With the rise of e-commerce and shopping online mixed with the steady decline of the high street, traditional local advertising has taken a back seat with customers focusing more on modern marketing techniques rather than the traditional ones.

But there is a place for both, especially for SMEs looking to survive in the competitive print, embroidery and branding industry.

Local advertising can be both traditional and modern. Traditional advertising focuses on elements such as radio adverts, advertorials for magazines, directories etc, direct mail, brochures and so on. This is seen as ‘old-fashioned’ by many but done right this is a highly effective eye-catching way of gaining new customers for your business.

The modern approach to undertaking local advertising is focusing on things such as online directories (Yell etc) plus paid advertising such as Google Ads & Facebook Ads which allows you to target users based on their behaviours and importantly in this case their location.

Focusing on a local strategy and gradually building up to a larger audience has its advantages, they include:

  • Being cost effective: Focusing on a specific customer base allows you to focus your efforts and reach the relevant customers increasing your ROI.
  • Increased referrals: Something that you cannot do online as well as in person is referrals ‘word of mouth’. Engaging with local customers & communities will increase your businesses presence in an area. The lowest cost but most effective form of local advertising.
  • Get found online for local searches: Focusing locally and using directories for your business will help you get found online for searches relating to your location.
  • Easier to maintain & manage: Working on a smaller scale will give your business the confidence to get stuck into Marketing activities as they are on a smaller scale and easier to manage.
  • Allows for more dynamism: Engaging with local customers over different medians means you can work a tailored message per platform. It also gives you the opportunity to test what works and what doesn’t before launching your idea on a bigger stage.

The rise of influencing personalities on Social Media otherwise known as ‘Influencers’ has led to the rise of Influencer Marketing.

Influencer Marketing has grown rapidly and involves big brands working alongside prominent Social Media personalities (mainly on Instagram and Youtube) to help promote their products and/or services with some huge brands paying millions per post.

You might be asking yourself, what does this have to do with the garment decoration industry?

Influencer Marketing is slowly filtering down into the high street and may soon be cluttering up your Social Media feeds, so it may be something your business needs to consider in the near future.


To help get you started here are a few simple tips to consider if you are going to undertake Influencer Marketing:

Do your research and checks: Carry out your due diligence when researching influencers, research their personal brand, persona and personality and see if its value align alongside yours. Research fees do not bow to paying over the odds just because someone has a huge number of followers – there’s always knowingly or unknowingly fake followers inflating their crowd.

It is out of your hands: The second you get involved with an influencer; things are essentially being taken out of your control. Regardless of what you pay you have no control over what they think. Credible influencers want to provide their customers an authentic experience, work alongside them and deliver a quality product and customer experience.

Be patient: The results from using Influencer Marketing is very rarely instant. Trust must be built between both yourself and the influencer but also between that person and its audience. It is more so a brand awareness building campaign rather than a direct sales campaign.

Build relationships: You are more than likely to achieve success using this type of Marketing when a lasting relationship is created. Working alongside someone long term is likely to build a trusting working relationship and help you tap into an influencers influence. Manage the costs by starting with small personalities who may be of value and establish a manageable cost-effective working relationship.

Think outside sponsored: Influencer Marketing is not all about sponsored posts and plugging your business and its product. It gives you the chance to collaborate and curate some content and tailor it as they understand their audience better than anyone. It may be competitions, them designing their own promotional products or anything but it will help you establish a deeper more meaningful long-term relationship.

Data is all around us, there is no hiding from it. From the basics such as customer information, names, addresses and contact details to the more complex monthly accounts, customer orders and website data, it can all be used to shape your business by identifying the best avenues to explore – ones that you might not previously have considered before analysing your business data.

Measuring the data that your business has access to can also help to streamline your business, its production and how every department operates. In production departments, items such as machine time versus output, machine downtime versus costs etcetera can be monitored, with the resulting data giving you a real understanding as to whether your business is operating efficiently.

Data doesn’t necessarily have to be raw numbers either: it can be qualitative, which can add just as much value to your business. Opinions and attitudes can be analysed not only to develop your business internally, but also to provide great insight into what your customers think of your services and products, which you can then use to help train your staff and review your business’s various operations.

There are several software packages designed for garment decorators that allow you to measure not only the basics, such as names and addresses, but also what customers have bought, what items they’ve clicked, where they saw your business advertised and so on.

The obvious way to use this data is to keep in touch with your customers through marketing campaigns. By having extra data at your fingertips about their clicks and buying habits, you’ll be able to further tailor your campaigns, which should improve engagement rates (again, data collection here is invaluable – want to know which one of two email subject lines will lead to a higher open rate? Test one subject line on 20 customers then the other subject line on another 20 customers. Whichever one scores the highest open rate can then be used for the remaining mail out. Simple).

Check how your website is functioning by looking beyond the visitor numbers: when are customers visiting, what pages are they looking at, what ones are they ignoring, where are they coming from, how long are they staying? All this can be used to check your site is working for your business.

