You may print the best t-shirts around, but if your customers are in search of other promotional items that you don’t offer, you risk losing them to competitors who can meet all their demands. While you might print better shirts than your competitors, the convenience of a one-stop shop can outweigh the difference in quality. While you should never try to offer more than you can handle, if you find yourself losing out because your product line is too limited, it may be time for an expansion.
Fortunately, expanding your product line isn’t too difficult. Almost any substrate can be screen printed with a little creativity and ingenuity. In another post we discussed some tips for printing on hats and posters, but the options don’t stop there. Signs, stickers, bags, koozies, business cards, umbrellas, puzzles and even high-end fine art are just a small sample of screen printing’s potential applications. A big benefit to screen printing is that it’s a very versatile process; while some substrates may have a little bit more of a learning curve than others, for the most part the basic technique remains the same. Also, many promotional items don’t require any additional equipment to screen print, so you can diversify your range of products without spending a fortune in specialty equipment.
Just like printing a new type of shirt, when branching out to other promotional items it’s a good idea to practice. While the basic technique for screen printing a sign or a bag is fundamentally the same as printing a shirt, you can’t be sure how an unfamiliar substrate will react to printing unless you’ve tested it. You don’t want to waste time and product trying to solve problems during production; before you decide to offer a new item, do some tests to get a good idea of what the printing process will entail. Printing samples won’t only help you perfect your technique, you can also use your best work to show off your product range to potential customers.
Promotional products represent an enormous, multibillion dollar industry that’s growing all the time. What makes it such a potentially lucrative opportunity for screen printers? In addition to being relatively easy and cheap to get started, it gives you the opportunity to cross-sell and up-sell to your customers. If you provide shirts for a corporate customer, they may be interested in additional (and maybe more expensive) logoed items to help create a unified, professional appearance. Because they’re fairly inexpensive for you to provide, offering promotional add-ons to your orders can be a good way to increase profits from your existing customers and attract new business.
Another benefit to promotional items is that they put your work in front of a larger audience. Think about how many logoed products you use on a daily basis! Your prints don’t have to be on only t-shirts to catch the eye of potential customers. Promotional items allow you to grow your business while helping your customers grow theirs. Why are these items attractive to your customers? Compared to other forms of advertising, promotional items are often more affordable. And because promotional items can be useful (like bags, pens and flash drives), they’re a less intrusive form of advertising. Offering a promotional item with practical value can be a very effective way to keep a business at the front of its customers’ minds, without the risk of coming across as pushy or annoying.
If you’re not sure if there’s a steady demand for promotional products among your target market but you’d like to give them a try, it might be a good idea to start by contracting the printing out. This will let you gauge the level of interest and business potential before tackling a new substrate yourself. Visiting a trade show can be a good way to get ideas for promotional items – take a look at what products exhibitors are offering and which seem to be most popular among visitors. It also doesn’t hurt to examine your competitors’ product ranges to see what they do and do not offer. Think about what logoed items you use regularly around your home or business. Always be on the lookout for interesting new products that can give your shop an edge!
Looking for more ideas on how to attract and retain customers? Check out our blog post 7 Ways to Grow Your Screen Printing Business!