it can be expensive and it can add up but do something the right way and use excel have a minimum for an invoice.
Mark S. Now, how do you feel about brochures, where do you come down on the question should every business have a brochure.
Marc V. I think it is good to have a sort of a one sheet or a one page of what you do, I think that’s a good idea to have and it can just be electronic and I think that’s fine if it’s just a PDF, you don’t necessarily have to print em, I think it s a good idea to print em, you never know when you could have the opportunity to mail something to someone or hand it to in person but one sheet on everything that you do maybe your mission statement or your philosophy… or making dance wear better or making girls deals alive dance wear and more.
Mark S. I think that a brochure can be a very effective tool, especially if it’s one of the smaller ones that are folded that with the single fold that you can keep in your pocket or in your purse and hand out to somebody, that is a big business card basically and it might have a full list of the things that you do, it might have something special about delivery times your location or where you’re from or how you personally might relate to that market, the only thing that I’m going to say about brochure that is a definite don’t do- is don’t make this yourself.
Marc V. Yeah.
Mark S. I have seen so many Horrible-Horrible brochures that someone just opened up the brochure template inside word or another program like that and they just come out bad, if you’re going to do a brochure get one done at fed ex- kingo, or get it done online or whoever’s doing your logo let him do that, but don’t do that yourself, because my fear is that you’re going to have nothing but paragraphs of texts and bad pictures.
Marc V. Bad pictures, yeah, don’t include pictures, if they are not going to be good, if they are fuzzy or stretched or…
Mark S. Which they always are.
Marc V. Yeah… or really dark and if you print em, if you’re going to print em at home on your printer which I’m going to recommend not to do but if it’s just text you can get away with that to a degree.
Mark S. Okay.
Marc V. If it’s really small when it’s just text and somebody made it, and it’s just going to be images, and you’re going to print to that home and it’s going to look bad.
Mark S. I agree, tell you what I’m going to do is I’m definitely going to link to fiverr.com that’s f-i-v-e-r-r.com just pay somebody five dollars to design it for you, if you have good pictures, send them, send them your logo send them what you want to say, send em five dollars and have them do it.
Marc V. Yeah and often times on fiver dot com is those people can upgrade so it’s like 5 bucks to make this but 5 more dollars I’ll do this and… You can spend maybe 15-20 dollars and maybe upgrade that to it and it’s a lot of cool stuff, it’s a fun site.
Mark S. And let me say, let me do my soap box thing as well just because you have word does not make you a writer, so just because you know how to do a brochure doesn’t mean that you know how to do a great one.
Marc V. Yeah.
Mark S. Because it is different then, if you are terrific at graphics that does not mean you can write three paragraphs, you know you really got to get somebody else to at least get a look at it to make sure that you’re producing a product a brochure that is worthy of what you’re selling.
Marc V. Yeah absolutely there is a ton of places online they all have a flat fee or something and they’ll all make you a brochure and letter head and all these things for a 100$ or a 200$, don’t spend… a pet peeve of mine is when I found out somebody spend a 1000$ to make a brochure or 400$.
Mark S. That’s crazy!
Marc V. You know you’re a small business owner and you got to spend your money in the right way if you know somebody who does this and they do big time corporate branding they might charge 5000$ and that’s that product that might not be for you, you can spend your money in other places.
Mark S. You’re not going to be selling Jaguars, you’re going to be selling T-shirts, so keep that in mind.
Marc V. The logo that cost you 99$ VS the logo that cost you 599$ which is probably not going to make a difference in any sales.
Mark S. As soon as you hit the big time and by the big time I mean very big time then you can get your logo redone if you need to.
Marc V. Yeah, Yeah, and so we have a brochure however you like it the bi-fold is a good one, mini brochure is another way to go, it’s literally just a half a sheet like a postcard, a postcard could still be kind of your brochure but have something that you feel comfortable but have enough room to say everything that you want and I don’t think that you need to put all of your disclaimers on the brochure, I don’t like that, this is for selling, not for instructions.
