If you’re here now, it’s because you’ve spotted an opportunity for growing your business and you’re looking for an effective fashion marketing strategy.
The fashion business is booming, the industry is expected to grow by 15.7% in 2020 to 718 billion globally. But, maybe, despite the industry’s consistent growth, you aren’t seeing the results you want.
Maybe your ROAS (return-on-ad-spend) needs improvement. Maybe your PPC ads aren’t customized towards your audience or aren’t utilizing everything that Facebook has to offer.
In this post, we focus on the top five fashion marketing strategies for fashion businesses that are designed to increase conversions, reduce your return rate, and deliver a higher ROAS.
But, first, let’s cover some fashion brand-related questions you may have.
Which Social Media Channels Should Your Brand Use for Fashion Marketing?
Social media allows you to promote your fashion brand, improve customer service, divert traffic to your website, and improve sales. But a lot of times, we don’t see companies using various social media channels to their fullest potential.
If you’ve been using social media but have only seen a drain on labor cost or can’t accurately attribute revenue to specific channels or marketing campaigns, then it’s time to recalibrate your efforts.
Don’t get stuck doing social media for the sake of doing social media. A social media presence needs to be strategic and intentional.
You need to know which platforms are right for your business and industry, and how best to reach your target customers on those platforms.
For instance, when it comes to apparel brand engagement, Instagram is king:
For our purposes – discussing marketing strategies to grow your business within the fashion industry – this post will focus on utilizing Instagram and Facebook to promote your fashion brand.
These two platforms offer:
- Significant customization (and creativity) when it comes to personalized ads.
- A streamlined service for working with influencers (though Instagram is definitely the reigning champ in influencer marketing).
- A large audience made up of key fashion-oriented demographics.
Fashion Marketing Strategy #1: Using Instagram Stories to Drive Conversions
Given how easily Instagram ties into influencer marketing (something we go over a little later in this post), it’s easy to see why engagement is so high. Plus, Instagram is one of the more visual platforms, utilizing a photo-first user experience with the Instagram feed, and allowing users to post Instagram stories or even run IGTV (Instagram’s answer to YouTube).
Finally, it’s easy to get from Instagram to your site. When running an Instagram story, you can have customers swipe up or click on a call-to-action button.
With the above ad (shared via an Instagram story), take notice of how this company is:
- Selling an entire outfit, not just one piece of clothing (selling a lifestyle, not a pair of pants).
- Using the “Swipe Up to Shop Now” CTA button to drive conversions.
- Catering to their target audience by a relatable and practical (yet fashionable) image.
Fashion Marketing Strategy #2: Using Facebook Video Ads to Get Your Customer’s Attention
While apparel brand engagement is lower on Facebook, the popular social media platform is still a must-have for fashion companies.
That’s because Facebook is popular amongst key demographics:
When you separate by genders, 75% of women use Facebook, and 63% of men use it, too — making it a great platform that isn’t focused on one over gender over the other.
We personally love Facebook’s video ads. Facebook video has a higher engagement stat (6.01%) when compared to photo posts, link posts, and status posts.
Here’s an example of a Facebook video ad we think is worth studying:
We like the ad above for two specific reasons.
- The value is simple and clear: These shoes are comfortable; they come with free shipping and free returns, and they’re easy to clean.
- The video itself is incredibly simple and eye-catching: Even a little movement can go a long way to grab your prospective customer’s eye. The average watch time of a Facebook video is only 10 seconds. This means you don’t want anything critical conveyed after the 10-second mark.
This Allbirds ad does a great job of getting its message across (these shoes are comfortable) and making the product come to life (by utilizing a video ad of the shoes moving) without overwhelming its audience.
Want to learn more? Read our guide on creating winning Facebook video ads.
How Do You Measure the Success of Digital Marketing?
Whether you’re knee-deep in your marketing strategy or just about to start, make sure you’re able to measure your return on ad spend (ROAS) and keep a close eye on your return rate.
Crash Course in ROAS
ROAS is a really simple metric. It’s your ad revenue divided by your ad spend.
ROAS gives you a blunt look on whether or not your advertising dollars are bringing in revenue.
