The global online fashion market was worth $533 billion in 2018, and is expected to grow to $872bn by 2023. It’s an understatement to say the fashion industry is booming, with the likes of Shopify making it simple for everyone to get involved in selling online. However, in such a crowded market, it’s crucial to market your brand well to stand out from your competitors.
1. Invest in a quality site
This goes without saying, but it’s painful to see just how many brands try to make it online without a fully-functional website. Sure, you can sell via social these days, but we’d always recommend having a solid website in place before you make the next steps towards marketing your brand. Your website is your virtual shop window, so make sure it looks and feels the part. Invest well in the site and enlist a web dev who you trust (if you aren’t doing it yourself) who will be able to continuously update, test and maintain to ensure best performance. A poor website can be the downfall to an otherwise solid marketing strategy, and we can’t stress the importance of a great site enough. After all, you work in fashion – aesthetics are key!
Kirsty, Operations Manager: “A poor site can lead to terrible performance as users click straight off before purchasing, and you’ll just be wasting your marketing budget. I’d recommend investing well in your site, as competition is tough and users are spoilt for choice with fantastic fashion sites. You don’t want to be seen as an inferior option to brands who are doing it well.”
2. Rescue those abandoned baskets
88% of shoppers abandon their baskets before purchasing. This is a crazy statistic, and if you’re not making efforts to draw these users back to site, you’ll be missing out on a huge amount of revenue. It’s easy for shoppers to get distracted, so any number of reasons could cause them to forget about their items. It’s up to you to remind them of their unfinished purchase, and luckily it’s not a difficult task. There are many different ways you can do this – email campaigns, retargeting ads, personalised offers – whichever method you choose, it’s highly likely that you can convert these nearly-customers into people who spend their hard-earned cash. We like to retarget customers who’ve abandoned their baskets after say a week or so, and give them a slight discount to encourage them to come back and finish their purchase. Works a treat.
Anna, Paid Social Exec: “Effective retargeting is an amazing way to turn those ‘nearly customers’ into the people who pay! Create cart retargeting ads for people at different stages of buying each of your products and see your conversion rate take off.”
3. Create handy style guides
Putting together an outfit day in day out can be stressful. Fashion-following shoppers are highly likely to search online for style tips and advice on how to pair their shoes with their clothes, how to pick the right accessories to wear and how to always match the jacket to the occasion. Help your audience look their best by creating style guides. Not only are these guides incredibly useful to your shoppers, they also form invaluable content for your website, which you can then go on to use in email campaigns, social content and ads. Get creative – there are all sorts of style guides you could come up with – seasonal guides, office-wear, date outfits… The list is endless!
Aimee, Head of Content: “In the fashion world especially, there is FIERCE competition, so anything you can do to stand out is essential to success. It’s been proven that consumers love tips/hacks/guides and they also love sharing them! It’s quality content which showcases that you really do know your stuff, urging consumers to purchase from you in the future. That’s brand loyalty at its finest.”
4. Blog – be consistent with it
Blogging is hugely underrated, and as content writers by trade we’re pretty peeved by this! Not only is blogging a great way to share free updates with your customers, it’s a really effective fashion marketing technique. By planning an SEO-optimised content strategy and keeping up with a consistent, relevant blog, you can help strengthen your site’s SEO, which can drive you up the search rankings and increase site traffic. It’ll also help you connect with your switched-on audience, which can lead to brand loyalty and partnerships. Build out a blog calendar with high-quality content that speaks to your target audience. Share these blogs on your social or in email newsletters to help increase visibility.
Aimee: “The lack of blogging for eCom brands is a particular gripe of mine that I can often be found preaching about. It can work absolute WONDERS for your SEO, offering a completely free way to budge you up that list on Google. We’ve proven time and time again how important a variety of content is and blogging is just another way of showcasing the personable voice behind the brand. If you’re not doing it… start. Immediately. I’m serious.”
