Companies in the fashion industry have a handful of unique challenges when it comes to marketing. For one, the industry is highly competitive. There are seemingly endless numbers of clothing companies both of the well-established variety as well as small start-ups, and everything in-between. Not only is there competition amongst brands, there is also a ton of content competition. It’s very hard to create unique, valuable content in an industry with armies of fashion bloggers, fashion photographers, and even well-established content creators like Vogue and Vanity Fair, that have been doing it with great success for a very long time.
Another challenge is the extremely visual nature of the fashion industry. Visuals are key to almost all content in a way that other industries simply don’t require. The products themselves need to be well-designed and appealing, but so do the images capturing those products and the context surrounding those images.
Fashion audiences will also tend to value aesthetics more highly than other audiences. They appreciate unique, striking visuals and artistic presentation – which can sometimes be difficult to achieve without sacrificing usability.
So, those are some of the challenges – but what actually works? Here are some strategies for marketing in the fashion industry which will help to break through and stand out from the crowded field.
A Great Website
As mentioned above, aesthetics are super important in the fashion industry. That means a bland or average website design which might be passable in other industries could spell doom for a fashion company. The level of competition in fashion, though, means that your beautiful design can’t give an inch on things like usability and speed. Especially if your site is an ecommerce portal (which most fashion sites are), users need to feel they are in for a professional, trustworthy shopping experience if they are expected to make a purchase. Having a fantastic, beautiful, highly visual, highly functional website is going to be the key first step to success with marketing any fashion business.
Diverse Social Media
Perhaps more than any other type of company, fashion businesses have a tendency to use social media channels for promotion, promotion, and then a bit more promotion. While a few companies (Zara for instance) have found ways to be quite successful with this strategy, the vast majority fall flat. Social media users tend to get bored and suspicious of brands whose social content is exclusively self-promotional. Which means companies need to do a better job of appealing to the interests of the audiences, while still occasionally mixing in some promotion.
Some brands have tried to appeal to their audience with other topics they might find interesting, like tech news and recipes. Others focus more on “personality posts,” which tend to show off their brand’s specific personality and take, be it edgy, cutesy, rustic, lumberjack, etc. Still others go with a more creative approach, sharing or creating content with a more artistic flare, and even getting followers to engage by inviting them to join in on the creative process either with input or with their own creations.
There’s no single right answer for every company, but we tend to think that a diversity of social media content has the greatest effect when it comes to keeping the interest of and engaging with followers. Then, it becomes easier to mix in the self-promotion.
Perhaps the most important piece of the fashion marketing puzzle is niche marketing. One of the reasons fashion is such a big industry (as well as such a competitive one) is that literally every human in the world, at some point or another, needs clothes. While the interest level of various audience segments will vary, the need will be no less great.
So, the way fashion brands tend to find success is by developing a true identity for themselves, and knowing what audience that identity will appeal to. Maybe that means appealing to business-minded female entrepreneurs. Maybe it means rugged, bearded, truck-driving men. Or maybe athletic, fitness-focused gadget lovers. Whatever the niche, think hard about the things those people will find interesting and take a deep dive. Appealing to this sliver of the population will drive everything from your website organization to the adjectives in your tweets. When you speak directly to the specific experience of an audience and the things they are passionate about, they are sure to reward you for it.
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