Mark S. Not for scaring people away.
Marc V. So, no exclamation points in big red letters on ‘Do-not submit art to this e-mail address’ So, there is one other things that you should get printed is I think ‘thank you cards’.
Mark S. We talked about that little bit and I think that’s something that we do off and on here at ColDesi to be quite frank and I think it’s a good idea.
Marc V. Yeah, it’s quite expensive to get your logo on… get a single fold size thank you card, logo on the front and that’s the minimum that you need and those are pretty in-expensive and if you want to step it up you can get the envelope with your logo and address on it, you can get a message written on the inside “we appreciate creating custom apparel for you” with your name and logo and you can have this spot to sign. But thank you card is great and if you send one to every customer I pretty much guarantee that it’s never going to make the situation worse, it’s only going to be better.
Mark S. That’s a good point, no-one’s ever going to say, Damn-it I hate getting these thank you cards…! I’m never buying from that company again.
Marc V. And its only going to be good for you and it’s never going to cost you that much money and it’s another part of the whole experience for them. It’s like a movie or a song they got the card and they got the letter on the letter head, then they got the sales order on the sales order, then they got the final invoice, then they got the thank you card and they got all of these things, they got this whole marketing experience from you and all the things were printed and that felt really professional again and the chances of them coming back because that felt great as long as what you produced was good.
Mark S. Right!
Marc V. That’ll be part of what they’d remember.
Mark S. Do you think they’re going to remember you in three months or six months when they have another order to place, if everything matches like that then yeah, because they are going to stumble on the invoice they’re going to look and they’re going to find your business card, your brochure and they’re going to see that thank you card again.
Marc V. Yeah, yeah and they’re also going to let’s just say that they go online because they forgot, they forgot your name “I know it was something, something ” and they jump online and we’ll talk about online marketing to make sure they find you when they do that, but they jump on they start searching, visual memory is really important so they’re going to do that and they’re going to see the logo or the colors or the name and “That’s it! That’s it!” so, that’s part of the branding so people can say, “Yeah that’s it! Tom” “he was great”.
Mark S. That’s a really good point coz I’ve done that.
Marc V. (Laughs) Yeah, I’ve done it a ton of times, so then the next thing I think we should chat about is some of the things that you don’t print but are still part of the basics of the marketing essentials, so one of them is -you mentioned about the phone.
Mark S. Oh right!
Marc V. And the voicemail.
Mark S. Right! because a lot of people 90% of people when they first get started they’re just going to use their personal cell phone for their business phone because it’s easier, it’s cheaper and you don’t have to spend an extra 50 or 100 bucks a month to do that and there is no problem with that as long as you do one of two things. the first one is you draw a hard line in the sand and decide every time you answer the phone it’s going to be as a profession, so no matter who calls, because you’ll never be able to do this you’ll never be able to see your sister calls and you answer one way, you’re not going to be paying attention next time somebody calls you’re going to answer that same way for a customer.
Marc V. It’s a habit that you need to build.
Mark S. It is, so if you’re going to use your personal phone every call you answer with “Hi this is Mark from ABC T-shirts thanks for calling how can I help you” every single time!
Marc V. Yeah and your cousin and your brother and they might joke and make “Ah you always answer your phone like that to me” and you can say “Hey, I take my business seriously” and if somebody pokes fun at that you turn around and say “No, I take my business serious it’s a habit that I build” and if they keep going on it then write that off because…
Mark S. Stop taking their calls.
Marc V. When you answer the phone and it happens to me a lot because I make phone calls from Colman and Company I call people, and I call people back, I return messages and so often “Hello”
Mark S. Is this ABC printing T-shirts?
Marc V. “Yeah, how can I help you?” and the guy was nice in the end but it was uncomfortable for a moment…
Mark S. By the way we are just using that as an example, if you actually owned ABC T-shirts, we’re not talking about you.
