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The global apparel market is valued at $1.39 trillion according to Statista, and in 2020 the market is projected to grow to $1.65 trillion. If you count bags, footwear, and accessories, then fashion is a $3 trillion industry. According to Shopify the worldwide revenue for the e-commerce fashion industry is expected to grow from $481 billion in 2018 to a staggering $713 billion in 2022.
What do these numbers say: HUGE opportunities for everyone in this industry (if you know how to tap into the opportunities and possibilities out there).
Startups and small to medium size brands have huge opportunities to market their products and brand, with some clever tactics and a pinch of wit. Online and offline marketing strategies are equally important – the biggest growth is online but the deepest connections with your customers are “physical”.
A general rule of thumb is to have 7 or more “touch points” with your customers. A touch point is, for example, Instagram, your email newsletter, your online shop etc. Wherever a customer gets in touch with your brand or gets information about your brand counts. To effectively and efficiently plan for this you have to first know who your customer is and where they are, to optimize your connection with them.
Here are some tips on how to market your clothing brand and get true, authentic and long-lasting relationships with your customers.
The list is divided into General Marketing, Online Marketing, and Offline Marketing.
General marketing ideas
General tips are ideas that should be rooted in your clothing brand culture, all employees including yourself, and in everything you do as a business. Marketing IS everything you do, and how you do it. From how you talk to the DHL guy, to how you reply to your emails, to how you handle customer care, to your engagement in social media, to the packaging of your products and the quality of your products.
- What do you stand for? What causes are you dedicated to?
- Because of the oversaturated fashion market, brands need more than just good products with a cheap price tag to sell. Customers, especially the younger generations care what brands stand for. This is a big reason for the connection.
- What is your story? Storytelling is the strongest marketing there is. To emotionally connect, one must understand the background, the struggles, the wins of a company, instead of getting plain technical info. The technical info should be there as well to reinforce and to strengthen the brand and its products, but the stories are the ones that capture customers hearts.
- Your products are your best marketing. Word of mouth is THE most powerful marketing strategy with 84% of consumers trusting recommendations from family and friends. Happy customers, that love their products, enjoy the experience they had when receiving the product, and like the way they feel when they use your products are most probable to spread the word about it to their friends and families. Word of mouth and recommendations are incredibly effective. Focus on making insanely good products. Without a killer product, it’s hard to market fluff, people will see through the bullshit.
- What are the benefits of your products compared to other brands products? What is it that your garments have that they can’t find elsewhere? Make it clear to your customers what’s unique with your products. Tell them, show them, and educate them about the benefits of your products.
- Build a marketing story in your collection names and product names. The names of your garments will help you carry your story. Come up with unique names that ties back to your story and help you with your branding.
- Transparency. Social media and online reviews have forced brands to be more open about the way they operate and do business. Transparency brings customers closer to brands, increases loyalty and word of mouth. Here are some points on how you can increase your transparency, to help push your brand forward:
- Communicate openly with your customers
- Hold your company accountable
- Own your mistakes and share how you are going to make things better
- Be honest and authentic
- Be human
- Be honest about how you price your products
- Be honest about your supply chain
- Build good-will into your apparel brand from the start. There are brands that donate one product for each product sold. There are brands that support and donate 1% each year of their income. There are brands that collaborate with foundations, charities, and organizations in their communities. How can you and your clothing brand help in an authentic way, not just because its great marketing?
- Collaborations between brands to co-create products, to use each other products in photoshoots and displays in shops. You are an apparel brand, why not collaborate with a shoe and a bag brand? Do easy collaborations like social media takeovers. The goal with a collab is to work with brands that offer services or products that make sense in your niche, and that can strengthen your positioning in that field. Brands that you can learn from and that can complement your marketing. It would, of course, be foolish to do a collab with a direct competitor.
- Provide value. The best way to provide value (except for through your incredible products) is through your content marketing. Everything you communicate should align with your values as a brand, with your mission and vision and your general goal. Preferably all your content should be interactive, it should let the customers in, to be engaged in what you do and to comment, test and be visible in what you do. This helps brands differentiate themselves from the competitors and gives credibility among the audience and customers.
- Be personal. Customers and especially the younger generations are tired of big anonymous brands. When there is a face, a person, a team to connect and relate to, it’s easier to engage and feel part of the brand. Customers feel “in” when they are brought behind the scenes.
- Create a yearly marketing calendar for gift guides. There are hundreds of awareness days and key days to keep track of during the year plus special life occasions like weddings, birthdays, graduations. Focus on a couple of key dates and events every month that are important for your business and target your marketing around those dates and happenings to increase your audience and sell more products. Be prepared and ready for when people are in shopping mode.
- Know your customer. The better you know your customers, the more effectively you’ll be able to reach them and give them what they want. Remember that not everyone is your customer. You need to figure out and determine who your ideal customer is, to better communicate with them.