T-Shirts are moving billboards – at least they can be, if you want them to work that way. Consumers might be averse to marketing messages but they are certainly interested in checking out what people wear. If there’s anything written on a T-shirt, people surely read it. What if you could write a non-marketing message to market your products and services? How would it be if you could make T-shirts work for you?

Admittedly, it’s difficult to market your products or services with overly promotional messages with T-shirts – it’s just not the medium that works for strong, result-oriented marketing. Branding, however, is a different story and t-shirts certainly work for branding given that you have great avenues for distribution and design.

Since you’d be doing a lot of experiments with design on t-shirts and because you’d have to do it quick, and your way, you are better off using your own creative. You can design t-shirts by using all-purpose design software. The key is what goes out on the t-shirt, though.

Ditch the formal and stuffed up approach to business

T-Shirts—for marketers – are a great way to get the message out in creative and funny ways. The problem, however, is this: most businesses adopt a stuffy, strict, and formal approach to t-shirt designs, if ever. Being formal is plain boring. It’s the customers who’ll wear t-shirts in the end and they certainly aren’t interested in what your “ business code” dictates. The trick is to make sure that you don’t do what most businesses do: print a logo and a tagline on a t-shirt. No one is interested in your business and no one likes to wear a tee with nothing else on it than a logo.

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Don’t do the mistake of just printing your slogans and tag lines. Leave the pompousness out.

If anything, your design should be fresh, creative, and fun.

Design T-shirts for events

Launch a free event, which has something to do with your business.  Give more than one t-shirt to each attendee asking them to share some t-shirts with their friends.If 300 people attend your event, at least 600 people might receive your t-shirts.

Think about t-shirts for a minute here: these are not flyers, not transient TV ads, and they are not even like any other marketing methods.

T-shirts are worn regularly and your branding almost claws its way into your customers’ minds. The more events you do and the more t-shirts you can give away, the more visibility your brand gets. Alternatively, you can also promote good causes within your local community (such as running for causes, marathons, charity events, etc.).

Go for single message designs

7UP tshirt

T-shirt designs might not have much except for a few lines of text. Make sure you make an impact with one-liners. Spread a message (relevant to your business) that’s specific to your business but it ought to be non-promotional. You can obviously use your company name or logo somewhere within the design for branding purposes. Let’s say you are in real estate, your t-shirt designs could have one-liners such as:

“Your Home is where my heart is”

“This t-shirt is the second most important investment after…. My Home”

“My home costs me a bomb. I am available for free”

You get the idea, don’t you?

Stick to your business niche; suppress the need for being promotional. Work towards creativity for fun.

Distribute Targeted T-shirts at trade shows

Every business niche has related trade shows happening somewhere. While most businesses do set up stalls and work on their participation in tradeshows, the only thing that goes out of these stalls are business cards, brochures, and flyers. This time, give away free t-shirts with one-liner messages and other design styles to make sure your visitors take away more than just marketing collateral.

Business shows or trade shows attract targeted buyers (and also possible vendors) and these are good places to give your t-shirts away.

Spot your target market. Distribute t-shirts where it matters

Most businesses do the mistake of trying to “serve” everyone. If you are in business, your target market is usually of a specific demographic detail. They might belong to a certain age group, have specific lifestyle choices, and they’d usually hangout or tend to do certain things more frequently. Depending on demographic, economic, and lifestyle interests of your target market, you’ll need to identify your optimal t-shirt distribution venues.

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If you are into financial investments or finance, banks might be a great place to distribute t-shirts to walk-in customers. If you are into education, schools, universities and colleges will be happy to help you distribute t-shirts throughout.

Make sure you identity your target market first. Figure out the best places, events, or gatherings to distribute t-shirts.

Find eyeballs. Then, show up

If you were in the business of selling an iPhone app related to music, what would happen if you design t-shirts for upcoming talent  — such as artists, bands, and musical groups – and have them wear it in exchange for sponsorship of the musical events?

You’d gain eyeballs.

Music is a general, common interest hobby. It’s “passion” for some others. Either way, many people attend musical events and it helps if performing artists can wear t-shirts you design. Alternatively, you can have artists autograph each t-shirt and then distribute them to fans.

The more popular the music bands or artists are, the more distribution leverage you get.

The design, meanwhile, does what it should: create memories, build brand perception, and increase brand recall.

That’s just music. Alternatively, think of how you can make a TV host wear a t-shirt with your branding. When you get bolder, maybe Oprah’s show could just be the next thing you are looking at or maybe the Golden Globe Awards, MTV Music Awards, or even the Oscars.

It’s not about music, though. It’s about creating a strong presence where lots of eyeballs rove.

Have you thought about what else you can do with t-shirts? Do you use t-shirts for marketing? Share your thoughts with us.

Ekta Jain is technical content writer for Design’N’Buy, leader in Web 2 Print turnkey solutions. She always tests the products she writes about and says All-In-One Product line is just awesome for both the end-user and the store owner. You can follow Design’N’Buy on Google+ and Twitter.