Marc V. You’re probably a really good person.
Mark S. Yeah you probably do this all correctly.
Marc V. I like you…
Mark S. So the other thing that you can do is you can actually get a Google phone number or a Vox-Ox number there are a couple of free or almost free services that will let you have a separate business number dial your cell phone
Marc V. I think grasshopper is one, there’s a bunch of em out there.
Mark S. So, you can do that you can actually have a different phone number so you can put a different phone number on your website, I’ve used Google voice and Vox-ox the two they come to mind but there are a lot of services out there that you can have kind of a fake phone number.
Marc V. it will forward to your phone and often times it would have a special caller ID and you almost know. You know when it’s in use and….
Mark S. You do Yeah…
Marc V. So, that’s a great way to do it, no matter what if its going to your personal phone or any phone, have a good voicemail and you don’t… stop telling people to leave their phone number their phone number and the name and time of the call
Mark S. At the beep (laughs) drives me crazy.
Marc V. They know, we know, everyone knows now, but you do have to say thanks for calling ‘Business’ I don’t really have an issue with somebody saying “we’re not available now” I mean we know you’re not available…
Mark S. Otherwise you would’ve picked up the phone! (Marc Laughs)
Marc V. But I don’t know if I have an issue with that, sorry we missed your call, you know please let us know the nature of your call and we’ll get back with you as soon as possible, but have something that you say short..
Mark S. And don’t make it a 20 minute speech.
Marc V. And you don’t have to put all your disclaimers here too, that’s another one!
Mark S. Hey! Don’t send me artwork.
Marc V. And as a reminder do not send artwork to, you don’t have to have that because the chance of somebody calling, that’s why they were calling is minimal.
Mark S. And it doesn’t have to be boring or stale or anything like that either, you could say “thanks for calling Bob’s T-shirts, NO! we’re not ignoring you we’re actually busy helping other customers, we’re happy to help you too, we do custom T-shirts for a variety of purposes, leave your name and phone number and a little about what you’re interested in and I’m going to call you right back.
Marc V. Well, here we go back to… all of these things are always going to go back to step one of the customer profile because if you’re selling a corporate wear, it should say “Thank you for calling XYZ T-shirt company” and you know please leave us a message and we will promptly return your call within 24 hours.
Mark S. Right and I’ll be wearing a tie.
Marc V. And I’ll be wearing a tie, you can E-mail me at -and then you can have a nice corporate E-mail address and sales at -XYZprinting.com however if you do dancewear, then you can say “Hey you know we’re probably out dancing right now”
Mark S. Have a little music in the background…
Marc V. And if you’re selling to the blue collar like the message that you just left, it was more like “hey! I’m out there running my machines right now just like you are” and that’s a good way to do it, so go back to step one and let that allow how your voicemail is going to be and how you answer the phone.
Mark S. That’s a good point and remember that’s any phone that you deal with that a customer may for any reason call you, you should always answer the same way you should have the same type and feel of voice.
Marc V. Yeah and the same with your E-mail signatures going back to that, the way that you leave messages as well.
Mark S. Lets put that around not just when people call you but how about when you call people and leave a voice mail.
Marc V. Yeah, you know how about have a semi-script or at least a checklist of the things that you’re going to say, you’re going to say the company name, you’re going to say your name, you’re going to leave the phone number to reach you and maybe you’re going to leave an E-mail address.
Mark S. Do it, just do one and leave me a message right now.
Marc V. Okay, Hi Mark This is Marc, calling from Colman and Company, I am returning your phone call in regards to the embroidery supplies that you were looking for, you can give me a call back at 800-891-1094 you can also feel free to leave me a quick E-mail and that’s firstname.lastname@example.org and just in case if you didn’t had a pen handy the first time the phone number again is 800-891-1094 and I look forward to hearing back from you soon, thank-you.
