It's hard to run a business if you don't have any customers. Building your clientele is one of the biggest hurdles a new business owner faces (other than the fun, upfront costs). Let's look at the different ways you can let the world know about your new screen printing business.
Before we dive into the different ways to build your clientele for your new screen printing business, make a website first. A website is so, so, so important in the digital age. A website shows what your business offers, who you are, and establish credibility. Whether you build a whole new website through Shopify or Printavo or use a platform like Etsy, you need something to show that you're legit.
Got your website up and running? Sweet, now let's get you some clients.
WORD OF MOUTH
Share with your friends and family. Friends and family are incredibly supportive and usually are willing to do what they can to help you out. This group is a good place to start spreading the word since they're more than willing to bend over backwards for you.
Scroll through your contact list, your address book, your Facebook friends, and reach out to them. I know, I know, this may feel like pyramid-scheme-spam, but it doesn't have to be. Be genuine. You could say something along the lines of, "Hey! I just started a screen printing business. If you, or anyone you know, needs any printed apparel, I'd love to help them out. Thanks for listening. Really appreciate it. :)" Something like that, whatever spin you want to put on it. Reaching out to each person may take a long time, but it may be worth it. Who knows, you may find a few diamonds in the rough.
Opportunities appear in every corner, crevice, street, and your nine-to-five job. You never know what people may need or know of others who need something screen printed until you ask. Someone may have a softball team that needs jerseys for the summer. Another may be in love with plants just as much as you and would love to get a shirt from your new brand. Or maybe you work with incredible people who would love to help you get your business up on its feet. Share with your coworkers about your new endeavor and see what happens.
Go to yoga twice a week? Participate in a water-color class? Play on a co-ed softball team? Telling your companions in your recreational activities spreads the word of your new business to a whole new audience. Again, you never know if these people have any interest or need in screen printed apparel, or if they know of anyone who is in need of it. The more people who know about your business, the better for you.
Get to know local businesses around you. Creating a community with local businesses helped Daniela Murphy of Stark Screen Printing get started. Her friend owned a small business and would send her clients to her shop to fulfill their screen printing needs. She developed relationships with other businesses in the area, and they all refer their customers to the other businesses for their needs. The businesses support each other. How great is that? Besides, getting to know the local businesses in your area can also help you out more because many businesses like to sell merchandise (so you can be the one they go to to print that merch).
REVIEWS AND REFERRALS ARE HELPFUL
When you go to a new restaurant, salon, mechanic, do you check reviews before you go? I think it's safe to say yes. You don't want to go to a restaurant with terrible food, see a hairstylist who made people cry with poor haircuts, or bring your car in a shop that charges way too much. You trust what previous customers have said about the establishment over what the business advertises. You want new customers to hear good things about your business, whether they read Google Reviews or a friend tells them about your business.
To start, you could ask friends or family members to leave a review about your business. As you begin to build your customer base, you can ask your new customers to leave a review or send referrals. To motivate them a little, you could offer a discount or free product if they leave a review or bring in a new customer for you. The more reviews and referrals you get, the better. Do what you gotta do to make that happen!
SOCIAL MEDIA IS YOUR FRIEND
It is. It truly is. If you haven't already, make a business account on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Social media is fantastic because it's another easy way to spread the news about your business. Post what you're able to do, follow people who may be interested in your brand, engage on posts with similar hashtags to yours. We have an in-depth blog about the dos and don'ts for your business social media accounts, so check that out to get more details.
Social media provides an avenue to be a part of a digital community. There's so much you can do with that for your business. Julie Cowen of Cedar House of Print used Facebook to her advantage. She joined several Facebook groups within her community. When people asked for recommendations for a screen printer, she'd throw her name in the comments.
The world is at your fingertips on social media. You can reach out to a whole new group of people you may have never met in the physical world. Use it. Do something with it.
Uff, big topic here. Good thing we have an expert on Ryonet's team. Digital Content Manager Robb Cummings handles all of Ryonet's online advertising. He has outlined each step of the process so you can create the most effective, financially efficient online advertisements.
First step – define your goal. Is it brand awareness? A new product or service offering? Defining your goal begins to narrow down who you want to reach and with what content.
Second step – define your audience. Who do you want to engage with your content? If you’re looking to promote your brand, then you may target lookalike audiences. These would be people similar to an established audience, whether it’s your own or of another brand.
If you’re looking to promote a new product, you might want to narrow down your target audience to those with the most potential to convert. Identify the demographics of your target audience and focus specifically on those who would be interested in your product. Age, location, income, etc. are all factors to consider. The more relevant your content is to your defined audience, the more likely it will be successful as well as more cost effective.
Third step – define your KPI’s. Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are what you’ve decided as metrics for success. Likes, impressions, reach, click through rates, etc. are all metrics that demonstrate value. If your goal is to grow your follower base, then perhaps your KPI for a campaign is impressions/follows. Utilizing a ratio gives you a basic idea of how an ad is performing, you can track this and tweak your audiences to see if it improves performance.
Fourth step – define your budget. How much can you afford?
Most advertising platforms have two types of budget options, daily and campaign budgets. Deciding how much to spend on an advertising campaign depends on what value you assign to the success of your campaign. If your goal is to advertise a new product, it may be challenging to achieve a successful ROI (Return On Investment).
For instance, any product under a $40 value may not have the greatest success for conversions that equate a good ROI. If you were to spend $5 a day and reach 500 people, with a 5% click rate, you’d find yourself with about 25 visitors to your product. That’s a pretty good value so far. However, if you’re looking to SELL your product, you could expect a conversion rate of those 25 to be another 1-3%, or in other words you may need an additional 100 visitors before you might make your first sale. These rates- 5% CTR (Click Through Rate) and 1-3% conversion rate could be considered a success as far as advertising goes, but does that make it successful for you? If you had to spend $20 to sell a $40 item, you’re most likely not generating a profit.
A potential strategy for a small business could be to build an organic reach, allowing you to promote products or services organically. You may consider a Brand Awareness campaign, that promotes your brand pages and encourages followers. The long term ROI could be much higher, as each successful conversion (in this case, a new follower) you could continue to engage for free.
Essentially, you'll be doing lots of talking and spending quite a bit of time online. No one said starting a new business is easy, but all this hard work will be worth it when your inbox is full of orders. Use your new knowledge and tools to let everyone you know and more about your new business. Soon, it'll all come naturally and won't feel like work at all.
Ryonet: How to Set Up an Online Store and Establish an Online Presence Through Social Media
Ryonet: Support Local Webinar Printers Roundtable
The Print Life: How To Get More Screen Print Clients – https://youtu.be/j6dtAkcEjE0
The Balance Small Business: How to Get Clients for Your Service Business – https://www.thebalancesmb.com/the-7-best-places-to-find-clients-2948330