5. Team up with influencers
Influencer marketing is massive, especially in the fashion world. 17% of companies now spend over half their marketing budgets on influencer activity, and 89% say that the return on investment from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels. By identifying key content creators in your industry, you can help improve brand awareness, increase traffic and drive your brand’s message to your target audience. Influencer marketing works because it leverages social proof – customers trust these Insta-famous figureheads more than the companies who sell the products, and by seeing an outfit on their fave influencer, they’re likely to follow suit and buy from that brand. The type of influencer you go for depends heavily on your values, objectives and budgets, so do your research before spending your cash.
Aimee: “The influencer trend is still in full force and I can’t see that changing anytime soon. However, I have noticed that is going in a different direction to when it started. Instagram have really been cracking down on fake followers & paid likes, which has thrown a curve into the influencer world. You have to take the time to pick your influencers, making sure that their followers are genuinely engaged and interested in what that person is selling. It’s not all about the follower count anymore, you have to get smart.”
6. Run quality email marketing campaigns
Email marketing is surging in popularity in 2019, and it’s especially crucial when it comes to fashion marketing. A well-planned email strategy can help you send regular communication to your loyal customers, informing them of the latest offers, styles, sales or restocks. Making use of automation and personalisation will help drive conversions further – if you build a workflow that’s tied to customer behaviour it will improve relevancy and increase clickthrough rate. For example, if someone buys a certain item that relates to a particular upsell, enter them into an email flow that prompts that next purchase.
Kirsty: “Email marketing is so clever, and it’s a great way to reach your customers. I often look through my inbox for the latest emails from my favourite brands, and it can inspire me to make a purchase when I’d promised myself I wouldn’t add to my wardrobe. Actually, email marketing is dangerous – but great for marketers!”
7. Encourage testimonials and customer reviews
Reviews are incredibly important, especially when it comes to purchasing clothing online. Finding the right items that fit can be a minefield, and it’s a lot of hassle ordering incorrect or poor quality clothing then having to send it back. For this reason, savvy shoppers are likely to check reviews to influence their shopping decisions. If you’ve gathered positive reviews from satisfied customers – use them! You can either use these testimonials in your social posts, or go one step further and use them in advertising campaigns. When a glowing review is leveraged and shared to your audience, the results can be fantastic. One effective way of encouraging customer reviews is to send an email out a week or so after they’ve made a purchase, asking for feedback on their items.
Aimee: “Testimonials are such a fabulous way of offering proof of your service to prospective customers. Personally, I always hit the review section before I buy from a new brand. Pop them on your website, your socials – everywhere! Nothing wrong with a bit of humble bragging.”
8. Build highly-targeted paid social ads
The accuracy of targeting offered by the likes of Facebook is pretty mind-blowing (trust us, we do this day in, day out. Plus did you watch the Great Hack?!). Build out robust advertising funnels on Facebook and you’re bound to see results. By creating audiences based on your buyer personas, it will help you create high-converting campaigns with high relevancy. Identify what each of these personas values, or how they spend their time, and use interest targeting to show your ads to the right people. You can also use the Facebook Pixel to get super-granular…
Matt, Head of Paid Advertising: “If your fashion brand is selling products online, you need to be using paid social. As a Facebook Marketing Preferred Partner, we’ve got exclusive insights and support directly from Facebook, as well as early access to the latest products and events. This is highly valuable to our customers and we’ve built some fantastic partnerships and success stories.”
9. Install the Facebook Pixel on your site
The Facebook Pixel is a piece of code that will help supercharge your retargeting strategy and attack all those users who abandoned their basket. By tracking user activity on your site, the pixel gathers invaluable data that you can then use for your campaigns. You’ll then be able to create campaigns that only target people who have performed certain actions (viewed items, added to basket, initiated checkout etc), helping you serve hyper-relevant ads. As an agency, we won’t run ads for a client unless they have the pixel installed and working correctly – that’s how crucial it is.
