Increasing Brand Recognition

May 4, 2016

By: Matthew Black, Ink Custom Tees

What if you could increase your brand recognition, create conversation about your club through people you never met, and meet your marketing goals without losing a dime on your budget? Well, other clubs are, and their secret sauce consists of 2 key ingredients – High Quality Apparel and Great Designs.

I know this because I work with a lot of them, and I’m writing this blog so that you too can use their recipe.

Health clubs all around the country are realizing the effectiveness of custom t-shirts as a way to bring in more revenue and get continual repeat marketing done for free. The statement of t-shirts as “walking billboards” holds truer than ever before. And, the continual increased revenue in t-shirt sales alone is worth the attention.

Here are the benefits:

  • Increase Brand Awareness

Your t-shirts will be worn by people who are passionate about your brand, and they will surround themselves with other people that are likely to be your perfect customers. The next best thing to “word of mouth” is “word of shirt.”

  • Build Community

A recognizable t-shirt can instantly spark conversation about your brand. It connects people and starts relationships. Just as an encounter when you run into someone at the grocery store wearing your favorite teams baseball cap, people will feel united when they see strangers supporting something that they also care about.

  • Advertise for Free (Sort of)

Health club goers can be some of the most faithful customers. And, depending on how loyal your members are, their purchasing support will likely help you break even (or even make money!) T-shirts have better ROI than any other form of physical marketing.

Convinced? Here’s the recipe.

  • Step 1: Consider Your Current Demographic

No one knows their customer base better than owners of health clubs. For example, maybe you own a gym where you have more female members than men. In that case, offering 2 color options of the same design (one dark neutral and one bright, pop color) can really help attract their attention.

Pro Tip: If these have the same design, they can run together and combine for a price break!

  • Step 2: Determine the Quality of Shirt (or Tank)

There are different types of shirts in regards to quality, but one thing is for certain – they higher quality shirt you can afford, the better. Athletes want to wear things that are soft/breathable, and they are more likely to spread a positive image of your brand when they are comfortable. The question I always ask is “Do you want them to wear it often in public? Or do you want them to only wear it at home mowing the grass?” If you skimp on quality, don’t be surprised if you don’t see greater return.

Pro Tip: Brands like Bella Canvas and Next Level offer great quality, but they don’t break the bank like some other brands.

  • Step 3: Make A Great Design

In the “Successful T-Shirt” recipe, the design is the icing. You can print anything on a quality shirt and try to sell it, and people may even wear it, but the right design is what keeps them coming back for seconds. You want your design to catch like wildfire, so make sure you work with a great artist who can come alongside your vision. At Ink, we have a full art staff to help your idea come to life.

Pro Tip: Simple designs tend to work best. Trying to cram too much information on it will cause it to look like you meant it to be a Marketing piece, which is not the point. Offer a shirt that they will choose to wear over their other favorite shirts in their closet.

Once you have all the right ingredients, you just need to decide what screen-printer to work with. Choosing the right printer can make all the difference in the world.

Things to consider are:

  • Customer Service
  • Turnaround Times
  • Years of Experience in the Industry
  • Bonus Points: An art team to work on the design with you.

How much will it cost?

Many companies make this part complicated. Beware of printers that have hidden set-up and art fees. They will pitch you a low price, but then show you those fees in the final bill. Anyone that has been burned that way can tell you it’s not a good feeling. At Ink, we keep it simple and give you a flat, what-you-see-is-what-you-get price. Quantity, print colors, and print locations are all variables that are going to affect the price. But remember the best part: when your shirts are bought and worn, you’ll be advertising for free!


High quality, great designed shirts are a great and cost effective way for health clubs to increase brand awareness, build community, and advertise. Mix these shirts with other fun marketing ideas such as giveaways, design contests, or competitions to really see a great return. Being healthy is a lifestyle choice. Those that join your health club are making a commitment to that lifestyle. Let them wear your t-shirts as their proclamation.

For more marketing ideas or information, contact Matthew Black at 501.851.6916 or