To clarify: your ROAS isn’t after the financial health of your entire business, but the financial health of your advertising. That’s why it’s important. You can have a strong ROI, your business can be doing well, but a bad ROAS shows you that you’re still leaving money on the table.
Crash Course in a High Return Rate
A high return rate can mean a lot of things. High returns can signal that your product isn’t up to par.
They can also show a disconnect between what you’re marketing and what you’re selling — you’re catching conversions that are, in the long run, hurting your bottom line.
Because high returns seem to be built into the e-commerce model, it makes sense that your marketing strategies want to combat these high return rates early on.
The goal isn’t just to raise prices, so return rates won’t bother you (to do that, you’ll likely see a huge drop in sales) but to cater to your product intentionally, so the consumer doesn’t feel the need to intentionally over-purchase.
You want to promote consumer confidence in your fashion brand, not cultivate consumer doubt.
A few ways to do this:
- Positive customer reviews
- Video testimonials
- High-quality and professional images
- Influencer marketing
What is the Advertising Strategy for Fashion Marketing Luxury Brands?
If you run a luxury brand, you’re probably wondering if the rules are different for you. And while there are some nuances, the advice towards a higher-end brand and a more economical brand generally comes from the same area.
Luxury fashion brands require customization and an audience-focused marketing mindset, but so does every other type of fashion brand.
So much of what we have to say about creating an advertising strategy for luxury brands can be said for every other type of brand.
- Know your audience
- Make it personal
- Practice retargeting
- Engage an omnichannel shopping experience
The only difference – and it’s an anecdotal difference – is that as the price of the product goes up, the patience for a less-than-stellar customer experience goes down.
And while that may be true, a better approach, on our end, is creating a winning advertising strategy that puts customer service first at every price tier.
Okay, with all that out of the way, here are our top five marketing strategies for fashion businesses.
1. Personalize Your Customers’ Experience
By 2020, more than half of consumers want a level of personalization before they even interact with your website.
This makes sense. After all, it isn’t just blind luck that someone found your website. They found your online store through PPC ads, Instagram stories, influencer marketing, organic search results, and so on.
They found your store through some level of effort on your part matched with an inquiry on their part.
When it comes to personalization, we want to see the personal touch in these two key areas:
- The shopping experience
- Retargeted ads
Let’s dive into both.
The shopping experience
When we talk about personalization, some marketers go straight to behavior insights and demographic data to create the best ads possible. And trust us, that is important, and we will get there in a moment.
But first, make sure you’re not overlooking the changes you can make to personalize the shopping experience on your website.
Amazon does this so well; we think of it as natural and intuitive, not something strategic and intentional. And that’s the good litmus test. If your site’s personalization feels natural, it’s closer to personal. If it feels awkward and clunky, go back to the drawing board.
Amazon uses your past purchases to recommend future purchases. Amazon also takes the past purchase of other customers to help you make your purchase today.
Amazon’s algorithm says, “Hey, other people who bought this golf set also bought this bag of tees and a set of golf balls. You can get all three for this amount.”
This type of product recommendation is perfect for the fashion business, where accessories can be paired to complete an outfit or look.
Getting someone to your site is a battle, sure, but it isn’t the whole war. Recent data shows that the average conversion rate for a style and fashion e-commerce site sits at 1.3%.
If your conversion rate sits below that, we recommend running retargeting ads.
Here’s how retargeted ads look for the fashion industry.
Madewell’s ad is taking a selection of items their target customer has already shown interest in — running a retargeting ad, and writing copy – “We like these for you” – to reaffirm your choices.
A real-world example of fashion retargeting in action:
One of our writers has been meaning to buy a pair of Allbirds. He likes sneakers (and may have a bit of a sneaker problem, actually, but that’s neither here nor there).
He first heard of Allbirds from another co-worker. That’s contact one.
Because of the co-worker’s positive feedback, he went to their site. That’s contact two.
He looked through various colors, added one he liked the most (the color ‘lava’ spoke to him) to his shopping cart and then… left the site. Work or something else got in the way.
Besides, he told himself, does he really need another pair of shoes? And he isn’t alone – a little under 70% of customers abandon their items at the shopping cart.
Then, a day later, scrolling through his Instagram, he sees an Allbirds ad with the very same color of shoe he had left in my cart. That’s contact three.