Anna: “When someone visits your website, the Facebook Pixel is triggered and drops a cookie into the visitor’s browser cache. The cookies are used so that we can retarget visitors later. The Facebook Pixel is great for tracking a visitor’s behaviour when they are on your website. You can use this data later to create custom audiences and retarget the right people!”
10. Use dynamic product ads
Facebook dynamic ads use the pixel and product catalogue to show users the specific products they have been viewing. The great thing about DPAs? You set them up once and they’ll continue working their magic for as long as you can. By linking with your product catalogue they will always find the right people for each product, and always display the correct product, pricing and availability. It’s a highly-converting ad type that we use for all of our clients, and it’s bound to be a powerful tool in your fashion marketing arsenal.
Cam, Paid Social Exec: “DPAs tend to have the highest CTR in comparison to any ad type as they’re completely bespoke to the user and their session on site. DPAs are extremely powerful as they show each individual product someone’s viewed when browsing a website. DPAs can be edited by adding new borders and discounts but they won’t re-enter the learning phase unlike a lot of conversion ads on Facebook that will, therefore making them a continuous ad with no downtime. Having ROI Hunter allows us to edit the images with different USPs and discounts without sending the ads back in to learning phase, plus through this software we can use dynamic product sets that hook up to Google Analytics.”
11. Make use of carousel ads on Instagram and Facebook
The carousel ad format is one of the best-performing ads to use on Facebook and Instagram. Carousel ads let you display several images in an interactive format, as users can easily scroll through from one product to the next. Each carousel card has its own description and call-to-action, giving you multiple opportunities to get your prospect to engage with your brand. Carousel ads are known to drive 30-50% lower cost-per-conversions than single-image ads, so it’s an absolute must when it comes to planning your social creative. Carousel ads support both image and video formats, so you can really bring your ad to life in the newsfeed.
Cam: “Carousels are a brilliant format of ad where you can group categories from your website and present them in a scrollable format. The benefit of carousel ads is that you can view which card has the most amount of clicks, providing you with essential data on the most popular products that bring users to site. Carousel ads are very good at getting high CTRs, especially when you have the right headlines/descriptions offering different USPs or prices. Carousels are one of the best type of ads to split test your advertising due to the multiple opportunities available.”
12. Optimise your site speed
Picture the scene. You’ve created an incredible advert that’s driving tonnes of traffic to site. The problem is your site’s a mess. If your site takes too long to load, people won’t stick around – users are impatient in the increasingly-competitive fashion industry. Drop out rate is an important KPI to measure, and can really impact ad performance. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to test your site’s speed on mobile and desktop, then work with your developer to fix any problems if your site is taking four or more seconds to load. To summaries, you want to be directing users to a fast, engaging and user-friendly website that is optimised for maximum conversions.
Ben, Commercial Director: “We’ve come across some huge brands that we found were still suffering from way above-average bounce rates. These brands were sending hundreds of thousands of people to their site per month and losing up to 45% of this traffic, before anyone even had chance to view the product they were interested in. I’d struggle to put a figure on the potential financial loss of this but I would easily place it at 6 figures for some of the examples I’ve seen.”
13. Get to grips with Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a massively useful free tool from Google. It’s one of the best resources for brands and can be used to uncover trends, data and insights about a website’s visitors. Three initial areas to focus on to help grow your business are traffic sources, audience demographics and site behaviour. Traffic source helps you identify where your website traffic is coming from, letting you know which sources are working hardest for you. Audience demographics allows your brand to dig into your site visitors in more detail, which in turn can help you tailor your content to better match your core demographic. Site behaviour helps you indicate which content on your site is working best. You’ll also be able to see how people move from page to page, and where any drop-off points may be.