Mark S. I like that, I like that a lot because what you did was- you said what your name was, you said why you were calling, you said that you were returning with call, you gave two methods of contact, the only thing that you missed that I would do is I would make the threat.
Marc V. Alright-Alright…
Mark S. And the threat is exactly like you did, returning your call, you can E-mail me, you can call me back and if I don’t hear from you within about a week I’m going to give you a call back just to make sure that you’re taken care of.
Marc V. Okay so we’re getting a good sales pitch.
Mark S. I like doing that just a little bit, I always want to give, because one of the things that you should do when you leave a voice-mail message is leave an action, something has to happen because I get 7-10 voicemails a day so I want to hear “I’m going to send you an E-mail right now please respond with what you need me to help you with”
Marc V. Yeah.
Mark S. I am going to call you back in a couple of days, if I don’t hear from you because I want to make sure that you got the supplies that you were looking for.
Marc V. That’s good and I’m going to email you the quote that you asked me for right now please respond back or give me a call back to let me know you got that.
Mark S. Yeah, I like all those things and the consistency is really important that you remember to say, even if you keep a cheat sheet, remember to say the same thing, because remember if you’re leaving a message for somebody it means that you’re going to do business together or you want to do business, so that voicemail message is worth money, it’s your brochure, it’s your business card, it’s your website at that point, so you’ve got to say, hey this is Mark from ColDesi I am calling you about director garment printer, you expressed some interest and I’d like to chat with you about that and see what you want to do, I’m going to give you a call back and you can reach me at this number or this email address, if I don’t hear from you I’m going to give you a call back tomorrow just to make sure that we’re getting through.
Marc V. That ‘s ideal just to get a checklist, I remember when I was in sales I would have little cheat sheets of all the things that I would want to say or do whether it was E-mails or voice-mails and sometimes I would even write it out first, so I would open up my E-mail and I would write down…
Mark S. I like that.
Marc V. What I want to say for this customer so build that and keep a note and if you do that every time it just becomes part of your brand, it becomes a part of who your business is, it becomes a part of that whole experience because now we talked about business card and the brochure it’ll also there is also little things dropped in there a voice mail here, an E-mail here and if it all fits, its going to be that much nicer.
Mark S. And unfortunately, just in case you didn’t know this as a sales guy myself, I know that it unusually takes eight contacts before someone will buy something from you and that contact might include the business card the brochure, the E-mail the voice mail and its each one of those things are equally important.
Marc V. Those are all touches in regards to the sales process and so the invoice is, the sales order is, the letterhead is, the voicemail is, those are all touches and you’re going to have eight to twelve touches throughout that experience, you want em all to be your company and match that customer profile that we started with.
Mark S. And match that customer profile that we started with.
Marc V. Yeah, exactly, so I think there is one more thing that is not printed that is created that I know that Mark loves.
Mark S. what’s that?
Marc V. You love to wear what you sell.
Mark S. I do and it’s very difficult to wear an embroidery machine on my back…
Marc V. Yeah, I’ve seen you do it though, he has his backpack thing.
Mark S. I really do, one of my, we do seminars here, we have our open houses and our tempo facilities on marketing and get 15 people on a good day sitting in my classroom and i start my session and the first thing I’ll ask is how many people are wearing their company, and maybe one out of 15 will raise their hands and by that I mean if you are in the custom T-shirt business, you should be wearing a custom T-shirt, if you do embroidered logos you should be wearing something with your embroidery on it, you should absolutely if you’re you should have a cap with your logo and you should have a T-shirt with your logo, everything that you wear you should have your business on them.
Marc V. And it should at least be something that you made coz what’s funny is; I’ve seen this a few times and I can remember one specific event -group of friends hanging out, one of my friends just happen to be in the T-shirt business and somebody says “oh what do you do ?” (And he replies) “I make custom T-shirts, I print T-shirts”, “That’s so cool, that shirt you’re wearing is awesome, you made that?”
