Build Name Recognition With Walking Billboards!

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by Jaqueline Bodnar

[ Daring Fireball Shirt ]
Shoes AND shirt required! That’s right, there aren’t many places in this country that you can go and get away without wearing a shirt. Whether you’re on the the street, shopping on a Saturday afternoon, or mowing the lawn, most people will be wearing some type of shirt.

The t-shirt is one of the most commonly worn styles there is. If you’ve been thinking about using t-shirts as an effective marketing tool, you’re in good company. T-shirts that include company names and logos, slogans, or messages are a highly effective, surprisingly affordable way to promote any size business.

As you zoom down the road, you pass countless billboards. While you may not act upon every one you see, many of the names and messages do stick. If they didn’t, people would not continue to advertise. Now take this one step further, to a t-shirt, which is really nothing more than a walking billboard. And it is even better than a billboard on the roadside, because it has the silent, word-of-mouth endorsement of the person wearing it. This shirt, and the company name it carries, could be seen by hundreds of people.

If this isn’t incentive enough for using t-shirts as a promotional tool; consider  their length of stay on planet Earth. That’s right. T-shirts have a very long shelf life. Many people keep and wear them for years, before passing them on to someone else. Rarely does someone receive a free t-shirt and toss it in the trash. You can rest assured that your marketing tool still ends up on someone’s back for many years, showcasing your company name, logo or slogan.

So how do you get started using t-shirts as a marketing tool? First, talk with marketing pros who can help you, a designer or image consultant to narrow down what your shirt design should look like. You’ll have to consider whether you want to use just your logo or add a message, slogan, phone number, etc. At a bare minimum, you’ll probably want to include your logo.

Name recognition is extremely important when it comes to building a business. If someone opens the phone book to locate a plumber and finds 20 listed, they’re going to try to go with the one whose name sounds familiar. That holds true, even when they can’t recall how they know the company name. They may have seen the name on a t-shirt and while it means nothing to them at the time, the name later pops into their head, and they choose it because it is the one they know.

Once you’ve narrowed down what you want to print on your shirt, find a quality supplier who can give you a good price on a large run of shirts. This way you’ll have plenty to give away. For t-shirts to be an effective marketing tool, you need to get them out, all over town — giving them away free does this.

How? Attend events and shoot them into the air with t-shirt guns. Another way to use printed t-shirts effectively is to give them away to each person that registers at your Web site. You could offer an e-mail update or newsletter of course, but a good looking free t-shirt is a great incentive to get a visitor to register in the first place. You can also give t-shirts away at your place of business, have employees wear them on the job, and give them out to family and friends.

As you walk around over the next few days, notice all the promotional t-shirts you see. Lots of businesses do this, and it can really make an impact — just like a walking billboard. 

Picture of Rich Graham

Rich Graham

Purveyor of branded swag and merch. Host to 3 kidneys. Uncredited contributor at @nbcsnl Chief Imagination Officer at @bigpromotions. Podcaster at
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