That’s a retargeting ad. A kind reminder or nudge, saying, “do you still want this?”
Retargeting ads have the power to take something large (a fashion brand) and make it feel small and focused on the individual.
They also have up to 10x the CTR of regular ads:
For more information, read our post on personalization in marketing.
2. Ensure Customers Know How to Use Your Product
Clothing is functional and visual. People see your ads of pants, dresses, shirts, or whatever. And they want to look like the person in the ad.
But, of course, the ad is full of more than just one article of clothing. Normally it’s a model or a selection of pieces of clothing, arranged in the right way, covered with appealing lighting, and so on.
Creating a style guide for your clothing lets your customers engage with how your clothing is best worn.
A style guide also helps you with upsells, because now your customer wants to complete the look.
Fashion Marketing Pro Tip:
You can create style guides aimed around seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winter looks), as well as types of occasions (interview, first day back at school, wedding, and so on).
3. Know Your Buying Audience, not Just Your Intended Audience
Do you know your audience, or do you just have an audience in mind? There’s a big difference. A few years into operation, the menswear company, Blank Label, had to make a change.
Per one of the founders, Fang Bi, they had built the company, at a very young age, to cater to “hipsters, artists, and other creative types.” Blank Label allowed what the founders called “co-creation.” You helped design the dress shirt you wanted, and the company used its connections in China to make it for you.
But, after having some initial success, Blank Label’s two founders decided to analyze their customers’ data. They sent out surveys and looked at every piece of data available to them. And they were stunned:
In their words, “It was like, ‘Holy crap, our customers aren’t 22-year-olds who are rebellious and against ‘The Man.’ Our customers are The Man.”
The deep data dive showed that “the majority of Blank Label’s customers were actually well-off white-collar workers in their late 30s. Many were attorneys. They were the type of consumers who had previously been shopping at Brooks Brothers, not Urban Outfitters.”
The business owners decided to lean into their discovery. They reworked their site and its messaging, to match (not their intended audience) but their actual buying audience.
Fashion Marketing Pro Tip:
To figure out the audience of your business so you can, as Blank Label did, make strategic choices, look to analytics.
If you need help setting up analytics for your advertising platforms, check out our various “how-to” guides.
How to Use:
4. Use Influencer To Social Proofing your Fashion Marketing
73% of millennial customers say it’s important to them to read other people’s opinions before they buy.
But you need customers to buy in order to leave reviews. How do you break that cycle and spread your brand with value-driven content?
You invest in influencer marketing.
Like this post from @michelletakesaim:
The above is an example of a successful influencer marketing strategy.
The influencer takes a photo (note: how the merchandise doesn’t need to be so blatantly focused, as the more natural photos work well for this strategy), tags the company, and directs any interested followers to the link.
Check out our post on influencer marketing for more information.
5. Create a Blog to Direct Organic Traffic to Your Brand
85% of millennial customers do research before making a purchase, and 60% of that research happens on the company’s website.
So that’s where your blog comes in. A blog establishes your expertise as a fashion brand. Why encourage someone to buy your clothes or jewelry from one site, but then go read about the latest trends in styles on a different one?
Creating a blog with engaging, value-driven, and relevant content:
- Makes your website a one-stop-shop for all things related to your brand and industry,
- Drives up engagement time,
- Leads to shares across social media platforms
- Fosters a relationship between your brand and your customer
Farfetch is a great example of this. In just one year, they’ve grown their monthly organic traffic from 1k to 9k per month through blog content.
Farfetch has done this by writing a mixture of how-to content (such as how to wear a biker jacket and how to pack for a skip trip) and product-based content (such as best minimalist sneakers and the best smart shoes).
Read more for information on how to take your blog’s readers and turn them into paying customers.
Wrapping It Up: The 5 Rules of Fashion Marketing
We hope this guide was helpful.
The fashion industry is viable, and one that sits at the intersection of multiple marketing strategies.
To recap, our top five Fashion Marketing strategies are as follows:
Personalize your customers’ experience to increase sales
Create style guides and gift guides to increase upsells and decrease returns
Learn who is buying your product (not just who you wish would buy your product)
Use Influencer Marketing over traditional ads
Create a blog to put your fashion brand up organic search traffic.
If you have any additional questions for us, please reach out in the comments!