Both say NO! (Both laughing)
Marc V. And I can remember we all just laughed, it was a cool shirt but he didn’t make it and but the thought was that I said “Man that was just opportunity lost”; you could’ve said that Yeah! I’ll make you one ill do it for 25bucks for custom T for a single Tes.
Mark S. I’ll put your name right on the front!
Marc V. Yeah i can make you one that is a custom one just for you. So wear your stuff if you do embroidery.
Mark S. Oh and if you do Bling of any kind -Rhinestones or Prospangle a 100% of the time you have to wear it. Tracy Robinson are Bling sales person in ColDesi she does all our webinars and things like that on it, is a baseball mom, she’s got a couple of boys they’re big in the baseball and every time she goes to a game she wears a teen or some kind of baseball mom in Prospangle or in Rhinestones and a 100% of the time someone will come up to her and ask her where she got that shirt from.
Marc V. Yeah.
Mark S. And you should take that as a money making lesson right there, oh funny you should mention that -I do this for a living, how many would you like?
Marc V. Yeah, that’s great wearing what you do, it could also be, if you carry a backpack or a briefcase or a man bag or a purse
Mark S. No one carries a man bag, don’t say that.
Marc V. I don’t but people do, let’s not pretend so whatever you carry of any packs or common bags
Mark S. No they’re not! No they’re not.
Marc V. They are I’ve just…
Mark S. Lets go the other way if you wear like a motorcycle vest if you ride…
Marc V. That too, that too…
Mark S. IF you wear a cowboy hat.
Marc V. But whatever it is you can put in, you can put in embroidery, you can put embroidery on it, if you do vino you can put vino on it, you can bling all those things and of course some things become challenging, its hard to take a leather briefcase; that’s a professional briefcase and bling it, you know that might not always fit, but for things that DO fit, make them, so if you have a backpack and you do embroidery, embroider something on that backpack that you do wear all the time.
Mark S. That’s a good idea.
Marc V. Yeah, Whether it’s your name or whatever it might be this way that you have something to talk about.
Mark S. Yeah i like that and that especially goes if you are going into the world for business purposes. I mean if you are just walking around town you should be wearing what you do. But if you’re going to do a trade show or if you’re going to go to a market or a fair or for example we’ve got a local customer that does s Rhinestones that are specifically pet peeved, so she goes and hangs around for fairs and festivals outside pet smart or if there is a dog show or a dog sporting event like they are into like a dock jumping event and things like that a 100% of the times she is wearing a cool blinged shirt with her company name on the back.
Marc V. I love that and you also said ‘Dock Jumping’ that I think you need to explain.
Mark S. I need to explain, okay.
Marc V. Yes.
Mark S. There is a, There is a sport where they have a target hanging out; you know something dangling hanging out off of a dock.
Marc V. Okay.
Mark S. And the dogs the idea is like a distance jump, they have to run down a dock, they have to jump off of it and they have to grab it with their teeth before they hit the water and how far that is, it’s a long jump kind of competition.
Marc V. Wow.
Mark S. I know, it’s odd that I know that. It’s a lot of fun to watch.
Marc V. That would be but my dog would be terrible.
Mark S. You’re not supposed to throw the dog (laugh) you’re supposed to let it run.
Marc V. I can’t, she’s like 87 pounds I wouldn’t….
Mark S. No, Okay, I get that.
Marc V. Okay I got it, I think I understand.
Mark S. Okay.
Marc V. So, good well, we’ve got, so we got a bunch of things we created and that you’re going to wear and another thing that we talked about are a little more creative, creative marketing things.
Mark S. so, you had mentioned about the car sign.
