Startup tshirt

Ideas and inspiration for marketing your startup offline

Startup tshirt

Despite the wealth of digital marketing options available to companies today, where you can track every interaction with potential new customers along the way, offline marketing often provides better value for money and can get your customers to do your advertising for you.

Here are four creative ideas, and plenty of inspiration, for getting the word out about your startup.


You would be hard pressed to find anyone that doesn’t have at least a couple of branded t-shirts in their wardrobe, and that points to the success of clothing as an offline marketing option. Companies often hand t-shirts out at trade shows and networking events, but even better is when a company sends you one in the post as a thank you for working with them on a project or for being their customer over the years. This way the shirt works both as a thank you gift and a marketing tool, and you can ask the customer’s size in advance – making it more likely they will actually wear it.

The better the quality of the fabric and your design/logo, the more chance you have of getting people to wear it for months or years to come. Companies like Spreadshirt, who we’ve used to much success in the past for our sister music blog The Blue Walrus, make it easy to add your design to a shirt and we still see people wearing the shirts and advertising our brand to their friends and family after a couple of years.

Inspiration: 11 Coolest startup t-shirts from SXSW (Business Insider)


Everyone jokes that startup founders are fuelled by caffeine, but most people with office jobs similarly drink a lot of tea and coffee throughout the day. So getting your brand on the one item that people have on their desks all day – the coffee mug – can be a very useful way to advertise your company.

The huge Sports Direct mugs that everyone seems to have picked up at some point provide a great marketing opportunity for the retailer, while other companies have managed to create mugs that are so good people will happily pay for them. The Penguin Classic mugs look great, and advertise not only the Penguin publishing firm, but also the classic books they print – so are fantastic marketing all round.

Inspiration: Promotional mug ideas (Pinterest)

Stickers and badges

If you provide a service people love (or even just have a beautiful logo), then giving away stickers and badges can be a great way to get your customers to advertise your startup for you. Developers often like to have their laptops covered in stickers, while other people may stick them on their cars, attach them to their bags, bikes, skateboards, or just about any flat surface around an office.

Die cut stickers like those from Stickermule are cheap, and mean that not only can you give them away so your customers can advertise your company, but you can also add them to brand other items such as the boxes you package your products in.

Inspiration: 11 beautifully minimalistic yet inspiring sticker designs (OneExtraPixel)

Business cards

Business cards should be one of the first marketing items any startup founder gets printed, and there is no excuse for poorly designed cards printed on low quality card these days. Firms like Moo, who we use for our business cards at TechFruit, offer some beautiful designs at a good price and should now be the base level of card people make.

However, if you are really trying to make an impression then you can get a lot more creative with your calling card – with various firms in the last year making their brand memorable by making the card out of foam (yoga class), a seed packet (property management), and a view finder (photography).

Inspiration: 30 creative business card designs (Bored Panda)

Photograph by David Guerra Terol

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