What if I told you that right now, there's a buzzing marketing avenue that requires little investment, but has the potential to reach a lucrative new audience? It's an established way to market apparel and t-shirts tee shirts to potentially millions of people around the world, and it's not unbearably saturated. Sounds too good to be true, right?
You're almost certainly very familiar with YouTube. It's a mecca for funny cat videos, music videos, pranks, reviews, and other tom-foolery. It's grown to become the most extensive video database, very closely tied with Google and offers great potential for monetization, especially t-shirts and apparel brands.
YouTube attracts millions of eager viewers every day, keen to subscribe or follow their favorites as well as discover new content. While individuals and businesses have established great success here, it still hasn’t yet been monetized in the same ways other mediums have.
While some YouTube “celebrities” seem to have struck gold by chance, others established themselves in specific niches by providing new engaging content that magnetizes their target audience.
As with any captivated audience, there's a number of strategies that can be employed to grow brand awareness and boost sales. But as a whole, YouTube is still greatly underutilized by businesses. This is great news for us t-shirt sellers and apparel brands as there's plenty of potential here!
Now, in full disclosure – using YouTube to move merchandise is easier said than done. If it were that easy, it would be completely saturated already! You can’t just set up throw up a channel and expect money to pour in. Like any marketing effort, using YouTube to sell your shirts is going to take time and patience to optimize and make profitable. But with the right mindset and strategies in place, it’s a great marketing channel for reinforcing business growth.
Many quickly assume that since Google purchased YouTube, ad revenue is likely the best form of monetization for this platform. We're not going down the ad revenue rabbit hole, instead, we want to directly reinforce t-shirt selling power. In the same vein, this can be done without paying for followers or subscribers, either.o
Here are 6 factors t-shirt and apparel sellers are already using to crack the YouTube marketing code with great success.
1. Focus on Boosting Audience Views – Not Selling
Using YouTube is about capturing interest eyes on a thriving, viral platform to boost your exposure and audience size. You certainly should not be filling your channel with boring t-shirt and apparel commercials. If you can focus on using YouTube correctly, you will see a huge improvement in sales.
For a decent level of YouTube success, you’re going to need at bare minimum of one thousand actual, real followers. No spambots, nor people who hit “subscribe” and then never watch your videos again. once you get to 1,000+ engaged fans you should expect to start reaping rewards. You'll need to keep an eye out for spam as it can easily take over your page, especially the comments section. But through vigilance, your channel can be kept clean and safe for others.
2. (Interesting) Content is Still King
One of the biggest mistakes people make when turning to YouTube is seeing it as a TV alternative. YouTube, although broken up into “channels”, should be treated as social media. This means creating content that engages your fans, answers their questions, asks them to participate, and continues to interact with them in the comments section.
If you're only making videos cold-heartedly promote and sell shirts, you’re probably not going to get anywhere. Videos that only advertise a product become white noise. Instead, your content has to have some real meat and meaning to them. Focus on educating, entertaining or inspiring your audience primarily, and facilitating sales second.
Cast your mind to blogging for a moment; which blogs do better; the ones you love to dive into and participate with, or the ones that are generic journal entries you couldn’t care less about? The same principle applies to YouTube videos.
Very few people enjoy watching infomercials or commercials. We've seen enough of them on TV, sometimes they cause us to immediately change the channel. Now compare it to some of your favorite commercials. What was different? The commercials we actually enjoy speak to us by revealing a personality we can relate to. These may be funny, witty captivate us for 30 seconds with a short story. Perhaps they have a recurring character you love to see.
Commercials or videos that are fun or enjoyable to watch subconsciously sell their brand to you, and they do it very well! So when it comes to your brand's YouTube channel, you need to do more than just selling t-shirts. Otherwise, people will sooner switch over to an entertaining without a desire to return or learn more about you.
3. Reflect Branding Throughout Your YouTube Channel
Imagine a conventional TV channel for a moment, what do you usually see? You'll see unique content daily, but their uniform branding is always somewhere in the mix. They also carefully intertwine interesting viewing with clever self-promotion. Have you noticed how some channels are overbearing, whereas others simply nail it? In the same vein, you need to treat your YouTube channel as just that – your very own branded channel.
The greatest weapon you have to set you apart from the thousands of other YouTube channels is your branding. You'll need the same essential items TV channels have, but using your brand's unique voice. This will include company name, logo, brand slogans, promos for other videos, brand specific coloring, and recurring themes. You viewers to quickly become familiar with your brand. By further building their confidence through professionalism, they will be more will be far more receptive to your content.
It may seem frivolous to spend time on these little things, but think about; if you watched a random video that was cobbled together by an average YouTube user, would you purchase from them if they asked you to buy? Or, would you be more likely to purchase discovering a highly engaging channel that also has an e-store?
4. Think and Grow Like a TV Network
One big advantage of the fact Google runs the show is the YouTube Analytics features. The ability to track and measure your engagement and growth will be one of your greatest assets as you progress. In the beginning, you will need to invest time in the hit-or-miss area of uploading content and finding out what sticks. But once you've uploaded a good variety of content, you’ll be able to track exactly how well your audience is responding. When you can see what's working, you'll double down on the good stuff!e
As with any marketing endeavor, insights into your audience and performance are invaluable. Much like big TV networks, you can begin to adjust your content to increase engagement. Once you have discovered themes that resonate best with your brand and audience, you'll be able to optimize your channel for growth, exposure and profit!
Networks do this all the time. Based on ratings and viewership, they’ll take a few different actions; assign a show new writers, introduce new actors, change the air date and times, or scrap it altogether for a different project. You have to be willing to do the same in order to stay relevant on this fast-paced video platform.
While you may not initially know what content your specific audience may be looking for, you can make an educated guess using Google Trends. It's another free tool by Google that can be used to discover most searched for terms and growing interest. Google Trends honestly does a lot of the grunt work for you; it breaks down searches by recent dates, region, and even different topics.
Use it to find trending, relevant topics related to your brand. You'll have a far better chance of boosting your views using a hot subject or search term. Best of all, YouTube videos are now prioritized in Google searches, so you'll stand an even better chance of catching someone’s eye.
5. Listen and Respond To Your Audience
Here's an interesting notion, rather than trying to guess what your viewers want why not ask them? Few brands have mastered the art of viewer interaction so it’s still relatively fresh territory, ready for you to take advantage of.
How easy would it be to make a video and ask your viewers opinion at the end? Once you've built up a good base, you could show off potential designs and then ask for comments/feedback. Perhaps you could inventive viewers by offering lucky commenters a free t-shirt!
The added charm of YouTube over conventional TV viewing is it facilitates active engagement between channels and viewers. The opinions of viewers actually matter, and they hold weight. While you may have a strong opinion about which characters should live and die on your favorite TV show, the network isn’t ever going to hear them or care. But when you ask your viewers for opinions on your t-shirt designs or content, you can actually listen and respond!
6. Let Your Video Doing the Talking – Sell Outside
Yes, you are using YouTube to sell shirts. But leave the majority of overt advertising and plugging for outside the video. Remember; you are focusing on producing interesting content, not ads. You want your views to feel comfortable and engaged, not ticked off by relentless advertising and promotions. This can actually backfire and make your viewers “blind” to your advertising efforts.
This is your very own channel, so try to keep it as “clean” as possible. You may occasionally work a subtle sales pitch within your videos, but don't make it a bad habit. Provide links and more information in your video description, this will enable viewers to learn more and view your store through natural curiosity. Views will appreciate your discretion and willing to subscribe and return for more. When they follow your links and stumble across your store, they will be far more receptive.