Marc V. Yeah, and when I mentioned the car sign I was thinking about having one of those magnetic signs made that you can put on the side of your car that says -Again who you are and what you do and it’s got your logo and it’s done appropriately for the market that you’re after, that way if you are parked at the grocery store or if you pull up in front of a business for a sales call its even that much more professional now if you have a really crappy vehicle, don’t do this, but if you have a professional kind of vehicle or maybe the one that fits your market like I don’t care if you do mostly, hunting calls or sports theme stuff and you pull up in an old pickup truck with a gun rack in the back, I would definitely put my logo on the side of it.
Marc V. Yeah.
Mark S. But if you are doing, if you do cheer ware you may not want to take the same approach.
Marc V. Yeah, okay.
Mark S. Just remember everything has to match that corporate image, what I really like is we got some customers that also do car-wraps as well as custom T-shirts and nothing will get our attention even in ColDesi more than when one of our customer pulls up in a completely wrapped vehicle full or who they are and what they do.
Marc V. Yeah I call the roof cleaning company because of that, driving on my way and they had a big thing on the back and so I was stuck in traffic, do I called the guy, “Hey, are you in front of me right now ?” “Yeah, that’s me” Man this is like my best billboard I get phone-calls all the time from it and we talked about it for a minute as we were stuck in traffic behind each other so, if you commute and if you are in the car a lot or you drive around a lot a full car wrap just a sticker to a magnet and it could be simple you know: custom embroidery logo, phone number.
Mark S. Yeah, do something!
Marc V. Yeah and that could be good, its free, you get to do that for free, so there is that, there is a signage if you’re going to go anywhere you should have a sign.
Mark S. And that can be for a few 100 dollars you can get a really good quality kind of pop up banner, a vertical banner that you can have your company name, your logo, and what you do on it with some nice graphics, so
Marc V. So, that’s like a polyester material.
Marc V. Yeah, Yeah that you can actually pop up next to a table or you could do like we did at the ColDesi and you can take a table cloth and actually bling out and embroider the front of the table cloth and put that over a table at the fair or if you are working in a hotel, I mean really anywhere you should have some kind of a sign that signifies what you do.
Marc V. Corriad, Plastic type of printed, you know so there is a lot of ways you could do that and a lot of them are in-expensive if there is a local sign shop you can get something small made starting at 20 bucks.
Mark S. And honestly if you are already doing vinal you should be ashamed of yourself if you don’t have your own sign for everything that you do.
Marc V. So, yeah have a sign, so that’s part of that you know that not everyone always has a need for that so that’s why it was at the bottom of the list but it’s important if you go to anything to have something like that, it just adds to the whole experience. And then there is the chachkey creative ideas.
Mark S. Yes, you’re going to talk about that.
Marc V. Yea, so there is pens and letter openers and magnets and there is a lot of things like that that you can do, so there is mixed opinions in this room, I don’t know of that I’m excited about, but I’m not against them. But I think what that is that I’m holding a pen right now that somebody gave us for free, okay? And its garbage, I dropped one in the warehouse 2 days ago and it exploded on me, this is my second one.
Mark S. That’s bad.
Marc V. And I’m sorry the ink did not explode on me, the pen just blew into forty different pieces and I had to come back, I was making notes in the warehouse, so if you’re going to have a pen make it a decent pen, make sure that it’s good if it feels if its going to break, it’s going to, if you’re going to have a magnet, you don’t want the thinnest magnet that’s lose, some magnets off of my fridge don’t even stick correctly.
Mark S. Right.
Marc V. I had that pizza place and that thing falls off, I threw it away, so if you’re going to have a magnet have a good one and if you’re going to have a letter opener it shouldn’t be dull.
Mark S. Okay (Marc laughs)
Marc V. So, I’m not really against having any of those things, I don’t know how often they’re going to lead to sales or more customers in the custom apparel business…
Mark S. And nether do I, but it is one those kind of safety things, you know it’s like if you have a refrigerator magnet and if it’s not too much money, you can get them made well then why not do it if it works.
