Event t-shirts: What’s your strategy?

Photo ©Deja Cross PhotographyForget about t-shirt brands. Forget your amazingly genius design. Forget about v-neck, ladies fitted, vintage soft, sleeve logo… forget all of that.

Yes, those things matter. Every aspect of making promotional tees for your event matters. Indulge me for a minute and forget about those things.

Let’s talk about strategy.

So imagine people are buying or being handed your t-shirts at your event. Yay! But… wait. Once they’re at your event, they’re… well, already at your event. So it’s cool that after the event is over they’ll wear your event shirt to the gym or as pseudo jammies. That’s fine, I guess. But consider that your t-shirts could be doing a whole lot more than merely serving as after-the-fact souvenirs. Consider that your t-shirts could help you sell out your event. Consider that they could also sell themselves.

The usual order of the universe is:

  1. create event
  2. promote event
  3. order t-shirts and other swag to sell or give away
  4. sell tickets
  5. open the doors

This universal order and organizational strategy misses huge opportunities for you. You get your t-shirts and swag delivered just in time for (or at) your event. That’s okay, but it’s not really enough. Done wrong, it could even be a waste of time and money to have t-shirts printed at all. Then you’re stuck with useless leftovers. When you see a bunch of the same event t-shirts at a thrift store, that’s what happened.

For the amount of money you’re going to invest in getting custom t-shirts, you should be getting way more creative with the whole deal. The answer is not I’ll just order fewer shirts so I don’t have leftovers. You need to start thinking about t-shirts as more than just a write-off item and instead create an entire marketing plan around them.

For example, why not create buzz around your event by having your staff wear the event t-shirts in the weeks ahead of the date? If you’re putting on a beer festival, having your staff hang out in bars wearing shirts promoting the festival is going to get early attention. While you’re at it, why not create a giveaway contest in the weeks before the event that involves either wearing or spotting your t-shirts? Paired with social media, your t-shirts become a huge walking campaign. If you and your staff are already involved in communities where there could be interest, you could not only get more attendees, you could even sell more shirts.

You’ve seen community events that use social media create massive popularity around themselves (key word: community). Tie in the t-shirts and you’ve got a major promotional blitz happening.

I’m not going to lay out every possible idea here for ya. Sorry, you have to do some work, too. Hopefully I kicked your brain into gear and gave you a boost.

Before you call up custom t-shirt vendors and start asking about pricing, come up with a real strategy for using them. If you know how your investment will be working for you, you could possibly afford better shirts and maybe even get that sweet sleeve logo.

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(818) 835-2585 Woodland Hills, California | sparky@sparkyfirepants.com

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