You can also take a close look at what’s happening on the purchasing side: when are customers are ordering, what they are ordering and how frequently they are ordering? Use the information to work out when best to hold promotions that will get people visiting during the quiet times – plug the gaps and maximise your sales.

Remember, however, to play by the rules. There is a whole host of data guidelines and regulations out there, with the obvious one being the data protection act.

You must give your customers all the options available for opting in/opting out/unsubscribing, along with mentioning they may be contacted in the future for marketing purposes. Most customers won’t mind you using their data to contact them to promote your business or products, but playing by the rules will protect your business.

One last thought

Managing your data is vital. First and foremost, make sure all the data you’ve collected is secure. It also has to be accurate, relevant and up to date to be of any significant value to your business – ongoing data collection is an essential part of any business strategy.

2018 was a big year for Digital Marketing in many ways including Social Media platforms offering businesses more functionality than ever before, the continuous rise of Video Marketing, the introducing of Mobile First Indexing by Google and of course the introduction of the dreaded four words we all love to hate General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

For Digital Marketing, we can expect Social Media interaction with customers to continue to grow and develop. Video Marketing will continue to dominate and grow rapidly with user generated content through Instagram, Youtube, Facebook Live etc. Businesses are striving to create ‘Positive Social Proof’ as someone customers can deal with and have a great experience with.


2019 promises to be an interesting year with the introduction of new technologies being used as part of the Marketing Mix. 

Here are three key trends to keep an eye on in the upcoming year:

Chatbots: There are no such thing as opening hours online, customers have access to your business, its website and Social Media 24/7. Chatbots are becoming more and more important to deal with your customers queries on demand. 

Frequently used on Facebook to help customers communicate with your business Chatbot usage is expected to rapidly grow. 

Chatbots can be integrated in a website, app or on your business’s social media accounts, they can act quicker than humans in dealing with customer requests and can provide a more personalised service by gathering user information that can later be used to tailor your businesses Marketing campaigns.

VR/AR: Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality are seen by many as a Sci-Fi like future, but they are very much here and slowly creeping their way into businesses Marketing activity. This is still at very early stages and for the foreseeable future will begin to grow exponentially but it’s a great time for businesses to invest and explore the options. 

VR/AR gives your customers the chance to be both engaging with your products/services and actively participating in your Marketing activity in ‘another reality’ putting them at the heart of your business.

Voice Search: 2019 is widely expected to see a significant growth in voice searches & queries - almost 1/3 of the 3.5 billion searches performed in 2018 were carried out by voice assistant devices such as Apple Siri, Google Home & Amazon Alexa leading the way.

This is expected to grow to almost 50% of searches in 2019. Your online presence needs to consider optimising content specifically for Voice Searches, focusing on ‘Position Zero’, Local SEO and creating content around questions your customers may ask.

Facebook live is a live video streaming service like that of webinars. It is a way for you to interact with your customers, engage your audience and promote your business is come capacity.

For garment decorators this presents an exciting way to market your business, promote your products and services. Discuss your latest products, show off your latest work, review products, discuss your offerings/USP and even go as far as brand something live. These are fun ways of engaging with both existing customers (and hopefully potentially new customers!)


To run a successful Facebook Live video, it needs to be carefully planned, here are a few tips to consider:

Test your equipment: Prior to going live, before any trial run ensure that all your equipment is in full working order. Ensure your laptop/desktop/smart device is running at full capacity. Having a slow device or a device with a chance of break may affect how well your video is produced. You want to produce a quality professional video not one that may end at any given moment.

Have a trial run: Before going live have a run-through, it should be both scripted and un-scripted. You want to know what you are going to talk about, but you also want to mix this with more personable chat with viewers, this leads to higher levels of engagement. Test the equipment, have a few run throughs and once you are 100% confident flick the switch and go live.

Engage with customers: Quite a simple but important one, engage with people live. Use their names, interact, ask questions, thoughts and try get their feedback. A Facebook Live video and any webinar should be a two-way experience.

Invest in a microphone: Invest in a good-quality microphone to deliver your customers a crystal-clear message, you don’t want your video to be muffled, voice distorted or break up. Investing in decent quality recording equipment will improve your recording experience, the streams quality for both you and your viewers.

Schedule your broadcast: People working won’t have time for webinars. Ensure that your broadcast takes place outside of working hours, viewing figures are likelier to be higher outside of the hours of 9-5, an early evening slot gives you the chance to expand your audience and its potential reach compared to doing it during the day.

Don't forget to promote: Running a successful webinar is one thing but don’t forget to promote it for a few weeks, build up hype through Social Media, Email Campaigns, Blogging or whatever other advertising medium you use.

One last thing to consider, something very-obvious but after watching numerous webinars test out your internet connection. Test that the signal strength is all okay and ensure that there are no disruptions to your live video.