Marc V. Yeah, and it’s a thing to give out and it’s a thing and it should make sense for what you do a pizza place is a good idea to have a refrigerator magnet on because they are thinking about food, they go to grab food, I don’t want to cook.
Mark S. Right.
Marc V. So, if you do corporate stuff the pen might not be a bad idea because everyone’s looking for a pen…
Mark S. For a mouse pad or…
Marc V. For a mouse pad or a letter opener you know is one. So there’s plenty of things that you can do I don’t think that it is necessary, I don’t call it a marketing essential.
Mark S. Sure, it’s a marketing… thing.
Marc V. It’s a thing, it’s another thing.
Mark S. Okay let me give you my alternative thing that I kinda dig.
Marc V. Okay
Mark S. I think it might work is you could do is tiny T-shirts or babies onesies or you could embroider on something or bling or print on something small and interesting for example we got one of our DTG customers actually does wedding invitations and things like that on wood, so its basically inexpensive, its plywood, it’s just sanded ply and he would do wedding invitations, you could do the same thing and have your business card made out of wood or you could make it coaster that somebody could put on their desk and then you can DTG right on that, maybe it’s a cuzie that you can embroider on and let people use over and over again or it’s a T-shirt a small T-shirt something that has something to do with your business to further reinforce where they got it and what it is.
Marc V. Yeah that’s the thing like the pen, with your company name that says you know custom T-shirt printing is a cool thing but it doesn’t add…
Mark S. Doesn’t call to mind…
Marc V. Doesn’t call to mind about what you do. So if you got 300$ extra and you’re thinking about ordering pens before you do it just think about what else could you maybe do with that with your other marketing collateral because I think that things mentioned above are more important, so if you’re going to spend a 150$ on pens and you don’t have thank you cards the thank you cards are going to get you more business then the pens.
Mark S. Yes they will.
Marc V. And the year membership to QuickBooks or fresh books you know all those things, so if you got the money on those things but you know I think with all its all about writing everything down and having a little bit of a marketing budget which we’ve talked about before, how much you’re going to spend on it – go for it and do it right.
Mark S. I agree and I think next time we do one of these marketing podcasts which seem to be among our most popular people really, really need some help in that area that will do the online version, it will get a little bit deeper into doing the emails and how to create that, go into getting found online, the three ways that you can get your business listed in maps and Google and Bing and the appropriate way to use the email and E-mail software and things like that.
Marc V. Yeah, that’s definitely another essential, so here we finished up offline marketing essentials, stay tuned and be for online marketing essentials and if you have any questions or thoughts or comments -CASpodcast dot com and you can reach us there and what else you have to leave with Mark?
Mark S. Well I really want people to post, I’m really interested in people’s logos and their company slogans and things like that, I would love it if you would make a comment below if you are on CAS podcast dot com. if you’re listening to this on the web then go ahead and make a comment below and put a picture in there, send us a picture of your logo or put a tagline in there and let us know what works, if you want some help with your customer profile, both Marc and I here will be perfectly willing to help with that, narrow it down to what that should look like and then I would like you to join the face book group which is the custom apparel startups on face book and you can join the conversation of other people that are in the same situation -starting a business wondering what they need to do to get sales, that’s another place to go.
Marc V. And out E-mail address, host @ CAS Podcast dot com, if you want to E-mail us and say, this is the logo I was thinking about, creating, this is the letterhead I made, this is the brochure that my cousins friend who kinda does graphics arts on the sides made for me.
Mark S. We will tell you the truth.
Marc V. We’ll be honest with you and we’ll give some real feedback and the feedback might be you’re headed in the right direction, keep going, or it might be suggesting another alternate route to go but we’re really happy to help you with that and to interact in any way we can and i think until next time be prepared for the online marketing essentials next.
Mark S. Agreed, thanks this has been Mark Stephenson from ColDesi.
Marc V. And Mark Vila from Colman and Company.
Mark S. Look forward to seeing you next time!
Marc V. Bye-bye!