Lauren, PPC Manager: “Do not overlook this platform – especially when you are using a number of different channels to get those all-important orders. Analytics reports on a last-click basis, which will give you an idea of how each channel is performing (email, social, ppc). It gets better – understanding your customer buying journey will help you make smart decisions. So, for a much better insight – use Google’s multi-channel funnels report. This will tell you your most popular conversion paths and how many channels your customer crosses before placing their order, in which order, and how often.”
14. Post regularly on social media
It goes without saying, but your brand needs to be using social media to keep up with your competitors. There are plenty of social media platforms out there, but it’s advisable to identify which ones best match your target audience and stick to those. We’d recommend at least Facebook and Instagram to all fashion brands as these two have the strongest advertising platforms, but you could also make use of Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, TikTok… the list goes on. Once you’ve identified your key social platforms, you need to be posting regular, quality content that resonates with your audience. It’s not all about selling – offer some value to your customers and they will stick around. Social media today is all about building close-knit communities, and fashion brands are jumping on this trend to become invaluable lifestyle resources for their customers. It’s incredibly fulfilling to create these types of communities, so enjoy yourself!
Aimee: “I feel like I spend most of my time awake explaining and debating about how important taking care of your socials are – especially as a brand. Sure, advertising gets the profits, but the social presence gets the retention. Be personable, be sassy, offer some banter – your audience will engage and loyalty will grow. It’s ESSENTIAL. Without it, you’ll never scale to where you want to be.”
15. Run Google Ads (of course!)
PPC can be very effective for fashion, especially when the full spectrum of Google Ads are used. A lot of fashion marketers will overlook PPC as they think their product is too visual for this channel. However, the likes of display and shopping allows you to showcase your product and can generate some lucrative results. Some key techniques for fashion PPC include bidding on your own brand term (it’s cheap, converts highly and hey – keeps your competitors from stealing your traffic); using ad extensions to feature links to different sections of your site; defining negative keywords; using Google Shopping and running remarketing campaigns.
Lauren: “If you aren’t on Google, you are simply missing out. You may well be working hard to increase awareness of your brand through other channels, so you need to capture that all-important search traffic. There’s a reason people use the phrase ‘Google It’. If you aren’t appearing first in the search results for your brand (likely due to competition), then you need to be. More and more searches are on mobile, and there’s only so much scrolling people will do! Use Google Shopping to showcase your products based on relevant search terms, as purchase-intent is already there.”
16. Ensure your website is optimised for conversions
Most fashion eCommerce retailers receive a large amount of web traffic but not nearly as many sales as they’d like. In fact, the average conversion rate for fashion sites is 2.2%, while cart abandonment rate is, as we mentioned earlier, around 70%. If your site is hard to navigate, users are likely to leave before making a purchase. Ways to boost your conversion rates include using high quality images and video on product pages; offering free shipping; reducing the friction of your checkout process; implementing live chat; allowing users to checkout as guests and giving detailed product descriptions. Using a conversion analysis tool such as HotJar can help you analyse any current conversion rate issues, but we recommend enlisting the help of a CRO expert if you’re really stuck.
Ben: “Again, we see many websites that simply haven’t been set up to convert traffic en masse. We find that even though the path to purchase can look obvious, the smallest details can help take some of your traffic the next step along that path. For example, we see many websites that don’t have much of a call to action once a product has been added to cart. Try it on your site, does the basket/cart symbol appear in a different colour or become animated once a product is added? If not, it should. Many people view multiple products and then continue browsing, they need constant reminders to move onto the next stage in their path to purchase once they’re finished browsing.”
17. Refresh your assets regularly – at least twice a month
When we work with a brand, we request that they send over fresh assets at least twice a month. This helps us create new, exciting campaigns to push out to their audiences on social. The same goes with your website. You should be constantly creating new content to refresh your site banners and imagery. Fashion moves fast – and so should you. Switching up your campaigns can help attract new users to site, whereas keeping outdating imagery on-site can put potential customers off as it can seem like your brand is inactive. Running the same creative on Facebook can have a negative effect on your ads – ad fatigue can occur when your target audience have seen an advert too many times. This can lead to a drop in click-through-rate and in turn a drop in sales. The most successful brands are thriving content creators who constantly give their audience something new to engage with.
