What's the ROI of a T-Shirt?

wilmington design co branded shirts

As we move into August here along the coast, warm summer weather remains in full swing reminding us that flip-flops and t-shirts are the only bearable outfits to sport this time of year.

In an attempt to beat the heat and solidify our assumptions that a t-shirt may in fact be a valuable source of customer acquisition and ROI, we recently ordered our very own branded shirts for our team and clients. While everyone loves a good t-shirt, many may have never considered the real marketing value behind them.

The Value

Since clothing is one of the first things people notice when they see you, t-shirts have incredibly high visibility and are a great way to increase brand awareness and potential reach.

It may seem silly but t-shirts can truly ignite an emotional attachment. We know it’s true—everyone has that one t-shirt that sits atop all others in their dresser drawer. The one that fits perfectly and has been washed so many times its softness is unlike any other.  This emotional connection can generate brand loyalty, meaning someone who wears your brand across their chest generally aligns with your company in one way or another.

Measuring the Value

One reason companies have a hard time investing in t-shirts is the uncertainty of calculating their ROI. And while quantifying the return of a t-shirt may not be as easy as looking at click-through metrics, businesses who overlook this marketing tactic are missing out on a huge piece of valuable marketing.

The average t-shirt given away is seen by as many as 365 people a month, or 4,380 people in one year. According to our awesome tee supplier, Real Thread, the cost per thousand impressions (CPM) is typically much lower than most other digital marketing tactics such as Google Adwords, now Google Ads or Facebook Advertising, proving there is in fact high value in branded t-shirts.

CPM Tshirt


One way to measure the ROI of a t-shirt is to incorporate a lead capture on your website through a free t-shirt pop up. With the “If it’s for free, it’s for me” mentality in mind, visitors will be enticed to enter their information to receive a free shirt, and in turn, you will collect the lead data.

Another creative way to calculate this return is through tag tracking. Giving away t-shirts that include a special discount code on the tag is a simple way to attribute customer acquisition or new sales to a unique group of t-shirt recipients.

Our Approach

At WDC, we find great value in investing in t-shirts as they increase brand name recognition and loyalty. As we present our new, longtime, and future clients with gift baskets that overflow with branded shirts and other goodies, the impact is clear. Our team and clients are proud and excited to wear our logo, share our name, and display our work for all to see. It’s time for businesses to follow suit and start thinking about tees as valuable marketing investments, as they send powerful messages by people who back their brand.

Think outside the box, and find ways to incorporate T-shirt promotion ideas into your biggest campaigns. Contact us to kick-start your total branding process and shop the very best t-shirts from our friends at Real Threads.


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