Tim, Head of Design: “As you may well know, adverts running of a period of time can reach ad fatigue and stagnate. When campaigns increase in frequency, it can be helpful up to a point for brand recognition, but if the campaign suddenly starts to lose traction, it may well have stagnated. We aim to refresh campaigns two times a month minimum in order to ensure our campaigns are running at full steam. It’s also important to keep your audience engaged, and fresh creative helps this.”
18. Your Google Shopping feed is the most important thing
Following on from our previous point on running Google ads – Google Shopping ads are a powerful way to visually showcase your products to an audience with purchase intent. You’ll need to get your shopping feed in order – we recommend using a product feed management tool such as Feedoptimise. This means that your feed is constantly updated, which ensures that the correct products are shown at the right price and availability. It’s also a great way to stay on top of any hiccups that could cause downtime to your ads.
Lauren: “Here are my suggestions to leverage the best results for Google Shopping using feed rules: do not serve out of stock or low-stocked products; use product variants to further define product titles and monitor performance (size, colour); ensure your brand name is front and centre (at the very beginning of your product titles).”
19. Test, test, test
Don’t just push out one ad campaign or email and expect it to be a roaring success. A/B testing can help take your marketing strategy to new levels of success. By running A/B tests you can figure out what approach works best for your target audience. While it’s important to test different elements of a campaign (eg. subject line, image, body copy), make sure to focus on one component at a time. For example, if you’re trying to figure out how to increase email open rate, firstly A/B test the subject line, then A/B test the images used in the email, and so on.
Cam: “A/B testing is the most important part of marketing on Paid Social. Given the budget is sufficient, you must split test different styles of ads and multiple variations of those formats. This will allow you to collect a large bank of data which you can analyse to help find your ideal target audience. You must ensure that you find the right balance and don’t run all of your split tests straight away as it can cause that ad to be shown too much to the audience and the frequency levels will be too high.”
20. Use video
A marketing strategy that includes video is far more effective than one without, so it’s advisable to use video when and where you can. There are loads of ways to use video in your strategy – whether you’re going live in social, giving your audience a sneak peak at your latest collection; shooting hi-res video content for use in your social advertising, or creating video to include in your email marketing – there’s no limit on how or where you use video marketing. Side note – if you’re posting video content to Instagram, you may well see a drop in likes for these posts, although the video views and reach may well be higher.
Tim: “Video’s crucial nowadays. It’s a much more engaging way to showcase your brand, your USPs and share your brand’s story to an audience who may never have heard of you before. We’ve also seen that video out-performs imagery time and time again.”
21. Share user-generated content
We love user-generated content and we simply can’t stop shouting about it. Why? Because it’s a way to turn your customers into free marketing, and it works seriously well. User-generated content, or UGC, is simply content created by your customers. For a fashion brand, this tends to be photos or videos of your customers in their latest purchase. Sharing this type of content on your social pages, in your ads or even on your website can help generate fantastic results. Content showing your customers in a natural setting can be far more effective than a standard product shoot, as it’s a great way for other people to see how an outfit actually looks on a real customer (sorry ASOS, but this is why customers don’t trust brands!). Encourage your customers to share their photos by offering an incentive such as a voucher to anyone featured on your Instagram feed, and gather the content by using a branded hashtag. Do it, do it now.
Kirsty: “We LOVE user-generated content, and it’s so refreshing when a brand uses it well. We like to share UGC for brands and tag in the customer who’s shared the content – this type of post performs really well and the customer is likely to share the post with their friends, further helping reach and engagement. It’s a win-win really.”
If you need help growing your fashion brand, drop us a line. We’d love to make you our next success story.